Daily Bible Studies
|Series Theme: 2 Corinthians Studies
Chapter: 2 Cor 11
Passage: 2 Cor 11:1-4
A. Find Out:
1. What did Paul hope they will do? v.1
2. What did he feel for them? v.2a
3. What did he want to do? v.2b
4. Yet what did he fear about them? v.3
5. What 3 things did he fear could happen? v.4
Paul explains now why he has been taking so long to commend himself. In one sense he's not at all happy with having to go on about himself but he feels this “foolishness” is necessary to get them to really listen to him.
He is jealous for these Christians he has helped bring into the world. He has wanted to give them to Christ pure and spotless, without any doubts or confusions, a church that is just whole hearted for God. Yet he has a fear that they are a vulnerable people who are susceptible to taking on board things that are not true, so they become Christians who are tainted with untruths. This will happen if they allow Satan to deceive them in the same way he deceived Eve. Paul fears that if someone comes and preaches something about Jesus that is not the truth, they will receive it, if someone comes with a wrong spirit, they will receive them, if someone comes with a distorted Gospel, they will receive it. This is why Paul has spend so much time on his own credentials. He wants them to be sure to listen to him.
One of Satan's main tactics is to deceive us and get us to believe a lie, to get us to believe what is not true. Jesus deals only in truth, Satan in lies. Be aware, be alert.
A. Find Out:
1. What did Paul think about himself? v.5
2. What wasn't he, what had he, and what had he done? v.6
3. What had he done to himself? v.7a
4. In order to do what, and how? v.7b
5. Where had his support come from? v.8
6. What had that enabled him to do? v.9
Paul continues “apologetically” to clear his name from any slurs that may have even brought against him, in order that there be nothing that would hinder them receiving his message.
First of all he compares himself with other apostles. In 1 Cor 1:12- he had written about the divisions and wrong loyalties that prevailed among the church in Corinth . He obviously has this in mind here. Don't put me down, he says, I'm not a trained speaker but I certainly brought you the full knowledge of the Gospel. Indeed was it wrong of me, when I came to you, to demean myself and make no claims on you when I came and preached the Gospel? My support came from other churches so that I could live among you without making any claim on you - although (implied) it would have been right to have done so. Remember, I wasn't a burden to you.
In speaking like this Paul reminds us that it is very easy for us to take on a wrong perspective about people. Paul had come to them humbly and without any pretence of being a great man, without claiming any rights of support. The result was that they did not esteem him. Their worldly viewpoint only esteemed “the great and the glorious”. May we not be the same.
A. Find Out:
1. What does he say they won't stop? v.10
2. Why isn't it? v.11
3. Why is he going to keep on doing it? v.12
4. Who is he speaking against? v.13
5. How does Satan often come? v.14
6. How do his servant come and what will be their end? v.15
In verse 3 Paul has already expressed his fear that the church there would be deceived. In verse 5 he had hinted about other “super-ministries”. Now he speaks strongly and openly about those others who have come in the guise of apostles but are in reality deceivers. He is in no doubt about this! These men are wrong! Paul sees these men as servants of Satan, and sometimes Satan comes in disguise, making himself look good in his attempts to deceive. If lies are Satan's first weapon, his aim is deception, to get people to believe part truths or outright lies. He doesn't do this brazenly but subtly. These men who had come had appeared good, deceptively good, but they came with something less than the Gospel (v.4).
Now we begin to see more clearly why Paul has been going to such lengths to validate his own ministry. He does it in this passage. Nobody is going to stop this boasting of his, because he speaks the truth. Was he speaking because he didn't love them? No, exactly the opposite was true. That's why he was not going to keep quiet, because he loved these people so much, and he wasn't going to just stand by and watch them be led away from the truth by purveyors of half truths or lies. No, he will keep on speaking! He will not be put off!
A. Find Out:
1. What isn't Paul but how may they perceive him? v.16
2. How is he speaking? v.17
3. Why is he doing this? v.18
4. What does he say they do and why? v.19
5. In fact who have they put up with? v.20
6. Why hadn't Paul done that? v.21
Having gone down the path of extolling himself and his own ministry for the sake of getting the Corinthians to listen to his warning, it's now as if he says to himself, “Oh well! In for a penny, in for a pound! I might as well go the whole way.”
