|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
11:5-15 It is far better to be plain in speech, yet walking openly and consistently with the gospel, than to be admired by thousands, and be lifted up in pride, so as to disgrace the gospel by evil tempers and unholy lives. The apostle would not give room for any to accuse him of worldly designs in preaching the gospel, that others who opposed him at Corinth, might not in this respect gain advantage against him. Hypocrisy may be looked for, especially when we consider the great power which Satan, who rules in the hearts of the children of disobedience, has upon the minds of many. And as there are temptations to evil conduct, so there is equal danger on the other side. It serves Satan's purposes as well, to set up good works against the atonement of Christ, and salvation by faith and grace. But the end will discover those who are deceitful workers; their work will end in ruin. Satan will allow his ministers to preach either the law or the gospel separately; but the law as established by faith in Christ's righteousness and atonement, and the partaking of his Spirit, is the test of every false system.
Verse 13. - For such are false apostles. This, with 1 Thessalonians 2:14-16 and Philippians 3:2, is one of St. Paul's most passionate outbursts of plain speaking. "Now at length" says Bengel, "he calls a spade a spade." They were "false apostles" (Revelation 2:2), because a true apostle delivers the message of another, while these cared only for self (Romans 16:18). Deceitful workers. Workmen who cheat their employers (2 Corinthians 2:17; 2 Corinthians 4:2). Transforming themselves. The verb is the same as in 1 Corinthians 4:6 and Philippians 3:21, and does not occur elsewhere in the New Testament.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
For such are false apostles,.... Such as those he had in view, who sought an occasion to depress him, and exalt themselves, and to get money from the Corinthians; these were "false apostles", or apostles falsely so called; they had the name, but not the thing; they were not called and sent forth by Christ; they had not the grace of apostleship, or gifts qualifying them for that high office; the power and authority they exercised was usurped by them; they could not prove their mission by true and real miracles; nor had they any seals of their apostleship, as those who were sent by Christ had:
deceitful workers; they went by the name of labourers in Christ's vineyard, when they were loiterers in it; they pretended to work, but did not; and to work for Christ, when they only served themselves, and their own bellies; they took upon them to interpret the Scriptures, but in a very fallacious manner; they walked in craftiness, and handled the word of God deceitfully, and lay in wait to deceive men; and were masters of so much art and cunning, that, if it was possible, they would have deceived the very elect:
transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ: not so much by putting on a like garb or dress, but by pretending to be of the same principles, and to follow their practices, and to pursue the same good ends in their ministrations.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
13. For—reason why he is unwilling they should be thought like him [Bengel].
such—they and those like them.
false apostles—those "overmuch apostles" (see on 2Co 11:5) are no apostles at all.
deceitful workers—pretending to be "workmen" for the Lord, and really seeking their own gain.
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