"THE SECOND EPISTLE TO THE CORINTHIANS" Chapter Eleven OBJECTIVES IN STUDYING THIS CHAPTER 1) To understand why Paul felt it necessary to engage in "foolish boasting" 2) To see how one might be misled by "false apostles" and "deceitful workers" 3) To appreciate the great amount of suffering Paul endured as a minister of Christ SUMMARY As Paul continues defending his apostolic authority, he finds it necessary to engage in "a little folly." He does so out of concern for their faithfulness to Christ and his fear that others may have corrupted their minds from the simplicity that is in Christ (1-4). He also finds himself having to explain why he did not accept support from them. Evidently this was the basis for charges against him by some. But Paul, who had good reasons for not accepting their support, recognizes these detractors as they really were: "false apostles" and "deceitful workers" (5-15). While not desiring to act foolishly, he finds it necessary since it seems that the Corinthians are so willing to accept those who do (16-21). With some foolish boldness, then, Paul claims equal footing with his detractors as it pertains to physical heritage. But when it comes to service as a minister of Christ, he far surpasses them as is evident in the things he suffered. After listing many examples of suffering, he concludes that if he must boast it will be in the things which concern his infirmity, giving his escape from Damascus as an illustration (22-33). OUTLINE I. THE NECESSITY FOR SOME "FOOLISH BOASTING" (1-21) A. OUT OF CONCERN FOR THEIR FAITHFULNESS (1-4) 1. He resorts to a little folly, because with godly jealousy he seeks to present them as a chaste virgin to Christ (1-2) 2. Because of their seeming willingness to receive those who offer a different Jesus, spirit, and gospel, he fears that their minds may be corrupted (3-4) B. BECAUSE OF COMPARISON WITH FALSE APOSTLES (5-15) 1. Though untrained in speech, it is not the case with knowledge, and Paul has demonstrated that he is not inferior to the "most eminent apostles" (5-6) 2. The reasons he refused to accept support from them (7-12) a. While with them, he received support from other churches (7-9a) b. He is determined to continue this practice of not being a burden to them (9b-10) c. Not because he does not love them, but to cut off opportunity for those who wish to be regarded as Paul in matters of which they boast (11-12) 3. These boasters are "false apostles" (13-15) a. As deceitful workers, they transform themselves into apostles of Christ (13) b. This is no great marvel, for if Satan transforms himself into an angel of light, similar tactics can be expected of his ministers (14-15) C. WITH GREAT RELUCTANCE (16-21) 1. Paul is no fool, but for those who think otherwise, then receive him as a fool as he begins to boast (16) 2. Boasting is foolish and not of the Lord, but seeing that many boast and they seem to put up with them gladly in their wisdom, then Paul will boast too (17-19) 3. Since they seem willing to endure those who abuse them, Paul will be bold and boast a little as well (20-21) II. THE GROUNDS FOR HIS "FOOLISH BOASTING" (22-33) A. HIS PHYSICAL HERITAGE (22) 1. Like his opponents, He is a Hebrew 2. Like his opponents, He is an Israelite 3. Like his opponents, He is of the seed of Abraham B. HIS SACRIFICIAL SERVICE AS A MINISTER OF CHRIST (23-33) 1. It is foolish to speak of his opponents as ministers of Christ, but if so, Paul is one much more (23a) 2. He has labored more, and suffered more, than they (23b) 3. A list of the suffering Paul endured as a minister of Christ (24-29) a. Five times he was beaten with 39 stripes by the Jews (24) b. Three times he was beaten with rods (25a) c. Once he was stoned (25b) d. Three times he was shipwrecked (25c) e. A night and a day in the deep (25d) f. Miscellaneous perils on his many journeys (26) g. Miscellaneous discomforts (27) h. His daily concern for the condition of churches (28-29) 4. If he must boast, then let it be concerning his infirmity (30-33) a. His "infirmity" (possibly his "thorn in the flesh" of 12:7-10) was the persecution he endured in service to Christ b. As an example, having to flee Damascus (31-33)
REVIEW QUESTIONS FOR THE CHAPTER Move your mouse pointer underneath each question to see the answer.
1) What are the main points of this chapter? 2) How did Paul desire to present the Corinthians to Christ? (2) 3) What was Paul fearful of concerning the Corinthians? (3) 4) What were they seemingly willing to put up with? (4) 5) In what area did Paul concede that he was untrained? In what area was this not so? (6) 6) What practice of Paul evidently was used as a charge against him? (7) 7) While at Corinth, from whom did Paul receive support? (8-9) 8) Why would Paul continue the practice of not accepting support from the Corinthians? (12) 9) How does Paul describe these opponents of his? (13) 10) How does Satan often transform himself? And his ministers? (14-15) 11) How did Paul view the confidence of boasting? (17) 12) Then why does Paul engage in such boasting? (18-19) 13) In what three ways was Paul equal to his opponents? (22) 14) List five things endured by Paul as a minister of Christ (24-25) 15) If Paul must boast, in what would he boast? (30) 16) What event does he relate as an example of his infirmity? (31-33)