corner graphic   Hi,    
ver. 2.0.19.11.20
Finding the new version too difficult to understand? Go to classic.studylight.org/

Bible Commentaries

Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges
2 Corinthians 10

 

 

Other Authors
Verse 1

1. Αὐτὸς δὲ ἐγὼ Παῦλος. It is putting too much meaning into αὐτός to suppose that here the Apostle ceases to dictate and writes the remainder of the letter with his own hand (2 Thessalonians 3:17; 1 Corinthians 16:21; Colossians 4:18). No doubt he sometimes wrote himself, without expressly saying that he did so; and he sometimes wrote more than the last few words. Galatians 6:11 implies that at least the last eight verses were written by himself; and Philemon 1:19 seems to indicate that the whole letter was written with his own hand. Others suggest that αὐτός intimates that the Apostle is going to enter upon personal matters. More probably the αὐτός simply anticipates what is coming; ‘That very Paul, who you think is so humble when he is with you, and so bold when he is away.’ This emphatic αὐτὸς ἐγώ is found again 2 Corinthians 12:13; Romans 7:25; Romans 9:3; Romans 15:14; and neither here nor in any of those passages does it mean that he is writing with his own hand. For ἐγὼ Παῦλος comp. Galatians 5:2; Ephesians 3:1; Philemon 1:19.

It is possible to bring this opening into connexion with the conclusion of 9 in some such way as this; ‘I exhort you to be kind to your brethren in Judea in consideration of the gentleness of Christ; and I pray God that I may not be driven to do more than exhort’ (comp. παραγγέλλων οὐκ ἐπαινῶ in 1 Corinthians 11:17). But this is rather forced, and leaves too much to be understood. The appeal to the gentleness of Christ refers to what follows, not to the preceding request for a liberal contribution; and δέομαι means ‘I pray you,’ not ‘I pray God.’

διὰ τῆς πραΰτητος. See critical note: throughout the N.T. and the LXX. πραύτης should probably be read rather than πραότης. The virtue of ‘meekness’ is exhibited first towards God, in accepting His treatment of us without questioning, secondly towards men, in accepting their treatment of us as being in accordance with His will. In Aristotle it is the due regulation of the temper between ὀργιλότης and ἀοργησία (Eth. Nic. II. vii. 10; IV. v.), and he opposes it to χαλεπότης (Hist. An. ix. i. 1). Plato opposes it to ἀγριότης (Symp. 197 D). Plutarch several times, as S. Paul does here, combines it with ἐπιείκεια (Peric. 39; Caes. 57), that ‘sweet reasonableness’ which shrinks from insisting upon its full rights for fear of inflicting the smallest wrong. While πραότης may be wholly passive, ἐπιείκεια involves action; it rectifies the errors of strict justice and makes allowances for particular cases: ἔστιν αὕτη ἡ φύσις, ἡ τοῦ ἐπιεικοῦς, ἐπανόρθωμα νόμου, ᾖ ἐλλείπει διὰ τὸ καθόλου (Eth. Nic. V. x. 6). In the Gospels the πραότης and ἐπιείκεια of Christ are conspicuous (Matthew 11:29), and S. Paul uses these characteristics of the Redeemer as the medium of his entreaty. He points to them as a motive (Winer, p. 477) to induce the Corinthians not to drive Christ’s Apostle to be other than meek and gentle: comp. 1 Corinthians 1:10; Romans 12:1; Romans 15:20. The two virtues are discussed by Trench, Syn. §§ 42, 43; and Wetstein gives many illustrations. See also Hatch, Biblical Greek, p. 73.

δς κατὰ πρόσωπον μὲν ταπεινὸς ἐν ὑμῖν. Who to your face (2 Corinthians 10:7) am lowly among you. Here only does the A.V. render ταπεινός ‘base,’ which is wanted for ἀγενής (1 Corinthians 1:28). Elsewhere it renders ταπεινός either ‘lowly’ (Matthew 11:29), or ‘of low estate’ (Romans 12:16), or ‘of low degree’ (James 1:9; Luke 1:52), or ‘humble’ (James 4:6; 1 Peter 5:5). ‘Lowly’ (R.V.) is best here: see on 2 Corinthians 7:6. S. Paul is here taking what was said of him by his enemies, and (with some irony) adopting it as true. There is no Hebraism in κατὰ πρόσωπον (Acts 3:13; Acts 25:16; Galatians 2:11); it occurs several times in Polybius. See Dalman, The Words of Jesus, p. 29.

θαρρῶ. See on 2 Corinthians 7:16; am of good courage; comp. 2 Corinthians 10:6; 2 Corinthians 10:8.

APPENDIX A

THE PERSONAL APPEARANCE OF S. PAUL

2 Corinthians 10:1; 2 Corinthians 10:10

Lanciani, in his New Tales of Old Rome (Murray, 1901, pp. 153 ff.), makes the following remarks on portraits of S. Paul:

“Let us now turn our attention to the discoveries made quite lately in connection with the basilica and grave of Paul the Apostle, whose figure appeals to us more forcibly than any other in the history of the propagation of the gospel in Rome. I do not speak so much of reverence and admiration for his work, as of the sympathy and charm inspired by his personal appearance. In all the portraits which have come down to us by the score, painted on the walls of underground cemeteries, engraved in gold leaf on the love-cups, cast in bronze, worked in repoussé on silver or copper medallions, or outlined in mosaic, the features of Paul never vary. He appears as a thin, wiry man, slightly bald, with a long, pointed beard. The expression of the face is calm and benevolent, with a gentle touch of sadness. The profile is unmistakably Jewish.” It may be added that S. Paul is almost always represented in company with S. Peter, who is tall and upright, with short hair and beard, and with a long flat nose. Very often our Lord, or a monogram which represents him, is placed between the two Apostles.

