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Bible Commentaries

Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament
2 Corinthians 10

 

 

Other Authors
Introduction

CHAPTER 10

2 Corinthians 10:7. Instead of ἀφʼ ἑαυτοῦ read ἐφʼ ἑαυτοῦ; see the exegetical remarks.

After ἡμεῖς Elz. has χριστοῦ. An addition condemned by a great preponderance of evidence.—2 Corinthians 10:8. τε] is wanting in B F G, min. Chrys. Theophyl. Bracketed by Lachm., and deleted by Rück. But how easily might the omission of the particle take place, as it might quite well be dispensed with, while there was no ground whatever for inserting it!

καί before περισσ. has against it the principal uncials and vss. An addition produced by the sense of clima.

ἡμῖν] is, on preponderating evidence, to be deleted, with Lachm. and Tisch. A supplementary insertion, instead of which μοι is also found.—2 Corinthians 10:12-13. The words οὐ συνιοῦσιν· ἡμεῖς δέ, which follow after ἑαυτοὺς ἑαυτοῖς in the Recepta, and are defended by Lachm. Rück. Tisch. Eeiche, are wanting in D* F G 109, codd. of the Itala, Ambrosiast. Auct. gr. de singul. cleric. (in Cyprian) Vigil. taps. Idacius, Sedul. (while in 74** Vulg. Lucif. Pel. Fulg. only οὐ συνιοῦσιν is wanting). Condemned by Mill, Bengel, Semler, Morus, Griesb. Rosenm. Flatt, Fritzsche, Billr., Rinck, Lucubr. crit. p. 165 f.; Ewald. But the very fact that we have only Occidental evidence on the side of the omission makes the latter suspicious, and the difficulty of the words (which, with the reference of αὐτοί to Paul so easily suggesting itself after ἀλλά, cannot at all be overcome), while in the event of their omission the passage runs on smoothly, makes their deletion appear an expedient critically violent and resorted to in the interest of explanation. Where οὐ συνιοῦσιν only is wanting (see above), ἡμεῖς δέ appears to be an imperfect restoration of the imperfect text.

The following καυχησόμεθα also is wanting in D* Clar. Germ., while F G, Boern. Auct. de singul. cler. read καυχώμενοι. But if the word had not been original, but added by way of gloss, the makers of the gloss after their mechanical fashion would not have used the future, but the present, in accordance with the previous τολμῶμεν, to which the comparison of 2 Corinthians 10:15 also might induce them. Hence it is to be assumed that in the witnesses adduced above καυχησόμεθα has dropped out. By what means we do not know; perhaps it is simply due to the similar final letters in ἄμετρα and καυχησόμεθα. The καυχῶμενοι, subsequently introduced instead of καυχησόμεθα, is to be considered as a critical restoration, made under the influence of 2 Corinthians 10:15.—2 Corinthians 10:14. οὐ γὰρ ὡς μή] Lachm. reads ὡς γὰρ μή, on the authority of B and two min. only, so that he puts a note of interrogation after ἑαυτούς. Too weakly attested.

Ch. 10–13. contain the third chief section of the Epistle, the apostle’s polemic vindication of his apostolic dignity and efficiency, and then the conclusion.


Verse 1

2 Corinthians 10:1. δέ leads over to a new section, and its position lays the emphasis on αὐτός; comp. on Romans 7:25 : ipse autem ego, I, however, for my own self, independently and without bias from the action of others among you. See what follows. With this αὐτὸς ἐγώ, Paul, in the feeling of his elevation above such action, boldly casts into the scales of his readers the weight of his own personality over against his calumniators. The expression has something in it nobly proud and defiant; but the ἔμφασις τῆς ἀποστολικῆς ἀξίας (Theodoret, comp. Chrysostom, Theophylact, Oecumenius, and others, including Billroth) lies not in αὐτός, but in ἐγὼ παῦλος simply. While many, as Beza and Olshausen, have left the reference of αὐτός quite unnoticed, and others have arbitrarily imported what the context does not suggest, such as Erasmus, Bengel, and also Hofmann;(298) Eminerling and Rückert assume that Paul wrote from 2 Corinthians 10:1 onward with his own hand, so that the αὐτός was explained to the readers by the altered handwriting. Comp. Ewald, according to whom Paul meant only to add a short word of conclusion with his own hand and therewith to end the letter, but on beginning this concluding word, felt himself urged to enter on a detailed discussion of the matter itself in its personal relations. But, seeing that Paul has not added anything like τῇ ἐ΄ῇ χειρί (1 Corinthians 16:21; Colossians 4:18), or at least written γράφω ὑ΄ῖν instead of παρακαλῶ ὑ΄ᾶς, there is no sufficiently certain hint of this explanation in the words themselves, the more especially as the αὐτὸς ἐγώ is frequently used by him elsewhere (2 Corinthians 12:13; Romans 7:25; Romans 9:3; Romans 15:14). Rückert finds a confirmation of that hypothesis in the fact that this Epistle does not, like the First, contain some concluding lines in his own hand. But most of the apostle’s letters contain nothing of the sort; and this Epistle in particular, on account of its whole character and on account also of its bearer, stood so little in need of any authentication, if there was to be such a thing, from his own hand, that his enemies would have made themselves ridiculous by doubting the authenticity of the composition. Apart from this, it remains very probable that Paul himself wrote the conclusion of the Epistle, possibly from 2 Corinthians 13:11 onward, without mentioning the fact expressl.

διὰ τῆς πρᾳότητος καὶ ἐπιεικείας τοῦ χριστοῦ, by means of the meekness and gentleness of Christ; i.e. assigning a motive for compliance with my exhortation by pointing to the fact, that Christ, whose example I have to imitate, is so gentle and meek (Matthew 11:29-30; Isaiah 42:2; Isaiah 42:8; Isaiah 52:4-7). Comp. Romans 12:1; 1 Corinthians 1:10. The gentleness and meekness of Christ belong to the divine love manifested in Him (Romans 8:39; Titus 3:4 ff.), and are continually shown by Him in His heavenly government, in the working of His grace, in His intercession, etc. Estius designates rightly the ground of the motive assigned: “quia cupiebat non provocari ad severitatem vindictae” (which would not be in harmony with Christ’s meekness and gentleness). On ἐπιείκεια, clementia (Acts 24:4), which is often found in connection with πρᾳότης (as Plut. Pericl. 39, Caes. 57; Philo, de Vita Mos. p. 112), comp. Wetstein. It is attributed even to God (2 Maccabees 10:4; Baruch 2:27) and to Wisdom (Wisdom of Solomon 12:18). Bengel gives the distinction of the two words: “ πρᾳότης virtus magis absoluta; ἐπιείκεια magis refertur ad alios.” It is the opposite of standing on one’s full rights, Plato, Def. p. 412 B: δικαίων κ. συμφερόντων ἐλάττωσις.

ὃς κατὰ πρόσωπον μὲν κ. τ. λ.] I who, to the face, am indeed humble, of a subdued, unassuming character among you, but in absence have courage towards you—a malicious opinion of his opponents, designed to counteract the influence of the apostle’s letters, which he here appropriates to himself μιμητικῶς. Comp. 2 Corinthians 10:10. κατὰ πρόσωπον, coram, is not a Hebraïsm, but see Wetstein on the passage; Hermann, ad Soph. Trach. 102; Jacobs, ad Ach. Tat. p. 612. There is no need to supply anything after ταπεινός, neither εἰ΄ί nor ὤν. On ταπεινός, comp. Xen. Mem. iii. 10. 5, where it is connected with ἀνελεύθερος; Dem. 1312. 2.

REMARK.

Rückert is wrongly of opinion that the assertion of the opponents had been true, and just on that account had been so ill taken by Paul; that he belonged to those in whom natural impetuosity is not united with personal courage. Against this there is the testimony of his whole working from Damascus to Rome; and outpourings like 2 Corinthians 6:4 ff. al. do not lack internal truth. Comp. besides, passages like Acts 20:22 ff; Acts 21:13; Acts 24:25; 2 Corinthians 11:23 ff. al. That assertion of his opponents may be explained from the fact that, though there were not wanting disturbing phenomena even at his second arrival in Corinth (2 Corinthians 2:1, 2 Corinthians 12:21), it was only subsequently that the evils had become so magnified and multiplied as to necessitate his now writing (in our first Epistle) far more severely than he had spoken in Corinth.


