corner graphic   Hi,    
ver. 2.0.18.12.10
Finding the new version too difficult to understand? Go to classic.studylight.org/

Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

2 Corinthians 11:3

But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.

Adam Clarke Commentary

As the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty - This is a strong reflection on the false apostle and his teaching: he was subtle, πανουργος and by his subtlety (πανουργια, from παν, all, and εργον, work; his versatility of character and conduct, his capability of doing all work, and accommodating himself to the caprices, prejudices, and evil propensities of those to whom he ministered) he was enabled to corrupt the minds of the people from the simplicity of the Gospel of Christ; or, to follow the metaphor, he had seduced the pure, chaste, well educated virgin, from her duty, affection, and allegiance to her one only true husband, the high priest, Jesus Christ. And here he seems to intimate that the serpent had seduced the mind of Eve from her affections and allegiance to Adam, her true husband; and certainly from God, her creator and governor. See at the end of the chapter (note).


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.

Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on 2 Corinthians 11:3". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/2-corinthians-11.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

But I fear - Paul had just compared the church to a virgin, soon to be presented as a bride to the Redeemer. The mention of this seems to have suggested to him the fact that the first woman was deceived and led astray by the tempter, and that the same thing might occur in regard to the church which he was so desirous should be preserved pure. The grounds of his fear were:

(1)That Satan had seduced the first woman, thus demonstrating that the most holy ones were in danger of being led astray by temptation; and,

(2)That special efforts were made to seduce them from the faith. The persuasive arts of the false teachers; the power of philosophy; and the attractive and corrupting influences of the world, he had reason to suppose might be employed to seduce them from simple attachment to Christ.

Lest by any means - Lest somehow ( μήπως mēpōs). It is implied that many means would be used; that all arts would be tried; and that in some way, which perhaps they little suspected, these arts would be successful, unless they were constantly put upon their guard.

As the serpent beguiled Eve - see Genesis 3:1-11. The word “serpent” here refers doubtless to Satan, who was the agent by whom Eve was beguiled see John 8:44; 1 John 3:8; Revelation 12:9; Revelation 20:2. Paul did not mean that they were in danger of being corrupted in the same way, but that similar efforts would be made to seduce them. Satan adapts his temptations to the character and circumstances of the tempted. He varies them from age to age, and applies them in such a way as best to secure his object. Hence, all should be on their guard. No one knows the mode in which he will approach him, but all may know that he will approach them in some way.

Through his subtilty - see Genesis 3:1. By his craft, art, wiles ( ἐν τῇ πανουργίᾳ en tē panourgia). The word implies that shrewdness, cunning, craft was employed. A tempter always employs cunning and art to accomplish his object. The precise mode in which Satan accomplished his object is not certainly known. Perhaps the cunning consisted in assuming an attractive form - a fascinating manner - a manner suited to charm; perhaps in the idea that the eating of the forbidden fruit had endowed a serpent with the power of reason and speech above all other animals, and that it might be expected to produce a similar transformation in Eve. At all events there were false pretences and appearances, and such Paul apprehended would be employed by the false teachers to seduce and allure them; see on 2 Corinthians 11:13-14.

So your minds should be corrupted - So your thoughts should be perverted. So your hearts should be alienated. The mind is corrupted when the affections are alienated from the proper object, and when the soul is filled with unholy plans, and purposes, and desires.

From the simplicity that is in Christ -

(1) From simple and single-hearted devotedness to him - from pure and unmixed attachment to him. The fear was that their affections would be fixed on other objects, and that the singleness and unity of their devotedness to him would be destroyed.

(2) from his pure doctrines. By the admixture of philosophy; by the opinions of the world there was danger that their minds should be turned away from their hold on the simple truths which Christ had taught.

(3) from that simplicity of mind and heart; that childlike candor and docility; that freedom from all guile, dishonesty, and deception which so eminently characterized the Redeemer. Christ had a single aim; was free from all guile; was purely honest; never made use of any improper arts; never resorted to false appearances; and never deceived. His followers should in like manner be artless and guileless. There should be no mere cunning, no trick, no craft in advancing their purposes. There should be nothing but honesty and truth in all that they say. Paul was afraid that they would lose this beautiful simplicity and artlessness of character and manner; and that they would insensibly be led to adopt the maxims of mere cunning, of policy, of expediency, of seductive arts which prevailed so much in the world - a danger which was imminent among the shrewd and cunning people of Greece; but which is confined to no time and no place. Christians should be more guileless than even children are; as pure and free from trick, and from art and cunning as was the Redeemer himself.

(4) from the simplicity in worship which the Lord Jesus commended and required. The worship which the Redeemer designed to establish was simple, unostentatious, and pure - strongly in contrast with the gorgeousness and corruption of the pagan worship, and even with the imposing splendor of the Jewish temple service. He intended that it should be adapted to all lands, and such as could be offered by all classes of people - a pure worship, claiming first the homage of the heart, and then such simple external expressions as should best exhibit the homage of the heart. How easily might this be corrupted! What temptations were there to attempt to corrupt it by those who had been accustomed to the magnificence of the temple service, and who would suppose that the religion of the Messiah could not be less gorgeous than that which was designed to shadow forth his coming; and by those who had been accustomed to the splendid rites of the pagan worship, and who would suppose that the true religion ought not to be less costly and splendid than the false religion had been. If so much expense had been lavished on false religions, how natural to suppose that equal costliness at least should be bestowed on the true religion. Accordingly the history of the church for a considerable part of its existence has been little more than a record of the various forms in which the simple worship instituted by the Redeemer has been corrupted, until all that was gorgeous in pagan ceremonies and splendid in the Jewish ritual has been introduced as a part of Christian worship.

(5) from simplicity in dress and manner of living. The Redeemer‘s dress was simple. His manner of living was simple. His requirements demand great simplicity and plainness of apparel and manner of life; 1 Peter 3:3-6; 1 Timothy 2:9-10. Yet how much proneness is there at all times to depart from this! What a besetting sin has it been in all ages to the church of Christ! And how much pains should there be that the very simplicity that is in Christ should be observed by all who bear the Christian name!


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.

Bibliography
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on 2 Corinthians 11:3". "Barnes' Notes on the New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/2-corinthians-11.html. 1870.

The Biblical Illustrator

2 Corinthians 11:3

But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.

Dangerous decits

I. The sources of man’s liability to yield to Satan’s influences.

1. The heart. Many of our strongest moral propensities remain undiscovered until the force of outward circumstances brings them into action. Moses knew nothing of his impatience; Hazael of his cruelty; Hezekiah of his pride; yet from their youth each one of these had been nourishing the seeds of these evil propensities in their hearts. “Search me, O God! and know my ways,” etc. “The heart is deceitful above all things,” etc.

2. The moral darkness which has come over our mental and moral faculties. True, God has left us still the directive light of conscience, but even on this pure light the shadow of the Fall rests; and, there is a danger, that even the very light which is within us may become darkness. There is nothing which more helps a man to mistaken views of his own condition before God, than a corrupted conscience. And then the effect for evil is the greater, because it enables a man to sin upon a plan, to ruin his own soul upon a system. “We have got conscience and reason on our side, what can God have given these lights to us for, if it were not to direct us the way He would have us go?” The answer, God has given us two lights--a greater light to rule the conscience, and a lesser light to rule the will. There is one greater light to which conscience must do homage, the light of the Word, of the Spirit, of Christ’s blessed example; and this lesser light of conscience, if it borrow not its flame from this sun of truth, will soon become corrupt and obscure. Paul’s conscience taught him to do many things contrary to the religion of Jesus of Nazareth.

II. The means by which this corrupting process is effected. Satan beguiles us--

1. By concealing the nature and effects of sin. His way is to bid us look at the fair side of temptation; he says nothing of the wormwood, and the gall.

2. By leaving us in ignorance of the magnetic and attractive power of sin, the way in which one sin drags another after it. No, the man is made to think that he can stop at any point he likes.

3. By teaching us to invent excuses for our own conduct. Such, e.g., as the habit of charging our fault upon others. He taught our first parents this lesson. And most of our excuses are as hollow as that of Aaron when he said, “The people gave me this gold, and I cast it into the fire, and there came out this calf.” Again, are we conscious that as Christians we are living a low, worldly life? We begin to excuse ourselves by saying we were not blessed with godly parents as some were, our earliest influences were unfavourable, and we find it very hard to turn our usurped affections into a new channel now. And so with regard to our religious duties and exercises. “I would be more frequent in prayer,” a man will say, “more self-denying, more active in good works, but the cares of a family, and the demands of business interfere.” Do not doubt that this is the voice of the arch-impostor.

4. By the speciousness of a religious profession. Christianity has now a firm footing in the world, and a man endangers his character who does not pay to it the homage of outward respect. Yet this homage has caused men to mistake profession for practice, the name for the deed, the poor skeleton of a form of godliness for the living reality of its power. Conclusion: The great lesson must be the duty of diligent trying of our own spirits, a frequent proving of our own work, a prayerful and habitual inquiry into the state of our own souls before God. The simplicity that is in Christ--the simplicity of His doctrine, of His rule of life, is the test whereby we are to try ourselves whether we belong to Christ or not. (D. Moore, M. A.)

From the simplicity that is in Christ.--

The simplicity that is in Christ

The simplicity that is in Christ stands here contrasted with the subtilty of the serpent: and the instance given of the serpent’s subtilty illustrates what is meant by the simplicity which is opposed to it. In that first temptation, all on the part of God was abundantly simple; the command with the warning was simplicity itself. On the other hand, the subtilty of the tempter is apparent in the complex pleading which he holds with Eve. God has but one argument against eating; Satan has many for it; and there is no surer sign of subtilty than the giving of many reasons for what a single good one would better justify and explain. The simplicity that is in Christ may be discerned in every stage and department of His great salvation.

I. In His own finished work of righteousness and atonement. There is simplicity in Christ, as the Lord our righteousness, as the servant of the Father, and the substitute, surety, and saviour of the guilty. It was in this character that He came into the world: and with entire simplicity did He sustain it.

1. That there is nothing here that transcends man’s finite understanding, and baffles his restless curiosity--we are far from saying. But is there not a simplicity in it that comes home to the heart of a poor despairing sinner?

2. But it is the policy of Satan to mar it, and by his subtilty to corrupt your minds from the simplicity that is in Christ, and Him crucified. Hence the endless questions he has contrived to raise in connection with it.

II. In the free offer of the gospel as connected with it.

1. How simple in its freeness (Isaiah 55:1; Revelation 22:17). How near does it bring Christ! (Romans 10:6-9). How very plain as well as pathetic is the Lord’s pleading with sinners! (2 Corinthians 5:20; Isaiah 1:18). How explicit, how unequivocal, are His assurances! (Ezekiel 18:32; Ezekiel 33:11; John 6:37). How clear as it might seem beyond any sophistry is the declaration of the Lord’s will that all men should be saved.

