March 16, 2021 – Tuesday
2 Corinthians 11:26 NIV
26 I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers.
What an interesting verse. It is in the midst of verses 16-33 where Paul speaks of his sufferings as an apostle. What is so interesting here is the mention of danger from false believers. He also mentions false believers in Galatians 2:4, This matter arose because some false believers had infiltrated our ranks to spy on the freedom we have in Christ Jesus and to make us slaves where Judaizers were trying to force circumcision upon Titus a Greek. Matthew Henry says elsewhere, There is as much danger from false brethren, as from open enemies.
It is also interesting to see what some of the commentaries had to say about these false believers, who they were and what they did. Benson Commentary says about them, they were those, Who, amidst specious pretensions of love and affection, secretly watched, if not to destroy me, at least to injure my character, and ruin my usefulness. Barnes’ Notes on the Bible says about the false believers, This was the crowning danger and trial to Paul, as it is to all others. A man can better bear danger by land and water, among robbers and in deserts, than he can bear to have his confidence abused, and to be subjected to the action and the arts of spies upon his conduct. Who these were he has not informed us. He mentions it as the chief trial to which he had been exposed, that he had met those who pretended to be his friends, and who yet had sought every possible opportunity to expose and destroy him. Many of us may be able to relate to this from false friends in the workplace where betrayal may come for a number of reasons.
Matthew Poole’s Commentary is more generic about the false believers describing them as false teachers and private persons, who corrupted the Christian religion, and were as great enemies to the apostle as any he had. And this is as true today as it was then. Gill’s Exposition of the Bible applies here and to Galatians 2:4 above as Paul was
in perils among false brethren; who pretended to be Christians, but “judaized”, teaching the necessity of observing circumcision, and other ceremonies of the law, in order to salvation; these, as the apostle always warmly opposed, so they were sworn enemies to him, and ever sought to do him what mischief they could. The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges adds to Paul’s reference to false believers presciently, refers, no doubt, chiefly to the Judaizing teachers, but need not be confined to them. Any one who falsely pretends to be a disciple of Christ may be thus described.
Finally Clarke’s Commentary on the false brethren, Persons who joined themselves to the Church, pretending faith in Christ, but intending to act as spies, hoping to get some matter of accusation against him. He no doubt suffered much also from apostates. Not unlike government agents recently attending a service leading to the arrest and imprisonment of a pastor in Canada after a secret trial.
Prayer: Father God – Please protect our pastors who continue to stand on Your Word and share with other believers. Please put a hedge of protection around them so they can stand firm in the face of persecution for following You and not the government. – In Jesus name. Amen.