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2Corinthians 11

Thursday Evening Bible Study

February 26, 2015


Do people see Jesus? Is the gospel preached? Does it address the person who is: Empty, lonely, guilty, or afraid to die?  Does it speak to the broken hearted? Does it build up the church? Milk – Meat – Manna Preach for a decision Is the church loved? Target 3300 words   Video = 75 wpm


Paul had spent nearly three years in Ephesus, during which he wrote his first letter to the Corinthians.

Paul’s stay in Ephesus ended abruptly when a riot broke out in the city because of how the Christian revival was affecting the business of those who made idols.

After the riot, Paul headed up north to Macedonia.

The year is AD 56, almost a year after Paul had written his first letter to the Corinthians.

One of the main things we’ve seen through this letter is the challenge to Paul’s authority.  We continue with Paul dealing with those issues.

11:1-4 Concern for Corinth

:1 Oh, that you would bear with me in a little folly—and indeed you do bear with me.

:1 Oh, thatophelon – would that, where one wishes that a thing had happened which has not happened or a thing be done which probably will not be done

The word Paul uses is a little like saying, “You owe this to me”

:1 follyaphrosune (“not” + “mind”) – foolishness, folly, senselessness; thoughtlessness, recklessness

:2 For I am jealous for you with godly jealousy. For I have betrothed you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.

:2 jealouszeloo – to burn with zeal

:2 godly jealousy – literally, “with the zeal of God”

:2 betrothedharmozo – to join, to fit together; of carpenter’s, fastening together beams and planks to build houses, ships, etc.; to betroth a daughter to any one

(Ephesians 2:21 NKJV) in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord,

:2 chastehagnos – exciting reverence, venerable, sacred; pure from carnality, chaste, modest {Tit 2:5 } an unsullied virgin {2Co 11:2 }

:2 betrothed you to one husband

Paul is painting the picture of a father giving away his daughter in marriage.

Paul has already called himself their father (1Cor.4:15), he has arranged the marriage with the groom… Jesus.

(1 Corinthians 4:15 NKJV) For though you might have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet you do not have many fathers; for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel.

This is a picture of what happens when we lead someone to Christ.

Jesus is the groom, the church is the bride.
(Ephesians 5:25–27 NKJV) —25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.

The problem here is that someone has messed with the engagement.

:3 But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.

(2 Corinthians 11:3 NLT) But I fear that somehow your pure and undivided devotion to Christ will be corrupted, just as Eve was deceived by the cunning ways of the serpent.

:3 as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness

deceivedexapatao – to deceive; to deceive completely

craftinesspanourgia (“all” + “work”) – craftiness, cunning; a specious or false wisdom

The word “deceived” carries the idea of being completely deceived.

Satan used half-truths to trick Eve when he tempted her to eat the forbidden fruit. (Gen. 3:1-7)

(Genesis 3:1–7 NLT) —1 The serpent was the shrewdest of all the wild animals the Lord God had made. One day he asked the woman, “Did God really say you must not eat the fruit from any of the trees in the garden?”

Satan started by twisting and questioning God’s Word.
This is one of the ways that the cults get into the heads of believers.  They too will use the Scriptures, but they will misquote and/or twist what the Scriptures say.

2 “Of course we may eat fruit from the trees in the garden,” the woman replied. 3 “It’s only the fruit from the tree in the middle of the garden that we are not allowed to eat. God said, ‘You must not eat it or even touch it; if you do, you will die.’ ” 4 “You won’t die!” the serpent replied to the woman. 5 “God knows that your eyes will be opened as soon as you eat it, and you will be like God, knowing both good and evil.”

Satan flat out contradicts what God had said.
He makes Eve question the nature and love of God for her.

It sounds like God is holding back something that it good.

6 The woman was convinced. She saw that the tree was beautiful and its fruit looked delicious, and she wanted the wisdom it would give her. So she took some of the fruit and ate it. Then she gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it, too. 7 At that moment their eyes were opened, and they suddenly felt shame at their nakedness. So they sewed fig leaves together to cover themselves.

