2 Corinthians 11 Commentary


2 CORINTHIANS - PAUL'S MINISTRY IN THE LIGHT OF THE INDESCRIBABLE GIFT
Click chart to enlarge
Charts from Jensen's Survey of the NT - used by permission
Another Chart from Charles Swindoll
A Third Chart 
Overview of
Second Corinthians
2Co 1:1-7:16
Character
of Paul
2Co 8:1-9:15
Collection
for the Saints
2Co 10:1-12:21
Credentials
of Paul
Testimonial & Didactic Practical Apologetic
Past:
Misunderstanding & Explanation
Present:
Practical Project
Future:
Anxieties
Apostle's Conciliation, Ministry & Exhortations Apostle's Solicitation for Judean Saints Apostle's Vindication
of Himself
Forgiveness, Reconciliation
Gratitude
Confidence Vindication

Ephesus to Macedonia:
Change of Itinerary
Explained

Macedonia: Preparation for Visit to Corinth

To Corinth:
Certainty and Imminence
of the Visit

2Co 1:1-7:16

2Co 8:1-9:15

2Co 10:1-12:21

2Corinthians written ~ 56-57AD - see Chronological Table of Paul's Life and Ministry

Adapted & modified from Jensen's Survey of the New Testament (Highly Recommended Resource) & Wilkinson's Talk Thru the Bible


INTRODUCTIONS TO SECOND CORINTHIANS:

2 Corinthians 11:1  I wish that you would bear with me in a little foolishness; but indeed you are bearing with me.

KJV  2 Corinthians 11:1 Would to God ye could bear with me a little in my folly: and indeed bear with me.

NET  2 Corinthians 11:1 I wish that you would be patient with me in a little foolishness, but indeed you are being patient with me!

BGT  2 Corinthians 11:1 Ὄφελον ἀνείχεσθέ μου μικρόν τι ἀφροσύνης· ἀλλὰ καὶ ἀνέχεσθέ μου.

NLT  2 Corinthians 11:1 I hope you will put up with a little more of my foolishness. Please bear with me.

ESV  2 Corinthians 11:1 I wish you would bear with me in a little foolishness. Do bear with me!

NIV  2 Corinthians 11:1 I hope you will put up with a little of my foolishness; but you are already doing that.

YLT  2 Corinthians 11:1 O that ye were bearing with me a little of the folly, but ye also do bear with me:

ASV  2 Corinthians 11:1 Would that ye could bear with me in a little foolishness: but indeed ye do bear with me.

CSB  2 Corinthians 11:1 I wish you would put up with a little foolishness from me. Yes, do put up with me.

MIT  2 Corinthians 11:1 Would that you were putting up with me a little to indulge in some foolishness, but at least you are tolerating me.

NKJ  2 Corinthians 11:1 Oh, that you would bear with me in a little folly-- and indeed you do bear with me.

NRS  2 Corinthians 11:1 I wish you would bear with me in a little foolishness. Do bear with me!

NAB  2 Corinthians 11:1 If only you would put up with a little foolishness from me! Please put up with me.

NJB  2 Corinthians 11:1 I wish you would put up with a little foolishness from me -- not that you don't do this already.

GWN  2 Corinthians 11:1 I want you to put up with a little foolishness from me. I'm sure that you will.

BBE  2 Corinthians 11:1 Put up with me if I am a little foolish: but, truly, you do put up with me.

Phillips I wish you could put up with a little of my foolishness—please try! 

  • I wish (ophelon) that you would: Nu 11:29 Jos 7:7 2Ki 5:3 Ac 26:29 1Co 4:8 
  • bear with me a: 2Co 11:4 Ac 18:14 Heb 5:2 
  • in: 2Co 11:16,17,19,21 5:13 12:11 1Co 1:21 3:18 4:10 
  • 2 Corinthians 11 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passage:

Proverbs 26:5  Answer a fool as his folly deserves, That he not be wise in his own eyes. 

Proverbs 27:2  Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; A stranger, and not your own lips. 

2Co 10:12+ (CHARACTER OF PAUL'S OPPONENTS WHICH IMPRESSED THE CORINTHIANS)  For we are not bold to class or compare ourselves with some of those who commend themselves; but when they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are without understanding.

PAUL APPEALS TO
A LITTLE FOOLISHNESS

KJV - Would to God ye could - Broomall says "Would that (asv) expresses a strong emotional outburst (as in Rom 9:3)   (Wycliffe Bible Commentary - 11 - online)

It is interesting that this chapter records Paul's boasting after he had just written 2Co 10:17! However if you look at the various items he is boasting about, I would contend that none of those things could have been achieved relying on his natural strength, but only on his supernatural strength from the Spirit of Christ. And so in a sense, while yes he is chronicling his personal experiences, ultimately those point to the powerful Savior. Just a thought to ponder. 

MacArthur- If Paul did not defend himself, they would be cut off from him as the source of the divine truth and at the mercy of the false teachers. His defense was not for his sake but for theirs, as he explained in 2Co 12:19: “All this time you have been thinking that we are defending ourselves to you. Actually, it is in the sight of God that we have been speaking in Christ; and all for your upbuilding, beloved.” So as distasteful as it was to him, Paul had to defend his integrity—not for pride, self-exaltation, or his ego, but because the gospel was at stake. Beginning in chapter 11, Paul confronted the false apostles. Reluctantly, he compared himself to them so the Corinthians could distinguish a true messenger of God from false ones. As he began to confront the false apostles, Paul revealed that his motive for doing so was to call the Corinthians back to loyalty.  (2 Corinthians)

Tasker offers this explanation for Paul's boasting after what he wrote in 2Co 10:17 - "Paul is very conscious that it is no business of an apostle, or indeed of any Christian, to praise himself. Such self-commendation is only justified, in the present instance, because his affection for his converts is so great, that he will go to almost any length to prevent them from becoming dupes of unscrupulous men, and to keep them loyal to Christ"

P E Hughes - "It is concern, loving anxious concern, for the spiritual welfare of those who are his children in Christ which moves him so strongly – so much so that he is prepared to appear to indulge in what he calls 'a little foolishness' by speaking about himself, in order to counteract the impact of the intruders who in their foolishness have been extolling themselves" (The Second Epistle to the Corinthians -- The New International Commentary on the New Testament)

James Denney - "It is not the genuine Paul who figures here; it is Paul playing a part to which he has been compelled against his will, acting in a character which is as remote as possible from his own. It is the character native and proper to the other side; and when Paul . . . assumes it, . . . he not only preserves his modesty and his self-respect, but lets his opponents see what he thinks of them. He plays the fool for the occasion, and of set purpose; they do it always, and without knowing it, like men to the manner born" (2 Corinthians 11)

Recall that abhorred self-commendation (2Co 10:12, 13, 17, 18; cf. Pr. 27:2).

I wish (ophelon) that you would bear (anechomai) with me in a little foolishness (aphrosune); but indeed you are bearing (anechomaiwith me - KJV ends this sentence like this "Indeed bear with me" which Robertson points out is "Either imperative middle or present middle indicative (ye do bear with me). Same form." Paul asks the Corinthians to bear with him as he begins the defense of his apostleship, something he would rather not be doing because he was forced to focus on himself. What does he mean by foolishness? Certainly what follows is the inspired Word of God and it is not foolish. It is however foolishness in the sense that he would rather not be writing his self-defense, and talk about himself which would appear like he was boasting in his apostleship. So to be boasting now would appear a bit foolish in light of the preceding context commands believers to "boast in the Lord." (2Co 10:17). Of course in contrast to the boasting of his adversaries, Paul's boasting was firmly grounded in fact and truth.

Key Word in Chapter 11 - foolish - 2Co 11:1 (aphrosune); 2Co 11:16 (aphron - 2x); 2Co 11:17 (aphrosune) 2Co 11:19 (aphron) 2Co 11:21(aphrosune) (cf 2Co 12:6, 11)

The basis for Paul's appeal is explained in 2Co 11:2-6 with verses that begin with the term of explanation for (gar)...

  • His godly jealousy for them in 2Co 11:2-3 ("For I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy...")
  • In light of how easily they receive the false teachers 2Co 11:4 ("For if one comes and preaches another Jesus...")
  • He was not inferior to the super apostles 2Co 11:5-6 ("For I consider myself ...)

Ultimately what Paul is boasting in is not so much what he had done or experienced but what the Lord had done through him in regard to any spiritual successes and what the Lord had done for him bringing him through the various trials and afflictions. Clearly the only One Who ultimately deserved the glory (and the boasting) was the Lord! 

MacArthur on indeed you are bearing with me - The apostle softened his blow by acknowledging that they were indeed... bearing with him, an affirmation of their positive response to his prior correction of them (2Co 2:1-4; 7:6-11; 1 Corinthians). Paul asked for the same favorable response as he defended himself against the false teachers' attacks and the Corinthians' own foolish disloyalty.  (2 Corinthians)

In verses 2, 4, 5  he proceeds to give reasons the Corinthians should bear with him, each verse beginning with "for" (gar), a term of explanation -- (1) in 2Co 11:2 he says he is jealous for their purity (2) in 2Co 11:4 they had borne with intruders who had brought them nothing and (3) in 2Co 11:5 they needed to know that he did not consider himself in any way inferior to the "super-apostles."

Sam Storms - There is an unmistakable twinge of sarcasm in Paul's words. Most likely Paul was accused by his opponents of being a "fool" whom the Corinthians must "bear with", i.e., humor or tolerate or put up with. In effect, Paul says, "'Since you Corinthians think I am an idiot anyway, there is nothing much to lose, is there? I am already the object of your patronizing contempt, so it is not much to ask you to tolerate a little more of poor old Paul's buffoonery'" (Clements, 175-76). But note well: this is not Paul trying to vindicate himself out of some petty concern for his own reputation. Paul does not "take on" the so-called "super-apostles" primarily because they were trying to undermine his influence or to defame him. They were proposing what Paul regards as a "different" Christianity, which he contends is no Christianity, hence no gospel, at all. The stakes are much higher here than merely one man's position in the community. Eternal destiny is the heart of the matter. (2 Corinthians 11)

Utley - Paul has previously stated that physical comparison is foolishness, but the false teachers had used him as the object of ridicule. Therefore, he uses the Sophists’ rhetorical style (boasting) against them (a sarcastic parody). He had to defend himself before this church for their own good. He felt silly in having to do this, as verses 17 and 21 affirm. (2 Corinthians 11 Commentary)

Guzik on a little foolishness - Paul does not call the defense of his apostleship folly (foolishness) because it is stupid or nonsense. He calls it folly because he does it reluctantly, knowing his time and effort could be spent on far better things. He calls it folly because he knows that the things he believed to be honorable about his apostleship would be regarded as foolish by some of the Corinthian Christians. (2 Corinthians 11)

Swindoll - In order to put the false apostles and false prophets in their places, however, circumstances forced him to pull out his certificate of authenticity to underscore his credentials as a true apostle. He reminds them that he already had to speak a bit of foolishness, and they already had borne with his folly (2Co 11:1). (Insights on 1 & 2 Corinthians )

Murray Harris - Reluctantly, he decides to employ his opponents' methods; unlike theirs, his motive is not personal gain but the Corinthians' welfare (v. 2). He would be boasting "in the Lord" (10:17). So he ironically requests the Corinthians' indulgence, knowing they had already been humoring "a little of... [his] foolishness" (see 6:3-10; 10:13-17).  (1 and 2 Corinthians -  The Expositor's Bible Commentary)

Kruse - Paul regards the parading of his credentials which is to follow (11:21b-12:13) as an act of folly. This is especially so because, as he has just said, ‘it is not the man who commends himself that is accepted, but the man whom the Lord commends’ (10:18). Yet in the light of the situation in Corinth Paul is forced to set forth his credentials, and that, not as he would have chosen, but in accordance with the criteria favoured by his opponents and apparently now accepted by his converts. So to meet the demands of the situation, Paul ‘answers the fool according to his folly’. When he entreats his readers, Do bear with me!, it is probably more a sign of his own embarrassment about the whole exercise than a concern that they might see it as inappropriate. (Tyndale NT Commentary on 2 Corinthians 11 - online)

Gilbrant - Paul disliked the role of the self-defender. It rubbed against the grain of his modesty. The trait of true modesty displayed itself repeatedly in his ministry. In First Corinthians he said, "I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle" (1 Corinthians 15:9). In Ephesians he spoke of himself as one who was "less than the least of all saints" (Ephesians 3:8). (Complete Biblical Library)

Constable - Some writers refer to 2Co 11:1-12:13 as Paul's "Fool's Speech" because of the recurring "foolishness" terminology in this passage (aphrosyne, aphron, paraphron; cf. 2Co 11:1, 16 [twice], 2Co 11:17, 19, 23; 2Co 12:11, 16). (2 Corinthians 11)


Wish (3785)(ophelon  from opheilo - to owe)  would that, where one wishes that a thing had happened which has not happened or a thing be done which probably will not be done. In its earlier forms ophelon may have been an unaugmented verb used with an infinitive to express a wish. However, many scholars do not think it was an aorist form of opheilō without the augment but instead was a participle (cf. Bauer). Later the word was used as a particle to introduce wishes that are difficult or seemingly unattainable to fulfill and was usually translated “Oh that” or “would that” (ibid.). It can express such a wish for the past (“I would to God ye did reign” [KJV], “I would indeed that you had become kings” [NASB], 1 Corinthians 4:8); for the present (“I would thou wert cold or hot,” Revelation 3:15); or for the future (“I would they were even cut off” [KJV], “Would that those … would even mutilate themselves” [NASB], Galatians 5:12). The only other reference is also future. In 2 Corinthians 11:1 Paul asked that the Corinthians would “put up” with him as he presented his argument. 4 Uses in NT - 1Co. 4:8; 2Co. 11:1; Gal. 5:12; Rev. 3:15

Bear (430anechomai from aná = in, up + echomai, the middle voice of echo = to have, to hold) means literally to hold one’s self up, erect, upright and by extension firm against a person or thing. Thus anechomai means to put up with, to bear with (equanimity or evenness of mind especially under stress), to tolerate, to forbear, to be patient with. The figurative idea is to endure discomfort or to hold out in spite of persecution, threats, injury, indifference, or complaints and not to retaliate (esp 1Cor 4:12). It conveys the sense of putting up with others, exercising self-restraint (for believers only possible empowered by the Spirit) and tolerance.

Foolishness (877)(aphrosune from a = negative + phren = thought) morally or intellectually, not using one's ability to understand foolishness, lack of sense, (boastful) folly.

4v in NT - Mk. 7:22; 2 Co. 11:1; 2 Co. 11:17; 2 Co. 11:21

Septuagint - technical term in Wisdom literature - Deut. 22:21; Jdg. 19:23; Jdg. 19:24; Jdg. 20:6; Jdg. 20:10; 1 Sam. 25:25; 2 Sam. 13:12; Job 1:22; Job 4:6; Ps. 38:5; Ps. 69:5; Prov. 5:5; Prov. 5:23; Prov. 9:6; Prov. 18:2; Prov. 18:13; Prov. 19:3; Prov. 26:4; Prov. 26:5; Prov. 27:22; Eccl. 2:3; Eccl. 2:12; Eccl. 2:13; Eccl. 7:25; Eccl. 9:17; Eccl. 10:1; Eccl. 10:3; Eccl. 10:13; Lam. 2:14;

Gilbrant - The noun aphrosunē, “foolishness, folly” (cf. the adjective aphrōn [871], “foolish”), is a compound of the negating prefix a (1), and phrēn (5260), “understanding, thinking mind.” In classical Greek this involved both a lack of mental prowess and an absence of common sense, a distorted mental perception.

In the Septuagint aphrosunē occurs about 35 times, aphrōn more than 100. The most frequent Hebrew equivalents are the words from the root kās̱al and the term nevālāh, but many other terms are used as well.

The New Testament has aphrosunē 4 times and aphrōn 11 times. On the whole, the term carries the same basic meaning as in the Septuagint.
“Folly” in Scripture first follows ordinary usage; in other words, it is a contrast to mental wisdom, sense (Proverbs 3:35; 10:8). The distinguishing marks of folly are arrogance and a sense of self-sufficiency (Psalm 85:8) as well as a flippant attitude (2 Corinthians 11:1).

From an intellectual perspective folly ignores the true nature of existence and humanity’s relationship to God. It is further characterized by a lack of foresight and a thorough inability to make rational and practical choices (Luke 11:40; 1 Corinthians 15:36). Therefore the value system, decision making abilities, and the attitudes of the fool are all wrong (Mark 7:18; Luke 12:20).

Folly acquires a moral sense in many cases, and it may indicate a moral deficiency rather than mental ineptitude. It is not so much that the fool always lacks mental resources, but that he uses them wrongly. His selfish desires originate equally in his corrupt heart as well as in his mind. His blindness to spiritual matters impedes his natural abilities and talents. The life of the fool is characterized by lust (Proverbs 9:13), foolish talk (Proverbs 15:2; Ecclesiastes 10:15), quarrels (Proverbs 20:3), lethargy and indifference (Ecclesiastes 10:15), slander and gossip (Proverbs 10:18).

In a religious sense folly signals “godlessness” (Psalms 14:1; 53:1; Isaiah 9:17). Folly here is marked by a contempt for moral, ethical, and religious principles of life and conduct, especially as these have been revealed in the Word of God and by the life and testimony of Jesus (Matthew 7:24–27). The fool believes that he can overlook the eternal and righteous law of God (Jeremiah 17:10, 11) and yet avoid the judgment of God. When Jesus forbade calling anyone a fool (Matthew 5:22), His basis was the moral and ethical connotations behind the expression. The fool exists in an utterly unholy condition and he faces the eternal consequences for his “foolishness.” To call another a “fool” would therefore be tantamount to judging someone.

The fool’s existence is typified by an entirely materialistic philosophy for life and conduct which is totally oblivious to higher values of life, especially those found in God (Luke 12:20). In His eschatological discourse Jesus told the parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins (Matthew 25:1ff.). Their folly was their failure to make adequate preparations for the bridegroom’s return. The consequences of such “foolishness” were exclusion from the marriage feast (probably a veiled reference to the eschatological banquet [cf. Luke 14:15 and Revelation 19:9, “Marriage Supper of the Lamb”]). Paul considered it folly to forsake the original way of faith—salvation, justification, and the fullness of the Spirit—for the “dead-end” of trying to justify oneself through works of the Law (Galatians 3:1–5).

Folly of an entirely different kind is mentioned in 1 Corinthians 1:18–25. Here the apostle speaks of the “foolishness” of God. Contained in this expression is a reference to the gospel’s central message of the Cross. This is “folly” from the perspective of human reason. The message that the death and the resurrection of a simple Galilean carpenter, who died the ignominious death of a state criminal and has secured salvation for all mankind, challenges every human criterion of reason. However, in His great wisdom God did not plan salvation according to human design. Neither the Jew’s demand for signs of power, nor the Greeks’ desire for great “wisdom” were avenues of God’s approach.
The witnesses and heralds of the gospel are also marked as fools by the “rational and wise” (cf. 1 Corinthians 4:10). True wisdom can only be achieved by laying down the wisdom of this world at the feet of God and taking up the “foolishness” of the Cross (1 Corinthians 3:18). (Complete Biblical Library - Incredible Resource)


Related Resources: Sam Storms 

  • The Jealousy of God in the Heart of a Human (2 Cor. 11:1-2) Excerpt - Few people can maintain a godly balance between sarcasm and sincerity. The latter is all too often swallowed up and eclipsed by the former. The apostle Paul was a notable exception to that general rule. The sarcasm of the apostle is quite evident in the opening words of 2 Corinthians 11.
  • 10 Things You Should Know about the Jealousy of God 
  • Father of the Bride (2 Cor. 11:2)  - Excerpt - I’d like to conduct an experiment. I want you to think about your local church, regardless of its denominational affiliation or lack thereof. Do you have it in mind? Are you ready? OK. Now, what’s the first word that comes to mind? Take a moment. Don’t be in a rush. I wish it were possible to compile a list of the many answers to my question. I’m sure it would be quite instructive and enlightening, perhaps even alarming. Words such as healthy, sick, vibrant, languishing, growing, shrinking, exciting, boring, traditional, contemporary, evangelical, and emerging would all probably be mentioned. But let me come straight to the point. I seriously doubt if anyone instantly and instinctively said, “virginal.” Virginal? Yes, virginal.
  • A Sincere and Pure Devotion to Christ (1)  - Excerpt - I want to be a person known for one thing. Although I’m an author, it matters little if people buy my books. Although I’m a speaker, it matters little if they hear what I say. What ultimately matters, what is of preeminent importance, is that I be a person known for “a sincere and pure devotion to Christ” (2 Cor. 11:3).
  • A Sincere and Pure Devotion to Christ (2) (2 Cor. 11:3)  - Excerpt - I fear the corruption of my sincere and pure devotion to Christ. So should you. To think that you are immune from the deceptive tactics of the enemy is both arrogant and dangerous. Paul feared that some of the Corinthians had been duped, or were on the verge of being so. That is why he speaks so energetically of his jealous concern for them and the state of their souls. 
  • The Horror of a Different Jesus (2 Cor 11:4) - Excerpt -  Our pluralistic, consumer driven society is all about choices, options, and diversity. If you don’t like what you see, be patient; another version, an updated edition, a new and improved alternative will soon appear. This is often the case in certain expressions of contemporary “Christianity” (so-called). Don’t like the Jesus of evangelical, orthodox biblical faith? No problem. There are plenty of other Jesuses to choose from. There’s the liberal Jesus, the liberation Jesus, the Christ of the cults, and the Christ of Islam. There’s the entirely human but not so divine Jesus or, if you prefer, the entirely divine and hardly human Christ. Or perhaps you relish a more homegrown Jesus, one that is fashioned after the desires of your own heart. Messianic pretender Philosophical sage? How about the Jesus of Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code? Or the Jesus of The Gospel of Judas? If you’re into politics, cast your vote: the Democratic Jesus or the Republican version? Too political? That’s OK—he can be as revolutionary, politically incorrect, and nonconformist as you need him to be. After all, when it comes to Jesus, to each his own! 
  • Price-less Preaching (Don’t Ignore the Hyphen) (2 Cor. 11:5-12) Excerpt - When one first reads 2 Corinthians 11:7–12, it sounds outlandish, virtually incomprehensible. Paul preached the gospel of God in Corinth for free. He refused to accept payment for his ministry in that city. He labored tirelessly with his hands to support himself so that he need never take up an offering after proclaiming the truth. And they accused him of committing a sin in doing so! As I said, outlandish and incomprehensible! 
  • Knowing your Enemy (2 Cor. 11:13-15) Excerpt - One of the things I learned about my wife on our first date was that she didn’t believe in a real, personal devil. Having been raised in a liberal, mainline denominational church, she rarely if ever heard the gospel proclaimed, while numerous biblical truths were routinely mocked and denied, Satan’s existence being one. Whether or not one believes that a literal, personal, spiritual being called Satan actually exists depends on one’s view of the inspiration and authority of Scripture. If one affirms the latter, he or she will affirm the former (as is now the case with my wife!). The opposite almost always holds true as well. 
  • The Devil Disguised and the False Apostles who serve him (2 Corinthians 11:13–15)  Excerpt - Before departing from Ephesus, the apostle Paul gathered to himself the elders of the church and spoke words of encouragement, exhortation, and stern warning. The latter proved to be prophetic. “I know that after my departure,” Paul said, “fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them” (Acts 20:29–30). It’s simply stunning to think that from within the body of Christ, indeed, from within that very group to whom has been given the sacred task of leading and teaching the people of God, “fierce wolves” will emerge. Such people have no regard for the spiritual health of God’s people. They have even less regard for the truth. They are utterly self-serving. In order to gain a following and increase their authority, they speak “twisted things” and undermine the confidence of God’s people in the finality and sufficiency of the work of Christ.
  • Answering a Fool according to His Folly (2 Corinthians 11:16–21) Excerpt - Some have struggled to reconcile Proverbs 26:4 (“Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest you be like him yourself”) with Proverbs 26:5 (“Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own eyes”). But there’s no contradiction here. On most occasions, when a fool speaks, keep your mouth shut. There are times, though, albeit rare, when an answer is essential. Evidently Paul was faced with just such a situation in his relationship with the Corinthians. In 2 Corinthians 11:16–21 Paul is about to boast, and he is sickened by the thought of it. His words “are no reflection of the real Paul, but only of the Paul who, to preserve the Corinthian church from moral and doctrinal seduction, must answer the real fools according to their folly.” He is clearly compelled, contrary to normal practice (Prov. 29:4), to momentarily stoop to the level of his enemies to gain a hearing with the Corinthians and hopefully bring to an end the slanderous accusations brought against him.
  • Writing Your Spiritual CV (2 Corinthians 11:21–23) - Excerpt - Reading 2 Corinthians 11:21–33 leaves me breathless. Even more important, it leaves me embarrassed and ashamed. It reminds me of those many occasions when people have asked me to share my spiritual journey or perhaps themselves proceeded to recite what they consider my accomplishments in life and my achievements in ministry. Awards I’ve won. Pulpits I’ve filled. Books I’ve written. Places I’ve traveled. People I’ve known. Money I’ve raised. Sermons I’ve preached. Endorsements I’ve received. Churches I’ve pastored. Degrees I’ve earned. Enough already!
  • Suffering is a Gift of God! (2 Cor. 11:24-25)  - Excerpt - The first time I can remember being struck repeatedly by an instrument was in the fifth grade at Fannin Elementary School in Midland, Texas (yes, my father spanked me, but always with his open hand). Mr. Holmes, my teacher, was a short but powerful man who seemed at times to relish the opportunity to discipline rowdy young boys like me. And yes, we certainly deserved it (or at least I did). 
  • Through many Dangers, Toils, and Snares (2 Cor. 11:26-27) - Excerpt - In the aftermath of 9/11 and with the ever-increasing price of gasoline, traveling has become something of a hassle. Increased air fares, long security lines that often move at a snail’s pace, overcrowded flights, delayed flights, canceled flights, well, you get the picture. I must confess that on a couple of occasions I’ve lost my patience at such inconveniences, although I’ve tried not to direct my displeasure toward ticket agents and flight attendants who have no control over the variety of factors that create the problem.  During these past few years, ministry has taken me throughout the United States and on multiple trips overseas. But I have to confess, I’ve always felt safe, even pampered. Because of the frequency of my journeys I’ve attained elite status with American Airlines and routinely am upgraded to first class. Wherever I have gone, my hosts have been gracious and occasionally lavish in providing for my needs. I’ve had good drivers (for the most part) and adequate accommodations. 
  • Paul the Pastor (2 Cor. 11:28-29) Excerpt - Caricatures are hard to shake. Once people have an image of someone indelibly printed in their minds, not even the facts can dislodge it. As a student of Jonathan Edwards (1703–1758) I’ve seen this firsthand. Ask the man on the street (or even the person in the pew) about Edwards, and they’ll immediately mention his sermon “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” and how stern, negative, and condemning a personality he must have been. Of course, anyone who has spent time reading Edwards knows he was nothing of the sort. But the image is probably here to stay. Much of the same is true when it comes to the apostle Paul. His sharp theological mind, together with his unflinching and uncompromising stand for truth, have contributed to an image of him as being a relationally stunted, remote, ivory tower pinhead who had little time and even less compassion for people and their problems. I trust that as you’ve read through 2 Corinthians you’ve come to see how much of a distortion this is and how it fails to grasp the true heart of this deeply passionate and profoundly tenderhearted man of God. 
  • Boasting in Weakness (2 Cor. 11:30-33) Excerpt -  We are all pretty adept at avoiding embarrassing topics. Most people have learned the art of maneuvering a conversation away from anything that might show them in a bad light or disclose their incompetence. And should it happen that some shameful item is noted, we’re also pretty good at explaining it away or justifying it to protect our public image. Anything to save face! So what are we to make of Paul’s statement in 2 Corinthians 11:30 where he declares, “If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness”? One would think that if Paul’s hand were forced and he had to stoop to the level of his enemies in this matter of boasting, the least he could do was think up a few praiseworthy accomplishments or something that would silence his accusers.

Beware!

Take heed that you not be deceived. —Luke 21:8

Today's Scripture: 2 Corinthians 11:1-15

Some time ago an acquaintance of mine was “taken in” by a smooth-talking salesman who stopped at his place of business. The man displayed some attractive jewelry which he said he had purchased at a tremendous discount. He was especially proud of some very expensive-looking watches that had a well-known name on the dials.

My friend was very impressed and bought several watches. But after the peddler left, he examined his “bargains” more carefully and was surprised to discover that the trademark was not that of a famous brand after all. Two letters in the name were different, but the print was so small he hadn’t noticed it before. The watch straps were not genuine leather but “genuine lizard,” and on the back of the cases were the words “Swiss base metal.”

The incident reminded me of what the Savior said in Luke 21:8, “Take heed that you not be deceived.” Even as some in the business world cleverly pervert the facts and victimize their customers, there are also false teachers in the church who subtly distort the truth. They use biblical terminology and appear to be orthodox. But beware! They are evil and will lead you astray. Be firmly grounded in the Word of God and you won’t be “taken in” by deceptive error! By:  Richard DeHaan (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

O grant us grace, Almighty Lord,
To read and mark Your holy Word,
Its truths with meekness to receive,
And by its holy precepts live. —Beddome

Examine all teaching in the light of God's Word.

2 Corinthians 11:2  For I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy; for I betrothed you to one husband, so that to Christ I might present you as a pure virgin.

KJV  2 Corinthians 11:2 For 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.

NET  2 Corinthians 11:2 For I am jealous for you with godly jealousy, because I promised you in marriage to one husband, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ.

BGT  2 Corinthians 11:2 ζηλῶ γὰρ ὑμᾶς θεοῦ ζήλῳ, ἡρμοσάμην γὰρ ὑμᾶς ἑνὶ ἀνδρὶ παρθένον ἁγνὴν παραστῆσαι τῷ Χριστῷ·

NLT  2 Corinthians 11:2 For I am jealous for you with the jealousy of God himself. I promised you as a pure bride to one husband-- Christ.

ESV  2 Corinthians 11:2 For I feel a divine jealousy for you, since I betrothed you to one husband, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ.

NIV  2 Corinthians 11:2 I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy. I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him.

YLT  2 Corinthians 11:2 for I am zealous for you with zeal of God, for I did betroth you to one husband, a pure virgin, to present to Christ,

ASV  2 Corinthians 11:2 For I am jealous over you with a godly jealousy: for I espoused you to one husband, that I might present you as a pure virgin to Christ.

CSB  2 Corinthians 11:2 For I am jealous over you with a godly jealousy, because I have promised you in marriage to one husband-- to present a pure virgin to Christ.

MIT  2 Corinthians 11:2 For I am jealous over you with God's jealousy. I brought about your engagement as a pure virgin to one man—to be the partner of Christ.

NKJ  2 Corinthians 11:2 For I am jealous for you with godly jealousy. For I have betrothed you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.

NRS  2 Corinthians 11:2 I feel a divine jealousy for you, for I promised you in marriage to one husband, to present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.

NAB  2 Corinthians 11:2 For I am jealous of you with the jealousy of God, since I betrothed you to one husband to present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.

NJB  2 Corinthians 11:2 The jealousy that I feel for you is, you see, God's own jealousy: I gave you all in marriage to a single husband, a virgin pure for presentation to Christ.

GWN  2 Corinthians 11:2 I'm as protective of you as God is. After all, you're a virgin whom I promised in marriage to one man-Christ.

BBE  2 Corinthians 11:2 For I have a very great care for you: because you have been married by me to one husband, and it is my desire to give you completely holy to Christ.

Phillips  My jealousy over you is the right sort of jealousy, for in my eyes you are like a fresh unspoiled girl whom I am presenting as fiancée to your true husband, Christ himself. 

  • jealous: Ga 4:11,17-19 Php 1:8 1Th 2:11 
  • I betrothed Ge 24:2-5,58-67 Ps 45:10,11 Isa 54:5 62:4,5 Ho 2:19,20 Joh 3:29 Ro 7:4 1Co 4:15 
  • might present you: Eph 5:27 Col 1:28 
  • a pure virgin: Lev 21:13-15 Eze 44:22 
  • 2 Corinthians 11 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passages: 

Philippians 1:8  For God is my witness, how I long for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 2:11 just as you know how we were exhorting and encouraging and imploring each one of you as a father would his own children,

John 3:29 “He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice. So this joy of mine has been made full.

Ephesians 5:27  that He (CHRIST) might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy (hagios) and blameless.

Colossians 1:28  ("COMPLETE" PICTURES THE SENSE OF PRESERVED PURE) We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ.

FOLLOWING PASSAGES ARE ON HOLY JEALOUSY

Exodus 20:4-5+  “You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. 5 “You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me,

Exodus 34:14+  –for you shall not worship any other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God

Numbers 25:11+  (PAUL WAS LIKE A MODERN DAY PHINEHAS - cf DAVID'S ZEAL - Ps 69:9) “Phinehas the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, has turned away My wrath from the sons of Israel in that he was jealous with My jealousy among them, so that I did not destroy the sons of Israel in My jealousy.

Deuteronomy 4:24+  “For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God. 

Deuteronomy 6:14-15+ “You shall not follow other gods, any of the gods of the peoples who surround you, 15 for the LORD your God in the midst of you is a jealous God; otherwise the anger of the LORD your God will be kindled against you, and He will wipe you off the face of the earth. 

Deuteronomy 29:20+ “The LORD shall never be willing to forgive him, but rather the anger of the LORD and His jealousy will burn against that man, and every curse which is written in this book will rest on him, and the LORD will blot out his name from under heaven.

Deuteronomy 32:16; 21+  “They made Him jealous with strange gods; With abominations they provoked Him to anger. 21 ‘They have made Me jealous with what is not God; They have provoked Me to anger with their idols. So I will make them jealous with those who are not a people; I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation, 

Ezekiel 8:3+  He stretched out the form of a hand and caught me by a lock of my head; and the Spirit lifted me up between earth and heaven and brought me in the visions of God to Jerusalem, to the entrance of the north gate of the inner court, where the seat of the idol of jealousy, which provokes to jealousy, was located.

Ezekiel 39:25 Therefore thus says the Lord GOD, “Now I will restore the fortunes of Jacob and have mercy on the whole house of Israel; and I will be jealous for My holy name.

Psalm 78:58  For they provoked Him with their high places And aroused His jealousy with their graven images. 

Joshua 24:19  Then Joshua said to the people, “You will not be able to serve the LORD, for He is a holy God. He is a jealous God; He will not forgive your transgression or your sins.

1 Corinthians 10:22+  Or do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? We are not stronger than He, are we? 

Hebrews 12:29+   for our God is a consuming fire.

James 4:5+   Or do you think that the Scripture speaks to no purpose: “He jealously desires the Spirit which He has made to dwell in us”?

GODLY JEALOUSY FOR
THE BETROTHED OF CHRIST

For - Paul explains why he would even entertain a little foolishness and it is because of his godly jealous for the precious saints in Corinth. 

MacArthur writes that Paul "was especially concerned that the Corinthians offer God the loyal, loving obedience in which He rejoices and of which He is worthy (cf. Deut. 6:5; 10:12; 11:1, 13, 22; 19:9; 30:16; Josh. 22:5; 23:11; Ps. 31:23; Matt. 22:37)."  (2 Corinthians)

I am jealous (zeloo) for you with a godly jealousy (zelos - "with a jealousy of God"); Paul explains his jealousy is godly not human (as if someone were stealing his own personal church plant and taking credit for it). The jealousy Paul describes is the jealousy of God Himself Whose very Name is Jealous (Ex 34:14+). Paul is not self-focused but Savior-focused. It is not about him, but about Him. Paul's jealousy is the jealousy that God Himself would display, and thus it is a holy jealousy.

Paul then goes on to explain his holy jealousy. His fear was that like a man trying to steal another man's wife, the smooth talking false teachers would begin to seduce the Corinthians to leave their true Husband and commit spiritual adultery. 