Descriptions of the Apostle exhibit a similar type. The apocryphal Acta Pauli et Theklae have come down to us in Latin, Greek, Armenian, and Syriac. Of these the Syriac seems to represent the oldest form of the story, which (Professor Ramsay believes) “goes back ultimately to a document of the first century” (The Church in the Roman Empire, p. 381). The description of S. Paul comes near the beginning of the story (§ 3). It runs thus in the Syriac; “A man of middling size, and his hair was scanty, and his legs were a little crooked, and his knees were projecting (or far apart); and he had large eyes, and his eyebrows met, and his nose was somewhat long; and he was full of grace and mercy; at one time he seemed like a man, and at another he seemed like an angel.” The Armenian Version gives him crisp or curly hair and blue eyes, traits which are found in no other account. Malelas or Malala, otherwise called John of Antioch, a Byzantine historian of uncertain date (?A.D. 580), describes the Apostle as κονδοειδής, φαλακρός, μιξοπόλιος τὴν κάραν καὶ τὸ γένειον, εὔρινος, ὑπόγλαυκος, σύνοφρυς, λευκόχρους, ἀνθηροπρόσωπος, εὐπώγων, ὑπογελῶντα ἔχων τὸν χαρακτῆρα (Chronographia, x. 332, p. 257 ed. Bonn). The worthless Dialogue Philopatris, wrongly ascribed to Lucian, but of a much later date, gives S. Paul an aquiline nose, as also does Nicephorus. But the description in the Acts of Paul and Thekla is the only one which is likely to be based upon early tradition. See F. C. Conybeare, Monuments of Early Christianity, p. 62; Kraus, Real-Encycl. d. Christ. Alter. II. pp. 608, 613; Smith and Cheetham, Dict. of Chr. Ant. II. p. 1622.


Verse 2

2. δέομαι δὲ τὸ μὴ παρὼν θαρρῆσαι, Yea, I beseech you that I may not when present show courage. The δέ follows up the παρακαλῶ: I exhort, yea, I beseech. The A.V. misses a point in having ‘beseech’ for both παρακαλῶ (2 Corinthians 10:1) and δέομαι. And the change from exhortation to entreaty is not sufficiently marked in either the Vulgate (obsecro, rogo) or the R.V. (‘intreat,’ ‘beseech’). The παρών implies that he means to visit them again. The nom. with infin. is regular, being attracted to δέομαι: comp. Romans 1:22; Romans 15:24; Philippians 4:11.

τῇ πεποιθήσει ᾖ λογίζομαι τολμῆσαι ἐπί τινας τ. λ. . The A.V. misses another point in having ‘be bold’ for both θαρρῆσαι and τολμῆσαι. By changing his word S. Paul intimates that the boldness which he expects to exhibit is not quite the same as the courage (or θρασυδειλία) attributed to him by his critics; that I may not when present show courage with the confidence wherewith I count to be bold against some which count of us &c. For πεποιθησις see on 2 Corinthians 1:15, and comp. the stronger ὑπόστασις in 2 Corinthians 9:4. With S. Paul λογίζομαι, ‘count, account, reckon,’ is a favourite word (2 Corinthians 3:5, 2 Corinthians 5:19, 2 Corinthians 11:5, 2 Corinthians 12:6), especially in Romans (Romans 2:3; Romans 2:26; Romans 3:28, &c.). In other N.T. writers it is rare; in the LXX. very frequent. The Vulg. takes λογίζομαι as passive, qua existimor audere in quosdam, qui arbitrantur nos (comp. Romans 4:5), which makes needless tautology. Doubtless both λογίζομαι and λογιζομένος are middle; but there is a characteristic play of words in the shades of meaning, λογίζομαι of expectation or intention (1 Samuel 18:25), λογιζομένους of supposition or view. As in 1 Corinthians 15:12, he does not specify who the τινες are; they are only a fraction of the Corinthians. This shows that these chapters (10–13) are addressed to the majority, or to the whole Church of Corinth, not to the hostile minority.

ὡς κατὰ σάρκα περιπατοῦντας. ‘As if our thoughts and acts were guided by carnal and worldly principles’: Romans 8:4. For ὡς after λογίζεσθαι comp. 1 Corinthians 4:1; Romans 8:36; it gives their point of view: διέβαλλον γὰρ αὑτὸν ὡς ὑποκριτήν, ὡς πονηρόν, ὡς ἀλαζόνα (Chrys.): comp. 2 Corinthians 2:17, 2 Corinthians 4:2; 1 Thessalonians 2:3. In κατὰ σάρκα there is no reference to his physical infirmities: comp. 2 Corinthians 1:17, 2 Corinthians 5:16. In περιπατοῦντας we have a Hebraism, which is frequent in S. Paul (2 Corinthians 4:2, 2 Corinthians 5:7, 2 Corinthians 12:18; &c.) and S. John, but is not found in S. James or S. Peter. Comp. κατὰ ἄνθρωπον περιπατεῖτε (1 Corinthians 3:3) and ἀνεστράφημεν (2 Corinthians 1:12).


Verse 3

3. Ἐν σαρκί. Emphatic by position. Everyone who has a body must ‘walk in the flesh’ and be liable to its weaknesses, such as the fear of men, the love of popularity, the liability to irritation, &c. But the missionary life of an Apostle, which resembles a campaign, is not conducted on such principles. The flesh is an abode (ἐν), but it need not be made a law (κατά). They might think that he had been wanting in vigour (2 Corinthians 10:2; 2 Corinthians 10:10), but they would find that indifferentism was not his guiding principle (2 Corinthians 13:1-4).

