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10. Paul Defends His Ministry

1Now I Paul myself entreat you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ, I who in your presence am lowly among you, but being absent am of good courage toward you: 2yea, I beseech you, that I may not when present show courage with the confidence wherewith I count to be bold against some, who count of us as if we walked according to the flesh. 3For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh 4(for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but mighty before God to the casting down of strongholds), 5casting down imaginations, and every high thing that is exalted against the knowledge of God, and bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ; 6and being in readiness to avenge all disobedience, when your obedience shall be made full. 7Ye look at the things that are before your face. If any man trusteth in himself that he is Christ's, let him consider this again with himself, that, even as he is Christ's, so also are we. 8For though I should glory somewhat abundantly concerning our authority (which the Lord gave for building you up, and not for casting you down), I shall not be put to shame: 9that I may not seem as if I would terrify you by my letters. 10For, His letters, they say, are weighty and strong; but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech of no account. 11Let such a one reckon this, that, what we are in word by letters when we are absent, such are we also in deed when we are present. 12For we are not bold to number or compare ourselves with certain of them that commend themselves: but they themselves, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves with themselves, are without understanding. 13But we will not glory beyond our measure, but according to the measure of the province which God apportioned to us as a measure, to reach even unto you. 14For we stretch not ourselves overmuch, as though we reached not unto you: for we came even as far as unto you in the gospel of Christ: 15not glorying beyond our measure, that is, in other men's labors; but having hope that, as your faith groweth, we shall be magnified in you according to our province unto further abundance, 16so as to preach the gospel even unto the parts beyond you, and not to glory in another's province in regard of things ready to our hand. 17But he that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord. 18For not he that commendeth himself is approved, but whom the Lord commendeth.

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7. Do ye regard mere outward appearance (mere external recommendations, personal appearance, voice, manner, oratory of teachers present face to face, such as they admired in the false teachers to the disparagement of Paul, 2Co 10:10; see on 2Co 5:12)? Even in outward bearing when I shall be present with you (in contrast to "by letters," 2Co 10:9) I will show that I am more really armed with the authority of Christ, than those who arrogate to themselves the title of being peculiarly "Christ's" (1Co 1:12). A Jewish emissary seems to have led this party.

let him of himself think this again—He may "of himself," without needing to be taught it in a more severe manner, by "thinking again," arrive at "this" conclusion, "that even as," &c. Paul modestly demands for himself only an equal place with those whom he had begotten in the Gospel [Bengel].

8. "For even if I were to boast somewhat more exceedingly (than I do, 2Co 10:3-6) of our (apostolic) authority (2Co 10:6; 2Co 13:10) … I should not be put to shame (by the fact; as I should be if my authority proved to be without foundation: my threats of punishment not being carried into effect)."

for edification … not for … destructionGreek, "for building up … not for … CASTING DOWN" (the same Greek as in 2Co 10:5): the image of a building as in 2Co 10:4, 5. Though we "cast down reasonings," this is not in order to destroy, but really to build up ("edify"), by removing those things which are hindrances to edification, and testing what is unsound, and putting together all that is true in the building [Chrysostom].

9. I say this lest I should seem to be terrifying you, as children, with empty threats [Bengel]. Estius explains, "I might boast more of my authority, but I forbear to do so, that I may not seem as if," &c. But this ellipsis is harsh: and 2Co 10:10, 11 confirm Bengel's view.

10. letters—implying that there had been already more letters of Paul received by the Corinthians than the one we have, namely, First Corinthians; and that they contained strong reproofs.

say theyGreek, "says one," "such a one" (2Co 10:11) seems to point to some definite individual. Compare Ga 5:10; a similar slanderer was in the Galatian Church.

weak—(2Co 12:7; 1Co 2:3). There was nothing of majesty or authority in his manner; he bore himself tremblingly among them, whereas the false teachers spoke with authoritative bearing and language.

11. think this—"consider this."

such will we be—or "are," in general, not merely shall we be at our next visit.