For I betrothed (harmozo - fit together) you to one husband - NLT = " I am jealous for you with the jealousy of God himself." (See God's Attribute - Jealousy)  Their betrothal  was of course their day of conversion through Paul's ministry among them. Paul is not the husband of the Corinthian church, for she has only one husband, Christ Jesus. Paul's highest desire and goal is that they remain faithful to their husband. He may have in the back of his mind the tragic tail of Israel, the bride of Jehovah, in the Old Testament, who for the most part did not remain faithful to her Husband and Maker (Isa 54:5, Jer 31:32+). Spiritual adultery is an ever present danger (for the Corinthians and for all of us!) and temptation for the Bride of Christ, just as it was for Israel. 

Betrothed is in the first aorist middle indicative (middle = reflexive ~ "I myself"). In other words Paul is acting like a Jewish father (see 1Co 4:15, 1Co 3:6,10 1Co 9:1,2 Acts 18:4-11) who is giving his daughter, the Corinthian believers, to the bridegroom, Christ. Robertson adds that "The middle voice indicates Paul's interest in the matter. Paul treats the Corinthians as his bride." Middle voice means Paul initiated the action and participated in the action thereof (How? Probably by personal exhortation and admonishment as we see in these 2 letters but also knowing Paul undoubtedly by his prayers for their sanctification!)   The root word of the verb harmozo (sounds like ''harmony'') means a joint. As a physician I know that a joint functions best when it is not dislocated, not swollen, not inflamed, not in a splint.

In the Jewish world of Paul "During the betrothal period, it was the father's responsibility to ensure that his daughter remained faithful to her pledged husband. He would then present her to him at the wedding ceremony as a pure virgin." 

ESV Study Bible - In Jewish culture it was the father’s responsibility to commit at his daughter’s betrothal that he would present her as a pure virgin at her wedding (Deut. 22:13-24; see 2 Cor. 6:14-7:1).

In a similar way God has joined or espoused every BELIEVER to ONE HUSBAND, JESUS CHRIST. Every believer has been chosen by the Father to be the Son's Bride, chosen even before the foundation of the world (Eph 1:4) for the purpose that we should be eternally joined, fitted together, harmonized with Him. Are you living with purity as you await the arrival of your Bridegroom?

Henry MorrisBetrothed.  The true church of Christ, encompassing all who have received Him as Savior and Lord, is also called the bride of Christ. Paul, as the spiritual "father" of the Corinthian Christians, desired to present his "daughter" pure and whole to the heavenly Bridegroom when He comes to claim her and take her to His Father's house, where He has prepared "mansions" for her (John 14:2,3). There are numerous other references to this unique espousal relation of the church to Christ (Jn 3:29; Eph 5:31,32; Rev 19:7-9; Rev 21:2,9), as well as numerous Old Testament references to Israel as the wife of Jehovah (Isaiah 54:5; Hosea 2:19). (See Israel, the bride of Jehovah)

One husband - The emphasis is on the fact that there is one person and ONLY ONE to Whom the Corinthians (and us beloved) owe their (our) allegiance!

Henry Morris - pure virgin - The very fact that the New Testament writers use the engagement relationship of the Bride to the Bridegroom as a representation of the ideal relation of the church to Christ proves unequivocally that each human bride should come to her marriage as a chaste virgin; the same is equally true of the bridegroom. This is surely the best foundation for a godly home. God can and does forgive repentant sinners, but it is far better--especially in marriage--if this sin has never been committed at all.

Believer's Study Bible - (vv. 2-4) Paul's models for ministry in 2 Corinthians are twofold: (1) an ambassador (2Co 5:18-21) and (2) a parent (2Co 11:2-4; 2Co 12:14). More specifically, in this text, Paul views himself as a father who lovingly and caringly seeks to nurture and mature his virgin daughter (the Corinthians) so as to someday present her, pure and undefiled, to a husband (Christ). By implication, as one reads between the lines, Paul views the false teachers as deceptive suitors who would violate his daughter and rob her of her precious virginity and purity through their proclamations of "another Jesus," a "different spirit," and a "different gospel." Doctrinal purity and discernment is deemed crucial. Paul's image is a powerful statement of his great love and concern for the Corinthian church.

Storms - On the marriage metaphor, see Isa. 50:1; 54:1-6; Ezek. 16; Hosea 1-3; Eph. 5:22-23; Rev. 19:7; 21:2,9; 22:17. Paul is concerned lest they become spiritually promiscuous during the period of engagement. He envisions himself as "The Father of the Bride" (!) who longs to present the Corinthian church as a chaste virgin to her bridegroom, Jesus.

While human jealousy is sinful and self-focused, godly jealousy is holy and Savior focused. Alan Redpath, former pastor of the Moody Church in Chicago, explains "God’s jealousy is love in action. He refuses to share the human heart with any rival, not because He is selfish and wants us all for Himself, but because He knows that upon that loyalty to Him depends our very moral life … God is not jealous of us: He is jealous for us....God’s jealousy, therefore, is a concern for the holiness, integrity, purity of ethics, and Christian standards for His people. Because of this, He will refuse to brook a rival in our affections for Him, not because of a selfish greed which wishes us all for His own possession, but simply because He knows that His great purpose for us of purity and holiness of life depends on our personal surrender and submission to His purpose.” (Law and Liberty)

Guzik has an interesting comment -   Paul considers himself the friend of Jesus the bridegroom, and he will do his best to present the bride as a chaste virgin to Christ on the “wedding day”—when the Corinthian Christians one day stand before Jesus.. In the Jewish culture of that day, the friend of the bridegroom (mentioned also in John 3:29) had an important job. “To procure a husband for the virgin, to guard her, and to bear testimony to her corporeal and marital endowments; and it was upon this testimony of this friend that the bridegroom chose his bride. He was the intercnuncio between her and her spouse elect; carrying all messages from her to him, and from him to her: for before marriage you women were strictly guarded at home with their parents or friends.” Also, the friend of the bridegroom was called upon, if necessary, “To vindicate the character of the bride.” (Clarke). Remember also that the time of betrothal wasn’t taken lightly in Paul’s culture. If someone was unfaithful during the betrothal period, it was considered adultery, and a betrothal could only be broken by divorce.  (2 Corinthians 11)

THOUGHT - "Anytime we give our hearts to something other than God, we are committing “spiritual adultery” during the period of our betrothal." (Guzik)

So that to Christ I might present (paristemi) you as a pure (hagnos) virgin (parthenos) - Paul like any proud father wanted to present his spiritual children as a pure virgin to the Lover of her soul. This language would be especially poignant in Corinth which was mecca for idolatry and immorality and was thus a set up for spiritual adultery, especially if they were "unmoored" from the "safe harbor" of the true Gospel and true Jesus. Paul's statement "I might present you" is intriguing. Does this mean Paul as their spiritual father actually "walk the Bride down the aisle" so to speak and place her hand in the hand of her beloved? Just pondering. 

Paul's use of the verb present (paristemi) is likely not accidental for in his epistle to the Romans he asked the rhetorical question - "Do you not know that when you present  (paristemi) yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness?" (Ro 6:16+)

Present (paristemi) is the infinitive of purpose (aorist active infinitive) - This is a technical term for a priest’s placing an offering on the altar. It carried the general idea of surrendering or yielding up. The picture of Ro 6:13,16, Ro 12:1, 1Co 6:19,20 

John alludes to the presentation of the Bride to Christ and how this sure hope should motivate in us a Spirit enabled desire for holy conduct writing "Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears (THE BRIDE WILL MEET HER HUSBAND), we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him (present tense - continually) purifies (hagnizo) himself, just as He is pure (hagnos) ." (1Jn 3:2-3+)

Broomall - Here we have Paul's (1) passion—I am jealous over you; (2) position—I espoused you to one husband (asv); (3) purpose—that I might present you as a pure virgin to Christ (asv). The false teachers at Corinth were seeking to woo the church away from Christ. The 'espousal' took place at conversion; the presentation' will be consummated at the Second Coming (cf. Eph 5:26, 27; Rev 21:2, 9; 22:17).  (Wycliffe Bible Commentary - 11 - online)


Betrothal - Wikipedia says "In Jewish weddings during Talmudic times (c.1st century BC – 6th century AD), the two ceremonies of betrothal (erusin) and wedding usually took place up to a year apart; the bride lived with her parents until the actual marriage ceremony (nissuin), which would take place in a room or tent that the groom had set up for her." The church is betrothed and waiting not for the wedding bells to chime but for the wedding trumpet to sound! We now live physically apart from our Beloved awaiting our Bridegroom's return to "sweep us off of our feet!" 

MARRIAGE CUSTOMS
IN BIBLE TIMES

1). BRIDE CHOSEN - The father chose the bride for his son (Eph 1:4+).

2). THE BETROTHALA binding wedding agreement was made before the marriage was consummated. (2Co 11:2-4; see Joseph and Mary in Mt 1:18-25+).To break that covenant, a bill of divorcement was required. If impurity (any unfaithfulness was considered adultery) was found in the bride, then the bride could be put to death. Witnesses were present when the Bridegroom 

3). WEDDING PROCESSION - At the appointed time for the marriage, the ceremonies began with the wedding procession, which usually took place near midnight. (1Th 4:13+, John 14:1-3).

4).The BRIDEGROOM and his friends went to the bride's home to get her and her attendants and take them to his home. (Mt 25:1-13). Bride is taken to the father's home, led to a canopy and beside her husband spoke the wedding vows. (Rev 19:7-8+).

5). THE MARRIAGE SUPPER followed (Mt 22:1-14) usually at the home of the groom and lasted from 3-7 days, the last day being the most elaborate. The MARRIAGE SUPPER was the ''bringing home'' of an already accredited bride to her covenanted husband, to which guests were invited. Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb'' (Rev 19:7-9+). Abraham, Isaac & Jacob are guests (Mt 8:10-12+). Possibly all who enter the 1000 year reign of Christ are guests. See Who will personally wait on the wedding guests in Luke 12:37+!


Jealous (earnestly desire, eagerly seek) (2206zeloo from zelos = zeal in turn from zeo = boil; source of our English word "zeal") properly, to bubble over from getting so hot (boiling) and figuratively to burn with zeal (or intensity), to be fervent, to "boil" with envy, to be jealous. It can be used commendably to refer to a striving for something or showing zeal. Zeloo is (an onomatopoeic word imitating the sound of boiling water! The idea is to be deeply committed to something, with the implication of accompanying desire – 'to be earnest, to set one's heart on, to be completely intent upon'

Betrothed (718)(harmozo from harmos - joint as in Heb 4:12) to fit, join, hence to join oneself to (in marriage) Gilbrant - Classical writers tended to understand harmozō in a wide variety of ways. Basically it means “to fit together” (as in stones in a building) or “to join.” Metaphorically it refers to being “joined” in matrimony or engagement. In reference to musical instruments, they were either “in harmony” (i.e., “tune”) or not. This sense of “something in order” carried over into other areas as well (Liddell-Scott). Second Corinthians 11:2 is the only occurrence of the verb (cf. the noun harmos, Hebrews 4:12) in the New Testament. Paul saw the church in Corinth as “engaged” (harmozō) to Christ as a result of His own ministry. His sole purpose was to prepare the bride to be “pure” (hagnē); now some had infiltrated the church and had disrupted this sacred relationship (2Co 11:3ff.). Paul used this metaphor (Church=the Bride of Christ) elsewhere (cf. Ephesians 5) and was probably drawing from the common Old Testament image of Israel The Wife of Jehovah (or often an adulterous wife).  (Complete Biblical Library)

GOTQUESTIONS.ORG - The Shulkhan Arukh, an exhaustive presentation of the details of Jewish law, elaborates regarding the two stages of marriage: the betrothal (kiddushin, meaning “sanctified”) and the consummation of the marriage (nisuin, translated “elevation”). Kiddushin is not engagement as we understand it. It is a binding agreement in which the woman is legally considered the wife of the man. It was routine in Jesus’ day for kiddushin and nisuin to be separated by as much as a year. During that time the bridegroom would construct the marital home.

Present (3936paristemi from para = near, beside + histemi = place, set) literally means to place or set beside or near and hence to place at someone's disposal. Paristemi means to present oneself for service or to put at the service of (sometimes translated "help" Ro 16:2+) Matt. 26:53; Mk. 4:29; Mk. 14:47; Mk. 14:69; Mk. 14:70; Mk. 15:35; Mk. 15:39; Lk. 1:19; Lk. 2:22; Lk. 19:24; Jn. 18:22; Jn. 19:26; Acts 1:3; Acts 1:10; Acts 4:10; Acts 4:26; Acts 9:39; Acts 9:41; Acts 23:2; Acts 23:4; Acts 23:24; Acts 23:33; Acts 24:13; Acts 27:23; Acts 27:24; Rom. 6:13; Rom. 6:16; Rom. 6:19; Ro 12:1; Ro 14:10; Ro 16:2; 1 Co. 8:8; 2 Co. 4:14; 2 Co. 11:2; Eph. 5:27; Col. 1:22; Col. 1:28; 2 Tim. 2:15; 2 Tim. 4:17

Pure (chaste)(53hagnos means freedom from defilements or impurities. Hagnos describes what is morally undefiled and when used ceremonially describes that which has been so cleansed that it is fit to be brought into the presence of God and used in His service. Although hagnos refers primarily to that which is inwardly pure, this purity also affects a person’s conduct. Here it indicates the irreproachable conduct of the bride of Christ. 2Co 7:11; 2Co 11:2; Php 4:8; 1Ti 5:22; Titus 2:5; Jas. 3:17; 1Pe 3:2; 1Jn 3:3

Virgin (3933) parthenos  generally is used of a female who is beyond puberty but not married and still a virgin, one who has never engaged in sexual intercourse.  In 2Cor 11:2 parthenos is used figuratively of the church, the Bride pledged to Christ. The clear sense of parthenos in Mt 1:23 quoted from Isa 7:14+ (Lxx uses parthenos for Heb - 'almah - see below) is of a woman who has not been intimate with a man (cp Lk 1:27). Paul uses parthenos in First Corinthians to refer to a woman of marriageable age. In Mt 25:1, 7, 11 parthenos refers to young women of marriageable age. All NT uses - Matt. 1:23; Matt. 25:1; Matt. 25:7; Matt. 25:11; Lk. 1:27; Acts 21:9; 1 Co. 7:25; 1 Co. 7:28; 1 Co. 7:34; 1 Co. 7:36; 1 Co. 7:37; 1 Co. 7:38; 2 Co. 11:2; Rev. 14:4


QUESTION - What was betrothal in biblical times?

ANSWER - “Biblical times” covers a broad section of history’s timeline, since Bible history spans several thousand years and a number of cultures. Through those years and in those cultures, betrothal traditions varied. However, some elements of betrothal were consistent throughout.

Engagements in Bible times, like those in modern-day Western countries, were heterosexual relationships preliminary to marriage. Then, as now, the engagement period gave the bride time to prepare for her new role, to gather personal belongings, to adjust relationships with parents, siblings, and friends, and in some cases to become better acquainted with her fiancé. The groom used the engagement period for similar matters, including completing the house in which he would raise his family.

Arranged marriages were common in Bible times, and it was possible that the bride and groom might not even know each other until they met at the wedding ceremony. If the parents arranged the marriage while the bride, the groom, or both were too young for marriage, a much longer betrothal would ensue. What seems strange to modern Westerners is that neither sexual attraction nor love was considered a necessary prelude to engagement or marriage. Parents who arranged a marriage for their children assumed that love and affection would grow out of the intimate acquaintance and sexual bonding that naturally takes place in a marriage. This mindset helps explain why Ephesians 5:25–33 commands Christian husbands to love their wives and Christian wives to respect their husbands. Such love and respect grew after the wedding and was not necessarily required beforehand.

In modern Western culture, there is a clear distinction between betrothal/engagement and marriage. In the cultures of Bible times, the distinction was much less definitive. Betrothal in most eras of Bible history involved two families in a formal contract, and that contract was as binding as marriage itself. Betrothal then was more of a business transaction between two families than a personal, romantic choice. Dowry or bride price agreements were included, so that a broken engagement required repayment of the dowry. After betrothal, all that remained were three matters: the wedding celebration, the bride’s move into the groom’s house, and the consummation of the marriage.

The best-known example of betrothal is that of Jesus’ mother, Mary, and her fiancé, Joseph. When Joseph learned that Mary was pregnant, and before he understood the miraculous nature of the conception, he thought that Mary had violated her betrothal, which was as binding as a marriage contract. At first, Joseph believed that his only recourse was to divorce her, or “put her away.” Matthew records the account: “This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about. His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly” (Matthew 1:18–19). Matthew says that Mary was “pledged to be married,” but he also calls Joseph “her husband.” The fact that a “divorce” was required to break the betrothal shows that their premarital contract was legally binding. If, even during the betrothal period, Mary had been sexually intimate with someone other than Joseph, she would have been guilty of adultery. GotQuestions.org


QUESTION - What does it mean that the church is the bride of Christ?

ANSWER - The imagery and symbolism of marriage is applied to Christ and the body of believers known as the church. The church is comprised of those who have trusted in Jesus Christ as their personal Savior and have received eternal life. Christ, the Bridegroom, has sacrificially and lovingly chosen the church to be His bride (Ephesians 5:25–27). Just as there was a betrothal period in biblical times during which the bride and groom were separated until the wedding, so is the bride of Christ separate from her Bridegroom during the church age. Her responsibility during the betrothal period is to be faithful to Him (2 Corinthians 11:2; Ephesians 5:24). At the rapture, the church will be united with the Bridegroom and the official “wedding ceremony” will take place and, with it, the eternal union of Christ and His bride will be actualized (Revelation 19:7–9; 21:1-2). 

In the eternal state, believers will have access to the heavenly city known as New Jerusalem, also called “the holy city” in Revelation 21:2 and 10. The New Jerusalem is not the church, but it takes on some of the church’s characteristics. In his vision of the end of the age, the apostle John sees the city coming down from heaven adorned “as a bride,” meaning that the city will be gloriously radiant and the inhabitants of the city, the redeemed of the Lord, will be holy and pure, wearing white garments of holiness and righteousness. Some have misinterpreted verse 9 to mean the holy city is the bride of Christ, but that cannot be because Christ died for His people, not for a city. The city is called the bride because it encompasses all who are the bride, just as all the students of a school are sometimes called “the school.”

Believers in Jesus Christ are the bride of Christ, and we wait with great anticipation for the day when we will be united with our Bridegroom. Until then, we remain faithful to Him and say with all the redeemed of the Lord, “Come, Lord Jesus!” (Revelation 22:20) GotQuestions.org


QUESTION - Are there parallels between Jewish wedding traditions and our relationship to Christ?

ANSWER - Jewish wedding traditions at the time of Christ are a fascinating study topic, and certain parallels can be seen between those customs and Christian theology. In the Bible, the Church is sometimes metaphorically understood to be Jesus’ Bride (Revelation 21:2, 9–10; 19:7; 22:17).

The Mishnah Kiddushin (the section of the Talmud dealing with “dedication” or betrothal) specifies that a bride is acquired by a groom in one of three ways; one involves the groom leaving his father’s home and traveling to the bride’s home to “purchase” her for a price. The groom gives a token or a dowry, and its value must be known to the bride. In all cases, the wife can only be acquired with her consent. The marriage contract, or ketubah, is then established, and from that moment on the bride is sanctified, or set apart, exclusively for her bridegroom. It is customary for the groom and bride to drink from a cup of wine over which a betrothal benediction has been said.

This prenuptial process can be seen as symbolic of Christ’s work on our behalf. Jesus left the home of His Father (heaven) and traveled to the home of His prospective Bride (earth) to purchase her for a price; that is, His own blood (1 Corinthians 7:23). His Bride has joyously consented to the match. He has given her a priceless token, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:6–16). With the establishing of the ketubah (the New Covenant), Jesus’ Bride was sanctified for Him (1 Corinthians 6:11). The communion wine is symbolic of the covenant by which Christ obtained His Bride.

The Shulkhan Arukh, an exhaustive presentation of the details of Jewish law, elaborates regarding the two stages of marriage: the betrothal (kiddushin, meaning “sanctified”) and the consummation of the marriage (nisuin, translated “elevation”). Kiddushin is not engagement as we understand it. It is a binding agreement in which the woman is legally considered the wife of the man. It was routine in Jesus’ day for kiddushin and nisuin to be separated by as much as a year. During that time the bridegroom would construct the marital home.

This, too, can be viewed as a metaphor for spiritual truth. After sealing the covenant with the Church, Jesus ascended to His Father’s home to prepare a dwelling place. Just prior to His death, Jesus told His disciples, “My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am” (John 14:2–3).

According to Jewish marriage law, when the time came for nisuin, the groom would return for his bride, accompanied by male escorts. The exact time of his arrival was not usually known in advance (see Matthew 25:1–15). The groom’s arrival was announced with a shout. The Church’s Bridegroom has been separated from His Bride now for nearly 2,000 years, and one day He will come for her and snatch her from the earth to meet Him in the air (1 Thessalonians 4:17). We don’t know when exactly this will happen; we must be ready and remain faithful (Mark 13:33). Jesus will be accompanied by an angelic escort, preceded by a shout, when He returns for the Church (1 Thessalonians 4:16).

After being whisked from her home, the Jewish bride remained hidden at the groom’s father’s house for seven days. Similarly, the Church will remain “hidden” for a period of seven years, during the prophesied tribulation period. After the seven days, the Jewish bride left the bridal chamber unveiled; likewise, after seven years the Church will return to earth with Christ, in full view of all (Colossians 3:4).

Viewed as an analogy, Jewish wedding customs have great significance for both believers and unbelievers. If you are a believer, you must remember your devotion to your Bridegroom so as not to commit spiritual adultery against Him (see James 4:4). The apostle Paul says to the Church, “I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy. I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him.” He then warns us not to allow our minds to be “led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ” (2 Corinthians 11:2–3).

If you are an unbeliever, now is the time to reevaluate your belief system in light of Jesus’ words and the prophecies of Revelation. Don’t be left behind in the rapture. Jesus offers eternal life to all who repent and believe.GotQuestions.org


Related Resources:

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.

KJV  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.

NET  2 Corinthians 11:3 But I am afraid that just as the serpent deceived Eve by his treachery, your minds may be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.

BGT  2 Corinthians 11:3 φοβοῦμαι δὲ μή πως, ὡς ὁ ὄφις ἐξηπάτησεν Εὕαν ἐν τῇ πανουργίᾳ αὐτοῦ, φθαρῇ τὰ νοήματα ὑμῶν ἀπὸ τῆς ἁπλότητος [καὶ τῆς ἁγνότητος] τῆς εἰς τὸν Χριστόν.

NLT  2 Corinthians 11:3 But I fear that somehow your pure and undivided devotion to Christ will be corrupted, just as Eve was deceived by the cunning ways of the serpent.

ESV  2 Corinthians 11:3 But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.

NIV  2 Corinthians 11:3 But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent's cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ.

YLT  2 Corinthians 11:3 and I fear, lest, as the serpent did beguile Eve in his subtilty, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in the Christ;

ASV  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 and the purity that is toward Christ.

CSB  2 Corinthians 11:3 But I fear that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your minds may be seduced from a complete and pure devotion to Christ.

MIT  2 Corinthians 11:3 I am apprehensive lest somehow, comparable to the serpent's deluding Eve by his deceit, he might corrupt your concepts away from your simplicity and purity in Christ.

NKJ  2 Corinthians 11:3 But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.

NRS  2 Corinthians 11:3 But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by its cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.

NAB  2 Corinthians 11:3 But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts may be corrupted from a sincere (and pure) commitment to Christ.

NJB  2 Corinthians 11:3 But I am afraid that, just as the snake with his cunning seduced Eve, your minds may be led astray from single-minded devotion to Christ.

GWN  2 Corinthians 11:3 However, I'm afraid that as the snake deceived Eve by its tricks, so your minds may somehow be lured away from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ.

BBE  2 Corinthians 11:3 But I have a fear, that in some way, as Eve was tricked by the deceit of the snake, your minds may be turned away from their simple and holy love for Christ.

Phillips  I am afraid that your minds may be seduced from a single-hearted devotion to him by the same subtle means that the serpent used towards Eve. 

  • I am afraid : 2Co 11:29 2Co 12:20-21 Ps 119:53 Ga 1:6 Gal 3:1 Gal 4:11 Php 3:18,19 
  • as: Ge 3:4,13  Joh 8:44 1Ti 2:14 Rev 12:9 Rev 20:2 
  • so: 2Co 11:13-15 2:17 4:2 Mt 24:24 Ac 20:30-31 Ga 1:6 2:4 3:1 Eph 4:14 Eph 6:24 Col 2:4,8,18 2Th 2:3-11 1Ti 1:3 4:1-4 2Ti 3:1-9,13 2Ti 4:3,4 Tit 1:10 Heb 13:9 2Pe 2:1-14 3:3,17 1Jn 2:18 4:1 Jude 1:4 Rev 12:9 
  • the simplicity: 2Co 1:12 Ro 12:8 16:18,19 
  • 2 Corinthians 11 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passages:

2 Corinthians 11:29+  (A PASTOR'S CONCERN) Who is weak without my being weak? Who is led into sin without my intense concern? 

2 Corinthians 12:20-21+ (A PASTOR'S FEARS) For I am afraid that perhaps when I come I may find you to be not what I wish and may be found by you to be not what you wish; that perhaps there will be strife, jealousy, angry tempers, disputes, slanders, gossip, arrogance, disturbances; 21 I am afraid that when I come again my God may humiliate me before you, and I may mourn over many of those who have sinned in the past and not repented of the impurity, immorality and sensuality which they have practiced.

Galatians 4:11+  I fear for you, that perhaps I have labored over you in vain. 

1 Timothy 2:14  (EVE DECEIVED) And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression.

John 8:44  (SATAN THE LIAR) “You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer (IN EFFECT "KILLED" ADAM AND EVE) from the beginning (IN THE GARDEN OF EDEN), and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

Romans 7:11+ (SIN THE DECEIVER) for sin, taking an opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me.

Hebrews 3:13+  (SIN THE DECEIVER) But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called “Today,” so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.

Romans 16:18+  For such men are slaves, not of our Lord Christ but of their own appetites; and by their smooth and flattering speech they deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting.

1 Corinthians 3:18+  Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you thinks that he is wise in this age, he must become foolish, so that he may become wise.

2 Thessalonians 2:3+  Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction,

2 Corinthians 2:11+  so that no advantage would be taken of us by Satan, for we are not ignorant of his schemes

Ephesians 6:11+   Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.

2 Thessalonians 2:9+  that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders,

COMPARISON WITH THE 
DECEPTION OF EVE

But - contrast - Corinthians were the bride of Christ which calls for loyalty and faithfulness. So on one hand he is jealous for them, and now on the other hand he harbors fears for their loyalty and faithfulness. 

I am (present tense - continually) afraid (phobeo) that,  as the serpent (ophis) deceived (exapataoEve by his craftiness (panourgia) - As Paul explains later, the Old Serpent of the Garden has his workers in God's field and like father, like son! They are liars and deceivers and crafty just like their father the devil (Jn 8:22, 1Jn 3:10) This reality caused Paul to be fearful that the saints at Corinth would fall prey to their deception which would lead them away from the truth of the Gospel and would steal their single minded devotion to Christ and their pursuit of holiness for the sake of Christ.

MacArthur on I am afraid - The phrase I am afraid expresses the heart of Paul's concern, both in this passage and in the entire epistle. His defense of his integrity and his ministry, his appeals for the Corinthians' loyalty, and his confrontation of the false teachers all were motivated by fear. The apostle's concern was justified, because the Corinthians had demonstrated an alarming susceptibility to being seduced, welcoming those who preached another Jesus and a different gospel (2 Cor. 11:4).....A heartbreaking theme throughout history is the disloyalty of many who claimed to be followers of Jesus Christ. Countless churches that name the name of Christ have been seduced by “deceitful spirits” teaching “doctrines of demons” (1 Tim. 4:1) and become disloyal to Him....Ever since Satan deceived Eve, false teachers, following his pattern, have portrayed the truth as error and then offered error as the truth.  (2 Corinthians)

Matthew Henry - This godly jealousy in the apostle was a mixture of love and fear; and faithful ministers cannot but be afraid and concerned for their people, lest they should lose that which they have received, and turn from what they have embraced, especially when deceivers have gone abroad, or have crept in among them. 

Notice the pattern of the serpent's craftiness by which he deceived Eve. His pattern has not changed!

Genesis 3:1-5; 13+  (SATAN THE LIAR & DECEIVER) Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. (HE BEGINS WITH DOUBT) And he said to the woman, “Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?” 2 The woman said to the serpent, “From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; 3 (SHE MISQUOTES SCRIPTURE) but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.’” 4 (SATAN'S OVERT LIE) The serpent said to the woman, “You surely will not die! 5 (ANOTHER LIE) “For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”13 Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” And the woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

Your minds (noema) will be led astray (phtheirofrom the simplicity (haplotesand purity (hagnotes) of devotion to Christ - Notice Satan's focus is on their minds (noema) which describes their thoughts (cf Pr 23:7a), the same word used in 2Co 10:5+ in Paul's call to take "every thought (noema) captive to the obedience of Christ." Led astray (phtheiro) more literally describes the effect of Satan's lies to seduce, mislead and actually corrupt and ruin their minds. 

One of the best descriptions of the serpent is found in Revelation 12:9+ "And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him." Notice you see his beginning (thrown down), his many names and his main method (deception). 

MacArthur - Lack of discernment is a major problem for the church (cf. Eph. 4:14+), because the spiritual battle is an ideological one (see 2Co 10:3-5+). The church's willingness to tolerate error in the name of unity, coupled with a lack of biblical and doctrinal knowledge, has crippled its ability to discern. As a result, it is too often easy prey for the ravenous, savage wolves of whom both Jesus and Paul warned (Matt. 7:15; Acts 20:29), who wound it and sap its power and testimony. The essence of the Christian life is simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ. To the Philippians Paul wrote, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Phil. 1:21; cf. Gal. 2:20; Col. 3:4). To not love Him supremely as Savior and Lord is an act of disloyalty. The danger false teachers pose is that they shift the focus off Jesus Christ and onto rituals, ceremonies, good works, miracles, emotional experiences, psychology, entertainment, political and social causes, and anything else that will distract people.Loyalty to the Lord Jesus Christ is nonnegotiable in the Christian life—so much so that Scripture declares, “If anyone does not love the Lord, he is to be accursed” (1 Cor. 16:22).  (2 Corinthians)

Henry Morris - Paul here asserts and confirms that the Genesis record of Eve's temptation and fall is true and historical, not allegorical. The "serpent" in Genesis is explicitly identified as Satan, the arch deceiver (2 Corinthians 11:14), who turned Adam's bride against her Maker, in similar fashion to what he was now doing at Corinth, using false apostles (instead of a serpent's body) to turn His espoused Bride away from the soon-coming Bridegroom (Revelation 12:9).

Storms -  The symbolism of v. 3 must be noted: "Eve represents the church at Corinth and the serpent those 'ministers of Satan,' the 'superlative' apostles (v. 5), who have come preaching 'another Jesus,' to divert the Corinthians from the Christ to whom Paul had joined them" (Barnett, 501).Note Paul's emphasis on the importance of the "mind". The simplicity and purity of their devotion or love for Christ issues from their minds! What one thinks about Jesus, how you understand or envision him, in a word, your Christology, is key to your Christian life and love.

Paul knew the fate of Eve when tempted by the lie "you surely will not die" (Ge 3:4) for the serpent of old surrounded this lie with half truths and thus was able to deceive Eve and plunge the entire human race into sin and death! The believers in Corinth were in danger of a similar deception by Satan's messengers, who understood the truth of Tennyson's lines...

    “A lie that is all of a lie can be met with and fought outright;
    But a lie that is partly the truth is a harder matter to fight.”
-- Alfred, Lord Tennyson


ILLUSTRATION - Caveat Emptor is Latin for "Let the buyer beware." On the Today Show, August 17, 2012, Kerry Sanders interviewed Ken Perenyi. Perenyi’s paintings have hung in museums and made him millions from their sale. Now it seems he has a pass into a celebrity status as he confesses the secrets of his activity for over three decades in his memoir titled, Caveat Emptor: The Secret Life of an American Art Forger. While it might not be a crime to imitate or copy great works of art as long as you make it clear that is the case. Apparently, Perenyi’s artwork was so convincing that people assumed they were originals and he let the buyers believe what they wanted. In reading Ken Perenyi’s book or any other book written by man we should practice Caveat Lector or “Let the reader beware.” The original con artist is Lucifer, Satan, the Devil, and the Serpent in the Garden.  Someone quipped, “The Devil is an artist: he paints sin in very attractive colors....It is critically important to practice Caveat Qui Credit or “Let the believer beware.”” (Franklin Kirksey)


Serpent  (3789)(ophis) means snakes or serpents generally feared by Near Eastern peoples for their cunning and deadliness. Evil individuals were often compared to serpents because of their malicious natures (cf. Psalms 58:4; 140:3; Matthew 23:33). Some ancient religions regarded the serpent as a symbol of chaos. They were also described as deities in the underworld—demonic beings—as well as creatures that brought life into existence. In the Septuagint ophis most often transliterates the Hebrew nāchāsh, “snake,” though it describes no specific species. It also refers to the serpent as an image of the creature which does man the most ultimate evil: Satan. In Genesis 3 Satan used the serpent in tempting Eve to rebel against God which brought about the fall of man. Satan, the archenemy of both God and man, is represented by the serpent or dragon (Isaiah 27:1). New Testament writers maintained this symbolic link between the evil serpent and the devil. The apostle Paul linked the serpent in Eden with the devil who continues to hate mankind and lead him astray (Romans 16:20; 2 Corinthians 11:3). John wrote pictorially of the fifth and sixth plagues describing destructive serpents which God will send to earth (Revelation 9:19). Finally, the serpent or Satan himself will be overcome by God’s power (Revelation 20).