στρατευόμεθα. “The metaphor of a warfare, as applied to the Christian life, is a common one with St Paul, though it is more commonly used of the internal conflict of the Christian soul than of the external warfare waged against the evil around” (Lias): Romans 13:12-13; Ephesians 6:13-17; 1 Timothy 1:18; 2 Timothy 2:3-4. Comp. Isaiah 59:17; Wisdom of Solomon 5:17-20; also the martyr’s exhortation, ἱερὰν καὶ εὐγενῆ στρατείαν στρατεύσασθε περὶ τῆς εὐσεβείας (4 Maccabees 9:23). The Roman army was often before his eyes suggesting this metaphor, which he now works out in detail.

There is little doubt that the spelling στρατιας here is for στρατείας, ‘campaign,’ and not στρατιᾶς ‘army’: see critical note.


Verse 4

4. Parenthetic proof of the truth of 2 Corinthians 10:3. If the Apostle’s campaign were conducted on worldly principles, the weapons used would be worldly and unsuccessful; but, in spite of the weakness of him who employs them, they are triumphantly victorious.

δυνατὰ τῷ θεῷ. The exact antithesis to σαρκικά would be πνευματικά. But as σάρξ connotes ‘weakness,’ so πνεῦμα connotes ‘power’ (1 Corinthians 2:4; 1 Corinthians 15:43; 2 Timothy 1:7); and it is the idea of power that is prominent here. But the exact meaning of τῷ θεῷ is doubtful. ‘Through God’ (A. V.) would probably have been expressed otherwise. ‘Before God’ (R.V.) is possible; but why have we not ἐνώπιον τοῦ θεοῦ (2 Corinthians 4:2, 2 Corinthians 7:12) or ἐν προσώπῳ (2 Corinthians 2:10)? More probably ‘for God,’ i.e. in His service (dat. com.), is the meaning. That it is a Hebraism for ‘exceeding,’ as both A.V. and R.V. in Acts 7:10 for ἀστεῖος τῷ θεῷ, is also possible (Winer, p. 310); but this is not very different from ‘before God,’ ‘in His sight,’ and therefore ‘really, indeed.’ Comp. Jonah 3:3.

πρὸς καθαίρεσιν ὀχυρωμάτων. To the casting down of strongholds: ‘casting’ rather than ‘pulling,’ because of καθαιροῦντες (2 Corinthians 10:5). Nowhere else in the N.T. does ὀχύρωμα occur, but it is very frequent in the LXX., especially in Maccabees: ὀχυρός (not in N.T.) is also common. The ὀχυρώματα are all things which are employed to withstand the onward march of the Gospel. Possibly the LXX. of Proverbs 21:22 is in S. Paul’s mind; πόλεις ὀχυρὰς ἐπέβη σοφὸς καὶ καθείλε τὸ ὀχύρωμα ἐφʼ ᾧ ἐπεποίθησαν οἱ ἀσεβεῖς. Thackeray points out a coincidence of wording with Philo (de Confus. Ling. 26): τὸ γὰρ κατεσκενασμένον ὀχύρωμα διὰ τῆς τῶν λόγων πιθανότητος, οὐδενὸς ἔνεκα ἑτέρου κατεσκευάζετο, ἣ τοῦ μετατραπῆναι διάνοιαν ἀπὸ τῆς τοῦ θεοῦ τιμῆς· ἀλλὰ πρός γε τὴν τοῦ ὀχυρώματος τούτου καθαίρεσιν ὁ πειρατὴς τῆς ἀδικίαςεὐτρέπισται.


Verse 5

5. λογισμοὺς καθαιροῦντες. Returning to στρατευόμεθα (2 Corinthians 10:3), or perhaps an anacoluthon from τὰ ὅπλα, like πλουτιζόμενοι (2 Corinthians 9:11): seeing that we cast down imaginations (Romans 2:15 only), i.e. ‘reasonings, counsels’ (consilia, Vulg.); ‘we bring to nought workings of the intellect apart from God.’ Comp. ἵνα καταισχύνῃ τοὺς σοφούςτὰ ἰσχυράἵνα τὰ ὄντα καταργήσῃ (1 Corinthians 1:27-28). It is doubtful whether λογισμούς looks back to λογιζομένους.

πᾶν ὕψωμα ἐπαιρόμενον. Every high thing that is lifting itself up; or better, that is being lifted up. If ἐπαιρόμενον is passive, it makes a better antithesis to καθαιροῦντες; and ‘exalt’ is wanted for ὑψόω (2 Corinthians 11:7; Matthew 11:23; Luke 14:11; Luke 18:14; &c). Comp. δύο δὲ νῆες ἐπαιρόμεναι τῇ νίκῃ (Thuc. VII. xli. 3). In 2 Corinthians 11:20 ἐπαίρεται is no doubt middle. Comp. Romans 8:30, where οὔτε ὕψωμα οὔτε βάθος is to separate us from the love of God; and Job 24:24. Apparently πᾶν ὕψωμα is the genus of which λογισμοί are species.

τῆς γνώσεως τοῦ θεοῦ. A periphrasis for the Gospel and all other means of knowing God (Romans 1:19). Comp. πλανᾶσθαι περὶ τὴν τοῦ θεοῦ γνῶσιν (Wisdom of Solomon 14:22). S. Paul knew the Book of Wisdom: see on 2 Corinthians 5:1.

αἰχμαλωτίζοντες. In the N.T., S. Paul alone uses this metaphor (Romans 7:23; 2 Timothy 3:6). In Luke 21:24 the verb is used literally.

πᾶν νόημα. Every device, or design: see on 2 Corinthians 2:11. Like λογισμοί, it refers to all workings of the natural reason which hinder or corrupt the Gospel. Luther’s rendering, alle Vernunft, has led some to suppose that the Apostle here disallows ‘thinking for oneself,’ and support was thus found for the doctrine fides praecedit intellectum (Deissmann, Bible Studies, p. 73).

