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Friday, December 08 2017

Contributor: Leye Olayiwola

Introduction: Apostle Paul during his earthly ministry established many churches and wrote majority of the epistles to these churches. His passion for souls was impeccable. His pursuit and love for these churches could only have been second to that of our Lord and savior, Jesus Christ. However, during this period of his ministry, there were some false apostles also contesting for these souls. Paul in his words referred to these apostles as “deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ”, whose utmost desire was to corrupt the churches from the simplicity that is in Christ. This is what we will be considering in this portion of Paul’s epistle to the Corinthian church in 2 Corinthians 11 . 

Vs 1-4:

• Note the apology Paul makes for going about to commend himself. He is unwilling to enter upon this subject of self-commendation. It is no pleasure to a good man to speak well of himself, yet in some cases it is lawful, namely, when it is for the advantage of others, or for our own necessary vindication; as thus it was here.

• We have the reasons for what the apostle did:

(1.) To preserve the Corinthians from being corrupted by the insinuations of the false apostles, He tells them he was jealous over them with godly jealousy; he was afraid lest their faith should be weakened by hearkening to such suggestions as tended to lessen their regard to his ministry, by which they were brought to the Christian faith. 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.

(2) To vindicate himself against the false apostles, forasmuch as they could not pretend they had another Jesus, or another Spirit, or another gospel, to preach to them.

Vs 5-15:

• After the foregoing preface to what he was about to say, the apostle in these verses mentions,

(1). His equality with the other apostles—that he was not a whit behind the very chief of the apostles. Paul expresses this very modestly. He might have spoken very positively. The apostleship, as an office, was equal in all the apostles; but the apostles, like other Christians, differed one from another. These stars differed one from another in glory, and Paul was indeed of the first magnitude; yet he speaks modestly of himself, and humbly owns his personal infirmity, that he was rude in speech (vs 6), had not such a graceful delivery as some others might have. Some think that he was a man of very low stature, and that his voice was proportionably small; others think that he may have had some impediment in his speech, perhaps a stammering tongue. However, he was not rude in knowledge; he was not unacquainted with the best rules of oratory and the art of persuasion, much less was he ignorant of the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, as had been thoroughly manifested among them.

(2) His equality with the false apostles in particular—the preaching of the gospel unto them freely (vs 7), without wages. This the apostle largely insists on, and shows that, as they could not but own him to be a minister of Christ, so they ought to acknowledge he had been a good friend to them.

• He had proved at large, in his former epistle to them, the lawfulness of ministers’ receiving maintenance from the people, and the duty of the people to give them an honourable maintenance; and here he says he himself had taken wages of other churches (vs 8), so that he had a right to have asked and received from them: yet he waived his right, and chose rather to abase himself, by working with his hands in the trade of tent-making to maintain himself, than be burdensome to them, that they might be exalted, or encouraged to receive the gospel, which they had so cheaply; yea, he chose rather to be supplied from Macedonia than to be chargeable unto them.

• He informs them of the reason of this his conduct among them. It was not because he did not love them (vs 11), or was unwilling to receive tokens of their love (for love and friendship are manifested by mutual giving and receiving), but it was to avoid offence, that he might cut off occasion from those that desired occasion. He would not give occasion for any to accuse him of worldly designs in preaching the gospel, or that he intended to make a trade of it, to enrich himself; and that others who opposed him at Corinth might not in this respect gain an advantage against him.

• There were counterfeit prophets under the Old Testament, who wore the garb and learned the language of the prophets of the Lord. So there were counterfeit apostles under the New Testament, who seemed in many respects like the true apostles of Christ. And no marvel (says the apostle); hypocrisy is a thing not to be much wondered at in this world, especially when we consider the great influence Satan has upon the minds of many, who rules in the hearts of the children of disobedience. As he can turn himself into any shape, and put on almost any form, and look sometimes like an angel of light, in order to promote his kingdom of darkness, so he will teach his ministers and instruments to do the same. But it follows, Their end is according to their works (vs 15); the end will discover them to be deceitful workers, and their work will end in ruin and destruction.

