Wednesday, 25 November 2015
For I consider that I am not at all inferior to the most eminent apostles. 2 Corinthians 11:5
This verse from Paul almost exudes anger at having to defend his apostleship to those whom he introduced to Christ. In Galatians 1, he had been given the right hand of fellowship by James, Cephas, and John – the chief apostles at Jerusalem. When Peter came to Antioch, Paul had actually rebuked him for straying from the truth of the gospel. In Acts 15, Paul was granted full support for his ministry by the Council at Jerusalem both in writing and with accompanied witnesses to travel with him.
His apostleship was fully attested to and yet it was being challenged by “the most eminent apostles.” Here he is not speaking of the true apostles, but by those who claimed to be apostles, but were false. He speaks of them again in verse 13, describing them in a most negative light.
The word he uses, which is translated here as “most eminent apostles,” is unique and strange. One scholar translates this as “extra super apostles” to show the almost laughable way that Paul viewed them. His words show the depth of his emotion over this matter. Those in Corinth had compared his true apostleship to that of a false one, and they had found the false one more appealing.
For him to have to say “I consider that I am not at all inferior” to them was obviously something deeply hurtful.
Life application: Having sound doctrine is obviously important. If Paul had to face challenges to his apostolic authority because others were coming and polluting the simplicity of the gospel, how much more should we be careful and attentive to this now that we have the entire Bible to learn and apply? Do we suppose that we can have a right relationship with the Lord apart from the very word He has given? Watch out for false teachings that come as people twist and manipulate the word for their own vile purposes.
Heavenly Father, I’m not sure what prompts people to present false information concerning You and Your word – money, power, status? Whatever reason it is, it is heartbreaking to consider that they will tear people away from You who are unwilling to study Your word, preparing themselves for such wolves. I pray that folks will place a high value on this most precious gift You have given us in order to keep from being led astray. Amen.