The Divine Lamp

The unfolding of thy words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple…Make thy face shine upon thy servant, and teach me thy statutes

Father Callan’s Commentary on 2 Corinthians 11:7-15

Posted by Dim Bulb on May 12, 2017


A Summary of 2 Corinthians 11:7-15~Although St. Paul had a right to temporal support from the faithful, he willingly surrendered this for the sake of greater reward and greater success in his preaching (1 Cor. 9:1-18). The false teachers, however, observed the contrary practice. They not only took support from the faithful, but they pointed to St. Paul’s way of acting as unbecoming an Apostle and as a sign that he was not a true Apostle. Beginning, therefore, to show, not only his equality with his adversaries, but his vast superiority to them, the Apostle recalls first to the Corinthians the integrity of his life among them. He then goes on to say that he will continue to preach the Gospel gratis in Achaia, so that his enemies will not be able to boast at least this equality with him; they are not true Apostles anyway, but ministers of Satan.

2 Cor 11:7. Or did I commit a fault, humbling myself, that you might be exalted? Because I preached unto you the gospel of God freely?

The Apostle now asks if he was blameworthy in working for his support at his own humble handicraft (1 Cor. 4:12; Acts 18:3), in order to be of no expense to the faithful while preaching the Gospel to them.

That you might be exalted, i.e., that you might be raised from the depths of paganism to the sanctity of faith and grace, and to the dignity of Christianity.

2 Cor 11:8. I have taken from other churches, receiving wages of them for your ministry.

Here St. Paul says that, in addition to working with his own hands while at Corinth, he took, literally, robbed (ἐσύλησα = esylesa), from other churches, i.e., he allowed the Churches of Macedonia to give him more than they could well afford towards helping his work among the Corinthians. Thus his mission to Achaia was supported partly by his own labor, partly by assistance received from Macedonia.

For your ministry, i.e., for my work among you.

2 Cor 11:9. And, when I was present with you, and wanted, I was chargeable to no man: for that which was wanting to me, the brethren supplied who came from Macedonia; and in all things I have kept myself from being burthensome to you, and so I will keep myself.

Wanted, i.e., he was in want.

The brethren, i.e., Silas and Timothy (Acts 18:1, 5).

And so I will keep myself shows the Apostle’s approval of his past practice and his determination to continue it for the future in Achaia.

2 Cor 11:10. The truth of Christ is in me, that this glorying shall not be broken off in me in the regions of Achaia.

The Apostle appeals to his own sincerity, which is grounded on the truth of Christ within him, that he will never permit anything to hinder, literally, block (φραγήσεται = phragesetai) , his boasting that he was not a temporal burden to the faithful of Achaia.

2 Cor 11:11. Wherefore? Because I love you not? God knoweth it.

St. Paul’s enemies had likely said that he did not accept temporal assistance from the Corinthians because he did not like them well enough to wish to be under obligations to them. The truth was that he wished them to understand that his ministry among them was one of love, and not of earthly gain. This God knew.

2 Cor 11:12. But what I do, that I will do, that I may cut off the occasion from them that desire occasion, that wherein they glory, they may be found even as we.

Wherein they glory. The false teachers took remuneration for their labors (verse 20; 1 Cor. 9:12), and apparently
gloried in it, or in the amount they received, thinking their collections were a sign of approval on the part of the faithful. “They would gladly have had St. Paul for an example to quote and a rival to meet on this ground; and that is the occasion which he says he is resolved to cut off” (Rick.).

2 Cor 11:13. For such false apostles are deceitful workmen, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.

For such false, etc. Better, “For such men as these are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ.”

2 Cor 11:14. And no wonder : for Satan himself transformed himself into an angel of light.

It is not wonderful that the false teachers can simulate the actions and preaching of true Apostles, because even Satan, the prince of darkness (Luke 22:53; Col. 1:13; Eph. 6:12), can, with God’s permission, transform himself into an angel of light, i.e., can appear to be a good angel, for the purpose of seducing men.

2 Cor 11:15. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers be transformed as the ministers of justice, whose end shall be according to their works.

His ministers, i.e., the false teachers, the Judaizers, who were champions of the Law, which St. Paul declared was abrogated.

Ministers of justice, i.e., the true Apostles who, through the preaching of the Gospel, enabled men to become just and holy in God’s sight. The false teachers may deceive men, but God in the end will deal with them according to their evil lives and works.


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