4) 2 Cor 11:3–4: The serpent employed rhetorical guile to ensnare Eve. In the same way, Paul’s rivals snaked their way into the Corinthian church. They won its members’ affection and captured their minds with an alluring false gospel.[1]

Surprisingly, people did not identify Satan with the serpent in Eden until the first century BC[2].

According to an apocryphal text, “God formed us to be imperishable; the image of his own nature he made us. But by the envy of the devil [that Adam and Eve were made in the image of God and had dominion over all creation], death entered the world, and they who are allied with him experience it” (Wisdom of Solomon 2:23–4, NABR).

During the two centuries before the birth of Christ, the deception of Eve became the source of much speculation, with some authors writing that the serpent actually seduced her.[3]

For example, the Babylonian Talmud says, “When the serpent came unto Eve he infused filthy lust into her” (b. Avodah Zarah 22b).[4]

Paul warned the Corinthian church that falling for deceit did not exonerate Eve. Neither would they be without guilt if they followed false teachers.[5]

Image via Wikimedia Commons

 

a) Read 2 Cor 11:3–4. Why did Paul compare the members of the congregation in Corinth to Eve? What was his concern? How can you avoid following false teachers?

 

 

 

Go to An Angel of Light

 

[Related posts include An Angel of Light (2 Cor 11:13–15); Made in the Image of God (Gen 1:26 cont.); Stewards of the Earth (Gen 1:26 cont.); Male and Female He Created Them (Gen 1:27); Serpents in the Ancient Near East (Gen 3:1); A World-Altering Conversation (Gen 3:2–5); Succumbing to Temptation (Gen 3:6); Their Eyes Are Opened (Gen 3:7); Hiding from God (Gen 3:8); A Day of Reckoning (Gen 3:9–13); She Must Learn (1 Tim 2:11); Domineering Women (1 Tim 2:12–14); Difficult Times in the Last Days (2 Tim 3:1–4); Having a Form of Godliness (2 Tim 3:5); and Ancient Literature]

 

[Click here to go to Chapter 6: A Serpent in the Garden (Genesis 3:1–13)]

 

[1]Garland David E., 2 Corinthians (NAC; Nashville: Broadman & Holman, 1999), 462.

[2]New American Bible Revised Edition, Wisdom 2:23–4, https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Wisdom+2%3A23-24&version=NABRE.

[3] Witherington, Conflict and Community in Corinth: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary on 1 and 2 Corinthians, 445.

[4]b. Avodah Zarah 22b, http://halakhah.com/zarah/zarah_22.html.

[5] Garland, 2 Corinthians, 463.