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2 Corinthians 11:13

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

For such are false apostles - Persons who pretend to be apostles, but have no mission from Christ.

Deceitful workers - They do preach and labor, but they have nothing but their own emolument in view.

Transforming themselves - Assuming as far as they possibly can, consistently with their sinister views, the habit, manner, and doctrine of the apostles of Christ.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

For such are false apostles - They have no claim to the apostolic office. They are deceivers. They pretend to be apostles; but they have no divine commission from the Redeemer. Paul had thus far argued the case without giving them an explicit designation as deceivers. But here he says that people who had conducted thus; who attempted to impose on the people; who had brought another gospel, whatever pretences they might have - and he was not disposed to deny that there was much that was plausible - were really impostors and the enemies of Christ. It is morally certain, from 2 Corinthians 11:22, that these people were Jews; but why they had engaged in the work of preaching, or why they had gone to Corinth, cannot with certainty be determined.

Deceitful workers - Impostors. People who practice various arts to impose on others. They were crafty, and fraudulent, and hypocritical. It is probable that they were people who saw that great advantage might be taken of the new religion; people who saw the power which it had over the people, and who saw the confidence which the new converts were inclined to repose in their teachers; perhaps people who had seen the disciples to the Christian faith commit all their property to the hands of the apostles, or who had heard of their doing it (compare Acts 4:34-35), and who supposed that by pretending to be apostles also they might come in for a share of this confidence, and avail themselves of this disposition to commit their property to their spiritual guides. To succeed, it was needful as far as possible to undermine the influence of the true apostles, and take their place in the confidence of the people. Thence they were “deceitful ( δόλιοι dolioi) workers,” full of trick, and cunning, and of plausible arts to impose on others.

Transforming themselves … - Pretending to be apostles. Hypocritical and deceitful, they yet pretended to have been sent by Christ. This is a direct charge of hypocrisy. They knew they were deceivers; and yet they assumed the high claims of apostles of the Son of God.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
It is far better to be plain in speech, yet walking openly and consistently with the gospel, than to be admired by thousands, and be lifted up in pride, so as to disgrace the gospel by evil tempers and unholy lives. The apostle would not give room for any to accuse him of worldly designs in preaching the gospel, that others who opposed him at Corinth, might not in this respect gain advantage against him. Hypocrisy may be looked for, especially when we consider the great power which Satan, who rules in the hearts of the children of disobedience, has upon the minds of many. And as there are temptations to evil conduct, so there is equal danger on the other side. It serves Satan's purposes as well, to set up good works against the atonement of Christ, and salvation by faith and grace. But the end will discover those who are deceitful workers; their work will end in ruin. Satan will allow his ministers to preach either the law or the gospel separately; but the law as established by faith in Christ's righteousness and atonement, and the partaking of his Spirit, is the test of every false system.
Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, 297

Some men have no firmness of character. They are like a ball of putty and can be pressed into any conceivable shape. They are of no definite form and consistency, and are of no practical use in the world. This weakness, indecision, and inefficiency must be overcome. There is an indomitableness about true Christian character which cannot be molded or subdued by adverse circumstances. Men must have moral backbone, an integrity which cannot be flattered, bribed, or terrified. 5T 297.1

I greatly fear for the church. As Paul expressed it: “I fear lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.” Paul then explains that it is by means of corrupt teachers that the enemy will assail the faith of the church. “For such are false apostles,” he says, “deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness.” 5T 297.2

The more we learn in reference to the early days of the Christian church, and see with what subtlety Satan worked to weaken and destroy, the better we shall be prepared to resist his devices and meet coming perils. We are in the time when tribulations such as the world has never yet seen will prevail. “Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.” But God has set bounds that Satan cannot pass. Our most holy faith is this barrier; and if we build ourselves up in the faith, we shall be safe in the keeping of the Mighty One. “Because thou hast kept the word of My patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.” 5T 297.3

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 8, 293-4

I went to the place where they were and opened before them the nature of their work. The Lord gave me strength to lay plainly before them their danger. Among other views they held that those who were once sanctified could not sin. Their false teaching was working great harm to themselves and to others. They were gaining a spiritualistic power over those who could not see the evil of these beautifully clothed theories. The doctrine that all were holy had led to the belief that the affections of the sanctified would never lead astray. The result of this belief was the fulfillment of the evil desires of hearts that, though professedly sanctified, were far from purity of thought and life. 8T 293.1

Ungodly teaching is followed by sinful practice. It is the seducing bait of the father of lies, and results in the impenitence of self-satisfied impurity. 8T 293.2

This is only one of the instances in which I was called upon to rebuke those who were presenting the doctrine of an impersonal God pervading all nature, and similar errors. 8T 293.3

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 9, 68

There is danger that the false sentiments expressed in the books that they have been reading will sometimes be interwoven by our ministers, teachers, and editors with their arguments, discourses, and publications, under the belief that they are the same in principle as the teachings of the Spirit of truth. The book Living Temple is an illustration of this work, the writer of which declared in its support that its teachings were the same as those found in the writings of Mrs. White. Again and again we shall be called to meet the influence of men who are studying sciences of satanic origin, through which Satan is working to make a nonentity of God and of Christ. 9T 68.1

The Father and the Son each have a personality. Christ declared: “I and My Father are one.” Yet it was the Son of God who came to the world in human form. Laying aside His royal robe and kingly crown, He clothed His divinity with humanity, that humanity through His infinite sacrifice might become partakers of the divine nature and escape the corruption that is in the world through lust. 9T 68.2

Christ was tempted in all points as man is tempted, but at no time did He bring against the tempter a railing accusation. To every temptation He presented the word of the Lord. “It is written” was His never-failing weapon. We, as the representatives of Christ, are to meet every thrust of the enemy with the word of the living God. Never should we allow ourselves to follow the trail of the serpent by using his scientific arguments. Satan can never gain advantage of the child of God who relies on the word of God as his defense. 9T 68.3

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Ellen G. White
SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 6 (EGW), 1105

Day by day we may be laying up a good foundation against the time to come. By self-denial, by the exercise of the missionary spirit, by crowding all the good works possible into our life, by seeking so to represent Christ in character that we shall win many souls to the truth, we shall have respect unto the recompense of reward. It rests with us to walk in the light, to make the most of every opportunity and privilege, to grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, and so we shall work the works of Christ, and ensure for ourselves treasure in the heavens (The Review and Herald, January 29, 1895). 6BC 1105.1

7. Giving Grudgingly Mocks God—It were better not to give at all than to give grudgingly; for if we impart of our means when we have not the spirit to give freely, we mock God. Let us bear in mind that we are dealing with One upon whom we depend for every blessing, One who reads every thought of the heart, every purpose of the mind (The Review and Herald, May 15, 1900). 6BC 1105.2

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