Reading for Today:
2 Corinthians 11:1-15
Isaiah 29:10 spirit of deep sleep. Because Israel refused to hear her true prophets initially, their ability to hear has been impaired. God gave them up judicially to their own hardness of heart. Paul applied this verse specifically to the general condition of Israel’s blindness during the age of the church (Rom. 11:8). prophets…seers. False prophets and seers have blinded their listeners with their false prophecies.
Isaiah 29:13 hearts far from Me. Empty ritualism does not bring closeness to God. Jesus used this verse to describe the Judaism of His day (Matt. 15:7–9; Mark 7:6, 7).
Isaiah 29:22 redeemed Abraham. God delivered Abraham from his pagan background when He brought him from beyond the Euphrates River into the land of Canaan (Josh. 24:2, 3). Paul elaborates on this theme in Romans 4:1–22. not now be ashamed. Israel in her history had frequently suffered disgrace, but the personal presence of the Messiah is to change that (45:17; 49:23; 50:7; 54:4). After the salvation of Israel in the end time, the children of Jacob will no longer cause their forefathers to blush over their wickedness.
Proverbs 25:21, 22 As metals are melted by placing fiery coals on them, so is the heart of an enemy softened by such kindness. Contrast the coals of judgment in Psalm 140:10. Paul quotes this proverb in Romans 12:20.
2 Corinthians 11:7 free of charge. Greek culture measured the importance of a teacher by the fee he could command. The false apostles therefore accused Paul of being a counterfeit, since he refused to charge for his services (1 Cor. 9:1–15). They convinced the Corinthians to be offended by Paul’s refusal to accept support from them, offering that as evidence that he did not love them (v. 11). Paul’s resort to manual labor to support himself (Acts 18:1–3) also embarrassed the Corinthians, who felt such work to be beneath the dignity of an apostle. With biting irony Paul asked his accusers how foregoing his right to support could possibly be a sin. In fact, by refusing support he had humbled himself so they could be exalted, i.e., lifted out of their sin and idolatry.
2 Corinthians 11:13–15 No longer speaking with veiled irony or defending himself, Paul bluntly and directly exposed the false apostles for what they were—emissaries of Satan. Not only was their claim to apostleship false, so also was their doctrine. As satanic purveyors of false teaching, they were under the curse of Galatians 1:8, 9. Paul’s forceful language may seem harsh, but it expressed the godly jealousy he felt for the Corinthians. Paul was unwilling to sacrifice truth for the sake of unity.
DAY 19: Why was Paul so emotional about the Corinthians’ spiritual welfare?
In 2 Corinthians 11:2, Paul said, “I am jealous for you with godly jealousy.” Paul was concerned to the point of jealousy, a zeal for their spiritual purity. Jealousy inspired by zeal for God’s causes, and thus similar to God’s own jealousy for His holy name and His people’s loyalty (Ex. 20:5; 34:14; Deut. 4:24; 5:9; 6:15; 32:16, 21; Josh. 24:19; Ps. 78:58; Ezek. 39:25; Nah.1:2). “I have betrothed you to one husband.” As their spiritual father (12:14; 1 Cor. 4:15; 9:1, 2), Paul portrayed the Corinthians like a daughter, whom he betrothed to Jesus Christ (at their conversion). “A chaste virgin to Christ.” Having betrothed or pledged the Corinthians to Christ, Paul wanted them to be pure until the marriage day finally arrived (Rev. 19:7).
Paul compared the danger facing the Corinthian church to Eve’s deception by Satan (v. 3). He feared the Corinthians, like Eve, would fall prey to satanic lies and have their minds corrupted. The tragic result would be the abandonment of their simple devotion to Christ in favor of the sophisticated error of the false apostles. Paul’s allusion to Genesis 3 implies that the false apostles were Satan’s emissaries—a truth that he later made explicit (vv. 13–15).
The false apostles came into the Corinthian church from the outside—just as Satan did into the Garden (v. 4). It is likely that they were Palestinian Jews (v. 22; Acts 6:1) who allegedly sought to bring the Corinthians under the sway of the Jerusalem church. They were in a sense Judaizers, seeking to impose Jewish customs on the Corinthians. Unlike the Judaizers who plagued the Galatian churches (Gal. 5:2), however, the false apostles at Corinth apparently did not insist that the Corinthians be circumcised. Nor did they practice a rigid legalism; in fact, they apparently encouraged licentiousness (12:21). Their fascination with rhetoric and oratory (10:10) suggests they had been influenced by Greek culture and philosophy.
Though their teaching may have differed from the Galatian Judaizers, it was just as deadly. “Another Jesus…a different spirit…a different gospel” (v. 4). Paul’s quarrel with the false apostles was not personal, but doctrinal. Those who adulterated the true gospel received Paul’s strongest condemnation (Gal. 1:6–9). Paul’s fear that the Corinthians would embrace the damning lies of the false apostles prompted his jealous concern for them.
From The MacArthur Daily Bible Copyright © 2003. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson Bibles, a division of Thomas Nelson, Inc, Nashville, TN 37214, www.thomasnelson.com.