Ophis - 14v - Matt. 7:10; Matt. 10:16; Matt. 23:33; Mk. 16:18; Lk. 10:19; Lk. 11:11; Jn. 3:14; 1 Co. 10:9; 2 Co. 11:3; Rev. 9:19; Rev. 12:9; Rev. 12:14; Rev. 12:15; Rev. 20:2

Septuagint - Gen. 3:1; Gen. 3:2; Gen. 3:4; Gen. 3:13; Gen. 3:14; Gen. 49:17; Exod. 4:3; Exod. 4:17; Exod. 7:15; Num. 21:6; Num. 21:7; Num. 21:8; Num. 21:9; Deut. 8:15; 2 Ki. 18:4; Job 20:16; Ps. 58:4; Ps. 140:3; Prov. 23:32; Prov. 30:19; Eccl. 10:8; Eccl. 10:11; Isa. 14:29; Isa. 27:1; Isa. 65:25; Jer. 8:17; Jer. 46:22; Amos 5:19; Mic. 7:17; 

Craftiness (3834panourgia from pas = all + ergon = work) is literally "all working" or capable of all work. In the NT it takes on a negative meaning and conveys the ideas of trickery involving cunning, cleverness, craftiness or treachery. Panourgia conveys the the idea of clever manipulation of error to make it look like the truth. Someone who practiced panourgia would be willing to do anything to achieve his goals. Panourgia is the unscrupulousness that stops at nothing. 5v in NT - Lk. 20:23; 1 Co. 3:19; 2 Co. 4:2; 2 Co. 11:3; Eph. 4:14

Deceived (1818) (exapatao from ek = intensifies meaning of root + apatáo = seduce, deceive - see study of related word apate) means to beguile thoroughly, deceive completely or seduce (persuade to disobedience, lead astray by persuasion or false promises) wholly. The result is to lead astray. To cause a subject to believe or accept false ideas about something with the implication of that one is led out of the right way into error and especially to sin (see 1Cor 11:3, 1Ti 2:14). Apatao and its derivatives indicate ethical enticement… Deception sometimes comes from within, as our desires impel us to deceive. But more often in the NT, deceit is error urged by external evil powers or by those locked into the world's way of thinking.  Rom. 7:11; Rom. 16:18; 1 Co. 3:18; 2 Co. 11:3; 2 Thess. 2:3; 1 Tim. 2:14

Minds (3540noema from noéo = perceive in turn from noús = mind) is literally the result of the activity of the "nous" or mind, that part of man which thinks. Noema means that which is thought (a thought), perceived with the mind (a mental perception), understood, pondered, or considered.2 Co. 2:11; 2 Co. 3:14; 2 Co. 4:4; 2 Co. 10:5; 2 Co. 11:3; Phil. 4:7

Led astray (5351) phtheiro from phthío or phthíno = waste, decay, wither, pine away) means to cause harm to in a physical manner or in outward circumstances. To shrivel, to wither, to spoil. It means to ruin or destroy something with the implication of causing something to be corrupt and cease to exist. To destroy by corrupting. To pine or waste away. To corrupt in the sense of degeneration. In the opinion of the Jews, the temple was corrupted or "destroyed" when anyone defiled or in the slightest degree damaged anything in it, or if its guardians neglected their duties Friberg - ruin, destroy; (1) in relation to outward circumstances ruin, corrupt, cause harm to ; (2) in morals and religion seduce, corrupt, mislead (Rev 19.2; 2Co 7.2); passive be led astray (2C 11.3); be corrupt, be depraved ( Eph 4.22); (3) of God's eternal punishment destroy (1Co 3.17b) All NT uses -  1Co. 3:17; 1Co. 15:33; 2Co. 7:2; 2Co. 11:3; Ep 4:22; 2Pe 2:12; Jude 1:10; Rev. 19:2

Simplicity (572haplotes from a = negation + pleko = twine, braid, weave, knit) means singleness, simplicity, uprightness, mental honesty; the virtue of one who is free from pretence and dissimulation. Haplotes pertains to being motivated by singleness of purpose so as to be open and aboveboard, without guile, and without a hidden agenda. The idea of haplotes is that of personal integrity expressed in word or action. Singleness of heart "states the spirit in which the obedience was to be rendered,—not in formality, pretence, or hypocrisy, but in inward reality and sincerity, and with an undivided heart” 7v in NT - Ro 12:8; 2Co. 8:2; 2Co. 9:11; 2Co. 9:13; 2Co. 11:3; Eph. 6:5; Col. 3:22

Purity (54hagnotes from  hagnos - chaste, In religious language it is primarily an attribute of deity; then it refers to things having some relation to the deity) means purity, sincerity, a quality of behavior that is morally clean, blamelessness.  2x - 2 Co. 6:6; 2 Co. 11:3


Beware!

Take heed that you not be deceived. —Luke 21:8

Today's Scripture: 2 Corinthians 11:1-15

Some time ago an acquaintance of mine was “taken in” by a smooth-talking salesman who stopped at his place of business. The man displayed some attractive jewelry which he said he had purchased at a tremendous discount. He was especially proud of some very expensive-looking watches that had a well-known name on the dials.

My friend was very impressed and bought several watches. But after the peddler left, he examined his “bargains” more carefully and was surprised to discover that the trademark was not that of a famous brand after all. Two letters in the name were different, but the print was so small he hadn’t noticed it before. The watch straps were not genuine leather but “genuine lizard,” and on the back of the cases were the words “Swiss base metal.”

The incident reminded me of what the Savior said in Luke 21:8, “Take heed that you not be deceived.” Even as some in the business world cleverly pervert the facts and victimize their customers, there are also false teachers in the church who subtly distort the truth. They use biblical terminology and appear to be orthodox. But beware! They are evil and will lead you astray. Be firmly grounded in the Word of God and you won’t be “taken in” by deceptive error!:  Richard DeHaan (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

O grant us grace, Almighty Lord,
To read and mark Your holy Word,
Its truths with meekness to receive,
And by its holy precepts live. —Beddome

Examine all teaching in the light of God's Word.


Satan's Disguises

I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted. —2 Corinthians 11:3

Today's Scripture: 1 John 2:15-29

It’s often difficult to understand why people give in to certain temptations. From our vantage point, their problem should be easy to handle.

We may even wonder how Adam and Eve could have been so foolish as to have thrown aside all that God had given them in the morning of their existence. We would not have fallen so easily—or would we?

Part of the problem is that the tempter wears a disguise when he slithers into our lives. As Mephistopheles says in the drama Faust, “People do not know the devil is there even when he has them by the throat.”

The Bible tells us that the serpent was “more cunning than any beast of the field” (Gen. 3:1). No ominous hissing or rattling warned of danger. He didn’t ask, “Pardon me, may I have 20 minutes to destroy your life?”

Public Enemy No. 1 uses the same tactics today as he did back then. God’s Word warns us that Satan dresses as an angel of light, and his cohorts appear as ministers of righteousness (2 Cor. 11:14-15). We must be vigilant to prevent such a crafty deceiver from sneaking into our lives.

Are you loving the things of the world? Ask the Holy Spirit to help you to live in close fellowship with Christ (1 Jn. 2:28). Don’t be fooled by Satan’s disguises.:  Haddon W. Robinson  (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

When sin entices and allures,
Its lies must be ignored;
The strength to gain the victory
Comes when we trust the Lord. —Sper

We need to know God's truth to expose Satan's lies.


Play and ponder the words of this great classic by Martin Luther...

A MIGHTY FORTRESS

A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing;
Our helper He, amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing:
For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe;
His craft and power are great, and, armed with cruel hate,
On earth is not his equal.

Did we in our own strength confide, our striving would be losing;
Were not the right Man on our side, the Man of God’s own choosing:
Dost ask who that may be? Christ Jesus, it is He;
Lord Sabaoth, His Name, from age to age the same,
And He must win the battle.

And though this world, with devils filled, should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed His truth to triumph through us:
The Prince of Darkness grim, we tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure, for lo, his doom is sure,
One little word shall fell him.

That word above all earthly powers, no thanks to them, abideth;
The Spirit and the gifts are ours through Him Who with us sideth:
Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also;
The body they may kill: God’s truth abideth still,
His kingdom is forever.

2 Corinthians 11:4  For if one comes and preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted, you bear this beautifully.

KJV  2 Corinthians 11:4 For 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.

NET  2 Corinthians 11:4 For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus different from the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit than the one you received, or a different gospel than the one you accepted, you put up with it well enough!

BGT  2 Corinthians 11:4 εἰ μὲν γὰρ ὁ ἐρχόμενος ἄλλον Ἰησοῦν κηρύσσει ὃν οὐκ ἐκηρύξαμεν, ἢ πνεῦμα ἕτερον λαμβάνετε ὃ οὐκ ἐλάβετε, ἢ εὐαγγέλιον ἕτερον ὃ οὐκ ἐδέξασθε, καλῶς ἀνέχεσθε.

DARBY For if indeed he that comes preaches another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or ye get a different Spirit, which ye have not got, or a different glad tidings, which ye have not received, ye might well bear with it.

Moffatt You put up with it all right, when some interloper preaches a second Jesus (not the Jesus I preached), or when you are treated to a Spirit different from the Spirit you once received, and to a different gospel from what I gave you! Why not put up with me?

EMPH For if、 indeed、 he that cometh is proclaiming another Jesus、 Whom we have not proclaimed, Or a different Spirit ye are receiving、 Which ye had not received, Or a different glad-message、 Which ye have never welcomed Ye are well bearing.

NLT  2 Corinthians 11:4 You happily put up with whatever anyone tells you, even if they preach a different Jesus than the one we preach, or a different kind of Spirit than the one you received, or a different kind of gospel than the one you believed.

ESV  2 Corinthians 11:4 For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough.

NIV  2 Corinthians 11:4 For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough.

YLT  2 Corinthians 11:4 for if, indeed, he who is coming doth preach another Jesus whom we did not preach, or another Spirit ye receive which ye did not receive, or other good news which ye did not accept -- well were ye bearing it,

ASV  2 Corinthians 11:4 For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we did not preach, or if ye receive a different spirit, which ye did not receive, or a different gospel, which ye did not accept, ye do well to bear with him.

CSB  2 Corinthians 11:4 For if a person comes and preaches another Jesus, whom we did not preach, or you receive a different spirit, which you had not received, or a different gospel, which you had not accepted, you put up with it splendidly!

MIT  2 Corinthians 11:4 For example, if an interloper drops in and proclaims another Jesus in contrast to Jesus we preached, or if you take on a different spirit from what you received, or a different gospel from the good news you accepted, you take it all in stride quite well.

NKJ  2 Corinthians 11:4 For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted-- you may well put up with it!

NRS  2 Corinthians 11:4 For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you submit to it readily enough.

NAB  2 Corinthians 11:4 For if someone comes and preaches another Jesus than the one we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it well enough.

NJB  2 Corinthians 11:4 Because any chance comer has only to preach a Jesus other than the one we preached, or you have only to receive a spirit different from the one you received, or a gospel different from the one you accepted -- and you put up with that only too willingly.

GWN  2 Corinthians 11:4 When someone comes to you telling about another Jesus whom we didn't tell you about, you're willing to put up with it. When you receive a spirit that is different from the Spirit you received earlier, you're also willing to put up with that. When someone tells you good news that is different from the Good News you already accepted, you're willing to put up with that too.

BBE  2 Corinthians 11:4 For if anyone comes preaching another Jesus from the one whose preachers we are, or if you have got a different spirit, or a different sort of good news from those which came to you, how well you put up with these things.

Phillips  For apparently you cheerfully accept a man who comes to you preaching a different Jesus from the one we told you about, and you readily receive a spirit and a gospel quite different from the ones you originally accepted. 

  • preaches: Ac 4:12 1Ti 2:5 
  • receive: 1Co 12:4-11 Ga 3:2 Eph 4:4,5 
  • another gospel: Ga 1:6-9
  • 2 Corinthians 11 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

ANOTHER JESUS?
ANOTHER GOSPEL?

For - Paul now specifically explains how they might be deceived and carried away. 

If one comes and preaches (kerusso) another Jesus whom we have not preached - NLT = "You happily put up with whatever anyone tells you, even if they preach a different Jesus than the one we preach." IF is first class condition indicating one has or will come to preach another Jesus. There is only one Jesus and Paul's Jesus is clearly the only one that is true. Note that the false teachers are not addressing minor doctrinal points, but the MAIN DOCTRINAL point, the person of Jesus. This is still the modus operandi of every cult, regardless of their claims, such as Mormons who claim to preach Jesus. Their Jesus is another Jesus, not Paul's Jesus. If you are "off" on Jesus, you are "off" eternally, for as He Himself clearly stated "“I am the (ONLY) way, and the (ONLY) truth, and the (ONLY) life; (ABSOLUTELY) no one comes to the Father but through Me." (Jn 14:6) In Acts Peter declared " there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name (OTHER THAN JESUS) under heaven that has been given among men by which we must (DEI = NOT "MIGHT" BUT "MUST") be saved.” (Acts 4:12+) It follows that you have a counterfeit Jesus, you have a counterfeit salvation, which is really no salvation and you are destined for eternal separation from His Father (2Th 1:9+). Paul recognized the gravity of the situation and as we say he "goes right for the jugular." 

Guzik on if one comes - An apostle is “one who is sent.” These troublemakers were the exact opposite of apostles. One could say of them, “He who comes.” Of an apostle, one could say “one who is sent” by God. These false apostles had simply come; they were not really sent by God. (2 Corinthians 11)

Or you receive a different (heteros) spirit which you have not received - While the spirit in this passage is not absolutely clear, one thing is clear and that is that the Corinthians had received or accepted or put up with a different spirit. That is the problem Paul is addressing. Some believe he is referring to the Holy Spirit, which those who receive a different Jesus will not receive. Others believe it refers to spirit in a more generic sense, such as spirit of fear (2Ti 1:7+), but I was submit that even that passage in Timothy implies the Holy Spirit, for no one could receive a spirit of love unless they had received the real Spirit Who enables supernatural love (cf Ro 5:5+). The word for different here is not allos but heteros which means another of a different kind. Jesus had promised the disciples they would receive a Spirit of the "allos" kind after He ascended. (Jn 14:16 - "another" = allos)

Or a different (heteros) gospel which you have not accepted - A different gospel is really NOT good news, but bad news. This crucial doctrinal deviation helps us understand why Paul had asked them to bear with me in a little foolishness (2Co 11:1+) forcing him to authenticate his apostolic ministry and by default his gospel message. 

Paul addressed a different gospel in Galatians giving a strong warning to anyone who preached a different Gospel...

I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different (heteros) gospel; 7 which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing (tarasso) you and want to distort (metastrepho) the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed (anathema)! 9 As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed (anathema)!!  (Ga 1:6-9+)

You bear (anechomai)  this beautifully (kalos) - Obviously this is cuttingly sarcastic. Paul implies they were tolerating what they should not have been tolerating. It is surely meant to get their attention, because the salvation of their souls was at stake. He even uses a play on words for in 2Co 11:1 with the same verb bear (anechomai)  which he used when he had affirmed that "you are bearing (anechomai) with me." It would be difficult, if not impossible, to bear with Paul and at the same time bear with these serious false teachings (and by default bearing with the false teachers themselves). 

THOUGHT - False teachers are alive and well today and are best evaluated by what they teach about Jesus, fully God and fully Man, and His exclusive Gospel, the only way to Heaven, and whether their lives give clear evidence of the fruit in keeping with genuine repentance (Mt 3:8+). If not, then "Look out!"


Preaches (proclaims) (2784kerusso from kerux/keryx = a herald - one who acts as the medium of the authority of one who proclamation he makes; kerugma = the thing preached or the message) means to proclaim (publicly) or to herald or act as a public crier - the town official who would make a proclamation in a public gathering. Kerusso was used of the official whose duty it was to proclaim loudly and extensively the coming of an earthly king, even as our gospel is to clearly announce the coming of the King of kings and Lord of lords (Rev 19:16+)! Kerusso in Corinthian letters - 1 Co. 1:23; 1 Co. 9:27; 1 Co. 15:11; 1 Co. 15:12; 2 Co. 1:19; 2 Co. 4:5; 2 Co. 11:4


Related Resources:

2 Corinthians 11:5  For I consider myself not in the least inferior to the most eminent apostles.

KJV  2 Corinthians 11:5 For I suppose I was not a whit behind the very chiefest apostles.

NET  2 Corinthians 11:5 For I consider myself not at all inferior to those "super-apostles."

BGT  2 Corinthians 11:5 Λογίζομαι γὰρ μηδὲν ὑστερηκέναι τῶν ὑπερλίαν ἀποστόλων.

NLT  2 Corinthians 11:5 But I don't consider myself inferior in any way to these "super apostles" who teach such things.

ESV  2 Corinthians 11:5 Indeed, I consider that I am not in the least inferior to these super-apostles.

NIV  2 Corinthians 11:5 But I do not think I am in the least inferior to those "super-apostles."

YLT  2 Corinthians 11:5 for I reckon that I have been nothing behind the very chiefest apostles,

ASV  2 Corinthians 11:5 For I reckon that I am not a whit behind the very chiefest apostles.

CSB  2 Corinthians 11:5 Now I consider myself in no way inferior to the "super-apostles."

MIT  2 Corinthians 11:5 I consider myself to be deficient in no way from such super missionaries.

NKJ  2 Corinthians 11:5 For I consider that I am not at all inferior to the most eminent apostles.

NRS  2 Corinthians 11:5 I think that I am not in the least inferior to these super-apostles.

NAB  2 Corinthians 11:5 For I think that I am not in any way inferior to these "superapostles."

NJB  2 Corinthians 11:5 Now, I consider that I am not in the least inferior to the super-apostles.

GWN  2 Corinthians 11:5 I don't think I'm inferior in any way to your super-apostles.

BBE  2 Corinthians 11:5 For in my opinion, I am in no way less than the most important of the Apostles.

The Living Bible Yet I don’t feel that these marvelous “messengers from God,” as they call themselves, are any better than I am.

Phillips Yet I cannot believe I am in the least inferior to these extra-special messengers of yours. 

PAUL IS NOT INFERIOR TO
THE "SUPER APOSTLES"

For (gar) explanation. What is Paul explaining? This "for" could go back to verse 1 where he asks them to bear with him in a little foolishness. He definitely does not like "tooting his own horn" (boasting) which is what he is forced to do in this verse and the following verses in chapter 11. To him boasting is tantamount to foolishness, for as he had already stated the one who boasts should boast in the Lord (1Co 1:31, 2Co 12:17). 

I consider (logizomai) myself not in the least inferior (hustereo in perfect tense) to the most eminent (huperlian - "super") apostles (apostolos) - Paul is saying flatly that his apostleship is in no way inferior (perfect tense means was never inferior and continues to not be inferior!) to the so-called "super apostles" (NET, ESV, NIV) who had wormed their way into the Corinthian church (cf Jude 1:4+ - " certain persons have crept in unnoticed [pareisduno]"). As noted below the Greek verb for inferior (hustereo) means to be left behind in the race and so fail to reach the goal. Paul is saying he is NOT being left behind in the race spiritually (apostolically) speaking and of course the real reason is that his opponents have not even met the qualifications to run in the race (cf Paul's final shout of victory " I have finished the course" 2Ti 4:7+)! They think they are running, but they are deceiving themselves because they are disqualified in the eyes of the Judge of the living (Paul and all believers) and the dead (these false apostles) (2Ti 4:1+)!

Paul's description of them as being apostles who are "beyond extreme degree" is clearly sarcastic, because he does not consider them to even be genuine apostles, much less "super apostles!" Paul in using the word apostle is not implying these men had seen the resurrected Jesus and received direct authoritative commands from Him, which were two criteria that every genuine NT apostle had to meet.  He leaves no doubt in 2Co 11:13+ writing "such men are false apostles." 

Storms asks "But in what way did they classify Paul as "inferior" to them? There were at minimum two claims they made: (1) their "superiority" as trained and eloquent speakers (2Co 11:6) and (2) their "superiority" in visions and revelations (2Co 12:1). As for Paul's "weakness" or "inadequacy" in speech, he first alludes to it in 1Co 2:1-5. Perhaps after the rhetorically gifted Apollos (Acts 18:24-28) had visited Corinth, the people there began to reflect negatively on Paul's shortcomings in that arena. Yet, Barnett points out that "it ought not be concluded that Paul was a poor speaker. That he was inferior to them (and Apollos?) does not logically require that he was without gifts in that respect. Paul's dialectic in this verse should not lead us to draw wrong conclusions. . . . [In] the context of Hellenistic rhetoric, it quite suits Paul to confess to being 'inferior' to the newcomers, a mere 'layman,' But it does not necessarily follow that Paul was an ill-equipped or ineffective preacher. . . . His verbal skills must have been, at the very least, adequate, and, quite possibly, considerable, even though he lacked the high professionalism of the trained rhetorician" (509-510).

While some commentators feel that Paul was referring to other eminent apostles (like Peter) the context (always king in interpretation) clearly favors the thought that here Paul is referring not to true apostles, but false apostles. The message is always be an Acts 17:11+ Berean when reading commentaries (including the one you are reading now!) Allow the Spirit to teach you (1Jn 2:20, 27+) and guide you as you read each text in its full context


Inferior (come short of) (5302hustereo from hústeros = last, latter, terminal, hindmost) has the basic meaning of come to late (in time) or to come after (in terms of space) and thus it means to fail in something, come short of, miss, not to reach. Hustereo has the basic meaning of being last or inferior. It means to be left behind in the race and so fail to reach the goal, to fall short of the end, to lack. It means to come late or too tardily. 16v - Matt. 19:20; Mk. 10:21; Lk. 15:14; Lk. 22:35; Jn. 2:3; Rom. 3:23; 1 Co. 1:7; 1 Co. 8:8; 1 Co. 12:24; 2 Co. 11:5; 2 Co. 11:9; 2 Co. 12:11; Phil. 4:12; Heb. 4:1; Heb. 11:37; Heb. 12:15

Eminent (5344) huperlian from huper = above + lian = very exceedingly) is an  adverb that refers to an excessive degree of anything. Characterized by being beyond an extreme degree.  Huperlian is used only in 2Co 11:5 and 2Co 12:11.

Gilbrant - The Textus Receptus reads huper lian. The confusion arises because ancient scribes did not place any spaces between words in their manuscripts. The only other occurrence of huperlian in Greek literature is in a 12th-century A.D. work. Huperlian means “exceedingly, chief” and is used as an adjective in its two New Testament appearances. Paul referred to the “very chiefest apostles” (“super-apostles,” NIV) who had come to Corinth. There may have been a note of sarcasm in Paul’s tone when he referred to these men....Paul said that these men preach a different Jesus, a different spirit, and a different gospel (2Co 11:4); and he called them “false apostles … masquerading as apostles of Christ” (2Co 11:13NIV). These were false teachers who boasted of their spiritual status, whom Paul felt the need to challenge. He also was a Jew (11:22); he also had suffered (11:23–33); he also had received visions (12:1–10). The Corinthians were being seduced by these “super-apostles,” and Paul resisted them. (Complete Biblical Library - Incredible Resource)

Apostles (652apostolos from apo = from + stello = send forth) means one sent forth from by another, often with a special commission to represent another and to accomplish his work. It can be a delegate, commissioner, ambassador sent out on a mission or orders or commission and with the authority of the one who sent him. Apostolos referred to someone who was officially commissioned to a position or task, such as an envoy. Cargo ships were sometimes called apostolic, because they were dispatched with a specific shipment for a specific destination. In secular Greek apostolos was used of an admiral of a fleet sent out by the king on special assignment. But the term is primarily used as a specific and unique title for the thirteen men (the Twelve, with Matthias replacing Judas, and Paul) whom Christ personally chose and commissioned to authoritatively proclaim the gospel and lead the early church. The thirteen apostles not only were all called directly by Jesus but all were witnesses of His resurrection, Paul having encountered Him on the Damascus Road after His ascension. Those thirteen apostles were given direct revelation of God’s Word to proclaim authoritatively, the gift of healing, and the power to cast out demons (Mt 10:1+). By these signs their teaching authority was verified (cf. 2Co 12:12+). Their teachings became the foundation of the church (Ep 2:20+), and their authority extended beyond local bodies of believers to the entire believing world.  

2 Corinthians 11:6  But even if I am unskilled in speech, yet I am not so in knowledge; in fact, in every way we have made this evident to you in all things.

KJV  2 Corinthians 11:6 But though I be rude in speech, yet not in knowledge; but we have been throughly made manifest among you in all things.

NET  2 Corinthians 11:6 And even if I am unskilled in speaking, yet I am certainly not so in knowledge. Indeed, we have made this plain to you in everything in every way.

BGT  2 Corinthians 11:6 εἰ δὲ καὶ ἰδιώτης τῷ λόγῳ, ἀλλ᾽ οὐ τῇ γνώσει, ἀλλ᾽ ἐν παντὶ φανερώσαντες ἐν πᾶσιν εἰς ὑμᾶς.

NLT  2 Corinthians 11:6 I may be unskilled as a speaker, but I'm not lacking in knowledge. We have made this clear to you in every possible way.

ESV  2 Corinthians 11:6 Even if I am unskilled in speaking, I am not so in knowledge; indeed, in every way we have made this plain to you in all things.

NIV  2 Corinthians 11:6 I may not be a trained speaker, but I do have knowledge. We have made this perfectly clear to you in every way.

YLT  2 Corinthians 11:6 and even if unlearned in word -- yet not in knowledge, but in every thing we were made manifest in all things to you.

ASV  2 Corinthians 11:6 But though I be rude in speech, yet am I not in knowledge; nay, in every way have we made this manifest unto you in all things.

CSB  2 Corinthians 11:6 Though untrained in public speaking, I am certainly not untrained in knowledge. Indeed, we have always made that clear to you in everything.

MIT  2 Corinthians 11:6 If I am unskilled in rhetoric—but not in knowledge—it is in all those ways that they show off with reference to all their dealings with you.

NKJ  2 Corinthians 11:6 Even though I am untrained in speech, yet I am not in knowledge. But we have been thoroughly manifested among you in all things.

NRS  2 Corinthians 11:6 I may be untrained in speech, but not in knowledge; certainly in every way and in all things we have made this evident to you.

NAB  2 Corinthians 11:6 Even if I am untrained in speaking, I am not so in knowledge; in every way we have made this plain to you in all things.

NJB  2 Corinthians 11:6 Even if there is something lacking in my public speaking, this is not the case with my knowledge, as we have openly shown to you at all times and before everyone.

GWN  2 Corinthians 11:6 Even though I'm not good with words, I know what I'm talking about. Timothy and I have made this clear to you in every possible way.

BBE  2 Corinthians 11:6 But though I am rough in my way of talking, I am not so in knowledge, as we have made clear to all by our acts among you.

Phillips Perhaps I am not a polished speaker, but I do know what I am talking about, and both what I am and what I say is pretty familiar to you. 

The Message It’s true that I don’t have their voice, haven’t mastered that smooth eloquence that impresses you so much. But when I do open my mouth, I at least know what I’m talking about. We haven’t kept anything back. We let you in on everything.

AMP But even if [I am] unskilled in speaking, yet [I am] not [unskilled] in knowledge [I know what I am talking about]; we have made this evident to you in all things.

The Living Bible If I am a poor speaker, at least I know what I am talking about, as I think you realize by now, for we have proved it again and again.

  • unskilled in speech: 2Co 10:10 1Co 1:17,21 2:1-3,13 
  • not: Eph 3:4 2Pe 3:15,16 
  • we have: 2Co 4:2 2Co 5:11 2Co 7:2 2Co 12:12 
  • 2 Corinthians 11 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passages:

Acts 4:13+ (PAUL WAS IN GOOD COMPANY WITH 2 OTHER "UNTRAINED" MEN!) Now as they observed the confidence of Peter and John and understood that they were uneducated (agrammatos) and untrained (same word Paul uses in 2Co 11:6idiotes) men, they were amazed, and began to recognize them as having been with Jesus.

PAUL WAS NOT A TRAINED
GREEK ORATOR

But even if I am unskilled (idiotes) in speech, yet I am (no verb in Greek) not so in knowledge (gnosis) - TLB has a pithy paraphrase "If I am a poor speaker, at least I know what I am talking about!" If introduces a first class conditional statement assumed to be true. Using the noun idiotes, Paul is in agreeing that his Greek rhetoric and philosophical oratorical skills were NOT in the same league as the "super apostles." Here goes Paul with a little boasting which he does not want to do, but is forced to do. His adversaries say "his speech contemptible." (2Co 10:10). He in essence does not rebut that accusation (see Gilbrant below). However he is not unskilled in knowledge and by this he surely means the knowledge of God, the Bible, the Gospel, spiritual truth. 

Peter's inspired words support Paul's assertion of "not so in knowledge", for Peter writes "regard the patience of our Lord as salvation; just as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you, as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort (WHAT WAS HAPPENING IN CORINTH), as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction." (2Pe 3:15-16+)

Gilbrant - Paul said he was unskilled in speech. This probably means that he had not devoted himself to the same philosophical training in rhetoric as his opponents—perhaps itinerant philosophers— had done (cf. 1Co 2:1-5). . (Complete Biblical Library)

in fact, in every way we have made this evident (phaneroo) to you in all things - Paul points out that his grasp of true knowledge had been made clearly manifest and fully displayed to them, which undoubtedly refers to when he planted the church and for 18 months was "teaching the word of God among them." (Acts 18:11+) Later in this letter he is even more to the point writing "The signs of a true apostle were performed among you with all perseverance, by signs and wonders and miracles." (2Co 12:12+)

ILLUSTRATION - A story is told about a dinner party where the guests were expected to stand after the meal and recite something for the group. A famous actor was present, and he recited the twenty-third Psalm with great dramatic flair and emotion, and sat down to great applause. Then a very simple man got up and began to recite the same Psalm. He wasn’t very eloquent, so at first people thought it was a little funny. But his presentation was straight from his heart, so when he finished the group sat in respectful silence. It was obvious that the simple man’s presentation was more powerful than the actor’s, and afterwards the actor told him: “I know the Psalm, but you know the Shepherd.” Paul knew the Shepherd, so the substance of his preaching was profound even though not "pretty" to Grecian ears!


Unskilled (2399) idiotes means literally "in private life". BDAG = " person who is relatively unskilled or inexperienced in some activity or field of knowledge." The meanings include amateur, layperson in contrast to an expert, untrained person, nonspecialist, with the specific sense taken from contrast in the context. Robertson says idiotes is "common from Herodotus for private person, unskilled (as in Acts 4:13, 2Co 11:6), uninitiated (unlearned) in the gift of tongues as here and 1Cor. 14:23-24. In the synagogues the Jews used responsive amens at the close of prayers (Neh. 5:13; Neh. 8:6; 1 Chron. 16:36; Psalm 106:48). Used in 5v - Acts 4:13; 1Co. 14:16; 1Co. 14:23; 1Co. 14:24; 2Co. 11:6

2 Corinthians 11:7  Or did I commit a sin in humbling myself so that you might be exalted, because I preached the gospel of God to you without charge?

KJV  2 Corinthians 11:7 Have I committed an offence in abasing myself that ye might be exalted, because I have preached to you the gospel of God freely?

NET  2 Corinthians 11:7 Or did I commit a sin by humbling myself so that you could be exalted, because I proclaimed the gospel of God to you free of charge?

BGT  2 Corinthians 11:7 Ἢ ἁμαρτίαν ἐποίησα ἐμαυτὸν ταπεινῶν ἵνα ὑμεῖς ὑψωθῆτε, ὅτι δωρεὰν τὸ τοῦ θεοῦ εὐαγγέλιον εὐηγγελισάμην ὑμῖν;

NLT  2 Corinthians 11:7 Was I wrong when I humbled myself and honored you by preaching God's Good News to you without expecting anything in return?

ESV  2 Corinthians 11:7 Or did I commit a sin in humbling myself so that you might be exalted, because I preached God's gospel to you free of charge?

NIV  2 Corinthians 11:7 Was it a sin for me to lower myself in order to elevate you by preaching the gospel of God to you free of charge?

YLT  2 Corinthians 11:7 The sin did I do -- myself humbling that ye might be exalted, because freely the good news of God I did proclaim to you?

ASV  2 Corinthians 11:7 Or did I commit a sin in abasing myself that ye might be exalted, because I preached to you the gospel of God for nought?

CSB  2 Corinthians 11:7 Or did I commit a sin by humbling myself so that you might be exalted, because I preached the gospel of God to you free of charge?

MIT  2 Corinthians 11:7 I made myself the equivalent of a sin offering, humbling myself that you might be exalted, because—without compensation—I preached to you the good news from God.

NKJ  2 Corinthians 11:7 Did I commit sin in humbling myself that you might be exalted, because I preached the gospel of God to you free of charge?

NRS  2 Corinthians 11:7 Did I commit a sin by humbling myself so that you might be exalted, because I proclaimed God's good news to you free of charge?

NAB  2 Corinthians 11:7 Did I make a mistake when I humbled myself so that you might be exalted, because I preached the gospel of God to you without charge?

NJB  2 Corinthians 11:7 Have I done wrong, then, humbling myself so that you might be raised up, by preaching the gospel of God to you for nothing?

GWN  2 Corinthians 11:7 Did I commit a sin when I humbled myself by telling you the Good News of God free of charge so that you could become important?

BBE  2 Corinthians 11:7 Or did I do wrong in making myself low so that you might be lifted up, because I gave you the good news of God without reward?

Message - I wonder, did I make a bad mistake in proclaiming God’s Message to you without asking for something in return, serving you free of charge so that you wouldn’t be inconvenienced by me?

Amplified - But did I perhaps make a mistake and do you a wrong in debasing and cheapening myself so that you might be exalted and enriched in dignity and honor and happiness by preaching God’s Gospel without expense to you?

Phillips  Perhaps I made a mistake in cheapening myself (though I did it to help you) by preaching the gospel without a fee? 

The Message I wonder, did I make a bad mistake in proclaiming God’s Message to you without asking for something in return, serving you free of charge so that you wouldn’t be inconvenienced by me?

AMP But did I perhaps make a mistake and do you a wrong in debasing and cheapening myself so that you might be exalted and enriched in dignity and honor and happiness by preaching God’s Gospel without expense to you?

The Living Bible Did I do wrong and cheapen myself and make you look down on me because I preached God’s Good News to you without charging you anything?

  • in: 2Co 10:1 12:13 Ac 18:1-3 20:34 1Co 4:10-12 9:6,12,14-18 1Th 2:9 2Th 3:8 
  • 2 Corinthians 11 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passages: 

1 Corinthians 9:6-18+  (READ FOR BACKGROUND ON PAUL NOT ACCEPTING MONEY FROM THE CORINTHIAN CHURCH) Or do only Barnabas and I not have a right to refrain from working? (IMPLIED ANSWER - YES - THEN HE EXPLAINS WHY...) 7 Who at any time serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat the fruit of it? Or who tends a flock and does not use the milk of the flock?  8 I am not speaking these things according to human judgment, am I? Or does not the Law also say these things? 9 For it is written in the Law of Moses, “YOU SHALL NOT MUZZLE THE OX WHILE HE IS THRESHING.” God is not concerned about oxen, is He? 10 Or is He speaking altogether for our sake? Yes, for our sake it was written, because the plowman ought to plow in hope, and the thresher to thresh in hope of sharing the crops. 11 If we sowed spiritual things in you, is it too much if we reap material things from you? 12 If others share the right over you (? REFERRING TO THE FALSE APOSTLES?), do we not more? Nevertheless, (WHY HE ACCEPTED NO FUNDS) we did not use this right, but we endure all things so that we will cause no hindrance to the gospel of Christ. 13 Do you not know that those who perform sacred services eat the food of the temple, and those who attend regularly to the altar have their share from the altar? 14 So also the Lord directed those who proclaim the gospel to get their living from the gospel.  15 But I have used none of these things. And I am not writing these things so that it will be done so in my case; for it would be better for me to die than have any man make my boast an empty one. 16 For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for I am under compulsion; for woe is me if I do not preach the gospel. 17 For if I do this voluntarily, I have a reward; but if against my will, I have a stewardship entrusted to me. 18 What then is my reward? That, when I preach the gospel, I may offer the gospel without charge, so as not to make full use of my right in the gospel. 

Acts 18:1-5+ After these things he left Athens and went to Corinth. 2 And he found a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, having recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had commanded all the Jews to leave Rome. He came to them, 3 and because he was of the same trade, he stayed with them and they were working, for by trade they were tent-makers. 4 And he was reasoning in the synagogue every Sabbath and trying to persuade Jews and Greeks.  5 But when Silas and Timothy came down from Macedonia, Paul began devoting himself completely to the word, solemnly testifying to the Jews that Jesus was the Christ.

2 Corinthians 2:17+  For we are not like many, peddling the word of God, but as from sincerity, but as from God, we speak in Christ in the sight of God.

A NOT FOR PROFIT
PROPHET

Keep the cultural context in mind, for in Paul's day if a speaker did not accept compensation, he was often regarded as either an amateur or just a poor speaker. If his speaking did not deserve compensation, the idea was that what he said wasn't really worth anything! Paul was not speaking to please men, but to please God and save men! The last thing he wanted was to be accused of preaching the good news for a good profit! So in verses 7-12 Paul discusses his refusal of recompense and the repercussions this would have for the false apostles who exploited the Corinthians (2Co 11:12)

Or did I commit a sin (hamartia) in humbling (tapeinoo) myself so that you might be exalted, because I preached the gospel of God to you without charge? Amplified gives an accurate rendering "But did I perhaps make a mistake and do you a wrong in debasing and cheapening myself so that you might be exalted and enriched in dignity and honor and happiness by preaching God’s Gospel without expense to you?" This is clearly a rhetorical question calling for a loud NO! NO WAY! (see related passage above) Paul continues his biting sarcasm with this question. Preaching the Gospel of God with humility is obviously not a sin. He surely wants his readers to grasp his point that just because he did not seek to be compensated for preaching them the Gospel of God, did not diminish the impact of the Gospel. And it clearly rebuts his opponents who denigrated him for not taking money which is discussed in notes on 1Co 9:3-18. Might be exalted means the Corinthians were raised up, lifted up (in a spiritual sense) by Paul's preaching of the Gospel. 

