2 Corinthians 11:4
For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.
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(4) For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus.—The singular points, like the “any man,” “such an one,” of 2Corinthians 10:7; 2Corinthians 10:11, to an individual teacher who had made himself conspicuously prominent. The words throw light on Galatians 1:7-8. The false teachers in Galatia and those at Corinth were doing the same thing. In the absence of fuller knowledge of what they taught, it is difficult to define accurately what precise form of error is alluded to. One thing, at least, is clear—that their Jesus was not his Jesus—not the Friend and Brother of mankind who had died for all men, that He might reconcile them to God. Reasoning from probabilities, we may, perhaps, infer that they spoke of Him as the head of a Jewish kingdom, requiring circumcision and all the ordinances of the Law as a condition of admission to it.

If ye receive another spirit.—Better, a different spirit, as showing that the word is not the same as in the previous clause. The words point, it is clear, to a counterfeit inspiration, perhaps like that of those who had interrupted the praises of the Church with the startling cry, “Anathema to Jesus!” (See Note on 1Corinthians 12:3.) Such as these were the “false prophets” of 2Peter 2:1; 1John 4:3, simulating the phenomena of inspiration, perhaps thought of by the Apostles as really acting under the inspiration of an evil spirit.

Which ye have not received.—Better, did not receive, as referring definitely to the time of their conversion.

Another gospel, which ye have not accepted.—Better, as before, a different gospel, which ye did not accepti.e., different from that which you did accept from me. His gospel, he seems to say, was one of pardon through faith working by love: theirs was based on the old Pharisaic lines of works, ritual, ceremonial and moral precepts, standing in their teaching on the same footing.

Ye might well bear with him.—Better, the adverb being emphatic, and intensely ironical, nobly would ye bear with him. He means, of course, that they have done much more than tolerate the preachers of the false gospel, and have paid them an extravagant deference. On a like use of irony in our Lord’s teaching, see Note on Mark 7:9.

2 Corinthians 11:4-6. For if he that cometh — After me, with such extraordinary pretences; preach another Jesus — Can point out to you another Saviour; whom we have not preached — Who shall better or equally deserve your attention and regard; or if ye receive another spirit — By his preaching, which ye have not received — By ours, and which can bestow upon you gifts superior to those which you received through our ministry; or another gospel — Bringing you tidings equally happy, evident, and important, with those which we brought you; ye might well bear with him — In his pretensions to exceed us, and there would be some excuse for your conduct; but how far this is from being, or so much as seeming to be, the case, I need not say. For I suppose Λογιζομαι, I reckon, or, I conclude, upon most certain knowledge; that I was not a whit behind — I was in nothing inferior to; the very chiefest apostles — Either in spiritual gifts, or the greatness of my labours and sufferings, or in the success of my ministry. By the chiefest apostles, St. Paul meant Peter, James, and John, whom he called pillars, Galatians 2:9. Let the Papists reconcile this account which Paul gives of himself as an apostle, with their pretended supremacy of Peter over all the apostles. But, or for, though I be rude, or unskilful, in speech — Speaking in a plain, unadorned way, like an unlearned person, as the word ιδιωτης, here used, properly signifies. “The apostle,” says Macknight, “called himself unlearned in speech, because, in preaching, he did not follow the rules of the Grecian rhetoric. His discourses were not composed with that art which the Greeks showed in the choice and arrangement of their words, and in the disposition of their periods. Neither were they delivered with those modulations of voice, and with those studied gestures, wherewith the Greeks set off their orations. This sort of eloquence the apostle utterly disclaimed, for a reason mentioned 1 Corinthians 1:17. It seems the faction in Corinth had objected to him his want of these accomplishments.” Or, as some think, the irony of the faction was levelled, not against the apostle’s style, but against his pronunciation and action in speaking, which, through some bodily infirmity, was ungraceful and unacceptable. See on 2 Corinthians 10:10. Probably the faction objected both imperfections to him. Yet not in knowledge — If I be unskilful in speech, I am not so in the knowledge of the gospel of Christ, and of the dispensations which were introductory to it. But we have been thoroughly made manifest, &c. — You have had sufficient proof of my acquaintance with the great doctrines of Christianity, and what my gifts are, and therefore you ought not to call in question my authority as an apostle, or my ability to teach, direct, and govern your church, nor to prefer another in opposition to me.

