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Paul's Approach to Relationships (2 Corinthians 10,11)

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An Angel Of Light 2 Corinthians 11:13-15




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2 Corinthians 11

Paul protests his great love for the Corinthians
I wish you would bear with me in a little foolishness. Do bear with me. 2 For I am jealous over you with a Godly jealousy. For I betrothed you to one husband, that is, that I might present you a pure virgin to Christ. 3 But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve with his craftiness, your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. 4 For if he that comes preaches another Jesus, whom we did not preach, or you receive a different spirit, which you did not receive, or a different gospel, which you did not accept- it seems you think you do well to go along with him. 5 But I reckon that I am not in the least inferior to these so called super apostles. 6 Although rude in speech, I am not in knowledge. No, in every way have we made this manifest to you in all things.
   7 Or did I commit a sin in abasing myself so you might be exalted, because I preached to you the gospel of God for nothing? 8 I robbed other churches by accepting support from them in order to serve you. 9 And when I was present with you and was in want, I was not a burden on anyone. For the brothers, when they came from Macedonia, supplied all my needs; indeed in everything I kept myself from being burdensome to you, and so will I remain. 10 As the truth of Christ is in me, no one shall stop me boasting about this throughout the regions of Achaia. 11 And why? Because I do not love you? God knows, I do!
   12 But what I do, that I will continue to do, so I may not provide an opportunity to those that desire such an opportunity, and so that their boasting will be shown to be not the same as ours. 13 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, fashioning themselves into apostles of Christ. 14 And no marvel. For even Satan fashions himself into an angel of light. 15 It is no great thing therefore if his servants also fashion themselves as servants of righteousness, whose end shall be according to their works.

Paul lists his sufferings
   16 I say again, let no one think me foolish; but if you do, accept me as a fool so that I may also boast a little. 17 What I will now speak in this confidence of boasting, I speak not after the Lord but as in foolishness. 18 Seeing that many boast after the flesh, I will boast also. 19 For being wise, you bear with the foolish gladly. 20 For it seems you follow a man if he brings you into bondage, if he devours you, if he takes you captive, if he exalts himself, if he hits you on the face. 21 To my shame, I can say, we were too weak to do that. Yet wherein any is bold (I speak in foolishness), 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 servants of Christ? (I speak as like a madman) I more, with far greater labours, far more imprisonments, with countless beatings, and often near death. 24 Of the Jews five times I received thirty nines lashes. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods, once was I stoned, three times I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day have I been adrift at sea. 26 On frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, in danger from robbers, in danger from my own people, in danger from Gentiles, in danger in the city, in danger in the wilderness, in danger at sea, in danger from false brothers; 27 in toil and hardship, in many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, in frequent fastings, in cold and nakedness.
   28 Besides those things that are without, there is the daily pressure of my anxiety for all the churches. 29 Who is weak, without me being weak? Who is made to fall, and I am not indignant? 30 If it is necessary for me to boast, I will boast of the things that concern my weakness. 31 The God and Father of the Lord Jesus, He who is blessed for always, knows that I do not lie to you. 32 In Damascus, the governor, under Aretas the king, guarded the city of the Damascenes in order to capture me. 33 And only through a window I was let down in a basket by the wall and escaped his hands.


11:2 In baptism, we are betrothed to marry Christ. As Paul had brought them to Christ, he felt the need to ensure they were a virgin for Him; every act of unfaithfulness, going after other gods, is no less awful than a betrothed virgin sleeping around with other men. It was for the sake of Christ's feelings, for the sake of how Paul loved and felt for Christ, that he so wanted the Corinthians to be faithful to Him.

11:3 Paul saw the Corinthians as innocent Eve in Eden- even though it's clear from his letters to them that they were sexually immoral and very immature in their Christian understanding. He really tried to be as positive as possible about them.

11:4 You do well- Paul is being sarcastic, concerning how the Corinthians were so easily attracted by false Gospels. There is such a thing as "another Jesus"; just because a teaching says something about Jesus, this doesn't mean it is the truth.

11:7-9 Paul is writing in response to criticisms made of him. The way he protests that he never once took money from the Corinthians implies that he had been falsely accused of making money out of them. Such slander and personal attack is sadly almost an inevitable consequence of preaching the Gospel.

11:14 Paul is here quoting from contemporary myths or a common saying about Satan. He is saying that in the same way, the false apostles were making themselves appear true apostles. The 'satan' / adversary in the Corinthian church seems to have been Jewish false teachers, who were "Hebrews", "Israelites" (11:22).

11:24 Forty lashes were supposed to kill a man. The list of Paul's sufferings here is amazing. They would have physically and psychologically shattered most men; he kept going because he was truly motivated by the cause of Christ.

11:28 Equivalent to all these awful physical sufferings listed in vv. 23-27 was the pressure of anxiety for other brothers and sisters. This, therefore, was quite something.

11:29 There are times when we must appear weak and even be weak, even though ultimately we aren't weak; we show our strength by being weak. Jesus' death was the great example of this (2 Cor. 13:4); Paul is saying that he has taken this example personally. And we must do likewise.

11:33 Paul remembered that escape, squashed small in a garbage basket let down over a wall into the rubbish dump, as one of the most humiliating things that happened to him (v. 30).