2 Corinthians 11

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.

I betrothed you to one husband. Our union with the Lord is sometimes described as a betrothal or marriage (Eph. 5:24-25, Rev. 19:7, 21:9, 22:17).

The gospel of grace is the thrilling announcement that the Lover of your soul desires to share his life in wedded union with you forever. For those who believe it, the gospel is the joyful declaration that right now and forever more, you are in perfect union with him. Your days of restless wandering are over, for in Christ you have already found your eternal rest. In Christ, you are already home. See entry for Union.

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.

(a) The serpent deceived Eve. Ignorance can lead to deception. We all need to know what God has said lest we be deceived by another Jesus or a different gospel (2 Cor. 11:4). Paul is not suggesting women are inferior to men. He’s saying, don’t neglect to train people. Adam neglected to teach Eve, and as a result, she fell into deception.

(b) Simplicity. The gospel is simple but religion makes it complicated. “God loves you, but…” “You are forgiven, but…” Suddenly the good news is not so good and we feel an unholy need to balance his grace with our works. The next thing you know, you need a divinity degree to be saved and you’re trusting the guy who can recognize Greek words and aorist verbs more than you’re trusting the Holy Spirit.

Further reading: “What happens to Christians who stray?

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.

(a) Preaches… preached. The original word (kerusso) means to herald as a public crier. This is one of three words that are commonly translated as “preach” in the New Testament. See entry for Acts 5:42.

(b) Receive a different spirit. When someone comes to Christ they are born again or born of the Spirit (John 3:8). They receive the Spirit of God (Rom. 8:9) and are adopted into his family (Rom. 8:15).

(c) The gospel refers to the gospel of Christ or the gospel of God or the gospel of the kingdom. These are all different labels for what Paul referred to as “my gospel” or the gospel of grace. See entry for The Gospel.

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?

(a) Did I commit a sin. In his first letter to the Corinthians, Paul said he had a right to receive financial support from them. But he waived that right lest it become a stumbling block to those he was trying to win (1 Cor. 9:14–19). Now he wonders whether doing so was a sin. “Was I wrong to preach the gospel free of charge? Was I stealing from other churches?” (see next verse).

Paul is being ironic. Obviously his actions testify to his selflessness and good intentions towards the Corinthians. Those who spoke evil of him (2 Cor. 6:8) were out of line.

(b) The gospel revealed in the Bible goes by several names. There is the gospel of Jesus Christ (Mark 1:1) or the gospel of Christ (Rom. 15:19, 1 Cor. 9:12, 2 Cor. 2:12, 9:13, 10:14, Gal. 1:7, Php. 1:27, 1 Th. 3:2). There is the gospel of God (Mark 1:14, Rom 1:1, 15:16, 1 Th. 2:2, 8, 9, 1 Pet. 4:17), gospel of the blessed God (1 Tim. 1:11), and the gospel of his Son (Rom 1:9). There is the gospel of the kingdom (Matt. 4:23, 9:35, 24:14, Luke 16:16), and the gospel of the glory of Christ (2 Cor. 4:4). These are different labels for the one and only gospel of the grace of God (Acts 20:24). See entry for The Gospel.

(c) Without charge; see entry for 1 Cor. 9:18.

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.

(a) I was not a burden. Initially Paul supported himself in Corinth by making tents (Acts 18:3).

(b) The brethren. When Silas and Timothy arrived, Paul was able to preach full-time. Either they brought money with them or they worked so that Paul could preach (Acts 18:5).

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.

I will continue to do what I have been doing, namely preaching the gospel without charge (2 Cor. 11:7).

Paul believed that those who preached the gospel ought to make their living from the gospel (see entry for 1 Cor. 9:14). But if questions of support hindered the gospel, he was more than happy to support himself (1 Cor. 9:18–19).

2 Corinthians 11:18

Since many boast according to the flesh, I will boast also.

(a) Boast according to the flesh. Boast about things we have done – our qualifications or achievements.

(b) I will boast also. “You want to play that game? Okay, I will play too.”

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;

Robbers. The original word (lestes) means armed brigands of the kind who robbed and beat the traveler on the road to Jericho (Luke 10:30). Two such brigands were crucified beside Christ (Matt. 27:38). Barabbas was also a brigand (John. 18:40).

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