Verses 1-18

After the introduction of 2 Corinthians 10:1-2, which plunges at once in medium rem, Paul, in the first place, makes good against his opponents the power of his genuinely apostolic working (2 Corinthians 10:1-8), in order to repel the malicious attack that he was strong only in letters (2 Corinthians 10:9-11). This leads him to set forth in contradistinction the very different modes of self-judgment, which are followed by him and his arrogant opponents (2 Corinthians 10:12-16), after which there is further held up to the latter the Christian standard of self-boasting (2 Corinthians 10:17-18).

REMARK.

The difference of the subject-matter—with the importance of that which had now to be decided—and the emotion excited in the high and pure self-consciousness of the grievously injured Paul, so sufficiently explain the change of tone which at once sets in, and this tone, calculated for the entire discomfiture of his enemies, is just in the last part of the Epistle—after the church as such (as a whole) had been lovingly won over—so suited to its object, that there is no ground at all for the hypothesis of ch. 10–13:10 having formed a separate Epistle (see Introd. § 2).


Verse 2

2 Corinthians 10:2. After the previous relative clause, the παρακαλῶ is in substance resumed by means of δέομαι δέ, and that in such a way that δέ has its adversative reference in the contents of the relative clause (Hartung, Partikell. I. p. 174; Klotz, ad Devar. p. 377), and the δέομαι now substituted for παρακαλῶ betrays the increasing earnestness softened by the mention of Christ’s gentleness and meekness. Emmerling and Rückert refer δέομαι not to the Corinthians, but to God: “but I pray God that I when present may not be obliged to act with the confidence and boldness,” etc. So also Ewald and Hofmann. But how strangely Paul would have written, if he had left his παρακαλῶ ὑμᾶς to stand quite abruptly at the very beginning of the new address! It is all the more arbitrary not to refer δέομαι also to the readers, and not to be willing to supply a ὑμῶν with δέομαι from the previous παρακαλῶ ὑμᾶς. Chrysostom and most expositors rightly give it this reference. And how little does what is attached to δέομαι δέ (observe especially λογίζομαι κ. τ. λ.) sound like the contents of prayer!

τὸ μὴ παρὼν θαῤῥῆσαι κ. τ. λ.] I entreat the not being courageous in presence, i.e. that I may not when present (this παρών has the emphasis) be of brave courage with the confidence, etc. The meaning is: that you may not let it come to this, that I, etc. Comp. Chrysostom: μή με ἀναγκάσητε κ. τ. λ. On the infinitive with the article, see Buttmann, neut. Gr. p. 225 [E. T. 261]. The nominative παρών with the infinitive is quite according to Greek usage. See Kühner, II. p. 344; Matthiae, p. 1248. The πεποίθησις is not specially fiducia in Deum (Grotius, against the context), but generally the official confidentia, assurance.

λογίζομαι τολμῆσαι] with which I reckon (am minded) to be bold towards certain people, etc. On λογίζομαι, comp. Herod. vii. 176; Xen. Anab. ii. 2. 13; 1 Maccabees 4:35; 1 Maccabees 6:19; LXX. 1 Samuel 18:25; Jeremiah 26:3; and on τολμῆσαι, 2 Corinthians 11:21; Hom. Il. x. 232; Maetzner, ad Antiph. p. 173. Others, such as the Vulgate, Anselm, Luther, Beza, Piscator, Estius, Er. Schmid, Calovius, Bengel, Semler, Schulz, take λογίζομαι passively (qua efferri ducor, Emmerling). In that case we should have had an ἀπών with τολμῆσαι, because in this lay the most essential point of the hostile criticism; besides, the boldness of the expression, which lies in the correlation of λογίζομαι τοὺς λογιζομένους, would be obliterate.

ἐπί τινας τοὺς λογιζομ.] against certain, who reckon us, etc., is to be connected with τολμῆσαι, since only by the erroneous course of taking the previous λογίζομαι, as passive would the connection with θαῤῥῆσαι be required (Luther, Beza, Estius, Emmerling, also Billroth).

τινάς denotes quosdam, quos nominare nolo. See on 1 Corinthians 15:12. These are then characterized in their definite quality by τοὺς λογιζομ. See on Luke 18:9, and Doederl. ad Oed. Col. p. 296.

ὡς κατὰ σάρκα περιπατοῦντας] as people who walk according to the standard of the flesh. ὡς with the participle as the object of a verb of believing or saying. See Kühner, II. p. 375. Comp. Romans 8:36; 1 Corinthians 4:1; LXX. Genesis 31:15, al. The περιπατεῖν κατὰ σάρκα is not an expression of weakness,(299) since περιπατεῖν denotes the moral conduct. Hence the meaning is: as those, whose way of thinking and of acting follows, not the influence of the Holy Spirit, but the lusts opposed to God, which have their seat in the materio-psychical nature of man. Comp. on Romans 8:4. This general interpretation is not at variance with the context, since, in fact, a κατὰ σάρκα περιπατεῖν would have shown such a demeanour in the apostle’s position as his opponents blamed him for,—bold at a distance, timid when near, full of the fear of men and of the desire to please men. In that special accusation there was therefore expressed this general one of the κατὰ σάρκα περιπατεῖν; διέβαλλον γὰρ αὐτὸν ὡς ὑποκριτῆν, ὡς πονηρὸν, ὡς ἁλαζόνα, Chrysostom. Thus the expression is to be explained from the immediate context, and not of the reproach made to him by the representatives of a false spirituality, that he acted on too free principles (Ewald).


Verse 3

2 Corinthians 10:3 does not introduce the refutation of the previous accusation (so that, with Estius and Billroth, we should have to supply a quod falsum est), since γάρ may quite naturally find its logical reference in what was expressed before. Nor does it assign the reason for τῇ πεποιθ. λογίζομαι τολμῆσαι, since there is nothing whatever against the reference, which first and most naturally suggests itself, to the chief thought of the previous verse. Hence it assigns the reason of the δεόμαι δὲ κ. τ. λ.: “I entreat, let me not become bold, etc.; for the position of matters with us is quite different from what the opponents believe: we do not march to the field κατὰ σάρκα,” etc. Do not therefore run the risk of this!

ἐν σαρκὶ γὰρ περιπ.] Paul wishes to express the thought: for it by no means stands with us so as those think, and hence says: For, though we walk in the flesh, for although the existent form of the sinful bodily human nature is the organ, in which our conduct of life has its course ( σάρκα μὲν γὰρ περικείμεθα, Chrysostom), still we do not take the field according to the flesh, the σάρξ is not the standard, according to which our official working, which resembles a campaigning, is carried on. Observe that even in ἐν σαρκί the notion of the σάρξ is not indifferent, expressing the mere life of the body (comp. Galatians 2:20; Philippians 1:22): this is forbidden by what goes before and follows. If taken in this way, ἐν σαρκὶ περιπ. would contain something very insignificant, because self-evident, and would form no adequate contrast to κατὰ σάρκα—a contrast, which only results when the notion of σάρξ is alike in both clauses. For the stress of this contrast lies in ἐν and κατά (in the flesh, not according to the flesh); instead of περιπατοῦμεν, however, there comes in στρατευόμεθα, because it was highly appropriate to the context (2 Corinthians 10:1-2) to give thus a military character to the apostle’s περιπατεῖν in presence of his enemies (comp. 2 Corinthians 6:7). On the idea, comp. 1 Timothy 1:18.


Verse 4

2 Corinthians 10:4. Reason assigned for the assertion just made οὐ κ. σ. στρατευόμεθα, but not a parenthesis (Griesbach, Lachmann), since 2 Corinthians 10:5 is manifestly a further explanation of the preceding πρὸς καθαίρ. ὀχυρ., so that the participles in 2 Corinthians 10:5 f. are to be referred to the logical subject of the verse before ( ἡμεῖς). Comp. 2 Corinthians 9:11; 2 Corinthians 9:13.

That the στρατεύεσθαι is not κατὰ σάρκα, is shown from the fact that the weapons of warfare are not σαρκικά; for, if the former were the case, so must the latter also. By the weapons (comp. 2 Corinthians 6:7; Romans 6:13; Romans 13:12) are to be understood the means, which the apostolic activity makes use of in the strife with the hostile power.

