Paul speaks in 2 Corinthians 11 about his fear for the church in Corinth that Satan would trick them and their minds would be corrupted from “the simplicity that is in Christ.”
Frequently, this is taken to mean that the Gospel or that Christ is simple. “Even a kid can understand it” is often stated in this context.
Unfortunately, that’s not what the phrase means.
“Simplicity” means, according to Thayer’s definitions, “singleness, simplicity, sincerity, mental honesty 1a) the virtue of one who is free from pretence and hypocrisy.” It’s not that Christ is simple; it’s that our devotion to Him is singleminded, totally honest and pure.
Paul’s fear for Corinth is that they will be devoted to Christ plus their favorite speaker, or their favorite book, or some work or spiritual attainment. Paul does not want Satan to confuse the issue like he did with Eve.
“Don’t eat from the tree” suddenly got confusing because Eve’s single-minded devotion to her Creator was messed with. Is God holding back on me? Did God really say? These were attacks on Eve’s devotion to her Creator.
The cool thing about this Greek word is that it’s also translated “generosity!”
Romans 12:8 is a classic example. The KJV says, “he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity.” The NAS says “he who gives, with liberality.” Both are right. The KJV went with the mentality that leads to giving–single-minded devotion to Christ; the NAS goes with the resulting act of devotion–liberality, generosity.
It’s the same word, translated either single-minded devotion or generosity. How can one word mean seemingly two different things?
Here’s how you wrap it up:
If I am single-mindedly devoted to chocolate, I could care less what you do with the rest of the food in my house.
If I am single-mindedly devoted to Christ, I can easily part from my stuff. It leads to a generous spirit because “I have Christ, what else do I need? You want it? You can have it!”
It’s the gentiles, the heathen, who fight for the things of this world. The single-minded devotee of Christ lets it go. Let em fight over it; I have Christ.
One of the key ways you know you are devoted to Christ is how loosely you hang on to your stuff. Generosity is the outflow of devotion.