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10:1 Now I Paul myself [Autos de egō Paulos]. Cf. Ga 5:2. Paul now turns to the third part of the epistle in chapters 10-13 in which he vigorously defends himself against the accusations of the stubborn minority of Judaizers in Corinth. Great ministers of Christ through the ages have had to pass through fiery trials like these. Paul has shown the way for us all. He speaks of himself now plainly, but under compulsion, as is clear. It may be that at this point he took the pen from the amanuensis and wrote himself as in Ga 6:11. By the meekness and gentleness of Christ [dia tes prautētos kai epieikias tou Christou]. This appeal shows (Plummer) that Paul had spoken to the Corinthians about the character of Christ. Jesus claimed meekness for himself (Mt 11:29) and felicitated the meek (Mt 5:5) and he exemplified it abundantly (Lu 23:34). See on Mt 5:15; 1Co 4:21 for this great word that has worn thin with us. Plutarch combines [prautēs] with [epieikia] as Paul does here. Matthew Arnold suggested “sweet reasonableness” for [epieikeia] in Plato, Aristotle, Plutarch. It is in the N.T. only here and Ac 24:4 [to epieikes] in Php 4:5). In Greek Ethics the equitable man was called [epieikēs], a man who does not press for the last farthing of his rights (Bernard). Lowly among you [tapeinos en humin]. The bad use of [tapeinos], the old use, but here alone in N.T. in that meaning. Socrates and Aristotle used it for littleness of soul. Probably Paul here is quoting one of the sneers of his traducers in Corinth about his humble conduct while with them (1Co 2:23; 2Co 7:6) and his boldness [apōn tharrō] when away (1Co 7:16). “It was easy to satirize and misrepresent a depression of spirits, a humility of demeanour, which were either the direct results of some bodily affliction, or which the consciousness of this affliction had rendered habitual” (Farrar). The words stung Paul to the quick.
10:2 I beseech [deomai]. So here, but [parakalō] in verse 1. Perhaps, “I beg” suits the new turn here. That I may not when present show courage [to mē parōn tharrēsai]. Articular infinitive (aorist active of [tharreō] in the accusative case with negative [mē] the direct object of [deomai]. Literally, “I beg the not when present [parōn] nominative present participle agreeing with subject of [tharrō] in spite of being in the accusative infinitive clause, [to mē tharrēsai] showing courage.” The example of humility in Christ makes Paul drop “from magisterial exhortation to earnest entreaty” (Plummer). As if we walked according to the flesh [hōs kata sarka peripatountas]. Another sneering charge as made plain by the use of [hōs] with the participle for the alleged reason.
10:3 In the flesh [en sarki]. But that is a very different thing from walking [kata sarka] according to the standards of the flesh as his enemies charged. It is easy enough to make insinuations. We war [strateuometha]. Literary plural again after [logizomai] in verse 2. Old word to lead an army [stratos]. In N.T. only in the middle as here. Paul admits that he fights, but only the devil and his agents even if wearing the livery of heaven. Paul knew the Roman army well. He knows how to use the military metaphor.
10:4 The weapons of our warfare [ta hopla tēs strateias]. [Strateia] (old word, in N.T. only here and 1Ti 1:18) is campaign and not army as some MSS. have [stratia]. But both [strateia] and [stratia] occur in the papyri for the same word (Deissmann, Bible Studies, p. 181f.). For [hopla] (Latin arma) see on 6:7; Rom 6:13; 13:12. Of the flesh [sarkika]. See on 1Co 3:3; 2Co 1:12. They had accused him of artifices and craft. Mighty before God [dunata tōi theōi]. This dative of personal interest (ethical dative) can be like [asteios tōi theōi] (Ac 7:20), in God’s eyes, as it looks to God. To the casting down of strongholds [pros kathairesin ochurōmatōn]. [Kathairesis] is old word from [kathaireō], to take down, to tear down walls and buildings. Carries on the military metaphor. [Ochurōma] is old word, common in the Apocrypha, from [ochuroō], to fortify, and that from [ochuros] (from [echō], to hold fast). Nowhere else in N.T. In Cilicia the Romans had to tear down many rocky forts in their attacks on the pirates.
