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Christian mission teaching pastors in Africa, Asia and Eastern Europe

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Updated 5 Aug 2020

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Bible Studies


2 Corinthians 11

Here, Paul expresses his concern that false apostles may have been leading the Corinthians astray and he urges them to remain faithful to the Gospel that he has preached.

Paul's Godly Jealousy

Paul was concerned that the Corinthians appeared willing to be led astray from their sincere and pure devotion to Christ, by people who were preaching a false gospel. He expresses his fear that the Corinthian church was allowing itself to be deceived and he urges them not to accept a different Jesus or to succumb to a different spirit from the Holy Spirit that they had received. There is only one Gospel and Paul expresses his total commitment to Jesus Christ as revealed in Scripture and to the Holy Spirit poured out on the Day of Pentecost and to the Good News of the Gospel, which tells us how we can be saved from God's wrath and have our sins forgiven!

Paul's Love for the Corinthians

Paul's approach was to serve people, whether they paid him or not. With the Corinthians, he did not ask for any material benefits from them. He indicates that it was the support of other Christians and their churches that had enabled him to work for them without charge. He also declares his love for them and his determination to destroy the false teaching of those who were pretending to be apostles of Christ.

False Teachers

We do not know much about the preachers to whom Paul was referring. However, he was clearly very upset about the situation. His comments about Jesus, the Holy Spirit and the Gospel, indicate people who were not sharing the truth but were, apparently, very eloquent and popular. An example of this today would be people with attractive personalities, who use ministry to make money rather than being true servants of Christ.

Paul was determined to expose false teachers, deceitful workers and those who were pretending to be what they were not. He tells us that Satan sometimes appears as an angel of light - very attractive and compelling but, in fact, evil and destructive. Sadly, some who appear to be godly are, in fact, under his control.

Paul's Sufferings

Paul knew that many regarded him as foolish, but he declares himself as a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ. He was not looking for a comfortable life or for a ministry that made him popular and rich. His background presented a strong record, qualifying him to speak with authority. Paul had worked exceptionally hard at preaching the Gospel. He had been in prison, he had been flogged, he had been beaten with rods, he had been stoned and he had been shipwrecked three times. He undertook dangerous journeys, he went without sleep, he experienced hunger and thirst and he endured much personal hardship. Nevertheless, he was totally committed to sharing the truth in Christ, regardless of the personal cost to himself.

The Churches

Despite his long list of sufferings, Paul shares another matter which weighs heavily upon him. It is his burden for all of the churches that God has used him to plant. They are constantly on his mind and in his prayers. Paul boasts of his weaknesses because it honours God, who protects and strengthens him. He seeks eternal praise for the God and Father of our Lord Jesus, who had delivered him from Damascus and prepared Paul for his life of ministry.

Points to Consider:
  1. Jealousy is usually a sinful emotion, but what kind of jealousy is righteous?
  2. Are we determined to expose false teaching that could lead God's people astray?
  3. Are we aware that Satan's servants can masquerade as servants of righteousness?
  4. What was different about Paul's ministry to that of those he describes as 'false apostles'?
  5. Paul had a real burden for the churches that he had planted. How deep is our commitment to ministry?

God bless you!
Richard Brunton

Bible Study: 2 Corinthians 11

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