2 Corinthians 11 The Glory in Our Weaknesses

Published On: 25 de April de 2023Categories: Bible Study

The book of 2 Corinthians was written by the Apostle Paul for the church in Corinth, which was facing many challenges. In this letter, Paul addresses a number of issues, including apostolic authority, reconciliation, generosity, and faithfulness. In chapter 11, Paul talks about his own experience as an apostle and the sufferings he endured on behalf of Christ. In this Bible study, we are going to explore the main messages of 2 Corinthians chapter 11 and how they apply to our lives.

Verses 1-6: False Apostles

At the beginning of chapter 11, Paul starts talking about false apostles who were deceiving the church in Corinth. He calls them “super apostles” and accuses them of preaching a false and misleading gospel. Paul says that he himself is a true apostle and that his message is the true message of Christ. He is concerned that the Corinthians are being led to believe a different message than what he preached to them.

“I hope you put up with some of my foolishness. Yes, please be patient with me. The zeal I have for you is a zeal that comes from God. I promised you to one husband, Christ, wanting to present you to him as a chaste virgin. What I fear, and want to avoid, is that just as the serpent cunningly deceived Eve, your minds will be corrupted and deviated from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if someone comes to you preaching a Jesus other than the one we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you easily put up with it. However, I do not consider myself in the least inferior to these “super-apostles”. I may not be an eloquent speaker; however I am aware. In fact, we have manifested this to you in all sorts of situations.”(2 Corinthians 11:1-6)

Paul is concerned that the Corinthians are being deceived by false apostles who are preaching a different message than what he preached. He says these false apostles are deceiving the Corinthians with their cunning, just as the serpent deceived Eve in the Garden of Eden. Paul asks the Corinthians to be careful and not deviate from the true message of Christ.

Verses 7-15: The True Apostle

Then Paul talks about his own authority as an apostle and his concern for the Corinthians. He says that he himself did not receive money from the church in Corinth, unlike the false apostles who were there. He also highlights his own weaknesses and sufferings, emphasizing that it is God’s glory that is to be seen in his weaknesses, not his own strength.

“Did I commit a sin in humbling myself in order to lift you up by preaching the gospel of God to you freely? I robbed other churches, receiving support from them, in order to serve them. When I was among you and I was in some need, I was not a burden to anyone; for the brethren, when they came from Macedonia, supplied what I needed. I have done everything not to be a burden to you, and I will continue to do so. As sure as the truth of Christ is in me, no one in the region of Achaia can deprive me of this pride. Why? Why don’t I love them? God knows I love them! And I will continue to do what I do, in order not to give opportunity to those who want to find an opportunity to be considered equal to us in the things they are proud of. For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, pretending to be apostles of Christ. This is no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. So it is not surprising that his servants pretend that they are servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.”(2 Corinthians 11:7-15)

Paul defends his own authority as an apostle by emphasizing that he did not receive money from the church in Corinth, unlike the false apostles. He highlights the help he received from the Macedonian brethren and states that he does not want to be a burden on the Corinthians. He also states that he will continue to do what is right and cut off occasion so that the false apostles have no room to boast.

Paul also warns the Corinthians about false apostles, saying that they are deceitful workers masquerading as the apostles of Christ. He warns that Satan also masquerades as an angel of light and that it is not surprising that his ministers masquerade as ministers of righteousness. He emphasizes that the end of these false ministers will be according to their works.

Verses 16-21: Paul’s Madness for Christ

Then Paul talks about his own folly for Christ. He says he’s crazy, but it’s because of his dedication to Christ. He likens his madness to that of a groom who cares intensely for his bride. He says his madness is a testament to his dedication to Christ and the church.