11:1-4 The apostle desired to preserve the Corinthians from being corrupted by the false apostles. There is but one Jesus, one Spirit, and one gospel, to be preached to them, and received by them; and why should any be prejudiced, by the devices of an adversary, against him who first taught them in faith? They should not listen to men, who, without cause, would draw them away from those who were the means of their conversion.For if he that cometh ... - There is much difficulty in this verse in ascertaining the true sense, and expositors have been greatly perplexed and divided in opinion, especially with regard to the true sense of the last clause, "ye might well bear with him." It is difficult to ascertain whether Paul meant to speak ironically or seriously; and different views will prevail as different views are taken of the design. If it be supposed that he meant to speak seriously, the sense will be, "If the false teacher could recommend a better Saviour than I have done, or a Spirit better able to sanctify and save, then there would be a propriety in your receiving him and tolerating his doctrines." If the former, then the sense will be, "You cannot well bear with me; but if a man comes among you preaching a false Saviour, and a false Spirit, and a false doctrine. then you bear with him without any difficulty."

Another interpretation still has been proposed, by supposing that the word "me" is to be supplied at the close of the verse instead of "him," and then the sense would be, "If you receive so readily one who preaches another gospel, one who comes with far less evidence that he is sent from God than I have, and if you show yourselves thus ready to fall in with any kind of teaching that may be brought to you, you might at least bear with me also." Amidst this variety it is not easy to ascertain the true sense. To me it seems probable, however, that Paul spoke seriously, and that our translation has expressed the true sense. The main idea doubtless is, that Paul felt that there was danger that they would be corrupted. If they could bring a better gospel, a more perfect system, and proclaim a more perfect Saviour, there would be no such change. But that could not be expected. It could not be done.

If therefore they preached any other Saviour or any other gospel; if they departed from the truths which he had taught them, it would be for the worse. It could not be otherwise. The Saviour whom he preached was perfect, and was able to save. The Spirit which he preached was perfect, and able to sanctify. The gospel which he preached was perfect, and there was no hope that it could be improved. Any change must be for the worse; and as the false teachers varied from his instructions, there was every reason to apprehend that their minds would be corrupted from the simplicity that was in Christ. The principal idea, therefore, is, that the gospel which he preached was as perfect as it could be, and that any change would be for the worse. No doctrine which others brought could be recommended because it was better. By the phrase "he that cometh" is meant doubtless the false teacher in Corinth.

Preacheth another Jesus - Proclaims one who is more worthy of your love and more able to save. If he that comes among you and claims your affections can point out another Christ who is more worthy of your confidence, then I admit that you do well to receive him. It is implied here that this could not be done. The Lord Jesus in his character and work is perfect. No Saviour superior to him has been provided; none but he is necessary.

Whom we have not preached - Let them show, if they can, that they have any Saviour to tell of whom we have not preached. We have given all the evidence that we are sent by God, and have laid all the claim to your confidence, which they can do for having made known the Saviour. They with all their pretensions have no Saviour to tell you of with whom we have not already made you acquainted. They have no claims, therefore, from this quarter which we have not also.

Or if ye receive another spirit ... - If they can preach to you another Sanctifier and Comforter; or if under their ministry you have received higher proofs of the power of the Spirit in performing miracles; in the gift of tongues; in renewing sinners and in comforting your hearts. The idea is, that Paul had proclaimed the existence and agency of the same Holy Spirit which they did; that his preaching had been attended with as striking proofs of the presence and power of that Spirit; that he had all the evidence of a divine commission from such an influence attending his labors which they could possibly have. They could reveal no spirit better able to sanctify and save; none who had more power than the Holy Spirit which they had received under the preaching of Paul, and there was therefore no reason why they should be "corrupted" or seduced from the simple doctrines which they had received and follow others.

Or another gospel ... - A gospel more worthy of your acceptance - one more free, more full, more rich in promises; one that revealed a better plan of salvation, or that was more full of comfort and peace.

