2 Corinthians chapter 10

Paul calls the Corinthians to action. He maps out Christian spiritual warfare. And he confronts the false apostles. [UPDATED]

 


 

PAUL CALLS THEM TO ACTION

 

VERSE 1. Now I Paul, myself, entreat you by the humility and gentleness of Christ, I who in your presence am lowly among you, but being absent am bold toward you.

entreat you. Paul is calling them to action. This will test the affection Titus said they have for him.

gentleness. The Greek word is hepieikeias. It means graciousness. Paul ministered meekly and graciously.

However, the false apostles thought of Paul as weak and timid, as we see in verse 10 below.

 

VERSE 2. Yes, I beg you that I may not, when present, show courage with the confidence with which I intend to be bold against some, who consider us to be walking according to the flesh.

 

SPIRITUAL WARFARE

SUMMARY: When nations go to war, they attack other nations. But Christian spiritual warfare is directed at oneself. We are launching an all-out offensive to change our spiritual lives for the better.

An important passage to read alongside this one is Ephesians 6:10-20. Wear armor for spiritual warfare.

 

VERSE 3. For though we walk in the flesh, we don’t wage war according to the flesh;

NIV translation: For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does.

we don’t wage war according to the flesh. Many people are at war all the time. They fight to be in charge of their social group.

They attack others with falsehoods and false rumors. They misrepresent others.

These and many other unsavory tactics are the tools of the worldly person at war. And sadly, many Christians as well.

 

VERSE 4. for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but mighty before God to the throwing down of strongholds,

NIV translation: The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.

This verse is fantastic! Would you consider memorizing it? More great verses to memorize from Second Corinthians.

are not of the flesh. Worldly weapons include personal influence, impressive credentials, rhetorical polish, and the like.

mighty. We believers do not to resort to worldly weapons. Instead, we proclaim the Word of God. And we pray. Those are weapons with divine power.

the throwing down of strongholds. Christian warfare is spiritual. Spiritual warfare means to use God’s divine power to demolish strongholds.

strongholds. The Greek word is ὀχυρωμάτων (“ochyrōmatōn”). It means fortress, strong defense, stronghold. Normally it indicates a hardened military fortress. In a spiritual context, it usually indicates the encampment of the enemy, where Satan or his demons reside.

However, in this verse, it is used figuratively. It means a false argument in which a person escapes reality.

 

VERSE 5. throwing 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,

NIV translation: We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

This verse is fantastic! Would you consider memorizing it? More great verses to memorize from Second Corinthians.

In the Philokalia, St. Isaiah the Solitary refers to this verse.

Paul tells us three aspects of spiritual warfare …

throwing down imaginations. Spiritual warfare means to demolish arguments that we use against the knowledge of God.

every high thing. Spiritual warfare means to demolish every pretension that we have against the knowledge of God.

bringing every thought into captivity. Spiritual warfare means to bring your thought-life into control. That way, even our inner thoughts are obedient to Christ. We demolish wrong ways of thinking, replacing them with God’s right ways of thinking.

 

VERSE 6. and being in readiness to avenge all disobedience when your obedience is made full.

 

CONFRONTING THE FALSE APOSTLES

 

VERSE 7. Do you look at things only as they appear in front of your face? If anyone trusts in himself that he is Christ’s, let him consider this again with himself, that even as he is Christ’s, so we also are Christ’s.

If anyone trusts in himself that he is Christ’s. Are you Christ’s?

 

VERSE 8. For even if I boast somewhat abundantly concerning our authority, which the Lord gave for building you up, and not for casting you down, I will not be ashamed,

authority … for building you up. Christian leaders have authority. It is for building people up.

not for casting you down. If a Christian leader tears people down, it is an abuse of authority.

 

VERSE 9. that I may not seem as if I desire to terrify you by my letters.

 

VERSE 10. For, “His letters”, they say, “are weighty and strong, but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech is despised.”

his bodily presence is weak. At a superficial level, Paul’s public presence was unimpressive. In verse 1 above, Paul described himself as humble and gentle.

his speech is despised. Unlike the false apostles, Paul was neither a polished speaker nor a rhetorician.

 

VERSE 11. Let such a person consider this, that what we are in word by letters when we are absent, such are we also in deed when we are present.

such are we also in deed. Paul did not merely write bold letters. Rather, he acted on them. He actually put them into practice.

 

VERSE 12. For we are not bold to number or compare ourselves with some of those who commend themselves. But they themselves, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves with themselves, are without understanding.

those who commend themselves. That is, the false apostles.

 

VERSE 13. But we will not boast beyond proper limits, but within the boundaries with which God appointed to us, which reach even to you.

 

VERSE 14. For we don’t stretch ourselves too much, as though we didn’t reach to you. For we came even as far as to you with the Good News of Christ,

 

VERSE 15. not boasting beyond proper limits in other men’s labors, but having hope that as your faith grows, we will be abundantly enlarged by you in our sphere of influence,

boasting beyond proper limits. The false apostles bragged about accomplishing things they had never even done.

as your faith grows. Paul hopes that as their faith continues to grow, something would happen:

we will be abundantly enlarged by you. Paul’s sphere of activity among them would greatly expand.

That is a reasonable hope. As people grow in their faith, they will interact more fruitfully with their Christian leader.

 

VERSE 16. so as to preach the Good News even to the parts beyond you, not to boast in what someone else has already done.

 

VERSE 17. But “he who boasts, let him boast in the Lord.”

boast in the Lord. We don’t brag about ourselves. We brag about the Lord!

 

VERSE 18. For it isn’t he who commends himself who is approved, but whom the Lord commends.

 


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2 CORINTHIANS

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