Satan was crafty.  He thoroughly deceived Eve.

corruptedphtheiro – to corrupt, to destroy; in the opinion of the Jews, the temple was corrupted or "destroyed" when anyone defiled or in the slightest degree damaged anything in it, or if its guardians neglected their duties; to lead away a Christian church from that state of knowledge and holiness in which it ought to abide

:3 the simplicity that is in Christ

simplicityhaplotes – singleness, simplicity, sincerity, mental honesty

This is the word Paul used several times to talk about being “liberal” or generous in their giving. (2Cor. 8:2; 9:11,13)
(2 Corinthians 8:2 NKJV) —2 that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded in the riches of their liberality.
(2 Corinthians 9:11 NKJV) —11 while you are enriched in everything for all liberality, which causes thanksgiving through us to God.
(2 Corinthians 9:13 NKJV) —13 while, through the proof of this ministry, they glorify God for the obedience of your confession to the gospel of Christ, and for your liberal sharing with them and all men,

We will see that there seems to be a hint of legalism (vs. 22) behind those who were trying to change the direction of the church away from the “simplicity” of just following Jesus.

In the days of the early church, there were splinter groups rising up and beginning to twist the message of simple faith in Christ.
Paul had tried to address this with the Galatians:
(Galatians 1:6–7 NKJV) —6 I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, 7 which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ.
The Galatians were being told that they needed to not only have faith in Jesus, but they needed to follow the law of Moses, including having Gentiles become circumcised in order to be saved:
(Galatians 3:1–3 NKJV) —1 O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you as crucified? 2 This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?—3 Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?

:4 For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted—you may well put up with it!

:4 preaches another Jesus

Just as there is “another gospel” (Gal. 1:6), there is “another” Jesus.

Every person who talks about “Jesus” isn’t necessarily talking about the same person that you know.

Who are some of these “other Jesus’”?

Mormon Jesus - One of many “gods”, was the half-brother to Lucifer.
JW Jesus - used to be Michael the Archangel, a created being.
Eastern Religion Jesus - one of many enlightened ones who show us how to reach peace within ourselves, others include Krishna, Buddha, Maharishi’s, etc.
You will hear from time to time that a new “gospel” has been discovered.
They will tell us that these newly discovered documents show us who Jesus really is, though they are dated to the 3rd or 4th century.
Somehow the world is willing to believe anything but the truth.

We’d rather believe in Dan Brown’s Jesus (“The DaVinci Code”) who was married and had children, rather than the Jesus of the four gospels.

None of this is new.  It was already happening in Paul’s time, AD 56.

11:5-15 Paul vs False Apostles

:5 For I consider that I am not at all inferior to the most eminent apostles.

:5 I considerlogizomai – to reckon, count, compute, calculate, count over

:5 inferiorhustereo – behind; to be inferior in power, influence and rank; of the person: to be inferior to

:5 eminentlian – greatly, exceedingly, exceedingly beyond measure

:6 Even though I am untrained in speech, yet I am not in knowledge. But we have been thoroughly manifested among you in all things.

:6 untrainedidiotes – in the NT, an unlearned, illiterate, man as opposed to the learned and educated: one who is unskilled in any art

Paul might say, “I’ll give you this much, I’m an idiot when it comes to speaking”.

:5 I am not at all inferior

When it came to knowledge of God and of Scripture, Paul was not an idiot.

It could be that Paul is using sarcasm, calling the false apostles the “eminent apostles”.

It is more likely that Paul is actually comparing himself to the good apostles, the “twelve”.

Though Paul was not part of the original twelve chosen by Jesus during His earthly ministry, it seemed that he covered more territory, preached to more people, and definitely penned more of Scripture than any of them.


No false humility

Paul’s authority is being undermined in Corinth.
Paul is reminding them that he actually has some pretty serious qualifications.
There comes a time when you do need to honestly acknowledge who you are when you are defending yourself.
Sometimes we can make too much of ourselves and “conflate” the truth.