2. Yet, it is here especially that Satan puts forth all his subtilty to beguile. How many reasons for doubt and unbelief does he contrive to set up against God’s one reason for believing. Here am I--a lost sinner. There is Christ, a living Saviour. It may be, Satan tells us, that you are not elected; that you may have committed the unpardonable sin. Or perhaps you are not convinced enough of your sin, or sorry enough for it; or perhaps you are not repenting, believing, praying aright. But it is upon no may-be that the blessed Lord invites you to commit your soul to Him. He has but one word to you. Let no subtilty of Satan corrupt your minds from the simplicity that is in the gospel offer of a free, a full, a present salvation.

III. In the completeness of believers as one with Jesus.

1. The apostle speaks to you as espoused to Christ; and we would be jealous over you, for duplicity now on your part towards Him is nothing short of spiritual adultery, and is sadly inconsistent with His simplicity towards you. And what, the apostle adds (2 Corinthians 11:4), would you have? Would you have one to come to you with another Jesus, another Spirit, another gospel? Are ye so soon weary of the homely fare of the Lord’s kingdom that ye would look out for new and foreign dainties?

2. The serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, causing her to be discontented with the simple profusion of Eden’s blessings and the simple tenure on which she held them. And the like spirit of discontent he would fain cherish in you in regard to the simplicity that is in Christ--the simplicity of a rich and royal liberality, alike in His gifts and in His manner of giving. How simple is His treatment of you, that are His. “Ye are complete in Him.” “All things are yours.” All that He has is yours upon the simple footing of your abiding in Him.

IV. In His guidance of you, as your captain and Example.

1. It is a guidance--

2. But the subtilty of Satan, how manifold is it in this department.

V. In connection with his second coming and glorious appearing.

1. As to all that is essential and influential, it would seem to be simple enough. The Lord cometh as our Judge. He cometh as our exceeding great reward. Thus regarded, it is practically a most influential hope; influential for its very simplicity. It sets you upon working, watching, waiting for the Lord. How simple and how blessed an attitude!

2. Yet here Satan has been expending not a little of his subtilty throughout all the ages of the Church’s history, sometimes hiding the doctrine, at other times complicating and embarrassing it with a variety of questions, scarcely, if at all, bearing on its real, vital and practical import. (R. S. Candlish, D. D.)

The simplicity that is in Christ

I. The simplicity. The word signifies “one-foldness.” It has manifold applications. It is opposed to what is difficult, double, compound, cunning, deceitful; it is simple, easy, elementary, guileless, open. Now, in Christ we have--

1. Intellectual simplicity. The gospel is intended and adapted for the poor, and for the children.

2. Moral simplicity. The principles and duties which it enjoins are simple; and, if they appear complex, they may be reduced to simple elements. All the details of gospel morality grow from “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God,” etc.

3. Spiritual simplicity. The motives and the means of holiness are simple; and, whether the individual or the community concerned be learned or ignorant, the same truths and facts supply spiritual nourishment. This simplicity appears in--

II. Corruption of this simplicity.

1. Scientific, philosophical, metaphysical speculations imported into the gospel tend to corrupt the mind from its simplicity.

2. The moral simplicity that is in Christ may be corrupted by casuistical questionings and scrupulosities of conscience. The single eye may become distorted; the spirit of inquiry may be hypocritical.

3. The plan of salvation may be lost sight of. Another gospel, another Jesus, may be substituted.

III. The comparison. As the serpent beguiled Eve.

1. The position of our first parents was simple, and easy to understand. “Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat,” etc. What could be plainer? Yet they were beguiled.

2. The same elements of temptation which beguiled them are at work to beguile us. As the law was misinterpreted, so the gospel is mystified, and souls are ruined thereby.

3. It is Satan’s subtilty--cunning--that we have most to fear. His mode of attack. He works ruin in such a way as to appear to be doing the reverse. He undermines our position while professedly raising us higher, “He deceiveth the whole world” (Revelation 12:9).

4. This cunning on his part is not to be met by counter cunning on ours. We are no match for him with such weapons. We must fall back upon the simplicity that is in Christ. Gospel truths are true still. We have not followed cunningly devised fables. (James Smith, M. A.)

Simplicity towards Christ

This is one of the many cases in which a slight alteration makes a great difference. The Authorised Version by its reading suggests erroneously that the “simplicity” is something belonging to Christ; and we have all heard the use of the phrase as expressive of what is supposed to be a plain, simple gospel, as contrasted with man’s refinements. But if we read as we ought to do, “the simplicity that is towards Christ,” we see that what the apostle is thinking about is not a quality belonging to the gospel or to its Lord, but to the believer, and that it expresses no characteristic of the Redeemer or of His revelation, but something about the way in which we ought to receive and to cleave to Him.

I. Then note the attitude required. The English words simple and simplicity, like their Greek equivalents, embody a striking figure. Simple literally means without a fold, and the noun here formed from it means consequently, if we may coin a word after the analogy of manifoldness, singlefoldness. Hence it is used to express the two kindred ideas of perfect genuineness or, as we say, straightforwardness, and of thoroughness and out-and-outness. So that the two ideas that are conveyed here are those of genuine and out-and-out simpleminded devotion. He would have them to be, as a bride ought to be, wholly filled with the love and confidence of Him to whom he presents them. The phrase, then, as interpreted by the emblem that stands by the side of it, suggests these three things.

1. We must have simple-hearted love. A bride’s love that is halved is destroyed. And the Christian man’s heart that is divided is empty of all genuine love to the Master. He requires that we shall love Him all in all, or not at all; and interprets that as treason which is not out-and-out surrender and consecration to Him. The heart need not be emptied of other affections. The central diamond may have round about it a cluster of brilliants, but they must be kept in subordination, small and encompassing. And so our lives are then pure and blessed, not when the love of Christ chills our hearts to other dear ones, but warms and purifies our loves to them into some effluence and likeness of itself.

2. A single-minded submission to Him as fountain of truth, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, is another part of the simplicity that is towards Christ. Just as, in regard to single-hearted love, there is no impoverishing of the affections because He claims the first-fruits of them all, so, in regard of this single-minded discipleship, there is no limiting of the faculties, excluding of Christians from any field of thought, because He claims to be “first and last and midst and without end,” the only teacher whose word is absolute truth. All our other thinking ought to be held in subordination to the truths that He reveals.

3. Single-eyed consecration of the practical life to Him is another part of this “simplicity that is towards Christ.” Where the heart is single, and the mind filled with His thoughts and commandments and promises and revelations, the life will, of course, yield itself to be directed by Him.

II. This singleness and thoroughness is the only attitude that at all corresponds to what Christ is to us, and what we say we are to Him. We are to cleave to Christ only because Christ is enough. God, the Jehovah of the Old Testament, had the right to demand all the devotion of heart, soul, mind, strength, because He had the power to satisfy and to bless all the faculties that were consecrated to Him. Jesus Christ has no right to ask me to give my whole self to Him unless He has given His whole self to me; and unless, in that gift, I can find nourishment and strength, and the supply of every craving and every need. If our mind is bowed before the incarnate truth of God we shall know neither the unrest of resultless search nor the gloom of continual doubt, but shall have the light of life to shine upon our road.

III. Note the blessedness that will attend such out-and-out and genuine Christian life. The true misery of men comes because they do not know their own minds nor consistently and persistently keep to one course. Distraction is misery. Unity is peace, and peace is strength, and unity and peace and strength, in the utter devotion of myself to the worthy Christ, are the blessedness of earth, the predictions and foretastes of the transports of eternity. “The simplicity that is towards Christ” is the beginning of the “rest that remaineth for the people of God.” (A. Maclaren, D. D.)

The danger and evil of being turned away from the simplicity that is in Christ

The gospel is supposed by many to be something very easily understood. No doubt its leading truths are comparatively few and simple, but the evil heart of unbelief, our natural blindness, and the efforts of the adversary, often bring it about that men misunderstand it, pervert it, add to it, or detract from it. Hence Paul expresses himself in the language of anxiety, “I fear.” And if so the evil he deprecates must be a great evil. Note--

I. Satan’s temptation of Eve, as a proof of his subtilty and our danger (cf. Genesis 3:1-6).

1. His subtilty is manifest in his availing himself of the circumstances in which Eve was placed.

2. Satan’s subtilty is manifest in the way in which he assailed her, viz., by the serpent. The very fact of the serpent’s speaking must have awakened no ordinary surprise and curiosity. Her mind could not be in a calm state. And the remarkable occurrence might only the better prepare her for giving credit to his subsequent statement. And does not this teach us that Satan is ever more to be dreaded when he speaks to us through the instrumentality of others. Peter, no doubt, thought he was but giving utterance to his own feelings when he said, “Far be it from Thee, Lord.” But Christ’s words are, “Get thee behind Me, Satan,” etc.

3. The subtilty of Satan is more especially manifest in the nature of the temptation, and the manner in which it is conducted.

(a) Here Satan’s effort seems to be to awaken doubts of God’s goodness and truth. “Is it so? Can it be that God hath made this restriction? Can He have created the fruit; given you appetites and desires, and forbidden you to indulge them? He must either be a hard master, or you must be labouring under some strange delusion.” This is the way in which he still works. Sometimes he will work through the burden of sin pressing upon the conscience; sometimes through present suffering, or our natural craving after things forbidden; and if he can but awaken doubt or suspicion, a separation is made between the creature and the Creator. The creature stands helpless and alone, and the after steps are comparatively easy.

(b) Look now to the results. These are brought before us in the answer of Eve. From the extensive nature of the grant, so illustrative of His goodness, her attention is turned away. A separation is made between Eve and God.

II. The evil which the apostle fears and deprecates. “Lest your minds should be corrupted.”

1. From the simple, poor gospel, that is in Christ. Free in Christ are held forth all spiritual blessings. The gospel--simple, intelligible, and plainly revealed. And yet, how few understand it, believe it! The apostle had preached it at Corinth, and yet he speaks of Christ crucified being to the Jews a stumbling-block, and to the Greeks foolishness. Well aware of the importance of clear and realising views of the gospel, Satan is ever active in his efforts to mislead, to blind, or to obscure (2 Corinthians 4:3-4). Ah! be then upon your guard. Bear in mind that you have such an adversary, not the less to be dreaded because unseen.

2. From the simple, direct, confiding reliance upon Christ. This is our duty, and it is our interest. But obligatory and blessed as it is our minds, through the subtilty of Satan, are very apt to be corrupted or turned away from it. He will suggest that your sins have been too many and that the sacrifices that you will have to make are too many or too great.

