II Corinthians 11:5-15

Sunday, May 25th, 2014

Text: II Corinthians 11:5-15

FALSE APOSTLES MASQUERADING

AS GENUINE APOSTLES

INTRODUCTION:

In chapters 10-13 Paul is defending his apostolic authority. In 11:1-15 Paul asserts his apostleship.

We have already seen in verse 1 that Paul is hesitant to speak about himself; so, he asks the Corinthian believers to put up with it. We noted in verse 2 that he has a fervent and godly zeal for the Corinthian believers because he has espoused them to Christ. According to verse 3, Paul was concerned that Satan may have corrupted their minds from the truth in the person and work of Christ. According to verse 4, Paul fears that the Corinthian believers might tolerate it if someone were to preach a Jesus who is different from the Jesus he preached, or if someone were to receive a spirit different from the Holy Spirit, or if someone were to receive a gospel different from the one he preached. In verse 5, speaking sarcastically, Paul supposes that he is not lacking in anything which characterizes the super apostles who have come to Corinth and are undermining his ministry there.

In verse 6 Paul refers to the slander which has been directed his way when he says, Though I be rude (or amateurish) in speech. Although he is not a trained orator, he is not lacking in knowledge; and they know it because the Corinthian believers know him well. In verse 7 Paul asks whether he has sinned against them in preaching the gospel to them without charging them financially for his services. According to verse 8, although he accepted support from other churches when he preached the gospel to the Corinthians, verses 9-10 indicate that he accepted nothing from the Corinthians. Whatever he lacked, believers from Macedonia provided for him. He was not a burden to the church at Corinth in the past, and he will not be a burden to them in the future. In verse 11, Paul makes it clear that he has not declined support from the Corinthians because he does not love them. God knows that he loves them. Instead, according to verse 12, Paul has declined their support to avoid being criticized for preaching the gospel for money and so that others who would follow him to Corinth preaching a false gospel would also do it without charge. He knew false teachers would never do this. According to verses 13-15, these are false apostles, deceitful workers, who transformed themselves into the apostles of Christ and into ministers of righteousness, just as Satan, their real leader, seeks to transform himself into an angel of light.

II Corinthians 11:6 But though I be rude in speech, yet not in knowledge; but we have been throughly made manifest among you in all things.

In verse 6 Paul was criticized as being amateurish in speech. Even though he may have been amateurish in speech as a result of his not being a trained orator, he was not amateurish in understanding. Instead, he has been made known to the Corinthian believers in every respect so that his ministry was crystal clear to them.

But though is but even if or but even though and introduces a condition, which, for sake of discussion, is assumed to be true. It may not actually be true inasmuch as Paul is speaking sarcastically in this context. Therefore, but though should be understood in the sense of but even assuming that.

I be is understood as I may be.

Rude suggests someone who is relatively unskilled or inexperienced in something in the sense of a layperson or an amateur in contrast to an expert or specialist of some kind.

In speech is in word, which in this context is used of an oral word in the sense of speaking. They are accusing Paul of being unskilled (or amateurish) in speaking. He is quoting their words about himself.

In 10:10 Paul refers to their criticism of his speech. For his letters, say they, are weighty and powerful; but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible (emphasis added). He recognizes that he was not a professional orator or accomplished rhetorician. He acknowledged as much in I Corinthians 1:17 and 2:4.

I Corinthians 1:17 - For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.

I Corinthians 2:4 - And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power.

The conclusion of the conditional statement is yet not in knowledge.

Yet introduces a statement in strong contrast to though I be rude in speech. It is the word ordinarily translated but.

Not in knowledge implies I am not rude (i.e. unskilled or amateurish) in understanding.

But is the same word translated yet in this verse and introduces a statement in strong contrast to though I be rude in speech. It might instead be emphatic and understood in the sense of indeed or in fact.

But we have been . . . made manifest, where we is Paul, is but we were made known.

Throughly is in everything, in every respect, or in every way.

Among you is unto you Corinthian believers.

