“But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.”
—II Corinthians 11:3 (NASB)
“The simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ”—this phrase is mind-boggling if we understand fully the words that God chose to use in this eleventh chapter of II Corinthians. Many believers today have a tendency to reduce the word “simplicity” in their minds to something’s being “simple.” From there, they dumb-down verse 3 to say that devotion to Christ is “simple.” This is far from the message Paul intended to convey in this powerful phrase.
We must never allow our personal inference of an English word to lessen the full meaning of the Greek word the author originally used. Paul chose his words carefully and with God’s help. The Greek word that is translated “simplicity” in II Corinthians 11:3 is haplotes and is defined as: singleness, simplicity, sincerity, mental honesty. The virtue of one who is free from pretense and hypocrisy; not self-seeking, but having an openness of heart that manifests itself through acts of generosity.
Wow! Who would think a single word could convey so much meaning? But isn’t it awesome? In this simple phrase, we see exactly how we are to believe, feel and act towards Jesus.
Plugging the full meaning of the Greek haplotes into the phrase in II Corinthians 11:3, we see that we need to guard our minds against being dull, slow and incapable of devotion to Christ. Instead, we are to be single-minded, never hypocritical or self-seeking, but having a visible generosity of heart. We possess a mental honesty and are sincere in our devotion to Him. If we possess this kind of devotion in our lives, we will never need to worry about being deceived when it comes to the truth about Christ. Even Satan, who has the ability to disguise himself as “an angel of light” will be unable to penetrate the layer of protection afforded by the simplicity and purity of our devotion to Christ.
The Holy Spirit guided the hand of God’s penmen who recorded the scriptures for our benefit. The Word itself tells us that all scripture is “God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness.” We need to pay close attention, therefore, to the Holy Spirit’s definition of the words He uses and not substitute what man has come to believe they say.