“If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness” (v30). Some of the believers in Corinth had been enticed by “super-apostles” (v5), men who used the badge of spiritual leadership to take advantage of immature Christians (v20). Paul called them “false prophets, deceitful workman” (v13), and he warned the Corinthians that real spiritual leadership was proved by trials (v23-28), not smooth preaching or charisma. Paul’s sincere love for the people and willingness to suffer for Christ were his “credentials” (v11).
Real spiritual leadership looks like Christ Himself: cross-centered, self-emptying, with authority that comes from righteousness and love.