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2 Corinthians 11:2

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

I am jealous over you, etc. - The apostle evidently alludes either to the שושבינים shoshabinim or paranymphs among the Hebrews, whose office is largely explained in the notes on John 3:29, and the observations at the end of that chapter (see note at John 3:36;); or to the harmosyni, a sort of magistrates among the Lacedemonians who had the care of virgins, and whose business it was to see them well educated, kept pure, and properly prepared for married life.

That I may present you as a chaste virgin - The allusion is still kept up; and there seems to be a reference to Leviticus 21:14, that the high priest must not marry any one that was not a pure virgin. Here, then, Christ is the high priest, the spouse or husband; the Corinthian Church the pure virgin to be espoused; the apostle and his helpers the shoshabinim, or harmosyni, who had educated and prepared this virgin for her husband, and espoused her to him. See the observations already referred to at the end of the third chapter of John. ( John 3:36; (note))

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

For I am jealous over you - This verse expresses the reason why he was disposed to speak of his attainments, and of what he had done. It was because he loved them, and because he feared that they were in danger of being seduced from the simplicity of the gospel. The phrase “I am jealous” ( Ζηλῶ Zēlō) means properly, I ardently love you; I am full of tender attachment to you. The word was usual among the Greeks to denote an ardent affection of any kind (from ζέω zeōto boil, to be fervid or fervent). The precise meaning is to be determined by the connection; see the note on 1 Corinthians 12:31. The word may denote the jealousy which is felt by an apprehension of departure from fidelity on the part of those whom we love; or it may denote a fervid and glowing attachment. The meaning here probably is, that Paul had a strong attachment to them.

With godly jealousy - Greek, “with the zeal of God” Θεοῦ ζήλῳ Theou zēlō). That is, with very great or vehement zeal - in accordance with the Hebrew custom when the name God is used to denote any thing signally great, as the phrase “mountains of God,” meaning very elevated or lofty mountains. The mention of this ardent attachment suggested what follows. His mind reverted to the tenderness of the marriage relation, and to the possibility that in that relation the affections might be estranged. He makes use of this figure, therefore, to apprize them of the change which he apprehended.

For I have espoused you … - The word used here ( ἁρμόζω harmozō) means properly “to adapt, to fit, to join together.” Hence, “to join in wedlock, to marry.” Here it means to marry to another; and the idea is, that Paul had been the agent employed in forming a connection, similar to the marriage connection. between them and the Saviour. The allusion here is not certain. It may refer to the custom which prevailed when friends made and procured the marriage for the bridegroom; or it may refer to some custom like that which prevailed among the Lacedemonians where persons were employed to form the lives and manners of virgins and prepare them for the duties of the married life. The sense is clear. Paul claims that it was by his instrumentality that they had been united to the Redeemer. Under him they had been brought into a relation to the Saviour similar to that sustained by the bride to her husband; and he felt all the interest in them which naturally grew out of that fact and from a desire to present them blameless to the pure Redeemer. The relation of the Church to Christ is often represented by marriage; see Ephesians 5:23-33; Revelation 19:7; Revelation 21:9.

To one husband - To the Redeemer.

That I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ - The allusion here, according to Doddridge, is, to the custom among the Greeks “of having an officer whose business it was to educate and form young women, especially those of rank and figure, designed for marriage, and then to present them to those who were to be their husbands, and if this officer through negligence permitted them to be corrupted between the espousals and the consummation of the marriage, great blame would fall upon him.” Such a responsibility Paul felt. So anxious was he for the entire purity of that church which was to constitute “the bride, the Lamb‘s wife;” so anxious that all who were connected with that church should be presented pure in heaven.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
The apostle desired to preserve the Corinthians from being corrupted by the false apostles. There is but one Jesus, one Spirit, and one gospel, to be preached to them, and received by them; and why should any be prejudiced, by the devices of an adversary, against him who first taught them in faith? They should not listen to men, who, without cause, would draw them away from those who were the means of their conversion.
Ellen G. White
The Desire of Ages, 151

In both the Old and the New Testament, the marriage relation is employed to represent the tender and sacred union that exists between Christ and His people. To the mind of Jesus the gladness of the wedding festivities pointed forward to the rejoicing of that day when He shall bring home His bride to the Father's house, and the redeemed with the Redeemer shall sit down to the marriage supper of the Lamb. He says, “As the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, so shall thy God rejoice over thee.” “Thou shalt no more be termed Forsaken; ... but thou shalt be called My Delight; ... for the Lord delighteth in thee.” “He will rejoice over thee with joy; He will rest in His love, He will joy over thee with singing.” Isaiah 62:5, 4, margin; Zephaniah 3:17. When the vision of heavenly things was granted to John the apostle, he wrote: “I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to Him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His wife hath made herself ready.” “Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb.” Revelation 19:6, 7, 9. DA 151.1

