on 2-corinthians 11 :6
But though I be rude in speech - Ιδιωτης τῳ λογῳ Though I speak like a common unlettered man, in plain unadorned phrase, studying none of the graces of eloquence; yet I am not unskilled in the most profound knowledge of God, of spiritual and eternal things, of the nature of the human soul, and the sound truths of the Gospel system: ye yourselves are witnesses of this, as in all these things I have been thoroughly manifested among you.
Inspired men received all their doctrines immediately from God, and often the very words in which those doctrines should be delivered to the world; but in general the Holy Spirit appears to have left them to their own language, preventing them from using any expression that might be equivocal, or convey a contrary sense to that which God intended.
That St. Paul wrote a strong, nervous, and sufficiently pure language, his own writings sufficiently testify; but the graces of the Greek tongue he appears not to have studied, or at least he did not think it proper to use them; for perhaps there is no tongue in the world that is so apt to seduce the understanding by its sounds and harmony, as the Greek. It is not an unusual thing for Greek scholars to the present day to be in raptures with the harmony of a Greek verse, the sense of which is but little regarded, and perhaps is little worth! I should suppose that God would prevent the inspired writers from either speaking or writing thus, that sound might not carry the hearer away from sense; and that the persuasive force of truth might alone prevail, and the excellence of the power appear to be of God and not of man. Taking up the subject in this point of view, I see no reason to have recourse to the supposition, or fable rather, that the apostle had an impediment in his speech, and that he alludes to this infirmity in the above passage.
on 2-corinthians 11 :6
But though I be rude in speech - see the note, 2 Corinthians 10:10. The word rendered "rude" here (ἰδιώτης idiōtēs) means properly a private citizen, in opposition to one in a public station; then a plebeian, or one unlettered or unlearned, in opposition to one of more elevated rank, or one who is learned; see the Acts 4:13 note; 1 Corinthians 14:16 note. The idea is, my language is that of a plain unlettered person. This was doubtless charged upon him by his enemies, and it may be that he designed in part to admit the truth of the charge.
Yet not in knowledge - I do not admit that I am ignorant of the religion which I profess to teach. I claim to be acquainted with the doctrines of Christianity. It does not appear that they charged him with ignorance. If it be asked how the admission that he was rude in speech consists with the fact that he was endowed by the Holy Spirit. with the power of speaking languages, we may observe that Paul had undoubtedly learned to speak Greek in his native place (Tarsus in Cilicia). and that the Greek which he had learned there was probably a corrupt kind, such as was spoken in that place. It was this Greek which he probably continued to speak; for there is no more reason to suppose that the Holy Spirit would aid him in speaking language which he had thus early learned than he would in speaking Hebrew. The endowments of the Holy Spirit were conferred to enable the apostles to speak languages which they had never learned, not in perfecting them in languages with which they were before acquainted. It may have been true, therefore, that Paul may have spoken some languages which he never learned with more fluency and perfection than he did those which he had learned to speak when he was young. See the remarks of the Archbishop of Cambray, as quoted by Doddridge in loc. It may be remarked. also, that some estimate of the manner of Paul on this point may be formed from his writings. Critics profoundly acquainted with the Greek language remark, that while there is great energy of thought and of diction in the writings of Paul; while he chooses or coins most expressive words, yet that there is everywhere a lack of Attic elegance of manner, and of the smoothness and beauty which were so grateful to a Grecian ear.
But we have been thoroughly made manifest ... - You have known all about me. I have concealed nothing from you, and you have had ample oppotunity to become thoroughly acquainted with me. The meaning is, "I need not dwell on this. I need speak no more of my manner of speech or knowledge. With all that you are well acquainted."
on 2-corinthians 11 :6
11:6 If I am unskilful in speech - If I speak in a plain, unadorned way, like an unlearned person. So the Greek word properly signifies.