3. From the simple, ruling aim, of glorifying God in Christ. (J. Thomson.)

Simplicity towards Christ

(R.V.):--

1. Simplicity, here, has been supposed to describe a quality belonging to Christ or the gospel. Hence “Give us the simple gospel” has been the cry, and preachers have been expected to reiterate commonplaces, which have made both them and their hearers listless. The gospel is simple, but it is also deep, and they will best appreciate its simplicity who have most honestly endeavoured to fathom its depth. When we let our little sounding lines out, and find that they do not reach the bottom, we begin to wonder even more at the transparency of the clear abyss.

2. It is not simplicity “in” but “towards” Christ of which the apostle is speaking. Note--

I. The attitude towards Christ which befits the Christian relation to Him.

1. The word has had a touch of contempt associated with it. It is a somewhat doubtful compliment to say of a man that he is “simple minded.” All noble words, as indeed all good things tend to deteriorate by time and use. It means to be “without a fold,” which is, in one aspect, to be transparently honest and true, and in another to be out and out of a piece. There is no underside of the cloth, doubled up beneath, running in the opposite direction; but all tends in one way. A man with no under-currents, no by-ends, who is down to the very roots what he looks, and all whose being is knit together and hurled in one direction, that is the “simple” man whom the apostle means.

2. The attitude which corresponds to our relation to Christ as bride and Bridegroom (2 Corinthians 11:2), is that of--

(a) The source of salvation. Paul feared that the Judaising teachers would find their way into this church and teach them that obedience to the Jewish law was a condition of salvation, along with trust in Christ. And because they thus shared out the work of salvation between Jesus and something else, Paul regarded them as preaching another Jesus, another spirit, and another gospel (2 Corinthians 11:4). That particular error is long dead and buried. But has this old foe not got a new face, and does not it live amongst us as really as it lived then? I think it does; in the grosser kind of ecclesiasticism which sticks sacraments and a church in front of the Cross, and in the definite denial that Christ’s death is the one means of salvation, and in the coarse, common wish to have a finger in the pie and a share in the work of saving myself, as a drowning man will sometimes half drown his rescuer by trying to use his own limbs. These tendencies that Paul fought are perennial in human nature. And we have to be on our guard for ever against them. It is not Christ and anything else. Men are not saved by a syndicate. “Beside Him there is no Saviour.” You go into a Turkish mosque and the roof is held up by a forest of slim pillars. You go into a cathedral chapter-house, and there is one strong support in the centre. The one is an emblem of the Christless multiplicity of vain supports, the other of the eternal sufficiency of the one pillar on which the whole weight of a world’s salvation rests.

(b) The sole light and teacher of men as to God, themselves, their duty, their destinies and prospects. In this day of confusions let us listen for the voice of Christ and accept all which comes from Him. “Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou only hast the words of eternal life.”

II. The solicitude for its maintenance.

1. Think of what threatens it. 1 say nothing about the ferment of opinion in this day, for one man that is swept away from a whole-hearted faith by intellectual considerations, there are a dozen from whom it is filched without their knowing it.

2. If there be dangers around and within us, the discipline which we have to pursue to secure this uniform single-hearted devotion is plain enough. Let us be vividly conscious of the peril; let us take stock of ourselves lest creeping evil may be encroaching upon us, while we are all unaware; let us clearly contemplate the possibility of an indefinite increase in the closeness and thoroughness of our surrender to Him; let us find time or make time for the patient, habitual contemplation of the great facts which kindle our devotion; let us, too, wait with prayerful patience for that Divine Spirit who will knit more closely to our Lord. Alas, how remiss we are in all this.

3. Half and half religion will bring no praise to Christ or profit to ourselves. A half-and-half Christian has religion enough to prick and sting him, and not enough to impel him to forsake the evil which yet he cannot comfortably do. If we are to be Christian men at all, let us be it out and out. Half-and-half religion is no religion. “One foot on land, and one on sea. To one thing constant never!” That is the type of thousands of professing Christians. “I fear lest by any means your minds be corrupted from the simplicity that is towards Christ.” (A. Maclaren, D. D.)

And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.

Satan himself transformed into an angel of light

I. The way of his operation upon the soul, in conveying his fallacies in the minds of men.

1. By moving, stirring, and sometimes altering the humours and disposition of the body. He knows that there is no grace but has its counterfeit in some passion; and no passion of the mind, but moves upon the wheel of some humour of the body. So that it is easy for him to refine the fire of a choleric humour into zeal, and raise the operations of melancholy to the semblance of humiliation.

2. By suggesting the ideas and spiritual pictures of things to the imagination. From whence it is, that poor deluded women talk much of sudden joys and raptures, etc. Again, some perhaps have had a text cast into their fancy, e.g., Jeremiah 48:10, whereupon they presently thought themselves commissioned, by an extraordinary call from heaven, to cut and slay.

3. By an actual ingress into the man like a vicarious soul. And now how easy must it be for this spirit to cast any person possessed by him into an ecstasy. And the person possessed (Acts 19:16) could never have prevailed over so many men, had he not had something in him stronger than man. But what needs there any further arguing when we read how often our Saviour cast him out of men?

II. The grand instances in which the devil, under this mask of light, has imposed upon the Christian world. It has been his constant method to accommodate his impostures to the prevailing notions of each particular age.

1. The ruling principle of the first ages of the church was zealous devotion, and concern for the worship of one only God, having been so newly converted from the worship of many. Accordingly, the devil sets up Arianism, and with a bold stroke strikes at the Godhead of the Son of God.

2. As the Arian ages had chiefly set themselves to take away our Saviour’s divinity, so the following ages, by a kind of contrary stretch, were no less intent upon paying an exorbitant devotion to every thing belonging to His humanity. For from hence men came to give that inordinate veneration to the sacrament of Christ’s body and blood. After which, with great industry, they got together and kept all relics, which any way represented His memory, till at length they even adored them. This superstition extended itself to Christ’s martyrs; the memory of whom they celebrated with solemn invocations at their sepulchres. And thus by degrees paganism came to be christened into a new form and name. Then mortification was (in show at least) advanced, and Satan began to play the white devil, by prohibiting, upon pretence of higher sacerdotal purity, the marriage of the clergy, forbidding also certain sorts of meat, and enjoining others: as likewise imposing many corporal severities, for the recommending of all which to men’s use, they taught them that these practices were satisfactory for sin, and meritorious of heaven.

3. When the mist of ignorance began to clear up, men began to smell out the cheat. But then again, lest so sudden and mighty a light might baffle all his projects, he began wisely to light up his candle, too, in the new sect of Ignatius Loyola, a sect composed of the best wits and ablest heads. And by this course he quickly fought the protestants at their own weapons. For he saw well enough that it was learning which must do his business, when ignorance was grown out of fashion. So having long imposed upon Christendom by popery, and at length finding a new light sprung in upon a great part of it, he thought it his interest to trump up a new scene of things, and so correspondently to the two main parts of religion, speculative and practical, he fell upon two contrary but equally destructive extremes, Socinianism and enthusiasm.

III. Some principles by which he is likely to repeat the same cheats. And these are eminently three.

1. The stating of the doctrine of faith and free grace so as to make them undermine the necessity of a good life.

2. The opposing the power of godliness irreconcileably to all forms. And what is this but in another instance to confront subordinates, and to destroy the body because the soul can subsist without it?

3. The ascribing such a kingdom to Christ, as shall oppose and interfere with the kingdoms and governments of the world. (R. South, D. D.)

Satan transformed into an angel of light

Satan was once, in deed and in truth, an angel of light. He became an angel of darkness, and he is now transformed into an angel of light again; not into the reality, but into the form and semblance.

I. Satan appears in the guise of an angel of light. In such a guise it was that he presented himself to our first mother, Eve, in Paradise (Genesis 3:4-5). In such a guise it was that he assaulted the Son of Man in the wilderness. To this encounter he brought with him the Word of God. Fancy not that every one who has a Bible in his hand, and a text in his mouth, is therefore taught of God. The devil will quote scripture with any one of you. Satan transforms himself into an angel of light and becomes a great preacher of--

1. Philosophy. And so contrives to mysticise the Word of God. He can so confound principle with speculation, and argument with assumption, as to leave you in doubt between the simplest elements of fact or truth, and the wildest theories of imagination.

2. Morality. And so he labours to degrade the Scriptures: to take away the spirit, and leave nothing but the letter; a formal code of decency, without life.

3. Expediency. This is his grand bulwark of defiance against the efficacy of the Word of God. Here the world can find a reply to any appeal, however urgent; an evasion of any duty, however solemn. There is always something to be urged, in answer to the commands of God; some plea of necessity, convenience, etc.

4. Rites and ceremonies. The world is always pleased to rest in outward observances, and to substitute the form of godliness for the spirit. The devil knows that and gives them, in his gospel, a full supply.

5. Austerities. This, however, is one of those refinements in the gospel of Satan which he promulgates not to the world at large, but reserves, as a special boon, for those of a more morbid temperament.

6. Superstitions. To make the services of religion irksome is one of his devices; to make them ludicrous is another.

II. The marks which denote the minister of the gospel of christ.

1. He hesitates not to declare the whole counsel of God. There may be much he cannot understand, much he cannot reconcile; still he believes all, proclaims all.

2. Beyond all things and above all things, he manifests a concern for souls (2 Timothy 4:2).

3. In the midst of all his labours he casts off the confidence of the flesh. He knows that Paul may plant, and Apollos water, but God must give the increase.

Conclusion:

1. It is when false apostles are transformed into angels of light that they most effectually promote the kingdom of darkness.

2. There is a transformation, and that, too, from darkness to light, which leaves a man but a devil at the last. This is the transformation of the head and not of the heart, and gives men a devil’s faith, without works; a devil’s zeal, without knowledge. How careful should we be, not only to attain a transformation, but the right and true conversion, which none but God can impart. (R. Hall, M. A.)

The transformation of evil

If evil were as frightful in its aspect as in its essence we should be in little danger from it. We shrink from a tiger, rattlesnake, vulture, etc. But just as the Oriental invests destructive beasts with a certain glamour, so vice attains a certain glamour in our eyes. Note--

I. The transfiguration of evil. It is transfigured--

1. By imagination. A naturalist writes concerning “The beautiful methods of killing the delicate inhabitants of the sea.” What beautiful methods there are for killing the delicate inhabitants of the land. The bard robes corruption in cloth of gold. In fiction immoral characters are often made heroic and charming. How artfully has intemperance been metamorphosed into delightful shapes. Bacchus marches accompanied by choicest songs. It is the same with war. In a certain village we saw a slaughter-house cleverly concealed by evergreens; and the slaughter-house of nations has been similarly hidden by flowers of rhetoric. Libertinism is often made to glow with delusive lustre. In nature we see sometimes the dirtiest puddles tinged with bits of rainbow: oftener still in literature. On the banks of the Amazon there is a brilliant spider that spreads itself out as a flower, and the insects lighting upon it find death. So in human life.