σαρκικά] which belong to the life-sphere of the σάρξ, so that the σάρξ, the sinfully inclined human nature, is their principium essendi, and they do not proceed from the Holy Spirit,(300) as e.g. σοφία σαρκική, 2 Corinthians 1:12, the νοῦς τῆς σαρκός, Colossians 2:18, the whole ἔργα τῆς σαρκ., Galatians 5:19. Now, since fleshly weapons as such are weak (Matthew 26:41; Romans 6:19), and not in keeping with the aims of the apostolic work, the weapons opposed to them are not designated according to their nature (for it is self-evident that they are ὅπλα πνευματικά), but at once according to their specific potency (comp. 2 Corinthians 2:4), as δυνατὰ τῷ θεῷ. By this the passage only gains in pith, since by virtue of the contrast so expressed in σαρκικά the quality of weakness, and in δυνατὰ τῷ θεῷ the pneumatic nature, are understood ex adjuncto. Hence the inference frequently drawn from δυνατὰ τῷ θεῷ, that σαρκικός here must mean weak, is too hast.

δυνατὰ τῷ θεῷ] mighty for God, i.e. passing with God as mighty, which denotes the true reality of the being mighty, without, however, being a Hebraistic periphrasis for the superlative (Vorstius, Glass, Emmerling, Vater, Flatt). See on ἀστεῖος τῷ θεῷ, Acts 7:20; Bernhardy, p. 83 f. Others, not following this current genuinely Greek usage (for the corresponding Hebrew usage, see Gesenius, Thesaur. I. p. 98), have explained it as: through God (Beza, Grotius, Cornelius a Lapide, Estius, Er. Schmid, Wolf, Bengel, and others; Erasmus has afflatu Dei), or for God, i.e. so that they are to God a means of showing His power (Billroth; comp. Chrysostom and Hofmann). But the former would be superfluous, since it is self-evident in the case of spiritual weapons, and the latter would import something into the words, especially as not God, but Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5), is conceived as the general; comp. 2 Timothy 2:3. For the mighty πανοπλία of the Christian, which, along with the special apostolic gifts, is also that of the apostles, see Ephesians 6:14 ff.

πρὸς καθαίρεσιν ὄχυρωμάτων] that, for which the weapons are mighty: to the pulling down of strongholds (Xen. Hell. iii. 2. 3; very frequent in the books of the Maccabees; comp. ὀχυρὸς πύργος, τόπος, ὀχυρὰ πόλις, φρουρά, and the like). The τύφος ἑλληνικός and the ἰσχὺς τῶν σοφισμάτων καὶ τῶν διαλογισμῶν (Chrysostom) are included in the phrase. It does not, however, mean these alone, nor the “old walls of the Jewish legal system” (Klöpper), but generally everything, which may be included as belonging to the category of humanly strong and mighty means of resistance to the gospel. Examples of this figurative use may be seen in Wetstein and Kypke, and from Philo in Loesner, p. 317. The pulling down depicts the making quite powerless and reducing to nought—the καταργεῖν, 1 Corinthians 1:28, and καταισχύνειν, 1 Corinthians 1:27.


Verse 5

2 Corinthians 10:5. How the πρὸς καθαίρ. ὀχυρωμ. is executed by the ἡμεῖς (the logical subject in 2 Corinthians 10:4): inasmuch as we pull down thoughts (Romans 2:15), i.e. bring to nothing hostile deliberations, resolutions, plans, calculations, and the like, raising themselves like fortresses against Christ. More precise definitions (Grotius and many others: “ratiocinationes philosophorum,” comp. Ewald; “subtleties,” Hofmann; “thoughts of their own,” behind which men screen themselves from the urgent knowledge of God) are not warranted by the context, nor yet by the contrast of γνῶσις τ. θ., since this is meant objectively (in opposition to de Wette, who understands thoughts of self-conceited wisdom). Also against Olshausen’s opinion, that Paul is censuring specially the pretended wisdom of the Christ-party, it is to be observed that he is speaking, not simply of the working against Corinthian opponents, but against enemies in general. The figurative expression of destruction by war, καθαιροῦντες, was very naturally suggested by the image which had just gone before, and which is immediately afterwards taken up again by ὕψωμα ( ἐπέμεινε τῇ τροπῇ, ἵνα πλείονα ποιήσῃ τἠν ἔμφασιν, Chrysostom); and the subsequent ἐπαιρόμ. emphatically corresponds to i.

καὶ πᾶν ὕψωμα κ. τ. λ.] and every exalted thing (rampart, castle, tower, and the like, comp. Aq. Psalms 18:34, and see in general, Schleusner, Thes. V. p. 427), which is lifted up against the (evangelical) knowledge of God (the knowledge of God κατʼ ἐξοχήν), that this may not become diffused and prevailing. The real meaning of the figurative ὕψωμα is equivalent to that of ὀχύρωμα, 2 Corinthians 10:4; the relation to λογισμούς is, however, correctly defined by Bengel: “cogitationes species, altitudo genus.”

The enemy, who is thus vanquished by the destruction of his high places, is πᾶν νόημα, i.e. not all reason (Luther; comp. Vulgate: “omnem intellectum”), as if πάντα νοῦν were used, but (comp. on 2 Corinthians 3:14, 2 Corinthians 4:4) every creation of thought, every product of the human thinking faculty. The λογισμοί before named belong to this, but Paul here goes on to the whole general category of that, which as product of the νοῦς takes the field against Christianity. All this is by Paul and his companions brought into captivity, and thereby into subordination to Christ, after the bulwarks are destroyed, etc. Thus the holy war comes to the goal of complete victor.

εἰς τὴν ἱπακοὴν τοῦ χ.] so that this πᾶν νόημα, which previously was hostile to Christ, now becomes obedient and subject to Christ. By this is expressed the conversion to Christ, which is attained through the apostolic working, consequently a leading captive ἀπὸ δουλείας εἰς ἐλευθερίαν, ἀπὸ θανάτου πρὸς ζωὴν, ἐξ ἀπωλείας πρὸς σωτηρίαν, Chrysostom. The condition ὑπακοὴ τοῦ χριστοῦ is conceived of as a local sphere, into which the enemy is led captive. Comp. Luke 21:24; Tobit 1:10; 1 Kings 8:46; 3 Esdr. 2 Corinthians 6:16; Judith 5:18. Apart from this conception, Paul would have written τῇ ὑπακοῇ τοῦ χριστοῦ, or simply τῷ χριστῷ. Comp. Romans 7:23. Kypke, Zachariae, Flatt, Emmerling, Bretschneider, connect εἰς τ. ὑπακ. τ. χ. with πᾶν νόημα, and take εἰς as contra. But in that case Paul would have written very unintelligibly, and by the change of the preposition (previously κατά) would have simply led the reader astray; besides, the αἰχμαλωτίζοντες, without εἰς τ. ὑπακ. τ. χ., would remain open and incomplete; finally, 2 Corinthians 10:6 shows that he conceived the ὑπακοὴ χριστοῦ as the goal of the working, consequently as belonging to αἰχμαλ. Comp. also Romans 1:5; Romans 16:26.


Verse 6

2 Corinthians 10:6. The reverse side of the αἰχμαλωτίζοντες κ. τ. λ. just expressed. Although, namely, the αἰχμαλ. πᾶν νόημα εἰς τ. ὑπακ. τοῦ χριστοῦ is the result of the apostolic warfare on the whole and in general, yet there remain exceptions—persons, who do not surrender themselves captive to Christ’s dominion; there remains παρακοή in contradistinction to the ὑπακοή of others. Hence it is a part also of the complete work of victory to punish every παρακοή. And this, says Paul, we are in readiness to execute, so soon as, etc. Bengel well says: “Zelus jam adest; prometur, cum tempus erit.” Paul does not speak of the action of war-captives at variance with the duty of obedience, to which they are taken bound (Hofmann). For this the threat, which would amount, in fact, to the avenging of every sin, would be too strong, and the following ὅταν κ. τ. λ. would not be suitable. The παρακουοντες must still be enemies who, after the victory, do not submit to the victo.

ἐν ἑτοίμῳ ἔχοντες] in promptu habentes, also in Polyb. ii. 34. 2, and Philo, Leg. ad. Caj. p. 1011, 1029. See, in general, Wetstei.

