16 I say again, let no one think me a fool. If otherwise, at least receive me as a fool, that I also may boast a little. 17 What I speak, I speak not according to the Lord, but as it were, foolishly, in this confidence of boasting. 18 Seeing that many boast according to the flesh, I also will boast.
I say again,
Paul repeats what he said in 2 Corinthians 11:1 that boasting is a form of foolishness. He distances himself from super apostle fools. The apostle does not want to be lumped with false apostles because he will take their arguments and use it on them.
let no one think me a fool.
Although boasting is fundamentally foolish, the apostle will exercise foolishness to make an argument. He will fight fire with fire.
If otherwise, at least receive me as a fool,
Paul assumed the role of a fool to make the church look foolish. He asks the Corinthians to look at him as a fool to show them how faulty their thinking was.
that I also may boast a little.
Since the Corinthians put up with foolish boasting, Paul thought he would do the same. He asks them to put up with folly on his part for a short aside. Since the church accepted the argument of fools, the apostle would play a fool’s role to get their attention.
What I speak, I speak not according to the Lord,
The Lord never argued as Paul will in this passage. Jesus was never arrogant in His approach to others. The apostle will use a non-Christlike approach to dealing with his enemies. Paul enters the false apostles’ methodology reluctantly. He views this as a temporary folly.
but as it were, foolishly,
Paul portrayed himself as wise as the false apostles, but he was patently foolish in doing so. To attempt to outrival one’s enemies is a foolish approach.
in this confidence of boasting.
Paul was well aware that boasting was to act like a fool.
Seeing that many boast according to the flesh, I also will boast.
In the past, Paul was private about his achievements, but the false apostles were public. The phony teachers used human standards for success, so the apostle acted the same way to prove a point. The world uses brash self-assertion.
There are times when it is necessary to use ad hominem arguments.
At times, it is necessary to argue ad hominem. We answer fools according to their folly to make a point. There are times when we stoop to the level of fools to show them how they argue.