“I insist on repeating: no one considers me unreasonable. But if you think so of me, welcome me as you would a fool, so that I may be a little proud. In flaunting this pride, I am not speaking like the Lord, but like a fool. Since many are boasting in a very human way, so will I. You, because you are so wise, willingly put up with fools! Indeed, you even support those who enslave you or exploit you, or those who exalt themselves or hurt your face. To my shame, I admit that we were too weak for that! In what all others dare to boast—I speak as a fool—I also dare.” (2 Corinthians 11:16-21)

Paul is defending his authority and his ministry, but he recognizes that it may seem foolish to some. He compares his folly with that of others who glory after the flesh, and says that he endures many things in the name of Christ. He says it’s a shame that they weren’t strong enough to take more, but that they are still bold in everything they say.

Verses 22-33: The Trials of Paul’s Ministry

Here, Paul begins to talk about the evidence of his ministry. He says he is a Hebrew, born of a Hebrew birth, who was circumcised on the eighth day. He says that he is a Pharisee, brought up with the strictest observance of the law. He says that he was a persecutor of the church before his conversion, and that he tried harder than anyone else to obey the law.

“Are they Hebrews? Me too. Are they Israeli? Me too. Are they descendants of Abraham? Me too. Are they servants of Christ? — I am out of my mind to speak thus — I even more: I worked much harder, I was jailed more often, I was flogged more severely, and exposed to death again and again. Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine stripes. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day exposed to the raging sea. I was continually traveling to and fro, I was in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the heathen; dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers at sea, and dangers from false brethren. I worked hard; I have often been without sleep, I have been hungry and thirsty, and I have often been fasting; I endured cold and nakedness. In addition, I face an inner pressure daily, namely, my concern for all churches.” (2 Corinthians 11:22-28)

Paul lists the evidence of his ministry, including the labors, prisons, stripes, and dangers he faced for Christ’s sake. He highlights the times he was flogged, stoned, shipwrecked, and faced dangers in his travels. He also mentions the care he has for all the churches, which weighs on him daily.

Verses 30-33: Paul’s Weakness is God’s Strength

Finally, Paul emphasizes that his weakness is God’s strength. He says that if you must boast, boast in your weaknesses. He says that if you have to be proud, be proud of the things that show your weakness. He says that if he has to show his weakness, let him show it, so that Christ’s strength may rest upon him.

“If I must be proud, let it be in the things that show my weakness. The God and Father of the Lord Jesus, who is blessed forever, knows that I am not lying. In Damascus, the governor appointed by King Aretas ordered the city to be watched in order to arrest me. But from a window in the wall I was lowered in a basket and escaped his hands.” (2 Corinthians 11:30-33)

Paul talks about his flight from Damascus, where the governor of the city was chasing him to arrest him. He emphasizes that it is his weakness that shows God’s strength in his life. Paul understands that his strength comes from God, and that it is through his weakness that God is glorified.

Conclusion: The Importance of True Wisdom

2 Corinthians 11 is an important reminder that Christian ministry is not easy. Paul emphasizes the difficulties he faced in his ministry, including attempts by other leaders to discredit him. He also emphasizes the importance of true wisdom, which is not based on the wisdom of this world but on the wisdom of God.

Paul defends his apostolic authority by emphasizing his connection to Christ and the gospel message. He highlights the evidence of his ministry, including the sufferings and dangers he faced. In the end, Paul emphasizes that it is his weakness that shows God’s strength in his life.

We learn from this chapter that true wisdom is not found in the wisdom of this world, but in the wisdom of God. We must always be on the alert for false teachings that can lead us astray from true wisdom. We also learned that weakness can be a sign of strength when we trust God and allow Him to strengthen us in our weakness.

2 Corinthians 11 is also a call to all Christians to remain faithful to the gospel, regardless of the hardships and persecutions they may face. We must remember that, like Paul, we are called to proclaim the truth of Christ’s gospel, even if it means facing opposition and suffering. True wisdom comes from God and we must trust Him at all times, knowing that He will strengthen us in our weakness.

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Written by : Ministério Veredas Do IDE

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