In 2 Corinthians Chapter 11, Paul continued his second letter to the Christian church in Corinth with some warnings about false teachers.
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Paul’s Warning against False Teachers
Paul told the Corinthians that he was worried they would be led astray from the single-minded devotion to Christ that he had taught them while he was there. His fear was that they would listen to other preachers (calling them counterfeit apostles), who claimed to be followers of Jesus, but who tried to teach them differently from the truth that Paul himself had preached to them.
Expecting Dishonest Preachers
Paul warned the Corinthians to be on guard for these false preachers, telling them not to listen to idle boasting from them as to their authority to preach in the name of the church. Paul also reminded them that they should not be surprised that some preachers are dishonest because even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light to deceive people into following him.
Paul said them that while he had always ensured he was not a burden on them, these false preachers expect to be supported and obeyed by their followers.
Paul Validates His Message
Paul said in 2 Corinthians Chapter 11 that what he had taught them about Jesus and the church was the truth. He said that even if he was not as great of a speaker as those whom he referred to as the “super apostles” of the church, his knowledge and beliefs were equally true. Even though he may have been humble in his approach to them, he said they should not doubt his truth and authority to speak in the name of Jesus.
Paul Talks of His Credentials
Paul affirmed his love for the church in Corinth in 2 Corinthians Chapter 11 and gave them several examples of the claims that false preachers would make to try to prove their authority. He told them that he could say the same things about himself – that they are Hebrews, Israelites, and descendants of Abraham and servants of Christ.
Paul then talked of his credentials. He said that if they were impressed by the credentials of the false teachers, they should be aware that Paul has suffered more than any of these false preachers in Christ’s name. Also, he said, he has worked harder, been imprisoned more, been flogged, beaten and stoned, suffered shipwrecks and constant danger.
Paul went on to say that he had suffered physically – hunger, thirst, cold, and exhaustion – and mentally, worrying about the churches he has helped to establish. In fact, it was his weaknesses that he was most proud of, because they showed that it was Christ who is strong and who was working through Paul.
2 Corinthians 11 (King James Version)
1 Would to God ye could bear with me a little in my folly: and indeed bear with me.
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.
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.
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.
5 For I suppose I was not a whit behind the very chiefest apostles.
6 But though I be rude in speech, yet not in knowledge; but we have been throughly made manifest among you in all things.
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?
8 I robbed other churches, taking wages of them, to do you service.
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.
10 As the truth of Christ is in me, no man shall stop me of this boasting in the regions of Achaia.
11 Wherefore? because I love you not? God knoweth.
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.
13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.
14 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.
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.
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.
17 That which I speak, I speak it not after the Lord, but as it were foolishly, in this confidence of boasting.
18 Seeing that many glory after the flesh, I will glory also.
19 For ye suffer fools gladly, seeing ye yourselves are wise.
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.
21 I speak as concerning reproach, as though we had been weak. Howbeit whereinsoever any is bold, (I speak foolishly,) I am bold also.
22 Are they Hebrews? so am I. Are they Israelites? so am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? so am I.
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.
24 Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one.
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;
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;
27 In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.
28 Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches.
29 Who is weak, and I am not weak? who is offended, and I burn not?
30 If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things which concern mine infirmities.
31 The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is blessed for evermore, knoweth that I lie not.
32 In Damascus the governor under Aretas the king kept the city of the Damascenes with a garrison, desirous to apprehend me:
33 And through a window in a basket was I let down by the wall, and escaped his hands.