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 repeated what he had said in 2 Corinthians 11:1, that boasting is a form of foolishness. He distanced himself from super-apostle fools. The apostle did not want to be lumped with false apostles; he would take their argument and use it on them.
let no one think me a fool.
Although boasting was fundamentally foolish to Paul, the apostle would exercise foolishness to make an argument. He would 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 asked 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 asked 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 would in this passage. Jesus was never arrogant in His approach to others. The apostle would use a non-Christlike approach to dealing with his enemies. Paul entered the false apostles’ methodology reluctantly. He viewed this as a temporary folly.
but as it were, foolishly,
Paul portrayed himself to be 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 had been 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.