In this world, we know people first by what they say and then by what they do. Paul has demonstrated his apostleship in 2 Corinthians 12:12 “Indeed, the signs of an apostle have been done among you with all patient endurance, both signs and wonders and deeds of power” and yet, there are now others, deceivers, turning people to “a different gospel” in 2 Corinthians 11:4. People may forget the work we have done, and at what personal cost, but as Paul said of himself, so it should also be with us that, in 2 Corinthians 12:19 We are speaking in Christ before God, and all these things, dear friends, are for your edification.
Just as Christ Himself Is, So Also are We
2 Corinthians 10:1–10
Proclaim the Gospel in the Regions That lie Beyond
The Sincerity and the Purity of Devotion to Christ
2 Corinthians 11:1–15
Some have come preaching a different message, they are turning people to follow themselves and to follow “a different gospel” in 2 Corinthians 11:4. As an apostle to the Gentiles, Paul speaks to the believers in Achaia as a matchmaker contracted to deliver the bride saying “I promised you in marriage to one husband, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ” in 2 Corinthians 10:2. He says in
2 Corinthians 11:3 But I am afraid lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds may be led astray from the sincerity and the purity of devotion to Christ.
Paul describes these people that have come to them saying in
2 Corinthians 11:13 For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ.
and goes even further to say they are like Satan himself in
2 Corinthians 11:14 And no wonder, for Satan himself disguises himself as an angel of light.
If It Is Necessary to Boast
2 Corinthians 11:16–33
These other apostles, these other teachers, these deceivers have come with their credentials, boasting about their natural human accomplishments in
2 Corinthians 11:18 Since many are boasting according to human standards, I also will boast.
Now, Paul gives an account of his life beginning in
2 Corinthians 11:22 Are they Hebrews? I am also! Are they Israelites? I am also! Are they descendants of Abraham? I am also!
but that is not enough for these boasters so he goes on to ask if they are “servants of Christ” in 2 Corinthians 11:23. Then he asks, have they been “beaten … stoned … shipwrecked” in 2 Corinthians 11:25 and his list goes on in 2 Corinthians 11:26-27 “on journeys … in dangers … with toil and hardship … sleepless nights … going hungry … cold” and in
2 Corinthians 11:28 Apart from these external things, there is the pressure on me every day of the anxiety about all the churches.
Who else can boast of these things that represent Paul’s sincerity, his dedication, his hearts desire for the salvation of the Gentiles even at the risk of his own life which he has faced from the very start after his conversion in Damascus in 2 Corinthians 11:32-33.
The Extraordinary Degree of the Revelations
We Are Speaking in Christ Before God
2 Corinthians 12:11–21
How is it that these believers are deceived? They have seen the power of God manifested through the hands of Paul in
2 Corinthians 12:12 Indeed, the signs of an apostle have been done among you with all patient endurance, both signs and wonders and deeds of power.
Paul is writing to them because he plans to come to them again, and the nature of the gospel is that the churches, the believers who are the church, support the work of ministry. They have supported Paul’s work but there are those that are bound up by their love for money (see Matthew 19:21, Acts 8:23) and accuse Paul as if he is seeking their possessions so Paul is clear with them in
2 Corinthians 12:14 Behold, this third time I am ready to come to you, and I will not be a burden to you. For I am not seeking your possessions, but you. For children are not obligated to save up for their parents, but parents for their children.
When accusations are made, some get defensive, and the carnal among them might think this is Paul’s motive, but his intent is to set them on the right path because, as he says in 2 Corinthians 12:20 “I am afraid lest somehow there will be strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, slander, gossip, pride, disorder” but Paul is sincere, pure in heart, as he says in
2 Corinthians 12:19 Have you been thinking all this time that we are defending ourselves to you? We are speaking in Christ before God, and all these things, dear friends, are for your edification.
- 2 Corinthians 11:1–15 The Sincerity and the Purity of Devotion to Christ
- 2 Corinthians 11:16–33 If It Is Necessary to Boast
- 2 Corinthians 12:11–21 We Are Speaking in Christ Before God
- 2 Corinthians 10:1-18
- 2 Corinthians 11:1-33
- 2 Corinthians 12:1-21