ὅταν πληρωθῇ ὑμῶν ὑπακοή] With this he turns to apply what was previously said of a general tenor ( ἐκδικ. πᾶσαν παρακ.) specially to the circumstances of the Corinthians, so that the conduct of the Judaistic teachers, who had intruded into Corinth and directed their doings against Paul, appears especially to be included in πᾶσα παρακοή; and the Corinthian church, a part of which had been led astray by those persons, is represented as not yet completely obedient, but as in the course of developing this complete obedience. When this development shall be completed (which till then makes a claim on my patience, “ne laedantur imbecilliores,” Bengel), that ἐκδίκησις of every disobedience shall—even as respects the situation of things at Corinth—ensue.(301) Thus the apostle separates the interest of the church from that of the intruding seducers, and presents his relation to the church as one of forbearance and confidence, while his relation to his opponents is one of vengeance delaying its execution only for the sake of the church, which has not yet attained to full obedience—a wise manipulation of the Divide et impera!

How he means to execute the ἐκδικεῖν (Romans 12:19), he does not say; he might do so by ordaining excommunication, by giving them over to Satan (1 Corinthians 5:5), or by other exercise of his miraculous apostolic powe.

ὑμῶν] is placed first with emphasis, to distinguish the church from those whose παρακοή was to be punished. Hofmann, without ground, denies this emphasis, because ὑ΄ῶν does not stand before πληρωθῆ. The emphasis certainly falls, in the first instance, on πληρ., and next not on ὑπακ., but on ὑ΄ῶν.


Verse 7

2 Corinthians 10:7. Paul feels that the ἐξουσία, just described in 2 Corinthians 10:3-6, is not conceded to him by his opponents and those misled by them in the church; they judge that he is evidently no right servant of Christ, and that he must come to shame with his boasting (comp. 2 Corinthians 10:8). He at once breaks into the midst of this course of thought on the part of his opponents with the disapproving question: Do you look on that which lies before the eyes? I do you judge according to the appearance? by which he means this, that they profess to have seen him weak and cowardly, when he was in Corinth personally (comp. 2 Corinthians 10:1). This does not involve any admission of the charge in 2 Corinthians 10:1, but, on the contrary, discloses the error, in accordance with which the charge was based on the apostle’s outward appearance, winch did not make a display of his boldness. The answer to the question is: If any one is confident that he belongs to Christ, let him judge this again of himself, that just as he belongs to Christ, so do we. The opposing teachers had certainly boasted: How utterly different people are we from this Paul, who is bold only at a distance, and makes a boast of belonging as an apostle to Christ! We are right servants of Christ!

τὰ κατὰ πρόσωπον βλέπετε] is taken interrogatively by Theodoret, Erasmus, Luther, Castalio, Cajetanus, Beza, Grotius, Calovius, Wolf, Hammond, Bengel, Heumann, Rosenmüller, Emmerling, Räbiger, Osiander, Klöpper, and others; along with which, however, many import into κατὰ πρόσωπον elements at variance with the text (see 2 Corinthians 10:1; 2 Corinthians 10:10), such as intercourse with Jesus when on earth and other matters. It is taken as not interrogative (Lachmann and Tischendorf), but also with βλέπετε as indicative, and the sentence, consequently, as a judgment of censure, by Chrysostom, Gennadius, Oecumenius, Theophylact, Calvin, Schulz, Flatt. Calvin says: “Magni facitis alios, qui magnis ampullis turgent; me, quia ostentatione et jactantia careo, despicitis;” while Flatt, following Storr, in spite of 2 Corinthians 10:1; 2 Corinthians 10:10, refers κατὰ πρόσωπον to the kinship of James with Christ, on which the Christine party had relied. In any case, however, it is more lively and forcible, and therefore more suitable, to take it as interrogative. Others, again, take βλέπετε as an imperative (Vulgate, Ambrosiaster, Anselm, Cornelius a Lapide, Billroth, Rückert, Olshausen, de Wette, Bisping, Hofmann): observe withal what lies so clearly before the eyes! In this view we should not have to explain it with Ewald: “regard personal matters;” so that Paul begins to point to the personal element which is now to be taken into consideration; but with Hofmann: the readers only needed to have their eyes open to what lay before them, in order to judge rightly. But against this it may be urged that κατὰ πρόσωπον could not but most naturally explain itself from 2 Corinthians 10:1, and that the meaning itself would have something tame and more calmly argumentative, than would be suited to the lively emotion of the passage. Besides, it is Paul’s custom elsewhere to put βλέπετε first, when he summons to an intuemini. See 1 Corinthians 1:26; 1 Corinthians 10:18; Philippians 3:2.

εἴτις πέποιθεν ἑαυτῷ χριστοῦ εἶναι] In this way is designated the confidence which his opponents (not a single peculiar false teacher, as Michaelis thinks) arrogantly cherished for themselves, but denied to Paul, that they were genuine Christ-people, genuine servants of Christ. The addition of δοῦλος to χριστοῦ in D* E* F G, It. Ambrosiaster, is a correct gloss (comp. 2 Corinthians 11:23). For it is not the confiteor of the Christine party (1 Corinthians 1:12) that is meant here (Mosheim, Stolz, Flatt, comp. also Olshausen, Dähne, de Wette, Schenkel, Beyschlag, Hilgenfeld, Klöpper, and others; see against this, Neander, I. p. 393 ff., and also Hofmann), but the assertion—to the exaltation of themselves and the exclusion of Paul—of a true apostolic connection (through calling, gifts, etc.) with Christ(302) on the part of Judaistic pseudo-apostles (2 Corinthians 11:5, 2 Corinthians 13:12-13). Observe that the teachers here meant were not a party of the church, like the adherents of Christ designated in 1 Corinthians 1:12. The very οὕτω καὶ ἡμεῖς, compared with 2 Corinthians 10:8,—to say nothing of the fact that there is no hint of any such special reference,—precludes our explaining it of the continued immediate connection with Christ through visions and the like, of which the heads of the Christine party had probably boasted (de Wette, Dähne, Goldhorn, and others, following Schenkel).

πάλιν] not: on the contrary, or on the other hand, which it never means in the N. T. (see on Matthew 4:7, and Fritzsche, ad Matt. p. 16 7), but again, denuo. It refers to ἐφʼ ἑαυτοῦ, which is correlative to the previous ἑαυτῷ. He is confident to himself; let him then consider once more for himself. In this view there was no need of the shift to which Fritzsche has recourse, that πεποιθέναι and λογίζεσθαι “communem continent mente volvendi notionem.” The verbs might be quite heterogeneous in point of the notion conveyed, since πάλιν is logically defined by the relation of ἑαυτῷ and ἑαυτοῦ.

The Recepta ἀφʼ ἑαυτοῦ, instead of which, however, ἐφʼ ἑαυτοῦ is to be read,(303) would mean proprio motu, Luke 12:57; Luke 21:30, 2 Corinthians 3:5, i.e. without any need for one first to say it to him. The text gives no warrant for ironical interpretation (from his own high estimate, Rückert).

οὓτω καὶ ἡ΄εῖς] is a litotes from the apostle’s point of view. οὐ γὰρ βούλεται ἐκ προοιμίων σφοδρὸς γίνεσθαι ἀλλὰ κατὰ μικρὸν αὔξεται καὶ κορυφοῦται, Chrysostom.


Verse 8

2 Corinthians 10:8. Proof of the οὕτω καὶ ἡμεῖς from his apostolic authority, which was yet greater than he had already represented i.

τὲ γάρ] etenim, as in Romans 1:26; Romans 7:7. See on these passages, and Hermann, ad Soph. Trach. 1015; regarding the independent usage frequent in the later Attic, see Klotz, ad Devar. p. 750 f.

ἐάν] is not used concessively (Rückert; not even 1 Corinthians 4:15; 1 Corinthians 13:1 ff.), but puts a case as a conception of the speaker, in which the realization remains left to experience: for, in case that I shall have boasted myself yet something more (than has been already done by me in 2 Corinthians 10:3-6) of the authority, etc., I shall not be put to shame, it will be apparent that I have not been practising empty boasting of which I should have to be ashamed. περισσότ. τι is accusative of object, like τί, 2 Corinthians 7:11. See on 2 Corinthians 9:2. The reference of the comparative to what was said in 2 Corinthians 10:7 (Osiander, Hofmann, following older commentators) has against it the fact that Paul, in 2 Corinthians 10:7, has not spoken of an ἐξουσία; and to take περὶ τ. ἐξουσ. ἡμ. as an element added only by way of supplement, would be all the more arbitrary, since, in fact, what follows is attached to it significantly. It is taken too generally by Grotius and others: “plus quam alii possent,” or as: “somewhat more amply” (Ewald; comp. Billroth and Olshausen). On τ. ἐξουσίας κ. τ. λ., comp. 2 Corinthians 13:10.

