Read 2 Cor. 11:1-4
1. Though Paul considered his boasting folly, why did he feel compelled to do it anyway?
2. (vs 2a) What did Paul mean that he was jealous for the Corinthians?
a. Jealousy is sinful, unless it is godly jealousy. What is the difference?
b. Look up Ex. 20:5a. Comment on these quotes from Redpath:
“God’s jealousy is love in action. He refuses to share the human heart with any rival, not because He is selfish and wants us all for Himself, but because He knows that upon that loyalty to Him depends our very moral life… God is not jealous of us: He is jealous for us.”
“God’s jealousy, therefore, is a concern for the holiness, integrity, purity of ethics, and Christian standards for His people.”
c. After these considerations, describe Paul’s jealous heart for the Corinthians.
3. (vs 2b) What do you know about betrothal in the days of the New Testament? Paul’s words in verse 2b are spoken as one who has the role of “the friend of the bridegroom”. Learn about this from this quote: In the Jewish culture of that day, the friend of the bridegroom (mentioned also in John 3:29) had an important job. “To procure a husband for the virgin, to guard her, and to bear testimony to her corporeal and marital endowments; and it was upon this testimony of this friend that the bridegroom chose his bride. He was the internuncio between her and her spouse elect; carrying all messages from her to him, and from him to her: for before marriage you women were strictly guarded at home with their parents or friends.” Also, the friend of the bridegroom was called upon, if necessary, “To vindicate the character of the bride.” (Clarke)
a. With this understanding, explain what Paul is saying in verse 2b.
b. Comment on this quote: Anytime we give our hearts to something other than God, we are committing “spiritual adultery” during the period of our betrothal. – Guzik
4. (vs 3-4) Describe the “simplicity that is in Christ”.
a. What kinds of deception might the enemy use against this simplicity?
b. Have you experienced this deception? Or do you know of those who have fallen into this kind of entrapment?
Read 2 Cor. 11:5-9
1. Though there is some debate over who the “most eminent apostles” are, many commentators agree that Paul is being a bit sarcastic here as he refers to those who have spoken against him as the “most eminent apostles”. In verse 6 Paul says he is untrained in speech, but not untrained in knowledge. People tend to be drawn to the eloquent and humorous speaker. We can be easily influenced by those who speak to our soul rather than speak truth to our spirit. How does Paul explain his ministry to the Corinthians in verse 6b? What does that mean?
2. Regarding verses 7-9, consider this cultural insight: During the times of the New Testament, if a speaker didn’t charge a fee for his services he was considered an amateur and regarded as one whose teaching was worthless. Yet Paul didn’t allow this opinion to influence him. Describe Paul’s heart and motivation for sharing the gospel.
Read 2 Cor. 11:10-15
1. Paul’s boast was that he was much more interested in the salvation and spiritual growth of the Corinthians than he was in money. We see through his epistles that his ministry was supported by several churches, but the only time we see Paul asking for money is when he asked for a collection for the struggling church is Jerusalem. From our previous studies, what do you remember about this?
2. In verse 12 Paul begins to expose the “most eminent apostles” as frauds to be “cut off”. Explain the meaning of verse 12. Also see Gal. 1:8.
3. Paul’s accusations against them are strong. Explain each accusation found in verse 13:
a. False apostles –
b. Deceitful workers –
c. Transforming themselves into apostles of Christ –
4. Verse 14 reveals the source behind this fraud. How is Satan described? What does this mean? What might it look like?
a. If Satan can transform himself into an angel of light rather than darkness, how can we recognize this deception?
b. According to verse 15, who else can also transform themselves in this way?
c. What steps can we take to prepare ourselves for this spiritual battle?
5. According to these verses there can be some in the church who are influenced by Satan to negatively affect the church. What are your thoughts on this truth?