In all things indicates that Paul's ministry was crystal clear to the Corinthian believers. There were no pretenses, and nothing was hidden from view.

II Corinthians 11:7 Have I committed an offence in abasing myself that ye might be exalted, because I have preached to you the gospel of God freely?

In verse 7 Paul facetiously asks if he has sinned by humbling himself in order to raise the status of the Corinthian believers because he had preached the gospel to them without charge. The question asked in this verse is a rhetorical question, i.e. a question which does not expect an answer.

Have I committed? Did I commit? or Was I guilty of?

An offence speaks of a sin.

In abasing myself suggests in humbling myself, in humiliating myself, or in degrading myself. The reference is to Paul's working to support himself rather than to demand support from the Corinthian believers.

That ye might be exalted suggests in order that (or for the purpose that) you Corinthian believers might have your honor (or status) enhanced (or raised).

Because introduces the reason (in the minds of some, but not in his mind) that Paul committed an offense in humbling himself.

I have preached to you the gospel of God freely is because I preached (or proclaimed) to you Corinthian believers the gospel of God freely (i.e. without charge, without payment, or as a gift).

The gospel of God is understood either in the sense of God's gospel (or God's good news) or in the sense of the gospel from God, indicating that He is the source of the good news about Christ's dying on the cross in payment for the sins of all humanity, being buried, and rising from the dead on the third day. Both ideas are possible, and both fit the context of Scripture. There is also little or no difference in meaning because, if it is God's gospel, it comes from Him and, if it comes from Him, it is His.

Freely suggests that Paul preached the gospel without charging for it. It is reminiscent of I Corinthians 9:15-18 , which says,

I Corinthians 9:15-18 - (15) But I have used none of these things: neither have I written these things, that it should be so done unto me: for it were better for me to die, than that any man should make my glorying void. (16) For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel! (17) For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward: but if against my will, a dispensation of the gospel is committed unto me. (18) What is my reward then? Verily that, when I preach the gospel, I may make the gospel of Christ without charge, that I abuse not my power in the gospel.

Corinth, however, was not the only place Paul practiced proclaiming the gospel without charging for it. Acts 18:3 mentions that Paul was a tentmaker and hints that Paul used this trade as a tentmaker to support himself in his travels. It says, And because he was of the same craft, he abode with them (i.e. with Priscilla and Aquila), and wrought: for by their occupation they were tentmakers (comment added). This skill was evidently employed in Thessalonica.

I Thessalonians 2:9 - (9) For ye remember, brethren, our labour and travail: for labouring night and day, because we would not be chargeable unto any of you, we preached unto you the gospel of God.

II Thessalonians 3:8 - (8) Neither did we eat any man's bread for nought; but wrought with labour and travail night and day, that we might not be chargeable to any of you.

His trade as a tentmaker was apparently also employed in Ephesus.

Acts 20:34-35 - (34) Yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me. (35) I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.

II Corinthians 11:8 I robbed other churches, taking wages of them, to do you service.

Verse 8 indicates that Paul accepted monies from other churches in order to be of service to the church at Corinth.

I robbed is a dramatic, figurative expression used to describe Paul's acceptance of financial support from other churches, which enabled him to serve the church at Corinth free of charge. Paul did not actually steal from other churches; rather, they voluntarily gave their money to him to enable him to carry on his ministry in Corinth; and he accepted it from others without receiving any financial support from the Corinthians.

Other churches are other assemblies (or congregations) of the same kind as the church in Corinth.

Taking is receiving or accepting.

What Paul took was wages, i.e. he accepted (or received) pay in the sense of he accepted (or received) support.

Of them suggests from other churches.

To do you service is understood in the sense of for (i.e. for the purpose of or on behalf of) your service, where your refers to the believers in Corinth.

II Corinthians 11:9-10 - (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.

According to verse 9, Paul provided for his own needs; and the believers from Macedonia helped. The Corinthians were not asked to pay him for his services. In this way he kept himself from being a financial burden to them, and he fully intended to continue taking care of his own needs.

