They loved Paul when he was Saul and was imprisoning the Christians. The high priest even wrote a letter giving him authority to do so (Acts 9:1-2).
But as soon as he changed and started telling the truth about Jesus they beat him and tried to kill him. I’m sure that was no surprise to Paul because Jesus said it could happen to anyone that preaches His name:
“And ye shall be hated for all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved” (Matt 10:22).
“Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’S sake” (Matt 24:9).
Paul never stopped and we shouldn’t either.
Rome was an evil place, so tomorrow we’ll look at…
2 Corinthians 11
Paul’s Fear of False Teachers
1 Would to God ye could bear with me a little in my folly: and indeed bear with me.
“Folly” – in order to compare his ministry with that of the false apostles who have invaded the Corinthian church, Paul had to speak about himself, which inevitably seems like foolish boasting.
2 For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.
“Godly jealously” – Paul cannot bear the thought that there might be any rival to Christ and His gospel.
“I have espoused you to one husband” – as their spiritual father, Paul; has promised the Corinthian believers to Christ, who is frequently depicted in the New Testament as the bridegroom, with the church portrayed as His bride (Mat 9:15l Jn 3:29; Rom 7:4; 1 Cor 6:15; Eph 5:23-32; Rev 19:7-9, 21:2).
3 But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.
4 For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.
“Another Jesus, whom we have not preached” – they presented a Jesus cast in the mold of Judaistic teachings (Paul’s opponents were Jews).
5 For I suppose I was not a whit behind the very chiefest apostles.
“The very chiefest apostles” – Paul’s sarcastic way of referring to the false apostles who had infiltrated the Corinthian church and were in reality not apostles at all, except in their own arrogantly inflated opinion of themselves.
An example of the same type today is Rick Warren.
6 But though I be rude in speech, yet not in knowledge; but we have been throughly made manifest among you in all things.
7 Have I committed an offence in abasing myself that ye might be exalted, because I have preached to you the gospel of God freely?
“Freely” – another slanderous criticism made by Paul’s adversaries was that his refusal to accept payment of his instruction proved that it was worth nothing.
This accusation at the same time helped to cloak their own grasping character, since their method of operation, like that of 1st century traveling philosophers and religious teachers, was to demand payment for their “professional” services.
8 I robbed other churches, taking wages of them, to do you service.
“robbed other churches” – accepted freely given support from established congregations.
9 And when I was present with you, and wanted, I was chargeable to no man: for that which was lacking to me the brethren which came from Macedonia supplied: and in all things I have kept myself from being burdensome unto you, and so will I keep myself.
10 As the truth of Christ is in me, no man shall stop me of this boasting in the regions of Achaia.
11 Wherefore? Because I love you not? God knoweth.
12 But what I do, that I will do, that I may cut off occasion from them which desire occasion; that wherein they glory, they may be found even as we.
“I will do” – Paul will not be deterred from presenting the gospel without charge. Actually, this practice made his adversaries look bad. They were greedy for gain, and it would have suited them better if Paul had been willing to accept money for his teaching, for this would have put him on a level with their practice.
13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.
“Transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ” – Now Paul exposes these would-be “chiefest apostles” as false apostles and servants of Satan who are covering up their true identity.
14 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.
“An angel of light” – even though in reality he is the prince of darkness.
15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.
16 I say again, Let no man think me a fool; if otherwise, yet as a fool receive me, that I may boast myself a little.
17 That which I speak, I speak it not after the Lord, but as it were foolishly, in this confidence of boasting.
18 Seeing that many glory after the flesh, I will glory also.
19 For ye suffer fools gladly, seeing ye yourselves are wise.
“Ye suffer fools gladly” – resumes the implied rebuke of v. 4 and has the same ironic tone. There it was their matter of their readiness to tolerate false teaching; here it is a matter of their willingness to put up with disgraceful treatment by these false teachers, who are described as fools because of their self-centered boasting.
20 For ye suffer, if a man bring you into bondage, if a man devour you, if a man take of you, if a man exalt himself, if a man smite you on the face.
“Bring you into bondage” – by the imposition of tyrannical man-made rules and prohibitions.
“Devour you” – see Mk 12:40.
“Take of you” – or “take advantage of you” made possible by the Corinthians’ lack of discernment and their readiness to be impressed by outward show and clever talk.
“Smite you on the face” – using physical violence to cow them into submission.
21 I speak as concerning reproach, as though we had been weak. Howbeit whereinsoever any is bold, (I speak foolishly,) I am bold also.
“As though we had been weak” – compared with the crude self-seeking roughness of the impostors, Paul’s conduct may well be considered weak, but he is probably speaking ironically here.
22 Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? So am I.
“Hebrews…Israelites…seed of Abraham” – the claims implied here on the part of the false apostles indicate that they were Jews who felt superior to Gentile Christians.
