Online Bible Commentary
2 Corinthians 11:1 Oh, that you would bear with me in a little folly--and indeed you do bear with me. 2 For I am jealous for you with godly jealousy. For I have betrothed you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. 3 But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. 4 For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted--you may well put up with it! (NKJV)
On his third missionary journey, after ministering in Ephesus for two years and three months, the Apostle Paul left for Macedonia in May, A.D. 56. In Macedonia he visited churches in Philippi, Thessalonica, and Berea.
Paul was in Macedonia from June to November of A.D. 56. It was there that he wrote the letter of 2nd Corinthians, likely in September and October of A.D. 56.
The church in Corinth had been beset by false teachers. These false teachers, Judaizers, were undermining Paul’s teachings and questioning his apostolic authority.
The church has now rejected the false teachers and returned to the teachings of Paul. However, Paul still has some concern about the issue of his apostolic authority and addresses it again in this letter.
Paul began this letter by defending his apostolic authority. After moving on to other subjects, he now concludes this letter by returning to defend his apostolic authority in the last four chapters.
In the previous passage, Paul taught that our approval comes from the Lord and not from ourselves. The Lord is who we should be trying to impress, not ourselves or any other man.
Now, in this passage Paul asks the Corinthian believers to indulge him in some “folly” as he defends his apostolic authority before them, as if trying to impress them (v. 1a). He then senses that they have already been indulging him if they have read this far in the letter (v. 1b).
Paul writes “I am jealous for you with godly jealousy” (v 2a). He is jealous for the progress they have made in their relationship with God.
He writes “For I have betrothed you to one husband” (v. 2b). Paul has married them to Christ, by their acceptance of the Gospel as taught to them by Paul. The Bible tells us that the church is the bride and Christ is the Bridegroom.
Paul has married them to “one husband”, the true Husband, Jesus Christ. Now, the false teachers are trying to marry them to a second husband, a false one.
Paul started the church in Corinth on his second missionary journey. The Gospel he taught them was the true Gospel, not the gospel as presented by the false teachers.
Paul does not want the Corinthian Christians to be deceived by the false teachers. He wants to “present you as a chaste virgin to Christ” (v. 2c). He wants to present them to Christ at the Rapture, as true believers who are still following the true Gospel.
Paul’s fear is that just “as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ” (v, 3). He does not wish the forces of Satan, the false teachers, to deceive the Corinthian believers by convincing them that the Gospel is too simple.
The false teachers wanted to add to the Gospel, to make it more complicated. What these false teachers, the Judaizers, wanted to add was the requirement to follow the Jewish practices and customs expressed in the Old Testament, the Mosaic Law, the old covenant. These customs and practices no longer applied to Christians, who were under the grace of the New Testament, the new covenant with Christ.
Paul then explains why he does not want this deception to exist. He writes “if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted--you may well put up with it!” (v. 4).
Paul is concerned that the Corinthian Christians might be gullible enough to believe this “different gospel”, this false gospel (v. 4a). In doing so, the Corinthian believers would be receiving “another Jesus”, not the true Jesus of the Gospel.
Paul worries that the Corinthian Christians “may well put up with it!” (v. 4b) They may just go along in order to get along, even though they are being deceived.
Paul’s concern for the first century church in Corinth should also be our concern for some churches today. They do not teach the Gospel of Jesus Christ as expressed in the Bible.
Their congregants just go along in order to get along. They don’t want to rock the boat. They attend false churches and never say a word about the false teaching.
These false churches teach the customs and practices of the world. Their motives are to conform to the world in order to bring in more converts, and more money. They teach a false gospel, another gospel, “another Jesus”.