NET NOTE on humbling myself - Paul is referring to humbling himself to the point of doing manual labor to support himself.

Storms on without charge - Since teachers, philosophers, and orators in ancient times were expected to charge for their services in proportion to their skill and gifting, Paul's refusal to accept financial support from the Corinthians exposed him to the accusation of being a fraud. The intruders had put Paul in a no-win situation: if he refuses remuneration he betrays his own sense of inauthenticity, incompetence, and lack of authority; but if he receives remuneration it is because he is greedy and thus is guilty of peddling the gospel. Add to this the fact that manual labor, such as tent-making (Paul's chosen trade), was viewed by the Greeks with disdain. In order to appreciate Paul's response to this charge we must understand his personal financial policies. ·Paul believed that he had a right to be supported by those to whom he ministered (1 Cor. 9:1-19; 3 John 5-8; Lk. 9:3-4; 10:4,7; Mt. 10:10; Gal. 6:6; 1 Tim. 5:17-18). On occasion he accepted the financial support of churches he had established and to whom he ministered (2 Cor. 11:8-9; Phil. 4:10-15). ·As a general rule, however, he would not accept support from the church to which he was then ministering (2 Cor. 11:8-9; 1 Thess. 2:9; 2 Thess. 3:8-12). In other words, he accepted the support of churches where he had ministered in the past. Why? (1) Paul probably did not want to be perceived as just one of many itinerant lecturers or philosophers so common in Greek culture of that day, nor did he want his message viewed as just one more competing philosophy. (2) Paul knew that the reputation of the gospel was, to a degree, dependent on his own integrity. Paul held a position in the first century not unlike that of Billy Graham in the twentieth. (3) He wanted to be absolutely free to preach the truth without exposing himself to the pressure of those with money. In this way, he could not be charged with fashioning his message according to the whims of the wealthy. (4) He wanted to set an example of the virtues of self-support and manual labor. ·He actively solicited financial assistance for other Christians in need (2 Cor. 8-9; 1 Cor. 16:1-4).      Only rarely did Paul actively solicit financial assistance for himself (Rom. 15:24; Acts 15:3).

Guzik has an interesting point on did I commit a sin -  This shows Paul at his most ironic. The Corinthian Christians who despised Paul were so worldly in their thinking they actually thought Paul might be in sin because he preached the gospel of God to you free of charge!  (2 Corinthians 11)

The phrase Gospel of God occurs 8x/8v - Mk. 1:14; Ro 1:1; Ro 15:16; 2Co. 11:7; 1Th 2:2; 1Th 2:8; 1Th 2:9; 1Pe 4:17

The phrase Gospel of Christ occurs 8x/8v - Ro 15:19; 1Co 9:12; 2Co 2:12; 2Co 9:13; 2Co 10:14; Gal 1:7; Php 1:27; 1Th 3:2 

Upshot? The same Gospel is from God and from Christ. Christ is God! 


Pay To Pray?

Did I commit sin . . . because I preached the gospel of God to you free of charge. —2 Corinthians 11:7

Today's Scripture:2 Corinthians 11:1-15

Several years ago a news report told about a preacher who promised to sell blessings on the installment plan. Incredible as it sounds, he offered 12 monthly blessings for $84. Anyone who wanted his prayers could fill out a coupon and send $7 a month for one year. Hinting that his prayers have brought people financial rewards, he promised to send a “blessing certificate” when he received the first payment, and an “anointed billfold” with the second. Of course, there was no money-back guarantee.

Can you imagine Jesus or Peter or Paul promising to pray for people in return for a contribution to their ministries? Certainly not! Paul made every effort to live above reproach. In 2 Corinthians 11:7, Paul told believers that he had “preached the gospel of God to [them] free of charge.” Although he was specifically referring to the proclamation of the Word, the principle of serving with pure motives applies to any spiritual endeavor.

Beware of anyone who places an emphasis on money while promising to give you spiritual benefit in return. James 5:16 says, “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” I don’t think a righteous man would ever insist on receiving pay to pray!:  Richard DeHaan (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

We desecrate prayer when we give it a price,
We cheapen each word that we say;
For prayer without ceasing fulfills God's command—
His grace gives us freedom to pray. —DJD

The one who serves God for money is spiritually bankrupt.

2 Corinthians 11:8  I robbed other churches by taking wages from them to serve you;

KJV  2 Corinthians 11:8 I robbed other churches, taking wages of them, to do you service.

NET  2 Corinthians 11:8 I robbed other churches by receiving support from them so that I could serve you!

BGT  2 Corinthians 11:8 ἄλλας ἐκκλησίας ἐσύλησα λαβὼν ὀψώνιον πρὸς τὴν ὑμῶν διακονίαν,

NLT  2 Corinthians 11:8 I "robbed" other churches by accepting their contributions so I could serve you at no cost.

ESV  2 Corinthians 11:8 I robbed other churches by accepting support from them in order to serve you.

NIV  2 Corinthians 11:8 I robbed other churches by receiving support from them so as to serve you.

YLT  2 Corinthians 11:8 other assemblies I did rob, having taken wages, for your ministration;

ASV  2 Corinthians 11:8 I robbed other churches, taking wages of them that I might minister unto you;

CSB  2 Corinthians 11:8 I robbed other churches by taking pay from them to minister to you.

MIT  2 Corinthians 11:8 I plundered other churches, receiving expenses to support my ministry to you.

NKJ  2 Corinthians 11:8 I robbed other churches, taking wages from them to minister to you.

NRS  2 Corinthians 11:8 I robbed other churches by accepting support from them in order to serve you.

NAB  2 Corinthians 11:8 I plundered other churches by accepting from them in order to minister to you.

NJB  2 Corinthians 11:8 I was robbing other churches, taking wages from them in order to work for you.

GWN  2 Corinthians 11:8 I robbed other churches by taking pay from them to serve you.

BBE  2 Corinthians 11:8 I took money from other churches as payment for my work, so that I might be your servant;

Phillips  As a matter of fact I was only able to do this by “robbing” other churches, for it was what they paid me that made it possible to minister to you free of charge.

The Message It turns out that the other churches paid my way so that you could have a free ride.

AMP Other churches I have robbed by accepting [more than their share of] support for my ministry [from them in order] to serve you.

The Living Bible [8–9] Instead I “robbed” other churches by taking what they sent me and using it up while I was with you so that I could serve you without cost. And when that was gone and I was getting hungry, I still didn’t ask you for anything, for the Christians from Macedonia brought me another gift. I have never yet asked you for one cent, and I never will.

Related Passages:

Philippians 4:14-19+ Nevertheless, you have done well to share with me in my affliction.  15 You yourselves also know, Philippians, that at the first preaching of the gospel, after I left Macedonia, no church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving but you alone; 16 for even in Thessalonica you sent a gift more than once for my needs.   17 Not that I seek the gift itself, but I seek for the profit which increases to your account. 18 But I have received everything in full and have an abundance; I am amply supplied, having received from Epaphroditus what you have sent, a fragrant aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well-pleasing to God. 19 And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

PAUL THE 
"ROBBER"

I robbed (sulaoother churches by taking wages (opsonion) from them to serve (diakonia) you - The sarcasm continues with Paul's use of robbed, which in context is actually what his opponents were doing (see 2Co 11:20+)! As discussed below robbed is an especially strong word used even for stripping a dead soldier of his armor! Through this strong military metaphor Paul says (somewhat sarcastically) he had in effect “plundered” other churches by accepting their support, their “ration-money,” rather than burdening the Corinthian congregation Clearly Paul did not "rob" the other churches. In truth he was supported by other churches and this undoubtedly freed him up to more actively engage in service to the Corinthians. 

Bob Utley - The Greeks and Romans were accustomed to paying their itinerant teachers, but Paul knew that this would be the source of criticism by the false teachers, so he refused to accept monetary help from this church (or any other church while he worked among them, cf. 1 Thess. 2:5–9; 2 Thess. 3:7–9). Paul did accept help from both Philippi and Thessalonica after he had left (cf. Phil. 4:15–18 and possibly 1 Thess. 3:6). Apparently it hurt this church’s feelings (cf. 2Co 11:11; 12:13, 14; 1 Cor. 9:12, 15, 18).. (2 Corinthians 11 Commentary)


Robbed (4813)(sulao) means to spoil, plunder, strip off, especially to strip off the arms of a slain enemy! It means to rob or take money without earning it. Used only one time figuratively and for exaggerated effect describing Paul's feeling about accepting support from one church while ministering in another.  The word sulaō means “to plunder” or “to rob.” The term sometimes depicts the stripping of armaments from a defeated army, or the sudden unsheathing of a weapon of war. It can even carry the connotation of “cheating” (Liddell-Scott) In Classic Greek use sulaō means “to plunder” or “to rob” sometimes depicts the stripping of armaments from a defeated army, or the sudden unsheathing of a weapon of war. It can even carry the connotation of “cheating” (Liddell-Scott). It occurs in the Septuagint in the Epistle of Jeremy 18, part of the apocryphal Book of Baruch, where it refers to burglary. Fearful of being robbed, the priests fortified their temples.

Wages (3800opsonion from ópson = cooked meat + onéomai = buy) literally, as a military technical term for what is appointed to soldiers to buy food ration (money), allowance, pay; more generally (subsistence) pay, wages, expense money. At Athens it meant "fish." It came to mean the "provision-money" which Rome gave its soldiers. It refers to the wages paid by sin (Ro 6:23+). Death can be "earned" so to speak! Eternal life cannot be earned but is a gracious gift from God. 4v in NT - Lk. 3:14; Rom. 6:23; 1 Co. 9:7; 2 Co. 11:8

2 Corinthians 11:9  and when I was present with you and was in need, I was not a burden to anyone; for when the brethren came from Macedonia they fully supplied my need, and in everything I kept myself from being a burden to you, and will continue to do so.

KJV  2 Corinthians 11:9 And 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.

NET  2 Corinthians 11:9 When I was with you and was in need, I was not a burden to anyone, for the brothers who came from Macedonia fully supplied my needs. I kept myself from being a burden to you in any way, and will continue to do so.

BGT  2 Corinthians 11:9 καὶ παρὼν πρὸς ὑμᾶς καὶ ὑστερηθεὶς οὐ κατενάρκησα οὐθενός· τὸ γὰρ ὑστέρημά μου προσανεπλήρωσαν οἱ ἀδελφοὶ ἐλθόντες ἀπὸ Μακεδονίας, καὶ ἐν παντὶ ἀβαρῆ ἐμαυτὸν ὑμῖν ἐτήρησα καὶ τηρήσω.

NLT  2 Corinthians 11:9 And when I was with you and didn't have enough to live on, I did not become a financial burden to anyone. For the brothers who came from Macedonia brought me all that I needed. I have never been a burden to you, and I never will be.

ESV  2 Corinthians 11:9 And when I was with you and was in need, I did not burden anyone, for the brothers who came from Macedonia supplied my need. So I refrained and will refrain from burdening you in any way.

NIV  2 Corinthians 11:9 And when I was with you and needed something, I was not a burden to anyone, for the brothers who came from Macedonia supplied what I needed. I have kept myself from being a burden to you in any way, and will continue to do so.

YLT  2 Corinthians 11:9 and being present with you, and having been in want, I was chargeable to no one, for my lack did the brethren supply -- having come from Macedonia -- and in everything burdenless to you I did keep myself, and will keep.

ASV  2 Corinthians 11:9 and when I was present with you and was in want, I was not a burden on any man; for the brethren, when they came from Macedonia, supplied the measure of my want; and in everything I kept myself from being burdensome unto you, and so will I keep myself.

CSB  2 Corinthians 11:9 When I was present with you and in need, I did not burden anyone, for the brothers who came from Macedonia supplied my needs. I have kept myself, and will keep myself, from burdening you in any way.

MIT  2 Corinthians 11:9 Even when I was present with you and was in need, I did not become a burden on anyone. For brothers coming from Macedonia provided resources to supply my need. In every situation I kept myself from being a burden to you, and I shall continue to do so.

NKJ  2 Corinthians 11:9 And when I was present with you, and in need, I was a burden to no one, for what I lacked the brethren who came from Macedonia supplied. And in everything I kept myself from being burdensome to you, and so I will keep myself.

NRS  2 Corinthians 11:9 And when I was with you and was in need, I did not burden anyone, for my needs were supplied by the friends who came from Macedonia. So I refrained and will continue to refrain from burdening you in any way.

NAB  2 Corinthians 11:9 And when I was with you and in need, I did not burden anyone, for the brothers who came from Macedonia supplied my needs. So I refrained and will refrain from burdening you in any way.

NJB  2 Corinthians 11:9 When I was with you and needed money, I was no burden to anybody, for the brothers from Macedonia brought me as much as I needed when they came; I have always been careful not to let myself be a burden to you in any way, and I shall continue to be so.

GWN  2 Corinthians 11:9 When I was with you and needed something, I didn't bother any of you for help. My friends from the province of Macedonia supplied everything I needed. I kept myself from being a financial burden to you in any way, and I will continue to do that.

BBE  2 Corinthians 11:9 And when I was present with you, and was in need, I let no man be responsible for me; for the brothers, when they came from Macedonia, gave me whatever was needed; and in everything I kept myself from being a trouble to you, and I will go on doing so.

Phillips Even when I was with you and very hard up, I did not bother any of you. It was the brothers who came from Macedonia who brought me all that I needed. Yes, I kept myself from being a burden to you then, and so I intend to do in the future. 

The Living Bible [8–9] Instead I “robbed” other churches by taking what they sent me and using it up while I was with you so that I could serve you without cost. And when that was gone and I was getting hungry, I still didn’t ask you for anything, for the Christians from Macedonia brought me another gift. I have never yet asked you for one cent, and I never will.

The Message Not once during the time I lived among you did anyone have to lift a finger to help me out. My needs were always supplied by the believers from Macedonia province. I was careful never to be a burden to you, and I never will be, you can count on it.

AMP And when I was with you and ran short financially, I did not burden any [of you], for what I lacked was abundantly made up by the brethren who came from Macedonia. So I kept myself from being burdensome to you in any way, and will continue to keep [myself from being so].

  • 2Co 11:8 
  • when I was present with you and was in need: 2Co 6:4 9:12 Php 2:25 4:11-14 Heb 11:37 
  • I was: 2Co 12:13 Ne 5:15 Ac 18:3 20:33 1Th 2:9 2Th 3:8,9 
  • the brethren: 2Co 8:1,2 Php 4:10,15,16 
  • burden: 2Co 12:14-16 1Th 2:6 
  • 2 Corinthians 11 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passages:

2 Corinthians 2:17+  For we are not like many, peddling the word of God, but as from sincerity, but as from God, we speak in Christ in the sight of God.

Acts 18:1-5+ (VERSE 5 COULD BE THE BRETHREN FROM MACEDONIAN WHO FULLY SUPPLIED HIS NEED SO THAT HE COULD DO FULL TIME EVANGELISM!) After these things he left Athens and went to Corinth. 2 And he found a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, having recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had commanded all the Jews to leave Rome. He came to them, 3 and because he was of the same trade, he stayed with them and they were working, for by trade they were tent-makers. 4 And he was reasoning in the synagogue every Sabbath and trying to persuade Jews and Greeks.  5 But when Silas and Timothy came down from Macedonia, Paul began devoting himself completely to the word, solemnly testifying to the Jews that Jesus was the Christ.

PAUL'S BURDEN FREE
MINISTRY IN CORINTH

And when I was present with you and was in need, I was not a burden (katanarkao - "was not slothful") to anyone; for when the brethren came from Macedonia they fully supplied (prosanapleroo) my need (husterema), and in everything I kept (tereo) myself from being a burden to you, and will continue to do so - I was not a burden is what we might say today as he did not freeload on them! Paul continues his explanation and rationale of why he did not solicit funds from the relatively well-off Corinthians. His need was fully supplied by the brethren who came from Macedonia (see above) Had they really understood what he was saying, this truth should have been reassuring to the Corinthians that he had not been a burden (katanarkao) to them and would continue not to be a burden (this second use of burden is abares [only here in NT] an adjective meaning literally light in weight and figuratively not financially burdensome, not a bother or expense to anyone)

There is a touch of irony here for imagine the impact on the rich Corinthians learning of the fact that the poor Macedonians had helped Paul 


Burden (2655)(katanarkao from kata - intensifies + narkao = go numb) means to grow numb, to become stiff, inactive, and figuratively to weigh heavily upon someone, to become apathetic toward someone, to be burdensome, to be "deadweight", to be a financial burden to someone by requiring too much support. The idea is to live lazily off of someone else's generosity! Used 3x - 2Co 11:9; 2Co 12:13; 2Co 12:14

Fully supplied (4322prosanapleroo  from pros = beside, in addition to +  anapleroo = to fill, make complete, supply) to fill up by adding to. The prep. in compound means to fill up by adding to. Supply abundantly. Provide sufficiently in addition. To fill something that had previously been emptied. Supply / fill out the shortage by adding what is missing / eliminate the shortage. Only 2 uses - 2Co. 9:12; 2Co 11:9 "when the brethren came from Macedonia they fully supplied my need,"

Need (5303) husterema is that which is comes behind (in contrast to abundance),that which is left or that which is deficient. need, want, deficiency, lack of something needed or desirable, deficiency, poverty. The root verb hustereo pictures someone in a company marching together with others who march faster than he can. He cannot keep up, so he falls behind (he "lacks" in the sense he cannot keep up).  Summary of husterema - (a) the lack of what is needed or desirable, frequently in contrast to abundance (need, want, shortcoming, deficiency, poverty, destitution - Lk 21:4)  8v in NT - Lk. 21:4; 1 Co. 16:17; 2 Co. 8:14; 2 Co. 9:12; 2 Co. 11:9; Phil. 2:30; Col. 1:24; 1 Thess. 3:10

2 Corinthians 11:10  As the truth of Christ is in me, this boasting of mine will not be stopped in the regions of Achaia.

KJV  2 Corinthians 11:10 As the truth of Christ is in me, no man shall stop me of this boasting in the regions of Achaia.

AMP As the truth of Christ is in me, this my boast [of independence] shall not be debarred (silenced or checked) in the regions of Achaia (most of Greece).

The Living Bible I promise this with every ounce of truth I possess—that I will tell everyone in Greece about it!

NET  2 Corinthians 11:10 As the truth of Christ is in me, this boasting of mine will not be stopped in the regions of Achaia.

BGT  2 Corinthians 11:10 ἔστιν ἀλήθεια Χριστοῦ ἐν ἐμοὶ ὅτι ἡ καύχησις αὕτη οὐ φραγήσεται εἰς ἐμὲ ἐν τοῖς κλίμασιν τῆς Ἀχαΐας.

NLT  2 Corinthians 11:10 As surely as the truth of Christ is in me, no one in all of Greece will ever stop me from boasting about this.

ESV  2 Corinthians 11:10 As the truth of Christ is in me, this boasting of mine will not be silenced in the regions of Achaia.

NIV  2 Corinthians 11:10 As surely as the truth of Christ is in me, nobody in the regions of Achaia will stop this boasting of mine.

YLT  2 Corinthians 11:10 The truth of Christ is in me, because this boasting shall not be stopped in regard to me in the regions of Achaia;

ASV  2 Corinthians 11:10 As the truth of Christ is in me, no man shall stop me of this glorying in the regions of Achaia.

CSB  2 Corinthians 11:10 As the truth of Christ is in me, this boasting of mine will not be stopped in the regions of Achaia.

MIT  2 Corinthians 11:10 Truthfulness characteristic of Christ is mine in saying that my boasting will not be frustrated in the districts of Achaia.

NKJ  2 Corinthians 11:10 As the truth of Christ is in me, no one shall stop me from this boasting in the regions of Achaia.

NRS  2 Corinthians 11:10 As the truth of Christ is in me, this boast of mine will not be silenced in the regions of Achaia.

NAB  2 Corinthians 11:10 By the truth of Christ in me, this boast of mine shall not be silenced in the regions of Achaia.

NJB  2 Corinthians 11:10 And as Christ's truth is in me, this boast of mine is not going to be silenced in the regions of Achaia.

GWN  2 Corinthians 11:10 As surely as I have Christ's truth, my bragging will not be silenced anywhere in Greece.

BBE  2 Corinthians 11:10 As the true word of Christ is in me, I will let no man take from me this my cause of pride in the country of Achaia.

Phillips  By the truth of Christ within me, no one shall stop my being proud of this independence through all Achaia! 

The Message With Christ as my witness, it’s a point of honor with me, and I’m not going to keep it quiet just to protect you from what the neighbors will think.

AMP As the truth of Christ is in me, this my boast [of independence] shall not be debarred (silenced or checked) in the regions of Achaia (most of Greece).

The Living Bible I promise this with every ounce of truth I possess—that I will tell everyone in Greece about it!

  • the truth: 2Co 11:31 1:23 12:19 Ro 1:9 9:1 Ga 1:20 1Th 2:5,10 1Ti 2:7 
  • no man shall stop me of this boasting: Gr. this boasting shall not be stopped in me, 2Co 11:12,16,17 10:15 1Co 9:15-18 
  • the regions: 2Co 1:1 9:2 Ac 18:12,27 Ro 16:5 1Co 16:15 1Th 1:7,8 
  • 2 Corinthians 11 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passages:

Romans 9:1  (TRUTH IN CHRIST)  I am telling the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience testifies with me in the Holy Spirit,

As the truth (aletheia) of Christ is in me - Paul is calling Christ in a sense as his witness. 

John Trapp - He confirms it with an oath, that he will not take a penny of them while he preaches in those parts. A minister should be careful of whom he receives a kindness. Note further from this text, that lawful things, when they prove inexpedient and gravaminous, may be forborne by the bond of a covenant. 

This boasting (kauchesis) of mine will not be stopped (phrasso) in the regions of Achaia - Amplified = "my boast [of independence] shall not be debarred (silenced or checked) in the regions of Achaia (most of Greece)." The question is what is he boasting about? If we allow the context to rule in interpretation, it is clearly he is "boasting" that he refused to take funds from the Corinthians and apparently made this fact known to the other churches in Achaia (the province of Corinth). In other words he offered the gospel free of charge to the Corinthians (cf 2C?o 11:7).  Will not be stopped is a strong term in Greek and was used in the Septuagint for blocking up a river.

Barton - Paul knew that the fact he hadn't taken any money from the Corinthians was the strongest rebuttal to the false teachers, for their whole purpose in preaching was to gather a following who would support them (see 2Co 2:17). (1 & 2 Corinthians Life Application Bible Commentary)

Thayer writes "his glorying shall not be stopped, i. e. no one shall get from my conduct an argument to prove that it is empty."

Homer Kent - Paul had found a sense of personal satisfaction in being able to preach among the Corinthians without imposing any monetary obligations on them. It was not something to be ashamed of; certainly it was not a demeaning practice. Consequently, he felt free for “boasting” about it because it brought no credit to him, but to his Lord. Christ had supplied every need—partly by providing manual employment in Corinth, and the rest by the generous gifts of other churches. Paul did not intend to let the misinterpretation which had been placed on this policy prevent him from continuing it. It had been his general practice everywhere (1 Cor. 9:18), even though he had the right to expect proper remuneration if he chose to accept it (1 Cor. 9:14–15). The province of Achaia, of which Corinth was the capital, had doubtless heard already of Paul’s practice, and perhaps had learned of the false charges also. At least one other church, the one at Cenchrea, had been established in Achaia by this time (Rom. 16:1), and there may have been others (2 Cor. 1:1).  (A Heart Opened Wide: Studies in 2 Corinthians)


Boasting (2746kauchesis from kauchaomai = to boast) refers to the act of boasting about something. It expresses the idea of self-congratulation with or without sufficient reason.To boast means to speak of or assert with excessive pride, to express pride in oneself or one’s accomplishments and often suggests ostentation or even exaggeration. In the present context kauchesis denotes the assertion of a claim upon God on the ground of one’s works. Used 11x in the NT - Ro 3:27; Ro 15:17; 1Co. 15:31; 2Co. 1:12; 2Co. 7:4; 2Co. 7:14; 2Co. 8:24; 2Co. 11:10; 2Co. 11:17; 1Th 2:19; Jas. 4:16

Stopped (5420phrasso akin to phragmos = a fence) means to fence, to enclose with a fence, hedge or wall, to block up, stop up, close up and so to keep from opening. To fence in, hedge round, esp. for protection or defence, to fence, secure, fortify ("they fenced in their ships"). This word was used in Greek meaning to fence in, hedge round, especially for protection or defence, to fence, secure, fortify. to put up as a fence, fra,xantej do,ru douri,( sa,koj sa,kei? joining spear close to spear, shield to shield (so as to make a fence). It was used in the idiomatic phrase "stop the mouth" meaning put to silence, to muzzle or to remove any reason to speak. In Romans 3:19, the meaning of phrasso is that all excuse is taken away for all people, both Jew and Gentile. Phrasso is used two other times in the NT, both referring to the mouth being stopped. The writer of Hebrews describes those who by faith "shut the mouths of lions (Heb 11:33+) In his letter to the Corinthians Paul wrote "As the truth of Christ is in me, this boasting of mine (about his ministering free of charge) will not be stopped (meaning to cause his speech to cease or stop) in the regions of Achaia." (2Cor 11:10) 3v - Rom. 3:19; 2 Co. 11:10; Heb. 11:33

2 Corinthians 11:11  Why? Because I do not love you? God knows I do!

AMP And why? Because I do not love you [do not have a preference for you, wish you well, and regard your welfare]? God perceives and knows that I do!

KJV  2 Corinthians 11:11 Wherefore? because I love you not? God knoweth.

NET  2 Corinthians 11:11 Why? Because I do not love you? God knows I do!

BGT  2 Corinthians 11:11 διὰ τί; ὅτι οὐκ ἀγαπῶ ὑμᾶς; ὁ θεὸς οἶδεν.

NLT  2 Corinthians 11:11 Why? Because I don't love you? God knows that I do.

ESV  2 Corinthians 11:11 And why? Because I do not love you? God knows I do!

NIV  2 Corinthians 11:11 Why? Because I do not love you? God knows I do!

AMP And why? Because I do not love you [do not have a preference for you, wish you well, and regard your welfare]? God perceives and knows that I do!

EXPNT And why do I not depend on you? Do you think it is because I do not love you? God knows that I love you.

  • because: 2Co 6:11,12 2Co 7:3 2Co 12:15 
  • God: 2Co 11:10 2Co 12:2,3 Jos 22:22 Ps 44:21  Joh 2:24,25 21:17 Ac 15:8 Heb 4:13 Rev 2:23 
  • 2 Corinthians 11 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passages:

2 Corinthians 6:11; 12  Our mouth has spoken freely to you, O Corinthians, our heart is opened wide. 12 You are not restrained by us, but you are restrained in your own affections.

2 Corinthians 7:3  I do not speak to condemn you, for I have said before that you are in our hearts to die together and to live together.

2 Corinthians 12:15 I will most gladly spend and be expended for your souls. If I love you more, am I to be loved less?

PAUL'S TWO
QUESTIONS

Broomall - Paul calls God to witness that he loves the Corinthians even while they impute wrong motives to him (cf. 2Co 12:15).    (Wycliffe Bible Commentary - 11 - online)

Why? Because I do not (present tense - continually) love (agapao) you? God knows (perfect of eido) I do! - Why in context refers to Paul's refusal to depend on the Corinthians for financial support (he would rather have their spiritual support!) Failure to accept their money was no indication he did not unconditionally, continually love them. God knows is an "affirmation formula" (Paul uses it again in 2Co 12:2-3 and no where else in Scripture) meaning that Paul affirms his love earnestly. Paul calls God as his Witness for only God can see his true heart attitude toward the Corinthians, which was that he loves the Corinthians. 

Barton Why did Paul refuse support? Why did he boast in his own integrity? Why did he oppose the false teachers? It was because of his deep love for the Corinthians. As the founder of the church of Corinth, Paul was concerned for the Corinthians' spiritual welfare. He was jealous for their spiritual purity.  (1 & 2 Corinthians Life Application Bible Commentary)

Ralph Martin on why? - Paul’s self-reflecting protestation of love mirrors both his pastoral concern (see 2Co 12:15) and his response to the implied innuendo that he did not love the Corinthians (ED: BECAUSE HE DID NOT ASK FOR OR ACCEPT THEIR FINANCIAL SUPPORT). Whether they had questioned his love for them in view of his practice regarding apostolic support, or the opponents in 11:4 had sowed this suspicion in their minds is not clear. Either way, it is a situation calling for redress. He retorts warmly but affectionately (a trait noted earlier in 2Co 6:11–13; 7:2, 3).(Word Biblical Commentary - 2 Corinthians)

Bruce Barton -   LOVE 'EM OR LEAVE 'EM   Paul loved those to whom he was writing (2Co 11:11). What he wrote (as challenging and harsh as it is) must be understood against the backdrop of his undying commitment to their best interests. Those being taught can easily detect whether a pastor or teacher declaring God's Word has a sincere interest in their lives or only in disseminating information. People who know they are loved respond to truth and open their hearts to be filled by the Spirit. Do you love those to whom you open God's Word? Ask the Lord to make you tender to those you serve. As you stand before those faces, contemplate the fact that each face has a name and each name a story that explains their idiosyncrasies. Make mention on occasion how much you appreciate them. Publicly thank God for the privilege to serve this group of people. (1 & 2 Corinthians Life Application Bible Commentary)

J. C. Ryle (1816-1900) comments on Paul's zeal as evidenced in this section

"A zealous man in religion is preemiently a man of one thing. It is not enough to say that he is earnest,--hearty,--uncompromising,--thorough-going,--whole hearted,--fervent in spirit. He only sees one thing,--he cares for one thing,--he lives for one thing,--he is swallowed up in one thing, and that one thing is to please God. Whether he lives, or whether he dies,--whether he has health, or whether he has sickness,--whether he is rich, or whether he is poor,--whether he pleases man, or whether he gives offense,--whether he is thought wise, or whether he is thought foolish,--whether he gets blame, or whether he gets praise,--whether he gets honour, or whether he gets shame,--for all this the zealous man cares nothing at all. He burns for one thing; and that one thing is to please God, and to advance God's glory. If he is consumed in the very burning, he cares not for it,--he is content. He feels that like a lamp, he is made to burn, and if consumed in burning, he has but done the work for which God appointed him. Such an one will always find a sphere for his zeal. If he cannot preach, and work, and give money, he will cry, and sigh, and pray. Yes! if he is only a pauper, on a perpetual bed of sickness, he will make the wheels of sin around him drive heavily, by continually interceding against it. If he cannot fight in the valley with Joshua, he will do the work of Moses, Aaron, and Hur, on the hill. If he is cut off from working himself, he will give the Lord no rest till help is raised up from another quarter, and the work is done. This is what I mean, when I speak of zeal in religion."

2 Corinthians 11:12  But what I am doing I will continue to do, so that I may cut off opportunity from those who desire an opportunity to be regarded just as we are in the matter about which they are boasting.

KJV  2 Corinthians 11:12 But 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.

NET  2 Corinthians 11:12 And what I am doing I will continue to do, so that I may eliminate any opportunity for those who want a chance to be regarded as our equals in the things they boast about.

BGT  2 Corinthians 11:12 Ὃ δὲ ποιῶ, καὶ ποιήσω, ἵνα ἐκκόψω τὴν ἀφορμὴν τῶν θελόντων ἀφορμήν, ἵνα ἐν ᾧ καυχῶνται εὑρεθῶσιν καθὼς καὶ ἡμεῖς.

NLT  2 Corinthians 11:12 But I will continue doing what I have always done. This will undercut those who are looking for an opportunity to boast that their work is just like ours.

ESV  2 Corinthians 11:12 And what I am doing I will continue to do, in order to undermine the claim of those who would like to claim that in their boasted mission they work on the same terms as we do.

NIV  2 Corinthians 11:12 And I will keep on doing what I am doing in order to cut the ground from under those who want an opportunity to be considered equal with us in the things they boast about.

YLT  2 Corinthians 11:12 and what I do, I also will do, that I may cut off the occasion of those wishing an occasion, that in that which they boast they may be found according as we also;

ASV  2 Corinthians 11:12 But what I do, that I will do, that I may cut off occasion from them that desire an occasion; that wherein they glory, they may be found even as we.

CSB  2 Corinthians 11:12 But I will continue to do what I am doing, in order to deny the opportunity of those who want an opportunity to be regarded just as our equals in what they boast about.

MIT  2 Corinthians 11:12 That which I am doing I shall continue to do in order to cut out the pretext of those wanting a basis for accusation. As a result their true colors will be found out in the matter in which they boast, just as also our character will be revealed.

NKJ  2 Corinthians 11:12 But what I do, I will also continue to do, that I may cut off the opportunity from those who desire an opportunity to be regarded just as we are in the things of which they boast.

NRS  2 Corinthians 11:12 And what I do I will also continue to do, in order to deny an opportunity to those who want an opportunity to be recognized as our equals in what they boast about.

NAB  2 Corinthians 11:12 And what I do I will continue to do, in order to end this pretext of those who seek a pretext for being regarded as we are in the mission of which they boast.

NJB  2 Corinthians 11:12 I will go on acting as I do at present, to cut the ground from under the feet of those who are looking for a chance to be proved my equals in grounds for boasting.

GWN  2 Corinthians 11:12 But I'll go on doing what I'm doing. This will take away the opportunity of those people who want to brag because they think they're like us.

BBE  2 Corinthians 11:12 But what I do, that I will go on doing, so that I may give no chance to those who are looking for one; so that, in the cause of their pride, they may be seen to be the same as we are.

Phillips but I am determined to maintain this boast, so as to cut the ground from under the feet of those who profess to be God's messengers on the same terms as I am. God's messengers. 

The Message I’m just trying to keep things open and honest between us. And I’m not changing my position on this. I’d die before taking your money. I’m giving nobody grounds for lumping me in with those money-grubbing “preachers,” vaunting themselves as something special.

AMP But what I do, I will continue to do, [for I am determined to maintain this independence] in order to cut off the claim of those who would like [to find an occasion and incentive] to claim that in their boasted [mission] they work on the same terms that we do.

The Living Bible But I will do it to cut out the ground from under the feet of those who boast that they are doing God’s work in just the same way we are.

  • what: 2Co 11:9 1:17 Job 23:13 
  • that I may: 1Co 9:12 1Ti 5:14 
  • them: Ga 1:7 Php 1:15-30 
  • about which they are boasting 2Co 11:18 5:12 10:17 1Co 5:6 Ga 6:13,14 
  • 2 Corinthians 11 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

THE PURPOSE OF
CONTINUED BOASTING

But what I am doing  (poieo) I will continue to do (poieo) - Paul will continue boasting, something that he would rather not do, but feels is a necessity to refute the false teachers. He will continue boasting to set the record straight, boasting that he had not charged to preached the Gospel (2Co 6:10; 7:2; 11:27; 12:16-18;1Co 9:3-18)

Storms - Paul's opponents longed for the opportunity to boast that they had ministered in Corinth on the same terms as he. But as long as he refused money (something they would never do), such a desire would go unfulfilled, for they were financial parasites on the church.

So that I may cut off (ekkopto) opportunity (aphormefrom those who desire an opportunity (aphorme) to be regarded (heurisko) just as we are in the matter about which they are boasting - NLT = "This will undercut those who are looking for an opportunity to boast that their work is just like ours." Amplified = "But what I do, I will continue to do, [for I am determined to maintain this independence] in order to cut off the claim of those who would like [to find an occasion and incentive] to claim that in their boasted [mission] they work on the same terms that we do." The purpose of Paul's continued boasting is the "cut the ground from under the feet of those who profess to be God's messengers" (Phillips) They were claiming to be apostles just like Paul and they were boasting about it. Paul's true boasting in his financial independence would counter their boasting and their actions. Peterson says "I’m giving nobody grounds for lumping me in with those money-grubbing “preachers,” vaunting themselves as something special."

