Deception in the Corinthian Church
2 Corinthians 11:1-4
(1) I ask you to put up with a little of my foolishness. Yes, please put up with me! (2) For I have a godly jealousy for you, because I promised to present you as a pure bride to one husband—Jesus Christ. (3) But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by Satan’s (the serpent’s) deceptive tricks, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. (4) For if someone comes to Corinth preaching a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit other than the Holy Spirit you received, or if you embrace a different gospel message from the one you accepted from us, you seem to accept it easily enough.
False Apostles in Corinth
2 Corinthians 11:5-15
(5) For I am not in the least inferior to those who are called “super-apostles” (or the greatest of the apostles) in Corinth. (6) Although I am not a trained speaker, I do have knowledge. Yes, we have made this very clear to you in every way.
(7) Was it a sin for me to humble myself in order to elevate you by proclaiming God’s good news (gospel) to you free of charge? (8) You know that I received financial support from other churches so that I could minister to you without charge. (9) And when I was with you in Corinth and had a need I did not become a financial burden to any of you, because the believers who came from the Roman province of Macedonia supplied all that I needed. I have made sure that I have never become a financial burden to you in any way, and I will continue to do so. (10) As surely as Christ’s truth is in me, I will not let anyone in the Roman province of Achaia stop my boasting. (11) Why? Because I do not love you? God knows that I love you. (12) And I will keep on doing what I have been doing in order to stop those who want an opportunity to claim to be equal with us in the things they boast about.
(13) For they are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. (14) And this should not surprise us, because Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. (15) So we should not be surprised when Satan’s servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Be assured, their end will be what their actions deserve.
The Boasting of Corinth’s False Apostles
2 Corinthians 11:16-21
(16) Let me say this again: Let no one think that I am a fool. But if you do, then tolerate me just as you would a fool, so that I may do a little boasting. (17) In my self-confident boasting I am not talking as the Lord would, but as a fool. (18) Since many in Corinth are boasting like those in this world do, I will also boast. (19) For you so gladly put up with fools since you think you are so wise! (20) In fact, you even put up with anyone who enslaves you or exploits you unfairly or takes advantage of you or puts on false impressions or slaps you in the face. (21) To my shame I confess we were apparently too weak for that!
Paul’s Hardships as an Apostle
2 Corinthians 11:21-33
Whatever those in Corinth so boldly boast about—I am speaking like a fool—I will also boast about. (22) They boast they are Hebrews; so am I. They boast that they are Israelites; so am I. They boast that they are Abraham’s descendants; so am I. (23) They boast that they are Christ’s servants; I’m out of my mind to talk like this, but I am a far greater servant of Christ than any of them. I have done much harder work, been in prison more often, been beaten (flogged) many times, and faced death again and again. (24) Five times I received from the Jews 39 lashes. (25) Three times I was beaten with rods, once they tried to kill me by throwing rocks at me. Three times I was shipwrecked; I spent a night and a day in the open sea. (26) I have been constantly traveling, I have been in danger from rivers and thieves, in danger from fellow Jews and non-Jews, in danger in the city and in the countryside, in danger at sea, and in danger from false believers. (27) I have labored and toiled, and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have gone without food; I have been cold and naked. (28) And beyond all these things, I face daily the pressure of my deep concern for all the churches. (29) Who is weak that I do not also feel weak? Who is led into sin that I do not inwardly burn with compassion?
(30) If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness. (31) The God and Father of the Lord Jesus, who is praised forever, knows that I am not lying. (32) For example, in the city of Damascus the governor under the Nabatean king Aretas had the city guarded in order to arrest me, (33) but I was lowered down in a basket from a window in the wall and escaped from their hands (see Acts 9:23-25).