Useful Bible Studies > 2 Corinthians Commentary > chapter 11

The powerful and cruel behaviour of some church leaders

2 Corinthians 11:19-20

The people who wanted to lead Corinth’s church acted in a very powerful manner. They made rules in order to control the members; they took advantage of people. Sometimes they even used physical cruelty.

It astonished Paul that a church leader would ever behave like that. He considered it his duty to take care of people - and especially, weak people*. He thought that a church leader should act with patience, kindness and love*. When strict discipline was absolutely necessary against a church member, Paul dealt with the situation by prayer*.

It astonished Paul even more to hear that the church members at Corinth accepted that wrong kind of authority. The people at that church cared very much about the freedom that God had given to them. They wanted to be free to do whatever the Holy Spirit directed them. However, now it was other people, and not the Holy Spirit, who were taking control of their lives.

Probably, those powerful people had lied that the Holy Spirit was guiding them to lead Corinth’s church. Also, they lied that they had received a new gospel, a new message from God*. They wanted to replace what Paul had taught with their own ideas.

It was not wise to allow people like that to have authority in Corinth’s church. Those powerful people were foolish because they were not serving God. They even considered Paul weak because he did not behave like them.

By the standards of the powerful rulers in this world, Paul’s behaviour was weakness. However, Christ has different standards for how leaders should behave*.

Next part: Paul too will speak proudly – but only about his weakness (11:21)


* See complete article for these Bible references.

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© 2016, Keith Simons.