2 Corinthians 11:2 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

2 Corinthians 11:2, NIV: I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy. I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him.

2 Corinthians 11:2, ESV: For I feel a divine jealousy for you, since I betrothed you to one husband, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ.

2 Corinthians 11:2, KJV: For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.

2 Corinthians 11:2, NASB: For I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy; for I betrothed you to one husband, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ.

2 Corinthians 11:2, NLT: For I am jealous for you with the jealousy of God himself. I promised you as a pure bride to one husband--Christ.

2 Corinthians 11:2, CSB: For I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy, because I have promised you in marriage to one husband--to present a pure virgin to Christ.

What does 2 Corinthians 11:2 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

False apostles have made accusations against Paul, which he continues to refute. He has made clear that much more than his own reputation is at stake. The Corinthians are in danger of believing false teaching about God's grace and faith in Christ.

Paul's feelings of protectiveness are given a poetic turn here. As the one who founded the church in Corinth and led many of them to Christ, Paul sees himself as a spiritual father. He builds a metaphor to describe his role in their lives as that of a father betrothing his virgin daughter to be married. In their case, they are betrothed to Christ.

In the culture of Paul's day, the betrothal period was much more binding than the modern concept of an engagement. A father would betroth his daughter to a man to be married months or years in the future. The father's responsibility, in part, was to protect his daughter's virginity and well-being until she was safely married to her husband.

Using that background, Paul describes the Corinthians as betrothed to Christ. They belonged to Christ in the same way that a promised bride belonged to her betrothed husband in the ancient world. They were Christians, but they were not yet with Christ. Paul saw it as his duty to protect them from anyone attempting to steal them away from their true faith in Christ before they were safely with Him in eternity. The false apostles, in teaching a different gospel about a different Jesus (2 Corinthians 11:4), were attempting to do exactly that.

Like a father protecting his beloved daughter, Paul felt divinely and appropriately jealous for the Corinthians on behalf of Christ. It was more than his duty to protect them from false teaching; it was personal for him.