εἰς τήν ὑπακοὴν τοῦ χριστοῦ Obedience to the Christ is thought of as the new condition into which they are changed,—from antagonism to loyalty (Colossians 1:13). Comp. Luke 21:24; Tobit 1:10; Judith 5:18; 1 Kings 8:46. Certainly εἰς does not belong to πᾶν νόημα in the sense of ‘against’; ‘every design against obedience to the Christ.’ To express this S. Paul would again have used κατά, as in κατὰ τῆς γνώσεως.

Stanley suggests that this imagery may in part be suggested by the wars of Pompey against Mithridates and the Pirates. The latter “had been raging amongst the hill forts of the Cilician pirates not more than sixty years before the Apostle’s birth, in the very scene of his earlier years, and was ended by the reduction of 120 strongholds, and the capture of more than 10,000 prisoners.” See Appian, Bell. Mith. XII. xiv. 96.


Verse 6

6. ἐν ἑτοίμῳ ἔχοντες ἐκδικῆσαι πᾶσαν παρακοήν, κ.τ.λ. Being in readiness to avenge all disobedience, whenever your obedience shall be fulfilled, i.e. shall have been completed. The Apostle will give time for all Christians at Corinth to allow themselves to be ‘led captive to the obedience of the Christ’; then disobedience of whatever kind will be punished. There is emphasis on ὑμῶν, implying that his readers are, or will soon be, obedient. For ἐν ἐτοίμῳ ἔχοντες, in promptu habentes (Vulg.), Wetstein gives parallels from Philo, Polybius, and Dionysius Hal. For ἐκδικῆσαι, ‘to do justice,’ comp. Luke 18:5; 1 Maccabees 6:22 : it is one of the legal words which are rather frequent in this letter; comp. 2 Corinthians 1:22, 2 Corinthians 2:6; 2 Corinthians 2:8, 2 Corinthians 7:11-12. The aor. after verbs of readiness or expectation is in accordance with N.T. usage; 2 Corinthians 12:14; Acts 21:13 : after ἐλπίζω the pres. is never found (Luke 6:34; Philippians 2:23; &c.). In ὑπακοή and παρακοή, as in καθαιροῦντες and ἐπαιρόμενον, we have another play on words: comp. 2 Corinthians 1:13, 2 Corinthians 3:2, 2 Corinthians 8:22, &c). Only here, Romans 5:19 and Hebrews 2:2, does παρακοή occur in the N.T.: not in the LXX. It means ‘failing to listen,’ or ‘hearing amiss,’ and is akin to ἀμέλεια, incuria, as Bengel on Romans 5:19 points out. In Hebrews 2:2 it is joined with παράβασις. See Trench, Syn. § lxvi. Comp. παρακούειν, Matthew 18:17; Isaiah 65:12; Esther 3:3; Esther 3:8; Esther 7:4; 1 Esdras 4:11; Tobit 3:4. In Mark 5:36 παρακούειν is used of Christ’s ignoring an interruption. There is no carelessness implied in ἀπειθία or ἀπείθεια (Romans 11:30; Romans 11:32; Ephesians 2:2; Ephesians 5:6; Colossians 3:6; Hebrews 4:6; Hebrews 4:11), and S. Paul would perhaps have used it here, but for the desire of a verbal contrast to ὑπακοή.

Assuming that 10–13 is part of the lost letter, 2 Corinthians 2:9 may be a reference to what is said here: see note there.


Verse 7

7. Τὰ κατὰ πρόσωπον βλέπετε. Here, as in John 5:39; John 14:1, we are in doubt whether the verb is indicative or imperative; and, as in 2 Corinthians 9:14, 2 Corinthians 12:5; 2 Corinthians 12:19; John 12:19; John 15:18; John 15:27; Romans 8:33-35, whether the sentence is interrogative or not. Either Ye look (R.V.), Look ye (Tyndale, Genevan; ‘see ye’ Wiclif), or Do ye look? (A.V., B.V. margin) may be right; but Look ye (imperat.), videte (Vulg.), is least probable. If imperative, βλέπετε would probably stand first: 1 Corinthians 1:26; 1 Corinthians 10:18; Philippians 3:2; Colossians 4:17. Chrysostom and Calvin seem to be right in regarding the words as an accusation: magni facitis alios, qui magnis ampullis turgent; me, quia ostentatione et jactantia careo, despicitis. Ye look on the things before your face (as in 2 Corinthians 10:1). They had said that to their face they had found him weak and cowardly, which was not their way, nor the way of an Apostle of Christ. Such surface-judgment, he intimates, is of little worth.

εἴ τις πέποιθεν ἑαυτῷ Χριστοῦ εἷναι, τοῦτο λογιζέσθω πάλιν ἐφʼ ἐαυτοῦ κ.τ.λ. See critical notes. If any man trusteth in himself that he is Christ’s, let him count (2 Corinthians 10:2) this again with himself, that even as he is Christ’s, so also are we. The πάλιν = vicissim (1 Corinthians 12:21) refers to ἐαυτῷ: ‘it is in himself that he is confident that he is Christ’s; with himself let him reckon that this is equally true of us.’ The τις does not point to any individual opponent; the Apostle is speaking of his critics generally. Comp. 2 Corinthians 10:10-11, 2 Corinthians 11:4; 2 Corinthians 11:20. There is probably no reference here to Ἐγώ δὲ Χριστοῦ (1 Corinthians 1:12).


