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  • JAMIESON-FAUSSET-BROWN - 2CORINTHIANS 11
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    CHAPTER 11

    2Co 11:1-33. THROUGH JEALOUSY OVER THE CORINTHIANS, WHO MADE MORE ACCOUNT OF THE FALSE APOSTLES THAN OF HIM, HE IS OBLIGED TO COMMEND HIMSELF AS IN MANY RESPECTS SUPERIOR.

    1. Would to God--Translate as Greek, "I would that."
    - bear with me--I may ask not unreasonably to be borne with; not so the false apostles (2Co 11:4, 20).
    - my--not in the oldest manuscripts.
    - folly--The Greek is a milder term than that for "foolishness" in 1Co 3:19; Mt 5:22; 25:2. The Greek for "folly" here implies imprudence; the Greek for "foolishness" includes the idea of perversity and wickedness.
    - and indeed bear--A request (so 2Co 11:16). But the Greek and the sense favor the translation, "But indeed (I need not wish it, for) ye do bear with me"; still I wish you to bear with me further, while I enter at large into self-commendations.

    2. For I am jealous--The justification of his self-commendations lies in his zealous care lest they should fall from Christ, to whom he, as "the friend of the Bridegroom" (Joh 3:29), has espoused them; in order to lead them back from the false apostles to Christ, he is obliged to boast as an apostle of Christ, in a way which, but for the motive, would be "folly."
    - godly jealousy--literally, "jealousy of God" (compare 2Co 1:12, "godly sincerity," literally, "sincerity of God"). "If I am immoderate, I am immoderate to God" [BENGEL]. A jealousy which has God's honor at heart (1Ki 19:10).
    - I . . . espoused you--Paul uses a Greek term applied properly to the bridegroom, just as he ascribes to himself "jealousy," a feeling properly belonging to the husband; so entirely does he identify himself with Christ.
    - present you as a chaste virgin to Christ--at His coming, when the heavenly marriage shall take place (Mt 25:6; Re 19:7, 9). What Paul here says he desires to do, namely, "present" the Church as "a chaste virgin" to Christ, Christ Himself is said to do in the fuller sense. Whatever ministers do effectively, is really done by Christ (Eph 5:27-32). The espousals are going on now. He does not say "chaste virgins"; for not individual members, but the whole body of believers conjointly constitute the Bride.

    3. I fear-- (2Co 12:20); not inconsistent with love. His source of fear was their yielding character.
    - subtilty--the utter foe of the "simplicity" which is intent on ONE object, Jesus, and seeks none "other," and no "other" and different Spirit (2Co 11:4); but loves him with tender SINGLENESS OF AFFECTION. Where Eve first gave way, was in mentally harboring for a moment the possibility insinuated by the serpent, of GOD not having her truest interests at heart, and of this "other" professing friend being more concerned for her than God.
    - corrupted--so as to lose their virgin purity through seducers (2Co 11:4). The same Greek stands for "minds" as for "thoughts" (2Co 10:5, also see on 2Co 10:5); intents of the will, or mind. The oldest manuscripts after "simplicity," add, "and the purity" or "chastity."
    - in Christ--rather, "that is towards Christ."

    4. if, &c.--which in fact is impossible. However, if it were possible, ye might then bear with them (see on 2Co 11:1). But there can be no new Gospel; there is but the one which I first preached; therefore it ought not to be "borne" by you, that the false teachers should attempt to supersede me.
    - he that cometh--the high-sounding title assumed by the false teachers, who arrogated Christ's own peculiar title (Greek, Mt 11:3, and Heb 10:37), "He that is coming." Perhaps he was leader of the party which assumed peculiarly to be "Christ's" (2Co 10:7; 1Co 1:12); hence his assumption of the title.
    - preacheth . . . receive--is preaching . . . ye are receiving.
    - Jesus--the "Jesus" of Gospel history. He therefore does not say "Christ," which refers to the office.
    - another . . . another--Greek, "another Jesus . . . a different Spirit . . . a different Gospel." Another implies a distinct individual of the same kind; different implies one quite distinct in kind.
    - which ye have not received--from us.
    - spirit . . . received . . . gospel . . . accepted--The will of man is passive in RECEIVING the "Spirit"; but it is actively concurrent with the will of God (which goes before to give the good will) in ACCEPTING the "Gospel."
    - ye might well bear with him--There would be an excuse for your conduct, though a bad one (for ye ought to give heed to no Gospel other than what ye have already heard from me, Ga 1:6, 7); but the false teachers do not even pretend they have "another Jesus" and a "different Gospel" to bring before you; they merely try to supplant me, your accredited Teacher. Yet ye not only "bear with" them, but prefer them.

