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I, Paul. With this verse, Paul begins a strong warning to the false teacher (or teachers) and the group that followed him. Up to this point, he had been writing to those who accepted him as an apostle. He begins his defence with an emphatic statement of authority: I, Paul! I who am said to be. The false teacher (or teachers) made fun of Paul’s strongly worded letter and said he could talk big when he was not there, but was meek and mild when he faced his opposition. The faction believed harshness and arrogance was the mark of a true apostle, so they made fun of Paul’s weakness and trembling (see 1 Corinthians 2:3 and note). I beg of you. Even now Paul does not command them, but tries to persuade them. Gentleness and kindness are two characteristics of Christ himself, and every Christian must imitate these!!!
Do not force me. “If you continue your present actions, I will be forced to take harsh measures with you when I come in person!” Worldly motives. This group accused Paul of the things they themselves were doing. Because Paul did not talk like a politician (2 Corinthians 11:6), and because he was meek and mild, they said he was no true apostle and did not have the Spirit.
It is true. “While it is true that we live in the world, it is not at all true that we fight against idolaters and unbelievers from worldly motives!” Compare John 17:15 and note.
The weapons. Paul likes to compare his service to Christ with a military campaign. Christ, his ministry, and his cross all seem weak to the worldly man (1 Corinthians 1:18-25). But God chose “what the world considers nonsense” to put to shame the powerful men of this world (1 Corinthians 1:27). God’s weapons. All along, Paul has been using God’s weapons (such as gentleness, kindness, love, etc.) which will destroy strongholds! Paul’s opponents do not understand this! False arguments. What is this evil power that Paul fights against??? Unbelief! Satan captured Eve by persuading her to disbelieve what God said (1 Timothy 2:14). False arguments cause excessive pride and make people deaf to the truth!
Every proud obstacle. This is human pride, human wisdom, things erected as a wall against God. These grow out of worldly motives! Compare 1 John 2:16. Every thought. Paul wants to do more than win arguments. He wants to take every thought captive through faith, and make it obey Christ! Christ-on-the-cross, the evidence of God’s love, is the only weapon which can win man’s loyalty!!! Therefore, Paul does not use the human methods the false teachers expect, but comes in the “weakness” which Christ demonstrated.
And after. “I do not want to come to Corinth until you have had time to prove your complete loyalty to me as an apostle of Christ. When I do come, I will take harsh measures with any who are still disloyal.”
On the outside. “Don’t let anyone’s claim to authority keep you from seeing that I am an apostle. You have been looking at external things, and you are confused by this and don’t really know who does belong to Christ!” Is there someone there? “If someone is claiming to be the servant of Christ, so am I, just as much as he is! But my claims have more proof!” [It may be these false teachers formed a “Christ party” (1 Corinthians 1:12), and that their claim to fame was that they had seen Jesus in his life on earth.]
For I am not ashamed. “I have made no threat that I cannot fulfill! When I come in person, I will make everything I said in that letter come true!” To build you up. No apostle would work to destroy the church, as these have done! Paul’s mission is to build up, although he also has the ability to destroy (Acts 13:11).
To appear. Paul writes, not to frighten them, but to build them up! Compare Galatians 4:20.
Someone will say. This is what his opponents were saying. Tradition makes Paul small, bald, and with a big nose. He did not make a strong impression in person. The false teachers used this fact to try to discredit him as an apostle. Because Paul did not speak with eloquence (1 Corinthians 2:1-5 and notes), they said he did not have the Holy Spirit.
Such a person. “If I come and find you still disloyal, you will discover that I am in person just as strong as my letters!”
Of course. Paul speaks in irony. It was confusing to the Corinthians that the false teachers and Paul each used different standards to measure by. Paul now examines this fact. How stupid they are! “They make up their own standards, and say ‘See! We are the true apostles!’ But measure them by the Lord’s standards!”
As for us. “We will not go beyond the limits which God has set.” He has not seized authority over the Corinthians, like a church-Boss! God himself appointed Paul apostle to the Gentiles.
And since you are within. Paul was working within God’s limits when he planted the church at Corinth. In contrast, the false teachers had not been sent by God!
So we do not boast. Paul’s work was to lay foundations. He did not intrude on the work of the other apostles. See Romans 15:20 and note. It may be that the false teachers accused Paul of intruding on their work, when it was in fact they themselves who were the intruders! That we may be able. These problems are forcing Paul to concentrate his efforts on them, and neglect other things that need to be done. When their faith grows, he can leave them in the care of their ordinary teachers, and go on to other fields of work.
Then we. (1) It was the special mission of the apostles to proclaim the Good News in areas where it had not yet gone; (2) They were not to neglect any country, but to proceed from country to country. The false apostle had come directly from Judea to Corinth, and may have expected to make himself rich by staying there. He boasted of work that Paul himself had already done! God’s work for Paul and the true apostles was to be pioneers! [But there is a need to water (1 Corinthians 3:6)!]
But as. Paul paraphrases Jeremiah 9:23-24. Compare 1 Corinthians 1:31. MacKnight understands this: “If, then, any teacher boasteth, let him boast of his having performed his duty in the manner the Lord hath appointed.”
Because. The real proof of being approved, is that the Lord thinks well of you. The false apostle had failed the test by not following God’s instructions on the mission field!
These files are public domain.
Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on 2 Corinthians 10". "The Bible Study New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 21 / Ordinary 26