Video:  Brian Williams’ Helicopter story

As you probably know, Mr. Williams “mis-remembered” that day.  It was the helicopter in front of him that was hit, not the one he was in. He’s now on a six month unpaid leave.

Don’t make yourself out to be too much.
But also, don’t make yourself out to be too little.

:7 Did I commit sin in humbling myself that you might be exalted, because I preached the gospel of God to you free of charge?

:7 free of chargedorean – freely, as a gift

:8 I robbed other churches, taking wages from them to minister to you.

robbedsulao – to rob, despoil

wagesopsonion – a soldier’s pay, allowance; that part of the soldier’s support given in place of pay [i.e. rations] and the money in which he is paid; metaph. wages: hire or pay of sin

(Luke 3:14 NKJV) —14 Likewise the soldiers asked him, saying, “And what shall we do?” So he said to them, “Do not intimidate anyone or accuse falsely, and be content with your wages.”

(Romans 6:23 NKJV) —23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

(1 Corinthians 9:7 NKJV) —7 Who ever goes to war at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat of its fruit? Or who tends a flock and does not drink of the milk of the flock?

ministerdiakonia – service, ministering, esp. of those who execute the commands of others

:8 I robbed other churches

Paul didn’t literally “rob” anybody.

He is talking about how he was given support from the other churches to live on while he ministered in Corinth. 

:9 And when I was present with you, and in need, I was a burden to no one, for what I lacked the brethren who came from Macedonia supplied. And in everything I kept myself from being burdensome to you, and so I will keep myself.

:9 burdenkatanarkao – to cause to grow numb or torpid; to be inactive, to be to the detriment of one; to weigh heavily upon, be burdensome to

:9 suppliedprosanapleroo – to fill up by adding to

:9 burdensomeabares – light, without weight, metaph. not burdensome, not heavy

:9 Macedonia supplied

Paul is talking about how he handled his finances on his first trip to Corinth (Acts 18)

(Acts 18:1–5 NKJV) —1 After these things Paul departed from Athens and went to Corinth. 2 And he found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla (because Claudius had commanded all the Jews to depart from Rome); and he came to them. 3 So, because he was of the same trade, he stayed with them and worked; for by occupation they were tentmakers. 4 And he reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and persuaded both Jews and Greeks.

During that initial time in Corinth, Paul hit a rough time financially, and got a job making tents.
Paul did this rather than asking for financial help from the Corinthians whom he was just beginning to reach out to.

5 When Silas and Timothy had come from Macedonia, Paul was compelled by the Spirit, and testified to the Jews that Jesus is the Christ.

When Silas and Timothy arrived with the financial support from the Macedonians, Paul felt “compelled” to preach.  He spent more time in ministry because his financial needs had been met.

:10 As the truth of Christ is in me, no one shall stop me from this boasting in the regions of Achaia.

:10 the regions of Achaia

Achaia was the province of which Corinth was the capital.

Paul wasn’t going to stop reminding them of his rightful connection with Corinth.

:11 Why? Because I do not love you? God knows!

:12 But what I do, I will also continue to do, that I may cut off the opportunity from those who desire an opportunity to be regarded just as we are in the things of which they boast.

:12 cut offekkopto – to cut out, cut off

:12 opportunityaphorme – a place from which a movement or attack is made, a base of operations

:12 to be regardedheurisko – to come upon, hit upon, to meet with; after searching, to find a thing sought; to find by enquiry, thought, examination, scrutiny, observation, to find out by practice and experience; to be discovered, recognized, detected, to show one’s self out, of one’s character or state as found out by others (men, God, or both)

:12 those who desire an opportunity

The men stirring up trouble in Corinth wanted to be the guys in charge.  They tried to accomplish this by criticizing Paul.


