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10:1-13:14 APOSTOLIC AUTHORITY
In spite of all Paul has said, there were still trouble-makers at Corinth. Certain travelling preachers had gained some standing in the church and continued to make accusations against Paul. Paul refers to them ironically as ‘super apostles’, and more directly as ‘false apostles’ (see 11:5,13).
Spiritual power; worthless boasting (10:1-18)
These so-called apostles repeatedly questioned the authority of Paul and succeeded in winning some of the Corinthians over to their side. They accused Paul of trying to make himself appear tough and bold when writing letters to them, but of being weak and cowardly when face to face with them. He was no apostle, they claimed, just an ordinary person with ordinary worldly attitudes. Paul replies that what they mistakenly thought was weakness was really tolerance. He had made every effort to control his feelings, in order to show kindness and patience towards the Corinthians. Only when everything else fails will he use with severity the apostolic authority that is his by right (10:1-2).
Worldly people force others into submission by exercising their power and authority. Christians submit to Jesus Christ and depend upon his power and authority. This is a far greater force with which to fight evil. It destroys pride and makes even the mind obedient to Christ (3-5). But if the false apostles refuse to join with the rest of the church in submitting to Paul’s instructions, he is ready to use his apostolic authority to deal with them (6).
The false apostles claim that they have Christ’s authority; so does Paul (7). The difference is that Paul has proof of his authority. He has built up converts and churches, whereas the false apostles have brought only harm and ruin (8). In writing like this, Paul is not trying to frighten his readers into submission, as his opponents claim. When he comes they will find out for themselves that what he says, he does (9-11). Nor is he trying to compete with the false apostles in seeing how highly he can praise himself (12).
In coming to Corinth, the false apostles are trespassing on Paul’s ground, since he was the first to take the gospel there. Unlike them Paul keeps to the limits God has given him. God’s call for him was to be a pioneer missionary to the Gentiles (cf. Acts 9:15; Romans 1:5; Romans 15:16,Romans 15:20; Galatians 2:9). He will not, therefore, interfere with the fruit of another person’s work (13-14). Corinth marks the western extent of Paul’s ministry so far, and before he moves into unreached regions farther west, he wants to make sure that the Corinthian church is strong and healthy (15-16). He is not saying all this to praise himself. The one whom he praises is God (17-18).
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Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on 2 Corinthians 10". "Brideway Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 12 / Ordinary 17