Utley - Paul knew his opponents. He tried to remove every opportunity for their attacks. He limited his freedom and rights to protect and expand the gospel (cf. Ro 14:1–15:13). . (2 Corinthians 11 Commentary)

Bruce Barton - Eventually, the Corinthians would wake up to the fact that these false teachers, unlike Paul, were more interested in the money of the Corinthians than in their spiritual welfare. Although Paul was being forced to boast foolishly about his own ministry, it was his consistent honesty and integrity-the way he had conducted himself around the Corinthians-that would silence his critics and answer their charges against him. These new preachers wanted to be recognized as "super-apostles" (2Co 11:5); but in reality, they could not be considered Paul's equals. They weren't willing to suffer, as Jesus had, to present the gospel free of charge. (1 & 2 Corinthians Life Application Bible Commentary)

Broomall - This verse has been subjected to various translations and interpretations. Follow the AV and the ASV rather than the RSV (which is almost a paraphrase). Three things are plain: (1) Paul would continue his policy of taking no funds from the Corinthians. (2) This financial policy was motivated by a desire to undermine the false teachers. (3) Having nothing to charge against Paul on this score, these false teachers would be found even as we, i.e., judged by the same standards; their boasted superiority would evaporate.    (Wycliffe Bible Commentary - 11 - online)

2 Corinthians 11:13  For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ.

KJV  2 Corinthians 11:13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.

NET  2 Corinthians 11:13 For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ.

BGT  2 Corinthians 11:13 οἱ γὰρ τοιοῦτοι ψευδαπόστολοι, ἐργάται δόλιοι, μετασχηματιζόμενοι εἰς ἀποστόλους Χριστοῦ.

NLT  2 Corinthians 11:13 These people are false apostles. They are deceitful workers who disguise themselves as apostles of Christ.

ESV  2 Corinthians 11:13 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ.

NIV  2 Corinthians 11:13 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ.

YLT  2 Corinthians 11:13 for those such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ,

ASV  2 Corinthians 11:13 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, fashioning themselves into apostles of Christ.

CSB  2 Corinthians 11:13 For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ.

MIT  2 Corinthians 11:13 For such persons are false representatives, treacherous manipulators, masquerading as emissaries of Christ.

NKJ  2 Corinthians 11:13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ.

NRS  2 Corinthians 11:13 For such boasters are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ.

NAB  2 Corinthians 11:13 For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, who masquerade as apostles of Christ.

NJB  2 Corinthians 11:13 These people are counterfeit apostles, dishonest workers disguising themselves as apostles of Christ.

GWN  2 Corinthians 11:13 People who brag like this are false apostles. They are dishonest workers, since they disguise themselves as Christ's apostles.

BBE  2 Corinthians 11:13 For such men are false Apostles, workers of deceit, making themselves seem like Apostles of Christ.

Phillips They are counterfeits of the real thing, dishonest practitioners “God's messengers” only by their own appointment. 

The Message They’re a sorry bunch—pseudo-apostles, lying preachers, crooked workers—posing as Christ’s agents but sham to the core.

AMP For such men are false apostles [spurious, counterfeits], deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles (special messengers) of Christ (the Messiah).

The Living Bible God never sent those men at all; they are “phonies” who have fooled you into thinking they are Christ’s apostles.

  • false: 2Co 11:15 2:17 4:2 Mt 25:24 Ac 15:1,24 20:30 Ro 16:18 Ga 1:7 2:4 4:17 Ga 6:12 Eph 4:14 Php 1:15,16 Col 2:4,8 1Ti 1:4-7 4:1-3 6:3-5 2Ti 2:17-19 3:5-9 4:3,4 2Pe 2:1-3 1Jn 2:18 4:1 2Jn 1:7-11 Jude 1:4 Rev 2:2,9,20 19:20 
  • deceitful: Php 3:2 Tit 1:10,11 
  • 2 Corinthians 11 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passages:

2 Peter 2:18-22+ For speaking out arrogant words of vanity they entice by fleshly desires, by sensuality, those who barely escape from the ones who live in error, 19 promising them freedom while they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by what a man is overcome, by this he is enslaved. 20 For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world by the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and are overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. 21 For it would be better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn away from the holy commandment handed on to them. 22 It has happened to them according to the true proverb, “A DOG RETURNS TO ITS OWN VOMIT,” and, “A sow, after washing, returns to wallowing in the mire.”

Jude 1:4  For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. 

Jude 1:16-21 These are grumblers, finding fault, following after their own lusts; they speak arrogantly, flattering people for the sake of gaining an advantage. 17 But you, beloved, ought to remember the words that were spoken beforehand by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ, 18 that they were saying to you, “In the last time there will be mockers, following after their own ungodly lusts.” 19 These are the ones who cause divisions, worldly-minded, devoid of the Spirit. 20But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life.

PAUL EXPOSES THE
COUNTERFEITS

For (gar) term of explanation. Paul now explains and exposes those who claim to be his equal in ministry. 

Such men are false (counterfeit) apostles (pseudapostolos), deceitful (dolios) workers,(present tense - continually) disguising (metaschematizo) themselves as apostles (apostolos) of Christ - Paul "takes off the gloves" so to speak. Now he is not mincing words, but calling a spade a spade, to use a slew of idioms! False apostles are "wannabes" claiming authority they do not have for they have never seen Jesus but, unless they repent of their evil ways, are destined to see Him at the Great White Throne judgment! These deceivers are not playing at their ploys, but are deadly serious and so they work hard at their deceiving trade (see ergates below). They labor at their dishonest practices speaking words that are deceitful, which are like traps they bait with lies in an attempt to trap the unwary, unalert soul and take them captive (cf 2Ti 2:26+)! And finally, they fail to fulfill the computer lingo maxim of WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get). In fact what you see is nothing but "smoke and mirrors," men who are  charading charlatan, spiritually speaking

Utley - These were not sincere Christians who were misled. These were spiritually lost men (cf. v. 14) attempting to divide the church of God (cf. 1 Cor. 2:10–15). They were wolves in sheep’s clothing (cf. Matt. 7; Acts 20:29). The term “disguising” (metaschēmatizō) is used in vv. 13, 14, 15. It speaks of the outward changing form of something or someone (cf. Phil. 3:21). These (false teachers and Satan) appear to be what they are not!. (2 Corinthians 11 Commentary)

Storms -  their character - vv. 13-15  a masquerade of piety - v. 13      an imitation of the evil one - vv. 14-15 In some sense, these men portrayed themselves as champions of "righteousness" to win recognition and favor in Corinth as "apostles of Christ." Their approach to "righteousness," however, was distinctly Mosaic, focusing on the old covenant (hence, Paul's comments in chp. 3 on the superior nature of the new covenant). "Since they proclaimed 'another Jesus . . . a different gospel,' it seems likely that they advocated a different 'righteousness,' a 'righteousness' arising out of the Mosaic law rather than from Messiah Jesus' reconciliatory death" (Barnett, 527).

Broomall - Paul describes his antagonists thus: (1) their character—false apostles;] (2) their chicanery—deceitful workers; (3) their camouflage—transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.] On such, see 3:12. The verb metaschematizo, translated transforming, differs from the verb metamorphoō in 3:18 as an outward change differs from an inner change.   (Wycliffe Bible Commentary - 11 - online)


Bruce Barton offers excellent guidelines on how to discern a false teacher - How could Paul be so confident that these teachers were disguising themselves as apostles?

  1. One of the first signs that a teacher is false is that that teacher tries to discredit true Christian teachers and preachers. That was what was occurring at Corinth: Paul's credentials, authority, and speaking abilities were being questioned by these self-serving teachers (2Co 11:5-6). By discrediting Paul's authority, these teachers were trying to build up their own following in the congregation Paul had founded (2Co 10:13-18). 
  2. A second sign of a false teacher is that teacher's self-serving methods. The teachers at Corinth were boasting of their own credentials, comparing themselves to Paul (2Co 3:1; 2Co 10:12). Their methods (their loud boasts) should have been a clue that these teachers were not looking out for the Corinthians' spiritual welfare but instead for their own financial welfare. They wanted to consolidate power over the congregation, and the way they handled their authority revealed their greedy goals (2Co 2:17). They were very overbearing (2Co 11:20).
  3. A third sign that these teachers were false and deceitful is that their methods were causing division and conflict in the church. Paul would warn the Romans about such people, those who love to divide (see Ro 16:17). Instead of building the Corinthians up in the faith as Paul hoped to do (13:10), these teachers were tearing the church down in order to put together their own following (10:12-18). They were not building on the solid foundation: the gospel of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 3:10-13).
  4. The final sign that these were false teachers is the message they preached. The conflict they caused in the church, their self-serving methods, and their criticism of God's teachers should have prompted the Corinthians to inspect the message thoroughly. A careful analysis would have revealed that it was "different" from the true gospel that Paul, Silas, Timothy, and Apollos had preached (2Co 11:4-5).

The Corinthian believers should have tested the teachers to see whether they believed Jesus is the Son of God (1 John 4:1-2). The Corinthians had failed to do this and had even let these teachers wreak havoc in their congregation. Paul was disappointed with the Corinthians' lack of discernment (11:4, 19-20), and he felt compelled to expose the teachers for who they were: false apostles. (1 & 2 Corinthians Life Application Bible Commentary)


False apostles (5570) (pseudapostolos from pseudes - lying +  apostolos) is found only here. BDAG - one who claims to be an apostle without the divine commission necessary for the work, false/spurious/bogus apostle. Deliberately deceptive person pretending to be an apostle. Gilbrant adds "This term does not appear in any other extant ancient Greek literature except for its one appearance in 2 Corinthians 11:13. Here false apostles are called servants of Satan (verse 15). Such a title demonstrates the serious nature of their false teaching. They apparently were of Jewish origin (verse 22). The exact nature of their error is not clear, but Paul openly condemned them for preaching “another Jesus,” “a different spirit,” and “a different gospel” (verse 4). The result of their teaching was that the Corinthians were being led away from a “sincere and pure devotion to Christ” (verse 3; NIV). Though they appeared busy in the work of Christ, they were serving themselves (verse 13). Like the one they served, regardless of how pure and wonderful they may have appeared on the outside, they were corrupt." (Complete Biblical Library - Incredible Resource) Compare to false brethren in 2Co 11:26. 

Deceitful (1386)(dolios from dolos = bait, fishing bait, figuratively craft, deceit) is found only here and describes one marked by deliberate deception. The root work conveys the sense of  trickery or a decoy, a false representation.Dolios communicates deceitful intent with destructive motivesBDAG - pert. to violation of trust in effort to deceive, deceitful, treacherous. Uses in Lxx = Ps 5:6; Ps 12:2; Ps 12:3; Ps 17:1; Ps 31:18; Ps 43:1; Ps 52:4; Ps 109:2; Ps 120:2; Ps 120:3; Pr 11:1; Pr 12:6; Pr 12:17; Pr 12:24; Pr 12:27; Pr 13:9; Pr 13:13; Pr 14:25; Pr 20:23; Jer 9:8; Zeph 3:13

Workers (Laborers) (2040ergates from ergazomai = meaning to engage in an activity involving considerable expenditure of effort. It is the root of English words like ergs, ergonomics, etc) literally describes a worker (workman) or laborer, someone who is engaged in labor (Mt 10:10, Mt 20:1-2, 8, etc). An ergates is one who effects something or brings about an effect through exertion of effort, whether mental or physical. In the spiritual realm, some of the workers are good (believers - Mt 9:37, 38, 1Ti 5:18, 2Ti 2:15) and some are evil (unbelievers = deceitful workers in 2Cor 11:13, evil workers - Php 3:2, workers of evil literally in Lk 13:27) 14v - Matt. 9:37; Matt. 9:38; Matt. 10:10; Matt. 20:1; Matt. 20:2; Matt. 20:8; Lk. 10:2; Lk. 10:7; Acts 19:25; 2 Co. 11:13; Phil. 3:2; 1 Tim. 5:18; 2 Tim. 2:15; Jas. 5:4

Disguising (transforming) (3345metaschematizo from metá = exchange or change of place or condition + schematízo = to form <> from schema = shape, outward form or fashion, the form that is seen) means to change the outward form or appearance of something. To alter the outward appearance in such a way as to deceive or to feign to be what one is not (see uses in 2 Cor 11:13, 14, 15) UBS Handbook notes that "This compound verb focuses on the unstable outward shape and appearance, as against the inner stable nature. TDNT adds that "The only LXX instance is in (apocryphal book) 4 Macc. 9:22 for the transforming of martyrs at death. Philo uses the verb for “to change into a new form.” Josephus has it for changing clothing or disguising as well as transforming. When Christ the Savior of the body returns, He will transform our physical body so that, while it will be the same body, it will no longer be subject to sin, lust, suffering, weakness, misuse, and neglect. Hallelujah! 5v - 1 Co. 4:6; 2 Co. 11:13; 2 Co. 11:14; 2 Co. 11:15; Phil. 3:21


Related Resources:

2 Corinthians 11:14  No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.

KJV  2 Corinthians 11:14 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.

NET  2 Corinthians 11:14 And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.

BGT  2 Corinthians 11:14 καὶ οὐ θαῦμα· αὐτὸς γὰρ ὁ σατανᾶς μετασχηματίζεται εἰς ἄγγελον φωτός.

NLT  2 Corinthians 11:14 But I am not surprised! Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.

ESV  2 Corinthians 11:14 And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.

NIV  2 Corinthians 11:14 And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.

YLT  2 Corinthians 11:14 and no wonder -- for even the Adversary doth transform himself into a messenger of light;

ASV  2 Corinthians 11:14 And no marvel; for even Satan fashioneth himself into an angel of light.

CSB  2 Corinthians 11:14 And no wonder! For Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.

MIT  2 Corinthians 11:14 This is not surprising, for Satan disguises himself as a messenger of light.

NKJ  2 Corinthians 11:14 And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light.

NRS  2 Corinthians 11:14 And no wonder! Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.

NAB  2 Corinthians 11:14 And no wonder, for even Satan masquerades as an angel of light.

NJB  2 Corinthians 11:14 There is nothing astonishing in this; even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.

GWN  2 Corinthians 11:14 And no wonder, even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.

BBE  2 Corinthians 11:14 And it is no wonder; for even Satan himself is able to take the form of an angel of light.

Phillips  Nor do their tactics surprise me when I consider how Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. 

The Living Bible Yet I am not surprised! Satan can change himself into an angel of light,

Related Passages:

Genesis 3:1-8+ (SATAN'S AGE OLD TACTIC - CREATE DOUBT ABOUT THE WORD OF TRUTH!) Now the serpent  (Satan) was more crafty than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, “Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?” 2The woman said to the serpent, “From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; 3 but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.’” 4 The serpent said to the woman, “You surely will not die! 5 “For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6 When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings. 

2 Corinthians 2:11+ (SATAN'S DEMONS AND HIS MEN ARE EVER LURKING TO DRIVE A WEDGE IN A CONGREGATION, MARRIAGE, FAMILY, ETC - ESPECIALLY WITH UNFORGIVENESS IS PRESENT! ) so that no advantage would be taken of us by Satan, for we are not ignorant of his schemes. 

2 Corinthians 4:4+  (SATAN'S EFFECT ON THE UNBELIEVING) in whose case the god of this world (SATAN) has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, Who is the image of God.

1 Corinthians 7:5+  (LOOK OUT MARRIED COUPLES! HE IS PROWLING AROUND YOUR SEXUAL LIFE!) Stop depriving one another, except by agreement for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer, and come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.

THE CLEVER
COUNTERFEIT

No wonder - Paul was not amazed at these false messenger's methods. He uses the rare noun thauma which speaks of astonishment and amazement, but he note that he modifies it with an absolute (ou) no, indicating he is not in the least surprised by the tactics of the false "super" apostles!

For - explanation - Paul explains why he wasn't surprised, which is because he was well acquainted with the methods of their spiritual father Satan! 

Even Satan (satanas)(present tense - continually) disguises (metaschematizo - transforming) himself as an angel (aggelos/angelos - a messenger) of light (phos) - Paul is absolutely not caught off guard or surprised by their evil deeds for the apple does not fall far from the tree! These men are "sons of Belial," liars and murderers (spiritually) who like their "father the devil want to do the desires of (their) father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies." (Jn 8:44) They lie because they are born liars who have never been born again.

Although the Old Testament doesn't describe Satan as an angel of light, Jewish writings do. Notice that, in masquerading as light (phos), Satan attempts to counterfeit the true Light, Jesus, Who declared "I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life." (Jn 8:12) So in contrast to the true messenger of Light, the false messenger of light brings spiritual, eternal death, not spiritual, eternal life. 

Utley - Satan’s major trick is masquerading as truth (cf. Gen. 3). Evil always tries to mimic or counterfeit the good. False teachers always come from inside the church (cf. 2 Pet. 2; 1 John 2:18–19). . (2 Corinthians 11 Commentary)

The devil is subtle, deceptive, and sly—
He's clever and tricks us to swallow his lie;
But his cunning methods we're sure to discern
If we make God's warnings our daily concern.
—D. De Haan

God's truth is the best protection against Satan's lies.


Bruce Barton -   SATAN'S MEN   Satan and his servants can deceive people by appearing to be attractive, good, and moral. Many unsuspecting people follow smooth-talking, Bible-quoting leaders into cults. Don't be fooled by external appearances. Impressions alone are not an accurate indicator of who is or isn't a true follower of Christ, so it helps to ask these questions:

  1. Do the teachings confirm Scripture (Acts 17:11)?
  2. Does the teacher affirm and proclaim that Jesus Christ is God who came into the world as a man to save people from their sins (1 John 4:1-3)?
  3. Is the teacher's lifestyle consistent with biblical morality (Matthew 12:33-37)?  (1 & 2 Corinthians Life Application Bible Commentary)

Wonder (3756)(thauma) is used only in 2Co 11:14 and Rev 17:6 ("greatly"). Friberg - (1) as an object of wonder marvel, wonderful thing (2C 11.14); (2) as an attitude that has been inspired astonishment, amazement, surprise (Rev 17.6).

Gilbrant - In classical Greek thauma describes “that which causes astonishment and amazement by its appearance.” It could mean both “admiration” (“wonder”) and a “miracle” (or “marvel”). The word and its related word forms occur frequently in accounts of travel, in stories of extraordinary events, and in accounts of natural marvels. The word is often linked with the mighty acts of a deity. In addition, thauma is sometimes found in burial inscriptions from the classical period (cf. Moulton-Milligan). In the Septuagint thauma appears only four times, all of them in Job (17:8; 18:20; 20:8; 21:5). In all four instances the word expresses, like the Hebrew words it translates, the horror which envelops those who must watch the judgment of God fall. Thauma is found only twice in the New Testament (2 Corinthians 11:14; Revelation 17:6). Both instances are compatible with the usage of the word in classical Greek. The “wonder” of astonishment that John experienced as he saw the woman named Babylon was caused by a partially inexplicable sight. The fact that supernatural elements were portrayed by the sight contributed to John’s reaction. Such astonishment and amazement is usually described in the New Testament through the word group thaumazō. The word teras, on the other hand, places emphasis on the extraordinary in the sense of something that has been done, not merely seen. Throughout the Book of Acts there are many examples of signs and “wonders” confirming the gospel (e.g., Acts 2:22,43; 5:12; 6:8; 7:36). The originally nonreligious word sēmeion stresses the function of an event as a sign of something more significant than the event itself. (Complete Biblical Library - Incredible Resource)

Satan (4567)(satanas transliterated from Hebrew Satan - see 07854 and Aramaic sātānâ) literally means adversary, the evil antagonist who offers opposition, hostility, resentment, etc. An enemy who that contends with, opposes, resists. An adversary is one who hates or opposes another person and tries to harm them or stop them from doing something because of hatred and malice. Satan is the inveterateimplacable, relentless, ruthless, remorseless, merciless, heartless, pitiless, cruel, hard, harsh, hardened, incorrigible, dedicated enemy of God and man.  Satan is not a myth or a fable, but a created, fallen angel who is a real, supernatural evil being (Mt 16.23; 1 Th 2.18+). Satan is not divine but is subject to the divine Creator Jesus (John 1:3, Col 1:16+). He was the tempter of Jesus and sifter of men like Peter  (Mt 4.1, Lk 4:2+, Mk 1:13+, Lk 22:31+). 

Related Resource:


QUESTION -  What does it mean that Satan masquerades as an angel of light?

ANSWER - Darkness and light are metaphors for evil and good. If anyone sees an angel of light, it will automatically seem to be a good being, for the correlation of evil with darkness, and of good with light, is a powerful archetype in human history. In the Bible, light is a spiritual metaphor for truth and God’s unchanging nature (James 1:17). It is repeatedly used in the Bible to help us understand that God is wholly good and truthful (1 John 1:5). When we are “in the light,” we are with Him (1 Peter 2:9). He exhorts us to join Him in the light (1 John 1:7), for giving us light was His purpose (John 12:46). Light is the place where love dwells and is comfortable (1 John 2:9-10). God has created light (Genesis 1:3), dwells in the light (1 Timothy 6:16) and puts the light in human hearts so that we can see and know Him and understand truth (2 Corinthians 4:6).

So, when 2 Corinthians 11:14 tells us that “Satan disguises himself as an angel of light,” it means that Satan capitalizes on our love of the light in order to deceive. He wants us to think that he is good, truthful, loving, and powerful – all the things that God is. To portray himself as a dark, devilish being with horns would not be very appealing to the majority of people. Most people are not drawn to darkness, but to light. Therefore, Satan appears as a creature of light to draw us to himself and his lies.

How can we discern which light is of God and which light is of Satan? Our minds and hearts are easily confused by conflicting messages. How can we make sure we are on the right path? Psalm 119 says, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (verse 105) and “The unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple” (verse 130). The words of God have power. Just as God’s voice spoke physical light into existence, it can speak spiritual light into our hearts. Exposure to His voice – in His Word – will help us recognize the difference between the good light of God and that which is counterfeit.

Satan presents sin to us as something pleasing and beautiful to be desired, and he presents false teaching as enlightening and life-changing. Millions follow his deceptions simply because they do not know God’s truth. Isaiah 8:20-22 describes the darkness that results from ignoring the Word. The people of Israel have been seeking truth by consulting mediums, deceived by Satan’s lie. Isaiah says, “To the teaching and to the testimony! If they will not speak according to this word, it is because they have no dawn. They will pass through the land, greatly distressed and hungry. And when they are hungry, they will be enraged and will speak contemptuously against their king and their God, and turn their faces upward. And they will look to the earth, but behold, distress and darkness, the gloom of anguish. And they will be thrust into thick darkness.”

Darkness is a result of attempting to find truth without the Word of God. Sadly, as Isaiah says, when people do not have the “dawn,” they wander in darkness and often become angry at God, refusing to come to Him for help. This is why Satan’s masquerade as an angel of light is so effective. It turns white to black and black to white and gets us believing that God is the liar, that God is the source of darkness. Then, in our distress, we focus our hatred towards the only One who can save us. GotQuestions.org


Captain Thunderbolt

Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. —2 Corinthians 11:14

Today's Scripture: 2 Corinthians 11:3-4,12-15

When an English robber called Captain Thunderbolt escaped the law and moved to the eastern US in 1818, he began practicing medicine. He took on the name Dr. John Wilson. Often he wore three suits of clothes to escape recognition by making himself look larger and covering up a deformed leg.

Just before the man died, he asked his friends to bury him without removing his clothes. But to prepare his body for proper burial, that request could not be honored. The mortician was surprised to find scars from wounds and a withered leg. A search of “Dr. Wilson’s” house revealed a stash of watches, jewelry, and diamonds. The sheriff learned that the doctor was in fact Thunderbolt, a thief in disguise. They had been fooled!

Satan and his followers have disguises too. It says in 2 Corinthians 11:15, “[Satan’s] ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness.” But how? One way is through false doctrine. Ever since Paul’s day, false teachers have taught that good deeds can earn salvation.

Paul warned us not to be deceived by the devil’s craftiness (v.3). The truth is: “By grace you have been saved through faith . . . ; it is the gift of God, not of works” (Eph. 2:8-9). Don’t be fooled. By:  Anne Cetas (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

The powers of darkness have blinded the race,
Closing our eyes to the glories of grace;
But faith in the Savior brings healing and sight—
He floods our soul with His truth and His light. —DJD

Satan has many tools, but deception is the handle that fits them all.


The Angel Of Music

Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. —2 Corinthians 11:14

Today's Scripture: Ephesians 6:10-18

In Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical The Phantom of the Opera, a young chorus girl named Christine Daae receives voice training from a mysterious musician she calls the “Angel of Music.” Christine believes this is the angel her dying father had promised to send to complete her musical training.

As the plot thickens, we find that her mysterious mentor is really a demented man who wants to carry her away into a bizarre underworld beneath the opera house. What the girl thinks is a supernatural agent sent by her beloved father is really a madman who wants to possess her for his own ends. The “Angel of Music” is evil masquerading as good.

The believer in Christ also faces an evil one who masquerades. One of Satan’s key strategies is to look like someone who is good. Paul told us, “Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14). The Greek word translated as “transforms” means “to change appearance, masquerade, or disguise oneself.”

In preparing us to face the evil strategies of the devil, God has provided all the equipment we need to stand our ground. Protecting ourselves with the armor of God unmasks the evil that opposes us and stabilizes our spiritual walk (Ephesians 6:10-18).  Dennis Fisher (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

When you’re making a decision,
Evil sometimes wears a mask;
Trust the Lord for true discernment—
He’ll give wisdom if you ask.  —Hess

God’s armor is tailor-made for us, but we must put it on.


Beware The Rupert

Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. — 2 Corinthians 11:14

Today's Scripture: 2 Corinthians 11:3-4, 12-15

In the June 6, 1944, D-Day invasion of Europe, an armada of Allied ships assaulted the beaches of Normandy, France. Simultaneously, thousands of airplanes dropped paratroopers into the action. Along with the paratroopers, the Allies also dropped hundreds of rubber dummies behind the enemy lines. Called “Ruperts,” these dummies were intended to simulate an attack to confuse the enemy. As the Ruperts landed, some German outposts were tricked into fighting the “paradummies,” creating a vital crack in the walls of Fortress Europe.

We accept that kind of deception as part of a legitimate military operation designed to thwart oppressive forces. What we should not accept is the deception Satan throws our way. Paul explained that the devil “transforms himself into an angel of light” (2 Cor. 11:14), and his servants appear to be people who are promoting righteousness (v.15).

We must be alert! Our spiritual enemy would love to have followers of Christ distracted by false teaching and faulty doctrine. But as we keep our eyes on Jesus and the clear teachings of Scripture, our Lord can keep us aimed in the right direction. Don’t be tricked by Satan’s Ruperts. By:  Bill Crowder (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Each day amid life’s noisy throng
We’re bound to hear this world’s case,
And if we’re not alert to wrong,
The Savior’s name we may disgrace. —D. De Haan

God’s truth uncovers Satan’s lies.


Evil or Devil?

Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. —2 Corinthians 11:14

Today's Scripture: 1 Peter 5:1-9

Bible teacher William Evans wrote, “It is popular in some circles today to spell the word devil with the letter d left off. This reduces the idea of an actual person called the devil to a mere influence called evil.

“If the devil can’t mislead people that way, however, he would have them think of him as a horrible, monstrous-looking creature with a forked tail, dressed in a fiery red suit, and with horns protruding from his head. If the devil can get folks to think of him like that, then when he comes as an ‘angel of light,’ he will not be recognized, and so find it easier to beguile his unsuspecting victims.”

When we trust Christ as Savior, we have peace with God, but at the same time we come into conflict with the devil. Our “adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Pet. 5:8). That’s why the Bible says, “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil” (Eph. 6:11).

We who know Christ can overcome the devil and the evil he creates by learning and obeying God’s Word. And let’s be thankful that He who is in us is greater than he who is in the world (1 John 4:4).:  Richard DeHaan (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

The prince of darkness grim—
We tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure,
For lo! his doom is sure. —Luther

The devil may be out of fashion, but He’s not out of business.


Beware The Rupert

Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. —2 Corinthians 11:14

Today's Scripture: 2 Corinthians 11:3-4, 12-15

In the June 6, 1944, D-Day invasion of Europe, an armada of Allied ships assaulted the beaches of Normandy, France. Simultaneously, thousands of airplanes dropped paratroopers into the action. Along with the paratroopers, the Allies also dropped hundreds of rubber dummies behind the enemy lines. Called “Ruperts,” these dummies were intended to simulate an attack to confuse the enemy. As the Ruperts landed, some German outposts were tricked into fighting the “paradummies,” creating a vital crack in the walls of Fortress Europe.

We accept that kind of deception as part of a legitimate military operation designed to thwart oppressive forces. What we should not accept is the deception Satan throws our way. Paul explained that the devil “transforms himself into an angel of light” (2 Cor. 11:14), and his servants appear to be people who are promoting righteousness (v.15).

We must be alert! Our spiritual enemy would love to have followers of Christ distracted by false teaching and faulty doctrine. But as we keep our eyes on Jesus and the clear teachings of Scripture, our Lord can keep us aimed in the right direction.

Don’t be tricked by Satan’s Ruperts. By:  Bill Crowder (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Each day amid life’s noisy throng
We’re bound to hear this world’s case,
And if we’re not alert to wrong,
The Savior’s name we may disgrace. —D. De Haan

God’s truth uncovers Satan’s lies.

2 Corinthians 11:15  Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their deeds.

KJV  2 Corinthians 11:15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.

NET  2 Corinthians 11:15 Therefore it is not surprising his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, whose end will correspond to their actions.

BGT  2 Corinthians 11:15 οὐ μέγα οὖν εἰ καὶ οἱ διάκονοι αὐτοῦ μετασχηματίζονται ὡς διάκονοι δικαιοσύνης· ὧν τὸ τέλος ἔσται κατὰ τὰ ἔργα αὐτῶν.

NLT  2 Corinthians 11:15 So it is no wonder that his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. In the end they will get the punishment their wicked deeds deserve.

ESV  2 Corinthians 11:15 So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.

NIV  2 Corinthians 11:15 It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.

YLT  2 Corinthians 11:15 no great thing, then, if also his ministrants do transform themselves as ministrants of righteousness -- whose end shall be according to their works.

ASV  2 Corinthians 11:15 It is no great thing therefore if his ministers also fashion themselves as ministers of righteousness, whose end shall be according to their works.

CSB  2 Corinthians 11:15 So it is no great thing if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their destiny will be according to their works.

MIT  2 Corinthians 11:15 It is no big deal, therefore, if his assistants masquerade as ministers of righteousness. Their final state will be determined by their works.

NKJ  2 Corinthians 11:15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.

NRS  2 Corinthians 11:15 So it is not strange if his ministers also disguise themselves as ministers of righteousness. Their end will match their deeds.

NAB  2 Corinthians 11:15 So it is not strange that his ministers also masquerade as ministers of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.

NJB  2 Corinthians 11:15 It is nothing extraordinary, then, when his servants disguise themselves as the servants of uprightness. They will come to the end appropriate to what they have done.

GWN  2 Corinthians 11:15 So it's not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants who have God's approval. In the end they will get what they deserve.

BBE  2 Corinthians 11:15 So it is no great thing if his servants make themselves seem to be servants of righteousness; whose end will be the reward of their works.

Phillips  It is only to be expected that his agents shall have the appearance of ministers of righteousness—but they will get their deserts one day.

LWB 2 Cor. 11:15 It is no great accomplishment, therefore, if his [Satan’s] ministers also make it a practice to transform themselves with clever disguises [masquerading] as ministers of righteousness [legalistic do-gooders], whose ultimate end [determined at the Great White Throne] shall be according to their production [burned].

KW 2 Cor. 11:15 Therefore it is no great thing if also, as is the case, his servants change their outward expression from one that comes from their inner nature and is representative of their inner character, to one that is assumed from without and not representative of their inner being,  (Eerdmans Publishing - used by permission)

  • not: 2Ki 5:13 1Co 9:11 
  • his: 2Co 11:13 Ac 13:10 Eph 6:12 Rev 9:11 13:2,14 19:19-21 20:2,3,7-10 
  • the servants: 2Co 11:23 3:9 
  • whose: Isa 9:14,15 Jer 5:31 23:14,15 28:15-17 29:32 Eze 13:10-15,22 Mt 7:15,16 Ga 1:8,9 Php 3:19 2Th 2:8-12 2Pe 2:3,13-22 Jude 1:4,10-13 
  • 2 Corinthians 11 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passages:

Acts 20:28+ (FALSE TEACHERS REFLECT AN "INSIDE JOB!")Be on guard (present imperative see our need to depend on the Holy Spirit to obey) for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. 29“I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; 30 and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them. 31 “Therefore be on the alert (present imperative see our need to depend on the Holy Spirit to obey), remembering that night and day for a period of three years I did not cease to admonish each one with tears. 32 (THE PREVENTATIVE MEASURES YOU MUST UNDERTAKE) “And now I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified.

SATAN'S SERVANTS
SLITHER INTO THE FLOCK

Therefore it is not surprising (literally - "no great thing") if his servants (diakonos) also (present tense - continually) disguise (metaschematizothemselves as servants (diakonos) of righteousness (dikaiosune), whose end will be according to their deeds - If is a first class condition which affirms the reality that Satan's servants disguise themselves like their father and do so within the body of Christ - an "inside job!". End is referring in context to their eternal outcome, eternal damnation in the Lake of fire! They claim righteousness but fail to bring forth fruit in keeping with repentance (righteousness)! These men remind me of those Paul describes in Titus 1:16+, men who "profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him, being detestable and disobedient and worthless for any good deed." 

Barton - Their actions betrayed them. Instead of bringing glory to God, they were boasting in their own achievements (10:17-18). Instead of preaching in response to God's call (compare 2Co 2:17 with 2Co 4:1-2,5; 5:20), they were preaching for money. Instead of guarding the spiritual welfare of their followers, they were consolidating power over their followers (compare 2Co 1:23-24; 10:8; 11:21 with 2Co 11:18-20). Instead of preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ clearly (2Co 11:6-7), they were preaching a twisted gospel of another Jesus (2Co 11:4). In the end, their fraud would be exposed for what it was: a ruse to divert Christians from their devotion to God. And they will get what their actions deserve - God's judgment.  (1 & 2 Corinthians Life Application Bible Commentary)

Whose end will be according to their deeds - NLT = " In the end they will get the punishment their wicked deeds deserve." The NIV has a helpful rendering writing "Their end will be what their actions deserve" There is a popular saying in our humanistic, godless society that says the ends justify the means, but in God's final judgment these men will discover that their "means (deceit, lying, etc) will justify their end (eternal punishment)!" (See also Good Deeds)

Jesus prophetically spoke of these men when He warned us to "Beware of (present imperative see our need to depend on the Holy Spirit to obey) the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they?“So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. “A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. “Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. (Mt 7:16-19+)

Broomall - These Satanic ministers partake of their father’s perversity (cf. Jn 8:44), parade in his theological paraphernalia, and perish in his predestinated perdition ( Cf. Mt 7:22, 23; 25:41; Rev 20:10, 15). How do such men, still with us today, disguise themselves as ministers of righteousness (RSV)? (1) By rejecting God’s righteousness while insisting on the merit of man’s righteousness. (2) By denying the fatal effects of sin on man’s original righteousness while insisting that man’s nature is still basically righteous. (3) By nullifying the imputed righteousness of Christ (cf. 5:21) while insisting that his death still has some moral effect on mankind. (4) By questioning the absolute righteousness of Christ while insisting that his life, though imperfect, is still worthy of our imitation.   (Wycliffe Bible Commentary - 11 - online)


Barton -   JUST DESSERTS   Paul reminds the Corinthians that everyone will one day receive what they deserve. Here Paul is speaking about false teachers and hypocritical leaders. But the principle applies to all who speak on God's behalf. The apostle James said that teachers will be judged by the Lord with closer scrutiny than will those who sit under their teaching (James 3:1). If it is not already your practice, each time you sit down with the Scriptures to prepare a lesson or a sermon, spend some quiet moments in prayer asking the Holy Spirit to make them real in your life.  (1 & 2 Corinthians Life Application Bible Commentary)


Servants (1249diakonos cf related words diakoneo, diakonia) is of uncertain origin. Some say it is from dia (through) + konis (dust) which denotes one who hurries through the dust to carry out his service. (Thayer and others doubt this derivation for technical reasons). Vine says that diakonos is probably from diako which means to hasten after, to pursue and so to run on errands. "Then the root idea is one who reaches out with diligence and persistence to render a service on behalf of others. This would imply that the deacon reaches out to render love-prompted service to others energetically and persistently." (Hiebert) This word group (diakonosdiakoneo, diakonia) focuses on the rendering or assistance or help by performing certain duties, often of a humble or menial nature, and including such mundane activities as waiting on tables or caring for household needs, activities that to many would seem to be without dignity (not true of course in God's eyes, Pr 15:3, Rev 22:12+). In summary, the basic idea of this word group is that of humble, submissive, personal service, with less emphasis on a specific office or a particular function. As Matthew Henry once said "Those whom God will employ are first struck with a sense of their unworthiness to be employed." Matt. 20:26; Matt. 22:13; Matt. 23:11; Mk. 9:35; Mk. 10:43; Jn. 2:5; Jn. 2:9; Jn. 12:26; Rom. 13:4; Rom. 15:8; Rom. 16:1; 1 Co. 3:5; 2 Co. 3:6; 2 Co. 6:4; 2 Co. 11:15; 2 Co. 11:23; Gal. 2:17; Eph. 3:7; Eph. 6:21; Phil. 1:1; Col. 1:7; Col. 1:23; Col. 1:25; Col. 4:7; 1 Tim. 3:8; 1 Tim. 3:12; 1 Tim. 4:6

2 Corinthians 11:16  Again I say, let no one think me foolish; but if you do, receive me even as foolish, so that I also may boast a little.

