What does 2 Corinthians 11:15 mean?
ESV: So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.
NIV: It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.
NASB: Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their deeds.
CSB: So it is no great surprise if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will be according to their works.
NLT: So it is no wonder that his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. In the end they will get the punishment their wicked deeds deserve.
KJV: Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.
NKJV: Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.
Verse Commentary:
Paul is unmasking false teachers that have been working among the Corinthians. These liars are attempting to turn believers against Paul to gain loyalty. Paul has bluntly called them false apostles and deceitful workmen. In the previous verse, he compared them to Satan, who disguises himself as an angel of light.

These false teachers, also, have presented themselves to the Corinthians as workers for good with impressive speaking and presentation skills. Paul now calls them the very servants of Satan. Like the Devil, they pretend to be servants of righteousness. They pretend to preach Christ and His gospel, but instead preach a false version of both.

Clearly, this is not merely a group of Christian teachers disputing with Paul over subtle points of doctrine. This is not even a group of unbelievers with sincere disagreements about what is true. These false teachers are intentional in their deception of the Christians in Corinth. They are deliberately pretending to be something they are not in order to gain something for themselves.

Paul writes, ominously, that their end will fit their deeds. This statement of fact should warn the Corinthians from getting too close to these men. Paul says in brief terms that their judgment is coming. Paul writes often about God's judgment for those who practice unrighteousness (Romans 2:6; Galatians 6:7–9; Philippians 3:18–19).
Verse Context:
Second Corinthians 11:1–15 includes Paul's unmasking of the false apostles in Corinth. They are like the serpent in the garden tempting Eve. Or, they resemble a man trying to seduce a betrothed woman away from her promised husband. They disguise themselves as servants of righteousness as Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Paul is a spiritual father who must protect the Corinthians from deceptions like a false Christ and a false spirit. Paul doubles down on his commitment not to take funds from the Corinthians for his own needs, simply to prove how he is different from the false apostles.
Chapter Summary:
Second Corinthians 11 compares the believers in Corinth to a betrothed bride. It also pictures them as Eve facing temptation from the snake in the garden in Genesis 3. Paul's job as their spiritual father is to protect them from the lies of false apostles. These deceivers disguise themselves as servants of righteousness in the same way that Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Paul is shocked the Corinthians put up with such harsh treatment from these men. He sarcastically pretends to brag about himself as the false teachers do about themselves. Instead, he boasts mostly about the ways he has endured suffering in his service to Christ.
Chapter Context:
Chapter 11 follows Paul's warning in the previous chapter. There, he vowed to be as bold as needed when he comes to see them in person. He describes himself as a protective spiritual father trying to save the Corinthians from the deceptions of the false apostles to teach a false gospel about a false Jesus. He is shocked the Corinthians put up with their harsh treatment and says he has decided to foolishly boast in order to compete with the false apostles. His boasting about his service to Christ, though, is mostly a long list of all the ways he has suffered for Christ. That theme continues into chapter 12, where Paul explains just how much his suffering has improved his walk with Christ.
Book Summary:
Second Corinthians returns to similar themes as those Paul mentioned in his first letter to this church. Paul is glad to hear that the church in Corinth has heeded his advice. At the same time, it is necessary for Paul to counter criticisms about his personality and legitimacy. Most of this text involves that subject. The fifth chapter, in contrast, contains comforting words which Christians have quoted often in times of hardship. Paul also details his expectations that the church in Corinth will make good on their promise to contribute to the needs of suffering believers in Jerusalem.
Accessed 6/22/2024 5:31:15 PM
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