Paul’s Defense and False Teaching

INDEPTH   (Pg. 1960 The Nelson Study Bible; 2 Cor.)

I speak as a “fool” (2 Cor. 11:23). Those words jump out of the pages of Second Corinthians, they seem out of place in the Bible. Why would an apostle speak foolishly? A closer look reveals the reason behind Paul’s words. The church at Corinth had been infiltrated by insidious false teachers. Although no one knows what philosophical or theological group these false teachers belonged to, we can ascertain some of their beliefs from Paul’s two letters to the Corinthians. Evidently they were a group that prided themselves on their Jewish heritage(2 Cor. 11:22). This group may have also held to what some have called an “incipient Gnosticism.” They place value on spiritual knowledge and experience (1 Cor. 8:1) that were only accessible to gifted teachers, perhaps those who were especially skilled in Greek rhetoric (2 Cor. 11:6). These “false teachers” were not only slandering Paul, they were denying his authority (2 Cor. 12:11) and the truthfulness of what he preached. Some have postulated that there were several different groups that oppressed Paul. That may have been the case, for Paul speaks of several different factions in the church (1 Cor. 1:12, 13).

To counter the accusations of his opponents, Paul took great pains to present his apostolic credentials. He opened his life and ministry for all to review. But he was doing more than defending himself; the great apostle wrote with an additional goal in mind. This was to warn the Corinthians of the dangers the false teachings posed. Thus Paul reluctantly painted a stark contrast between his own ministry and that of his rivals. According to Paul, these false teachers preached “another Jesus” and a “different gospel” (2 Cor. 11:4). He regarded them as ”deceitful workers” (2 Cor. 11:13). Unlike Paul these impostors collected fees for their services (2 Cor. 11:7-9). And unlike Paul, they enjoyed comfortable, easygoing ministries. To defend himself, Paul was forced to “boast” in his ministry. But his boast, was unusual, for it was in his weakness and suffering. He did not boast of his own accomplishments, but in the troubles and difficulties that clearly showed the power of Christ in his life (2 Cor. 12:9).

Many centuries later, the cast of characters has changed, but the story remains the same. The church continues to be filtrated by those who advocate unbiblical ideas. Many of these present-day “false teachers” appear to be very sincere. They speak with great passion and eloquence. Their ideas seem to make perfect sense. But we must exercise extreme caution. The lucrative potential of modern mass communications has attracted hucksters who tickle the “itching ears” (2 Tim. 4:3) of their audiences in an attempt to profit personally. Every message must be weighed against the Word of God.

And what is a church body to do if it detects false teachers in its midst? On this issue, the New Testament is clear: Those who foster division within the church by persistently advocating unbiblical beliefs are to be removed from fellowship (2 Cor. 6:14; Rom. 16:17,18; Tim. 6:3-5; Titus 3:9-11; 2 John 9-11). There is to be no toleration. When unaddressed, false doctrine is like a cancer that permeates a body, weakening it, and ultimately bringing about its demise.

 

Please remember that if we have any hope in our Lord and Savior who gave us “everything” we must continually be faithful to the Lord, first. Remember, God loved us first, even before He created us.

Where there is no sin, there is no wrath, but there will always be faith, hope, love and holiness. Therefore those who have faith, hope, love and holiness will always be found in Jesus’ Book of Life.

God is testing us every day and has given us the right to make our own choices. Do you know which ones are the right choices in Gods mind?

Fear God, love God, honor God, and trust God with all your heart, mind and soul and you will receive and experience the joy of the promises of God’s blessings in His time.

 

Prayer:   Father in heaven, I praise You for Your Son and the Holy Spirit. I praise You for Your manna, Your graciousness, and Your Fatherly ways. I pray that everyone that has read this article will have His heart touched by the Spirit and will be able to see in his mind and realize in his heart that which You have so graciously offered him.

May God, Jesus, The Holy Spirit and Christianity be our guiding lights, our safety nets and our inspiration for loving happiness in all of Your kingdom. Father into your hands I commend my spirit. Not my will, but Yours be done. Please come Lord Jesus.

I pray in Jesus sweet name and to His glory through the power of the Holy Spirit,

Amen.

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