I MIGHT PRESENT: As the angel of Yahweh would have
presented to Adam his newly-created bride (Gen 2:22).
Examples of personification: riches (Mat 6:24); sin (Joh 8:34;
Rom 5:21; 6:16); spirit (Joh 16:13); wisdom (Pro 3:13-15; 9:1); Israel (Jer
31:4,18); people of Christ (Eph 4:4,13; 5:23; Rev 19:7; 1Co 12:27; 2Co 11:2; Col
CUNNING: "Panourgia" (lit, "all working"; crafty,
clever, always thinking about how to "trick" someone else) has its roots in
Eden. And it is appropriate to men who are the seed of the serpent. These came
at Jesus seeking to entrap him, but "he perceived their craftiness" (Luk 20:23);
for the Lord God "catches the wise in their own craftiness" (1Co 3:19), and
Jesus inherited his Father's characteristics in this ability also. The warnings
to the early brethren to beware of the deceit of false teachers, a deliberate
campaign by evil men, were common enough because necessary (2Co 11:13; 4:2; Rom
3:13 -- dolos, guile, in these places; and Eph 4:14). Those crafty men even went
so far as to use -- hypocritically! -- the same language against Paul: "being
crafty (panourgos) I caught you with guile (dolos), did I?" (2Co 12:16). One is
reminded of how Luther and the Pope each called the other Antichrist.
SINCERE AND PURE DEVOTION: Or "simplicity" (AV).
"Simplicity", as used by Paul, should not be equated with "simple-mindedness".
Rather, in keeping with the metaphor of Eve and the serpent, "simplicity" is a
single-mindedness which will not be beguiled by subtle serpent-arguments. Such
"simplicity" presupposes uncomplicated vision and motives. We must remember the
extreme "deceitfulness of sin" (Heb 13:3) and the inherent weakness of the
flesh. We must keep these things in mind, recognizing also that strength comes
from God, His word, and prayer -- and that we must cling close to these. If we
do this, then in a simple single-minded devotion, we will be waiting and ready
when our Saviour the Bridegroom cometh.
If they could be so easily swayed by other teachers, surely
they would listen to the one who converted them!
Vv 5-15: Their folly in being drawn away by others.
Paul's enemies had suggested that he took no financial support
from them because he was unsure of his authority to do so (WFB 43). Also, a
tentmaker would have no "dignity" alongside Greek "philosophers" (WFB
...FROM MACEDONIA: The Philippians (2Co 8:1-4; Phi
Cp context of letter: 2Co 3:1; 10:2,3,10,12,17,18;
11:3,4,18-23: "Satan" = Jewish adversaries who are trying to undermine Paul's
authority (cp Rom 16:17-20), by pretending -- like the serpent in Eden -- to be
"angels" or messengers from God, having knowledge which "Eve" (the ecclesia)
lacked (cp 2Co 11:3).
2Co 11:16 -- 12:18: The apostle's credentials.
Vv 17,18: 'Here I am following the example of the Judaizers,
They were so "wise" (irony) that they let the "strong"
Judaizers take advantage of them. But Paul was too "weak" to do the
Vv 23-28: "AJ Balfour said, 'Nothing matters very much, and
very few things matter at all.' In reality there is only one thing that is
important -- and that is to love the Lord our God with all our hearts and to do
what pleases Him. Whatever else we experience or that happens around us is
insignificant unless it concerns the things of God.
"The Apostle Paul had a very dramatic life as he travelled
around preaching God's word. If there was anyone who could say that a lot of
things that really mattered had happened to him, it was Paul. To be beaten up is
a major event in anyone's life, yet it happened to Paul at least eight times. He
was put in prison, shipwrecked, stoned, had threats put on his life, gone
without sleep, food, clothes, and shelter. He even spent a night and a day
floating in the sea after a shipwreck! But none of those things were important
to Paul. His main concern were the people of God. He said, 'Besides everything
else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches.'
"So it is true. Nothing matters much, but the things of God
are very important" (RP).
NAKED: That is, exposed to the elements; without
sufficient cloak or coat.
WHO IS WEAK, AND I DO NOT FEEL WEAK?: "The word Paul
uses for 'weak' is one which features frequently in his writings, and it nearly
always refers to the spiritually weak (Rom 4:19; 14:1,2,21; 1Co 8:9,11,12). He
was so sensitive to his brethren that when he considered their spiritual
weakness, he felt the same. He identified with them, he could put his arm round
someone who was slipping way and say, 'I'm with you', and so evidently mean it.
He had a genuine and obvious sense of solidarity with them. He wasn't critical
of them to the extent that he made a barrier between himself and them. They knew
his disapproval of their ways, but yet it was so evident that his heart bled for
them. And when Paul saw a brother being offended, he burnt. His heart burnt and
bled as he saw someone drifting away with a chip on their shoulder. He didn't
just shrug and think, 'Well, that's up to them, their choice.' He cared for
them. That brother, that sister, and their future meant so much to him. If Paul
had lived in the 21st century, he would have telephoned them, written to them,
visited them, met with them week by week To be weak and to be offended are
bracketed in Rom 14:21: 'thy brother is offended, or is made weak'. And in 2Co
11:29 we have the same idea... The parallels imply that if the weak brother was
offended, Paul himself was as it were offended, even though he himself did not
stumble. He could identify with the spiritual weakness of others to the point of
feeling that he himself had committed it or was in the shoes of the sinner --
even though he himself was innocent" (DH).
"Who is made to fall, and I am not indignant?"
THE GOVERNOR: The "ethnarc" was watching the gate to
catch Paul when he left Damascus, because he had no authority IN the city. The
king of Arabia in Petra, who apparently had taken or received as a gift the rich
city of Damascus at this time (C&H 65).
BASKET: Gr "sargane". The basket here is also called a
"spuris" (Act 9:25) -- or large basket -- obviously large enough for a man to
hide in. This was the same sort of basket which was filled, seven times over,
with the bread miraculously multiplied by Jesus (Mat 15:37; 16:10). And here, on
a spiritual level, was part of the "bread" of Christ -- his "body"! -- being
miraculously multiplied again! For this man Paul, escaping from Damascus in the
basket (2Co 11:32,33), would live to see a miraculous multiplying of the "bread"
or "body" of Christ -- through his labors of traveling and preaching.