ἧς ἔδωκεν κύριος εἰς οἰκοδομὴν κ. τ. λ.] significant more precise definition of the previous ἡμῶν, with a double side-glance at the false apostles, whose power neither was from Christ nor redounded to edification (perfection of the Christian life), but rather to the destruction of the church. Paul conceives of the church as a temple of God, which the apostolic teachers are building (1 Corinthians 3:16; comp. on Romans 14:19); and he is conscious that he will, in the event of his making a still greater boast of that, not be put to shame, but see himself justified by the result of his work. Observe the interchange of plural ( ἐξουσ. ἡμ.) and singular. Olshausen, in an arbitrary and involved way, connects εἰς οἰκοδ. with καυχήσωμαι, holding that there is an anticipation of the thought, so that, according to the meaning, it ought to have run: οὐκ αἰσχυνθήσομαι, ἐγένετο γὰρ εἰς κ. τ. λ.

οὐκ αἰσχυνθ.] when? in every case of the future generally. There is no indication in the text of a limitation to the last day (Ewald). Even on his arrival at Corinth he expected that he should experience no cause for shame.


Verse 9

2 Corinthians 10:9 is taken by Chrysostom, Calvin, Schulz, Morus, Zachariae, Emmerling, Vater, Rückert, Olshausen, de Wette, Ewald, Maier, Hofmann, as the protasis of 2 Corinthians 10:11, so that 2 Corinthians 10:10 becomes a parenthesis. But by Erasmus, Luther, Castalio, Beza, Grotius, Bengel, and others, also Billroth and Schrader, it is attached to 2 Corinthians 10:8, in which case, however, some (Beza, Bengel, comp. Billroth) supply before ἵνα a “quod ego idcirco dico,” others (Grotius, comp. Erasmus): “non addam plura ea de re.” The latter is pure invention; and from the supplement of Beza there would not at all logically result what is said in 2 Corinthians 10:9. No; let ἵνα μὴ δόξω κ. τ. λ. be joined immediately, without assuming any intervening thought, to οὐκ αἰσχυνθήσομαι: I shall not be put to shame (now comes the definition, in a negative form, of the divine aim with reference to the charge in question), in order that I may not appear, etc., that the matter may not remain on the footing of the mere word, but it may be apparent in point of fact that I am something quite other than the man who wishes to frighten you by his letters. If in this way the passage proceeds simply and correctly without logical difficulty, the less simple connection of Chrysostom et al. (see above) is superfluous, and is, moreover, not to be accepted, because the new part of the passage would begin, in a very palpably abrupt way, with ἵνα without any connecting particle,(304) and because what Paul says in 2 Corinthians 10:11 could not destroy the appearance indicated in 2 Corinthians 10:9, to which belonged matter of fact.

ὡς ἂν ἐκφοβεῖν ὑμᾶς] The Vulgate rightly has: “tanquam terrere vos,” and Beza: “ceu perterrefacere vos.” The ὡς ἄν modestly takes away from the harsh and strong ἐκφοβεῖν the offensiveness, which in the feeling of the apostle it would have had, if taken by itself and in its full sense. It is not modal (“in any way,” Hofmann), but comparative, corresponding quite to our modifying as [German wie]: that I may not appear to put you as in dread. In later Greek ὡς ἄν certainly has the meaning tanquam, quasi, ἄν having lost its specific reference. See Hermann, de part. ἄν, 4. 3, p. 184; Bornemann, in d. Sächs. Stud. 1846, p. 61; Buttmann, neut. Gram. p. 189 [E. T. 219]. To resolve it into ὡς ἂν ἐκφοβοῖμι ὑμᾶς (Olshausen) is arbitrary, as if it were oratio directa. The classical ὡς ἄν with optative and subjunctive (Klotz, ad Devar. p. 767), as in 1 Thessalonians 2:7, is not to be brought into comparison her.

διὰ τῶν ἐπιστ.] namely, which I write to you (article); he had already written two. The plural does not justify the hypothesis of a third letter already written (Bleek).

The compound ἐκφοβεῖν (comp. ἔκφοβος, Mark 9:6; Hebrews 12:21) is stronger than the simple form, Plato, Gorg. p. 483 C Ephesians 3, p. 318 B Thuc. iii. 42. 4; Polyb. xiv. 10. 3; Wisdom of Solomon 17:9; Wisdom of Solomon 17:19; 1 Maccabees 14:17.


Verse 10

2 Corinthians 10:10. For his letters, it is said, are weighty and strong; his bodily presence, however, is powerless (when present in body, he acts without power and energy), and his speech despised, his oral teaching, exhortation, etc., find no respect, are held of little account. Comp. 2 Corinthians 10:1. For the apostle’s own commentary on the second part of this assertion of his opponents, see 1 Corinthians 2:3-4. Quite at variance with the context, some have found here also bodily weakness (Witsius in Wolf; recently, in particular, Holsten, zum Ev. d. Paul. u. Petr. p. 85), and a weak utterance (Er. Schmid). Besides, the tradition is very uncertain and late, which pronounces Paul to have been μικρὸν καὶ συνεσταλμένον τὸ τοῦ σώματος μέγεθος (Niceph. Call. ii. 37). Comp. on Acts 14:12.

The opposite of ἰσχυραί, powerful, is ἀσθενής.

On βαρεῖαι, comp. Wetstein. The gravitas is imposing and instils respect; hence the opposite ἐξουθενημ.

φησι] it is said, impersonal, as often with the Greeks. See Bernhardy, p. 419. The reading φασίν (Lachmann, following B, Vulg.) is a rash correction. Comp. Fritzsche, ad Thesmoph. p. 189; Buttmann, neut. Gram. p. 119 [E. T. 136].


Verse 11

2 Corinthians 10:11. After 2 Corinthians 10:10 a full stop is to be put (see on 2 Corinthians 10:9), so that now, without any connecting particle, but with the more striking force, there follows what is suggested for the consideration of the person judging in such wis.

τοιοῦτοι καὶ παρόντες τῷ ἔργῳ] sc. ἐσμέν. Such a double part we do not play.


Verse 12

2 Corinthians 10:12.(305) Reason assigned for this assurance ( οἷοί ἐσμεντῷ ἔργῳ): for we are not like our boastful opponents, but, etc. If we were such people as they are, word and work might doubtless not harmonize in our cas.

οὐ γὰρ τολμῶμεν κ. τ. λ.] for we do not venture to number ourselves among, or compare ourselves with, certain people among those who commend themselves; but they,(306) measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves with themselves, are not rational; we, on the other hand, will not make our boast beyond measure, but, etc., 2 Corinthians 10:13. In οὐ τολμῶμεν is implied an irony which shows the want of humility in those people. Bengel aptly says: “sepem inter se et illos ponit.”

ἐγκρῖναι] annumerare, to place in one category; inserere, as the Vulgate rightly has it (Hor. Od. i. 1. 35); construed with εἰς, μετά, ἐπί with genitive, and with the simple dative of the persons joined (Apoll. Rhod. i. 48. 227). See Wetstein and Kypke, II. p. 264.

συγκρῖναι] might mean the same (Morus, Rosen-müller, Flatt, Reiche, and several, following the Peshito), but is defined by συγκρίνοντες in the contrasting clause as having the meaning comparare (Vulgate), which it very often has in later Greek, as also in Wisdom of Solomon 7:29; Wisdom of Solomon 15:18, equivalent to παραβάλλειν in Polyb. i. 2. 1, xii. 12. 1.(307) See, in general, Lobeck, ad Phryn. p. 278. Comp. Loesner, Obss. p. 273. Observe, moreover, the paronomasia of the two verbs, something like inferre aut conferre, the German zurechnen oder gleichrechnen; Ewald: eingleichen oder vergleichen [reckon to or reckon like].

τισι] as in 2 Corinthians 10:2, not: even the least of them (Hofmann).

τῶν ἑσυτ. συνιστ.] This is the class of men, to which the τινές belon.

ἀλλά] introduces the opposite in such a way that the procedure of the two parties is placed antithetically in juxtaposition: “We do not venture to reckon ourselves to or compare ourselves with them, but they proceed thus, we, on the other hand, thus.” We do not venture, etc., but between them and us there subsists the contrast, which does away with that ἐγκρῖναι συγκρῖναι κ. τ. λ., that they, etc., whereas we, et.

