christine's bible study

The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever. Isa 40:8

2 corinthians 11, true and false ministers

Read 2 Corinthians 11 at Bible Gateway.

A large portion of this chapter forms a complex chiastic structure:

2 Cor 11:1-29
1a) 2 Cor 11:1-6, Paul’s folly: defending his apostleship:
— 1a.1) 2 Cor 11:1-3, Bear with Paul’s folly: godly jealousy and fear;
— 1a.2) 2 Cor 11:4, If one preaches another Jesus + spirit + gospel, Corinthians put up with it;
— 1a.3) 2 Cor 11:5-6, Paul not inferior to the most eminent apostles, but his apostleship manifested;
1b) 2 Cor 11:7-9, The mark of true apostleship: humility and self- sacrifice;
1c) 2 Cor 11:10, No one shall stop Paul from preaching the gospel free of charge;
central axis) 2 Cor 11:11, Paul’s motivation: love for the church;
2c) 2 Cor 11:12, Paul to continue to preach free of charge to cut off self- promoters;
2b) 2 Cor 11:13-15, The mark of false apostleship (ministers of Satan): self- promotion and self- service;
2a) 2 Cor 11:16-29, Paul’s folly: defending his apostleship:
— 2a.1) 2 Cor 11:16-18, Paul’s folly: boasting according to the flesh;
— 2a.2) 2 Cor 11:19-21a, Corinthians put up with fools who bind + devour + steal + exalt + strike them;
— 2a.3) 2 Cor 11:21b-29, Paul’s boldness in recounting his more eminent apostleship.

Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.

Matthew 7:17

Paul continues to make the contrast between true and false ministers, and true and false apostles. The Corinthians, we deduce, had let in some among their fellowship who were false ministers, whom Paul goes so far as to identify as ministers of Satan. Jesus warned us that false teachers would come, but that we could recognize them by their fruit (Mat 7:15-20). The chiastic structure brings the fruit into stark relief.

True ministers understand that boasting to promote yourself is folly, so they avoid it; false ministers boast in their accomplishments.

True ministers preach the Jesus / Spirit / Gospel of the New Testament apostles, with which the whole Word of God from beginning to end agrees and also testifies; false ministers preach another Jesus / spirit / gospel.

True ministers humble themselves before the flock; false ministers exalt themselves before the flock.

True ministers protect the flock’s stability, not their own status; a false minister’s primary concern is to protect and advance his status and will sacrifice the flock to do so.

True ministers do not burden the flock; false ministers use the flock.

True ministers suffer for the sake of Christ; false ministers conform to the world to protect their own comfort.

And in the end, the differences stem from different motivations: the true minister, called and anointed by God, loves the flock with godly love placed there by God, while the false minister loves himself and uses the flock to feed his self- love.


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