2. By philosophy which may mislead us.

(a) In the sense of worldliness. It regards Christianity as favourable to health, temperance, economy, etc., and ignores all its heavenliness.

(b) In the sense of anti-nomianism. Under the pretence of honouring Christ it transgresses the law of righteousness which He came to maintain.

(c) In the sense of unbelief. False apostles urge their theories as doctrines of Christ whilst the essentials of faith are lacking in those theories. In the name of reason, independence, progress, we are exhorted to conclusions which make the Cross of Christ of none effect.

Many have philosophised about the gospel until they have embraced despair. Eastern travellers are mocked by splendid mirages until they will not believe in the real oases when they see them. And we may philosophise about the church until we find ourselves embracing superstition. The church itself may become a siren alluring us away from Him who is the sinners’ peace and hope.

(a) Improvidence. Mr. Nisbet says, “Indirectly the poor man who brings forth children he cannot feed is a public benefactor; he renders the struggle for life more acute, and by that means stimulates the energies of his race.” The simple-minded feel that he is a shameless wretch.

(b) Intemperance. Mr. Matthieu Williams says “That all human beings who are fit to survive as members of a civilised community will avoid intemperance, whilst those who are incapable of self-restraint are provided with a happy despatch by natural alcoholic selection, provided nobody interferes with their desire for a short life and a merry one.” So the sot is an unconscious philosopher!

(c) Impurity. Mr. Sinclair says, “Prostitutes are not the worst, but generally the best of the lower classes; people of fine physique, who cannot get their true match in the sphere where born, but must, by the holiest of all instincts, that of truth, seek upward by any means.”

(d) War. Powerful writers assure us that war is a sacrifice to the cause of progress, as wholesome as a lightning storm, a school of virtue.

(e) And not content with affirming that certain evils are necessary evils, philosophy declares boldly that there is no evil at all. Good and evil are only different degrees of the same thing.

3. By society. The practical world is a great transformation scene where the imp often appears a fairy, and the beast, beauty. Acts of revenge are vindicated when they are called “affairs of honour”; debt is innocency itself when known as “pecuniary obligation”; libertinism is purged of all taint when characterised as “gay life”; the most brutal gladiatorship has suffered a change into something rich when it becomes “the noble art of self-defence.” But by whatever alias evil may be known its action is equally ruinous. The arrow is not the less fatal because shot from ambush or winged with an eagle’s feather.

II. The path of safety amid these dangerous illusions.

1. Let us not forget that the chief danger of life lies in this moral illusion. It is often hard to persuade us that there is any such danger of deception. But the scientist while he believes his eyes takes great pains so that he may be sure he sees truly. The connoisseur is equally careful, and the businessman, knowing the trickery in his province, acts warily. And caution is particularly needed in the moral world. Satan conceals his fell purposes as the Greek assassins did their swords in myrtle branches.

2. Let us be sincere in soul. Much depends on integrity of purpose in life. Under all deception is self-deception--a secret willingness to be deceived because we have pleasure in unrighteousness and purpose to follow it. An adventurer persuades you that a few shares at a trifling cost will make you a millionaire; but you find ere long that you have been cruelly deceived. Will the public pity you? No. You were easily blinded because of your inordinate desires.

3. Let us respect the written law. The Bible is a wonderful book for destroying the glamour of sin. It makes palpable--

4. Let us constantly see the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ, and bring to Him whatever theory or thing may solicit us. In His light we shall know exactly what is true. (W. L. Watkinson.)


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "2 Corinthians 11:3". The Biblical Illustrator. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/2-corinthians-11.html. 1905-1909. New York.

Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible

But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve in his craftiness, your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity and the purity that is toward Christ.

For a list of other New Testament passages bearing upon the great apostasy, see my Commentary on Acts, pp. 395,396, and my Commentary on Matthew, p. 96.

At the time of Paul's writing, only a few of the Corinthians were under the domination of the false apostles, "But there was a risk that they might distract the church as a whole from its loyalty to Christ."[11] Historically, and as regards the entire church on earth, Paul's fears were more than justified.

The great analogy between Eve as the wife of Adam I and the church as the wife of Adam II is in bold relief here. The seduction of Eve was therefore viewed by Paul as a prophecy of the seduction of the church. Paul dealt with this at length in 2 Thessalonians 2. Just as Satan through subtlety deceived Eve, Paul feared that the false apostles, doing the work of Satan, would deceive the church.

Several things of great importance appear in these lines: (1) The account of the temptation and fall as recorded in Genesis "was regarded by the inspired writers of the New Testament not as myth, allegory or fiction, but as a true record of what happened."[12] (2) Human egotism has always been the point of vulnerability of people. As Tasker said:

From Eve onwards the human heart has been prone to be deceived by those who, appearing to have wisdom, insinuate the most destructive of all lies, that men are not under an imperative duty to recognize and obey God.[13]

Craftiness ... This is even a stronger word than "subtlety," the corresponding word in Genesis; and it means "an extreme malignity which is capable of anything."[14]

The serpent beguiled Eve ... True and historical as the Genesis account is, there are mysteries in it which remain unknown. Macknight spoke of one of these thus:

Some think that the devil in that history is called a serpent figuratively, because in tempting Eve he used the qualities natural to serpents; and that the punishment inflicted on him, namely, his being confined to our atmosphere, is figuratively expressed by his going on his belly and eating dust. But others think that in the history of the fall the devil is called a serpent because he assumed the appearance of a serpent: and that after the fall a change was actually made in the form and state of that animal as a memorial of the devil's having abused its primitive form.[15]

[11] R. V. G. Tasker, op. cit., p. 145.

[12] David Lipscomb, Second Corinthians (Nashville: Gospel Advocate Company), p. 138.

[13] R. V. G. Tasker, op. cit., p. 146.

[14] Frank G. Carver, op. cit., p. 603.

[15] James Macknight, Apostolical Epistles and Commentary (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, 1969), p. 433.


Copyright Statement
James Burton Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.

Bibliography
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on 2 Corinthians 11:3". "Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/2-corinthians-11.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

But I fear lest by any means,.... Jealousy is always attended with fear, care, and solicitude, whether in things natural or spiritual. The apostle, as things were in this church, could not but express his fears, lest

as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety; that is, the old serpent the devil, who made use of a serpent, the most subtle creature of all the beasts of the field, and seduced Eve from her obedience to God, to transgress his command, by eating the forbidden fruit. The apostle here speaks the language and sense of the Jews, who sayF16Caphtor, fol. 93. 1. , that, שטן ונחש שם אחד להם "Satan and the serpent have one name", i.e. are the same; and that it was the old serpent (the devil), דפתי לחוה, "that beguiled Eve"F17Raya Mehimna in Zohar in Exod. fol. 50. 1. , and who is said to be corrupted by him;

"the serpent (they sayF18T. Bab. Taanith, fol. 15. 2. ) was corrupted first, after that, נתקלקלה חוה, "Eve was corrupted", and after that Adam was corrupted.'

So the apostle was jealous and fearful, knowing that the false apostles were ministers of Satan, artful and cunning men, lest, through their craftiness and sophistry,

your minds, says he,

should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ; that is, lest their judgments should be misled, their minds be vitiated with corrupt principles, and be carried away in any degree with the error of the wicked, from off the pure and simple doctrine of the Gospel, which respects the person and grace of Christ; and chiefly lies in this one plain, easy, and important truth, salvation alone by him. The Vulgate Latin version reads, "your minds should be corrupted, and should fall from the simplicity that is in Christ".


Copyright Statement
The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rightes Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855

Bibliography
Gill, John. "Commentary on 2 Corinthians 11:3". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/2-corinthians-11.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be c corrupted from the simplicity that is in d Christ.

(c) This passage is to be noted against those who hate the plain and pure simplicity of the scriptures, in comparison of the elegance and fluency of man's eloquence.

(d) Which is proper for those who are in Christ.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on 2 Corinthians 11:3". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/2-corinthians-11.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

I fear — (2 Corinthians 12:20); not inconsistent with love. His source of fear was their yielding character.

subtilty — the utter foe of the “simplicity” which is intent on ONE object, Jesus, and seeks none “other,” and no “other” and different Spirit (2 Corinthians 11:4); but loves him with tender SINGLENESS OF AFFECTION. Where Eve first gave way, was in mentally harboring for a moment the possibility insinuated by the serpent, of God not having her truest interests at heart, and of this “other” professing friend being more concerned for her than God.

corrupted — so as to lose their virgin purity through seducers (2 Corinthians 11:4). The same Greek stands for “minds” as for “thoughts” (2 Corinthians 10:5, also see on 2 Corinthians 10:5); intents of the will, or mind. The oldest manuscripts after “simplicity,” add, “and the purity” or “chastity.”

in Christ — rather, “that is towards Christ.”


Copyright Statement
These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.

Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 2 Corinthians 11:3". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/2-corinthians-11.html. 1871-8.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

The serpent beguiled Eve (ο οπις εχηπατησεν ευανho ophis exēpatēsen Heuan). Paul‘s only mention of the serpent in Eden. The compound εχαπαταωexapataō means to deceive completely.

Lest by any means (μη πωςmē pōs). Common conjunction after verbs of fearing.

Corrupted (πταρηιphtharēi). Second aorist passive subjunctive with μη πωςmē pōs of πτειρωphtheirō to corrupt.


Copyright Statement
The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)

Bibliography
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on 2 Corinthians 11:3". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/2-corinthians-11.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Vincent's Word Studies

The serpent

Paul's only allusion to the story of the serpent in Eden.

Eve

In accordance with the representation of the Church as the bride.

Simplicity that is in Christ

Rev. adds, and the purity, following Westcott and Hort's text. Simplicity, single-hearted loyalty. In Christ; better, as Rev., towards ( εἰς ).


Copyright Statement
The text of this work is public domain.

Bibliography
Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on 2 Corinthians 11:3". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/vnt/2-corinthians-11.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.

But I fear — Love is full of these fears.

Lest as the serpent — A most apposite comparison.

Deceived Eve — Simple, ignorant of evil.

By his subtilty — Which is in the highest degree dangerous to such a disposition.

So your minds — We might therefore be tempted, even if there were no sin in us.

Might be corrupted — Losing their virginal purity.

From the simplicity that is in Christ — That simplicity which is lovingly intent on him alone, seeking no other person or thing.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.

