"For not he that commendeth himself ... " (2 Cor 10:18). This

concludes the section. When a man indulges in self-com-

mendation, in self-praise, he thereby forfeits the approval

of the Lord. To have the commendation of the Lord,

manifested by His blessing, is the only way to gain His

approval, whether here or at the judgment seat of Christ.

Thus the apostle speaks of his divine authority (2 Cor 10:8),

his divine rule and sphere of labour (2 Cor 10:13); and his divine

approval (2 Cor 10:18).

B. Paul's anxiety in view of the false apostles (2 Cor 11:1-33).

Satan figures prominently in these two epistles. In

1 Cor. 5: 5 we read of a man delivered to Satan; in

2 Co 2:11 of the devices of Satan; and in 2 Cor 12: 7 of the

messenger of Satan. Then we read of the table of demons

(1 Cor. 10: 21); of Belial (2 Cor. 6: 15); and of the serpent,

and the god of this age (2 Cor. 4: 4). But in chapter 11

Satan is as "an angel of light" and his ministers "as the

ministers of righteousness" (2 Cor 11:14-15). He is the arch-enemy

of everything that is of God. He is, as the word implies,

the adversary. .

"Would to God ... " (2 Cor 11:1-2) .. In these verses the apostle

dwells on his unique relationship to the assembly. He

refers to the boasting of the previous chapter as "a little

folly" and prays their indulgence and forbearance 1)

because of the purity of his motive. He is jealous of them

with a godly jealousy, that is, a jealousy which charac-

terizes God in His dealings with His people.' This is often

spoken of in the Old Testament. In Numbers ch. 5 it is

illustrated in the jealousy offering, when a husband had

cause to suspect that his wife had been unfaithful;

2) because of his peculiar ministry and responsibility. He

had espoused the assembly as a chaste virgin to Christ, and


he was anxious that she should not be defiled. He is

like the servant of Abraham presenting Rebekah to Isaac

(Gen. 24). Elsewhere he speaks of himself as "a wise,

master builder" (1 Cor. 3 : 10), and as having been entrust-

ed with a special ministry for the Church (Col. 1: 25).

Paul's relation to the Church is very much the same as that

of Moses to Israel. Paul had betrothed the assembly to

Christ. This is one of the many metaphors used of the

Church by the apostle. It is instructive to note Satan's

activity in relation to each. As a temple of the Living

God, Satan would rob it of its sanctity; as the body he

would rob it of the ministry by division, and as a bride he

would rob her of her chastity. The apostle feared that as

the serpent tempted Eve through his versatility, so they

would be turned aside from the simple-hearted devotion

and purity towards Christ. Paul's reference to the tempta-

tion in Eden makes it clear that he fully and completely

accepted its historicity. So must we. Satan succeeded with

Eve through deception as to what God had said. Once the

mind is corrupted as to this, then disaster follows. She

failed to recognize the headship of Adam by acting on

her own.

"For if He that cometh ... " (2 Cor 11:4-6). "He that cometh

.'. ". This is a Messianic title (see Matt. 11: 3; Heb.

10 : 37). The chief of the false prophets (2 Cor 11:13) evidently

assumed this title in his arrogant pride. He preached,

another J esus ~ the Jesus preached by the Arians later, or

by the Docetics, and by false cults,. such as Jehovah's

Witnesses today. They preached' another ~ a different

spirit; and a different gospel, which was no gospel. H this

was the case, did they do well in receiving such a man?

If this is the meaning, then the apostle is speaking ironi-

cally, as he does all through the passage. On the other


hand the words may be interpreted as meaning, "you bear

with such, why not bear with me in my boasting?" In

v. 6 he states his reason in another way. The words "the

very chiefest apostles" have been explained in two ways.

Some consider them to refer to the chief among the twelve,

Peter and others, and that Paul is saying that he is not a

whit behind Peter. In this way it has been used to dis-

prove the superiority or supremacy of Peter. Others con-

sider that as the apostle is discussing the merits and

demerits of those whom he designates as "false apostles"

