2 Corinthians 11:1-15
In 2 Corinthians 11, Paul uses an apologetics tactic to get his real argument understood - Paul feigns a “godly jealousy” of those Corinthians who he does NOT wish to emulate in order to get them to get his real argument. This is a debating strategy that is designed to relax one’s opponent by drawing attention away from them while criticizing their actions , thoughts, and behaviors. So what Paul is saying about himself, he is actually saying about his opponent. It is always easier for people to critique the behavior of others rather than themselves. Paul is exposing the true nature of their sin and lack of fidelity to Christ, the Bridegroom. Notice he does not say jealousy but godly jealousy . Human jealousy is a sin and would defeat his argument on the basis of a sinful position before he started so Paul introduces a false sanitized character of “godly jealousy ” to create the false illusion of an argument based on righteous principle. Remember foolishness to the world is wisdom to God. What righteous indignation of Jesus is to anger, godly jealousy is to jealousy! Paul goes to great lengths to help his opponent see the truth! Since the connotation is negative for the adjective “manipulative”, we don’t say that Paul is being manipulative, but is using a misdirection for the righteous purpose of exposing truth from error. Reread these 15 verses with this understanding to see that Paul was criticizing and warning them of Satan’s deception. Paul trained for years under Gamaliel, so of course he was trained to speak persuasively, yet he lowers his stature to show his opponent their true sin - lack of fidelity to Christ by being deceived by Satan like he deceived Eve. Paul is actually calling the self-appointed apostles in Corinth untrained and therefore deceived. So we can use a “slightly” questionable human tactic to reveal a spiritual Truth. For you philosophical geeks, this is an egalitarian practical perspective (ends justifies the means) in an often deontological ( only black or white, gray does not exist) environment. Praise Him!