αὐτοί down to οὐ συνιοῦσιν applies to the hostile τινές, and on this point one half of the expositors are agreed. But συνιοῦσιν, which is therefore not to be accented συνίουσιν (comp. on Romans 3:11), is not a participle (Chrysostom), so that it would be definition of quality to ἑαυτοῖς, which would quite unnecessarily make an anacoluthon, but it is the third person plural (Matthew 13:13) for the Attic συνιᾶσιν, which is read by Lachmann, following B א**—so that ἐν ἑαυτοῖς ἑαυτοὺς μετροῦντες κ. συγκρ. ἑαυτ. ἑαυτοῖς is the point, in which the opponents show their irrationality (inasmuch as they measure themselves by themselves … they are irrational), and not the object of οὐ συνιοῦσιν (they do not know that they measure themselves by themselves), as Erasmus, Castalio, Beza, Estius, Grotius, Er. Schmid, Wolf, and several have held. To this last view, indeed, there is no grammatical objection (Valckenaer, ad Herod. III. 1, and on the distinction from the infinitive construction, Kühner, II. p. 357), but it would yield an inappropriate meaning; for the contrast ἡ΄εῖς δὲ κ. τ. λ. shows that Paul did not mean to bring into prominence the blindness of his opponents towards their foolish conduct, but the folly of this procedure itself, whereas he proceeds quite otherwise. When those people measure themselves by themselves, judge themselves by their own personality, and compare themselves with this instead of with persons working more and better,(308) they are in this presumption of theirs (comp. Chrysostom 1) irrational, ineptiunt, οὐ συνιοῦσι. This, however, is not to be defined more precisely by arbitrary additions, such as: they do not know how ridiculous they make themselves (Chrysostom 2, Theophylact), or, how arrogant they are (Oecumenius), or what they are talking about (Augustine). Comp. rather Romans 3:11; Matthew 13:13, al. Hofmann prefers the reading of א* 2Co 93: συνίσασιν (comp. on this Attic form, Acts 26:4, and see Buttmann, Ausf. Sprachl. p. 548 ff.), and attaches ἑαυτοῖς to it: they are not conscious of this, that they only measure themselves and compare themselves, i.e. that only within their own selves they form their judgment respecting themselves, how far they are capable of apprehending, and to whom they are entitled to rank themselves equal. But the reading συνίσασιν can only be regarded as a copyist’s error, through which, instead of συνιᾶσιν (Lachmann), there crept in the word συνίσασιν well known from the Attic writers (e.g. Soph. El. 93; Xen. Cyrop. iii. 1. 9), and this in turn was at once amended by the corrector A. And in no case can ἑαυτοῖς be separated from συγκρίνοντες, since συγκρίνειν in itself is an incomplete notion, which necessarily requires a specification of that with which comparison is made. Hofmann’s view is at once uncritical and illogical, apart from the fact that it very much disturbs the purposely chosen symmetry of the two participial definitions; hence it is also formally unsuitable.

The second half of the expositors (Chrysostom hesitates between the two views) refer αὐτοὶ συνιοῦσιν to Paul, and consider συνιοῦσιν (to be written συνίουσιν) as a participle, so that the measuring self by self, etc. appears to be the right kind of judgment.(309) Comp. Horace, Ep. i. 7 98: “Metiri se quemque suo modulo ac pede verum est.” In this case either (a) οὐ συνιοῦσιν is considered as in contrast with ἑαυτοῖς: with ourselves, not with wise people, by which the conceited opponents would be ironically meant (Bos, Homberg, Schrader). Or (b) ἀλλὰἑαυτοὺς ἑαυτοῖς is taken as parenthesis, and οὐ συνιοῦσι as one conception in apposition to τισὶ τῶν ἑαυτ. συνιστ. (Schulz). Or (c) οὐ συνιοῦσιν is taken as apposition to the preceding ἑαυτοῖς: “neque existimo ex me, homine, ut istis placet, insipido,” Emmerling, whom Olshausen follows. All these views take the participles for the finite tenses (or rather as anacoluthic); but against them all the following ἡμεῖς δέ is decisive, which makes it logically necessary to refer αὐτοί to the opponents; for it cannot, as Emmerling and Olshausen think, form a logical contrast to the charge which is alleged to be implied in οὐ συνιοῦσιν, since ἡ΄εῖς δέ would require to be put in antithesis to the accusers, and not to the accusation (which, besides, would only be expressed quite cursorily and indirectly by οὐ συνιοῦσιν). Further, there may be urged against (a), that it would require οὐ τοῖς συνιοῦσιν with the article; against (b), that this interpretation is involved; against (c), not so much the want of the article—for οὐ συνιοῦσιν need not be in apposition, but might also be an accompanying definition of ἑαυτοῖς—as the fact that there is no hint in the context of any ironical adducing of such a charge, and hence it is not to be compared with 2 Corinthians 11:1; 2 Corinthians 11:16; 2 Corinthians 11:19, 2 Corinthians 12:11.

REMARK 1.

Against our explanation (which is found in substance also in Augustine, Chrysostom 1, Theodoret, Theophylact, Luther, Calvin, Hammond, Wetstein, Zachariae, and others, including Rückert, Reiche, Neander, Osiander, Kling, partly also in Hofmann), it has been objected (see especially Fritzsche and Billroth) that ἀλλὰ αὐτοὶ κ. τ. λ. cannot apply to the opponents, because manifestly different modes of dealing, and not different persons, would be opposed to each other, in which case Paul could not but have written: ἡμεῖς γὰρ οὐἀλλὰ αὐτοὶ κ. τ. λ. But by this very contrast of persons first introduced by ἀλλά ( ἀλλὰ αὐτοὶἡμεῖς δέ) the opposite of the mode of action previously negatived is exhibited in a truly concrete and vivid way, and by no means illogically, seeing that in fact by the previous ἑαυτοὺς τισί the contrast of persons introduced with ἀλλά was very naturally suggested. On the other hand, it would not have been logical, if Paul had written ἡμεῖς γὰρ οὐ τολμῶμενἀλλὰ αὐτοὶ κ. τ. λ., since then doubtless the persons, but not that which is asserted of the persons, would stand in logical contrast with one another; for what is asserted would need to be substantially in both clauses one and the same thing, which would be denied of the ἡμεῖς, and affirmed of the αὐτοί. It has been objected to our explanation of οὐ συνιοῦσιν that it is against the context; but it is, in point of fact, to be observed, that on the one hand it gives a very delicate explanation concerning the ironical οὐ τολμῶμεν, and that on the other hand the following ἡμεῖς δὲ κ. τ. λ. with logical accuracy opposes to the previous ἀλλὰ αὐτοὶ κ. τ. λ. the thought: we, however, abide by the measure which God has imparted to us, so that in κατὰ τὸ μέτρον τοῦ κανόνος, οὗ ἐμέρ. ἡμ. θεὸς μέτρου there lies the contrast to the irrational procedure of the opponents measuring themselves by themselves. He who measures himself by himself, seeing that in fact he lacks an objective standard, falls with his boasting εἰς τὰ ἄμετρα, like those opponents; but not he, who knows himself determined by a limit set by God. Finally, the objection, that by our interpretation οὐ συνιοῦσιν gets a thought imported into it which its literal tenor does not actually present (Hofmann), is quite groundless, since οὐ, by a quite common usage, turns the συνιοῦσιν into its opposite, consequently οὐ συν. expresses the ἀσυνεσία, the irrationality and folly of those men in their procedure.

REMARK 2.

By leaving out oh οὐ συνιοῦσιν· ἡμεῖς δέ, but retaining καυχησόμεθα, 2 Corinthians 10:13 (see the critical remarks), the meaning results; “sed me ex meo modulo metiens mihique me conferens, non praeter modum, sed ad modum ita mihi praefiniti spatii, ut ad vos quoque pervenirem, gloriabor” (Fritzsche).(310) But if καυχησόμεθα also is left out, as Fritzsche and Billroth approve, Paul in 2 Corinthians 10:15 turns back to οὐκ εἰς τὰ ἄ΄ετρα in 2 Corinthians 10:13, and then adds the still necessary verb anacoluthically in the participle: “sed me ipse mihi conferens, non praeter modum2 Corinthians 10:15, non praeter modum inquam me efferens” (Fritzsche). The suitableness of the meaning and of the antithetic character in the several parts, as well as the unexceptionable warrant of the anacoluthon, have been aptly shown by Fritzsche, pp. 41, 43 f. But the rejected words cannot thereby be deprived of their critical title to exist.