Verse 8

8. Evidence, put hypothetically (ἐάν), but with confidence (indic. apodosis), that he is a minister of Christ, at least as much as his critics are. Supposing that his language were still stronger, it will not prove empty self-assertion. With τε γάρ comp. Romans 7:7 : the τε looks forward to another τε (which after all does not come) and has been omitted in some texts as superfluous: see critical note. For though I should glory somewhat more abundantly about our authority, which the Lord gave for building you up, and not for casting you down (2 Corinthians 10:4), I shall not be put to shame (by being shown to be a pretentious impostor): οὐ δειχθήσομαι ψευδόμενος, οὐδὲ ἀλαζονευόμενος (Chrys.). The περισσότερον probably refers to 2 Corinthians 10:3-6, in which he makes large claims to authority, authority which might have to be used εἰς καθαίρεσιν, but was not given for that purpose. Strong as his language is, it might be somewhat stronger and be justified. There may be a hint that the work of his opponents is εἰς καθαίρεσιν, and not at all εἰς οἰκοδομήν. No limit must be placed to οὐκ αἰσχυνθήσομαι, such as ‘at the Day of Judgment’: never at any time will he be convicted of empty self-assertion.


Verse 9

9. ἵνα μὴ δόξω ὡς ἂν ἐκφοβεῖν ὑμᾶς τῶν ἐπιστολῶν. The construction is uncertain; but it is very forced to make 2 Corinthians 10:9 the protasis of 2 Corinthians 10:11, with 2 Corinthians 10:10 as a parenthesis; “That I may not seem … let such a one count this.” Moreover the beginning of 2 Corinthians 10:9 becomes in that case very abrupt; and so Chrysostom slips in a δέ, and the Vulgate and Calvin an autem, which has no authority of any weight: ut autem non existimer tanquam terrere vos (Vulg.); ne autem videar terrere vos (Calv.). More probably ἵνα μὴ δόξω depends upon 2 Corinthians 10:8; and some such thought as ‘I say this,’ or ‘I refrain from using stronger language,’ is to be understood. But nothing need be inserted in English, any more than in the Greek. As ἐκφοβεῖν is a strong word, it is toned down by ὡς ἄν: that I may not seem, as it were, to terrify you by my letters. This is a rare instance of ἄν with the infin. But perhaps ὡς and ἄν coalesce as ὡσάν = quasi. Winer, p. 390 note. In the LXX. ἐκφοβεῖν is frequent (Job 7:14; Job 33:16; Wisdom of Solomon 11:19; Wisdom of Solomon 17:6; &c.), especially in the phrase οὐκ ἔσται ὁ ἐκφοβῶν (Leviticus 26:6; Judges 16:25; Micah 4:4; &c.), but nowhere else in the N.T.: we have ἔκφοβος, Mark 9:6; Hebrews 12:21. We know of two letters, viz. 1 Corinthians and the lost letter of 1 Corinthians 5:9; and we have seen that another letter seems to be required (see notes on 2 Corinthians 1:23, 2 Corinthians 2:3; 2 Corinthians 2:9, 2 Corinthians 7:8). If 2 Corinthians 1-13 is all one letter, then the Corinthians had received three letters before this was written; but more probably 2 Corinthians 10-12. is part of this third letter


Verse 10

10. φησίν. See critical note. It is more probable that the singular was changed to the plural, because this sneer was uttered by more than one person, than the plural to the singular. But if φασίν was the original reading, the τις in 2 Corinthians 10:7 and ὁ τοιοῦτος in 2 Corinthians 10:11 might cause it to be corrected to φησίν. But neither τις nor φησίν nor ὁ τοιοῦτος means that he is alluding to one particular ringleader: all three are indefinite expressions, and φησίν = ‘it is said,’ on dit, man sagt. Winer, p. 655.

ἡ δὲ παρουσία τοῦ σώματος ἀσθενής. See S. Paul’s own account 1 Corinthians 2:3-4. The epithets are contrasted in reverse order, ἀσθενής with ἰσχυραί, and ἐξουθενημένος with βαρεῖαι, which probably means ‘weighty’ (A.V., R.V.) rather than ‘severe’ or ‘grievous’ (Acts 20:29; 1 John 5:3). See Lightfoot on ἐν βάρει εἶναι (1 Thessalonians 2:6). On S. Paul’s personal appearance see Appendix A Plumptre’s note at the end of Acts in Ellicott’s Comm. for English Readers; Exc. xi. at the end of Farrar’s St Paul; Findlay in Hastings’ D.B. ii. p. 700.

ἐξουθενημένος. ‘Despised’ (1 Corinthians 1:28) or of no account (1 Corinthians 6:4) rather than ‘contemptible.’ Contrast Acts 14:8-12, where the Apostle is taken to be a god. But both Barnabas and Paul are regarded as gods, because of the miracle, while Paul is supposed to be the inferior of the two, because he acts and talks: he is only the agent or messenger of Barnabas (Ramsay, Church in the Roman Empire, p. 57; St Paul, p. 84). Ramsay points out the coincidence between Hermes, the messenger of the gods, and ὡς ἄγγελον θεοῦ ἐδέξασθέ με (Galatians 4:14).

APPENDIX A

THE PERSONAL APPEARANCE OF S. PAUL

2 Corinthians 10:1; 2 Corinthians 10:10

Lanciani, in his New Tales of Old Rome (Murray, 1901, pp. 153 ff.), makes the following remarks on portraits of S. Paul:

“Let us now turn our attention to the discoveries made quite lately in connection with the basilica and grave of Paul the Apostle, whose figure appeals to us more forcibly than any other in the history of the propagation of the gospel in Rome. I do not speak so much of reverence and admiration for his work, as of the sympathy and charm inspired by his personal appearance. In all the portraits which have come down to us by the score, painted on the walls of underground cemeteries, engraved in gold leaf on the love-cups, cast in bronze, worked in repoussé on silver or copper medallions, or outlined in mosaic, the features of Paul never vary. He appears as a thin, wiry man, slightly bald, with a long, pointed beard. The expression of the face is calm and benevolent, with a gentle touch of sadness. The profile is unmistakably Jewish.” It may be added that S. Paul is almost always represented in company with S. Peter, who is tall and upright, with short hair and beard, and with a long flat nose. Very often our Lord, or a monogram which represents him, is placed between the two Apostles.