Ye might well bear with him - Margin, "with me." The word "him" is not in the Greek; but is probably to be supplied. The sense is, there would then be some excuse for your conduct. There would be some reason why you should welcome such teachers. But if this cannot be done; if they can preach no other and no better gospel and Saviour than I have done, then there is no excuse. There is no reason why you should follow such teachers and forsake those who were your earliest guides in religion. - Let us never forsake the gospel which we have until we are sure we can get a better. Let us adhere to the simple doctrines of the New Testament until some one can furnish better and clearer doctrines. Let us follow the rules of Christ in our opinions and our conduct; our plans, our mode of worship, our dress, and our amusements, engagements, and company, until we can certainly ascertain that there are better rules. A man is foolish for making any change until he has evidence that he is likely to better himself; and it remains yet to be proved that anyone has ever bettered himself or his family by forsaking the simple doctrines of the Bible, and embracing a philosophical speculation; by forsaking the scriptural views of the Saviour as the incarnate God, and embracing the views which represent him as a mere man; by forsaking the simple and plain rules of Christ about our manner of life, our dress, and our words and actions, and embracing those which are recommended by mere fashion and by the customs of a frivolous world.

4. if, &c.—which in fact is impossible. However, if it were possible, ye might then bear with them (see on [2321]2Co 11:1). But there can be no new Gospel; there is but the one which I first preached; therefore it ought not to be "borne" by you, that the false teachers should attempt to supersede me.

he that cometh—the high-sounding title assumed by the false teachers, who arrogated Christ's own peculiar title (Greek, Mt 11:3, and Heb 10:37), "He that is coming." Perhaps he was leader of the party which assumed peculiarly to be "Christ's" (2Co 10:7; 1Co 1:12); hence his assumption of the title.

preacheth … receive—is preaching … ye are receiving.

Jesus—the "Jesus" of Gospel history. He therefore does not say "Christ," which refers to the office.

another … another—Greek, "another Jesus … a different Spirit … a different Gospel." Another implies a distinct individual of the same kind; different implies one quite distinct in kind.

which ye have not received—from us.

spirit … received … gospel … accepted—The will of man is passive in RECEIVING the "Spirit"; but it is actively concurrent with the will of God (which goes before to give the good will) in ACCEPTING the "Gospel."

ye might well bear with him—There would be an excuse for your conduct, though a bad one (for ye ought to give heed to no Gospel other than what ye have already heard from me, Ga 1:6, 7); but the false teachers do not even pretend they have "another Jesus" and a "different Gospel" to bring before you; they merely try to supplant me, your accredited Teacher. Yet ye not only "bear with" them, but prefer them.

How our translators have interpreted kalwv hneicesye,

ye might well bear, I cannot tell: the words manifestly are to be interpreted, you have well borne, and so are plainly a reflection upon some in this church, who had patiently endured false teachers, who had preached other doctrine than what Paul had preached. And this the apostle giveth as a reason of his fear, lest they should be corrupted and drawn away from the simplicity of the gospel. This certainly is more obviously the sense of the words, than what others incline to, who make the sense this: If any other could come to you, who could preach to you a better Jesus, a more excellent Saviour, than we have done; or a more excellent spirit than him whom you have received; or a more excellent doctrine than the doctrine of the gospel, which we have preached; you might bear with him. For I see no pretence to interpret the verb as in the potential mood, it is manifestly the indicative mood; and declareth, not what they might do, but what they had done; which made the apestle jealous of them, lest they should be perverted. And our Saviour, John 5:43, hath taught us, that those who with the most difficulty receive those who come to them in God’s name, are always most easy to receive those who come in their own name, without any due authority or commission from God.

For if he that cometh,.... Meaning either some particular man, the apostle might have had some information of, who came from Judea to Corinth, under the character of a true apostle; or anyone of the false apostles whatever, who came of their own accord, and was never sent by Christ, or by any of his churches:

preacheth another Jesus whom we have not preached; that is, if he proposes and recommends in his ministry, a better Saviour and Redeemer than had been preached by the apostles; one that was better qualified, and more fit for the purposes of salvation; one that they could more safely venture their souls upon, and believe in, as the alone able and all sufficient Saviour, a thing impossible to be: or the sense is, if this other apostle taught the doctrine of salvation by Christ, in another and better method and in a clearer manner, more to the honour of the Redeemer, the glory of God, and the good of their souls, they would have some reason then to pay a greater regard to him:

