For such are false apostles, deceitful workers…. — 2 Corinthians 11:13
Today is the last Sparkling Gem on the subject of apostleship. I have sensed the need to cover this material because this topic is so rarely addressed. I pray that it has been a blessing to you and that it has caused you to deeply think about spiritual leadership — the need for it and the need to be careful about whom you choose to follow spiritually.
In Second Corinthians 11:13 and 14, Paul described the growing problem of false apostles. He said, “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.”
The phrase “false apostles” comes from the Greek word pseudapostolos, a compound of pseudes and apostolos. The word pseudes carries the idea of any type of falsehood. It can picture a person who projects a false image of himself, someone who deliberately walks in a pretense that is untrue, or someone who intentionally misrepresents facts or truths. In every instance where this word is used in the New Testament, it portrays someone who misrepresents who he is by what he does, by what he says, orby the lie or misrepresentation that he purports to be true. The second part of the word is apostolos — which, of course, is the word for an apostle. Therefore, the word pseudapostolos actually describes a pretend apostle or someone who intentionally represents himself to be an apostle even though he knows he is not.
Paul called these false apostles “deceitful workers.” The word “deceitful” comes from the Greek word dolios, which is derived from a root word used to describe bait that is put on a hook to catch fish. It conveys the idea of craftiness, cheating, cunning, dishonesty, fraud, guile, and trickeryintended to entrap someone in an act of deception. Like a fisherman who carefully camouflages a hook with bait, these counterfeit apostles lured sincere believers closer and closer until those believers finally “took the bait.” And once the hook was in their victims’ mouths, the false apostles “pulled the hook” and took congregations, even entire groups of churches, captive.
Paul said these individuals were deceitful “workers.” This word “workers” is taken from the Greek word ergates, a word that denotes someone who actively worksat what he is doing. This indicates that nothing was accidental about this act of deception and that these false apostles put forth great effort to impersonate real apostolic ministry.