We go on to 2 Cor 11:5-15
v5: I consider (reckon): Paul is saying that this is logically evident to him. This is something that is easy to think through. He has gone through all of the evidence, and this is the conclusion that he has arrived at.
- Inferior: Lacking or less than.
- Most eminent apostles: The illustrious or prominent apostles. Those who proclaimed themselves to be of the upper echelon. Perhaps Paul is speaking here of the false apostles who elevated themselves above others.
v6: Untrained (literally: inferior) in speech: Paul’s written words and spoken words appeared to have been very different from each other. His written words were heard differently. They were more powerful, stronger and to the point. When he came before a congregation and spoke to them the people saw a kind of disconnect. They thought his speech was inferior to the things that he wrote.
- (Inferior in words) yet I am not in knowledge: Though Paul’s words may not have impressed them he was telling them not to think that he did not know what he was talking about.
- Thoroughly made manifest among you in all things: Paul had no personal agenda. His life was an open book (so to speak) before them. He wasn’t there for anything concerning himself. He wanted nothing from them in return, but everything he did was for their sakes.
v7: Abasing myself: Humbling himself. Paul did not go to them in a way of presenting himself as a super apostle. He went to them in a humble way – not with fine garments, but in simplicity. His purpose was to be a blessing and an encouragement to them. He did not call attention to himself, but he went to them in order to simply accomplish G-d’s will.
- Exalted: Lifted up
- Preached the gospel of G-d to you free of charge: Paul lived simply because he wanted to present the gospel of G-d freely – without any charge, as a gift.
v8: Robbed: Plundered. Paul is not talking here about stealing from other congregations. He did however receive some support from other congregations in regard to his ministry as well as in regard to his expenses. The Corinthian congregation, however, did not pay Paul for his ministry, expenses, or daily upkeep. That is how Paul wanted it to be. He wanted to present the gospel to them for free. Paul never wanted it to be about himself, but he was concerned about them and about their spiritual condition.
v9: In need (but) I was a burden to no one: He never looked to this Corinthian congregation to meet any needs that he had. He had no desire to be a burden to them.
- I kept myself: Even though Paul had every right to ask the Corinthians for sustenance he did not use those rights. Other people, the Macedonians, gave or provided for Paul in order to sustain him when he was in need.
v10: The truth of Messiah is in me: Paul is not only talking about the words that he is proclaiming, he is also talking about the way that he is living. Many people can speak truth, but their lifestyles reveal something else. The words that we speak and the way that we live both need to reflect truth.
- Noone shall stop me from this boasting: Paul wanted to have a transparent testimony. He wanted others to see how he lived so that they could see how a true apostle behaved. Paul did not go to them in power. He went to them in weakness. He did not have any pretence, but he went to them in simplicity so that, through the simple message of Messiah, people’s lives, in Corinth, were transformed.
v11: Love you: Paul loved this congregation. Not because these people were different from other people, but because Paul knew the potential they had, as a port city, to influence a vast amount of people from different cultures, backgrounds and languages. They had the potential to have a powerful and accurate testimony, in simplicity, concerning the Word of G-d – in humility, not based on a desire for wealth but a desire for a Kingdom fruitfulness.
- G-d knows: G-d knew the commitment and love that Paul had toward these people. He was willing to make sacrifices for them and was willing to endure times of need for their sakes.
v12: What I do I will also continue to do: Paul is not changing. His behaviour toward them is consistent.
- That I may cut off the opportunity: There were those who wanted to boast but they were boasting in the wrong things. Their boasting called attention to themselves and was rooted in pride. Most preached the gospel for financial purposes. Paul’s hope was that these men would be changed and that in the end they would be boasting in the same things that Paul was boasting about – a humble life that was dedicated to the lives of others, a life that produced Kingdom fruitfulness.
v13: False apostles: Although Paul hoped that these apostles would be transformed into true apostles, here he is talking about the ‘testimony’ that they had currently. They were not true servants of G-d. They did not present an accurate gospel to the people.
- Deceitful workers: The truth of Messiah was not in them. They were doing nothing that was pleasing to G-d. The truth of G-d should be the foundation of every servant of G-d, every true work of G-d, every ministry, every congregation. We are not to distort the Word of G-d or His testimony.
- Transforming themselves: Masquerading. Giving a false presentation. They (like false teachers and false prophets) present one thing but inwardly is a different story.
v14: No wonder: This false presentation shouldn’t surprise us. We shouldn’t be taken aback by it. satan himself behaves in this way.
- (Masquerades as) an angel of light: Most of the activity of satan in this world is going to be done masquerading as a believer, masquerading as someone who belongs in the congregation of the redeemed. The most intense work of satan’s deceit is going to be within the body of believers. In the last days there’s going to be a great departure from the true body of believers by those who are false believers.
v15: It is no great thing: Paul is again telling us, in a slightly different way, that this should not surprise us.
- His ministers: satan’s servants
- Ministers (servants) of righteousness: Although they are servants of satan they present themselves as stewards of righteousness.
- Whose end will be according to their works: Those who are false, who are not of the true gospel, who do not behave with the truth of Messiah will find that their end is going to be according to their deeds, their works. This is foreshadowing a judgment. Paul, who lives and behaves very differently to them, doesn’t have to deal with them. Messiah is going to ultimately deal with them.