Patience: a Comment

2 Corinthians 12:12  •  1 min. read  •  grade level: 8
Many since Chrysostom have assumed that “patience” is here laid down as the pre-eminent sign of an apostle. This is not said; but the truth is yet weightier. Irony and seriousness withal pervade these closing chapters of this touching Epistle. In the face of “the overmuch apostles,” surely none of the twelve, but pseudo-apostles (11:13), those pretenders who imposed on too many of the Corinthians, we read, “The signs indeed of the apostle were wrought out among you in all endurance by signs and wonders and powers.” Faith and love kept him from mentioning himself; so that the rebuke fell unsparingly on those who sought to exalt themselves by undermining him. “Patience,” instead of being “the supreme or at least first-named sign,” is the deep substratum of grace which lay under them all. It is characteristic of God (“the God of patience”); it shone above all in Christ; it distinguished the apostle beyond all others. But how strange “the inference” that “patience should, a fortiori, characterize those who are not apostles"! Are not premise and inference equally at fault? There is no need of straining what is so strictly personal; for we as Christians are “strengthened with all power according to the might of his glory unto all endurance (or, patience) and long-suffering with joy.”