or if ye receive another spirit which ye have not received; a better spirit than the Spirit of God, which the had received through the preaching of the Gospel by the apostles; either for graces, for they had received him as a spirit of regeneration and conversion, of sanctification and faith, of adoption and liberty, of peace and joy, and comfort; or for gifts, both ordinary and extraordinary, which could not possibly be; the spirit which the contrary ministers brought with it, and tended to not generate in them, must be the reverse of this, even a spirit of bondage again to fear:

or another Gospel which ye have not accepted, or "embraced"; a better Gospel than had been preached by the apostles, and received by them; which contained more wholesome doctrines, more comfortable truths, more excellent promises, better tidings of good things, than those of peace, pardon, righteousness, life, and salvation, by a crucified Jesus; proposed a better scheme of things, more for the honour of the divine perfections, and for the comfort and safety of believers; and which laid a better foundation for faith and hope, and tended more to encourage true religion and powerful godliness:

ye might well bear with him; receive his doctrine, submit to his authority, and prefer him to the apostles: but since another and a better Saviour than Jesus of Nazareth could not be proposed, or the doctrine of salvation by him be preached in another and better manner than it was; nor had they received, nor could they receive, another and a better spirit, than the spirit of grace and truth, which was communicated to them, through the apostle's ministry; nor was a better and a more excellent Gospel preached to them, than what they had heard; therefore they ought not to connive at, indulge and tolerate, such a false apostle among them, which it seems they did; and was the reason of the apostle's fears and jealousies, before expressed: and besides, supposing that this man that was among them, and caressed by many of them, did preach the same Jesus, and the same doctrine of salvation by him, and the same Spirit and power went along with his ministry, it being the same Gospel that was preached by Paul and others, there was no reason why he should be set up above them, who had been the instruments of conveying the Gospel, and the Spirit of it, to them, long before he was known by them.

{2} For if he that cometh preacheth {e} another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.

(2) He shows that they deceive themselves, if they look to receive from any other man, either a more excellent Gospel, or more excellent gifts of the Holy Spirit.

(e) A more perfect doctrine of Jesus Christ.

2 Corinthians 11:4 An ironical (and therefore not conflicting with Galatians 1:18) reason assigned for that anxiety. For if, indeed, my opponents teach and work something so entirely new among you, one would not be able to blame you for being pleased with it.

Regarding εἰ μέν, if indeed, see Hartung, Partikell. II. p. 414 f.; Klotz, ad Devar. p. 522.

ὁ ἐρχόμενος] does not refer to ὁ ὄφις, 2 Corinthians 11:3 (Kniewel). It might doubtless mean the first comer, as Emmerling and Billroth hold (Bernhardy, p. 318), comp. Galatians 5:10; but, since Paul manifestly has in view the conduct of the whole fraternity of opposing teachers (see immediately, 2 Corinthians 11:5), it is rather this totum genus that is denoted by ὁ ἐρχόμενος, and that concretely, and in such a fashion that their emergence is vividly illustrated by reference to one definitely thought of, of whom, however, the point is left undetermined who he is: is qui venit. Comp. Fritzsche, Diss. II. p. 65; Kühner, ad Xen. Anab. v. 8. 22. The word exhibits the persons meant in the light of outsiders, who come to Corinth and there pursue their courses in opposition to the apostle. They are intruders (comp. 2 Corinthians 3:1), and by the present tenses their coming and practices are denoted as still presently prevailing, just as this corrupting intercourse had been already going on for a considerable time. Ewald thinks here, too, of a special individual among the counter-apostle.

ἄλλον Ἰησοῦν κηρύσσει] i.e. so preaches of Jesus, that the Jesus now preached appears not to be the same as was previously preached,[317] consequently as if a second Jesus. Hence, to explain it more precisely, there is added: ὋΝ ΟὐΚ ἘΚΗΡΎΞΑΜΕΝ: who was not the subject-matter of our preaching, of whom we have known nothing and preached nothing, therefore not the crucified Saviour (1 Corinthians 2:2) through whom men are justified without the law, etc. ἄλλος negatives simply the identity, ἝΤΕΡΟς at the same time the similarity of nature: an other Jesus … a different spirit. Comp. Acts 4:12; Galatians 1:6-7; 1 Corinthians 12:9; 1 Corinthians 15:40.