KJV  2 Corinthians 11:16 I say again, Let no man think me a fool; if otherwise, yet as a fool receive me, that I may boast myself a little.

NET  2 Corinthians 11:16 I say again, let no one think that I am a fool. But if you do, then at least accept me as a fool, so that I too may boast a little.

BGT  2 Corinthians 11:16 Πάλιν λέγω, μή τίς με δόξῃ ἄφρονα εἶναι· εἰ δὲ μή γε, κἂν ὡς ἄφρονα δέξασθέ με, ἵνα κἀγὼ μικρόν τι καυχήσωμαι.

NLT  2 Corinthians 11:16 Again I say, don't think that I am a fool to talk like this. But even if you do, listen to me, as you would to a foolish person, while I also boast a little.

ESV  2 Corinthians 11:16 I repeat, let no one think me foolish. But even if you do, accept me as a fool, so that I too may boast a little.

NIV  2 Corinthians 11:16 I repeat: Let no one take me for a fool. But if you do, then receive me just as you would a fool, so that I may do a little boasting.

YLT  2 Corinthians 11:16 Again I say, may no one think me to be a fool; and if otherwise, even as a fool receive me, that I also a little may boast.

ASV  2 Corinthians 11:16 I say again, let no man think me foolish; but if ye do, yet as foolish receive me, that I also may glory a little.

CSB  2 Corinthians 11:16 I repeat: No one should consider me a fool. But if you do, at least accept me as a fool, so I too may boast a little.

MIT  2 Corinthians 11:16 Again I have this to say lest anyone take me to be a fool. Even if I am not thought to be foolish, receive me as such that I might do a little boasting.

NKJ  2 Corinthians 11:16 I say again, let no one think me a fool. If otherwise, at least receive me as a fool, that I also may boast a little.

NRS  2 Corinthians 11:16 I repeat, let no one think that I am a fool; but if you do, then accept me as a fool, so that I too may boast a little.

NAB  2 Corinthians 11:16 I repeat, no one should consider me foolish; but if you do, accept me as a fool, so that I too may boast a little.

NJB  2 Corinthians 11:16 To repeat: let no one take me for a fool, but if you do, then treat me as a fool, so that I, too, can do a little boasting.

GWN  2 Corinthians 11:16 Again I say that no one should think that I'm a fool. But if you do, then take me for a fool so that I can also brag a little.

BBE  2 Corinthians 11:16 I say again, Let me not seem foolish to anyone; but if I do, put up with me as such, so that I may take a little glory to myself.

The Message Let me come back to where I started—and don’t hold it against me if I continue to sound a little foolish. Or if you’d rather, just accept that I am a fool and let me rant on a little.

AMP I repeat then, let no one think I have lost my wits; but even if you do, then bear with a witless man, so that I too may boast a little.

The Living Bible Again I plead, don’t think that I have lost my wits to talk like this; but even if you do, listen to me anyway—a witless man, a fool—while I also boast a little as they do.

  • say: 2Co 11:1 
  • Let: 2Co 11:21-23 12:6,11 
  • receive me: or, suffer me, 2Co 11:1,19 
  • 2 Corinthians 11 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

BE WILLING TO ACCEPT
PAUL AS A FOOL

Barton prefaces this last section describing Paul's manifold afflictions and trials - If the greedy teachers of Corinth questioned Paul's authority, he questioned their devotion to Christ (2Co 11:23). They were enjoying the luxuries of one of the most prominent cities in the Roman Empire, while Paul, as he noted in this passage, was enduring all kinds of hardships to preach the gospel to those who hadn't heard it. These teachers had been careful to collect correct references, respected credentials, and impeccable recommendations; but they, unlike Paul, had failed to offer their entire lives in service of Christ, wherever that brought them. Paul's long list of hardships he had endured couldn't be matched by any of the teachers who were criticizing him.  (1 & 2 Corinthians Life Application Bible Commentary)

Storms -   Triumphing over the Triumphalists - 11:16-33 Paul is about to boast, not because he is following the example of Jesus, but because pastoral problems in Corinth have compelled him against his nature to follow the example of his enemies. In other words, this way of talking is not that of an apostle but a fool. Thus Paul here casts himself in the role of his opponents. What they do, he will do. If they boast "according to the flesh," i.e., appeal to worldly standards of "strength" and "success," so too will he. But it is all utter "foolishness" and he wants to be certain the Corinthians understand that.

Again I say (I repeat as in 2Co 11:1+), let no one think (dokeo) me foolish (aphron); but if you do, receive (dechomai = "put the welcome mat out for") me even as foolish (aphron), so that I also may boast a little - Amplified - "let no one think I have lost my wits; but even if you do, then bear with a witless man, so that I too may boast a little." Paul is asking the Corinthians to not think of him as unwise or devoid of good sense and sound judgment but to bear with him in a little more foolishness (2Cor 11:1+). He is again implying he would rather avoid the foolish action of self glorying, but he must boast a little more. These false "super" apostles had forced his hand to use the very methods they used (boasting), except that his boasting would be legitimate, honest boasting which would dramatically deflate their bogus boasting! 

If you do introduces a first class condition indicating the Corinthians did think (at least some of) what he said was foolish

Barton - Clearly, Paul was extremely reluctant to do any boasting. He knew that pride in one's own accomplishments eventually leads to destruction (Psalm 12:13; Proverbs 16:18). Boasting robs God of the honor he deserves (Psalm 96:8; 97:6). Only God, the source of all wisdom, skill, and strength, can accept glory and praise (Psalm 44:8; 1 Corinthians 1:31).  (1 & 2 Corinthians Life Application Bible Commentary)


Foolish (878aphron from a = without + + phren = understanding, means originally meant diaphragm and was regarded as the seat of mental and spiritual activity, then mind or understanding) is literally a lack of sense, reflection, understanding or reason. Aphron is one who does not use his rational powers. Aphron describes one not employing his understanding especially as it relates to practical matters. It means lack of good judgment and can refer to folly in action. 10v in NT - Lk. 11:40; Lk. 12:20; Rom. 2:20; 1 Co. 15:36; 2 Co. 11:16; 2 Co. 11:19; 2 Co. 12:6; 2 Co. 12:11; Eph. 5:17; 1 Pet. 2:15

2 Corinthians 11:17  What I am saying, I am not saying as the Lord would, but as in foolishness, in this confidence of boasting.

KJV  2 Corinthians 11:17 That which I speak, I speak it not after the Lord, but as it were foolishly, in this confidence of boasting.

NET  2 Corinthians 11:17 What I am saying with this boastful confidence I do not say the way the Lord would. Instead it is, as it were, foolishness.

BGT  2 Corinthians 11:17 ὃ λαλῶ, οὐ κατὰ κύριον λαλῶ ἀλλ᾽ ὡς ἐν ἀφροσύνῃ, ἐν ταύτῃ τῇ ὑποστάσει τῆς καυχήσεως.

NLT  2 Corinthians 11:17 Such boasting is not from the Lord, but I am acting like a fool.

ESV  2 Corinthians 11:17 What I am saying with this boastful confidence, I say not as the Lord would but as a fool.

NIV  2 Corinthians 11:17 In this self-confident boasting I am not talking as the Lord would, but as a fool.

YLT  2 Corinthians 11:17 That which I speak, I speak not according to the Lord, but as in foolishness, in this the confidence of boasting;

ASV  2 Corinthians 11:17 That which I speak, I speak not after the Lord, but as in foolishness, in this confidence of glorying.

CSB  2 Corinthians 11:17 What I say in this matter of boasting, I don't speak as the Lord would, but foolishly.

MIT  2 Corinthians 11:17 What I now have to say is not by the Lord's directive, but as it were in foolishness—the basis of my boasting.

NKJ  2 Corinthians 11:17 What I speak, I speak not according to the Lord, but as it were, foolishly, in this confidence of boasting.

NRS  2 Corinthians 11:17 What I am saying in regard to this boastful confidence, I am saying not with the Lord's authority, but as a fool;

NAB  2 Corinthians 11:17 What I am saying I am not saying according to the Lord but as in foolishness, in this boastful state.

NJB  2 Corinthians 11:17 I shall not be following the Lord's way in what I say now, but will be speaking out of foolishness in the conviction that I have something to boast about.

GWN  2 Corinthians 11:17 What I say as I start bragging is foolishness. It's not something I would say if I were speaking for the Lord.

BBE  2 Corinthians 11:17 What I am now saying is not by the order of the Lord, but as a foolish person, taking credit to myself, as it seems.

  • What I am saying 1Co 7:6,12 
  • but as in foolishness: 2Co 11:18-27 9:4 Php 3:3-6 
  • 2 Corinthians 11 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

What I am saying, I am not saying as the Lord would, but as in foolishness (aphrosune - as in 2Co 11:1+), in this confidence (hupostasis) of boasting (kauchesis)Paul's point that though his lifelong desire was to imitate Christ (1Co 11:1+), as he essentially reiterated in 2Co 10:1 where he described imitating the "the meekness and gentleness of Christ," he how states that the boasting he was about to pursue is not something the Lord would do. In a sense Paul was seeking to "Answer a fool as his folly deserves." (Pr 26:5a) And do not misinterpret I am not saying as the Lord would as a statement that what he is writing is not inspired, for it was still fully inspired by the Spirit. Paul's point that even to boast in confidence (confident that what he states is the truth not a lie), it was still uncomfortable to him and to some degree made him feel foolish.

Notice how the NRSV translation introduces a suggestion of doubt about verbal plenary inspiration of this passage rendering it "I am saying not with the Lord's authority, but as a fool"

THOUGHT-  Always be a Berean even with respected translations! 

Homer Kent - He was not denying the inspiration and authority of his words; he was merely stating that he was forced to utilize a legitimate method other than the example of Christ, although it was somewhat distasteful to do so. Paul was about to recite confidently his own credentials, but it embarrassed him, and made him feel like a fool for doing so. (A Heart Opened Wide: Studies in 2 Corinthians)

Barton - Clearly, Paul was extremely reluctant to do any boasting. He knew that pride in one's own accomplishments eventually leads to destruction (Psalm 12:13; Proverbs 16:18). Boasting robs God of the honor he deserves (Psalm 96:8; 97:6). Only God, the source of all wisdom, skill, and strength, can accept glory and praise (Psalm 44:8; 1 Corinthians 1:31)  (1 & 2 Corinthians Life Application Bible Commentary)

2 Corinthians 11:18  Since many boast according to the flesh, I will boast also.

KJV  2 Corinthians 11:18 Seeing that many glory after the flesh, I will glory also.

NET  2 Corinthians 11:18 Since many are boasting according to human standards, I too will boast.

BGT  2 Corinthians 11:18 ἐπεὶ πολλοὶ καυχῶνται κατὰ σάρκα, κἀγὼ καυχήσομαι.

NLT  2 Corinthians 11:18 And since others boast about their human achievements, I will, too.

ESV  2 Corinthians 11:18 Since many boast according to the flesh, I too will boast.

NIV  2 Corinthians 11:18 Since many are boasting in the way the world does, I too will boast.

YLT  2 Corinthians 11:18 since many boast according to the flesh, I also will boast:

ASV  2 Corinthians 11:18 Seeing that many glory after the flesh, I will glory also.

CSB  2 Corinthians 11:18 Since many boast in an unspiritual way, I will also boast.

MIT  2 Corinthians 11:18 Because many are bragging at the natural level, I also shall boast.

NKJ  2 Corinthians 11:18 Seeing that many boast according to the flesh, I also will boast.

NRS  2 Corinthians 11:18 since many boast according to human standards, I will also boast.

NAB  2 Corinthians 11:18 Since many boast according to the flesh, I too will boast.

NJB  2 Corinthians 11:18 So many people boast on merely human grounds that I shall too.

GWN  2 Corinthians 11:18 Since it's common for people to brag, I'll do it too.

BBE  2 Corinthians 11:18 Seeing that there are those who take credit to themselves after the flesh, I will do the same.

  • many: 2Co 11:12,21-23 10:12-18 Jer 9:23,24 1Co 4:10 1Pe 1:24 
  • I will: 2Co 12:5,6,9,11 
  • 2 Corinthians 11 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passage:

2 Corinthians 5:16+  Therefore from now on we recognize no one according to the flesh; even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him in this way no longer.

PAUL'S BOASTING IS TO REBUT
THE SELF-PROMOTERS

Since many (present tense - continually) boast (kauchaomaiaccording to the flesh, I will boast (kauchaomaialso - Boast according to the flesh means the energizing force of the false apostles' boasting was their unregenerate fallen, sinful flesh. They were self-promoters, boasting about their "glorious spiritual credentials!" Their self-centered, selfish boasting forced Paul'shand to respond with godly boasting. Their boasting is exactly the genre of boasting Paul spoke against in 2Co 10:17 and 1Co 1:31. While Paul would boast, he nevertheless had a firm assurance that his boasting was about truth, was boasting with a specific purpose (to rebut the fleshly boasters) and was not boasting according to the flesh (i.e., not sinful boasting).

THOUGHT - I would submit that while his opponents boasted in their self-accomplishments, in a sense Paul boasted in the Savior's accomplishments in and through him. Why do I say that? Just look at the list of trials, afflictions and difficulties Paul faced virtually every day of his life. How could a natural man survive against so many extenuating and dangerous circumstances unless the providential Presence and Power of the Lord and His Spirit enabled him? No, his list of "boastings" is surely ultimately exactly what he himself had called for twice "Let him who boast, boast in the Lord." (1Co 1:31, 2Co 10:17). And ultimately who gets the glory for his survival through these many trials but the Lord Himself? (That's rhetorical). While none of us are likely to endure a similar litany of trials in our lifetime, the very fact that Paul survived them should encourage each and every believer, that through them all the Lord never left him or forsook him. Indeed, he could write from experience those powerful and encouraging words in Romans 8:35-39+

"Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 Just as it is written, “FOR YOUR SAKE WE ARE BEING PUT TO DEATH ALL DAY LONG; WE WERE CONSIDERED AS SHEEP TO BE SLAUGHTERED.”  37 But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. 38 (NOTE HIS ALLUSIONS TO SPIRITUAL WARFARE!) For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers , 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (ALL PRAISE TO THE LORD. AMEN AND AMEN!)

Barton - faced with the persistent fault-finding (ED: AND BOASTING) of his critics, Paul felt compelled to list his accomplishments for the Corinthians. He wasn't primarily concerned with his own reputation but, instead, with the spiritual welfare of the Corinthian believers. If his critics' attacks went unanswered, the believers might turn away from Christ (2Co 11:3-4, 12). Paul had to speak up in order to quiet the gossip and slander circulating in the Corinthian church. Defending oneself against false accusations, however, isn't always the Christian response to slander. Jesus himself remained silent in the face of his accusers (Mk 14:61), and sometimes Christians have to remain silent in the face of outlandish accusations in order to advance the cause of Christ. In this case, Paul thought a hardy defense of his actions would be appropriate. Even though Paul knew he had to defend himself, he was extremely careful. He cautiously explained to the Corinthians that although he was not a fool, he was going to act like a fool in order to silence those false teachers who were boasting in the way the world does (see 2Co 11:1-5). It was only because the Corinthians were still evaluating people as the world does-according to appearances-that these false teachers had gained a foothold in the congregation in the first place (see 2Co 5:16-17; 10:7). Paul wanted to make it clear to the Corinthians that such boasting wasn't the proper behavior for the minister of the Lord. In effect, he was turning the tables on his critics by boasting in his weaknesses instead of his strengths (2Co 11:30). He simply refused to enter into a bragging contest with his opponents (2Co 10:12). By freely admitting his weaknesses, Paul hoped to stop the foolish boasting and the competitive spirit that pervaded the Corinthian congregation (see 1Co 3:18-23).  (1 & 2 Corinthians Life Application Bible Commentary)

Broomall favors a different sense for according to the flesh - By after the flesh (cf. 2Cor 5:16) such things as one’s ancestry, achievements, and accolades are to be understood ( Cf. Phil 3:4). Paul reluctantly resorted to the methods of the many that he might save his work at Corinth from utter ruin.   (Wycliffe Bible Commentary - 11 - online)


Boast (exult, glory) (2744kauchaomai akin to aucheo = boast + euchomai = pray to God <> auchen = neck which vain persons are apt to carry in proud manner) means to boast over a privilege or possession. The idea is to take pride in something. Note repetition in Corinthians - Rom. 2:17; Rom. 2:23; Rom. 5:2; Rom. 5:3; Rom. 5:11; 1 Co. 1:29; 1 Co. 1:31; 1 Co. 3:21; 1 Co. 4:7; 2 Co. 5:12; 2 Co. 7:14; 2 Co. 9:2; 2 Co. 10:8; 2 Co. 10:13; 2 Co. 10:15; 2 Co. 10:16; 2 Co. 10:17; 2 Co. 11:12; 2 Co. 11:16; 2 Co. 11:18; 2 Co. 11:30; 2 Co. 12:1; 2 Co. 12:5; 2 Co. 12:6; 2 Co. 12:9; Gal. 6:13; Gal. 6:14; Eph. 2:9; Phil. 3:3; Jas. 1:9; Jas. 4:16

2 Corinthians 11:19  For you, being so wise, tolerate the foolish gladly.

KJV  2 Corinthians 11:19 For ye suffer fools gladly, seeing ye yourselves are wise.

NET  2 Corinthians 11:19 For since you are so wise, you put up with fools gladly.

BGT  2 Corinthians 11:19 ἡδέως γὰρ ἀνέχεσθε τῶν ἀφρόνων φρόνιμοι ὄντες·

NLT  2 Corinthians 11:19 After all, you think you are so wise, but you enjoy putting up with fools!

ESV  2 Corinthians 11:19 For you gladly bear with fools, being wise yourselves!

NIV  2 Corinthians 11:19 You gladly put up with fools since you are so wise!

YLT  2 Corinthians 11:19 for gladly do ye bear with the fools -- being wise,

ASV  2 Corinthians 11:19 For ye bear with the foolish gladly, being wise yourselves.

CSB  2 Corinthians 11:19 For you, being so wise, gladly put up with fools!

MIT  2 Corinthians 11:19 For you cheerfully put up with foolish people, being sophisticated yourselves.

NKJ  2 Corinthians 11:19 For you put up with fools gladly, since you yourselves are wise!

NRS  2 Corinthians 11:19 For you gladly put up with fools, being wise yourselves!

NAB  2 Corinthians 11:19 For you gladly put up with fools, since you are wise yourselves.

NJB  2 Corinthians 11:19 I know how happy you are to put up with fools, being so wise yourselves;

GWN  2 Corinthians 11:19 You're wise, so you'll gladly put up with fools.

BBE  2 Corinthians 11:19 For you put up with the foolish gladly, being wise yourselves.

Related Passage:

1 Corinthians 4:10+ We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are prudent (phronimos) in Christ; we are weak, but you are strong; you are distinguished, but we are without honor.

YOU ARE BEARING WELL
WITH FOOLISH BOASTING

For you, being so wise (phronimos), (present tense - continually) tolerate (anechomai) the foolish (aphrongladly (hedeos) - Paul now adds a "dash" of biting sarcasm, cleverly using antithetical terms, wise and foolish! He is saying "You Corinthians who so dearly prize wisdom and are yourselves so wise, are putting up with foolish self-centered men who boast in themselves, not the Savior." And the Corinthians were taking in the fleshly boasters' counterfeit propaganda without hesitation or reservation!  The word gladly is the first word in the Greek sentence indicating Paul clearly wanted to emphasize their attitude of receiving the false boasting "sweetly" or with pleasure! O foolish Corinthians!

It is notable that Paul used the same verb tolerate/bear (anechomai) here to describe the Corinthians tolerating the fleshly boasters as he used in 2Co 11:1+ to describe the Corinthians as bearing with him! 

Broomall - Literally: For gladly you tolerated the senseless, (you) being sensible. The biting irony of these words the sophisticated Corinthians could readily understand (cf. 1Cor 4:8-10).   (Wycliffe Bible Commentary - 11 - online)

Utley - Everything the false teachers accused Paul of, they practiced and the church positively responded to them!. (2 Corinthians 11 Commentary)


Wise (prudent, shrewd) (5429phronimos from phronéo = think, have a mindset related to phren = diaphragm, regarded by ancients as seat of mental and spiritual activity, came to mean mind or understanding) is an adjective which describes one who is thoughtful, sagacious or discreet. It describes the quality of one's thinking which is the result of insight and stands in opposition to moros which means foolish. The idea is that there is understanding combined with wisdom and insight.

Gladly (2234hedeos from hedus/hedys = sweet) is an adverb which literally means sweetly, and figuratively as used in this passage means gladly or joyouslyHedeos thus speaks of the experience of gladness which is based primarily upon the pleasure one derives from the activity (in this case the activity of fleshly "boasting")! Hedeos refers to the sort of friendly indifference with which an audience may listen to this or that speaker (2Co 11:19).  Hedeos - 5v - Mk. 6:20; Mk. 12:37; 2 Co. 11:19; 2 Co. 12:9; 2 Co. 12:15

2 Corinthians 11:20  For you tolerate it IF anyone enslaves you, IF anyone devours you, IF anyone takes advantage of you, IF anyone exalts himself, IF anyone hits you in the face.

KJV  2 Corinthians 11:20 For 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.

NET  2 Corinthians 11:20 For you put up with it if someone makes slaves of you, if someone exploits you, if someone takes advantage of you, if someone behaves arrogantly toward you, if someone strikes you in the face.

BGT  2 Corinthians 11:20 ἀνέχεσθε γὰρ εἴ τις ὑμᾶς καταδουλοῖ, εἴ τις κατεσθίει, εἴ τις λαμβάνει, εἴ τις ἐπαίρεται, εἴ τις εἰς πρόσωπον ὑμᾶς δέρει.

NLT  2 Corinthians 11:20 You put up with it when someone enslaves you, takes everything you have, takes advantage of you, takes control of everything, and slaps you in the face.

ESV  2 Corinthians 11:20 For you bear it if someone makes slaves of you, or devours you, or takes advantage of you, or puts on airs, or strikes you in the face.

NIV  2 Corinthians 11:20 In fact, you even put up with anyone who enslaves you or exploits you or takes advantage of you or pushes himself forward or slaps you in the face.

YLT  2 Corinthians 11:20 for ye bear, if any one is bringing you under bondage, if any one doth devour, if any one doth take away, if any one doth exalt himself, if any one on the face doth smite you;

ASV  2 Corinthians 11:20 For ye bear with a man, if he bringeth you into bondage, if he devoureth you, if he taketh you captive, if he exalteth himself, if he smiteth you on the face.

CSB  2 Corinthians 11:20 In fact, you put up with it if someone enslaves you, if someone devours you, if someone captures you, if someone dominates you, or if someone hits you in the face.

MIT  2 Corinthians 11:20 If anyone makes slaves of you, you tolerate it. If anyone consumes you, if anyone takes advantage of you, if anyone struts as a celebrity before you, if in your face anyone slaps you around, you take it!

NKJ  2 Corinthians 11:20 For you put up with it if one brings you into bondage, if one devours you, if one takes from you, if one exalts himself, if one strikes you on the face.

NRS  2 Corinthians 11:20 For you put up with it when someone makes slaves of you, or preys upon you, or takes advantage of you, or puts on airs, or gives you a slap in the face.

NAB  2 Corinthians 11:20 For you put up with it if someone enslaves you, or devours you, or gets the better of you, or puts on airs, or slaps you in the face.

NJB  2 Corinthians 11:20 and how you will still go on putting up with a man who enslaves you, eats up all you possess, keeps you under his orders and sets himself above you, or even slaps you in the face.

GWN  2 Corinthians 11:20 When someone makes you slaves, consumes your wealth, seizes your property, orders you around, or slaps your faces, you put up with it.

BBE  2 Corinthians 11:20 You put up with a man if he makes servants of you, if he makes profit out of you, if he makes you prisoners, if he puts himself in a high place, if he gives you blows on the face.

The Message You have such admirable tolerance for impostors who rob your freedom, rip you off, steal you blind, put you down—even slap your face!

AMP For you endure it if a man assumes control of your souls and makes slaves of you, or devours [your substance, spends your money] and preys upon youor deceives and takes advantage of you, or is arrogant and puts on airs, or strikes you in the face.

  • IF anyone enslaves you 2Co 1:24 Ga 2:4 4:3,9,25 5:1,10 6:12 
  • IF anyone takes (lambano) advantage of you: Ro 16:17,18 Php 3:19 1Th 2:5 
  • IF anyone hits (dero) you in the face: Isa 50:6 La 3:30 Lu 6:29 
  • 2 Corinthians 11 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passages:

2 Corinthians 1:24  (PAUL DID NOT SEEK TO ENSLAVE THEM)  Not that we lord it over your faith, but are workers with you for your joy; for in your faith you are standing firm.

Galatians 2:4+  (FALSE BRETHREN SEEKING TO ENSLAVE) But it was because of the false brethren secretly brought in, who had sneaked in to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, in order to bring us into bondage (SAME VERB - katadouloo)

Romans 16:17-18 Now I urge you, brethren, keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you learned, and turn away from them. 18 For such men are slaves, not of our Lord Christ but of their own appetites; and by their smooth and flattering speech they deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting.

WHAT THE CORINTHIANS
HAD TOLERATED FROM IMPOSTERS

For you (present tense - continually) tolerate (anechomai) it IF anyone (present tense) enslaves (katadouloo) you, IF anyone (present tense) devours you, IF anyone takes (lambano) advantage of you, IF anyone exalts (epairo) himself, IF anyone hits (dero) you in the face - Note there are five IF's in this verse all introducing first class conditional phrases, each condition assumed to be true. Note that each of these conditions is in the  present tense which speaks of ongoing negative impact from the false teachers even as Paul was writing this letter. The NLT paraphrases it "You put up with it when someone enslaves you, takes everything you have, takes advantage of you, takes control of everything, and slaps you in the face." Paul gives five examples of the negative effect of the teaching/boasting of the false super apostles.

Enslaves you is not literal but figuratively being taken into bondage spiritually speaking, but exactly how is not specified. Whatever it was the result was a diminution of their freedom in Christ (as in Galatians 2:4+). While slaves of Christ are free indeed (Jn 8:36), slaves of men (whether putting them under Jewish laws and traditions, or other legalistic rules, etc) are not spiritually free! Law blunts the free flow of grace which is needed to set free and keep the captives free!

THOUGHT - Is anything enslaving you, stealing your freedom in Christ available to all who walk in His Spirit (Gal 5:16+)? 

Utley on enslaves - This verb (katadouloo) is only used here and in Galatians 2:4+, where it refers to the Judaizers. The Judaizers asserted that one had to become a full Jew before becoming a Christian. How these false teachers relate to the Judaizers is uncertain. The exact rules or rituals which the false teachers at Corinth put forth as necessary for salvation are also uncertain. . (2 Corinthians 11 Commentary)

The effect devours means that they were "consumed" (like animals devour their prey) by the false teachers indicating in some way the Corinthians were taken advantage of, which could be financial but we cannot be dogmatic. Peterson says they "rip you off." Amplified has "devours [your substance, spends your money.] NIV has "exploits you." GWN has "consumes your wealth."

The idea of takes advantage is that these false teaches were preying on the Corinthians, getting them in their clutches so to speak. The verb lambano means to take hold of and so the figurative idea is they were being manipulated by the false teachers for personal advantage. Msg - "steal you blind." REB - "gets you in his clutches." This would make a striking contrast with Paul's practice of not accepting remuneration from the Corinthians! 

Homer Kent says takes advantage means "the Corinthians had been caught (literally, “taken”) by the duplicity of slanderous statements about Paul."  (A Heart Opened Wide: Studies in 2 Corinthians)

Barton - They were literally preying on the Corinthians, trying to exploit the relationship for all that it was worth. Ironically, the Corinthians thought they were wise by welcoming their teacher when, in reality, these itinerant teachers were making the Corinthians into fools.   (1 & 2 Corinthians Life Application Bible Commentary)

The idea of of exalts himself is these false teachers were putting on airs, looking down on the Corinthians, setting themselves above the Corinthians. These men were filled with personal pride and spiritual arrogance. Paul used the same verb (epairo) in 2Co 10:5 to describe the "lofty thing raised up (epairo) against the knowledge of God." In that previous passage it described "the arrogance of the false teachers’ arguments and speculations." (Utley) Note again the striking contrast of Paul who exuded "the meekness and gentleness of Christ" (2Co 10:1) with men who puff themselves up. 

Utley on “hits you in the face” - Paul’s words drip with sarcasm (cf. 2Co 11:21). He was so gentle and meek (cf. 2Co 10:1) with them, but they reject him; the false teachers were so selfish and manipulative, yet the church loves and accepts them! . (2 Corinthians 11 Commentary)tary)

In the first century, it was common for religious authorities to slap the face of a person who blasphemed (see Acts 23:2).

Homer Kent - The Corinthians had even tolerated the insult of being slapped in the face by those apostles. This could refer to insulting language that the church had endured from those arrogant pretenders. However, it was not unknown for religious authorities to enforce their wishes by such violent measures. Paul would experience something similar at the orders of the high priest Ananias (Acts 23:2). To suppose that the Corinthians would have actually accepted such treatment and still have blindly followed those leaders would be difficult to believe if experience had not taught us that religious dupes often exhibit just such mindless loyalty (For example, the followers of Jim Jones in the notorious Jonestown, Guyana.). (A Heart Opened Wide: Studies in 2 Corinthians)

Broomall summarizes this passage - Five verbs, increasing in intensity, express the indignities which the sycophant Corinthians willingly endured at the hands of a false prophet. These men (1) degraded them—makes slaves of you (RSV); (2) devoured them—devour you; (3) defrauded them—takes advantage of you (RSV); (4) derided them—puts on airs (RSV); (5) defamed them—smite you on the face. The dupes of duplicity are the wildest defenders of the very men who debauch them! Cf. Mk 12:40; I Pet 5:2, 3; II Pet 2:10-22; Jude 8-16. (Wycliffe Bible Commentary - 11 - online)

Storms - Whatever the nature of these five actions, they are the antithesis of the humility and gentleness (10:1) required in a minister of the new covenant. Paul's sarcasm in v. 21 is biting: "Isn't it just horrible and shameful of me that I have refused to treat you as kindly and lovingly as they have!"


Enslaves (2615katadouloo from  kata = intensifies meaning but also can convey sense of "down” which suggests domination [cp "according {kata} to the law" - Ro 8:4+] + douloo = to enslave, bring into bondage) means to enslave utterly, absolutely, completely and without qualification. Can you get a picture of what Paul is saying by using this rare verb? Katadouloo is the antithesis of the verb eleutheroo which means to make free.

Devours (consumes) (2719)(katesthio rom kata = down + esthio = to eat) means to eat up, consume, devour (Lk 8:5). Figuratively katesthio means to destroy by fire (consume, burn up) (Rev 11.5), by illegal exploitation (rob, take complete advantage of)(Mk 12.40) or by strife within a group which cause great division (destroys division)(Gal 5.15).

2 Corinthians 11:21  To my shame I must say that we have been weak by comparison. But in whatever respect anyone else is bold--I speak in foolishness--I am just as bold myself.

KJV  2 Corinthians 11:21 I speak as concerning reproach, as though we had been weak. Howbeit whereinsoever any is bold, (I speak foolishly,) I am bold also.

NET  2 Corinthians 11:21 (To my disgrace I must say that we were too weak for that!) But whatever anyone else dares to boast about (I am speaking foolishly), I also dare to boast about the same thing.

BGT  2 Corinthians 11:21 κατὰ ἀτιμίαν λέγω, ὡς ὅτι ἡμεῖς ἠσθενήκαμεν. Ἐν ᾧ δ᾽ ἄν τις τολμᾷ, ἐν ἀφροσύνῃ λέγω, τολμῶ κἀγώ.

NLT  2 Corinthians 11:21 I'm ashamed to say that we've been too "weak" to do that!But whatever they dare to boast about-- I'm talking like a fool again-- I dare to boast about it, too.

ESV  2 Corinthians 11:21 To my shame, I must say, we were too weak for that! But whatever anyone else dares to boast of-- I am speaking as a fool-- I also dare to boast of that.

NIV  2 Corinthians 11:21 To my shame I admit that we were too weak for that! What anyone else dares to boast about--I am speaking as a fool--I also dare to boast about.

YLT  2 Corinthians 11:21 in reference to dishonour I speak, how that we were weak, and in whatever any one is bold -- in foolishness I say it -- I also am bold.

ASV  2 Corinthians 11:21 I speak by way of disparagement, as though we had been weak. Yet whereinsoever any is bold (I speak in foolishness), I am bold also.

CSB  2 Corinthians 11:21 I say this to our shame: We have been weak. But in whatever anyone dares to boast-- I am talking foolishly-- I also dare:

MIT  2 Corinthians 11:21 I speak being aware of the dishonor accorded us by those contending we are insignificant. In whatever way anyone is brash—I say it foolhardily—I also am audacious.

NKJ  2 Corinthians 11:21 To our shame, I say that we were too weak for that! But in whatever anyone is bold-- I speak foolishly-- I am bold also.

NRS  2 Corinthians 11:21 To my shame, I must say, we were too weak for that! But whatever anyone dares to boast of-- I am speaking as a fool-- I also dare to boast of that.

NAB  2 Corinthians 11:21 To my shame I say that we were too weak! But what anyone dares to boast of (I am speaking in foolishness) I also dare.

NJB  2 Corinthians 11:21 I say it to your shame; perhaps we have been too weak. Whatever bold claims anyone makes -- now I am talking as a fool -- I can make them too.

GWN  2 Corinthians 11:21 I'm ashamed to admit it, but Timothy and I don't have the strength to do those things to you. Whatever other people dare to brag about, I, like a fool, can also brag about.

BBE  2 Corinthians 11:21 I say this by way of shaming ourselves, as if we had been feeble. But if anyone puts himself forward (I am talking like a foolish person), I will do the same.

Message I shouldn’t admit it to you, but our stomachs aren’t strong enough to tolerate that kind of stuff. Since you admire the egomaniacs of the pulpit so much (remember, this is your old friend, the fool, talking), let me try my hand at it.

AMP To my discredit, I must say, we have shown ourselves too weak [for you to show such tolerance of us and for us to do strong, courageous things like that to you]! But in whatever any person is bold and dares [to boast]—mind you, I am speaking in this foolish (witless) way—I also am bold and dare [to boast].