    5. For--My claim is superior to that of the false teachers, "For," &c.
    - I suppose--I reckon [ALFORD].
    - I was not--Greek, "That I have not been, and am not."
    - the very chiefest apostles--James, Peter, and John, the witnesses of Christ's transfiguration and agony in Gethsemane. Rather, "those overmuch apostles," those surpassers of the apostles in their own esteem. This sense is proved by the fact that the context contains no comparison between him and the apostles, but only between him and the false teachers; 2Co 11:6 also alludes to these, and not to the apostles; compare also the parallel phrase, "false apostles" (see on 2Co 11:13 and 2Co 12:11) [ALFORD].

    6. rude--Greek, "a common man"; a "laic"; not rhetorically trained; unskilled in finish of diction. 1Co 2:1-4, 13; 2Co 10:10, 11, shows his words were not without weight, though his "speech" was deficient in oratorical artifice. "Yet I am not so in my knowledge" (2Co 12:1-5; Eph 3:1-5).
    - have been . . . made manifest--Read with the oldest manuscripts, "We have made things (Gospel truths) manifest," thus showing our "knowledge." English Version would mean, I leave it to yourselves to decide whether I be rude in speech . . . : for we have been thoroughly (literally, "in everything") made manifest among you (literally, "in respect to you"; "in relation to you"). He had not by reserve kept back his "knowledge" in divine mysteries from them (2Co 2:17; 4:2; Ac 20:20, 27).
    - in all things--The Greek rather favors the translation, "among all men"; the sense then is, we have manifested the whole truth among all men with a view to your benefit [ALFORD]. But the Greek in Php 4:12, "In each thing and in all things," sanctions English Version, which gives a clearer sense.

    7. Have I--literally, "OR have I?" Connected with 2Co 11:6, "Or will any of you make it an objection that I have preached to you gratuitously?" He leaves their good feeling to give the answer, that this, so far from being an objection, was a decided superiority in him above the false apostles (1Co 9:6-15).
    - abasing myself--in my mode of living, waiving my right of maintenance, and earning it by manual labor; perhaps with slaves as his fellow laborers (Ac 18:3; Php 4:12).
    - ye . . . exalted--spiritually, by your admission to Gospel privileges.
    - because--"in that."
    - gospel of God--"of God" implies its divine glory to which they were admitted.
    - freely--"without charge."

    8. I robbed--that is, took from them in order to spare you more than what was their fair share of contribution to my maintenance, for example, the Philippian Church (Php 4:15, 16).
    - wages--"subsidy."
    - to do you service--Greek, "with a view to ministration to you"; compare "supplied" (Greek, "in addition"), 2Co 11:9, implying, he brought with him from the Macedonians, supplies towards his maintenance at Corinth; and (2Co 11:9) when those resources failed ("when I wanted") he received a new supply, while there, from the same source.

    9. wanted--"was in want."
    - chargeable--Greek, "burdensome," literally, "to torpify," and so to oppress. JEROME says it is a Cilician word (2Co 12:14, 16).
    - the brethren which came--rather, as Greek, "the brethren when they came." Perhaps Timotheus and Silas (Ac 8:1, 5). Compare Php 4:15, 16, which refers to donations received from the Philippians (who were in Macedonia) at two distinct periods ("once and again"), one at Thessalonica, the other after his departure from Macedonia, that is, when he came into Achaia to Corinth (from the church in which city he would receive no help); and this "in the beginning of the Gospel," that is, at its first preaching in these parts. Thus all three, the two Epistles and history, mutually, and no doubt undesignedly, coincide; a sure test of genuineness.
    - supplied--Greek, "supplied in addition," namely, in addition to their former contributions; or as BENGEL, in addition to the supply obtained by my own manual labor.

