Scripture: II Corinthians 11

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Paul and the False Apostles

II Corinthians 11:1-14 (WEB) 1 I wish that you would bear with me in a little foolishness, but indeed you do bear with me. For I am jealous over you with a godly jealousy. For I married you to one husband, that I might present you as a pure virgin to Christ. But I am afraid that somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve in his craftiness, so your minds might be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he who comes preaches another Jesus, whom we didn’t preach, or if you receive a different spirit, which you didn’t receive, or a different “good news”, which you didn’t accept, you put up with that well enough. For I reckon that I am not at all behind the very best apostles. But though I am unskilled in speech, yet I am not unskilled in knowledge. No, in every way we have been revealed to you in all things. Or did I commit a sin in humbling myself that you might be exalted, because I preached to you God’s Good News free of charge? I robbed other assemblies, taking wages from them that I might serve you. When I was present with you and was in need, I wasn’t a burden on anyone, for the brothers, when they came from Macedonia, supplied the measure of my need. In everything I kept myself from being burdensome to you, and I will continue to do so. 10 As the truth of Christ is in me, no one will stop me from this boasting in the regions of Achaia. 11 Why? Because I don’t love you? God knows. 12 But what I do, that I will do, that I may cut off occasion from those who desire an occasion, that in which they boast, they may be found even as we. 13 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as Christ’s apostles. 14 And no wonder, for even satan masquerades as an angel of light. 15 It is no great thing therefore if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.

Questions and Answers:

1. What did Paul say about his attitude toward the Corinthian believers (II Corinthians 11:1-2)? Paul said he was jealous over them with a godly jealousy.  For he had married them to one husband, that he might present them as a pure virgin to Christ.

2. Of what did Paul say he was afraid (II Corinthians 11:3-4)? Paul said he was afraid their (the Corinthian believers) minds might be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. Paul was afraid the Corinthian believers would follow after false teachings and teachers. My Bible notes: Paul didn’t want the believers to lose their single-minded love for Christ.

3. What did Paul say about his skills (II Corinthians 11:6)? Paul said though he was unskilled in speech, he was not unskilled in knowledge.

4. What was Paul’s question to the Corinthian believers (II Corinthians 11:7-10)? Paul questioned the Corinthian believers about their attitude toward him because he wasn’t charging them but was preaching God’s Good News to them free of charge.

5. Why had Paul brought up the subject of receiving support (II Corinthians 11:11-15)? Paul perhaps thought asking them for support might be misunderstood.  There were many false teachers who hoped to make a good profit from preaching and Paul perhaps didn’t want to look like one of them by accepting money from the Corinthians.

Paul Boasts About His Sufferings

II Corinthians 11:16-33 (WEB) 16 I say again, let no one think me foolish. But if so, yet receive me as foolish, that I also may boast a little. 17 That which I speak, I don’t speak according to the Lord, but as in foolishness, in this confidence of boasting. 18 Seeing that many boast after the flesh, I will also boast. 19 For you bear with the foolish gladly, being wise. 20 For you bear with a man if he brings you into bondage, if he devours you, if he takes you captive, if he exalts himself, or if he strikes you on the face. 21 I speak by way of disparagement, as though we had been weak. Yet in whatever way anyone 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 offspring of Abraham? So am I. 23 Are they servants of Christ? (I speak as one beside himself.) I am more so: in labors more abundantly, in prisons more abundantly, in stripes above measure, and in deaths often. 24 Five times I received forty stripes minus one from the Jews. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I suffered shipwreck. I have been a night and a day in the deep. 26 I have been in travels often, perils of rivers, perils of robbers, perils from my countrymen, perils from the Gentiles, perils in the city, perils in the wilderness, perils in the sea, perils among false brothers; 27 in labor and travail, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, and in cold and nakedness. 28 Besides those things that are outside, there is that which presses on me daily: anxiety for all the assemblies. 29 Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is caused to stumble, and I don’t burn with indignation? 30 If I must boast, I will boast of the things that concern my weakness. 31 The God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ, he who is blessed forever more, knows that I don’t lie. 32 In Damascus the governor under King Aretas guarded the Damascenes’ city, desiring to arrest me. 33 I was let down in a basket through a window by the wall, and escaped his hands.

Questions and Answers:

1. Why did Paul boast to the Corinthian believers (II Corinthians 11:16-21)? My Bible notes: Paul wanted to keep the Corinthians from slipping under the spell of the false teachers and turning away from the gospel.

2. About what credentials did Paul boast (II Corinthians 11:22-23a)? My Bible notes: Paul presented his credentials.  He was a Hebrew.  He was an Israelite.  He was an offspring of Abraham. He was a servant of Christ.

3. About what experiences did Paul boast (II Corinthians 11:23b-33)? Paul said he had worked harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, been exposed to death again and again. He had received forty lashes minus one from the Jews.  Three times he was beaten with rods, once he was stoned, three times he was shipwrecked, spent a night and day in the open sea.  He was constantly on the move.  He had been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from his own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles, in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at seas and in danger from false brothers.  He had labored and toiled and gone without sleep.  He had been cold and naked.  He faced daily the pressure of his concern for all the churches. He said he didn’t feel weak and he didn’t inwardly burn (with the desire to sin). Paul also told the Corinthian believers about being lowered in a basket from the window in the wall (in the city of Damascus) to escape being arrested.


II Corinthians 11:7-9 (NIV) Was it a sin for me to lower myself in order to elevate you by preaching the gospel of God to you free of charge? I robbed other churches by receiving support from them so as to serve you. And when I was with you and needed something, I was not a burden to anyone, for the brothers who came from Macedonia supplied what I needed. I have kept myself from being a burden to you in any way, and will continue to do so.


My Bible notes: The false teachers may have argued that because Paul asked no fee for his preaching, he must have been an amateur, with little authority or competence.  Paul thought that asking for support in Corinth might be misunderstood.  There were many false teachers who hoped to make a good profit from preaching.  Paul separated himself completely from those false teachers in order to silence those who ONLY claimed to do God’s work.


II Corinthians 11:30 If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.


Do you love God and His Word enough to freely share them as Paul did?


Believers today must be careful not to assume that every speaker who is well known and demands a large honorarium is superior at explaining and applying God’s Word.


Lord, I pray we will share Your Word freely with those around us (II Corinthians 11:7).  Lord, I pray we will recognize and stay away from false teachers (II Corinthians 11:13-15). Lord, I pray we will not brag unless it is to magnify You, the God and Father of the Lord Jesus, who is to be praised forever (II Corinthians 11:30-31).  In His name, Christ Jesus, I pray.  AMEN.


“May you and I give God all glory, all honor and all praise.” <>< Dona