Slashing your way to the top

God’s path into godly leadership is not through criticizing those at the top.
God’s path to godly leadership is by proving yourself faithful to those over you.
(Luke 16:10–12 NKJV) —10 He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much. 11 Therefore if you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? 12 And if you have not been faithful in what is another man’s, who will give you what is your own?
When you feel God’s touch on your life, and you begin to realize that God wants to use you, it’s awful easy to sit on the sidelines and take potshots at those on the playing field.
I’ve seen this played out many times.  I’ve been on both sides of the criticism.
I’ve been tempted to criticize.  I’ve been criticized.
Theodore Roosevelt said,
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat. 

Be careful about being the “critic” on the sidelines.

:13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ.

false apostlespseudapostolos – a false apostle, one who falsely claims to be an ambassador of Christ

transformingmetaschematizo – to change the figure of, to transform

:14 And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light.

:14 into an angel of light

Satan was one of God’s most beautiful creations before he made the choice to rebel against God …

(Ezekiel 28:12b NKJV) …“You were the seal of perfection, Full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.

One of Satan’s names is Lucifer. (Is.14:12-16)

“Lucifer” means “light bearer”

Before Satan’s fall, he was beautiful (Eze. 28:12)

(Isaiah 14:12–14 NKJV) —12 “How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, You who weakened the nations! 13 For you have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation On the farthest sides of the north; 14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.’

:15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.

:15 transform themselvesmetaschematizo – to change the figure of; change of outward form

The same word is used in vss. 13-15.

This doesn’t speak of a permanent change, but a temporary change.

Satan can’t permanently become an angel of light, but he can temporarily take the form of one.
The false apostles don’t actually become apostles of Christ, they just temporarily looked like them.

:15 into ministers of righteousness

Just as Satan can do “impressions” of God, Satan’s servants can do fairly good disguises of God’s servants.

Video:  Wheel of Impressions with Kevin Spacey
Impressions are fun as entertainment.  They’re not so fun when someone is trying to do an impression of God or one of God’s people.

We need real discernment.  First impressions aren’t always accurate.



Sometimes we can tell a false teacher/prophet simply by the things they say.
They don’t match up with Scripture.  The “content” of their message is not what God has told us about Himself.  They are teaching you about other “gods”.
(Deuteronomy 13:1–3 NKJV) —1 “If there arises among you a prophet or a dreamer of dreams, and he gives you a sign or a wonder, 2 and the sign or the wonder comes to pass, of which he spoke to you, saying, ‘Let us go after other gods’—which you have not known—‘and let us serve them,’ 3 you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams, for the Lord your God is testing you to know whether you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.
For others, we aren’t going to know right away, and we have to watch what comes out of their life.
We test them by their “fruit”.
(Matthew 7:15–20 NKJV) —15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? 17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them.

11:16-21 Reluctant Boasting

:16 I say again, let no one think me a fool. If otherwise, at least receive me as a fool, that I also may boast a little.

Paul was reluctant to have to defend himself against the criticisms of those in Corinth who were against him, but he felt compelled to protect the flock by establishing his authority.

He is going to play the “fool” and boast a little.

:17 What I speak, I speak not according to the Lord, but as it were, foolishly, in this confidence of boasting.

:17 not according to the Lord

Paul is not going to act like a false prophet and proclaim that God is telling the people to trust Paul.

Paul is simply going to speak for himself.

:18 Seeing that many boast according to the flesh, I also will boast.

:19 For you put up with fools gladly, since you yourselves are wise!

Just a little bit of sarcasm

:20 For you put up with it if one brings you into bondage, if one devours you, if one takes from you, if one exalts himself, if one strikes you on the face.

:20 bondage … devours … exalts … strikes

These were all characteristics of the false apostles.

These are also the characteristics of an abuser, of a bully.

Some people feel they deserve to be beaten up, and when a leader in a church does it, it seems right.
This is the way some cults work – to beat you down to the point where you feel worthless and dependent upon them.
If you are in a church, or a relationship characterized by things like this … leave!