Descriptions of the Apostle exhibit a similar type. The apocryphal Acta Pauli et Theklae have come down to us in Latin, Greek, Armenian, and Syriac. Of these the Syriac seems to represent the oldest form of the story, which (Professor Ramsay believes) “goes back ultimately to a document of the first century” (The Church in the Roman Empire, p. 381). The description of S. Paul comes near the beginning of the story (§ 3). It runs thus in the Syriac; “A man of middling size, and his hair was scanty, and his legs were a little crooked, and his knees were projecting (or far apart); and he had large eyes, and his eyebrows met, and his nose was somewhat long; and he was full of grace and mercy; at one time he seemed like a man, and at another he seemed like an angel.” The Armenian Version gives him crisp or curly hair and blue eyes, traits which are found in no other account. Malelas or Malala, otherwise called John of Antioch, a Byzantine historian of uncertain date (?A.D. 580), describes the Apostle as κονδοειδής, φαλακρός, μιξοπόλιος τὴν κάραν καὶ τὸ γένειον, εὔρινος, ὑπόγλαυκος, σύνοφρυς, λευκόχρους, ἀνθηροπρόσωπος, εὐπώγων, ὑπογελῶντα ἔχων τὸν χαρακτῆρα (Chronographia, x. 332, p. 257 ed. Bonn). The worthless Dialogue Philopatris, wrongly ascribed to Lucian, but of a much later date, gives S. Paul an aquiline nose, as also does Nicephorus. But the description in the Acts of Paul and Thekla is the only one which is likely to be based upon early tradition. See F. C. Conybeare, Monuments of Early Christianity, p. 62; Kraus, Real-Encycl. d. Christ. Alter. II. pp. 608, 613; Smith and Cheetham, Dict. of Chr. Ant. II. p. 1622.


Verse 11

11. τοῦτο λογιζέσθω. Count this: comp. 2 Corinthians 10:2; 2 Corinthians 10:7. It is as well to have the same English word throughout: the R.V. has a different word in each verse; ‘count,’ ‘consider,’ ‘reckon.’

οἷοί ἐσμεντοιοῦτοι. No doubt ἐσμεν (R.V.) and not ἐσόμεθα (A.V.) is to be supplied. ‘Will we be’ confines the meaning to the projected visit to Corinth. ‘When he comes, they will find that he can be as vigorous in action as in his letters.’ The meaning rather is, that such inconsistency as writing strongly and acting feebly is quite alien from him and impossible. One whose words and deeds do not correspond could not have founded and sustained a Christian Church in Corinth. For the opposition between λόγῳ and ἔργῳ comp. Romans 15:18; Acts 7:22. To omit διʼ ἐπιστολῶν would make the opposition more terse, but there is no reason for believing that the words are a gloss: no authority omits them. Note the chiasmus; τῷ λόγῳ ἀπόντες, παρόντες τῷ ἔργῳ: comp. 2 Corinthians 9:6.


Verse 12

12. Οὐ γὰρ τολμῶμεν ἐνκρῖναι ἢ συνκρῖναι ἑαυτούς. For we are not bold (2 Corinthians 10:2) to pair or compare ourselves with some of those that commend themselves. The meaning of ἐνκρῖναι is doubtful; but ‘judge amongst, estimate amongst, number with’ is probably right; and ‘pair with,’ which preserves the play on words (comp. 2 Corinthians 10:5-6), has much the same meaning. Moreover, ἐνκρῖναι is stronger than συνκρῖναι, as ‘pair’ than ‘compare’; ‘I should not venture to pair myself, or even compare myself, with them.’ The Vulgate has inserere aut comparare: comp. si me lyricis vatibus inseres (Hor. Od. I. i. 35). Beza preserves the play, at the cost of exactness, with adjungere vel conjungere: inferre aut conferre is better. It is altogether arbitrary to suggest that ἐνκρῖναι ἤ is an interpolation.

ἀλλὰ αὐτοὶ ἐν ἑαυτοῖς ἑαυτοὺς μετροῦντες. But they themselves measuring themselves by themselves. For the repetition comp. 2 Corinthians 8:22 and 2 Corinthians 9:8; also αὐτοὶ δʼ ἑαυτοῖς σύνεισι διʼ ἑαυτῶν (Plat. Protag. 347 E). In classical Greek the ἐν would be omitted; Arist. Rhet. II. xii. sub fin. With his critics everything is measured by ‘our noble selves.’ They are a “mutual admiration and self-admiration society” (Waite). They have a standard of excellence of their own making, and they congratulate themselves and one another on their conformity to it.

οὐ συνιᾶσιν. Are without understanding. For the verb, which resembles our ‘put two and two together = be intelligent,’ comp. Romans 15:21; Ephesians 5:17. These superior persons do not know the value of things, and cannot interpret them. Nothing is to be understood, as ‘do not understand what they are talking about,’ or ‘how arrogant they are,’ or ‘what Apostleship means.’ The representatives of the δ-text (see critical note), which omit these two words and the following ἡμεῖς δέ, make the words which precede οὐ συνιᾶσιν refer to the Apostle, not to his opponents; we ourselves, measuring ourselves by ourselves, and comparing ourselves with ourselves, will not glory beyond measure. Measuring oneself by one’s own standard is thus made to be the right kind of criticism: comp. Metiri se quemque suo modulo ac pede verum est (Hor. Epist. I. vii. 98). This makes good sense; but the four omitted words are too well attested to be dismissed (yet see WH. on Western non-interpolations II. pp. 175 ff.); and if ἡμεῖς δέ is genuine, αὐτοί must mean the opponents. The reading οὐ συνίσασιν (א) involves the construction, but they themselves are not aware that they measure themselves by themselves, which has not much point. The point is that they do it, not that they do not know that they do it. The reading συνιουσιν (D3KLP), if accented συνιοῦσιν, = συνιᾶσιν (א1B); but, if συνίουσιν, it is a participle agreeing with ἑαυτοῖς, and αὐτοί is left without a verb; which is an unnecessary anacoluthon and is not likely to be right.