The Living Bible I’m ashamed to say that I’m not strong and daring like that! But whatever they can boast about—I’m talking like a fool again—I can boast about it, too.)

  • To my shame I must say that we have been weak by comparison: 2Co 10:1,2,10 13:10 
  • But in whatever respect anyone else is bold: 2Co 11:22-27 Php 3:3-6 
  • I speak: 2Co 11:17,23 
  • 2 Corinthians 11 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

PAUL'S BOLDNESS
MATCHES PRETENDERS

Broomall summarizes 2Co 11:21-31. In these verses we have

  • (1) Paul’s provocation (2Co 11:21)—his unwilling defense of himself against unwarranted calumnies;
  • (2) Paul’s pretensions (2Co 11:22-24a)—his superiority in all matters of human pride (cf. Phil 3:4ff.);
  • (3) Paul’s persecutions (2Co 11:24b, 25)—his many sufferings for the sake of Christ;
  • (4) Paul’s perils (2Co 11:26, 27)—his frequent dangers encountered on his journeys;
  • (5) Paul’s perturbations (2Co 11:28, 29)—his uninterrupted anxiety for all the churches (ASV);
  • (6) Paul’s principle (2Co 11:30)—his paradoxical glorying in his weakness;
  • (7) Paul’s protestation (2Co 11:31)—his ultimate deference to God’s knowledge for the truthfulness of his record.
  •  (Wycliffe Bible Commentary - 11 - online)

To my shame (atimia) I must say that we have been weak (astheneo) by comparison - NIV = "To my shame I admit that we were too weak for that!" NLT - I'm ashamed to say that we've been too "weak" to do that!" Paul makes a sarcastic statement saying that if those are the things that characterize a true apostle, then by comparison he and his associates are too weak to qualify. 

NET NOTE on we have been weak - It seems best, in context, to see the statement we were too weak for that as a parenthetical and ironic comment by Paul on his physical condition (weakness or sickness) while he was with the Corinthians (cf. 2Co 12:7–10; Gal 4:15).

But in whatever respect anyone else is bold (tolmao)--I speak in foolishness (aphrosune - as in 2Co 11:1+)--I am just as bold (tolmaomyself - NLT - "But whatever they dare to boast about-- I'm talking like a fool again-- I dare to boast about it, too." Paul again feels he is speaking foolishness to bring up the topic of boasting but again is compelled to do so. So if these false teachers/apostles dare to boast and to make bold claims, he will do the same (albeit still feeling a bit foolish to be forced to do so). 

Utley - Paul is ready to fight fire with fire. If they want to compare credentials, so be it! . (2 Corinthians 11 Commentary)


Is bold (5111)(tolmao rom tólma = courage in turn from tlao = to sustain, support, endure) means to have courage, to be bold, to dare to do something. To be courageous enough to try or to do something. The idea is of being daring, of acting without fear regardless of the threats or consequences. Louw-Nida - "to be so bold as to challenge or defy possible danger or opposition." BDAG says tolmao means "to show boldness or resolution in the face of danger, opposition, or a problem."  Matt. 22:46; Mk. 12:34; Mk. 15:43; Lk. 20:40; Jn. 21:12; Acts 5:13; Acts 7:32; Rom. 5:7; Rom. 15:18; 1 Co. 6:1; 2 Co. 10:2; 2 Co. 10:12; 2 Co. 11:21; Phil. 1:14; Jude 1:9


A Purpose That Sustains

For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. —Philippians 1:21

Today's Scripture: 2 Corinthians 11:21-29

Austrian psychiatrist Viktor Frankl was imprisoned by the Nazis during the Holocaust. Once set free, he wrote Man’s Search For Meaning, which became a perennial bestseller. In it, Frankl shared an all-important lesson he had learned from his suffering: “There is nothing in the world, I venture to say, that would so effectively help one to survive even the worst conditions as the knowledge that there is a meaning in one’s life.”

The apostle Paul also underwent repeated suffering (2 Corinthians 11:23-27). He certainly had a purpose that sustained him. He told the leaders of the Ephesian church, “Now I go bound in the spirit to Jerusalem, not knowing the things that will happen to me there, except that the Holy Spirit testifies in every city, saying that chains and tribulations await me. But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:22-24).

We too have a purpose and a task—God has called us to bear witness of the Savior. We may not suffer as Paul did, but we can find in our faith a meaning that helps us walk steadfastly through life’s toughest experiences.:  Vernon Grounds (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

I shall not fear the battle
If Thou art by my side,
Nor wander from the pathway
If Thou wilt be my guide. —Bode

Knowing God gives meaning to life; obeying God gives purpose to life.

2 Corinthians 11:22  Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they descendants of Abraham? So am I.

KJV  2 Corinthians 11:22 Are they Hebrews? so am I. Are they Israelites? so am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? so am I.

NET  2 Corinthians 11:22 Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they descendants of Abraham? So am I.

BGT  2 Corinthians 11:22 Ἑβραῖοί εἰσιν; κἀγώ. Ἰσραηλῖταί εἰσιν; κἀγώ. σπέρμα Ἀβραάμ εἰσιν; κἀγώ.

NLT  2 Corinthians 11:22 Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they descendants of Abraham? So am I.

ESV  2 Corinthians 11:22 Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they offspring of Abraham? So am I.

NIV  2 Corinthians 11:22 Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they Abraham's descendants? So am I.

YLT  2 Corinthians 11:22 Hebrews are they? I also! Israelites are they? I also! seed of Abraham are they? I also!

ASV  2 Corinthians 11:22 Are they Hebrews? so am I. Are they Israelites? so am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? so am I.

CSB  2 Corinthians 11:22 Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? So am I.

MIT  2 Corinthians 11:22 Are they Hebrews? I am too. Are they Israelis? I am too. Are they Abraham's progeny? I am too.

NKJ  2 Corinthians 11:22 Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? So am I.

NRS  2 Corinthians 11:22 Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they descendants of Abraham? So am I.

NAB  2 Corinthians 11:22 Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they descendants of Abraham? So am I.

NJB  2 Corinthians 11:22 Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they descendants of Abraham? So am I.

GWN  2 Corinthians 11:22 Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they Abraham's descendants? So am I.

BBE  2 Corinthians 11:22 Are they Hebrews? so am I. Are they of Israel? so am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? so am I.

  • Hebrews: Ex 3:18 5:3 7:16 9:1,13 10:3 Ac 22:3 Ro 11:1 Php 3:5 
  • descendants Ge 17:8,9 2Ch 20:7 Mt 3:9 Joh 8:33-39 Ro 4:13-18 
  • 2 Corinthians 11 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they descendants of Abraham? So am I. - Clearly the imposters were claiming a strong, purebred Jewish lineage to substantiate their so-called authority and superiority. 

Utley “Are they Hebrews? So am I” This is the first of four rhetorical questions. “Hebrews” idiomatically refers to the ability to speak Aramaic (cf. Acts 6:1), but with the implication of true racial Jewishness. This is another evidence that this group of false teachers had a Palestinian/Judaistic origin.. (2 Corinthians 11 Commentary)


Heart For Others

Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. —John 15:13

Today's Scripture: 2 Corinthians 11:22-30

As the young people set up for a concert in the town square in Montego Bay, Jamaica, the worst problem we anticipated was sunburn.

The chorale from Grand Rapids, Michigan, was in Jamaica to encourage Christians and to spread the gospel through music. They had been looking forward to this outreach event.

Midway through the concert, a woman who didn’t like the message of the music began shouting angrily at the chorale. Apparently, the God-honoring songs were more than she could stand. After several tense minutes, a bystander tried to quiet her. A fight ensued, and we began to fear for the safety of the young people. Finally, she ran away, and the chorale finished the concert.

Later, I said to one of the girls, “Well, we won’t do that again,” indicating that our priority was to protect her and her friends. She responded, “If one person came to know Jesus, it was worthwhile, even if we were in danger.”

What a response! Sounds like Paul, who was willing to suffer so that people would come to know Jesus (2 Cor. 11:22-30). This girl was concerned for people she didn’t even know. That’s true love for Jesus—caring for people while moving personal needs to the background. Dave Branon (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Lord, let me to live from day to day
In such a self-forgetful way
That even when I kneel to pray
My prayer will be for others.  —Meigs

God’s love in our heart gives us a heart for the lost.

2 Corinthians 11:23  Are they servants of Christ?--I speak as if insane--I more so; in far more labors, in far more imprisonments, beaten times without number, often in danger of death.

KJV  2 Corinthians 11:23 Are 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.

NET  2 Corinthians 11:23 Are they servants of Christ? (I am talking like I am out of my mind!) I am even more so: with much greater labors, with far more imprisonments, with more severe beatings, facing death many times.

BGT  2 Corinthians 11:23 διάκονοι Χριστοῦ εἰσιν; παραφρονῶν λαλῶ, ὑπὲρ ἐγώ· ἐν κόποις περισσοτέρως, ἐν φυλακαῖς περισσοτέρως, ἐν πληγαῖς ὑπερβαλλόντως, ἐν θανάτοις πολλάκις.

NLT  2 Corinthians 11:23 Are they servants of Christ? I know I sound like a madman, but I have served him far more! I have worked harder, been put in prison more often, been whipped times without number, and faced death again and again.

ESV  2 Corinthians 11:23 Are they servants of Christ? I am a better one-- I am talking like a madman-- with far greater labors, far more imprisonments, with countless beatings, and often near death.

NIV  2 Corinthians 11:23 Are they servants of Christ? (I am out of my mind to talk like this.) I am more. I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again.

YLT  2 Corinthians 11:23 ministrants of Christ are they? -- as beside myself I speak -- I more; in labours more abundantly, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequently, in deaths many times;

ASV  2 Corinthians 11:23 Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as one beside himself) I more; in labors more abundantly, in prisons more abundantly, in stripes above measure, in deaths oft.

CSB  2 Corinthians 11:23 Are they servants of Christ? I'm talking like a madman-- I'm a better one: with far more labors, many more imprisonments, far worse beatings, near death many times.

MIT  2 Corinthians 11:23 Are they Christ's servants? I speak like one who is non compos mentis. I am what they claim and more—with more jobs accomplished, with more imprisonments, with a surplus of beatings, experiencing mortifications often.

NKJ  2 Corinthians 11:23 Are they ministers of Christ?-- I speak as a fool-- I am more: in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequently, in deaths often.

NRS  2 Corinthians 11:23 Are they ministers of Christ? I am talking like a madman-- I am a better one: with far greater labors, far more imprisonments, with countless floggings, and often near death.

NAB  2 Corinthians 11:23 Are they ministers of Christ? (I am talking like an insane person.) I am still more, with far greater labors, far more imprisonments, far worse beatings, and numerous brushes with death.

NJB  2 Corinthians 11:23 Are they servants of Christ? I speak in utter folly -- I am too, and more than they are: I have done more work, I have been in prison more, I have been flogged more severely, many times exposed to death.

GWN  2 Corinthians 11:23 Are they Christ's servants? It's insane to say it, but I'm a far better one. I've done much more work, been in prison many more times, been beaten more severely, and have faced death more often.

BBE  2 Corinthians 11:23 Are they servants of Christ? (I am talking foolishly) I am more so; I have had more experience of hard work, of prisons, of blows more than measure, of death.

The Message Are they servants of Christ? I can go them one better. (I can’t believe I’m saying these things. It’s crazy to talk this way! But I started, and I’m going to finish.) I’ve worked much harder, been jailed more often, beaten up more times than I can count, and at death’s door time after time.

AMP Are they [ministering] servants of Christ (the Messiah)? I am talking like one beside himself, [but] I am more, with far more extensive and abundant labors, with far more imprisonments, [beaten] with countless stripes, and frequently [at the point of] death.

NLT Are they servants of Christ? I know I sound like a madman, but I have served him far more! I have worked harder, been put in prison more often, been whipped times without number, and faced death again and again.

The Living Bible They say they serve Christ? But I have served him far more! (Have I gone mad to boast like this?) I have worked harder, been put in jail more often, been whipped times without number, and faced death again and again and again.

  • Are they servants: 2Co 3:6 6:4 1Co 3:5 4:1 1Th 3:2 1Ti 4:6 
  • I more so: 2Co 11:5 12:11,12 
  • in far more labors: 1Co 15:10 Col 1:29 
  • beaten times without number, 2Co 11:24,25 6:4,5 Acts 9:16 
  • in far more imprisonments: Ac 9:16 Acts 16:24 Acts 20:23 21:11 24:26,27 25:14 27:1 28:16,30 Eph 3:1 Eph 4:1 6:20 Php 1:13 2Ti 1:8,16 2:9 Phm 1:9 Heb 10:34 
  • often in danger of death.s: 2Co 1:9-10 4:11 6:9 Ac 14:19 1Co 15:30-32 Php 2:17 Col 1:24 
  • 2 Corinthians 11 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passages:

Acts 9:16+ But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of Mine, to bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel; (PAUL WAS FOREWARNED BY CHRIST) for I will show him how much he must suffer for My name’s sake.”

2 Corinthians 1:9-10+ indeed, we had the sentence of death within ourselves so that we would not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead; 10 who delivered us from so great a peril of death, and will deliver us, He on whom we have set our hope. And He will yet deliver us,

1 Corinthians 15:10  But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored (kopiao) even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me.

2 Corinthians 4:17-18+ (HOW PAUL VIEWS THE FOLLOWING LIST OF AFFLICTIONS) For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, 18 while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

Storms makes an interesting comment - The following list of sufferings (v23-33) is Paul's exposition in practical terms of what it means to be led in God's "triumph" (2:14).]

Are they servants (diakonosof Christ?--I speak as if insane (paraphroneo)--I more so -  He is not meaning to imply they were in fact true servants of Christ, for the context indicates quite the contrary. This is stated for the purpose of arguing. Clearly they were claiming to be servants of Christ but only Paul is a true servant of Christ. Before Paul had said he was foolish to boast but here he says he is beside himself, as if he had lost his wits for speaking in this boastful manner! 

Now Paul gives the evidence that he was a servant of Christ and how it had cost him to be His servant. Keep the chronological context in mind. Second Corinthians was written about 56 AD and Paul was martyred in about 67 AD. So this litany of suffering recorded in the following passages occurred in the first 20 years of his ministry. Undoubtedly the list was added to in the subsequent decade.

THOUGHT- How much has it cost me to be His servant? It's risky to go out on a limb—but that's where the fruit is. 

God allows trials in our lives, not to impair us but to improve us.

in far more (perissos) labors (kopos) Compare 2Co 6:5+ "in labors" Kopos describes exhausting physical or mental exertion  (kopos used in 1 Cor 15:58; 2Cor 6:5; 11:23, 27; 1Th 1:3; 3:5; 2Th 3:8) and can also refer to  trouble, difficulty (Gal 6:17). 

in far more (perissos)  imprisonments (phulake) - It is interesting that at the time of this writing, Paul's only recorded imprisonment was at Philippi (Acts 16:23). The plural imprisonments  indicates that there were many other imprisonments (far more) not recorded in Scripture! 

Beaten (plege) times without number - Compare 2Co 6:5+ "in beatings" In Philippi (which preceded writing this letter) we read "The crowd rose up together against them, and the chief magistrates tore their robes off them and proceeded to order them to be beaten with rods. When they had struck them with many blows, they threw them into prison, commanding the jailer to guard them securely;" (Acts 16:22-23+)

Often in danger of death (thanatos) - Here we get some help from Acts which records a number of situation where there was danger of death - Damascus (Acts 9:23+), Pisidian Antioch (Acts 13:50+), Iconium (Acts 14:5–6+), Lystra (Acts 14:19+), Philippi (Acts 16:19–40+), Thessalonica (Acts 17:5–9+), and Berea (Acts 17:13+).

Utley makes a great point - Some of these are recorded in Acts, but not all of them. We know so little of the first century church. Paul had paid the price to speak the gospel! . (2 Corinthians 11 Commentary)

Barton - Since this letter was written during Paul's third missionary journey (Acts 18:23-21:17), his trials weren't over. He would experience further difficulties and humiliations for the cause of Christ (see Acts 21:30-33; 22:24-30). Paul was sacrificing his life for the gospel, something the false teachers would never do.   (1 & 2 Corinthians Life Application Bible Commentary)

Take my will and make it Thine-
It shall be no longer mine;
Take my heart-it is Thine own,
It shall be Thy royal throne. 
-Havergal


Insane (3912)(paraphroneo from para - beside + phroneo -  to have understanding, to think) means to be beside oneself, lose one's wits, to be completely irrational, to be out of one's mind. To conduct oneself in an irrational manner. To be deranged or mad.

2 Corinthians 11:24  Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes.

KJV  2 Corinthians 11:24 Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one.

NET  2 Corinthians 11:24 Five times I received from the Jews forty lashes less one.

BGT  2 Corinthians 11:24 Ὑπὸ Ἰουδαίων πεντάκις τεσσεράκοντα παρὰ μίαν ἔλαβον,

NLT  2 Corinthians 11:24 Five different times the Jewish leaders gave me thirty-nine lashes.

ESV  2 Corinthians 11:24 Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one.

NIV  2 Corinthians 11:24 Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one.

YLT  2 Corinthians 11:24 from Jews five times forty stripes save one I did receive;

ASV  2 Corinthians 11:24 Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one.

CSB  2 Corinthians 11:24 Five times I received 39 lashes from Jews.

MIT  2 Corinthians 11:24 From Jews I took five beatings of 39 stripes each.

NKJ  2 Corinthians 11:24 From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one.

NRS  2 Corinthians 11:24 Five times I have received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one.

NAB  2 Corinthians 11:24 Five times at the hands of the Jews I received forty lashes minus one.

NJB  2 Corinthians 11:24 Five times I have been given the thirty-nine lashes by the Jews;

GWN  2 Corinthians 11:24 Five times the Jewish leaders had me beaten with 39 lashes;

BBE  2 Corinthians 11:24 Five times the Jews gave me forty blows but one.

Related Passages:

Deuteronomy 25:2-3+ then it shall be if the wicked man deserves to be beaten, the judge shall then make him lie down and be beaten in his presence with the number of stripes according to his guilt. 3 “He may beat him forty times but no more, so that he does not beat him with many more stripes than these and your brother is not degraded in your eyes. 

Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes - Literally this reads "forty stripes save one." None of these are definitively recorded in Scripture. 

Utley - This refers to punishment administered by Synagogue courts (cf. Deut. 25:1–3). The strokes were probably given with a rod (cf. Ex 21:20; Prov. 10:13; 19:29; 26:3) and given in public. This type of punishment was practiced in Assyria and Egypt, as well as in Israel (cf. Isa. 50:6; Jer. 20:2; 37:15). The rabbis later codified that it had to be one less the forty strokes (the maximum number, cf Josephus, Antiq. 4:8:21, 23). They specified that so many hits be done on the back and on the front, left and right shoulders (cf. Maccoth 3:10ff).. (2 Corinthians 11 Commentary)

2 Corinthians 11:25  Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep.

KJV  2 Corinthians 11:25 Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep;

NET  2 Corinthians 11:25 Three times I was beaten with a rod. Once I received a stoning. Three times I suffered shipwreck. A night and a day I spent adrift in the open sea.

BGT  2 Corinthians 11:25 τρὶς ἐρραβδίσθην, ἅπαξ ἐλιθάσθην, τρὶς ἐναυάγησα, νυχθήμερον ἐν τῷ βυθῷ πεποίηκα·

NLT  2 Corinthians 11:25 Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked. Once I spent a whole night and a day adrift at sea.

ESV  2 Corinthians 11:25 Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea;

NIV  2 Corinthians 11:25 Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea,

YLT  2 Corinthians 11:25 thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice was I shipwrecked, a night and a day in the deep I have passed;

ASV  2 Corinthians 11:25 Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day have I been in the deep;

CSB  2 Corinthians 11:25 Three times I was beaten with rods by the Romans. Once I was stoned by my enemies. Three times I was shipwrecked. I have spent a night and a day in the open sea.

MIT  2 Corinthians 11:25 Three times I was caned. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked, having spent all night and a day in deep water.

NKJ  2 Corinthians 11:25 Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep;

NRS  2 Corinthians 11:25 Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I received a stoning. Three times I was shipwrecked; for a night and a day I was adrift at sea;

NAB  2 Corinthians 11:25 Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I passed a night and a day on the deep;

NJB  2 Corinthians 11:25 three times I have been beaten with sticks; once I was stoned; three times I have been shipwrecked, and once I have been in the open sea for a night and a day;

GWN  2 Corinthians 11:25 three times Roman officials had me beaten with clubs. Once people tried to stone me to death; three times I was shipwrecked, and I drifted on the sea for a night and a day.

BBE  2 Corinthians 11:25 Three times I was whipped with rods, once I was stoned, three times the ship I was in came to destruction at sea, a night and a day I have been in the water;

  • I beaten: Ac 16:22-23,33,37 22:24 
  • once: Mt 21:35 Ac 7:58,59 Acts 14:5,19 Heb 11:37 
  • three: Ac 27:1-44 
  • 2 Corinthians 11 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passages:

Acts 16:22-23+ The crowd rose up together against them, and the chief magistrates tore their robes off them and proceeded to order them to be beaten with rods (rhabidizo). 23 When they had struck them with many blows, they threw them into prison, commanding the jailer to guard them securely;


Fustigatio (John Beaver, Roman Military Punishments, 1725)
 

Three times I was beaten with rods - See above on Acts 16:22-23. See note below on rhabidizo. Only the Romans could administer beatings with rods.

Utley - This refers to a type of Roman judicial punishment, probably administered publicly by a city court (cf. Acts 16:22–40; 1Cor. 4:21).. (2 Corinthians 11 Commentary)

Once I was stoned - This most likely refers to the preceding event in Lystra in Acts 14:19+ "But Jews came from Antioch and Iconium, and having won over the crowds, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing him to be dead."

Three times I was shipwrecked - This is a striking statement for the only shipwreck recorded in Acts 27:1-44 occurred after this writing. Clearly the book of Acts is like a Reader's Digest Condensed book, only giving us highlights of this incredible period in church history. 

Paul’s voyages (recorded in Acts, prior to the time he wrote 2 Corinthians) included: Caesarea to Tarsus (Acts 9:30; Gal. 1:21); Tarsus to Antioch (Acts 11:25–26; possibly overland); Seleucia to Salamis (Acts 13:4); Paphos to Perga (Acts 13:13); Attalia to Antioch (Acts 14:25–26); Troas to Neapolis (Acts 16:11); Berea to Athens (Acts 17:14–15; possibly overland); Corinth to Ephesus (Acts 18:18–19); Ephesus to Caesarea (Acts 18:21–22). In addition, the “painful visit” to Corinth could have required more sea travel.

A night and a day I have spent in the deep - What does this mean? Apparently he was adrift at sea during this time. 

Barton - The fact that Paul survived twenty-four hours adrift at sea would have been considered miraculous in the first century, a sign of God's hand on his life.   (1 & 2 Corinthians Life Application Bible Commentary)

I do not ask for easy paths
Along life's winding roads,
But for the promised grace and strength
To carry all its loads. 
—Meadows

Following Jesus is always right—but seldom easy.


Beaten with rods (4463) rhabidizo from rhabdos = rod for scourging) means to beat with a rod or stick and in the NT is used only of Roman punishment by scourging. This punishment was referred to by the Latin term fustigatio (picture) and was distinguished from catigatio (a lashing) and verberatio (flogging with chains). As Paul records this punishment was inflicted on his body on three separate occasions although only one time is recorded in the NT in detail. It is interesting that in the Septuagint, rhabdizo is used of threshing wheat to remove the chaff from the grain…So she gleaned in the field until evening. Then she beat out what she had gleaned, and it was about an ephah of barley. (Ru 2:17+) Then the angel of the LORD came and sat under the oak that was in Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite as his son Gideon was beating out wheat in the wine press in order to save it from the Midianites. (Jdg 6:11+)

2 Corinthians 11:26  I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren;

KJV  2 Corinthians 11:26 In 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;

NET  2 Corinthians 11:26 I have been on journeys many times, in dangers from rivers, in dangers from robbers, in dangers from my own countrymen, in dangers from Gentiles, in dangers in the city, in dangers in the wilderness, in dangers at sea, in dangers from false brothers,

BGT  2 Corinthians 11:26 ὁδοιπορίαις πολλάκις, κινδύνοις ποταμῶν, κινδύνοις λῃστῶν, κινδύνοις ἐκ γένους, κινδύνοις ἐξ ἐθνῶν, κινδύνοις ἐν πόλει, κινδύνοις ἐν ἐρημίᾳ, κινδύνοις ἐν θαλάσσῃ, κινδύνοις ἐν ψευδαδέλφοις,

NLT  2 Corinthians 11:26 I have traveled on many long journeys. I have faced danger from rivers and from robbers. I have faced danger from my own people, the Jews, as well as from the Gentiles. I have faced danger in the cities, in the deserts, and on the seas. And I have faced danger from men who claim to be believers but are not.

ESV  2 Corinthians 11:26 on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers;

NIV  2 Corinthians 11:26 I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers.

YLT  2 Corinthians 11:26 journeyings many times, perils of rivers, perils of robbers, perils from kindred, perils from nations, perils in city, perils in wilderness, perils in sea, perils among false brethren;

ASV  2 Corinthians 11:26 in journeyings often, in perils of rivers, in perils of robbers, in perils from my countrymen, in perils from the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren;

CSB  2 Corinthians 11:26 On frequent journeys, I faced dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my own people, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the open country, dangers on the sea, and dangers among false brothers;

MIT  2 Corinthians 11:26 I have made many trips—in dangers from rivers, in dangers from thieves, in dangers from ethnic kin, in dangers from foreigners, in urban dangers, in dangers of an isolated place, in dangers on the sea, in dangers from fake brothers,

NKJ  2 Corinthians 11:26 in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren;

NRS  2 Corinthians 11:26 on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from bandits, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers and sisters;

NAB  2 Corinthians 11:26 on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my own race, dangers from Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers at sea, dangers among false brothers;

NJB  2 Corinthians 11:26 continually travelling, I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from brigands, in danger from my own people and in danger from the gentiles, in danger in the towns and in danger in the open country, in danger at sea and in danger from people masquerading as brothers;

GWN  2 Corinthians 11:26 Because I've traveled a lot, I've faced dangers from raging rivers, from robbers, from my own people, and from other people. I've faced dangers in the city, in the open country, on the sea, and from believers who turned out to be false friends.

BBE  2 Corinthians 11:26 In frequent travels, in dangers on rivers, in dangers from outlaws, in dangers from my countrymen, in dangers from the Gentiles, in dangers in the town, in dangers in the waste land, in dangers at sea, in dangers among false brothers;

  • I have been on frequent journeys -: Ac 9:23,26-30 11:25,26 13:1-14:28 15:2-4,40,41 16:1-18:1 Ac 18:18-23 19:1 20:1-6 Ro 15:19,24-28 Ga 1:17-21 
  • Dangers from my countrymen: Ac 9:23-25,29 13:50 20:3,19 21:28-31 23:12-22 25:3 28:10,11 1Th 2:15,16 
  • Dangers from the Gentiles : 2Co 1:8-10 Ac 14:5,19 16:19-24 19:23-41 1Co 15:32 
  • Dangers in the city: 2Co 11:32 Ac 9:24 Acts 17:5
  • 2 Corinthians 11 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

I have been on frequent journeys - These were not scenic cruises like modern tours to the Bible lands, but were always fraught with danger and difficulty.  The following list is like a verbal "Gatling gun" shooting "dangerous bullets" Paul had dodged! 

In dangers (kindunos) from rivers - Rivers swollen to flood stage always posed a danger and there were no miraculous Jordan River partings as when Joshua led Israel into the Promised Land! (cf Joshua 3:6-12, 13-17+). 

Dangers (kindunos) from robbers - Robbers (lestes) were a constant danger to ancient travelers. 

Barton - The rocky road from Jerusalem to Jericho was one of the many roads considered especially dangerous. That is why Jesus set his parable of the Good Samaritan on that road (Luke 10:30-37). The Corinthians, too, would have known of the dangers from bandits, for the road that stretched from their city to Athens was known to harbor bandits, especially in the wilderness areas.   (1 & 2 Corinthians Life Application Bible Commentary)

Dangers (kindunos) from my countrymen - Countrymen is referring to his fellow Jews who were continually in "hot pursuit" of Paul. See Acts 9:23, 29; Acts 13:50; Acts 14:5, 19; Acts 17:5, 13; Acts 18:12; 1Th 2:15) 

Dangers (kindunos) from the Gentiles (ethnos) - Even the Gentiles harassed Paul - See Iconium, Acts 14:2–5; Philippi, 16:19–22; Ephesus, 19:23–41.

Dangers in the city - City...wilderness...sea means that essentially EVERYWHERE he went he was in danger. Paul describes the danger in Damascus in 2Cor 11:32+ (cf Acts 9:24). Paul was in danger in the city in Acts 17:5 "But the Jews, becoming jealous and taking along some wicked men from the market place, formed a mob and set the city in an uproar; and attacking the house of Jason, they were seeking to bring them out to the people."

Dangers (kindunos) in the wilderness - There is no record of these prior to the time of the writing of 2 Corinthians.

Dangers (kindunos) on the sea - There is no record of these prior to the time of the writing of 2 Corinthians. 

Dangers (kindunos) among false brethren (pseudádelphos) - This could be an allusion to the Judaizers but we cannot be dogmatic. 


Barton -  GOD'S PROTECTION  Ministry for Paul was synonymous with danger. This passage makes eight references to dangerous occurrences Paul had faced in every imaginable place. God did not shield Paul from risky situations, but the Lord was always with him. Even in a technologically advanced society we are surrounded by danger every day of our lives. The certainty of suffering is a theme that runs throughout the Old and New Testaments. Even Jesus said before leaving earth, "In this world you will have trouble." But we must remember the way the Savior concluded his prediction. "But take heart! I have overcome the world" (John 16:33NIV). When you face trials and suffering, go to Jesus for strength and patience. He understands your needs and is able to help.   (1 & 2 Corinthians Life Application Bible Commentary)


Dangers (2794)(kindunos see related verb kinduneuo - be in danger) is a condition in which there are threatening circumstances,  and Paul gives a list of these variegated circumstances in 2Co 11:26. The only other NT use is in   Ro 8:35. Translated -  dangers (8), peril (1). Two uses in the Septuagint - Est. 4:17; Ps. 116:3

Robbers (3027lestes from lizoma = to plunder, seize) means one who steals openly and by violence in contrast to kleptes which denotes one who steals by stealth.  A robber, highwayman, bandit (Mt 27:38; Mk 11:17; 15:27; Lk 10:30, 36; Jn 10:1, 8; 2Co 11:26). In some contexts the word means a revolutionary, insurrectionist, one who favors the use of force (Jn 18:40). Judas was a thief (kleptes [John 12:6]) doing no violence to anyone. He stole secretly. Barabbas was a robber (lēstés [Jn 18:40 {cf. Mk 15:7}]).

False brethren (5569) pseudádelphos from pseudes - false +  adelphos - brother) is who pretends to be a close member of a socio-religious group but is not, that is "one who pretends to be a fellow-believer, but whose claim is belied by conduct toward fellow-believers," (BDAG) "In Gal. 2:4 it denotes those who had become outwardly members of the Christian church, sharers in its fellowship of life and love, but in reality were not so inwardly. Therefore, they had no right to be counted as brothers. They had the companionship of the brothers but the real kinship of spiritual life was missing." (Zodhiates) In the New Testament it is used only of those who present themselves as members of the Christian community but do not truly accept its teachings and standards of godliness.

2 Corinthians 11:27  I have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure.

KJV  2 Corinthians 11:27 In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.

NET  2 Corinthians 11:27 in hard work and toil, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, many times without food, in cold and without enough clothing.

BGT  2 Corinthians 11:27 κόπῳ καὶ μόχθῳ, ἐν ἀγρυπνίαις πολλάκις, ἐν λιμῷ καὶ δίψει, ἐν νηστείαις πολλάκις, ἐν ψύχει καὶ γυμνότητι·

NLT  2 Corinthians 11:27 I have worked hard and long, enduring many sleepless nights. I have been hungry and thirsty and have often gone without food. I have shivered in the cold, without enough clothing to keep me warm.

ESV  2 Corinthians 11:27 in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure.

NIV  2 Corinthians 11:27 I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked.

YLT  2 Corinthians 11:27 in labouriousness and painfulness, in watchings many times, in hunger and thirst, in fastings many times, in cold and nakedness;

ASV  2 Corinthians 11:27 in labor and travail, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.

CSB  2 Corinthians 11:27 labor and hardship, many sleepless nights, hunger and thirst, often without food, cold, and lacking clothing.

MIT  2 Corinthians 11:27 in hard labor and struggle, in many deprivations of sleep, in hunger and thirst, in many fastings, in cold weather and clothing deprivation.

NKJ  2 Corinthians 11:27 in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness--

NRS  2 Corinthians 11:27 in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, hungry and thirsty, often without food, cold and naked.

NAB  2 Corinthians 11:27 in toil and hardship, through many sleepless nights, through hunger and thirst, through frequent fastings, through cold and exposure.

NJB  2 Corinthians 11:27 I have worked with unsparing energy, for many nights without sleep; I have been hungry and thirsty, and often altogether without food or drink; I have been cold and lacked clothing.

GWN  2 Corinthians 11:27 Because I've had to work so hard, I've often gone without sleep, been hungry and thirsty, and gone without food and without proper clothes during cold weather.

BBE  2 Corinthians 11:27 In hard work and weariness, in frequent watchings, going without food and drink, cold and in need of clothing.

  • I have been in labor and hardship,: 2Co 11:23 6:5 Ac 20:5-11,34,35 1Th 2:9 2Th 3:8 
  • through many sleepless nights: Ac 20:31 
  • through many sleepless nights: Jer 38:9 1Co 4:11,12 Php 4:12 
  • often without food: 2Co 6:5 Ac 13:2,3 14:23 1Co 7:5 
  • in cold and exposure: Ro 8:35,36 Heb 11:37 Jas 2:15,16 
  • 2 Corinthians 11 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passages:

2 Corinthians 6:4-6+ but in everything commending ourselves as servants of God, in much endurance, in afflictions, in hardships, in distresses, 5 in beatings, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in sleeplessness, in hunger, 6 in purity, in knowledge, in patience, in kindness, in the Holy Spirit, in genuine love,

I have been in labor (kopos) and hardship (mochthos) - Paul used a similar expression discussing his difficult manual labor and hardship (mochthos) at Thessalonica (1Th 2:9; 2Th 3:8).

Through many sleepless nights (agrupnia) describes state of remaining awake because one is unable to go to sleep

In hunger and thirst - Hunger is limos which is deprivation of food.  

Often without food - In context this is probably not ritualistic fastings, but literally not having sufficient food. 

In cold and exposure - Exposure is the Greek word gumnotes (3x - Ro 8:35; 2Co 11:27; Rev 3:18) which literally meant to be naked, but most likely (in context with cold) refers to simply having insufficient clothing to keep his body temperature normal. I had my first episode of hypothermia when swimming in a local pool that was too cold but I failed to realize it and when I got out from the swim I was mentally confused and physically week. We will have to wait to heaven to ask Paul is he suffered hypothermia but I would suggest he likely did. 

NET NOTE on exposure (nakedness) - Grk “in cold and nakedness.” Paul does not mean complete nakedness, however, which would have been repugnant to a Jew; he refers instead to the lack of sufficient clothing, especially in cold weather. A related word (ED: gumniteuo - to be naked, to wear ragged clothing, figuratively scantily clad; to be a light-armed soldier!) is used to 1Co 4:11+, also in combination with experiencing hunger and thirst.

2 Corinthians 11:28  Apart from such external things, there is the daily pressure on me of concern for all the churches.

KJV  2 Corinthians 11:28 Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches.

NET  2 Corinthians 11:28 Apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxious concern for all the churches.

BGT  2 Corinthians 11:28 χωρὶς τῶν παρεκτὸς ἡ ἐπίστασίς μοι ἡ καθ᾽ ἡμέραν, ἡ μέριμνα πασῶν τῶν ἐκκλησιῶν.