Bibliography
Wesley, John. "Commentary on 2 Corinthians 11:3". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/2-corinthians-11.html. 1765.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

3.But I fear He begins to explain, what is the nature of that virginity of which he has made mention — our cleaving to Christ alone, sincerely, with our whole heart. God, indeed, everywhere requires from us, that we be joined with him in body and in spirit, and he warns us that he is a jealous God, (Exodus 20:5,) to avenge with the utmost severity the wrong done to him, in the event of any one’s drawing back from him. This connection, however, is accomplished in Christ, as Paul teaches in Ephesians, (Ephesians 5:25.) He points out, however, at present the means of it — when we remain in the pure simplicity of the gospel, for, as in contracting marriages among men, there are written contracts (802) drawn out, so the spiritual connection between us and the Son of God is confirmed by the gospel, as a kind of written contract. (803) Let us maintain the fidelity, love, and obedience, that have been there promised by us; he will be faithful to us on his part.

Now Paul says that he is concerned, that the minds of the Corinthians may not be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ Paul, it is true, says in Greek εἰς Χριστόν , which Erasmus renders towards Christ, (804) but the Old Interpreter has come nearer, in my opinion, to Paul’s intention, (805) because by the simplicity that is in Christ is meant, that which keeps us in the unadulterated and pure doctrine of the gospel, and admits of no foreign admixtures (806) By this he intimates that men’s minds are adulterated, (807) whenever they turn aside, even in the least degree, to the one side or to the other, from the pure doctrine of Christ. Nor is it without good reason, for who would not condemn a matron as guilty of unchastity, so soon as she lends an ear to a seducer? So in like manner we, when we admit wicked and false teachers, who are Satan’s vile agents, show but too clearly, that we do not maintain conjugal fidelity towards Christ. We must also take notice of the term simplicity, for Paul’s fear was not, lest the Corinthians should all at once openly draw back altogether from Christ, but lest, by turning aside, by little and little, from the simplicity which they had learned, so as to go after profane and foreign contrivances, they should at length become adulterated.

He brings forward a comparison as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty For if false teachers have a show of wisdom, if they have any power of eloquence for persuading, if they plausibly insinuate themselves into the minds of their hearers, and instill their poison by fawning artifices, it was in a similar way that Satan also beguiled Eve, as he did not openly declare himself to be an enemy, but crept in privily under a specious pretext.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.

Bibliography
Calvin, John. "Commentary on 2 Corinthians 11:3". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/2-corinthians-11.html. 1840-57.

James Nisbet's Church Pulpit Commentary

CHRISTIAN SIMPLICITY

‘The simplicity that is in Christ.’

2 Corinthians 11:3

I propose to consider the text under four heads. Simplicity in doctrine, leading to simplicity in motive, followed by simplicity in practice, connected with simplicity in hope.

I. Simplicity in doctrine.—Man, alarmed about eternity and ignorant of the way to be delivered from his fears, asks, ‘What must I do to be saved?’ The answer to this question ought to be plain because of its tremendous and awful importance—and because it needs to be understood by men of every age and condition. The question was asked by a crowd of many thousands from different countries in Jerusalem when Peter had preached to them; it was asked by the jailer at Philippi in the midst of the terrors of a midnight earthquake; and it was asked by Saul of Tarsus when struck to the ground at midday by a glorious vision from heaven. To all these the reply given was in spirit and meaning the same: ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.’ Acknowledge thy misery and danger; confess thy sin and corruption; look to Jesus Christ, Who died in thy behalf, for pardon—seek to be reconciled with thy heavenly Father through Him—and in Him thou wilt find forgiveness and peace. Here is the doctrine, and ‘he may run that readeth it.’

II. Simplicity in motive.—It is confessedly a great advantage gained when a large body of men can be swayed by some one powerful motive common to them all. Hence it is that so much has been achieved at times by the spirit of patriotism and loyalty. When foreign agression has united all the inhabitants of a land in one body, forgetting their differences, and yielding to the common impulse of love for their country—at such times wonderful results have been achieved. So in that memorable instance when the signal was given, ‘England expects every man to do his duty’—the simplicity of the motive appealed to constituted its power. So it is with the Church of Christ. One powerful constraining motive at once actuates every man who receives into his heart the free salvation of Jesus Christ. That motive is the love of Christ. It is a natural one, a powerful one, it is one adapted for every age and condition in life, for every time and for every place. You see an Apostle going through the most laborious and perilous work, from year to year, in Europe and Asia, among Jews and Gentiles, and you ask him his motive, and he tells you. ‘The love of Christ constrains us.’

III. Simplicity in practice.—How is this to be carried out? Various duties are pressed in this way. Romans 12, ‘He that giveth let him do it with simplicity’; not from any combination of various reasonings and motives, not from any foolish wish to gain the praise of men and at the same time please God, but with the simple feeling that love to Christ calls for benevolence in His name. So St. Paul to the Corinthians, after pressing claims of distressed brethren, says, ‘Thanks be to God for His unspeakable gift.’ So in another place, ‘Ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though He was rich, yet for our sakes He became poor, that ye through His poverty might be rich.’ Once more the Apostle, in directing to discharge of daily duty, says, ‘In singleness of your heart as unto Christ.’ And our Saviour thus puts the matter before us in the well-known passage, St. Matthew 6:22, ‘The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness.’ If a man sees objects in a false light, if he does not rightly judge of their size, distance, position, he will walk in a confused, irregular manner, will use much exertion to little purpose, and will often rather wander from the way than advance in it. So is it in religion.

IV. Simplicity of hope.—Perhaps there is no affection of the mind which more requires definite, solid ground for its exercise than hope. If hope is to work strongly it must work definitely; it must have some firm ground for its expectation—some clear warrant for its aspirations. When hope comes to bring a message of comfort to the heart in sorrow, the question will arise, What is your authority for that announcement? The message is good and cheering, but where are its credentials? And if hope cannot give them in a satisfactory manner, then the rays of light and comfort become dim and expire. Such is not the Christian’s hope. In the sorrows and dangers, the toils and difficulties of life, hope says to him, ‘In every sorrow and danger, strength will be given you according to your need. With the temptation a way will also be made to escape.’ And when you come to die you will find with you the presence of your Saviour, and beyond the grave ‘a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens’; where there shall be no more sorrow, but fullness of joy and pleasure for evermore. This is a hope which from its very simplicity is suited for all men.

Bishop Ryan.

Illustration

‘Oh, how unlike the complex works of man!

Heaven’s easy, artless, unencumbered plan;

It stands like the cerulean arch we see,

Majestic in its own simplicity,

Above the portal shining from afar,

Conspicuous with the brightness of a star;

Legible only by the light they give,

Stand the soul-quickening words—believe and live.

Too many shocked at what should charm them most

Despise the plain direction and are lost.’

ST.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Nisbet, James. "Commentary on 2 Corinthians 11:3". Church Pulpit Commentary. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cpc/2-corinthians-11.html. 1876.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

3 But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.

Ver. 3. But I fear] Jealousy is made up of love, fear, and anger.

By his subtilty] He mustered all his forces, or rather all his frauds, together to cheat her. That old serpent, when he was young, outwitted our first parents; now that he is old, and we young, Ephesians 4:14, what will he not do, if we watch not? Bellarmine saith of his Romanists, Romani sicut non acumina, ita nec imposturas habent, that they are neither sharp nor subtle. The devil is both, and so are they; witness their crafty cruel both positions and dispositions; this old serpent having lent them both his seven heads to plot and his ten horns to push.

So your minds should be corrupted] Satan hath his νοηματα, set and composed machination, 2 Corinthians 2:11, whereby he adulterateth our νοηματα, our judgments.

From the simplicity, &c.] Of all graces Satan would beguile us of this simplicity; the world calls it silliness, sheepishness.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Trapp, John. "Commentary on 2 Corinthians 11:3". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/2-corinthians-11.html. 1865-1868.

Sermon Bible Commentary

2 Corinthians 11:3

I. There is simplicity in Christ, as the Lord our righteousness, as the Servant of the Father, as the Substitute, Surety, and Saviour of the guilty.

II. As in His own finished work of righteousness and atonement, so in the free offer of the Gospel as connected with it, we may see, and seeing bless God for, the simplicity that is in Christ. How simple, in every view of it, is the Gospel message. God has but one argument: the argument of the Cross, a full atonement made for guilt of deepest dye, an everlasting righteousness brought in, a sufficient satisfaction made to the righteous law, and a welcome, without upbraiding and without reserve, awaiting the very chief of sinners.

III. As there is the simplicity of actual reality in the great atonement and the simplicity of earnest sincerity in the Gospel offer, so in respect also of the completeness of believers as one with Jesus we may note the simplicity that is in Christ. The perfection of His righteousness, the fulness of His grace and truth, the holiness of His Divine nature, all His possessions, in short, and all the pure elements of His own inmost satisfaction, His rest, His peace, His joy, all, all, He shares with us simply, bountifully, unreservedly, and all upon the same footing: our only being in Him and abiding in Him.

IV. The same simplicity is apparent in His guidance of us as our Captain and Example.

V. The simplicity that is in Christ may be noted in connection with His second coming and glorious appearing. What really is to produce the right moral and spiritual effect upon our souls is not the crowded canvas and scenery of a picture embracing all the particulars of a world's catastrophe, no, not that, not that at all, but the one dread and holy image of Jesus as He was taken up to heaven from Mount Olivet, so coming again even as He was seen to go. Be that coming when it may, it is still as the polestar of the Church's hope and the spur of her zeal, simple, solemn, in its very standing alone, isolated, solitary, separate, and apart from all accessories of preceding and accompanying revolution.

R. S. Candlish, Sermons, p. 43.


The Simplicity that is in Christ.

I. This simplicity of Christ is most markedly set before us in our holy religion. First, in its doctrine. All doctrine is derived from Christ Himself; and if we go up to the fountain-head, there we see that, while never man spake like this Man, that which characterised Christ, like nature itself, most of all was His simplicity. It is true that He often spoke deep and profound things, and that, as in all Scripture, so we have from the lips of Christ Himself heights which no man can reach, depths which no man can fathom, lengths which no man can span, and breadths which no mind or intellect can grasp; yet this arises from the infinitude of the subject more than from any lack of simplicity in Him who expounded it.

II. Again, secondly, this simplicity applies to obedience. Philosophy was so intricate and so subtle that very few could follow it, and very few could understand it; but when God, by His Son Jesus Christ, would teach the world the most royal law of greatness and obedience, it was this: "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and soul, and strength, and mind, and thy neighbour as thyself."

III. This subject speaks to us of simplicity in our worship. Man loves novelty; man loves novelty in everything, and not less in his religion than in any other thing. This is the reason why the mind of man is ever open to some new form of faith or some new form of error, just for this reason, and we are here recalled from it all by the simplicity which is in Christ. Be simple in everything: simple in your repentance toward God; simple in your faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ; simple in your mutual intercourse with one another; simple in all the work that you are honoured and permitted to put your hand to for the Lord in His vineyard.

