1 Do we begin again to commend ourselves? Or do we need, as some others, epistles of commendation to you or letters of commendation from you?
Paul now asserts that he does not deal in crass self-promotion. The Corinthian church knows this because they can vouch for his integrity (2 Co 3:1-3). God also validates his ministry (2 Co 3:4-6).
1 Do we begin again to commend [recommend] ourselves?
The two rhetorical questions here indicate a new section of Second Corinthians that defends Paul’s ministry. Both questions expect a negative answer. This first question deals with whether he and his team should commend themselves. Their opponents had already accused them of self-aggrandizement. They do not need outside commendation because the Corinthian church has already witnessed their integrity (2 Co 1:12; 2:17).
Paul’s team did not need to defend their ministry “again;” they had already faced that challenge when they brought the gospel to Corinth. Some wanted to discredit Paul and discount his ministry.
Or do we need, as some others, epistles [letters] of commendation to you
Ministers of the gospel in the first century often carried a letter of recommendation. Paul did this on other occasions (Ro 16:1-2; 2 Co 8:22-24). The “some” here refers to teachers who opposed Paul and carried physical letters of commendation (2 Co 2:17). These people were false teachers who peddled the Word of God for their own ends (2 Co 2:17; 11:2-3). They were power mongers seeking influence for selfish purposes.
or letters of commendation from you?
Paul’s team did not need to garner support from the Corinthian church because God commissioned them for ministry (2 Co 4:2). They founded the church. The Corinthians saw the effects of that ministry in their personal transformation. The gospel team was no political group operating as power mongers that jockey for influence to gain a following; they were in the business of presenting the gospel.
Credibility comes from integrity.
There will always be those who have a fish to fry with their leaders. They want to pick their bones because they have an ax to grind.
The believer’s best credentials are not what people say about him but what they see in him; the central issue is character, not reputation. Gospel ministry is not about politics. Ministers are not about impressing people with their education, gifts, capabilities but about the integrity of what they believe and do. Who we are speaks for itself. Credibility comes from integrity.