10:5 Casting down imaginations [logismous kathairountes]. The same military figure [kathairesis] and the present active participle agreeing with [strateuometha] in verse 3 (verse 4 a parenthesis). The reasonings or imaginations [logismous], old word from [logizomai], to reckon, only here in N.T. and Ro 2:15) are treated as forts or citadels to be conquered. Every high thing that is exalted [pan hupsōma epairomenon]. Same metaphor. [Hupsōma] from [hupsoō] is late Koinē word (in LXX, Plutarch, Philo, papyri) for height and that figure carried on by [epairomenon]. Paul aims to pull down the top-most perch of audacity in their reasonings against the knowledge of God. We need Paul’s skill and courage today. Bringing every thought into captivity [aichmalōtizontes pān noēma]. Present active participle of [aichmalōtizō], common Koinē verb from [aichmalōtos], captive in war [aichmē], spear, [halōtos] verbal of [haliskomai], to be taken). See on Lu 21:24. Paul is the most daring of thinkers, but he lays all his thoughts at the feet of Jesus. For [noēma] (device) see on 2:11. To the obedience of Christ [eis tēn hupakoēn tou Christou]. Objective genitive, “to the obedience unto Christ.” That is Paul’s conception of intellectual liberty, freedom in Christ. Deissmann (St. Paul, p. 141) calls this “the mystic genitive.”
10:6 Being in readiness [en hetoimōi echontes]. This very idiom occurs in Polybius, Philo, etc. “Holding in readiness.” In 12:14 we have [hetoimōs echō] for the same idea (adverb [hetoimōs]. Disobedience [parakoēn]. Rare word (Plato, papyri) hearing amiss (aside), failing to hear, refusing to heed (cf. Mt 18:17 for same idea in [parakouō]. In N.T. only here; Ro 5:19; Heb 2:2. In contrast with [hupakoē] (obedience) rather than the common [apeithia] (Ro 11:30,32). When your obedience shall be fulfilled [hotan plērōthēi humōn hē hupakoē]. Indefinite temporal clause with [hotan] and first aorist passive subjunctive. Paul expects that the whole church will become obedient to Christ’s will soon as came true.
10:7 Ye look [Blepete]. Either indicative or imperative. Either makes sense but the indicative the best sense. Before your face [kata prosōpon]. They ought to look below the surface. If it is imperative, they should see the facts. That he is Christ’s [Christou einai]. Predicate genitive in indirect discourse).
10:8 Somewhat abundantly [perissoteron ti]. Comparative, “somewhat more abundantly” than I have, in order to show that he is as true a minister of Christ as his accusers are. Concessive (conditional) clause of third class. For [ean te] see Ro 14:8. I shall not be put to shame [ouk aischunthēsomai]. As a convicted impostor or pretentious boaster (Plummer). First future passive, singular number (not literary plural as in verse 7).
10:9 As if I would terrify you by my letters [hōs an ekphobein humas dia tōn epistolōn]. This use of [hōs an] with the infinitive is seen in the papyri (Moulton, Prolegomena, p. 167) and it is not [an] in the apodosis (Robertson, Grammar, pp. 974, 1040). The active of this old compound verb means to frighten, to terrify. Here only in N.T. It is common in the LXX (Job 7:14; 33:16). Note plural (letters) here and cf. 1Co 5:9; 2Co 2:3.
10:10 They say [phasin]. Reading of B old Latin Vulgate, but Westcott and Hort prefer [phēsin] (says one, the leader). This charge Paul quotes directly. Weighty and strong [bareiai kai ischurai]. These adjectives can be uncomplimentary and mean “severe and violent” instead of “impressive and vigorous.” The adjectives bear either sense. His bodily presence [hē parousia tou sōmatos]. This certainly is uncomplimentary. “The presence of his body.” It seems clear that Paul did not have a commanding appearance like that of Barnabas (Ac 14:12). He had some physical defect of the eyes (Ga 4:14) and a thorn in the flesh (2Co 12:7). In the second century Acts of Paul and Thecla he is pictured as small, short, bow-legged, with eye-brows knit together, and an aquiline nose. A forgery of the fourth century in the name of Lucian describes Paul as “the bald-headed, hook-nosed Galilean.” However that may be, his accusers sneered at his personal appearance as “weak” [asthenēs]. His speech of no account [ho logos exouthenēmenos]. Perfect passive participle of [exoutheneō], to treat as nothing (cf. 1Co 1:28). The Corinthians (some of them) cared more for the brilliant eloquence of Apollos and did not find Paul a trained rhetorician (1Co 1:17; 2:1,4; 2Co 11:6). He made different impressions on different people. “Seldom has any one been at once so ardently hated and so passionately loved as St. Paul” (Deissmann, St. Paul, p. 70). “At one time he seemed like a man, and at another he seemed like an angel” (Acts of Paul and Thecla). He spoke like a god at Lystra (Ac 14:8-12), but Eutychus went to sleep on him (Ac 20:9). Evidently Paul winced under this biting criticism of his looks and speech.
