Online Bible Commentary
Teaching the Truth of Christ
2 Corinthians 11:5 For I consider that I am not at all inferior to the most eminent apostles. 6 Even though I am untrained in speech, yet I am not in knowledge. But we have been thoroughly manifested among you in all things. 7 Did I commit sin in humbling myself that you might be exalted, because I preached the gospel of God to you free of charge? 8 I robbed other churches, taking wages from them to minister to you. 9 And when I was present with you, and in need, I was a burden to no one, for what I lacked the brethren who came from Macedonia supplied. And in everything I kept myself from being burdensome to you, and so I will keep myself. 10 As the truth of Christ is in me, no one shall stop me from this boasting in the regions of Achaia. 11 Why? Because I do not love you? God knows! 12 But what I do, I will also continue to do, that I may cut off the opportunity from those who desire an opportunity to be regarded just as we are in the things of which they boast. 13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. 15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works. (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 this passage, Paul begins by defending his apostolic authority stating that he is not “inferior to the most eminent apostles” (v. 5). The meaning of the term “eminent apostles” is super apostles. Paul is referring to the boasting of the Judaizers who falsely claimed apostolic authority superior to Paul’s.
Paul admits that he is “untrained in speech”, that he may not be as eloquent of a speaker as some of the Judaizers. However, he is not untrained “in knowledge” (v. 6a).
The proof of this is that he and his fellow apostles “have been thoroughly manifested among you in all things” (v. 6b). The Corinthian believers themselves are proof of Paul’s apostolic authority. Paul started the church in Corinth.
Next, Paul contrasts his ministry with the Judaizers’. Paul was humble and did not ask for, or expect, payment in exchange for his preaching (v. 7). As noted previously in this chapter, the Judaizers were boastful, not humble. Also, it seems that they expected and demanded payment for their preaching.
However, Paul admits that he did take “wages” from “other churches” in order to minister to the Corinthians (v. 8). Paul understands that teachers of the Gospel must be paid a living wage. His point is that they should not be demanding payment directly from those to whom they minister, as was the custom of the Judaizers.
Paul continues by writing “when I was present with you, and in need, I was a burden to no one, for what I lacked the brethren who came from Macedonia supplied. And in everything I kept myself from being burdensome to you, and so I will keep myself” (v. 9).
Paul was “in need” of money when he was starting the church in Corinth on his second missionary journey. So, he sent for Silas and Timothy to bring what he “lacked”, money, from Macedonia (Acts 18:5). Paul did not want to be a burden to the Corinthian believers, then or now, so he would keep his needs to himself.
Since “the truth of Christ” was in him, Paul was not going to let anyone stop him “from this boasting in the regions of Achaia”, from preaching the Gospel in Corinth and the surrounding areas (v. 10). Apparently, the Judaizers accused Paul of not loving the Corinthians since he was not asking for their support (v.11).
Paul responds that nothing could be farther from the truth. He did not ask for support from the Corinthians because then the Judaizers would have accused him of only preaching for the money, as they, themselves, were actually doing (v. 12). Sometimes you can’t win, no matter what you do.
Paul concludes this passage by calling a spade a spade. He calls the Judaizers “false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ” (v. 13). They are false, they are not messengers from God.
Paul writes “Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light” (v. 14). Satan disguises himself as a messenger from God, just as when he disguised himself as a snake in the Garden of Eden. Satan sometimes carries a Bible.
He writes “Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works” (v. 15). Paul calls the Judaizers ministers of Satan. They are being used by Satan to do his will, not God’s. These Judaizers will be judged accordingly, by being condemned to Hell.
As Christians, we need to always be on guard against false teachers. We need to make sure our teachers are being faithful to the teachings of the Bible. They need to be teaching “the truth of Christ”.