Verse 13

2 Corinthians 10:13. εἰς τὰ ἄμετρα] so that we with our καυχᾶσθαι go beyond measure, go into limitless extravagance. This is what is done by the man who measures himself by himself, because in that case no check external to himself is put on his imagination and self-exaltation. Such a man certainly has an object of the καυχᾶσθαι, and is not simply aiming at the having one (Hofmann), which would yield an absurd idea; but he has no bounds in the manner and degree of his καυχᾶσθαι; he is wanting in μετριότης. Regarding the use of εἰς with an adjective of degree and the article, see Viger. ed. Herm. p. 596; Matthiae, p. 1349. On the expression itself, comp. Homer, Il. ii. 212, where Thersites is called ἀμετροεπής.

καυχησόμεθα] The future asserts that this case will not occur. Comp. Romans 10:14, al.; Dissen, ad Dem. de Cor. p. 369.

ἀλλὰ κατὰ τὸ μέτρον τοῦ κανόνος, οὗ κ. τ. λ.] sc. καυχησόμεθα: but according to the measure of the boundary-line, which God (not our own choice) has assigned to us as measure, to reach even unto you, i.e. but our boasting will restrict and measure itself according to the limit which God has drawn for us, and by which He has measured off the sphere of our activity, in order that we should reach even to you with our working. By this Paul is manifestly aiming at the vaingloriousness of the false apostles, who decked themselves with extraneous feathers, inasmuch as they intruded into the provinces of others, into spheres which had not been assigned to them by God as the measure of their activity: as, indeed, in particular they had come also to Corinth, which lay within the boundary-line of Paul’s apostolic action, and were now boasting as if the church-life in Corinth were chiefly their work. For, although they could not give themselves out to be the founders of the church (Baur, Tüb. Zeitschr. 1832, 4, p. 101), they could still put forward as their merit the rapid growth of the church and many points of detail, and thereby presume to put the apostle in the shade. Olshausen thinks that the false apostles had appropriated to themselves Corinth as their province, because they had already been at work there before Paul; but that the latter had still felt himself at liberty to preach in Corinth, because no apostle had been there before him. This is an hypothesis quite as superfluous as it is unhistorical, since neither in the Book of Acts is there found any trace of Christianity at Corinth before Paul’s arrival, nor in the Epistles, in which, on the contrary, he states expressly that he was the first to preach there (1 Corinthians 3:6; 1 Corinthians 3:10), and that all other teachers had entered later into the work (1 Corinthians 4:15).

κατὰ τὸ μέτρον τοῦ κανόνος] Here τὸ μέτρον is the measure defined for the καυχᾶσθαι, as is clear from the previous οὐχὶ εἰς τὰ ἄμετρα καυχ.,—and τοῦ κανόνος is the genitivus subjecti: the measure given by the drawn measuring-line. And the subsequent μετροῦ(311) is an apposition to τοῦ κανόνος not at all unnatural (as Hofmann declares it), but attracted by the relative clause according to a very frequent Greek usage (see Bernhardy, p. 302; Pflugk, ad Eur. Hec. 771; Stallbaum, ad Plat. Phaed. p. 66 E Rep. p. 402 C Buttmann, neut. Gr. p. 246 [E. T. 286]); consequently not again the measure of the boasting, but, as appears from the definition of the object aimed at ἐφικέσθαι ἄχρι κ. ὑμῶν, the spatial measure, namely, how far one is to reach (see what follows), or, dropping the figure: the measure of extent of the destined working. Paul, namely, conceives of the local extension assigned to his official working as a space marked out by God with a measuring-line, in which he takes his stand and is able to reach to all points of it without unduly stretching or straining himself, 2 Corinthians 10:14. Hence: ἐφικέσθαι ἄχρι καὶ ὑμῶν, which is not simply exegetical (Hofmann), nor does it express the consequence (Rückert, de Wette), but is, in accordance with the notion of ἐμέρ., to be taken as infinitive of definition of οὗ ἐμέρ. ἡμ. θεὸς μέτρου.

κανών does not mean sphere of vocation (Flatt and many others), but measuring-rod, measuring-line. Here the latter. Comp. Galatians 6:16; Aq. Job 38:5; Psalms 18:4. See in general, Duncan, Lex. ed. Rost. p. 587 f. On μερίζειν τινί τι, to impart something to one, assign as one’s share, comp. Romans 12:3; 1 Corinthians 7:17; Hebrews 7:23; Polyb. xi. 28. 9, xxxi. 18. 3. The ἐφικνεῖσθαι is, in keeping with the figurative representation of the state of the matter (see especially 2 Corinthians 10:14), not to arrive at (Hofmann), which is only expressed by ἐφθάσαμεν, but to reach to, pertingere, as the Vulgate aptly renders it. The word is found nowhere else in the N. T., and is here selected for the sense indicated. Comp. Xen. Cyr. i. 1. 5, v. 5. 8; Plut. Mor. p. 190 E Lucian, Jup. conf. 19, al.; also Sirach 43:27; Sirach 43:30. The Corinthians, because not to be found beyond the bounds of his κανών, were to the apostle ἐφικτοί, reachable.


Verse 14

2 Corinthians 10:14. A parenthetical (see on 2 Corinthians 10:15) confirmation of ἐφικέσθαι ἄχρι καὶ ὑμῶν: for not, as though we were such as do not reach to you, do we overstretch ourselves, i.e., dropping the figure: for we do not usurp for ourselves any extension of our working at variance with its destined limit, as would be the case, if you lay beyond the measured-off province which is divinely assigned to us. Paul abides by his figure: for if he were not destined to extend his official working even to Corinth, and yet wished to do so, he would resemble a man who stretches himself beyond the boundary-line drawn for him, in order to reach to a point that lies beyond the limits which he is forbidden to overpas.

ὡς μὴ ἐφικν. εἰς ὑμᾶς] ἐφικν. is to be taken in no other sense than the previous ἐφικέσθαι. The present, however, denotes: as though we were persons, in whose case the reaching to you does not occur, i.e. whose position within their measured local district implies that you are not capable of being reached by them, because, forsooth, you lie beyond the limits of this district. Luther, Beza, and many others, overlooking this continuation of the figure, and taking ἐφικνούμενοι, in spite of the present (and in spite of the present ὑπερεκτείνομεν), historically, have explained it: ut si non pervenissemus, from which error there has sprung the participle of the second aorist, supported by very weak evidence, and yet preferred by Billroth. Regarding μή, Winer, p. 442 [E. T. 595], very correctly remarks: “a mere conception; in point of fact, the state of the case is otherwise; compare, on the other hand, 1 Corinthians 9:26.”

ἄχρι γὰρ καὶ ὑμῶν κ. τ. λ.] This is now the historical position of the case, in confirmation of what was just figuratively expressed by οὐ γὰρἑαυτούς. How fraught with shame must the sum of recollections, which this simple historical fact embraced, have been for the misled portion of the church! ἐφθάσαμεν is simply: we have arrived at (Romans 9:31; Philippians 3:16; Matthew 12:28; 1 Thessalonians 2:16), not: we have arrived before (sooner than the opponents, Osiander, comp. Ewald). This important point Paul must have denoted by some such expression as ἐφθάσ. ἐκείνους (comp. 1 Thessalonians 4:15).

ἐν τῷ εὐαγγ. τ. χ.] The gospel of Christ is conceived as the official element in which the ἐφθάσαμεν took place: in the matter of the gospel, i.e. in functione evangelica (Bengel). Comp. Romans 1:9; 2 Corinthians 8:18; Philippians 4:3; 1 Thessalonians 3:2.


Verse 15

2 Corinthians 10:15. As οὐκ εἰς τὰ ἄμετρα καυχ. is evidently intended to resume the οὐχὶ εἰς τὰ ἄμετρα καυχ. in 2 Corinthians 10:13, and as 2 Corinthians 10:14 is merely a confirmatory statement occasioned by ἐφικέσθαι ἄχρι κ. ὑμῶν, it is most natural and logically most suitable, with Lachmann, Osiander, Ewald, to place the whole of 2 Corinthians 10:14 in a parenthesis (not the second half of the verse merely, as is done by Griesbach, Scholz, de Wette, Hofmann), so that καυχώμενοι depends on the καυχησόμεθα to be supplied in the second clause of 2 Corinthians 10:13, not on οὐ γὰρὑπερεκτείν. ἑαυτούς (de Wette, Hofmann). To attach it, with Rückert (comp. Tischendorf), to ἐφθάσαμεν is quite unsuitable, because the latter contains an historical remark,—only made, moreover, in passing,—and thus heterogeneous elements would be combine.