ἢ πνεῦμα ἕτερον κ.τ.λ.] , or, in order to describe this reformatory working from another side, another kind of Spirit, etc. As the false apostles might have boasted that only through them had the right Jesus been preached to the Corinthians,[318] they might also have added that only through their preaching had the readers received the true Holy Spirit, whom they had not before received, namely, when Paul had taught them (ὃ οὐκ ἐλάβετε). Moreover, it is decidedly clear from Ἢ ΠΝΕῦΜΑ ἝΤΕΡΟΝ Κ.Τ.Λ. that it cannot have been (this in opposition to Beyschlag) a more exact historical information and communication regarding Jesus, by means of which the persons concerned attempted to supplant Paul among the Corinthians. It was by means of Judaistic false doctrines; comp. 2 Corinthians 11:13 ff. See also Klöpper, p. 79 f.

ὃ οὐκ ἐδέξασθε] for the Pauline gospel was accepted by the readers at their conversion: the gospel brought by the false apostles was of another kind (ἕτερον), which was not before accepted by them. Rückert arbitrarily says that ἐδέξασθε is equivalent to ἘΛΆΒΕΤΕ, and that the former is used only to avoid the repetition of the latter. How fine and accurate, on the other hand, is Bengel’s remark: “Verba diversa, rei apta; non concurrit voluntas hominis in accipiendo Spiritu, ut in recipiendo evangelio.” Comp. on the distinction between the two words, Theile, ad Jacob. p. 68.

καλῶς ἀνείχεσθε] καλῶς, like praeclare in the ironical sense of with full right. See on Mark 7:9; Fritzsche, ad Marc. p. 271 ff.; Diss. II. p. 72 f.; and regarding the ironical use of the adjective καλός, Stallb. ad Rep. p. 595 C, 607 E. According to Hofmann, καλῶς is an expression of an earnest approval, which, however, is cancelled of itself by the impossibility of the case which is put. But in the protasis the case, in fact, is just simply put, not put as impossible (comp. Galatians 1:8-9); hence in the apodosis an ἀνάθεμα on the seducers, or a severe censure of those who did not withstand them, would have had its place in the mind of the apostle rather than a ΚΑΛῶς ἈΝΕΊΧΕΣΘΕ earnestly meant. The imperfect ἀνείχεσθε does not, indeed, in strict logic suit ΚΗΡΎΣΣΕΙ and ΛΑΜΒΆΝΕΤΕ in the protasis, and we should expect ἈΝΈΧΕΣΘΕ, as is actually the reading of B. But it is not on that account to be explained as if ΕἸ ἘΚΉΡΥΣΣΕΝ Κ.Τ.Λ. stood in the protasis (if the comer was preaching … ye would, etc.), as Chrysostom, Luther, Castalio, Cornelius a Lapide, and many others, including Baur, l.c. p. 102, explained it, which is wrong in grammar; nor is—along with an otherwise correct view of the protasis

καλῶς ἀνείχεσθε to be taken in the historical sense, as has been attempted by some, as interrogatively (have you with right tolerated it?), such as Heu-mann, by others, such as Semler,[319] in the form of an indignant exclamation (you have truly well tolerated it!), both of which meanings are logically impossible on account of the difference of tenses in the protasis and apodosis. No; we have here the transition from one construction to the other. When Paul wrote the protasis, he meant to put ἀνέχεσθε in the apodosis; but when he came to the apodosis, the conception of the utter non-reality of what was posited in the protasis as the preaching of another Jesus, etc., induced him to modify the expression of the apodosis in such a way, that now there is implied in it a negatived reality,[320] as if in the protasis there had stood εἰ ἐκήρυσσεν κ.τ.λ. For there is not another Jesus; comp. Galatians 2:6. Several instances of this variation in the mode of expression are found in classical writers. See Kühner, II. p. 549; Klotz, ad Devar. p. 489. Comp. on Luke 17:6. The reason for the absence of ἄν in the apodosis is, that the contents of the apodosis is represented as sure and certain. See Krüger, § 65, 5; Stallb. ad Plat. Sympos. p. 190 C; Kühner, ad Xen. Andb. vii. 6. 21; Bremi, ad Lys. Exc. IV. p. 438 ff.

[317] If Paul had written ἄλλον Χριστόν, the reading of F G, Arm. Vulg., the meaning of it would be: he preaches that not Jesus, but another is the Christ. How unsuitable this is, is self-evident.

[318] Against the interpretation that it was a spiritual, visionary Christ whom the Christine party had given out for the true one (Schenkel, de Wette, and others), see Beyschlag, 1865, p. 239 f.

