As we read this list, Paul wants us to see his weakness, not his strength. He does not want to seem like some kind of hero. Although he was quite a strong man, his body was constantly too weak during his troubles. He was unable to deal with these troubles in his own strength. He had to depend entirely on the power of God.
Paulís subject in verse 27 is how much his body suffered from these daily troubles. He does not mention the pain that his enemies caused him - perhaps he has said enough about that in verses 23-25. Instead in verse 27 he writes about the ordinary troubles of a hard life. Paul had not escaped the troubles that other people suffer.
Paul did not want to take money from people while he was urging them to become Christians. He probably thought that would give them a wrong impression about Godís message, the gospel. So, as he established new churches, he worked to earn his money; he made tents. Here, he explains that this work was hard. In fact, it was so hard that he often had to stay awake at night, to complete his work*.
Even that kind of hard work did not always provide enough for Paul. Sometimes he did not have enough food*. He knew hunger often.
Sometimes also Paul had been desperate for water to drink. He had lived in desert regions like Arabia*. Often on his journeys it would be difficult to find fresh, clean water.
Paul could not always find a suitable place to sleep. Often, he would have slept outside, even in Winter. His body felt the cold,and he did not always have enough clothes*. When people attacked Paul, his clothes might tear badly. It was usual for robbers to steal even the clothes that a person was wearing*.
Next part: The strain of a church leader (11:28)
* See complete article for these Bible references.
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© 2016, Keith Simons.