:21 To our shame I say that we were too weak for that! But in whatever anyone is bold—I speak foolishly—I am bold also.

More sarcasm, as if Paul was “too weak” to emotionally beat up the Corinthians and force them to follow him.

11:22-33 Suffering for Christ

:22 Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? So am I.

:22 Hebrews … Israelites … Abraham

Paul is going to compare himself to these false apostles to show the Corinthians what a mistake they’re making in listening to these rip-off artists.

These references give us a hint as to what these false apostles were all about.

They were from the Judaizers, the folks who thought you needed to be a good Jew in order to be a good Christian.

When Paul told the Philippians about all these same qualifications, he added,

(Philippians 3:8–9 NKJV) —8 Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith;
It’s not being a good Jew that counts before God, but that “simplicity in Christ” (vs. 3), trusting Jesus, that counts.

: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 frequently, in deaths often.

:23 ministersdiakonos – a servant.

The list that follows is what Paul uses to describe what being a servant of Christ is really all about.

:23 a foolparaphroneo – to be beside one’s self, out of one’s senses, void of understanding, insane

:23 laborskopos - a striking, beating; laborious toil, trouble; gives prominence to the fatigue in working.

Ministry is hard work, it’s tiring.

:23 stripes – whippings

:23 above measurehuperballontos (“beyond” + “to throw”) – above measure

:24 From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one.

:24 forty stripes minus one

While the Romans had no limits to the number of lashes a prisoner might receive, the Jews were told by God to give no more than forty (Deut. 25:3).

(Deuteronomy 25:3 NKJV) Forty blows he may give him and no more, lest he should exceed this and beat him with many blows above these, and your brother be humiliated in your sight.
Because of this, they never gave more than thirty-nine, just to be sure they didn’t break Moses’ law.

:25 Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep;

:25 a night and a daynuchthemeron – a night and a day, the space of twenty four hours

:25 three times I was shipwrecked

Paul was actually shipwrecked at least four times.

He is writing this letter somewhere around the time of Acts 20:1

He will be shipwrecked again in Acts 27.

How many times was Paul shipwrecked?

Answer:  At least FOUR.
Luke tells us that Paul would be shipwrecked (Acts 27) on his way to being transported to Rome after he was a prisoner.
This wouldn’t occur until after 2Corinthians was written.

2Corinthians was written around Acts 20:1.

This also gives us some insight into Paul giving the captain warnings about setting sail from Fair Havens:
(Acts 27:10 NKJV) saying, “Men, I perceive that this voyage will end with disaster and much loss, not only of the cargo and ship, but also our lives.”

The centurion making the decisions for the trip decided to ignore Paul’s warnings and went with the ship’s helmsman’s idea to go ahead and sail.

Paul knew something about shipwrecks when he gave that warning.

:26 in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren;

:26 journeyshodoiporeo (“way” + “travel”) – a journey, journeying

:26 perilskindunos – a danger, a peril

The word is used nine times in NT, eight of them in this verse

waterspotamos – a stream, a river; a torrent; floods

robberslestes – a robber, plunderer, freebooter, brigand

wildernesseremia – a solitude, an uninhabited region, a waste

often translated “desert”

false brethrenpseudadelphos – a false brother; one who ostentatiously professes to be a Christian, but is destitute of Christian knowledge and piety

:26 perils of waters …

Paul lists eight things here he was in “peril” with.

In 1914 there were a series of short films made called the “Perils of Pauline” where a daring heroine named Pauline encountered one peril after another.

Video:  Perils of Pauline – episode 1
2:00 150 words

You could call this verse the “Perils of Paul” (not the “Perils of Pauline”)

Except this wasn’t some made up movie serial, this was for real.

:27 in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness—

:27 wearinesskopos – labor; intense labor united with trouble and toil

:27 toil - mochthos - toil, labor, hardship, distress. 

Paul also used the word kopos (vs. 23,27) to describe working to exhaustion.