[319] He is followed recently by Hilgenfeld in his Zeitschr. 1865, p. 261.

[320] Here, too, the delicate and acute glance of Bengel saw the correct view: “Ponit conditionem, ex parte rei impossibilem; ideo dicit in imperfecto toleraretis; sed pro conatu pseudapostolorum non modo possibilem, sed plane presentem; ideo dicit in praesenti praedicat. Conf. plane Galatians 1:6 f.” Comp. also 1 Corinthians 3:11. Rückert refines and imports a development of thought, which is arbitrarily assumed, and rests on the presupposition that there is no irony in the passage. With the same presupposition Hofmann assumes the intermingling of two thoughts, one referring to the present, the other to the past,—which would amount to a confusion of ideas without motive. This also in opposition to Klöpper, p. 84, who thinks that Paul does not wish to charge the readers with the ἀνέχεσθαι for the immediate present, but had been distinctly aware that they had tolerated, etc. In that case we should have here a singular forbearance and a singular form of its expression, the former as undeserved as the latter is unlogical. There was as little need for the alleged forbearance toward the readers as in ver. 19 f.

2 Corinthians 11:4. εἰ μὲν γὰρ ὁ ἐρχόμενος κ.τ.λ.: for if he that cometh (ὁ ἐρχόμενος may point to some one conspicuous opponent, but it would not be safe to press this, or to lay stress on the verb as indicating one who comes without authorised mission, as at John 10:8; it is probably a quite indefinite phrase, “if any one comes and preaches,” etc.) preacheth another Jesus whom we did not preach (not “another Christ,” “a new Messiah,” for of this false teachers at Corinth were not guilty; but “another Jesus,” i.e., a different representation of the historical Person, Jesus of Nazareth, from that which St. Paul put forward when at Corinth; see reff.), or if ye receive a different Spirit which ye did not receive, sc., a Spirit different from Him whom you received at your baptism (λαμβάνειν is the regular verb with πνεῦμα; cf. John 20:22, Acts 8:15; Acts 10:47; Acts 19:2, Romans 8:15, 1 Corinthians 2:12, Galatians 3:2; it expresses the co-operation of the will in a degree which δέχεσθαι, the verb used in the next clause of “accepting” the Gospel, does not; see Acts 7:38; Acts 17:11, 1 Thessalonians 1:6, etc.), or a different Gospel which ye did not accept, sc., when the Gospel was first brought to you by me, ye bear with him finely! καλῶς is ironical, as at Mark 7:9 = praeclare. This facile acceptance of novelty is the cause of his anxiety; cf. 1 Corinthians 3:11, Galatians 1:6-8. Such instability is always a danger in the case of newly-founded Churches.

4. he that cometh] This shews that the false teachers came from elsewhere, whence they brought their corruptions. Chrysostom. Cf. Acts 15:1; Acts 15:24; Galatians 2:4; Galatians 2:12. Otherwise, says Olshausen, they would have been excommunicated.

another Jesus] The word is not the same as that translated another below. In this case it means the same Jesus (“the historical Jesus,” Stanley), but preached in such a way as to produce a different impression. Cf. the Greek in Galatians 1:6-7.

or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received] Literally, whom (or which) ye did not receive. The preaching of Jesus after quite another fashion, that of bondage to law (Acts 15:1; Galatians 4:21), would involve the communication of a different spirit (see last note) to the spirit of liberty made known by St Paul (Romans 8:2; Romans 8:15). For the nature of the false teaching at Corinth, see Introduction to the First Epistle, p. 11, and 2 Corinthians 11:22.

another gospel] i.e. a different Gospel. See last note.

ye might well bear with him (or it)] These words have generally been regarded as ironical, nobly would ye bear with him (Alford, Plumptre), and explained of the ready reception which the false teachers had met with. But a comparison with Galatians 1:7, difficult as that passage is, makes it probable that no irony whatever is intended. “Had they preached another Gospel altogether, there would have been some reason in listening to them.” But they do not do this. They profess to preach the same Lord and the same Gospel, only they depreciate the authority of him from whom you first received it. Such men have no raison d’être, no standing-ground among you. They have none in my position in the Church, for it is equal to that of any of the Apostles (2 Corinthians 11:5). They have none in my disregard of the technical rules of oratory, for I am not lacking in knowledge. They have none, in fact, in any way, for I challenge the closest investigation into my conduct (2 Corinthians 11:6). In one point, I admit (2 Corinthians 11:7), they have an apparent advantage. But even that vanishes on investigation. See notes below.