J. Fleming, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xxiv., p. 28.



Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on 2 Corinthians 11:3". "Sermon Bible Commentary". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/sbc/2-corinthians-11.html.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

2 Corinthians 11:3. Lest by any means, &c.— Or, Lest by some means or other, &c. As the success of the serpent against Eve lay in false pretences and insinuations, so the success of the false apostles was owing to deceitful pretensions and insinuations likewise. The simplicity that is in, or rather towards Christ, answers to one husband in the preceding verse; for ενι, one, is not used there without meaning, but plainly implies thus much: "I have formed and fitted you for one person alone, one husband, who is Christ: I am greatly concerned that you may not be drawn aside from that submission, that obedience, that temper of mind, which is due to him; for I hope to put you into his hands, possessed with pure virgin thoughts, wholly fixed on him, not divided, nor roving after any other, that he may take you to wife, and marry you to himself for ever." It is plain that their perverter, who opposed St. Paul, was a Jew, as we have seen. Of all who professed Christianity, the Jews were they who gave St. Paul most trouble and opposition; for they, having set their hearts upon their own religion, endeavoured to blend Judaism and Christianity together. We may suppose the case here to be much the same with that which he more fully expresses in the Epistle to the Galatians, particularly ch. 2 Corinthians 1:6-12 ch. 2 Corinthians 4:9-18 and 2 Corinthians 5:1-13. The meaning of the place before us seems to be this: "I have taught you the Gospel alone, in its pure and unmixed simplicity, by which only you can be united to Christ; but I fear lest this your new apostle should draw you from it, and that your minds should not adhere singly and simply to what I have taught, but should be corrupted by a mixture of Judaism."


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on 2 Corinthians 11:3". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/2-corinthians-11.html. 1801-1803.

Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament

Our apostle having in the foregoing verses, with a rhetorical insinuation, begged their pardon and their patience, whilst by a just and necessary commendation of himself, he vindicated his person and office from contempt: and having shewn, that what he did and said, was the fruit and effect of a pious jealousy, or holy love, mixed with fear: accordingly, he tells them very plainly in this verse, that he was really afraid of them, lest as Eve was seduced by the subtilty of the devil, so their minds should be corrupted by false apostles, and seduced from the pure doctrine of the gospel: For as the noblest and most generous wine is adulterated by mingling it with water, so is the doctrine of the gospel corrupted, by mixing with it either philosophical speculations, or Jewish traditions, or any sort of human inventions. Well therefore might the apostle say, I fear less your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Burkitt, William. "Commentary on 2 Corinthians 11:3". Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wbc/2-corinthians-11.html. 1700-1703.

Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

3.] But he fears their being seduced from their fidelity to Christ.

ὁ ὄφις] He takes for granted that the Corinthians recognized the agency of Satan in the (well-known) serpent: see 2 Corinthians 11:13-15, where his μετασχηματισμός for the sake of deceit is alluded to.

ἐν τῇ παν. αὐτοῦ] in (i.e. by means of, as the element in which the deed was done) his versatility (or subtlety),—so ( οὕτω has been a gloss from the margin) your thoughts (‘sentiments,’ ref. and ch. 2 Corinthians 10:5) be corrupted from (pregnant construction, = be corrupted, and seduced from) your simplicity (singleness of affection) and your chastity towards Christ ( εἰς χρ. is not = ἐν χριστῷ, as Vulg., E. V., Beza, Calvin, al.).


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Alford, Henry. "Commentary on 2 Corinthians 11:3". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hac/2-corinthians-11.html. 1863-1878.

Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament

2 Corinthians 11:3. The point of comparison is the leading astray by the devil, which took place in the case of Eve (through the serpent), and was to be feared in that of the Corinthians (through the false apostles, Satan’s servants, 2 Corinthians 11:15). For Paul presupposes it as well known to his readers, that Satan had led astray Eve by means of the serpent. To him and to them the serpent was by no means either a symbol or a mystical figure of the cosmical principle (Martensen). Comp. Wisdom of Solomon 2:23 f.; 4 Maccabees 18:8; 1 John 3:8; Revelation 12:9; Revelation 12:14 f., Revelation 20:2; and see on John 8:44, and Grimm on Wisd. l.c. For the monstrous inventions of the later Rabbins, see Eisenmenger, Entdecktes Judenth. I. p. 830 ff.

Paul’s mention (comp. 1 Timothy 2:15) of Eve (not Adam) is alike in keeping with the narrative (Genesis 3) and with the comparison, since the church is represented as feminine (comp. Ignat. Eph. interpol. 17). In Romans 5:12 and 1 Corinthians 15:22, the connection demanded the mention of Adam.

ὄφις] the well-known serpen.

ἐν τῇ πανουργ. αὐτοῦ] instrumental. Comp. Ephesians 4:14; Aq. Genesis 3:1 : ὄφις ἦν πανοῦργος, Ignat. Phil. 11 interpol.: σκολιὸς ὄφις κ. τ. λ.

φθαρῇ] become corrupted, not be corrupt (Ewald). Paul expresses himself with tender forbearance; the corruption of the church by anti-Pauline doctrine (2 Corinthians 11:4) he sees as a danger.

ἀπὸ τῆς ἁπλότ. κ. τ. λ.] a pregnant phrase: lest your thoughts (comp. 2 Corinthians 3:14, 2 Corinthians 4:4, 2 Corinthians 10:5) become corrupted and led away from the simplicity towards Christ ( εἰς χ. is not equivalent to ἐν χ., as the Vulgate, Beza, Calvin, and others have it). See Fritzsche, Diss. II. p. 63 f.; Buttmann, neut. Gr. p. 277 [E. T. 322]. The ἁπλότης εἰς χ. is the quality of simple, honest fidelity in the παρθένος ἁγνή, who shares her heart with no other than with her betrothed.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on 2 Corinthians 11:3". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hmc/2-corinthians-11.html. 1832.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

2 Corinthians 11:3. φοβοῦμαι, I fear) Such fear is not only not contrary to love, but it is a property of love, ch. 2 Corinthians 12:20; 2 Corinthians 12:19. [All jealousy doubtless arises from fear.—V. g.]— δὲ, but) This is opposed to, I have espoused.— ὡς, as) a very apposite comparison.— εὖαν, Eve) who was simple and unacquainted with evil.— πανουργίᾳ, through subtilty) which is most inimical to simplicity.— οὕτως, so) The saints, even though original sin were entirely quiescent, may be tempted.— φθαρῇ, should be corrupted) Having lost their virgin purity. Seducers threatened the Corinthians; see next verse. An abbreviated mode of expression for, May be corrupted and drawn from their simplicity.— ἀπλότητος, the simplicity) which is intent on one object, and most tender; which seeks not another [Jesus; ἄλλον] nor a different [Spirit: ἕτερον, second and different], 2 Corinthians 11:4.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on 2 Corinthians 11:3". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/2-corinthians-11.html. 1897.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

In all jealousy there is a mixture of love and fear: the apostle’s love to this church, together with his earnest desire to present them in the day of judgment unto Christ pure and uncorrupted, caused him to write; because he was afraid, lest that as the serpent by his subtlety deceived Eve, so some subtle seducers should corrupt them, and so withdraw them from the simplicity of their faith in Christ, and obedience to him. This danger was partly from the pagan philosophers, mixing their philosophical notions with the plain doctrine of the gospel; and partly from some that were tenacious of the Judaical rites, and would not understand the abolition of the ceremonial law.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 2 Corinthians 11:3". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/2-corinthians-11.html. 1685.

Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture

2 Corinthians

SIMPLICITY TOWARDS CHRIST

2 Corinthians 11:3

The Revised Version, amongst other alterations, reads, ‘the simplicity that is _towards_ Christ.’

The inaccurate rendering of the Authorised Version is responsible for a mistake in the meaning of these words, which has done much harm. They have been supposed to describe a quality or characteristic belonging to Christ or the Gospel; and, so construed, they have sometimes been made the watchword of narrowness and of intellectual indolence. ‘Give us the simple Gospel’ has been the cry of people who have thought themselves to be evangelical when they were only lazy, and the consequence has been that preachers have been expected to reiterate commonplaces, which have made both them and their hearers listless, and to sink the educational for the evangelistic aspect of the Christian teacher’s function.

It is quite true that the Gospel is simple, but it is also true that it is deep, and they will best appreciate its simplicity who have most honestly endeavoured to fathom its depth. When we let our little sounding lines out, and find that they do not reach the bottom, we begin to wonder even more at the transparency of the clear abyss. It is not simplicity _in_ Christ, but _towards_ Christ of which the Apostle is speaking; not a quality in Him, but a quality in _us_ towards Him. I wish, then, to turn to the two thoughts that these words suggest. First and chiefly, the attitude towards Christ which befits our relation to Him; and, secondly and briefly, the solicitude for its maintenance.

I. First, then, look at the attitude towards Christ which befits the Christian relation to Him.

The word ‘simplicity’ has had a touch of contempt associated with it. It is a somewhat doubtful compliment to say of a man that he is ‘simple-minded.’ All noble words which describe great qualities get oxidised by exposure to the atmosphere, and rust comes over them, as indeed all good things tend to become deteriorated in time and by use. But the notion of the word is really a very noble and lofty one. To be ‘without a fold,’ which is the meaning of the Greek word and of its equivalent ‘simplicity,’ is, in one aspect, to be transparently honest and true, and in another to be out and out of a piece. There is no underside of the cloth, doubled up beneath the upper which shows, and running in the opposite direction; but all tends in one way. A man with no under-currents, no by-ends, who is down to the very roots what he looks, and all whose being is knit together and hurled in one direction, without reservation or back-drawing, that is the ‘simple’ man whom the Apostle means. Such simplicity is the truest wisdom; such simplicity of devotion to Jesus Christ is the only attitude of heart and mind which corresponds to the facts of our relation to Him. That relation is set forth in the context by a very sweet and tender image, in the true line of scriptural teaching, which in many a place speaks of the Bride and Bridegroom, and which on its last page shows us the Lamb’s wife descending from Heaven to meet her husband. The state of devout souls and of the community of such here on earth is that of betrothal. Their state in heaven is that of marriage. Very beautiful it is to see how this fiery Paul, like the ascetic John, who never knew the sacred joys of that state, lays hold of the thought of the Bridegroom and the Bride, and of his individual relation to both as indicating the duties of the Church and the solicitude of the Apostle. He says that he has been the intermediary who, according to Oriental custom, arranged the preliminaries of the marriage, and brought the bride to the bridegroom, and, as the friend of the latter, standing by rejoices greatly to hear the bridegroom’s voice, and is solicitous mainly that in the tremulous heart of the betrothed there should be no admixture of other loves, but a whole-hearted devotion, an exclusive affection, and an absolute obedience. ‘I have espoused you,’ says he, ‘to one husband that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. But I fear lest . . . your mind should be corrupted from the simplicity that is towards Him.’