From this there follows the possibility that they were Judaizers, i.e., they wished to impose distinctive Jewish practices and observances as required for Gentile converts.
23 Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft.
“Ministers of Christ’ – Paul is not granting their claim to be servants of Christ. Indeed, the consideration of the nature of his ministry and its cost to him in suffering will show that he is more Christ’s servant than any or all of them.
24 Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one.
“Stripes…rods” – Eight floggings are mentioned here, five at the hands of the Jews and three at the hands of Roman authorities, who used rods on these occasions.
The three beatings with rods took place despite the fact that Paul, being a Roman citizen, was legally protected from such punishment (cf. Acts 16:37-39, 22:25-29).
25 Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep;
“Stoned” – a traditional manner of Jewish execution.
“Shipwreck” – only one shipwreck is recorded in Acts, but it took place after the writing of this letter.
26 In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren;
“In perils” – apart from the specific incidents referred to in the preceding verses, Paul constantly faced situations of danger as well as labors and hardships (see Acts 14:24).
27 In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.
28 Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches.
29 Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is offended, and I burn not?
So closely did Paul identify himself with them that he felt the weakness of any member who was weak.
If anyone was led into sin, he not only burned with indignation against the person responsible but also experienced the shame of the offense and longed for the one who had stumbled.
Why or how come Paul was so close to the Corinthians that he was hurt and angered when one of them was fooled or ta
ken advantage of is because of his closeness to Jesus Christ. And that is exactly what happens to God every day – go here.
30 If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things which concern mine infirmities.
“I will glory of the things which concern mine infirmities” – Paul’s weakness opens the way for him to experience the superabundant strength of God’s grace. Therefore his boasting in its entirety, unlike that of the false apostles, is not in what he has done but in what God has done.
31 The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is blessed for evermore, knoweth that I lie not.
32 In Damascus the governor under Aretas the king kept the city of the Damascenes with a garrison, desirous to apprehend me:
“Aretas the king” – Aretas IV, father-in-law of Herod Antipas, ruled over the Nabatean Arabs c. 9 B.C.-40 A.D. The Roman emperor Caligula may have given Damascus to Aretas since it was once part of his territory.
33 And through a window in a basket was I let down by the wall, and escaped his hands.
Aretas IV of Nabatea and Petra
Aretas IV ruled the desert kingdom of Nabatea from 9 B.C. to 40 A.D. With its capital at Petra, this nation included southern Syria, Jordan, the Negev of Israel, the Sinai Peninsula, portions of the eastern deserts of Egypt and the northwestern region of Saudi Arabia.
Beginning during the 4th century B.C. Nabatea began to amass great wealth through caravan trade in luxury goods from the East.
Aretas IV, although a usurper with only a marginal claim to the throne, became the most powerful ruler of Nabatea, eventually winning official recognition from Caesar Augustus.
During his reign the kingdom reached its zenith commercially, culturally and artistically.
Numerous coins minted by Aretas IV have survived, many of them bearing his image.
One of Aretas IV’s daughters married Herod Antipas, the son of Herod the Great and the ruler of Galilee and Perea in Transjordan from 4 B.C. to 39 A.D.
Herod Antipas later divorced Aretas’s daughter in order to marry Herodias, the wife of his half brother Herod Philip I.
John the Baptist spoke out against this, warning Herod Antipas, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife” (Mk 6:18).
John was imprisoned and eventually executed at the request of Herodias (Mt 14:1-12; Mk 6:14-29).
As there was also a dispute between Aretas IV and Antipas regarding rule over a territory called Gamalitis, Aretas used Antipas’s rejection of his Nabatean wife as an occasion to wage war.
The Jewish historian Josephus recorded that when Aretas IV destroyed much of Antipas’s army a few years afterward, many Jews viewed this as divine retribution of John’s execution (Antiquities, 18.5.2).
The most famous Nabatean site is Petra, located in modern Jordan in what was once Edomite territory. it lay near the King’s Highway, one of the important trade routes on the eastern side of the Jordan River.
The site occupies an area approximately 1 mile(1.6 km) long and slightly less distance in width.
Magnificent tombs and funerary banquet halls had been carved into the sandstone mountains surrounding the area, the most famous of which are the Treasury of the Pharaoh and the Royal Tombs.
An ancient cultic site sitting atop one of the surrounding peaks features one of the best preserved altars from antiquity.
Petra may possibly be identified as the Old Testament site of Sela, captured by Amaziah of Judah (2 Kgs 14:7). By 312 B.C., when the Greeks took control of the Near East, Petra was the capital of the Nabateans, who may have migrated from the Persian Gulf.
After Paul began preaching in the synagogues of Damascus, the local Jews with the support of the Roman ethnarch under Aretas IV, attempted to kill him, but he was able to escape.
This incident indicates that both Rome and Aretas IV had political power in Damascus.
…evils of Rome.