Verses 12-16

12–16. The difficulty of this passage has often been pointed out. Theodoret suggests that S. Paul has deliberately written obscurely, because he did not wish to be too definite in convicting his accusers. Bengel is certainly right in saying, sepem inter se et illos ponit; but the obscurity is probably unintentional. The passage is partly ironical, especially at the outset: οὐ τολμῶμεν, ‘I shouldn’t venture &c.’ It had been insinuated that he was a coward. Well, one kind of courage he certainly does lack. He does not dare to match himself with those who praise themselves according to a standard of their own fixing. He limits his glorying by the limits of the sphere fixed for him by God, and this sphere extended to Corinth. If his sphere did not extend thus far, he would be exceeding his limits; but, as it is, his preaching was the first to reach them. So he is not unjustifiably glorying in what other people have done. But he hopes that, as the Corinthians increase in faith, his influence among them will increase, while he keeps to his own province, so as to preach the Gospel in the districts beyond Corinth, without glorying in the province of others, over work that is already done without him.

As in 2 Corinthians 10:7, there may be a hint by contrast that what is not true of him is true of his opponents. ‘It is not I who have invaded other people’s provinces: it is other people (the Judaizers) who have invaded mine.’


Verse 13

13. ἡμεῖς δὲ οὐκ εἰς τὰ ἄμετρα καυχησόμεθα. But we (in emphatic contrast to αὐτοί) will not glory beyond measure. For this use of εἰς comp. εἰς τρίς, εἰς τὰ μάλιστα. He does not say’ we do not glory’; such conduct is excluded for all time. He is not going to imitate them in glorying beyond all bounds. His assertions about himself shall be confined to the sphere of work assigned to him by God as ἀπόστολος τῆς ἀκροβυστίας, a sphere which of course includes Gentile Corinth. But εἰς τὰ ἄμ. might mean ‘in respect to things (places) beyond (our) measure,’ and this makes sense both here and in 2 Corinthians 10:15.

ἀλλὰ κατὰ τὸ μέτρον τοῦ κανόνος κ.τ.λ. But according to the measure of the province which God apportioned to us as a measure to reach as far as even you. Can κανών mean ‘province’ (R.V.), a definitely bounded sphere of activity? It means [1] that which measures, as a rod or a ruler; [2] that which is measured, a fixed amount of anything. But it is commonly used of length rather than of surface; and here it may refer to the distance which the Apostle was allowed to go from his centre. In colloquial language τὸ μέτρον τοῦ κανόνος is ‘the length of his tether.’ But from the ideas of mapping out territory with measuring rods, and assigning measured allotments, κανών might acquire the meaning of a measured space, the Apostle’s definitely allotted sphere of work. Comp. πρὸς ὅλον τὸν τῆς φιλοσοφίας κανόνα εὐσεβῶς φιλοσοφῶν (4 Maccabees 7:21), and see the LXX. and Vulgate of Ps. 77:54, 55. See Lightfoot on Galatians 6:16, the only other place in the N.T. where the word occurs (not Philippians 3:16), and Westcott, Canon of the N.T., App. A. Comp. μὴ παρεκβαίνων τὸν ὡρισμένον τῆς λειτουργίας αὐτοῦ κανόνα (Clem. Rom. Cor. 41).

οὐ ἐμέρισεν ἡμῖν ὁ θεὸς μέτρου. He did not appoint himself to it or choose it for himself: God apportioned (1 Corinthians 7:17; Romans 12:3; Hebrews 7:2) it to him. For the construction see Winer, p. 665. The apparently superfluous μέτρου (which some suspect of being a gloss) is possibly added for the sake of alliteration; μέτρουἐμέρισενμέτρου. He perhaps again hints that the opposite is true of his opponents; they are self-appointed workers in a sphere which they chose for themselves.

ἐφικέσθαι ἄχρι καὶ ὑμῶν. It was plain matter of fact that the Church of Corinth existed owing to S. Paul’s being allowed to come there: they were ἐν ἐφικτῷ τῆς ἀποστολῆς αὐτοῦ. The verb is very rare in Biblical Greek; perhaps here only: in Sirach 43:27; Sirach 43:30 the right reading may be ἀφικ., which F has here. The Vulgate has pertingendi usque ad vos.


Verse 14

14. οὐ γὰρ ὡς μή. See critical note. The punctuation is doubtful, both as regards the whole verse, which may be a parenthesis (WH.), and as regards the arrangement of its parts, which may have either a comma or an interrogation at ἑαυτούς, and either a comma or a colon at τοῦ χριστοῦ. Reading οὐ γὰρ ὡς μὴ ἐφικνούμενοι, it is best to treat the verse as not parenthetical, and to connect 2 Corinthians 10:15 with 2 Corinthians 10:14; also to make no part of 2 Corinthians 10:14 a question: For we are not, as if we did not reach unto you, overstretching ourselves; for as far as even you we were the first to come in the gospel of the Christ. Or we may fill in the opening words thus; For we are not overstretching ourselves, as we should be doing if we did not reach unto you. See Winer, p. 595. If S, Paul’s province did not include Corinth, then he would be over-extending himself by transgressing limits: but manifestly it does include Corinth. Possibly ἐφθάσαμεν means no more than ‘came’ (R.V.). It is one of many words which in late Greek lost their sharpness of meaning, and perhaps here there is no thought of anticipating others, of being the first to come: comp. Romans 9:31; Philippians 3:16; 1 Thessalonians 2:16; Luke 11:20. In 1 Thessalonians 4:15, where it is not followed by a preposition, the idea of anticipating survives. Here no doubt the main point is that he came as far as Corinth with the Gospel; but it adds to the point to say that he was the first to preach in those regions, ἐν τοῖς κλίμασι τῆς Ἀχαίας (2 Corinthians 11:10). Comp. what Horace says of his being the first to introduce iambics into Italy. Libera per vacuum posui vestigia princes, Non aliena meo pressi pede (Epp. I. xix. 21). And with ὑπερεκτείνομεν comp. Sunt quibus in satira videor nimis acer et ultra Legem tendere opus (Sat. II. i. 1).