This could be referring to Paul’s work as a tent-maker to not be a burden to the churches.

I have a hard time with people who don’t want to work to take care of their own needs or the needs of their family.

:27 coldpsuchos – cold

:27 nakednessgumnotes – nakedness of the body

:28 besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches.

:28 comes upon meepisustasis – a hostile banding together; to excite to a riotous gathering of the people to make a mob

Paul talks of troubles that “mob” him daily.

:29 Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to stumble, and I do not burn with indignation?

:28 deep concern for all the churches


Shepherd’s Heart

Besides all the outer pains of being an apostle, Paul had a heart for the people he ministered to, and there is a weight that adds to your heart.
When he hears of people being “weak”, Paul himself is weak.
When others are caused to stumble, Paul burns with indignation for them.
Yesterday afternoon we heard that Josh Hamilton may have stumbled again with his cocaine addiction.

Josh is a Christian who has struggled with addiction issues.

You can be mad at Josh, you can be grieved over those who are going to be disappointed over him, but there’s a sense that we ought to struggle with him and for him.

You see Paul’s heart as you read his letters to the various churches.
Here’s a sample:
(1 Thessalonians 2:7–11 NLT) —7 As apostles of Christ we certainly had a right to make some demands of you, but instead we were like children among you. Or we were like a mother feeding and caring for her own children. 8 We loved you so much that we shared with you not only God’s Good News but our own lives, too. 9 Don’t you remember, dear brothers and sisters, how hard we worked among you? Night and day we toiled to earn a living so that we would not be a burden to any of you as we preached God’s Good News to you. 10 You yourselves are our witnesses—and so is God—that we were devout and honest and faultless toward all of you believers. 11 And you know that we treated each of you as a father treats his own children.

Notice Paul’s references to feeling like a “mother” or as a “father treats his own children”.

Those kinds of concerns come with a weight attached.

There are things that keep you up at night.

This is what ministry ought to be about.

:30 If I must boast, I will boast in the things which concern my infirmity.

:30 infirmityastheneia – want of strength, weakness, infirmity

:31 The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is blessed forever, knows that I am not lying.

:32 In Damascus the governor, under Aretas the king, was guarding the city of the Damascenes with a garrison, desiring to arrest me;

:32 arrestpiazo – to lay hold of; to apprehend

:33 but I was let down in a basket through a window in the wall, and escaped from his hands.

:33 basketsargane – a braided rope, a band; a basket, a basket made of ropes, a hamper

:33 let downchalao – to loosen, slacken, relax; to let down from a higher place to a lower

:33 escapedekpheugo – to flee out of, flee away

:33 let down in a basket

When Paul first came to believe in Jesus, it was on his way to Damascus.

He started preaching about Jesus immediately, and that brought a death threat to his life.

Luke tells us that Paul escaped in a basket (Acts 9)

(Acts 9:23–25 NKJV) —23 Now after many days were past, the Jews plotted to kill him. 24 But their plot became known to Saul. And they watched the gates day and night, to kill him. 25 Then the disciples took him by night and let him down through the wall in a large basket.

:30 I will boast in …my infirmity


Success or suffering

Look at all the things Paul has been boasting about – his weakness – his suffering.
What would you think we would be boasting about if we had been Paul?
Huge revivals, miraculous healings, wonderful revelations from God, etc.
What is ministry all about?
Not “success”, but suffering.

Jeremiah vs. Jonah

Jonah had “success”, he had big results in Nineveh.  An entire city got saved. But he is looked at as a failure.

Jeremiah doesn’t seem to have had a single “convert”, yet he was a great success in God’s eyes.

Paul told young Timothy what to expect in ministry:

(2 Timothy 2:3 NKJV) —3 You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.

(2 Timothy 3:10–12 NKJV) —10 But you have carefully followed my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, love, perseverance, 11 persecutions, afflictions, which happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra—what persecutions I endured. And out of them all the Lord delivered me. 12 Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.

What is your ministry?  How would you “boast” about it?