As translated, and indicates a continuation of the thought of verses 7-8. It might instead be understood in an emphatic sense of indeed, in fact, yea, verily, or certainly.

When I was present is understood in the sense of while I was present.

With you refers to the Corinthian believers.

And wanted suggests and lacked, and was lacking, and went without, or and came short of. It means that he was in need.

I was chargeable is I was not a burden.

To no man is to no one or to nobody.

For is explanatory and understood in the sense of because.

That which was lacking to me is the thing lacking to me and means my need, my want, or my deficiency.

The brethren is the brothers and indicates that they were fellow believers.

Which came from Macedonia is who have come from Macedonia. Macedonia is northern Greece and contains cities such as Philippi, Berea, and Thessalonica.

Supplied suggests that they filled up or replenished, which means that they met his need.

And in all things is and in everything; but if Paul has done this in everything, he will have done it in all things.

I have kept myself from being burdensome unto you and so will I keep myself indicates that Paul has not allowed himself to be a financial burden to the church in Corinth in the past and that He is not going to allow himself to be a financial burden to them in the future either.

II Corinthians 11:10 As the truth of Christ is in me, no man shall stop me of this boasting in the regions of Achaia.

Paul's boasting in the regions of Achaia is that he had provided for his own support and was not chargeable to anyone. He received no pay from the believers in Achaia; and according to verse 10, he intended to keep it this way.

As the truth of Christ is in me is, As surely as Christ's truth (or truthfulness) is in me or as surely as the truth about Christ is in me.

No man shall stop me of this boasting in the regions of Achaia is, This boast shall not be caused to cease (i.e. blocked or barred) in me.

Achaia is southern Greece and contains the city of Corinth. The regions of Achaia suggests the entire province of Achaia. Paul's boast is that he will continue to proclaim the gospel throughout Achaia without charge. As surely as the truth or truthfulness of Christ is in Paul, no one will ever stop Paul from proclaiming the gospel without charge.

II Corinthians 11:11 Wherefore? because I love you not? God knoweth.

In verse 11 Paul asks if he did not charge them because he does not love them. Of course not! God knows that he loves them and will continue to love them. God knoweth suggests that it is God's problem to deal with. He knows the truth. If people do not accept the truth, there is nothing Paul can do about it.

Wherefore? means why? Paul is asking why no man will prevent him from keeping his commitment of proclaiming the gospel throughout Achaia without charge.

Paul answers his first question with a second one: because I love you not?, i.e. because I do not love you? Paul then answers this second question with a statement:

God knoweth suggests, God the Father knows that I love you, God the Father knows the truth, or, God the Father knows the reason I choose not to be chargeable to anyone.

II Corinthians 11:12 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.

In verse 12 Paul acknowledges that he proclaims the gospel without charge in Corinth and Achaia to remove an occasion for the false apostles to accuse him unjustly and in order that they also may do what they do without charge.

But what I do, that I will do indicates that Paul is going to continue to serve the Corinthian believers without pay.

But introduces a statement in mild contrast to wherefore? because I love you not? in verse 11.

What I do is what I am doing. Paul is speaking of his preaching the gospel to those in Achaia without charge to them. What I do serves as the direct object of I will do, i.e. I will certainly do what I do.

I will do indicates Paul's resolve to continue doing exactly what he has already been doing. He has every intention of continuing to do what he has been doing.

That I may cut off occasion from them which desire occasion indicates that Paul's purpose for continuing to support himself is because he knows that the false teachers will never support themselves. It is in order that I may remove the opportunity for the false apostles demanding compensation from the people for their teaching the Corinthians things which were contrary to what I (i.e. Paul) had taught them.

That wherein they glory shows the intended result of Paul's cutting off occasion for these false apostles to boast and is understood in the sense of with the result that in what they are glorying (i.e. boasting or bragging).