Now that metaphor carries in its implication all that anybody can say about the exclusiveness, the depth, the purity, the all-pervasiveness of the dependent love which should knit us to Jesus Christ. The same thought of whole-hearted, single, absolute devotion is conveyed by other Scripture metaphors, the _slave_ and the _soldier_ of Christ. But all that is repellent or harsh in these is softened and glorified when we contemplate it in the light of the metaphor of my text.

So I might leave it to do its own work, but I may perhaps be allowed to follow out the thought in one or two directions.

The attitude, then, which corresponds to our relation to Jesus Christ is that, first, of a faith which looks to Him exclusively as the source of salvation and of light. The specific danger which was alarming Paul, in reference to that little community of Christians in Corinth, was one which, in its particular form, is long since dead and buried. But the principles which underlay it, the tendencies to which it appealed, and the perils which alarmed Paul for the Corinthian Church, are perennial. He feared that these Judaising teachers, who dogged his heels all his life long, and whose one aim seemed to be to build upon his foundation and to overthrow his building, should find their way into this church and wreck it. The keenness of the polemic, in this and in the contextual chapters, shows how real and imminent the danger was. Now what they did was to tell people that Jesus Christ had a partner in His saving work. They said that obedience to the Jewish law, ceremonial and other, was a condition of salvation, along with trust in Jesus Christ as the Messiah. And because they thus shared out the work of salvation between Jesus Christ and something else, Paul thundered and lightened at them all his life, and, as he tells us in this context, regarded them as preaching another Jesus, another spirit, and another gospel. That particular error is long dead and buried.

But is there nothing else that has come into its place? Has this old foe not got a new face, and does not it live amongst us as really as it lived then? I think it does; whether in the form of the grosser kind of sacramentarianism and ecclesiasticism which sticks sacraments and a church in front of the Cross, or in the form of the definite denial that Jesus Christ’s death on the Cross is the one means of salvation, or simply in the form of the coarse, common wish to have a finger in the pie and a share in the work of saving oneself, as a drowning man will sometimes half drown his rescuer by trying to use his own limbs. These tendencies that Paul fought, and which he feared would corrupt the Corinthians from their simple and exclusive reliance on Christ, and Christ alone, as the ground and author of their salvation, are perennial in human nature, and we have to be on our guard for ever and for ever against them. Whether they come in organised, systematic, doctrinal form, or whether they are simply the rising in our own hearts of the old Adam of pride and self-trust, they equally destroy the whole work of Christ, because they infringe upon its solitariness and uniqueness. It is not Christ and anything else. Men are not saved by a syndicate. It is Jesus Christ alone, and ‘beside Him there is no Saviour.’ You go into a Turkish mosque and see the roof held up by a forest of slim pillars. You go into a cathedral chapter-house and see one strong support in the centre that bears the whole roof. The one is an emblem of the Christless multiplicity of vain supports, the other of the solitary strength and eternal sufficiency of the one Pillar on which the whole weight of a world’s salvation rests, and which lightly bears it triumphantly aloft. ‘I fear lest your minds be corrupted from the simplicity’ of a reasonable faith directed towards Christ.

And in like manner He is the sole light and teacher of men as to God, themselves, their duty, their destinies and prospects. He, and He alone, brings these things to light. His word, whether it comes from His lips or from the deeds which are part of His revelation, or from the voice of the Spirit which takes of His and speaks to the ages through His apostles, should be ‘the end of all strife.’ What He says, and all that He says, and nothing else than what He says, is the creed of the Christian. He, and He only, is ‘the light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.’ In this day of babblements and confusions, let us listen for the voice of Christ and accept all which comes from Him, and let the language of our deepest hearts be, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou only hast the words of eternal life.’

Again, our relation to Jesus Christ demands exclusive love to Him. ‘Demands’ is an ugly word to bracket with love. We might say, and perhaps more truly, permits or privileges. It is the joy of the betrothed that her duty is to love, and to keep her heart clear from all competing affections. But it is none the less her duty because it is her joy. What Christ is to you, if you are a Christian, and what He longs to be to us all, whether we are Christians or not, is of such a character as that the only fitting attitude of our hearts to Him in response is that of exclusive affection. I do not mean that we are to love nothing but Him, but I mean that we are to love all things else in Him, and that, if any creature so delays or deflects our love as that either it does not pass, by means of the creature, into the presence of the Christ, or is turned away from the Christ by the creature, then we have fallen beneath the sweet level of our lofty privilege, and have won for ourselves the misery due to distracted and idolatrous hearts. Love to one who has done what He has done for us is in its very nature exclusive, and its exclusiveness is all-pervasive exclusiveness. The centre diamond makes the little stones set round it all the more lustrous. We must love Jesus Christ all in all or not at all. Divided love incurs the condemnation that falls heavily upon the head of the faithless bride.

Dear friends, the conception of the essence of religion as being love is no relaxation, but an increase, of its stringent requirements. The more we think of that sweet bond as being the true union of the soul with God, who is its only rest and home, the more reasonable and imperative will appear the old commandment, ‘Thou shalt love Him with all thy heart, and soul, and strength, and mind.’

But, further, our relation to Jesus Christ is such as that nothing short of absolute obedience to His commandment corresponds to it. There must be the simplicity, the single-mindedness that thus obeys, obeys swiftly, cheerfully, constantly. In all matters His command is my law, and, as surely as I make His command my law, will He make my desire His motive. For He Himself has said, in words that bring together our obedience to His will and His compliance with our wishes, in a fashion that we should not have ventured upon unless He had set us an example, ‘If ye love Me, keep My commandments. If ye ask anything in My name I will do it.’ The exclusive love that binds us, by reason of our faith in Him alone, to that Lord ought to express itself in unhesitating, unfaltering, unreserved, and unreluctant obedience to every word that comes from His mouth.

These brief outlines are but the poorest attempt to draw out what the words of my text imply. But such as they are, let us remember that they do set forth the only proper response of the saved man to the saving Christ. ‘Ye cannot serve God and Mammon.’ Anything short of a faith that rests on Him alone, of a love that knits itself to His single, all-sufficient heart, and of an obedience that bows the whole being to the sweet yoke of His commandment is an unworthy answer to the Love that died, and that lives for us all.

II. And now I have only time to glance at the solicitude for the maintenance of this exclusive single-mindedness towards Christ.

Think of what threatens it. I say nothing about the ferment of opinion in this day, for one man that is swept away from a thorough whole-hearted faith by intellectual considerations, there are a dozen from whom it is filched without their knowing it, by their own weaknesses and the world’s noises. And so it is more profitable that we should think of the whole crowd of external duties, enjoyments, sweetnesses, bitternesses, that solicit us, and would seek to draw us away. Who can hear the low voice that speaks peace and wisdom when Niagara is roaring past his ears? ‘The world is too much with us, late and soon. Buying and selling we lay waste our powers,’ and break ourselves away from our simple devotion to that dear Lord. But it is possible that we may so carry into all the whirl the central peace, as that we shall not be disturbed by it; and possible that ‘whether we eat or drink, or whatsoever we do, we may do all to His glory,’ so that we can, even in the midst of our daily pressing avocations and cares be keeping our hearts in the heavens, and our souls in touch with our Lord.

But it is not only things without that draw us away. Our own weaknesses and waywardnesses, our strong senses, our passions, our desires, our necessities, all these have a counteracting force, which needs continual watchfulness in order to be neutralised. No man can grasp a stay, which alone keeps him from being immersed in the waves, with uniform tenacity, unless every now and then he tightens his muscles. And no man can keep himself firmly grasping Jesus Christ without conscious effort directed to bettering his hold.

If there be dangers around us, and dangers within us, the discipline which we have to pursue in order to secure this uniform, single-hearted devotion is plain enough. Let us be vividly conscious of the peril--which is what some of us are not. Let us take stock of ourselves lest creeping evil may be encroaching upon us, while we are all unaware--which is what some of us never do. Let us clearly contemplate the possibility of an indefinite increase in the closeness and thoroughness of our surrender to Him--a conviction which has faded away from the minds of many professing Christians. Above all, let us find time or make time for the patient, habitual contemplation of the great facts which kindle our devotion. For if you never think of Jesus Christ and His love to you, how can you love Him back again? And if you are so busy carrying out your own secular affairs, or pursuing your own ambitions, or attending to your own duties, as they may seem to be, that you have no time to think of Christ, His death, His life, His Spirit, His yearning heart over His bride, how can it be expected that you will have any depth of love to Him? Let us, too, wait with prayerful patience for that Divine Spirit who will knit us more closely to our Lord.

Unless we do so, we shall get no happiness out of our religion, and it will bring no praise to Christ or profit to ourselves. I do not know a more miserable man than a half-and-half Christian, after the pattern of, I was going to say, the ordinary average of professing Christians of this generation. He has religion enough to prick and sting him, and not enough to impel him to forsake the evil which yet he cannot comfortably do. He has religion enough to ‘inflame his conscience,’ not enough to subdue his will and heart. How many of my hearers are in that condition it is for them to settle. If we are to be Christian men at all, let us be it out and out. Half-and-half religion is no religion.

‘One foot in sea, and one on shore; To one thing constant never!’

That is the type of thousands of professing Christians. ‘I fear lest by any means your minds be corrupted from the simplicity that is towards Christ.’


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
MacLaren, Alexander. "Commentary on 2 Corinthians 11:3". Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mac/2-corinthians-11.html.

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

His subtlety; Genesis 3:1-5.

Your minds should be corrupted; by false teachers.

From the simplicity; so as to depart from the simplicity. The simplicity that is in Christ is their simple-hearted devotion to his gospel in its purity.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on 2 Corinthians 11:3". "Family Bible New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/fam/2-corinthians-11.html. American Tract Society. 1851.

Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges

3. How is the statement of S. Paul here, that ‘the ethnarch guarded the city of the Damascenes to take me’, to be reconciled with that of S. Luke (Acts 9:24), that ‘the Jews watched the gates day and night to kill him’? There is no real discrepancy. There were thousands of Jews in Damascus (Joseph. B. J. II. xx. 2, VII. viii. 7), and it was they who moved the ethnarch to persecute Saul. How powerful their synagogues were is seen from Acts 9:2. Of course they would themselves watch the gates along with those who were placed there by Aretas, especially as they wished that Saul should not merely be taken, but be killed: comp. Acts 23:12. The ethnarch would be glad enough to win popularity with so important a section of the population by the sacrifice of a troublesome visitor.