in 2 Cor 11:13, it is these that he is referring to in 2 Cor 11:5. The

expression "these superlative apostles" would definitely

favour this interpretation. The expression is used again in

2 Cor 12: 11. We take it that Paul is here speaking sarcastically

of the false teachers and their bombastic claims. Paul

was not a whit behind these in : 1) the matter of reproaches

(2 Cor 11:11,33; 12: 10-12); 2) the matter of revelations (2 Cor 12: 1) -

the false gloried in their fancied visions and their angel-

olatry (of. Col 2:18); 3) the matter' of his resources

(2 Cor 12:9-10). The grace and power of Christ were his in an

abundant measure. In the first half of 2 Cor 11:6 he acknow-

ledges that in the use of rhetoric and oratory or homile-

tics, the art of speaking, they might excel, but even that

concession may be ironical. In the matter of knowledge,

however, he would not accept the charge of being ignorant,

as the word is rendered in Acts 4 : 13. There is a proverb

which says, "He who knows not and knows not that he

knows not: he is a fool - shun him; he who knows not

and knows that he knows not: he is simple - teach him;

he who knows and knows not that he knows: he is asleep

- wake him; he who knows and knows that he knows: he

is wise - follow him." Paul falls into the last category.

He had consequently made the truth thoroughly manifest

to the Corinthians. While it is true that the apostle had


been thoroughly made manifest among them, it is what

he taught that is referred to here.

,"Have I committed an offence?" (7-12). In these verses

the apostle introduces the question of the way he was sup-

ported in his work. The fact that he worked was evidently

use~ by his opponents as evidence that he was not a duly

constituted apostle. In modern phraseology he would be

dubbed a "layman", although in this portion he does not

refer to his working to support himself. However, they

knew that he had done so. He had accepted the help

sent by other assemblies', such as was sent through the

brethren from Macedonia. By having preached the gospel

to them freely, he asks with a note of sarcasm, "Did I

commit a sin?" He had not been a burden to them, and

was determined to follow this principle in the future. The

words "as the truth of Christ is in me" may be understood

either as an oath, a solemn appeal, an asseveration, a

solemn declaration of his set purpose, or as in Rom. 9: 1.

Any of these is tenable. There were those who looked for

an opportunity to charge Paul with preaching for money.

He was determined to deny this to them, and thereby

destroy their claim to be working on the same basis as he

was. The facts of the case make it clear that their boast

was. a vain one.

"Such are false ... " (13-15). Their apostleship was not

genuine; it was spurious; «deceitful ... " - they were

crafty, they laid snares. They were hypocrites; "trans-

forming . . ." - they changed their outward appearance.

They put on sheep's clothing. They, like the Pharisees,

were of their father the devjI (John 8: 44). As Satan had

changed his guise to that of an angel of light, so did his

ministers profess to bring new light to the Corinthians,

even as the serpent had done in Eden. He is more to be


feared as an angel of light than as a roaring lion. In 1

Kings 13: 18,24 we have an illustration of both. Satan's

ministers do more damage in the pulpit than in the public

house. Modernist professors at seminaries contaminate

the stream at its source. Paul speaks sternly of their end

and their doom (d. Phil. 3: 18-19). The rebellion of Korah

recorded in Num. 16 is the divinely given illustration of

these false apostles and their work (d. Rev. 2: 1-7).

"I say again ... " (16-19). These words refer back to

v. 1, and are introduced in view of what he is going to say

further regarding his ground for boasting. He acknow-

ledges that boasting is foolish, but appeals to them not to

consider him a fool. However, if they did so, then he

would ask them to welcome him as such, even as they

had welcomed others who had gloried after the flesh, and

were therefore fools (v. 9). He had already sa~ "He

that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord," so it is the

essence of folly to glory after the flesh as in v. 22. The

words "seeing ye are wise" are strongly ironical.

"For ye suffer. . ." (20-22). Five characteristics of the

false apostles are listed in v. 20:-

1) By bringing Christians into bondage they robbed them

of their liberty, either by bondage to the law and its weak

and beggarly elements (Gal. 4: 9), or to themselves;

2) Tiley devoured the Christians, they preyed on them

(d. Luke 20: 47). They had their own ways of extracting

money from the assembly; 3) They took of them, or rather

made captives of them, by deceiving them, catching them

as fish with bait; 4) They 'exalted themselves. They evi-

dently assumed some sort of priestly rights, possibly and

probably basing this on the fact that in Israel the priests

were a privileged class; 5) "If a man smite you." For


literal illustrations of this see 1 Kings 22 : 24; Matt. 5 : 39;

Luke' 22 : 64 and ACts 23: 2. It may be mentioned here

as symbolic of the way these false apostles humiliated the


These marks of the ministers of Satan. should be com-

pared with. the "Nicolaitanes" (nikao-laos) - those who.

conquered the people, those who held the doctrine of

Balaam the devourer. They doubtless describe the way

Satan laid the foundation of the hierarchical system of


_ In v. 21 the apostle ironically reproaches himself for not

having done any of these five things. The second half of

the verse is explained and expanded in the following verse

(22). What they laid' great stress on as to their lineage

was, no more than what he could. As all the Lord's

apostles were Hebrews, Satan would not try to introduce

a Gentile into his apostolate.