Vs 16-21:

• Boasting of ourselves is usually not only a sign of a proud mind, but a mark of folly also. However, says the apostle, yet as a fool receive me; that is, if you count it folly in me to boast a little, yet give due regard to what I shall say. He mentions a caution, to prevent the abuse of what he should say, telling them that what he spoke, he did not speak after the Lord, (vs 17). He would not have them think that boasting of ourselves, or glorying in what we have, is a thing commanded by the Lord in general unto Christians.

• It is the duty and practice of Christians, in obedience to the command and example of the Lord, rather to humble and abase themselves; yet prudence must direct in what circumstances it is needful to do that which we may do lawfully, even speak of what God has wrought for us, and in us, and by us too.

• He gives a good reason why they should suffer him to boast a little; namely, because they suffered others to do so who had less reason. Seeing many glory after the flesh (of carnal privileges, or outward advantages and attainments), I will glory also, (vs 18). But he would not glory in those things, though he had as much or more reason than others to do so. But he gloried in his infirmities, as he tells them afterwards.

Vs 22-26:

• Here the apostle gives a large account of his own qualifications, labours, and sufferings (not out of pride or vain-glory, but to the honour of God, who had enabled him to do and suffer so much for the cause of Christ), and wherein he excelled the false apostles, who would lessen his character and usefulness among the Corinthians.

• He mentions the privileges of his birth (v. 22), which were equal to any they could pretend to. He was a Hebrew of the Hebrews; of a family among the Jews that never intermarried with the Gentiles. He was also an Israelite, and could boast of his being descended from the beloved Jacob as well as they, and was also of the seed of Abraham, and not of the proselytes. It should seem from this that the false apostles were of the Jewish race, who gave disturbance to the Gentile converts.

• He makes mention also of his apostleship, that he was more than an ordinary minister of Christ, (vs 23). God had counted him faithful, and had put him into the ministry. He had been a useful minister of Christ unto them; they had found full proofs of his ministry:

• Paul was the apostle of the Gentiles, and for that reason was hated of the Jews. They did all they could against him; and among the Gentiles also he met with hard usage. Bonds and imprisonments were familiar to him; never was the most notorious malefactor more frequently in the hands of public justice than Paul was for righteousness’ sake. The jail and the whipping-post, and all other hard usages of those who are accounted the worst of men, were what he was accustomed to.

• As to the Jews, whenever he fell into their hands, they never spared him. Five times he fell under their lash, and received forty stripes save one, (vs 24). Forty stripes was the utmost their law allowed (Deu.25:3 ), but it was usual with them, that they might not exceed, to abate one at least of that number. And to have the abatement of one only was all the favour that Paul ever received from them.

Conclusion: Vs 27-33

Paul was a stranger to wealth and plenty, power and pleasure, preferment and ease; he was in watchings often, and exposed to hunger and thirst; in fastings often, it may be out of necessity; and endured cold and nakedness. Thus was he, who was one of the greatest blessings of the age, used as if he had been the burden of the earth, and the plague of his generation. And yet this is not all; for, as an apostle, the care of all the churches lay on him. He mentions this last, as if this lay the heaviest upon him, and as if he could better bear all the persecutions of his enemies than the scandals that were to be found in the churches he had the oversight of. Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is offended, and I burn not? There was not a weak Christian with whom he did not sympathize, nor any one scandalized, but he was affected therewith. See what little reason we have to be in love with the pomp and plenty of this world, when this blessed apostle, one of the best of men that ever lived, except Jesus Christ, felt so much hardship in it. Nor was he ashamed of all this, but, on the contrary, it was what he accounted his honour; and therefore, much against the grain as it was with him to glory, yet, says he, if I must need glory, if my adversaries will oblige me to it in my own necessary vindication, I will glory in these my infirmities. It is a great comfort to a good man that the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is an omniscient God, knows the truth of all he says, and knows all he does and all he suffers for his sake.

Teachings culled from www.biblestudytools.com

Posted by: Isekhua Evborokhai AT 08:49 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
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