2 Corinthians 11:4. Εἰ, if) He lays down a condition, on the part of the real fact, which is impossible; he therefore says in the imperfect, you might tolerate it [but as the condition is impossible, you ought not tolerate it]; but as regards the attempt of the false apostles, not only is the condition laid down possible, but is actually realized and present. He therefore says in the present, preacheth [not Imperf. as, ἠνείχεσθε, Ye might tolerate it]; comp. Galatians 1:6-7.—γὰρ) The reason of Paul’s fear was the yielding character of the Corinthians.—ὁ ἐρχόμενος, he that cometh) any one; out of Judea, if you please; Genesis 42:5, ἦλθον μετὰ τῶν ἐρχομένων, they came with those that came. [He already states, what the Corinthians were in duty bound to allow to be stated, 2 Corinthians 11:1.—V. g.]—ἄλλον· ἕτερον, another—a different) These words are different from each other. See Acts 4:12, note. ἄλλον separates [from the true person] by a far less definite boundary here than ἕτερον.[76]—ΟὐΚ ἘΛΆΒΕΤΕ, ye have not received.—οὐκ ἐδέξασθε, ye have not accepted) Distinct words, well suited to the respective subjects; the will of man does not concur in ‘receiving’ [λαμβανετεἘΛΆΒΕΤΕ] the Spirit, as in ‘accepting’ [ἘΔΈΞΑΣΘΕ] the Gospel.[77]—Ἢ ΕὐΑΓΓΈΛΙΟΝ ἛΤΕΡΟΝ, or another gospel) The words, if there be, or, if you receive, are appropriately [for convenience’ sake] left to be understood.—καλῶς ἠνείχεσθε, you might well bear with) This forbearance, as being likely to lead to corruption [2 Corinthians 11:3], is not approved, but the word, with καλῶς, is used as at Mark 7:9. The fulness [saturitas, fulness to satiety] of the Corinthians is noticed, and their eagerness for a more novel and splendid Christianity, if any such was to be found.

[76] Ἄλλος, according to Tittmann, denotes another, without regard to any diversity or difference, save that of number. Ἕτερος indicates not merely another, but also one different. Ἕτερος, according to Ammonius, is said ἐπὶ δυοῖν in the case of two; ἄλλος, ἐπὶ πλειόνων in the case of more than two.—ED.

[77] The Engl. V. has happily expressed the distinction by ‘received,’ ἐλάβετε, of a thing in receiving which we are passive, and which is not dependent on our will: ‘accepted,’ ἐδέξασθε of that, the receiving of which is at our own will; to receive to one’s self, to accept, to welcome.—ED.

Verse 4. - He that cometh. Apparently an allusion to some recent and rival teacher. Another Jesus. The intruder preaches, not a different Jesus (ἕτερον) or a different gospel (comp. Galatians 1:6-8), but ostensibly the same Jesus whom St. Paul had preached. Another spirit... another gospel; rather, a different spirit (ἕτερον)... a different gospel. The Jesus preached was the same; the gospel accepted, the Spirit received, were supposed to remain unaltered. Ye might well bear with him. This is not without a touch of irony. You are all set against me; and yet the newcomer does not profess to preach to you another Jesus, or impart a different Spirit! Had he done so, you might have had some excuse (καλῶς) for listening to him. Now there is none; for it was I who first preached Jesus to you, and from me you first received the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 11:4Another Jesus - another Spirit (ἄλλον - ἕτερον)

Rev., another Jesus, a different Spirit. See on Matthew 6:24. Another denies the identity; a different denies the similarity of nature. It is the difference of "individuality and kind" (Alford). See on Galatians 1:6, Galatians 1:7.

Ye might well bear (καλῶς ἠνείχεσθε)

Following the reading which makes the verb in the imperfect tense, putting the matter as a supposed case. The Rev. follows the reading ἀνεχέσθε, present tense, and puts it as a fact: ye do well to bear. Lit., ye endure them finely. The expression is ironical. You gladly endure these false teachers, why do you not endure me?

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