2 Corinthians 11 - Our Standard is God's Word
2 Corinthians 11
1Would to God ye could bear with me a little in my folly: and indeed bear with me.
2For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.
3But 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.
4For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.
5For I suppose I was not a whit behind the very chiefest apostles.
6But though I be rude in speech, yet not in knowledge; but we have been throughly made manifest among you in all things.
7Have I committed an offence in abasing myself that ye might be exalted, because I have preached to you the gospel of God freely?
8I robbed other churches, taking wages of them, to do you service.
9And when I was present with you, and wanted, I was chargeable to no man: for that which was lacking to me the brethren which came from Macedonia supplied: and in all things I have kept myself from being burdensome unto you, and so will I keep myself.
10As the truth of Christ is in me, no man shall stop me of this boasting in the regions of Achaia.
11Wherefore? because I love you not? God knoweth.
12But what I do, that I will do, that I may cut off occasion from them which desire occasion; that wherein they glory, they may be found even as we.
13For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.
14And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.
15Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.
16I say again, let no man think me a fool; if otherwise, yet as a fool receive me, that I may boast myself a little.
17That which I speak, I speak it not after the Lord, but as it were foolishly, in this confidence of boasting.
18Seeing that many glory after the flesh, I will glory also.
19For ye suffer fools gladly, seeing ye yourselves are wise.
20For ye suffer, if a man bring you into bondage, if a man devour you, if a man take of you, if a man exalt himself, if a man smite you on the face.
21I speak as concerning reproach, as though we had been weak. Howbeit whereinsoever any is bold, (I speak foolishly,) I am bold also.
22Are they Hebrews? so am I. Are they Israelites? so am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? so am I.
23Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft.
24Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one.
25Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep;
26In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren;
27In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.
28Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches.
29Who is weak, and I am not weak? who is offended, and I burn not?
30If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things which concern mine infirmities.
31The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is blessed for evermore, knoweth that I lie not.
32In Damascus the governor under Aretas the king kept the city of the damascenes with a garrison, desirous to apprehend me:
33And through a window in a basket was I let down by the wall, and escaped his hands.
Today's Scripture Meaning
The apostle gives the reasons for speaking in his own commendation. (1-14) Shows that he had freely preached the gospel. (5-15) Explains what he was going to add in defence of his own character. (16-21) He gives an account of his labours, cares, sufferings, dangers, and deliverances. (22-33)
Verses 1-4: The apostle desired to preserve the Corinthians from being corrupted by the false apostles. There is but one Jesus, one Spirit, and one gospel, to be preached to them, and received by them; and why should any be prejudiced, by the devices of an adversary, against him who first taught them in faith? They should not listen to men, who, without cause, would draw them away from those who were the means of their conversion.
Verses 5-15: It is far better to be plain in speech, yet walking openly and consistently with the gospel, than to be admired by thousands, and be lifted up in pride, so as to disgrace the gospel by evil tempers and unholy lives. The apostle would not give room for any to accuse him of worldly designs in preaching the gospel, that others who opposed him at Corinth, might not in this respect gain advantage against him. Hypocrisy may be looked for, especially when we consider the great power which Satan, who rules in the hearts of the children of disobedience, has upon the minds of many. And as there are temptations to evil conduct, so there is equal danger on the other side. It serves Satan's purposes as well, to set up good works against the atonement of Christ, and salvation by faith and grace. But the end will discover those who are deceitful workers; their work will end in ruin. Satan will allow his ministers to preach either the law or the gospel separately; but the law as established by faith in Christ's righteousness and atonement, and the partaking of his Spirit, is the test of every false system.
Verses 16-21: It is the duty and practice of Christians to humble themselves, in obedience to the command and example of the Lord; yet prudence must direct in what it is needful to do things which we may do lawfully, even the speaking of what God has wrought for us, and in us, and by us. Doubtless here is reference to facts in which the character of the false apostles had been shown. It is astonishing to see how such men bring their followers into bondage, and how they take from them and insult them.
Verses 22-33: The apostle gives an account of his labours and sufferings; not out of pride or vain-glory, but to the honour of God, who enabled him to do and suffer so much for the cause of Christ; and shows wherein he excelled the false apostles, who tried to lessen his character and usefulness. It astonishes us to reflect on this account of his dangers, hardships, and sufferings, and to observe his patience, perseverance, diligence, cheerfulness, and usefulness, in the midst of all these trials. See what little reason we have to love the pomp and plenty of this world, when this blessed apostle felt so much hardship in it. Our utmost diligence and services appear unworthy of notice when compared with his, and our difficulties and trials scarcely can be perceived. It may well lead us to inquire whether or not we really are followers of Christ. Here we may study patience, courage, and firm trust in God. Here we may learn to think less of ourselves; and we should ever strictly keep to truth, as in God's presence; and should refer all to his glory, as the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is blessed for evermore.
Today's Scripture Application
Each day we walk through the Bible chapter by chapter making an application of our text to help us grow in the Lord. Many applications can be made from each day's text. Today we continue in the book of 2nd Corinthians with Chapter 11 and in our text we see Paul speaking to the Corinthian Church about false teachers who speak half truths that make logical sense but contradict the Bible. In making application we see this in many Churches today. False teachers who speak half truths with a goal of self gain. The measuring stick to all teaching and preaching is the Word of God not Mans intellect. How about you? Are you aware of False teachers that can be in some Churches? Let us learn from our text today and the warning from Paul that some will teach false doctrine from our Churches so we must be diligent in taking all we hear and comparing it to the Word of God which is our Standard
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Dr. David Burnette
Director, The United States Bible Society, Inc.