    10. Greek, "There is (the) truth of Christ in me that," &c. (Ro 9:1).
    - no man shall stop me of--The oldest manuscripts read, "This boasting shall not be shut (that is, stopped) as regards me." "Boasting is as it were personified . . . shall not have its mouth stopped as regards me" [ALFORD].

    11. Love is often offended at its favors being not accepted, as though the party to whom they are offered wished to be under no obligation to the offerer.

    12. I will do--I will continue to decline help.
    - occasion--Greek, "the occasion," namely, of misrepresenting my motives, which would be afforded to my detractors, if I accepted help.
    - that wherein they glory, they may be found even as we--BENGEL joins this clause with "the occasion," namely, of glorying or boasting; the occasion "that they may be found (a point wherein they glory) even as we," that is, quite as disinterested, or virtually, quite as gain-seeking and self-seeking. It cannot mean that the false teachers taught gratuitously even as Paul (compare 2Co 11:20; 1Co 9:12). ALFORD less clearly explains by reference to 2Co 11:18, &c., where the "glorying" here is taken up and described as "glorying after the flesh"; thus it means, that in the matters of which they beast they may be found even as we, that is, we may been a fair and equal footing; that there may be no adventitious comparisons made between us, arising out of misrepresentations of my course of procedure, but that in every matter of boasting we may be fairly compared and judged by facts; FOR (2Co 11:13) realities they have none, no weapons but misrepresentation, being false apostles.

    13. For--reason why he is unwilling they should be thought like him [BENGEL].
    - such--they and those like them.
    - false apostles--those "overmuch apostles" (see on 2Co 11:5) are no apostles at all.
    - deceitful workers--pretending to be "workmen" for the Lord, and really seeking their own gain.

    14. is transformed--rather, "transforms himself" (compare Job 1:6); habitually; the first occasion of his doing so was in tempting Eve. "Himself" is emphatical: If their master himself, who is the "prince of darkness," the most alien to light, does so, it is less marvellous in the case of them who are his servants (Lu 22:54; Eph 6:12).

    15. no great thing--no difficult matter.
    - if his ministers also--as well as himself.
    - righteousness--answering to "light" (2Co 11:14); the manifestation wherewith God reveals Himself in Christ (Mt 6:33; Ro 1:17).
    - end--The test of things is the end which strips off every specious form into which Satan's agents may now "transform" themselves (compare Php 3:19, 21).
    - according to their works--not according to their pretensions.

    16. I say again--again taking up from 2Co 11:1 the anticipatory apology for his boasting.
    - if otherwise--but if ye will not grant this; if ye will think me a fool.
    - yet as a fool--"yet even as a fool receive me"; grant me the indulgent hearing conceded even to one suspected of folly. The Greek denotes one who does not rightly use his mental powers; not having the idea of blame necessarily attached to it; one deceived by foolish vanities, yet boasting himself [TITTMANN], (2Co 11:17, 19).
    - that I--The oldest manuscripts read, "that I, too," namely, as well as they, may boast myself.

    17. not after the Lord--By inspired guidance he excepts this "glorying" or "boasting" from the inspired authoritativeness which belongs to all else that he wrote; even this boasting, though undesirable in itself, was permitted by the Spirit, taking into account its aim, namely, to draw off the Corinthians from their false teachers to the apostle. Therefore this passage gives no proof that any portion of Scripture is uninspired. It merely guards against his boasting being made a justification of boasting in general, which is not ordinarily "after the GOTO NEXT CHAPTER - D. J-F-B INDEX & SEARCH

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