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2 Corinthians 11

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Paul, A True Apostle

Second Corinthians Eleven

The self appointed apostles at Corinth wanted to be apostles like Paul but they were not. The false apostles had even managed to gain some followers there. Paul felt that it was folly for him to have to defend his apostleship. He could have used his time in a much better way. However, he felt responsible to see that the church at Corinth was sound in the faith. Brethren must not be lured away from the simplicity of the gospel of Christ.

What was happening at Corinth was a very serious matter. The false teachers were preaching another Jesus and a totally different gospel. The false apostles felt superior to Paul, especially in the matter of preaching style. Paul was not concerned about an entertaining preaching style, but his concern was the faithful proclamation of the gospel of Christ. The false apostles were saying that Paul was not worth hearing because he preached for free. Paul had taken money from other church so that he could preach freely at Corinth.

Satan is responsible for every false doctrine. It was not surprising to Paul that there were false apostles because "Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light." Through the years Satan has taken on many forms in his work of deception. Paul's concern was that the Corinthians might not be able to discern the false teachers and their false teachings.

Verses 1-4

Paul continued his self-defense -- 2Co_11:1-4 : Paul's concern for the Corinthians was tremendous. Therefore, he desired that they would bear with him as he explained and defended his apostleship. He asked them to "bear with me in a little foolishness." Paul was concerned about the church at Corinth just as a man is concerned about his daughter being a virgin on her wedding day. He was concerned that Satan might deceive the Corinthians just like he used that tricky snake to deceive Eve.

Paul had preached the gospel of Christ that was revealed by the Holy Ghost. Now these same people were ready to receive another spirit and accept a different message. False teachers can do an amazing amount of harm. Paul showed them that the church must not tolerate false teachers nor accept their false teachings.

Verses 5-15

False apostles and deceitful workers -- 2Co_11:5-15 : There was no way in which Paul was inferior to these false apostles. In fact he was not a whit behind the chiefest apostles. His speech may not have been as good as these false apostles, but his knowledge was greater. Did he commit some sin because he humbled himself by preaching God's gospel to them free of charge? Paul said, "I robbed other churches by accepting support from them in order to serve you." Paul called upon other churches to support him while he preached the gospel at Corinth.

Paul was in need at Corinth but he did not ask these brethren to help him. Some of the Christians from Macedonia brought Paul what he needed. Paul did not want to be a burden to the Corinthians either in the past nor in the future. God knew that it was not for any lack of love that Paul was dealing with these false apostles. His work would show that none of the false apostles could do the things that he could do. They did not have the power of an apostle. These people were false apostles and dishonest workers. They only pretend to be apostles of the Christ. Such conduct is not surprising because even Satan tries to make himself look like an angel of light. Recognizing that Satan is so deceptive should cause us not to be shocked that his servants only pretend to do what is right. The end for Satan and for all false teachers will be destruction.

Verses 16-21

Boasting done with great reluctance -- 2Co_11:16-21 : Paul did not want these brethren to think he was a fool. But even if they did accept him as a fool he needed to boast a little. Paul used his personal liberty to describe his life and his authority as an apostle. The false apostles were bragging about what they had done and Paul decided that he, as a fool, would do a little boasting himself. Many things in Paul's life were unpleasant but he endured them for the sake of the gospel. Paul described what the false apostles were doing and what the faithful brethren were doing. "And since you are so smart, you will gladly put up with a fool. In fact, you let people make slaves of you and cheat you and steal from you. Why, you even let them strut around and slap you in the face."

Paul showed that it was foolish to do so, but that he could boast about anything the false prophets could boast about. Paul admitted boldly weakness but he possessed many qualifications that helped him serve as an apostle. He boasted about enduring many physical hardships for the gospel.

Verses 22-33

Qualities of the true apostleship -- 2Co_11:22-33 : None of Paul's critics could boast of any advantage over him in a physical sense. He said, "Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Jews? So am I. Are they from the family of Abraham? Well, so am I." He also said he served the Christ better than they ever did. He had worked harder and had been put in jail more often than they. He had been beaten with whips and had been in danger of death more often than any of these false prophets.

On five different occasions the Jews had given Paul 39 lashes. Deu_25:3 said that 40 lashes was the maximum. The Jews always stopped one short just to be safe. Paul said, "Three times the Romans beat me with a big stick, and once my enemies stoned me. I have been shipwrecked three times, and I even had to spend a night and a day in the sea. ( Act_14:19 , Act_16:22-23 , Act_27:44 ) As Paul traveled about preaching the gospel he was "in danger from rivers, robbers, his own people, and foreigners." Paul worked and struggled, spending many sleepless nights, sometimes in hunger and cold in order that the gospel might be preached.

Paul's heart was burdened down daily, as he was concerned about the spiritual condition of the congregations that he had labored with. He sympathized with them and was angry when brethren were tricked into sin. He understood human weakness, but he knew what would happen to the unfaithful. The Christian life had not been easy for Paul. Early in his Christian life, the governor of Damascus had the city gates guarded, so that he could capture Paul. However, he escaped by being let down in a basket through a window in the city wall. He faced such struggles from the start of his service for Christ. But, He never gave up and he never stopped working.

Bibliographical Information
Box, Charles. "Commentary on 2 Corinthians 11". "Box's Commentaries on Selected books of the Bible". 2014.