On all these questions see Hastings’ DB. i. pp. 145, 424, 793; Schürer, Jewish People in the Time of Jesus Christ, I. ii. pp. 89, 356, II. i. p. 98; Lewin, Fasti Sacri, pp. 226, 249; Knowling on Acts 9:23-24.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
"Commentary on 2 Corinthians 11:3". "Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cgt/2-corinthians-11.html. 1896.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

‘But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve in his craftiness, your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity and the purity that is toward Christ.’

But he admits that he is afraid, that just as the serpent beguiled Eve by his devilish cleverness and subtlety, so their minds might be being corrupted from the simple purity of laying all their hope in Christ and what He is. He does not want anything to come between them and Christ. He wants no veil on their minds. He wants no extras (1 Corinthians 2:2). Just pure and true faith in Christ.

While he does not say so the implication is that Satan is behind these attempts to delude them, and that the deluders are Satan’s instruments (compare 2 Corinthians 11:13-14).

The reference to Eve may well include the inference that the church is the ‘second or last Eve’ as Jesus is the ‘second man’, the ‘last Adam’, but it is not spelt out. However the close connection with the previous verse suggests it. So the words have in mind that living in this present world is for Christians as a whole a preparation for their presentation to Christ, the One Who is the life-giving spirit (1 Corinthians 15:45; 1 Corinthians 15:47-49). The new Eve is being prepared for her new ‘Adam’.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Pett, Peter. "Commentary on 2 Corinthians 11:3". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/2-corinthians-11.html. 2013.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

3. The serpent—St. Paul is jealous, lest as the serpent seduced Eve, so the Christine will seduce away the Corinthian Church. He here supposes even the Gentile Corinthians to be acquainted with and believers in the Genesis history.

Simplicity—Singleness of devotion.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 2 Corinthians 11:3". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/2-corinthians-11.html. 1874-1909.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

Paul"s critics were not just calling his apostolic authority into question. They were leading the Corinthians astray. The apostle communicated the seriousness of this seduction by comparing it with the serpent"s cunning deception (Gr. exepatesen) of Eve ( Genesis 3:13).

"The very future of the Corinthians as an apostolic church is in jeopardy." [Note: Barnett, p501.]

Genuine Christians can be and are being deceived by false teachers and are abandoning their faith today. This sometimes happens when young people go off to college and conclude that what they learned in church is unscientific. It also happens when Christian"s accept the teachings of cultists who come knocking on their doors.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on 2 Corinthians 11:3". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/2-corinthians-11.html. 2012.

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

2 Corinthians 11:3. But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve in his craftiness, your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity (the single-mindedness) that is toward Christ. The Revised Version adds “and purity,” on good, but not preponderating evidence, and (with Meyer) we think this addition has every appearance of having crept in as a gloss, explanatory of “simplicity.” (Tischendorf rejects it.) There is here taken for granted, as a historical fact, both the narrative of the fall and the agency of Satan, in serpent form, in that transaction; while his continued agency in the seduction of men from the paths of truth and safety, through the instrumentality of his ministers, is certainly implied, especially in the light of 2 Corinthians 11:13-15.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on 2 Corinthians 11:3". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/scn/2-corinthians-11.html. 1879-90.

The Expositor's Greek Testament

2 Corinthians 11:3. φοβοῦμαι δὲ μή πως κ. τ. λ.: but I fear lest by any means, as “the serpent beguiled” Eve in his craftiness (in Genesis 3:1 the serpent is called φρονιμώτατος, but St. Paul changes the word to indicate the baseness of the serpent’s wisdom. Aristotle uses πανουργία in direct contrast to φρόνησις; cf. Nic. Eth., vi., 12), your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity and the purity (cf. chap. 2 Corinthians 6:6) that is toward Christ. It would appear that the belief of the synagogues was that the serpent literally “seduced” Eve (cf. 4 Maccabees 18:6-8, and Iren., contra Haer., i., 307), and it is probably in reference to this that St. Paul substitutes the stronger word ἐξαπατάω (as he does at 1 Timothy 2:14) for the simple verb ἀπατ. of Genesis 3:13. Carrying on the metaphor of 2 Corinthians 11:2, he expresses his anxiety lest the Corinthian Church, the Bride of Christ, should be seduced by the devil from her singleness of affection (cf. 1 Maccabees 2:37; 1 Maccabees 2:60, and see on 2 Corinthians 8:2 for ἁπλότης) and her purity, and so should be guilty of spiritual fornication. He assumes that “the serpent” is to be identified with Satan, the tempter of mankind, as he does also at Romans 16:20; the earliest trace of this identification, which has become so familiar, is Wisdom of Solomon 2:24, cf. Revelation 12:9; Revelation 20:2. He now gives the reason of his anxiety, lest they should fall away; viz., they were showing themselves too willing to listen to strange teachings.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on 2 Corinthians 11:3". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/2-corinthians-11.html. 1897-1910.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

2 Corinthians 11:3. But I fear — Love is full of these fears; lest by any means — By some means or other; as the serpent — A most apposite comparison; deceived Eve — Simple, ignorant of ill; by his subtlety — Which is in the highest degree dangerous to such a disposition; so your minds — (We might therefore be tempted, even if there were no sin in us;) should be corrupted — Losing their virginal purity; from the simplicity that is in Christ — Namely, that simplicity which is lovingly intent on him alone. “That it was the devil who beguiled Eve, our Lord hath intimated, by calling him a murderer from the beginning, and a liar, John 8:44. The same also St. John hath intimated, by giving the name of the old serpent to him who is called the devil and Satan, who deceiveth the whole world, Revelation 12:9; Revelation 20:2. Besides, in the history of the fall, the serpent is said to have been punished, as a rational and accountable agent. Wherefore, what Moses hath written of the fall, is not an apologue, or fable, with a moral meaning, as Middleton and others contend, but a true history of things really done, in which the devil was the chief actor.” — Macknight. See note on Genesis 3:1-15.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on 2 Corinthians 11:3". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/2-corinthians-11.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

So your minds shall be corrupted by those false teachers, from the simplicity in Christ, from the sincerity and purity of the gospel doctrine. (Witham)


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on 2 Corinthians 11:3". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/2-corinthians-11.html. 1859.

Gary Hampton Commentary on Selected Books

Verse 3 The apostle to the Gentiles was also worried that they would be drawn away from the truth by false teachers promising attractive rewards, as Satan had drawn away Eve. They had the pure truth and should spurn any other.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Hampton, Gary. "Commentary on 2 Corinthians 11:3". "Gary Hampton Commentary on Selected Books". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ghc/2-corinthians-11.html. 2014.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

lest by any means. Greek. me pos.

beguiled = deceived. Greek. exapatao. See Romans 7:11.

through = in. Greek. en. App-104.

subtilty = craftiness. Greek. panourgia. See Luke 20:23

minds. Greek. noema. See 2 Corinthians 2:11; 2 Corinthians 3:14.

corrupted. Greek. phtheiro. See 1 Corinthians 3:17.

from. Greek. apo. App-104

simplicity. Greek. haptotes. See 2 Corinthians 1:12,

in = towards. Greek. eis. App-104.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on 2 Corinthians 11:3". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/2-corinthians-11.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.

I fear (2 Corinthians 12:20) - not inconsistent with love. He feared their yielding character.

Subtilty - the foe of the "simplicity" which is intent on ONE object, Jesus, and seeks none 'other,' and no 'other' and different spirit (2 Corinthians 11:4); but loves him with tender SINGLENESS OF AFFECTION. Where Eve first gave way was in mentally harbouring for a moment the possibility insinuated by the serpent, of GOD not having her truest interests at heart, and of this 'other' professing friend being more concerned for her than GOD.

Corrupted - so as to lose their virgin purity through seducers (2 Corinthians 11:4). The same Greek [ noeemata (Greek #3540)] stands for "minds" as for 'thoughts' (2 Corinthians 10:5, note): intents. 'Aleph (') B Delta f g, after "simplicity," add, 'and the purity' or 'chastity' [ hagnoteetos (Greek #54): B, hagioteetos (Greek #41), 'the holiness'].

In Christ - Greek, that is, 'toward Christ.'


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 2 Corinthians 11:3". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/2-corinthians-11.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(3) But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent . . .—An allusive reference to the history of Genesis 3, which meets us again in 1 Timothy 3:13-15. St. Paul either takes for granted that the disciples at Corinth will recognise the “serpent” as the symbol of the great Tempter, as in Revelation 12:9; or, without laying stress on that identification, simply compares the work of the rival teachers to that of the serpent. The word for “subtilty” is not that used in the LXX. of Genesis 3:1. Literally, it expresses the mischievous activity of a man who is capable de tout—ready, as we say, for anything.

Corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.—The Greek for “corrupt” has the same special sense as in 2 Corinthians 7:2, as implying something which is incompatible with the idea of purity. The Apostle seeks, as it were, for a chastity of mind as well as of body. Many of the better MSS. give, from the simplicity (i.e., singleness of affection) and chastity; and some, chastity and simplicity.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on 2 Corinthians 11:3". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/2-corinthians-11.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.
I fear
29; 12:20,21; Psalms 119:53; Galatians 1:6; 3:1; 4:11; Philippians 3:18,19
as
Genesis 3:4,13; John 8:44; 1 Timothy 2:14; Revelation 12:9; 20:2
so
13-15; 2:17; 4:2; Matthew 24:24; Acts 20:30,31; Galatians 1:6; 2:4; 3:1; Ephesians 4:14; Ephesians 6:24; Colossians 2:4,8,18; 2 Thessalonians 2:3-11; 1 Timothy 1:3; 4:1-4; 2 Timothy 3:1-9,13; 2 Timothy 4:3,4; Titus 1:10; Hebrews 13:9; 2 Peter 2:1-14; 3:3,17; 1 John 2:18; 4:1; Jude 1:4; Revelation 12:9
the simplicity
1:12; Romans 12:8; 16:18,19

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on 2 Corinthians 11:3". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/2-corinthians-11.html.

The Bible Study New Testament

I am afraid. "I am afraid, that as the snake deceived Eve and led her into sin (Gen. ch 3), so your minds will be corrupted by false arguments and you will abandon your full and pure devotion to Christ and be guilty of spiritual immorality!" [Note Paul believes the account of Adam and Eve.]


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.

Bibliography
Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on 2 Corinthians 11:3". "The Bible Study New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ice/2-corinthians-11.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.


Lectionary Calendar
Monday, December 10th, 2018
the Second Week of Advent
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
To report dead links, typos, or html errors or suggestions about making these resources more useful use our convenient contact form
Powered by Lightspeed Technology