ἐν ἀλλοτρίοις κόποις] object of the negatived εἰς τὰ ἄμετρα καυχᾶσθαι. With his opponents it was the case that their unmeasured boasting referred to labours which were done by others, but were boasted of by them as their work.

ἐλπίδα δὲ ἔχοντες] but having doubtless hope, when your faith increases, to become large among you according to our rule abundantly, i.e. but doubtless hoping, with the growth of your faith, to attain among you this, that starting from you we may be able still further abundantly to extend our working according to the measure of our destination. This meaning Paul expresses figuratively, and that with faithful adherence to the figure used in 2 Corinthians 10:13-14. He, namely, who can work far off, is a man of great stature, who without overstretching himself reaches afar; hence μεγαλυνθῆναι.(312) Further: because Paul still thinks of working forth to distances indefinitely remote, he hopes to become large εἰς περισσείαν (comp. Proverbs 21:5). Still he knows that this wide working, on which he cherishes the hope of being able to enter, will be in keeping with the line drawn for him by God—i.e. the spatial limit divinely appointed for him—and thus will be no ὑπερεκτείνειν ἑαυτ.; hence κατὰ τὸν κανόνα ἡμῶν,(313) which Beza ought not to have taken for ἐν τῷ κανόνι ἡ΄. (comp. 2 Corinthians 10:13). Further: the possibility of this wider working will not set in, if the faith of the Corinthians does not grow, namely, intensively, by becoming always purer, firmer, and more living than now, because Paul will not sooner be able to leave Corinth and travel onward; hence αὐξανομ. τῆν πίστεως ὑμῶν,(314) so that thus—and what a wholesome impulse ought this to be to them—it is the Corinthians themselves, among whom he will see himself brought to the point of being able to extend his working further; hence ἐν ὑμῖν(315) μεγαλυνθ.: among you to become large in order to further abundant workin.

εἰς περισσείαν] for Paul knew that he was destined to preach the gospel among all nations (Romans 1:14-15, and see on Romans 15:23; Romans 15:33; Acts 19:21); hence beyond doubt he had already at that time the intention of proceeding by way of Rome to Spain. Thus in μεγαλυνθῆναιεἰς περισσείαν the whole grand feeling of his apostolic destiny finds earnest and true expression. Rückert, on the contrary, sees a touch of irony, as if Paul would say: if the Corinthians would become a church as perfect as he wishes and expects, there will thence accrue a gain also for him; he, too, will then grow with them, and become capable not only of doing in the midst of them what is necessary, but also of doing yet something more, of growing, as it were, beyond the proper stature, etc. But both κατὰ τὸν κανόνα ἡμῶν and εἰς περισσείαν are at variance with the character of irony. If Paul had wished to express himself ironically, he would have written possibly ἐν ὑμῖν μεγαλυνθῆναι ὀλίγον or the like, which would have expressed something different from what he properly meant.


Verse 16

2 Corinthians 10:16. Infinitive without a connecting καί, and all the less therefore dependent in its turn on ἐλπίδα δὲ ἔχοντες, but rather infinitive of the aim: we hope to become exceedingly large among you, in order to preach the gospel unto the lands lying beyond you,(316) not within the boundary-line of another to boast of what is already done. This negative part is a side-glance at the opponents who in Corinth, which lay within the range of the line drawn for Paul, and so ἐν ἀλλοτρίῳ κανόνι, had boasted in regard to the circumstances of the church there, which they had, in fact, found already shaped before they came, consequently εἰς τὰ ἕτοιμα. Comp. Calvin: “quum Paulus militasset, illi triumphum agebant.” Beza and Billroth, also de Wette and Hofmann (who thinks all three infinitives dependent on ἐλπ. ἔχ.), take the infinitive as epexegesis of μεγαλυνθ. by adding an id est; but this is precluded by the correct connection of ἐν ὑμῖν with μεγαλυνθ. For, if Paul hopes to become large among the Corinthians, this cannot mean the same thing as to preach away beyond Corinth ( εἰς τὰ ὑπερέκεινα ὑμ. εὐαγγ.). No; that μεγαλυνθ. denotes the becoming capable for further extended working, the being put into a position for it, and accordingly the aim of this is: εἰς τὰ ὑπερέκεινα ὑμῶν εὐαγγ. Ewald would make the infinitives εὐαγγ. and καυχ. dependent on κατὰ τ. κανόνα ἡμ., so that they would explain in what more precisely this rule consists; but this is forbidden by the fact that εἰς περισσ. is not placed before κατὰ τ. κ. ἡμ.

The adverb ὑπερέκεινα, ultra, is bad Greek. See Thomas Magister, p 336: ἐπέκεινα ῥήτορες λέγουσιὑπερέκεινα δὲ μόνοι οἱ σύρφακες (the rabble). Comp. Bos, Ellips., ed. Schaef. pp. 288, 290.

εἰς before ὑπερέκ. does stand for ἐν (Flatt and others), but comp. 1 Peter 1:25; John 8:26, 1 Thessalonians 2:9.

οὐκ ἐν ἀλλοτρ. κανόνι] οὐκ, not μή, is here used quite according to rule (in opposition to Rückert), since the οὐκ ἐν ἀλλ. καν. is correlative to the εἰς τὰ ὑπερέκεινα ὑμῶν as contrast (Hartung, Partikell. II. p. 125 f.). And this correlation demands that ἐν be understood not of the object of καυχᾶσθαι (Hofmann), but locally, to which also the very notion of κανών (2 Corinthians 10:13) points: within the measuring-line drawn for another, i.e. as to substance: in the field of activity divinely destined for another.

On εἰς with καυχ., in reference to, comp. Arist. Pol. v. 10.


Verse 17

2 Corinthians 10:17 f. The ἐν ἀλλ. καν. εἰς τὰ ἕτοιμα καυχ. was the way of the opponents, whose self-glorying was selfish ostentation. Therefore Paul now lays down the law of the right καυχᾶσθαι, and establishes it in a way (2 Corinthians 10:18), the application of which to the perversity of the opponents’ boasting could not but be obviou.

δέ] leading over from the previous καυχήσασθαι to the law of the καυχᾶσθαι. “But as regards self-glorying, the maxim applies: Let him that glories glory (not otherwise than) in the Lord,” let him have God as the object of his καυχᾶσθαι, inasmuch as it is God, by whose grace and power he has and does everything. Paul himself gives a glorious example of the ἐν κυρίῳ καυχᾶσθαι in 1 Corinthians 15:10. Comp. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10.

As καυχ. ἐν κυρ. καυχ. is an O. T. maxim well known to the reader (Jeremiah 9:23 f.; comp. 1 Corinthians 1:31), and the context contains nothing at all which would be at variance with the original reference of the ἐν κυρίῳ to God, viewed as object of the καυχᾶσθαι, in which this is grounded (see on Romans 2:17), it is not to be understood of Christ (Erasmus, Estius, Flatt, Rückert, and others), nor is ἐν to be taken in the sense of communion (Calvin, Bengel, Osiander). Observe, moreover, what a moral difference there is between this Christian καυχᾶσθαι ἐν θεῷ (comp. Romans 5:11) and that of the Jewish particularism, Romans 2:17.—2 Corinthians 10:18. For not he who acts in the opposite way, not he who, instead of glorying ἐν κυρίῳ, makes himself the object which he commends to others, is approved, is in the position of attested Christian character, but he, whom the Lord commends. The latter is—and that in contrast with the opponents extolling themselves—the practical commendation, which God bestows on those concerned by His whole gracious aid, by the success and blessing attending their work, by their rescue from dangers, etc. In this de facto θεῖα ψῆφος (Theodoret), which is made known before the eyes of the world, they have at the same time the right de facto self-commendation, 2 Corinthians 6:3 ff., without being αὐτεπαίνετοι ( αὐτεπαινέτους γὰρ μισεῖ θεός, Clem. 1 Cor. 30).

Observe, further, the emphatic ἐκεῖνος as well as the unrestricted δόκιμος, the notion of which is not to be referred merely to human recognition (Hofmann), as in Romans 14:18, where τοῖς ἀνθρώπ. stands beside it; comp. rather 1 Corinthians 11:19; Romans 16:10; James 1:12.

 


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Bibliography Information
Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on 2 Corinthians 10:4". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hmc/2-corinthians-10.html. 1832.

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Tuesday, November 12th, 2019
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