2 Corinthians 11:1-15
Paul Defends His Apostleship
I wish you would bear with me [while I indulge] in a little foolishness; but indeed you are bearing with me [as you read this]. I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy because I have promised you to one husband, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ. But I am afraid that, even as the serpent beguiled Eve by his cunning, your minds may be corrupted and led away from the simplicity of [your sincere and] pure devotion to Christ. For [you seem willing to allow it] if one comes and preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted. You tolerate all this beautifully [welcoming the deception]. Yet I consider myself in no way inferior to the [so-called] [a]super-apostles. But even if I am unskilled in speaking, yet I am not [untrained] in [b]knowledge [I know what I am talking about]; but we have made this evident to you in every way, in all things.
Or did I [perhaps] sin by humbling myself so that you might be exalted and honored, because I preached God’s gospel to you [c]free of charge? I robbed other churches by accepting [more than their share of] financial support for my ministry to you. And when I was with you and ran short [financially], I did not burden any of you; for what I needed was fully supplied by the brothers (Silas and Timothy) who came from Macedonia (the church at Philippi). So I kept myself from being a burden to you in any way, and will continue to do so. As the truth of Christ is in me, my boast [of independence] will not be silenced in the regions of Achaia (southern Greece). Why? Because I do not love you [or wish you well, or have regard for your welfare]? God knows [that I do]!
But what I am doing I will keep doing, [for I am determined to keep this independence] in order to cut off the claim of those who want an opportunity to be regarded just as we are in the things they brag about. For such men are counterfeit apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, since Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. So it is no great surprise if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness, but their end will correspond with their deeds.
- 2 Corinthians 11:5 This may be a sarcastic reference to the teachers of false doctrine (pseudo-apostles) who opposed Paul and tried to claim they had an association with the original twelve disciples.
- 2 Corinthians 11:6 Like the original Twelve, Paul received his knowledge of the gospel from the Lord.
- 2 Corinthians 11:7 Traveling philosophers and religious teachers (including the false apostles) customarily charged for their lectures. Paul’s reason for refusing support from this church is unclear.