Paul had a deep conversational letter with the Corinthians, and often in the letter he said he didn't want to get any financial support from them but he collects support from Macedonia while in Corinth to support his ministry.

2 Corinthians 12: 13. "The only thing I failed to do, which I do in the other churches, was to become a financial burden to you. Please forgive me for this wrong!"

Why did he refused to get financial support from the Corinthians even though he's their father while other itinerary preachers enjoys such benefits from the Corinth church.


2 Answers 2


It is Ellicott that best elucidates the sense of Paul is saying in 2 Cor 12:13 -

(13) What is it wherein ye were inferior to other churches?—His mind travels back to the insinuation that he cared less for them than he did for the churches of Macedonia, because he had maintained his independence and had received no gifts from them. If they complained of this, they should, at least, remember that this was the only point of inferiority. They had experienced fully all the advantages that flowed from his special power as an Apostle. For that wrong, so far as it was a wrong, he asks their forgiveness.

That is, some of the Corinthians were "complaining" that Paul never demanded any support from them because he supported himself (financially). However, this is hardly a complaint as they were the recipients of great miracles, signs and wonders (V12) -

The true marks of an apostle—signs, wonders, and miracles—were performed among you with great perseverance.

Thus, the Corinthian believers really had nothing about which to lodge a valid complaint against Paul.

The reason Paul did not accept support, was probably the same as in most other places - he always supported himself as a tent-maker, as he discussed in 1 Cor 9:12, Acts 18:3, etc. (However, in 2 Cor 11:7 the exception was when he was in need (sick?) he accepted help from some visitors from Macedonia.)

  • Paul did explicitly mentioned that the Macedonians provided for his need while in Corinth - >"2 Corinthians11:7. Was I wrong when I humbled myself and honored you by preaching God’s Good News to you without expecting anything in return? 8I “robbed” other churches by accepting their contributions so I could serve you at no cost. 9And when I was with you and didn’t have enough to live on, I did not become a financial burden to anyone. For the brothers who came from Macedonia brought me all that I needed. I have never been a burden to you, and I never will be. "
    – ken4ward
    Commented Sep 3, 2021 at 16:17
  • @ken4ward - you are quite correct - there were exceptions when Paul was in need and support (possibly while he was sick??) by visitors from other places.
    – Dottard
    Commented Sep 3, 2021 at 20:45
  • Thanks for such observation as well. I'm just concerned to understand why Paul refused to obtain support from them despite them being the earliest eagerly ready in the province of Greece to share their substance with the brethren in Jerusalem, why did Paul totally refused to accept their support?
    – ken4ward
    Commented Sep 4, 2021 at 7:38
  • @ken4ward - he wanted to be independent and indebted to no one.
    – Dottard
    Commented Sep 4, 2021 at 7:59

Paul asked the Corinthians to give in 2 Corinthians 8:

10 And here is my judgment about what is best for you in this matter. Last year you were the first not only to give but also to have the desire to do so. 11Now finish the work, so that your eager willingness to do it may be matched by your completion of it, according to your means. 12For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what one does not have.

13 Our desire is not that others might be relieved while you are hard pressed, but that there might be equality. 14At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. The goal is equality,

The churches were to help one another at different times.

19 What is more, he was chosen by the churches to accompany us as we carry the offering

There was no specific mention of the church of Jerusalem, but churches in general. After he had the collection from the Corinthians, it would be under the control of Paul and others.

which we administer in order to honor the Lord himself and to show our eagerness to help. 20 We want to avoid any criticism of the way we administer this liberal gift. 21 For we are taking pains to do what is right, not only in the eyes of the Lord but also in the eyes of man.

Four chapters later, 2 Corinthians 12:

13 The only thing I failed to do, which I do in the other churches, was to become a financial burden to you. Please forgive me for this wrong!

When Paul was with them in person, he didn't need their financial support. He was financed by other churches and by his own earnings. At this point, the situation was different, the Corinthians were more financially able to give.

Why did he refuse to get financial support from the Corinthians?

He didn't. On the contrary, he was asking for their financial support in the writing of 2 Corinthians 8.

Any reason why Paul didn't collect financial support from the Corinthians earlier?

Earlier, Paul had sufficient supports from other churches. In fact, earlier they supported the Corinthian church. Different time, different measures. The bottom line was that there would be give-and-take equality for the local churches over time.

  • The 2 references points to different scenarios. Paul asked for financial support for the churches in Jerusalem not for himself. From what's available he made it clear he has never collected any financial support for himself, neither his companions like Titus, and will never stop to continue to boast about it, and will never receive such from them. Even when he was with them he'd preferred to receive financial support from Macedonia churches and brethren than getting it from the Corinthians. Was it because the church wasn't going goodly spiritually?
    – ken4ward
    Commented Sep 3, 2021 at 18:35
  • Good questions. I added :)
    – user35953
    Commented Sep 3, 2021 at 19:01

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.