They may be found even as we means they (i.e. the false apostles) may be found to be leading the same kind of life just like we are found (i.e. I Paul am found).

II Corinthians 11:13-15 - 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.

According to verse 13, these false apostles are deceitful workers, masquerading as the apostles of Christ.

For (i.e. because) such (i.e. the ones such as these or the ones of this sort) are false apostles (i.e. spurious apostles or bogus apostles).

Although pretending to be real apostles, they are not. They are also deceitful workers (i.e. treacherous or dishonest) workers (i.e. laborers). It indicates that they know they are not genuine apostles. Deceitful workers is another way of describing them.

Transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ suggests changing themselves into apostles of Christ, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ, or masquerading as apostles of Christ.

II Corinthians 11:14 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.

According to verses 14-15, why should anyone be surprised that the false apostles transform themselves into apostles of Christ when Satan transforms himself into an angel of light?

And continues the thought of these false apostles seeking to transform themselves into the apostles of Christ.

And no marvel is understood in the sense of and (it is) no wonder or (it is) not remarkable.

For (i.e. because) Satan himself refers to the archenemy of God, of Christ, of all believers, and of the gospel. Satan himself speaks of Satan in particular rather than anyone else.

Is transformed into is the same term used in the previous verse as well as in the next verse suggesting pretending to be what he is not in the sense of changes himself into (i.e. disguises himself as or masquerades as). The tense of is transformed indicates ongoing, repeated, or habitual action and suggests is being transformed as, is transforming himself into, is changing himself into, is disguising himself as, or is masquerading as.

Whereas the false apostles were seeking to transform themselves into apostles of Christ, Satan is seeking to transform himself into an angel of light. It suggests that he was trying to masquerade as a messenger of the realm characterized by spiritual light in contrast to what he is, a messenger of the realm characterized by sin and spiritual darkness.

II Corinthians 11:15 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.

According to verse 15, the false apostles are identified as Satan's ministers who masquerade as angels of light, but their destiny will be according to their works in the lake of fire.

Therefore introduces an inference drawn from Satan being transformed into an angel of light in verse 14 and is understood in the sense of consequently, accordingly, so, or then.

(It is) no great thing is the conclusion of a conditional statement, and if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness is the condition. Ordinarily, the condition is stated before the conclusion. In this verse, however, the conclusion comes before the condition in order to emphasize the conclusion.

It is, where the content of it is if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness, is implied in the context and has been supplied by the translators.

No great thing is not a great thing, no (or not an) extraordinary thing, not unusual, no (or not a) surprise, or the colloquial no (or not a) big deal, not shocking, or no great shock. The structure of if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness indicates that it is assumed, for sake of discussion, to be true.

His ministers, where his refers to Satan, is his servants (i.e. his agents, his intermediaries, or his couriers).

Also suggests in addition to himself.

Be transformed is are (or are being) transformed. It is the same term used in verses 13 and 14. Here it has been translated as a passive, but in verses 13 and 14 it has been translated as a reflexive. It may instead be translated as a reflexive in verse 15 as well. The difference is determined by who is doing the transforming. Is it they themselves who are transforming themselves , or is it Satan who is doing the transforming? If it is understood in a reflexive sense, it would be are transforming themselves, are feigning themselves to be, are changing themselves, are disguising themselves, or are masquerading. If it is in a passive sense, it is are being transformed, are being changed, or are being disguised.

As introduces what they are changed (or are changing themselves) to be: the ministers of righteousness.

Ministers is the same term used in the previous phrase meaning servants, agents, intermediaries, or couriers.

Of righteousness (or of uprightness) indicates the sort of ministers they are trying to appear to be but are not. They are not ministers of righteousness. Instead, they are ministers of unrighteousness.

Whose end, where whose refers to Satan's ministers, is understood in the sense of whose outcome or whose destiny.

Shall be is predictive of something which will definitely take place in the future.

According to their works, where their refers to Satan's ministers, is in accordance with their works or in conformity with their works. Their ultimate destiny will be the lake of fire.