2Corinthians 10 - Outline of 2Corinthians (MENU page)
I. Introduction. 1:1-7
II. The Characteristics of Paul's Ministry. 1:8- 7:16
III. The Collection for the poor. 8:1- 9:15
IV. The Vindication of Paul's apostleship. 10:1- 13:10
A. The divine authentication. 10:1-18
  1. The might of God-given weapons. 10:1-6
  2. The weight of God-given words. 10:7-11
  3. The measure of God-given authority. 10:12-18
1. Now I Paul myself {ie., personally}
beseech you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ,
who in presence [am] base
{humble, lowly} among you,
but being absent am bold toward you:
In chapters 10-12, Paul counters the attacks of false teachers, who were publicly questioning his authority as an apostle, as they sought to draw his spiritual children away from him, to follow them.
     He begins his appeal on the basis of the "meekness and gentleness of Christ," whose apostle he was. During His earthly ministry, Christ exhibited humility (eg., Mat 11:29; 12:19,20; 21:5; 1Pet 2:22,23). When men looked at Jesus, they saw an ordinary man (Isa 53:2,3; Mark 6:3). Yet, He was and is vested with the full authority of God (eg., Joh 5:22,23; Mat 28:18; Col 2:9).
     When men looked at Paul, they saw a humble tentmaker, in a weary and worn body. Yet, he was an ambassador for Christ (2Cor 5:20). Paul's detractors claimed that when he was present, he was weak, but when he was absent, he spoke courageously (in his letters, v.10). However, Paul purposely attempted to address disorder in the church by letter, so that his visits, unmarred by discord, could be dedicated to uninterrupted fellowship around the teaching of God's Word (eg., 1Cor 4:18-21).
2 But I beseech [you],
that I may not be bold when I am present with that confidence,
wherewith I think to be bold against some,
which think of us as if we walked according to the flesh.
{Gal 2:20; 1Pet 4:1,2}
3 For though we walk in the flesh,
we do not war after
{according to} the flesh:
The apostle (and all true servants of the Lord) are engaged in war against Satan, who blinds unbelieving hearts (2Cor 4:3,4; Eph 6:12), and against false teachers and their false doctrine, which leads believers astray (Jude 1:3,4). The battle requires the full attention and determination of the foot soldiers (1Tim 1:18,19; 2Tim 2:3,4; 4:7). But victory belongs only to those who trust wholly in the Lord (cp. 1Sam 17:47).
4 (For the weapons of our warfare [are] not carnal {fleshly},
but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)
The Lord's servants, in human flesh, are inadequate either to prosecute or to stand in spiritual warfare. But, for those whose confidence is in Him, God supplies all the offensive and defensive tools that are needed (2Cor 2:14; 3:5; 4:7; cp. Zech 4:6,7).
     These weapons, being of God, are mighty {powerful, capable} (2Cor 6:7; Eph 6:11-18).
     These weapons, being of God, are effective to 'the pulling down' {the demolition} of the enemy's strongholds {fortified constructs}. cp. Heb 11:30
5 Casting down imaginations {ie., overthrowing reasonings},
and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God,
and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
6 And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience,
when your obedience is fulfilled.
At the apostle's next visit, he would be bold against those who were out of order, for he would act in the authority vested in him, and with the effective power of God behind him, to...
  1. overthrow reasonings - ie., false doctrine based on worldly wisdom. 1Cor 1:19,27-29; 3:19
  2. bring down 'every high thing' - ie., the pride of men who exalt their opinions
    against the knowledge of God. cp. Isa 2:11; Jude 1:10-13
  3. bring into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ -
    True believers, hearing God's Word, would give heed and submit to the Lord. Heb 4:12-16; cp. Isa 55:7,8
  4. and (if necessary) revenge {punish} all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.
    When the church was fully submissive to the Word, discipline would be exercised, by God's power, upon those who had been causing trouble or leading God's people astray. 2Cor 13:2-4
7. Do ye look on things after the outward appearance? {Joh 7:24; 2Cor 5:12}
If any man trust to himself that he is Christ's,
{cp. 1Cor 1:12}
let him of himself think this again,
that, as he [is] Christ's, even so [are] we Christ's.
{1Cor 9:1,2}
8 For though I should boast somewhat more
{a little excessively} of our authority,
which the Lord hath given us for edification
{ie., building up},
and not for your destruction
{pulling down, demolition, cp. v.4}, {2Cor 13:10}
I should not be ashamed:
9 That I may not seem as if I would terrify you by letters.
10 For [his] letters, say they, [are] weighty and powerful;
but [his] bodily presence [is] weak
{without vigor},
and [his] speech contemptible
{despicable, of no account}. {v.1; 1Cor 2:1-4}
11 Let such an one think this,
that, such as we are in word by letters when we are absent,
such [will we be] also in deed
{actions} when we are present.
Paul's authority, as an apostle of Christ, was given primarily for the establishment of the churches upon sound doctrine (ie., for edification). But a secondary purpose, of apostolic authority, was to counter error for the protection of the churches (to pull down satanic strongholds).
     Paul's authority had been expressed forcefully in the words of his epistles, as he ministered to the church from a distance. Although some self-serving local church leaders discounted Paul's authority, he assured them that, at his next visit, they would know the weight and power of his words put to action, against them. 2Cor 13:2-4; 1Cor 4:19,20
12. For we dare not make ourselves of the number,
or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves:
but they measuring themselves by themselves,
and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.
{Prov 26:12}
13 But we will not boast of things without [our] measure,
but according to the measure of the rule
{GK=kanon, full measurement, measuring line, cp. v.15,16}
which God hath distributed
{appointed} to us,
a measure to reach even unto you.
14 For we stretch not ourselves beyond [our measure],
as though we reached not unto you:
{2Cor 3:1-3; 1Cor 4:15}
for we are come as far as to you also in [preaching] the gospel of Christ:
15 Not boasting of things without [our] measure,
[that is], of other men's labours;
{cp. Rom 15:18-21}
but having hope, when your faith is increased,
that we shall be enlarged by you according to our rule abundantly,
16 To preach the gospel in the [regions] beyond you,
{eg., Rom 15:24}
[and] not to boast in another man's line of things made ready to our hand.
{ie., not to boast in another's appointed region and accomplished work, as though it was our own.}
17 But he that glorieth {boasts}, let him glory {boast} in the Lord. {cp. Jer 9:23,24; 1Cor 1:31}
18 For not he that commendeth himself is approved,
but whom the Lord commendeth.
{v.12; cp. Luk 16:15; 1Cor 4:5}
The church leaders who were disparaging Paul, regarded themselves highly. But they were evaluating themselves with a faulty standard of measurement (measuring themselves against one another).
     God had measured out, to Paul, a region of ministry which extended from Jerusalem to Corinth. Paul had won converts and planted churches in places where the Gospel had not been previously preached. It was his policy to go only to unreached regions, so as not to take credit for the work of another evangelist. Had the Corinthian church leaders forgotten that they were building on the foundation which Paul had laid? (1Cor 3:10)
     Paul's hope {expectation, v.15,16} was that as the Corinthian church grew in the faith, they would look beyond their local ministry, and partner with Paul, to expand his evangelistic work into new areas.
     As for Paul, his boast was only in the Lord (v.17,18; cp. 1Cor 3:6,7; Gal 6:14).
     As Christ's apostle, he looked only for the Lord's approval. Yet, anyone, aware of his ministry history, should have no doubt that Paul was indeed a servant of the Lord (eg., 2Cor 6:3-7). In the next two chapters, Paul reluctantly reviews some of that history.

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