2 Corinthians 11:3

3 But I am afraid that 1as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts 2will be led astray from a 3sincere and 4pure devotion to Christ.

2 Corinthians 11:3 Meaning and Commentary

2 Corinthians 11:3

But I fear lest by any means
Jealousy is always attended with fear, care, and solicitude, whether in things natural or spiritual. The apostle, as things were in this church, could not but express his fears, lest

as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety;
that is, the old serpent the devil, who made use of a serpent, the most subtle creature of all the beasts of the field, and seduced Eve from her obedience to God, to transgress his command, by eating the forbidden fruit. The apostle here speaks the language and sense of the Jews, who say F16, that, (Mhl dxa Mv vxnw Njv) "Satan and the serpent have one name", i.e. are the same; and that it was the old serpent (the devil), (hwxl ytpd) , "that beguiled Eve" F17, and who is said to be corrupted by him;

``the serpent (they say F18) was corrupted first, after that, (hwx hlqlqtn) , "Eve was corrupted", and after that Adam was corrupted.''

So the apostle was jealous and fearful, knowing that the false apostles were ministers of Satan, artful and cunning men, lest, through their craftiness and sophistry,

your minds,
says he,

should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ;
that is, lest their judgments should be misled, their minds be vitiated with corrupt principles, and be carried away in any degree with the error of the wicked, from off the pure and simple doctrine of the Gospel, which respects the person and grace of Christ; and chiefly lies in this one plain, easy, and important truth, salvation alone by him. The Vulgate Latin version reads, "your minds should be corrupted, and should fall from the simplicity that is in Christ".


F16 Caphtor, fol. 93. 1.
F17 Raya Mehimna in Zohar in Exod. fol. 50. 1.
F18 T. Bab. Taanith, fol. 15. 2.

2 Corinthians 11:3 In-Context

1 I wish you would bear with me in a little foolishness. Do bear with me!
2 For I feel a divine jealousy for you, since I betrothed you to one husband, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ.
3 But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.
4 For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough.
5 Indeed, I consider that I am not in the least inferior to these super-apostles.

Cross References 4

  • 1. Genesis 3:4; 1 Timothy 2:14; [John 8:44; 1 Thessalonians 3:5]
  • 2. Colossians 2:4, 8
  • 3. [Ephesians 6:5]
  • 4. 2 Corinthians 6:6
The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.