"Are they ... " (23-33). The apostle recounts his suf-

ferings as the credentials of his being a servant of Christ.

He says he speaks "as a fool", one who is out of his senses,

not merely one who is lacking in sense as in the preceding

verses. In v. 23 he mentions four ways in which he claims

to be superior to these false apostles, the Nicolaitanes of

verses 13 and 20. Labours, stripes, prisons, deaths. These

are stated more specifically in verses 24-25, especially the

last three, while that which amplifies his "labours" is con ..

tinued: in verses 26-29. In verses 24-25 five things are

listed. It is only one of these, that of being beaten with

rods at Philippi, that we read' in' the Acts. At the hands

of the Jews, his own countrymen, he received the maximum

(:39)' which: they could inflictfive timesi(Deut. 25 : 1-3). The

lash which. was used'.contained, three thongs; and it often


tore chunks of flesh out of the victim. At the hands of

the Romans he was thrice beaten with rods. Both of

these forms of punishment were so severe that sometimes

the victim died. The stoning was at Lystra (Acts 14: 19).

Of the three shipwrecks mentioned, not one is recorded

elsewhere. The one which is recorded in Acts 27 occurred

later. For a night and a day he was adrift at sea with

only a plank or some part of the ship to cling to, and

that in dangerous waters. Nothing is reported of it.

"In journeyings oft. . ." (26-27). The apostle enlarges

on his labours referred to in v. 23. While on these jour-

neys, he was in constant peril. He mentions eight sources,

from which they came. The rivers and the robbers cover

two ways of travel; the Jews and the Gentiles; whether in

the city with the mob or in the wilderness from wild

beasts; the sea with its treacherous storms, and false

brethren which were more treacherous. In v. 27 he

mentions eight other things connected with his labours,

possibly when living and working in a centre like Corinth

or Ephesus. The first two would refer to his manual

labour, though not exclusively. Toil and travail with their

associated sleepless nights must also include his work: in

the gospel. Hunger, thirst and fastings form another

triplet. The cold and nakedness possibly refer to his

prison experiences, and find an echo in his request for the

cloak to be brought to him at Rome later (2 Tim. 4 : 13).

"Beside those things ... " (v. 28). This is variously

interpreted. It may mean that the apostle is suggesting

that apart from these outward trials there was the spiritual

care of the assemblies - a daily burden. Or, it is suggest-

ed, the apostle is refering to two things apart from the

eight rather unusual things listed - there was a daily

pressure, as well as anxiety for all the churches. If this is


accepted, then it would mean that the apostle is referring

on the one hand to the daily pressure from the false

apostles, and on the other to the care he should naturally

have for the Hock of God. It is pointed out that the word

for pressure is used in Num. 16: 40 in connection with

Korah's rebellion.

"Who is weak?" (v. 29). This enlarges on the last clause

of v. 28. He sympathizes with the weak, and gets in-

dignant at those who put obstacles before the Christians,

as Galatians clearly shows. In 10: 17 he had gloried in

the Lord. Now he says that his boast is in infirmities. He

will boast in his humiliations. He will wear them as his

war medals. As there is always the great danger of ex-

aggeration when relating personal experiences, the apostle

calls upon God to witness to the truth of what he had

said. Similar words are found in Rom. 9: 1, Gal. 1: 20

and 1 Tim. 2: 7. Then as somewhat of a postscript to

what he had written he relates the experience of God's

deliverance which he had in Damascus. The experience

of the basket must have been very humiliating at the time,

but Jewish craftiness and Gentile power were thwarted,

even as in the resurrection of Christ. In later years this

must have been a great encouragement to the apostle. To

attempt to comment on this summary of the apostle's ex-

periynces in a day of Laodicean ease is most humbling.

His life and sufferings were like the burning bush, ever

burning but never consumed.

C. Paul's apostleship and credentials (12: 1-19).

"It is not expedient" (1-6). The apostle chronicles his

experience when he was caught up to the third heaven.

This follows immediately after the record of the humiliat-

ing experience at Damascus. He commences by acknow-