NLT  2 Corinthians 11:28 Then, besides all this, I have the daily burden of my concern for all the churches.

ESV  2 Corinthians 11:28 And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches.

NIV  2 Corinthians 11:28 Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches.

YLT  2 Corinthians 11:28 apart from the things without -- the crowding upon me that is daily -- the care of all the assemblies.

ASV  2 Corinthians 11:28 Besides those things that are without, there is that which presseth upon me daily, anxiety for all the churches.

CSB  2 Corinthians 11:28 Not to mention other things, there is the daily pressure on me: my care for all the churches.

MIT  2 Corinthians 11:28 Apart from these externals, the pressure of taking care of all the churches has daily been upon me.

NKJ  2 Corinthians 11:28 besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches.

NRS  2 Corinthians 11:28 And, besides other things, I am under daily pressure because of my anxiety for all the churches.

NAB  2 Corinthians 11:28 And apart from these things, there is the daily pressure upon me of my anxiety for all the churches.

NJB  2 Corinthians 11:28 And, besides all the external things, there is, day in day out, the pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches.

GWN  2 Corinthians 11:28 Besides these external matters, I have the daily pressure of my anxiety about all the churches.

BBE  2 Corinthians 11:28 In addition to all the other things, there is that which comes on me every day, the care of all the churches.

  • Apart from such external things - : 2Co 11:23-27 
  • the daily pressure: Ac 15:36,40,41 18:23 20:2,18-35 Ro 1:14 11:13 15:16 16:4 Col 2:1
  • 2 Corinthians 11 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passages:

2 Corinthians 4:8 we are afflicted (thlibo - crushed like grapes) in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing;

SPIRITUAL WORRIES
FOR THE CHURCHES

Storms - In addition to the external, physical sufferings of the previous verses, is the pressure of concern for the churches (this is the climax, and perhaps the worst part, of his trials; cf. 1 Thess. 3:1-10)  -  he hurts when they are weak, he grieves when they sin. Paul was a "pastor" in the true sense of that term: he took the pains of his sheep personally!

Apart from such external things - In context most of the preceding things were external, but it is possible he is alluding to other things he has left unmentioned.

NET NOTEApart from other things. Paul refers here either (1) to the external sufferings just mentioned, or (2) he refers to other things he has left unmentioned.

There is the daily pressure (epistasis) on me of (anxious) concern (merimna) for all the churches - Paul was "spiritual father" to the churches he had planted and felt a sense of responsibility for them. This is something his adversaries had no experience with for they had planted no churches! While he does not say this is the greatest burden, knowing Paul's shepherd's heart for the flock, this was probably the greatest burden for it involved human souls. 

Like squeezing a sponge, pressure does not only make a man
but it will expose the substance of what is really within a man. 

Barton - One indication of his burden was his dedication and persistence in praying for them. Many of his New Testament letters indicate that he was praying for those to whom he was writing (see 13:7-9; Romans 1:10; Philippians 1:4; 1 Thessalonians 1:2; 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12). Paul even wrote down several of his prayers (see Ephesians 1:16-18; 3:14-19; Colossians 1:3-14). Paul's prayers reveal his concerns. His primary concern was that the churches be firmly rooted in Jesus Christ, not wavering from the faith (Ephesians 1:16-17). He also wanted them to experience all of the benefits of being a child of God-the wisdom, knowledge, and power available through the Spirit that lives within them (Ephesians 3:16-17). Moreover, he wanted them to live up to their calling as Christians, producing good works so that Jesus would be honored (13:7-9; Colossians 1:10). Presumably, Paul was praying the same way for the Corinthians.   (1 & 2 Corinthians Life Application Bible Commentary)

Stewart on Acts 18:5KJV "And when Silas and Timotheus were come from Macedonia, Paul was pressed (sunecho) in the spirit, and testified to the Jews that Jesus was Christ."  The word "pressed" (sunecho) carries the idea of something held together by pressing on all sides to accomplish a desired result. It is a picture of cattle being pressed into a cattle squeeze so medicine can be administered. Paul knew what to do and when to do it because of the pressure applied upon his soul. It was pressure from Mordecai that gave Esther the courage to do what was right. It was pressure from the belly of a vomiting fish that propelled Jonah toward obedience. It was pressure from the crowd that compelled Pilate to set God’s plan of redemption into motion. Howard Taylor learned of his missionary father Hudson, "It doesn’t matter how great the pressure is. What really matters is where the pressure lies, whether it comes between me and God or whether it presses me nearer His heart." God-pressed moments are never anything more than grace under fire. In 2 Corinthians 7:5+ Paul again says, "we were troubled on every side; without were fightings, within were fears. Nevertheless..." Paul knew when pressure is rushing in at every port a man will either die in his faith or he will die for his faith. Those who excel under pressure are those whose minds are already made up long before the crisis arrives. When Job was pressured sorely by his circumstances to desert God, it was noted, "still he holdeth fast his integrity" When Daniel was pressured to be disloyal to his God, it was noted, "...innocency was found in me." When Jesus felt the crushing pressure of sin in Gethsemane, he cried out, "...nevertheless not my will, but Thine, be done." Martin Luther King, Jr. said, "The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy." A decisive heart is one that has burned the bridges of retreat and cannot back off, back up, or back down. As I’ve heard it said, it’s how you show up at the showdown that counts! When a mother is giving birth to her baby, the pressure brings excruciating pain. However, what enables a mother to endure the effects of the pressure is the fact her heart is fixed on the outcome produced by the pressure. Therein lies the great secret to performing well under pressure. In Philippians 4:13+, Paul wrote, "I can do all things through Christ..." When pressure arose, Paul remained focused on the Christlikeness that pressure would ultimately produce. A heart fixed on such an outcome will never miss the bull’s-eye and is the making of a gold medal saint.

ILLUSTRATION - Pressure - Have you ever wondered how fish are able to cope in the ocean depths under the same water pressure that would cause a human body to explode? They are able to function because of an internal counter pressure that is equal to the external pressure. Perhaps that is what Psalmist had in mind when he wrote in Psalm 119:11, "Thy Word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against Thee." A life undergirded by truth is a life reinforced to withstand collapse under any degree of pressure. When the damage pressure threatens to do to us is matched by the work God does in us there will always be the hope of success. - Gideon may have felt disadvantaged and inadequate, but pressure would reveal he was a "mighty man of valor." King Saul may have stood taller than any in Israel, but pressure would reveal he was a dwarf at heart.


Pressure (1988)(epistasis from ephistemi - to set upon, stand upon) means literally stopping, checking, halt in a march; hence, as what creates hindrance to normal activity. (1) of people roused up against someone attack, disturbance, rioting (Acts 24.12); (2) responsibility for a matter, of the many duties and thus burden, pressure, heavy responsibility (2Co 11.28)

Concern (3308merimna from merizo = to divide or draw different directions - which is exactly what anxiety does to most of us!) refers to a care (the sole way it is translated in the KJV) or concern and so to care for someone or something. It is often used in a negative sense and thus is translated as "worry". From the origin, one can see that merimna describes the state of "being pulled apart.” Thus when circumstances are difficult, it is easy to let oneself be dominated by anxiety and worry. 6x in NT - Mt 13:22; Mk 4:19; Lk 8:14; Lk. 21:34; 2Co 11:28; 1Pe 5:7

2 Corinthians 11:29  Who is weak without my being weak? Who is led into sin without my intense concern?

KJV  2 Corinthians 11:29 Who is weak, and I am not weak? who is offended, and I burn not?

NET  2 Corinthians 11:29 Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is led into sin, and I do not burn with indignation?

BGT  2 Corinthians 11:29 τίς ἀσθενεῖ καὶ οὐκ ἀσθενῶ; τίς σκανδαλίζεται καὶ οὐκ ἐγὼ πυροῦμαι;

NLT  2 Corinthians 11:29 Who is weak without my feeling that weakness? Who is led astray, and I do not burn with anger?

ESV  2 Corinthians 11:29 Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to fall, and I am not indignant?

NIV  2 Corinthians 11:29 Who is weak, and I do not feel weak? Who is led into sin, and I do not inwardly burn?

YLT  2 Corinthians 11:29 Who is infirm, and I am not infirm? who is stumbled, and I am not fired;

ASV  2 Corinthians 11:29 Who is weak, and I am not weak? who is caused to stumble, and I burn not?

CSB  2 Corinthians 11:29 Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to stumble, and I do not burn with indignation?

MIT  2 Corinthians 11:29 Who is in a weakened condition, and I am not enervated? Who is shamefully upended, and I am not chagrined?

NKJ  2 Corinthians 11:29 Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to stumble, and I do not burn with indignation?

NRS  2 Corinthians 11:29 Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to stumble, and I am not indignant?

NAB  2 Corinthians 11:29 Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is led to sin, and I am not indignant?

NJB  2 Corinthians 11:29 If anyone weakens, I am weakened as well; and when anyone is made to fall, I burn in agony myself.

GWN  2 Corinthians 11:29 When anyone is weak, I'm weak too. When anyone is caught in a trap, I'm also harmed.

BBE  2 Corinthians 11:29 Who is feeble and I am not feeble? who is in danger of falling, and I am not angry?

  • weak: 2Co 2:4,5 7:5,6 13:9 Ezr 9:1-3 Ro 12:15 15:1 1Co 8:13 9:22 12:26 Ga 6:2 1Th 3:5-8 
  • my intense concern: 2Co 11:13-15 Nu 25:6-11 Ne 5:6-13 13:15-20,23-25 Joh 2:17 1Co 5:1-5 1Co 6:5-7,15-18 11:22 15:12-34,36 Ga 1:7-10 2:4-6,14 3:1-3 Ga 4:8-20 5:2-4 2Jn 1:10,11 Jude 1:3,4 Rev 2:2,20 3:15-18 
  • 2 Corinthians 11 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

PAUL HURT
WHEN BELIEVER'S HURT

These two rhetorical questions express Paul's compassion and empathy for the churches and the individual believers when they are experiencing painful circumstances, whether from sin or otherwise. 

Who is weak (astheneo) without my being weak (astheneo) 

Homer Kent - Paul’s sense of responsibility for the churches made him sympathetic to every struggling and suffering Christian of whom he was aware. The question, “Who is weak and I am not weak?” (KJV) implies that Paul entered in fully with the weaknesses of the brethren and took them to his own heart. The previous recitation of his troubles and hardships made it clear that he was no stranger to personal misfortune. Thus he could readily sympathize with those experiencing some kind of weakness.  (A Heart Opened Wide: Studies in 2 Corinthians)

Who is led into sin (skandalizo)  - "who is caused to stumble." Stumbling pictures sin as a "pothole" (so to speak) in the "highway of holiness." 

Utley on led into sin - This is the Greek term skandalon, which literally referred to a baited trap-stick (cf. Rom. 11:9). It is used in the sense of moral failure (here and 1 Cor. 8:13) or possibly to be seduced by the false theology of the “super apostles” (cf. 1 Cor. 1:23; Gal. 5:11). . (2 Corinthians 11 Commentary)

Without my intense concern (puroo)Intense concern has the verb puroo meaning to burn so here Paul speaks of “burn with indignation” (NKJV) or “burn in agony” (NJB). 


Led into sin (falls away; stumbles) (4624skandalizo from skandalon= a trap = put a snare or stumbling block in way; English = scandalize = to offend the moral sense of) means to put a snare (in the way), hence to cause to stumble, to give offense. To entrap, trip up, or entice to sin, offend. So here in Mt 5:29-30 skandalizo is used in the active sense which conveys the idea to cause to do wrong, to entice to commit sin. In the passive sense it be means to be led into sin, to be caused to do wrong. In the passive some uses mean to be offended (Mt 11:6), the idea being that one is taking offense at Jesus and/or refusing to believe in Him. Finally, skandalizo can mean to furnish an occasion for some to be shocked, angered, or offended (Mt 17:27).

2 Corinthians 11:30  If I have to boast, I will boast of what pertains to my weakness.

KJV  2 Corinthians 11:30 If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things which concern mine infirmities.

NET  2 Corinthians 11:30 If I must boast, I will boast about the things that show my weakness.

BGT  2 Corinthians 11:30 Εἰ καυχᾶσθαι δεῖ, τὰ τῆς ἀσθενείας μου καυχήσομαι.

NLT  2 Corinthians 11:30 If I must boast, I would rather boast about the things that show how weak I am.

ESV  2 Corinthians 11:30 If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.

NIV  2 Corinthians 11:30 If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.

YLT  2 Corinthians 11:30 if to boast it behoveth me, of the things of my infirmity I will boast;

ASV  2 Corinthians 11:30 If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things that concern my weakness.

CSB  2 Corinthians 11:30 If boasting is necessary, I will boast about my weaknesses.

MIT  2 Corinthians 11:30 If I am compelled to boast, I shall boast about aspects of my weakness.

NKJ  2 Corinthians 11:30 If I must boast, I will boast in the things which concern my infirmity.

NRS  2 Corinthians 11:30 If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.

NAB  2 Corinthians 11:30 If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.

NJB  2 Corinthians 11:30 If I have to boast, I will boast of all the ways in which I am weak.

GWN  2 Corinthians 11:30 If I must brag, I will brag about the things that show how weak I am.

BBE  2 Corinthians 11:30 If I have to take credit to myself, I will do so in the things in which I am feeble.

  • If I have to boast: 2Co 11:16-18 12:1,11 Pr 25:27 27:2 Jer 9:23,24 
  • I will boast: 2Co 12:5-10 Col 1:24 
  • 2 Corinthians 11 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passages:

2 Corinthians 4:7-10  (POWER IN WEAKNESS) But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves; 8 we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; 10 always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.

PAUL'S PARADOXICAL
BOAST IN HIS WEAKNESS

If I have (must - dei) to boast (kauchaomai) I will boast (kauchaomaiof what pertains to my weakness (astheneia) - IF is in first class condition signifying that indeed Paul had to boast. More literally it reads "if (since) boasting is necessary (dei - Paul's point is boasting IS NECESSARY). Paul's reluctance to boast continues. This boast is one most of us would not boast about it, but Paul viewed weakness from a divine perspective and as he will soon teach (astheneia is used twice in 2Co 12:9-10+), he views weakness paradoxically as the divinely paved pathway to true spiritual strength in the Christian life. Also in boasting in his weakness, it is made clear to his readers that all that he had accomplished spiritually in Corinth (and in every church he planted) was not due to his strength but to the power of the Spirit of Christ flowing through him like a mighty rushing river (Jn 7:37-39+). 

Utley on my weakness -  Paul’s trials and criticisms had caused him to realize that his strengths were from God and his weaknesses were an opportunity for God to receive the glory (cf. 2Co 12:1–10+).. (2 Corinthians 11 Commentary)

Barton - How could Paul expect to reassert his authority with such self-debasement? He knew that his authority didn't rest in his abilities but in his appointment. Christ had called him to be an apostle to the Gentiles (Romans 1:1, 5; 11:13). The only way Paul could show his authority was to point out how God had worked through his weaknesses. These were the telltale signs of God's work in his life.   (1 & 2 Corinthians Life Application Bible Commentary)

Christians are like tea bags.
You never know what kind you are until you are in hot water.
-- E S Whitney


Mixed Reviews

If I must boast, I will boast in the things which concern my infirmity. —2 Corinthians 11:30

Today's Scripture: 2 Corinthians 11:16-30

Several years ago The New York Times reported that coyotes were repopulating much of the American East. But they were getting mixed reviews. Some people saw them as a threat to domestic animals and regarded them as a nuisance. Others found the coyotes beneficial. One farmer said, “We’re happy to have them. The coyotes kill the mice and rabbits, which gnaw at the bottom of our trees.”

In the same way that people see the coyote as either a friend or an enemy, we have a choice about how we are going to view the sharp-toothed people and adverse circumstances of our lives. We recognize the danger they pose, but do we see how we can benefit from their presence? We can decide to let their threats drive us to the Lord. Then, even though they seem to be working against us, they are actually working for our good.

The apostle Paul trained himself to view the perils of his life as opportunities to express his faithfulness to Christ. He came to the place where he could “take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake” (2 Corinthians 12:10).

Father, help us to see opportunities for growth where others see only problems.    Mart DeHaan (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

The obstacles that we must face
Along life's rocky way
Are used by God so we might hear
"Well done" from Him someday. —Sper

When we keep our eyes on Christ, obstacles become opportunities.


Marks Of A Veteran

I will boast in the things which concern my infirmity. —2 Corinthians 11:30

Today's Scripture: 2 Corinthians 11:12-31

A group of US military veterans has published the names of more than 300 people who falsely claim to have been prisoners of war during the Vietnam conflict. For whatever reasons—recognition, respect, or perhaps financial gain—these phony POWs speak of places they’ve never been and experiences they’ve never had. But an association of former POWs says to them, “We’re on your trail and we’ll unmask you at the first opportunity.”

When a group of phony apostles threatened to undermine the gospel of Christ in Corinth, Paul denounced them as deceitful workers and ministers of Satan (2 Corinthians 11:13-15). And to establish the authenticity and authority of his own apostleship, he “boasted” not of his successes but of his sufferings: “in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequently, in deaths often” (v.23). His list continued with instances of physical danger, mental anguish, and spiritual exhaustion that seem overwhelming when we consider what he endured.

If your faithfulness to Christ has caused you to suffer, you bear the marks of a true veteran in His service. In the kingdom of God, it’s not ribbons and stars but redemption and scars that set you apart as the real thing.By:  David C. McCasland (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

True followers of Jesus Christ
Who suffer in His name
Will proudly bear the marks that come
When they His Word proclaim. —Sper

We can never sacrifice too much for the One who gave His all for us.

2 Corinthians 11:31  The God and Father of the Lord Jesus, He who is blessed forever, knows that I am not lying.

KJV  2 Corinthians 11:31 The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is blessed for evermore, knoweth that I lie not.

NET  2 Corinthians 11:31 The God and Father of the Lord Jesus, who is blessed forever, knows I am not lying.

BGT  2 Corinthians 11:31 ὁ θεὸς καὶ πατὴρ τοῦ κυρίου Ἰησοῦ οἶδεν, ὁ ὢν εὐλογητὸς εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας, ὅτι οὐ ψεύδομαι.

NLT  2 Corinthians 11:31 God, the Father of our Lord Jesus, who is worthy of eternal praise, knows I am not lying.

ESV  2 Corinthians 11:31 The God and Father of the Lord Jesus, he who is blessed forever, knows that I am not lying.

NIV  2 Corinthians 11:31 The God and Father of the Lord Jesus, who is to be praised forever, knows that I am not lying.

YLT  2 Corinthians 11:31 the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ -- who is blessed to the ages -- hath known that I do not lie! --

ASV  2 Corinthians 11:31 The God and Father of the Lord Jesus, he who is blessed for evermore knoweth that I lie not.

CSB  2 Corinthians 11:31 The God and Father of the Lord Jesus, who is praised forever, knows I am not lying.

MIT  2 Corinthians 11:31 The God and father of our Lord Jesus, who is forever acclaimed, knows I am not lying.

NKJ  2 Corinthians 11:31 The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is blessed forever, knows that I am not lying.

NRS  2 Corinthians 11:31 The God and Father of the Lord Jesus (blessed be he forever!) knows that I do not lie.

NAB  2 Corinthians 11:31 The God and Father of the Lord Jesus knows, he who is blessed forever, that I do not lie.

NJB  2 Corinthians 11:31 The God and Father of the Lord Jesus -- who is for ever to be blessed -- knows that I am not lying.

GWN  2 Corinthians 11:31 The God and Father of the Lord Jesus, who is praised forever, knows that I'm not lying.

BBE  2 Corinthians 11:31 The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom be praise for ever, is witness that the things which I say are true.

  • God: 2Co 1:3,23  John 10:30 20:17 Ro 1:9 9:1 Eph 1:3 3:14 Ga 1:2,3 Col 1:3 1Th 2:5 1Pe 1:3 
  • He who is blessed: Ne 9:5 Ps 41:13 Ro 1:25 9:5 1Ti 1:11,17 6:16 
  • knows: 2Co 11:10 
  • 2 Corinthians 11 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

PAUL CALLS THE 
FATHER AS WITNESS

The God and Father of the Lord Jesus, He who is blessed forever (lit - unto the ages), knows that I am not lying - He first offers a short eulogy. But he has just boasted in weakness and some might question his sincerity. Did he really mean that? This verse makes it clear that yes, absolutely, he did mean it, because he calls the omniscient God as his Witness. Since God saw not just the external, but the internal (Paul's heart), He knew Paul was not lying

Utley - This verse is an oath. Paul uses God’s name to assert the truthfulness of his statements quite often (cf. Rom. 1:9; 2 Cor. 1:18; 11:10, 11; Gal. 1:20; 1 Tim. 2:7). (2 Corinthians 11 Commentary)

Barton - Paul had already called on God as a witness to his truthfulness three other times in this letter: when he asserted his integrity in his recent travel plans (2Co 1:18), when he denied taking any money from the Corinthians (2Co 11:10), and when he asserted his genuine love for them (2Co 11:11). Paul didn't hesitate to use oaths when he believed something he was saying would be doubted (see also Galatians 1:20).   (1 & 2 Corinthians Life Application Bible Commentary)

Kent - The description of God as “blessed forever” was common Hebrew terminology, and Paul also used it in Romans 1:25 and 9:5.  (A Heart Opened Wide: Studies in 2 Corinthians)

2 Corinthians 11:32  In Damascus the ethnarch under Aretas the king was guarding the city of the Damascenes in order to seize me,

KJV  2 Corinthians 11:32 In Damascus the governor under Aretas the king kept the city of the Damascenes with a garrison, desirous to apprehend me:

NET  2 Corinthians 11:32 In Damascus, the governor under King Aretas was guarding the city of Damascus in order to arrest me,

BGT  2 Corinthians 11:32 ἐν Δαμασκῷ ὁ ἐθνάρχης Ἁρέτα τοῦ βασιλέως ἐφρούρει τὴν πόλιν Δαμασκηνῶν πιάσαι με,

NLT  2 Corinthians 11:32 When I was in Damascus, the governor under King Aretas kept guards at the city gates to catch me.

ESV  2 Corinthians 11:32 At Damascus, the governor under King Aretas was guarding the city of Damascus in order to seize me,

NIV  2 Corinthians 11:32 In Damascus the governor under King Aretas had the city of the Damascenes guarded in order to arrest me.

YLT  2 Corinthians 11:32 In Damascus the ethnarch of Aretas the king was watching the city of the Damascenes, wishing to seize me,

ASV  2 Corinthians 11:32 In Damascus the governor under Aretas the king guarded the city of the Damascenes in order to take me:

CSB  2 Corinthians 11:32 In Damascus, the governor under King Aretas guarded the city of the Damascenes in order to arrest me,

MIT  2 Corinthians 11:32 In Damascus the ethnarch of King Aretas was guarding the city of Damascus for the purpose of arresting me.

NKJ  2 Corinthians 11:32 In Damascus the governor, under Aretas the king, was guarding the city of the Damascenes with a garrison, desiring to arrest me;

NRS  2 Corinthians 11:32 In Damascus, the governor under King Aretas guarded the city of Damascus in order to seize me,

NAB  2 Corinthians 11:32 At Damascus, the governor under King Aretas guarded the city of Damascus, in order to seize me,

NJB  2 Corinthians 11:32 When I was in Damascus, the governor who was under King Aretas put guards round Damascus city to catch me,

GWN  2 Corinthians 11:32 The governor under King Aretas put guards around the city of Damascus to catch me.

BBE  2 Corinthians 11:32 In Damascus, the ruler under Aretas the king kept watch over the town of the people of Damascus, in order to take me:

Related Passages:

Acts 9:19b-25+ Now for several days he was with the disciples who were at Damascus, 20 and immediately he began to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “He is the Son of God.” 21 All those hearing him continued to be amazed, and were saying, “Is this not he who in Jerusalem destroyed those who called on this name, and who had come here for the purpose of bringing them bound before the chief priests?” 22 But Saul kept increasing in strength and confounding the Jews who lived at Damascus by proving that this Jesus is the Christ.  23 When many days had elapsed, the Jews plotted together to do away with him, 24 but their plot became known to Saul. They were also watching the gates day and night so that they might put him to death; 25 but his disciples took him by night and let him down through an opening in the wall, lowering him in a large basket.

PAUL'S ESCAPE
FROM DAMASCUS

In Damascus the ethnarch under Aretas the king was guarding (phroureo) the city of the Damascenes in order to seize (piazo) me - As described by Luke (see above)

NET NOTE on ethnarch - The governor was an official called an ethnarch who was appointed to rule over a particular area or constituency on behalf of a king.

Utley - In Damascus the ethnarch under Aretas” Some say this is anticlimactic, but this was apparently the most embarrassing (weakest) moment of Paul’s life. It could refer to another charge of the false teachers. King Aretas (Harethath) was king of the Nabatean empire from 9 B.C. to A.D. 40. He was the father-in-law of Herod Antipas. The term “Aretas” is like the term “Pharaoh,” a title for all of the Nabatean kings who ruled in Petra. The “ethnarch” would have been Aretus’ official representative in Damascus. The account in Acts 9:23–25 (see above) is somewhat different; possibly the false teachers used this incident to attack Paul’s character.. (2 Corinthians 11 Commentary)

Homer KentAretas IV was king of the Nabateans, whose capital was Petra. He ruled for thirty-one years, beginning in A.D. 9. The governor (ethnarch) was an official appointed by Aretas, apparently to oversee a particular ethnic segment of the population. Damascus was not actually a Nabatean city at this time, but a colony of Nabateans may have lived in Damascus and may have been instigators of the plot against Paul. Somehow the Jews were able to enlist the ethnarch’s support in attempting to seize Paul.  (A Heart Opened Wide: Studies in 2 Corinthians)

Barton - The way the passage builds up to this story indicates that Paul saw this as a seminal event. Although Paul would run from his persecutors on other occasions (Acts 14:5-6; 17:10, 14), this was this first time he was forced to do so. Paul had come to Damascus with his head held high. The high priest had given him the authority to arrest Christians in that city. After his conversion, Paul was forced to sneak out of the city under the cover of darkness. He couldn't even walk through the city gates, much less command the authority and respect of the city elders (compare Acts 9:1-2 with 9:23-25). Although Christ had predicted that Paul would suffer much for him (Acts 9:15-16), this was probably the first time Paul had realized to what extent he would have to suffer. Hunted as a common criminal, he couldn't stand up to his accusers and defend himself with integrity. Instead, he had to run away. For Paul, fleeing would have been considered a coward's reaction. This was probably one of the weakest moments he had experienced in his life, and admitting this to his opponents in Corinth would have been extremely difficult for him to write.   (1 & 2 Corinthians Life Application Bible Commentary)

Storms thoughts on why this event - Why does Paul include this here? Evidently he regards it as a shameful experience. It shattered what little pride he had left. He had entered the city as a hunter, but left it hunted. This high and mighty, educated and respected leader had to sneak out of Damascus like a common criminal. Perhaps also Paul is drawing a contrast between the shame of being "lowered down" here and the glory of being "caught up" which he will describe in chp. 12.

Seize (caught)(4084piazo related to piezo = to press) originally meant to press or squeeze, and then to take hold of with a firm grasp as here in Acts 3:7. More often piazo speaks of seizing someone with a hostile intent so as to overpower them or to gain control. Most often piazo is used to describe the hostile attempts to seize Jesus (Jn 7:30, 32, 44, Jn 8:20, 10:39, 11:57). In 2 Cor 11:32 used of the attempt "to seize" Paul at "the city of the Damascenes." In Acts 12:4 of Herod who "seized him (Peter and), he put him in prison."


Related Resources:

  • International Standard Bible Encyclopedia Ethnarch
  • McClintock and Strong's Bible Encyclopedia Ethnarch
  • The Jewish Encyclopedia Ethnarch
  • Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible Ethnarch
  • Hastings' Dictionary of the NT Ethnarch
  • International Standard Bible Encyclopedia Aretas
  • Kitto Biblical Cyclopedia Aretas
  • McClintock and Strong's Bible Encyclopedia Aretas
  • Fausset Bible Dictionary Aretas
  • Holman Bible Dictionary Aretas
  • Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible Aretas
  • Hastings' Dictionary of the NT Aretas
  • The Jewish Encyclopedia Aretas

2 Corinthians 11:33  and I was let down in a basket through a window in the wall, and so escaped his hands.

KJV  2 Corinthians 11:33 And through a window in a basket was I let down by the wall, and escaped his hands.

NET  2 Corinthians 11:33 but I was let down in a rope-basket through a window in the city wall, and escaped his hands.

BGT  2 Corinthians 11:33 καὶ διὰ θυρίδος ἐν σαργάνῃ ἐχαλάσθην διὰ τοῦ τείχους καὶ ἐξέφυγον τὰς χεῖρας αὐτοῦ.

NLT  2 Corinthians 11:33 I had to be lowered in a basket through a window in the city wall to escape from him.

ESV  2 Corinthians 11:33 but I was let down in a basket through a window in the wall and escaped his hands.

NIV  2 Corinthians 11:33 But I was lowered in a basket from a window in the wall and slipped through his hands.

YLT  2 Corinthians 11:33 and through a window in a rope basket I was let down, through the wall, and fled out of his hands.

ASV  2 Corinthians 11:33 and through a window was I let down in a basket by the wall, and escaped his hands.

CSB  2 Corinthians 11:33 so I was let down in a basket through a window in the wall and escaped his hands.

MIT  2 Corinthians 11:33 Through an aperture in the wall, I was lowered in a basket, and I escaped his hands.

NKJ  2 Corinthians 11:33 but I was let down in a basket through a window in the wall, and escaped from his hands.

NRS  2 Corinthians 11:33 but I was let down in a basket through a window in the wall, and escaped from his hands.

NAB  2 Corinthians 11:33 but I was lowered in a basket through a window in the wall and escaped his hands.

NJB  2 Corinthians 11:33 and I was let down in a basket through a window in the wall, and that was how I escaped from his hands.

GWN  2 Corinthians 11:33 So I was let down in a basket through an opening in the wall and escaped from him.

BBE  2 Corinthians 11:33 And being let down in a basket from the wall through a window, I got free from his hands.

Related Passage:

Acts 9:24+  but their plot became known to Saul. They were also watching the gates day and night so that they might put him to death;

THE GREAT ESCAPE

One might subtitle this the "Disappearing Basket Case." 

And I was let down in a basket (sargane through a window in the wall, and so escaped his hands - See Luke's description of this event above

NET NOTE on basket - In Acts 9:25 the same basket used in Paul’s escape is called a σπυρίς (spuris - Large basket, wicker basket), a basket larger than a κόφινος (kophinos - proverbially the Jewish traveling basket). The word is used in the accounts of the miracles of feeding the five). It was very likely made out of rope, so the translation “rope-basket” is used.

Broomall - The incident recorded here (which, on the surface, looks like an anticlimax) harmonizes beautifully (1) with the account in Acts 9:23-25, (2) with the known facts of ancient history (Aretas reigned from 9 B.C. to A.D. 39), and (3) with the providence of God. Paul remembered this incident at the beginning of his ministry (cf. Gal 1:17) as the dramatic event that set the pattern of his life for all the years that followed  (Wycliffe Bible Commentary - 11 - online)


Basket (4553)(sargane)  strictly speaks of a twisted or braided work, as a network of cords woven (plaited, braided) together into a rope basket or hamper in the sense of a flexible “mat-basket” which occurs in the NT only in 2 Cor 11:33 It was a relatively large, flexible woven (rope) basket usually used to hold food and other foodstuffs. 


QUESTION - Why, when, and for how long was the apostle Paul in Arabia?

ANSWER - In any biography the author, by necessity, leaves out many events. Even a lengthy work like the 16-volume, 10 million-word biography of Winston Churchill by Randolph Churchill and Martin Gilbert, which is said to be the longest biography of modern times, will still leave out much more than it records. So, when we read the New Testament, which is relatively short, we do well to remember that the human authors have been highly selective, mentioning only a very few events in the lives of the characters. Paul’s time in Arabia is one such event that receives only a couple of brief mentions, without which we would know nothing of it at all. We can only speculate on the “why,” “when,” and “how long” of Paul’s time in Arabia based on the data we have.

It is important to determine what is meant by the term Arabia. In modern English, Arabia would refer to the Arabian Peninsula where Saudi Arabia is located. However, in the first century the designation could also refer to the Syro-Arabian desert, farther north, which includes portions of modern-day Syria and Jordan (The Ancient Arabia Languages and Cultures Project at the University of Oxford, http://krc.orient.ox.ac.uk/aalc/index.php/en/, accessed 5/14/20).

In the book of Galatians, Paul emphasizes that he received the gospel from Jesus directly and not from the other apostles. As evidence, he offers the following information in Galatians 1:11–20: “I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel I preached is not of human origin. I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ. For you have heard of my previous way of life in Judaism, how intensely I persecuted the church of God and tried to destroy it. I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people and was extremely zealous for the traditions of my fathers. But when God, who set me apart from my mother’s womb and called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles, my immediate response was not to consult any human being. I did not go up to Jerusalem to see those who were apostles before I was, but I went into Arabia. Later I returned to Damascus. Then after three years, I went up to Jerusalem to get acquainted with Cephas and stayed with him fifteen days. I saw none of the other apostles—only James, the Lord’s brother. I assure you before God that what I am writing you is no lie.”

Paul was converted on the road to Damascus, which is in Syria (Acts 9). After he saw the Lord, he continued on to Damascus. Acts 9 goes on to mention Paul’s ministry in Damascus and how he preached Christ and how the Jews planned to kill him. As his enemies were watching the city gates to prevent his escape, Paul was lowered down in a basket from the city wall and then traveled to Jerusalem. Although Luke, the author of Acts, does not mention the term Arabia or a three-year time frame, everything he writes in Acts 9 is consistent with what Paul says in Galatians 1. After his conversion, Paul spent time in Damascus and then went to Jerusalem later. In 2 Corinthians 11:32–33, Paul also mentions this detail: “In Damascus the governor under King Aretas had the city of the Damascenes guarded in order to arrest me. But I was lowered in a basket from a window in the wall and slipped through his hands.” This final piece of information indicates that the local Jewish leadership had persuaded the Damascene officials to help them capture Paul.

Putting all the accounts together, Paul spent “several days” in Damascus (Acts 9:20–22). From there, according to Galatians 1:17, he left Damascus and went into Arabia, which may mean the surrounding desert countryside. We have no idea how far south into the Arabian Peninsula Paul may have wandered, but we know he later returned to Damascus. Galatians 1:18 says that “after three years” he went to Jerusalem. Because his conversion is the focus in Galatians 1, it is most reasonable to assume that he went to Jerusalem three years after his conversion, not three years after returning to Damascus—but, either way, it was at least three years before he ever consulted the apostles in Jerusalem.

Paul was in Arabia (including Damascus and the surrounding desert) for at least three years immediately after his conversion. Some speculate that Paul spent this time in relative seclusion, perhaps living as a desert hermit and sorting out the implications of his new faith. However, the biblical record emphasizes that he immediately began preaching in the synagogues. Acts 9:22 does not present the picture of a man who is just “figuring it out”: “Saul grew more and more powerful and baffled the Jews living in Damascus by proving that Jesus is the Messiah.” When he left Damascus, with its significant Jewish population, it is reasonable to assume that he did very thing that Jesus had called him to do—preach the gospel to the Gentiles. This does not eliminate the possibility that he spent solitary time in study of the Scriptures, prayer, and contemplation as he probably did throughout his life. Even in prison near the end of his death, he asks Timothy to bring “my scrolls, especially the parchments” (2 Timothy 4:13). However, the point in Galatians 1 is that Paul already had a vigorous apostolic ministry before meeting with the apostles in Jerusalem, and from Acts 9 this ministry started immediately. For three years he spread the gospel in Damascus and in the surrounding countryside (see the helpful discussion in The Epistle to the Galatians: The New International Greek Text Commentary by F. F. Bruce, Eerdmans, 1982, p. 97).GotQuestions.org