Bright Lights in the Big City


Corinth was a city of movers and shakers, a port city of business moguls and wise men. It was a bustling town full of Greeks, who both loved wisdom and thought themselves wise. As the commercial and political center of the area, it was a massive melting pot of people and beliefs, a breeding ground for much religious syncretism and immorality. With such religious noise, the truth can easily be lost or co-opted, giving opportunity to those who are out to glorify themselves. Sound familiar?

  • How many times a day do you find yourself being swayed by all the different voices in our culture?


11:1 I wish you would bear with me in a little foolishness. Do bear with me! 2 For I feel a divine jealousy for you, since I betrothed you to one husband, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ. 3 But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. 4 For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough. Indeed, I consider that I am not in the least inferior to these super-apostles. Even if I am unskilled in speaking, I am not so in knowledge; indeed, in every way we have made this plain to you in all things.

7 Or did I commit a sin in humbling myself so that you might be exalted, because I preached God’s gospel to you free of charge? 8 I robbed other churches by accepting support from them in order to serve you. 9 And when I was with you and was in need, I did not burden anyone, for the brothers who came from Macedonia supplied my need. So I refrained and will refrain from burdening you in any way. 10 As the truth of Christ is in me, this boasting of mine will not be silenced in the regions of Achaia. 11 And why? Because I do not love you? God knows I do!

12 And what I am doing I will continue to do, in order to undermine the claim of those who would like to claim that in their boasted mission they work on the same terms as we do. 13 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. 15 So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.


(Today’s questions focus on verses 1-6.)

  1. What were Paul’s motives for challenging the so-called “super-apostles” who were winning over the Corinthians (vs. 2 )?
  2. In what way is betrothal to Christ a good image of the goal of Christian ministry?
  3. The reference of the serpent’s deception of Eve is from the Fall in Genesis 3. In what way is this similar to Paul’s fears for the Corinthian church (vs. 3)?
  4. In what three ways had these super-apostles gotten the truth wrong (vs. 4)?
  5. How can we guard ourselves from false, yet persuasive, teachers? How can we maintain a pure devotion to Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and the message of the gospel?


The super-apostles who were preaching falsehood tried every trick in the book to discredit the gospel work of Paul. “He’s just a tentmaker who’s probably stealing from you, and who doesn’t even charge for his work amongst you,” these flashy Judaizers with their great oratorical skill would say. Paul responded because he wanted these believers to have a simple and single devotion to Christ.   Paul gently reminded those in Corinth, and us too, that it has never been about him and is always about Jesus Christ, and the truth and goodness of his gospel.

  • Ask God to help you have a simple and sincere devotion to him and the truth of his gospel.