Jesus saw in every soul one to whom must be given the call to His kingdom. He reached the hearts of the people by going among them as one who desired their good. He sought them in the public streets, in private houses, on the boats, in the synagogue, by the shores of the lake, and at the marriage feast. He met them at their daily vocations, and manifested an interest in their secular affairs. He carried His instruction into the household, bringing families in their own homes under the influence of His divine presence. His strong personal sympathy helped to win hearts. He often repaired to the mountains for solitary prayer, but this was a preparation for His labor among men in active life. From these seasons He came forth to relieve the sick, to instruct the ignorant, and to break the chains from the captives of Satan. DA 151.2

It was by personal contact and association that Jesus trained His disciples. Sometimes He taught them, sitting among them on the mountainside; sometimes beside the sea, or walking with them by the way, He revealed the mysteries of the kingdom of God. He did not sermonize as men do today. Wherever hearts were open to receive the divine message, He unfolded the truths of the way of salvation. He did not command His disciples to do this or that, but said, “Follow Me.” On His journeys through country and cities He took them with Him, that they might see how He taught the people. He linked their interest with His, and they united with Him in the work. DA 152.1

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Ellen G. White
Education, 268

“He that is greatest among you,” He said, “let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve. For ... I am among you as he that serveth.” Luke 22:26, 27. Ed 268.1

Love and loyalty to Christ are the spring of all true service. In the heart touched by His love, there is begotten a desire to work for Him. Let this desire be encouraged and rightly guided. Whether in the home, the neighborhood, or the school, the presence of the poor, the afflicted, the ignorant, or the unfortunate should be regarded, not as a misfortune, but as affording precious opportunity for service. Ed 268.2

In this work, as in every other, skill is gained in the work itself. It is by training in the common duties of life and in ministry to the needy and suffering, that efficiency is assured. Without this the best-meant efforts are often useless and even harmful. It is in the water, not on the land, that men learn to swim. Ed 268.3

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Ellen G. White
The Great Controversy, 381

In Revelation 14 the first angel is followed by a second proclaiming: “Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.” Revelation 14:8. The term “Babylon” is derived from “Babel,” and signifies confusion. It is employed in Scripture to designate the various forms of false or apostate religion. In Revelation 17 Babylon is represented as a woman—a figure which is used in the Bible as the symbol of a church, a virtuous woman representing a pure church, a vile woman an apostate church. GC 381.1

In the Bible the sacred and enduring character of the relation that exists between Christ and His church is represented by the union of marriage. The Lord has joined His people to Himself by a solemn covenant, He promising to be their God, and they pledging themselves to be His and His alone. He declares: “I will betroth thee unto Me forever; yea, I will betroth thee unto Me in righteousness, and in judgment, and in loving-kindness, and in mercies.” Hosea 2:19. And, again: “I am married unto you.” Jeremiah 3:14. And Paul employs the same figure in the New Testament when he says: “I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 11:2. GC 381.2

The unfaithfulness of the church to Christ in permitting her confidence and affection to be turned from Him, and allowing the love of worldly things to occupy the soul, is likened to the violation of the marriage vow. The sin of Israel in departing from the Lord is presented under this figure; and the wonderful love of God which they thus despised is touchingly portrayed: “I sware unto thee, and entered into a covenant with thee, saith the Lord God, and thou becamest Mine.” “And thou wast exceeding beautiful and thou didst prosper into a kingdom. And thy renown went forth among the heathen for thy beauty: for it was perfect through My comeliness, which I had put upon thee.... But thou didst trust in thine own beauty, and playedst the harlot because of thy renown.” “As a wife treacherously departeth from her husband, so have ye dealt treacherously with Me, O house of Israel, saith the Lord;” “as a wife that committeth adultery, which taketh strangers instead of her husband!” Ezekiel 16:8, 13-15, 32; Jeremiah 3:20. GC 381.3

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 6, 462

Let no hand become slack or palsied. You have the assurance that angels whose home is in the pavilion of the Eternal, and who see the glory of God, are your helpers. Will you co-operate with them in building up every institution that is doing God's service under the supervision of the angelic ministration? 6T 462.1

Who can understand the value of the souls for whose salvation their Prince, their King, the Son of the infinite God, gave His spotless life to a shameful death? If all understood this as they should, what a work would be accomplished! Through the Holy Spirit's working they would by their influence, by their words and their talent of means, lead many souls to escape the chain of darkness and the hellish plottings of Satan, and be washed from their sins in the blood of the Lamb. Oh, let the work go deeper and still deeper! Angels of heaven rejoice to see sinners repent and turn to the living God. 6T 462.2

*****

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 7, 46

Affection may be as clear as crystal and beauteous in its purity, yet it may be shallow because it has not been tested and tried. Make Christ first and last and best in everything. Constantly behold Him, and your love for Him will daily become deeper and stronger as it is submitted to the test of trial. And as your love for Him increases, your love for each other will grow deeper and stronger. “We all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory.” 2 Corinthians 3:18. 7T 46.1

You now have duties to perform that before your marriage you did not have. “Put on therefore, ... kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, long-suffering.” Walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us.” Give careful study to the following instruction: “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church.... Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it.” Colossians 3:12; Ephesians 5:2, 22-25. 7T 46.2

Marriage, a union for life, is a symbol of the union between Christ and His church. The spirit that Christ manifests toward the church is the spirit that husband and wife are to manifest toward each other. 7T 46.3

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