10:11 What we are [hoioi esmen]. Rather, “what sort” [hoioi], not [ho] (what) nor [hoi] (who). Literary plural. [Hoios] is qualitative just as [toioutoi] (such). Paul’s quality in his letters when absent [apontes] and in his deeds when present [parontes] is precisely the same.
10:12 To number or compare ourselves [enkrinai ē sunkrinai]. Paronomasia here, play on the two words. [Enkrinai] is first aorist active infinitive of old verb, but here only in N.T., to judge among, to judge one as worthy to be numbered among as here. The second verb [sunkrinai] (first aorist active infinitive of [sunkrinō], old verb, in N.T. only here and 1Co 2:13) originally meant to combine as in 1Co 2:13 (which see), but here it has the sense of “compare” not found in the old Greek. The papyri use it to mean to decide. Plummer suggests “to pair and compare” for the play on the words here. Measuring themselves by themselves [en heautois heautous metrountes]. Or “in themselves.” Keenest sarcasm. Setting themselves up as the standards of orthodoxy these Judaizers always measure up to the standard while Paul falls short. Comparing themselves with themselves [sunkrinontes heautous heautois]. Associate instrumental case [heautois] after [sunkrinontes] (verb just explained). Paul is not keen to fall into the trap set for him. Are without understanding [ou suniāsin]. The regular form for present active indicative third plural of [suniēmi], to comprehend, to grasp. Some MSS. have the late form [suniousin] (omega form [suniō]. It is a hard thing to see, but it is true. These men do not see their own picture so obvious to others (Eph 5:17; 1Ti 1:7). Cf. Mr 8:17.
10:13 Beyond our measure [eis ta ametra]. “Into the unmeasured things,” “the illimitable.” Old word, here only in N.T. Of the province [tou kanonos]. Old word [kanna] like Hebrew) a reed, a measuring rod. Numerous papyri examples for measuring rod and rules (our word canon). Only twice in N.T., here (also verse 15, 16) and Ga 6:16 (rule to walk by). To reach even unto you [ephikesthai achri kai humōn]. Second aorist middle infinitive of [ephikneomai], old verb, only here and verse 14 in N.T. Paul’s measuring-rod extends to Corinth.
10:14 We stretch not ourselves overmuch [ou huperekteinomen heautous]. Apparently Paul made this double compound verb to express his full meaning (only in Gregory Nazianzen afterwards). “We do not stretch ourselves out beyond our rights.” We came even as far as unto you [achri kai humōn ephthasamen]. First aorist active indicative of [phthanō], to come before, to precede, the original idea which is retained in Mt 12:28 (Lu 11:20) and may be so here. If so, it means “We were the first to come to you” (which is true, Ac 18:1-18).
10:15 In other men’s labours [en allotriois kopois]. [Allotrios] means belonging to another as in Lu 16:12. Paul founded the church in Corinth. As your faith groweth [auxanomenēs tēs pisteōs]. Genitive absolute of the present passive participle of [auxanō], to grow. We shall be magnified [megalunthēnai]. First aorist passive infinitive of [megalunō], old verb (Lu 1:46) to make great (cf. Php 1:20 of Christ). Indirect discourse after [elpida] (hope) with the construction of [elpizō], to hope.
10:16 Even unto the parts beyond you [eis ta huperekeina humōn]. Compound adverb [huper, ekeina], beyond those places) used as preposition. Found only here and in ecclesiastical writers. Things ready to our hand [ta hetoima]. He had a plenty besides that he could use.
10:17 Paul quotes Pr 27:2.
10:18 Is approved [dokimos]. Accepted (from [dechomai] by the Lord. The Lord accepts his own recommendation [sunistēsin], see on 2Co 3:1f.).
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