He starts out, don't be misled, don't take me for a fool, I'm not! But anyway, I'll come to you like a fool with his boasting, because you obviously accept those who boast about themselves and push themselves forward; that's obvious by the way you have received these false apostles (implied - see v.13). I mean, he continues, let's face it, you've received people who bring you down into slavery again (by preaching law or no law at all), who have abused you and pushed themselves on you, you've done all this, so you should happily receive a “fool” like me! Yes, we weren't like that, we were too “weak”, so we didn't abuse you like that. But if you're happy to receive those who boast, then I'll boast, and perhaps, somehow, you might take note of me and what I'm saying and come to your senses (implied).
In all of this, it is as if Paul is really desperate for these Christians in Corinth , who have been getting led astray. He's almost willing to go to any lengths to get them to listen to him.
A. Find Out:
1. What, again, does Paul say he will do? v.21
2. What can he say about his background? v.22
3. What can he say about his ministry? v.23a
4. What things happened to him? v.23b-25
5. What dangers has he faced? v.26
All right, says Paul, I'll go down this crazy path, I'll join in this comparing game, I'll join in the boasting, if that will help you listen to me (implied all the way along). Are these men you've been following and listening to Jews? Well so am I! Are they part of the nation of Israel , part of Abraham's family? Well so am I! We've all got the same pedigree. Are they servants of Christ? Well so am I! Now I'll tell you something (real desperation growing here), listen to me! I dare to brag that whatever they've done, I've done more!
Listen! I've worked harder, I've been in prison more than they have, I've taken more severe beatings than they have and have faced death more times. Look, I'm not joking! Five times I've been beaten to within an inch of my life, three times beaten with rod, once I was even stoned and on top of all that three times I've been shipwrecked. If that isn't facing death, I don't know what is!
In this incredible desperate outpouring Paul reveals to us the real hardships he had been through for the sake of the Gospel. On this virtually unique occasion, we see behind the veil of Paul's life, a life that must shame us in our comfort in these modern times. The Gospel was everything to Paul and he had been to death and back numerous times for his Lord. What a challenge!
A. Find Out:
1. What further had Paul experienced? v.27
2. What additional daily burden did he carry? v.28
3. How did he empathise with others? v.29
4. In what ways would he boast? v.30
5. How had he been pursued in Damascus ? v.32
6. How had he escaped? v.33
In these final few verses of this chapter we have a sample of the types of burdens or pressures on Paul's life as he carried out his ministry.
First there were the physical afflictions. Because of the nature of his ministry it meant that he had irregular hours and often did not get the normal hours sleep the rest of us might expect. Because of the travelling and uncertainty of his ministry, he often went without food or drink. The nature of it all also meant that he often was without adequate clothing and suffered cold.
Then there were the emotional burdens of his love for the people in the churches - and there were many churches! He felt for them, he empathised with them when they suffered or did wrong. The real pastor never escapes this burden.
Finally there were the circumstances of opposition where the enemy raised up others against him, which naturally would stir up fear. He refers specifically to the occasion in Acts 9:19-25 where it seems that the enemy stirred up the authorities together with the opposing Jews to try and arrest him, right at the beginning of his ministry. All these sorts of things were common place to Paul in his ministry, these were the marks of a true apostle of that day.
In this third group of 6 studies we have seen Paul:
In this chapter Paul first explains why he is speaking as he is - because he fears that others who have come in from outside will lead them astray. He them reminds them of the ‘weak' way he came to them, by coming down to their level, but not asking for any support from them. He ten continues on saying how the interlopers were deceivers. OK, he goes on to say, you seem to listen to fools so I'll boast like a fool, and then speaks of his background, his work and his sufferings. In all these ways he seeks to obtain credibility in the eyes of the Corinthians
1. We need to beware the deception of Satan that seek to lead us astray.
2. We must hold to the one true Gospel and not deviate from it.
3. We must beware deceivers coming into the church.
4. We may look fools in defence of the Gospel
5. The life of a church planter can often be tough!
Ask the Lord to open your eyes to see the ways that Satan seeks to deceive us. Ask Him to give you grace to reject that deception.
PART 4 : "Boasting (3)"
In this next Part Paul continues his boasting, as a means of seeking to regain credibility with his readers, now using the subject of personal revelations. He also speaks of his concern for the Corinthians and his intention to come and visit them again.