If we read ὡς γὰρ μὴ ἐφικνούμενοι, the first half of the sentence becomes a question expecting a negative answer, as the strong verb ὑπερεκτείνομεν shews; For are we overstretching ourselves as if we did not reach unto you? For other doubtful interrogatives see on 2 Corinthians 10:7.


Verse 15-16

15, 16. οὐκ εἰς τὰ ἄμετρα καυχώμενοιεἰς τὰ ἕτοιμα καυχήσασθαι. A long and rather obscure sentence, which it is more simple to connect with 2 Corinthians 10:14 than with 2 Corinthians 10:13. There need not be more than a comma, and certainly should not be a full stop (A.V.), at the end of 2 Corinthians 10:14. Not glorying beyond our measure (as in 2 Corinthians 10:13) in other men’s labours, but having hope that, as your faith groweth, we shall be magnified in you, according to our province unto still greater abundance, so as to preach the Gospel unto the regions beyond you, and not to glory in another man’s province of things ready to our hand. Seeing that in coming to Corinth he has not come out of his own sphere into that of other people, he is not claiming what is really the work of others (comp. Romans 15:20); whereas his opponents, by setting themselves up as teachers in Corinth have been glorying in another man’s province of what he did and not they: quum Paulus militasset, illi triumphum agebant (Calvin). And he hopes that, as the Corinthians grow in faith, he will be magnified among them in his own sphere, so that his influence will extend, and he will be able to preach the Gospel beyond them with a recommendation. S. Paul may already have had thoughts of Rome and Spain (Romans 15:24; Romans 15:28). But he could not easily work still further westward, while Corinth was in so unsatisfactory a state; and hence the qualification αὐξανομένης τῆς πίστεως ὑμῶν. Their progress in the faith was necessary for the spread of the faith to others. It is possible to take ἐν ὑμῖν with αὐξανομένης (Luther, Calvin): but it has much more point if we take it with μεγαλυνθῆναι. It is in them and through them, that his powers are enlarged, if their faith increases. For μεγαλυνθῆναι ἐν comp. Philippians 1:20. For the thought comp. 2 Corinthians 3:2-3.

Dr Kennedy points out that εἰς τὰ ὑπερέκεινα ὑμῶν fits Rome and Spain much better, if we suppose that this is part of a letter written from Ephesus (whence the painful letter was written), than if we suppose it to be part of a letter written from Macedonia. To a person in Macedonia ‘the regions beyond Corinth’ would be in the South, not in the West. Neither in classical Greek, nor elsewhere in Biblical Greek, is ὑπερέκεινα found. It is perhaps colloquial for ἐπέκεινα, which is quite classical (Acts 7:43 and LXX.). For καυχ. εἰς comp. διὰ τὸ καυχ. εἰς τὴν ἡλικίαν αὐτοῦ (Arist. Pol. v. x. 16).


Verse 17

17. Ὁ δὲ καυχώμενος. But, even in reference to a man’s own work in his own proper sphere, there is only one right way of glorying; he that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord, who assigned him the work and enables him to do it. These words are quoted as Scripture in 1 Corinthians 1:31, and they are an adaptation of Jeremiah 9:24, ἐν τούτῳ καυχάσθω ὁ καυχώμενος, συνίειν καὶ γινώσκειν ὅτι ἐγώ εἰμι Κύριος. The Apostle follows the principle, which he here enunciates, 1 Corinthians 15:10; Romans 15:17-19; Galatians 2:8; Ephesians 3:7.

It is evident that these verses (13–17) are addressed to the whole Corinthian Church, and not to the disloyal faction only.


Verse 18

18. οὐ γὰρ ὁ ἑαυτὸν συνιστάνων, ἐκεῖνός ἐστιν δόκιμος. It is not the man who, instead of giving all glory to God, commends himself that is accepted (δέχομαι), i.e. proved, tested, and found to be genuine and solid in character (1 Corinthians 11:19; Romans 16:10; James 1:12); but whom God commends, as he had done in the case of S. Paul, in making him an Apostle. He had been driven to commend himself; and had that commendation stood alone, he would have been ἀδόκιμος (2 Corinthians 13:5; 2 Corinthians 13:7). His critics had only their own self-commendation; they had no θεία ψῆφος (Theodoret) to support it in the eyes of the world. Note the emphatic ἐκεῖνος. For the thought comp. Romans 2:29; also ὁ ἔπαινος ἡμῶν ἔστω ἐν θεῷ καὶ μὴ ἐξ αὐτῶν, αὐτεπαινετοὺς γὰρ μισεῖ ὁ θεός (Clem. Rom. Cor. xxx. 6).

 


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
"Commentary on 2 Corinthians 10:4". "Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cgt/2-corinthians-10.html. 1896.

Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, November 20th, 2019
the Week of Proper 28 / Ordinary 33
ADVERTISEMENT
Commentary Navigator
Search This Commentary
Enter query in the box below
ADVERTISEMENT
To report dead links, typos, or html errors or suggestions about making these resources more useful use our convenient contact form
Powered by Lightspeed Technology