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Bible Commentaries

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament
2 Corinthians 10

 

 

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Verse 1

2 Corinthians 10:1. αὐτὸς δὲ ἐγὼ παῦλος, now I Paul myself) An expression very demonstrative and emphatic. Myself forms an antithesis, either to Titus and the two brethren, in reference to what Paul premised [2 Corinthians 8:18; 2 Corinthians 8:22, 2 Corinthians 9:3]: or, to the Corinthians, who of themselves were bound to attend to their duty; or, even to Paul himself, who was about to use greater severity when in their presence [2 Corinthians 10:2; 2 Corinthians 10:11], so that αὐτὸς, myself, may signify, of my own accord.— παρακαλῶ) exhort, advise, for your sake; when I might command and threaten. The antithesis is δέομαι δὲ, but I beseech, for my own sake, in the next verse [Engl. Vers. loses this antithesis by rendering both verbs, I beseech].— διὰ, by) A motive equally applicable to Paul and the Corinthians.— πρᾳότηος καὶ ἐπιεικίας, the meekness and gentleness) πρᾳότης, meekness, a virtue more absolute: ἐπιείκεια, leniency, gentleness, is more in relation to others. Each of these is the true source of even his severest admonitions [and ought to be so in ours also].— τοῦ χριστοῦ, of Christ(60)) This signifies, that he did not derive his meekness from nature. Or else, διὰ, by, is used as at Romans 12:1 [I beseech you by the mercies of God], so that the meekness and gentleness of Christ Himself seem to be understood; but the objection to this view is, that ἐπιείκεια, gentleness, appears to be predicated of Christ Himself in no other passage, and this is a usual mode of speaking with Paul, to represent Christ as working and exerting His power in him and by him. Comp. the phrase, the truth of Christ [is in me], i.e., the truth in Christ, 2 Corinthians 11:10; and add Philippians 1:8, note.— ὃς, who) This is a pleasant mimesis or allusion to their usual mode of speaking, 2 Corinthians 10:10, a figure which is also here repeated more than once in the verb λογίζομαι.(61)ταπεινὸς) humble [lowly. Engl. Vers., base], timid.


Verse 2

2 Corinthians 10:2. δέομαι, I beseech) God; as at 2 Corinthians 13:7, or here it is, I beseech you. Paul intimates, that, as he may beseech in his letters, so he can nevertheless act with severity in their presence.— λογίζομαι, I am thought [but Engl. Vers., I think to be bold]) Passive as in Romans 4:4-5.— ἐπί τινας [against] as to, with respect to some) construe with to be bold.— τοὺς λογιζομένους, thinking) in the middle voice.— ὡς, as if) Connect it with according to the flesh.— κατὰ σάρκα, according to the flesh) as if they may despise us with impunity.


Verse 3

2 Corinthians 10:3. ἐν σαρκὶ, in the flesh) with weakness. See the following verse.—(62) στρατευόμεθα, we war) By this word he opens the way for a transition to what follows; and the reason of the boldness, τοῦ θαῤῥῆσαι [2 Corinthians 10:2], is included.


Verse 4

2 Corinthians 10:4. τὰ γὰρ ὅπλα, for the arms [weapons]) From the paternal rod, 1 Corinthians 4:21 [shall I come unto you with a rod?], he now proceeds to arms, with increasing severity; comp. presently 2 Corinthians 10:6; also 1 Corinthians 5:5; 1 Corinthians 5:13.— οὐ σαρκικὰ, ἀλλὰ δυνατὰ) not carnal and weak, but spiritual, and therefore mighty.— τῷ θεῷ [Engl. Vers., “through God,”] to God) This is virtually an accusative case.(63) So ch. 2 Corinthians 2:15, to God. In like manner, Acts 7:20; in the same way as the preposition ל is used as a prefix, Jonah 3:3 [an exceeding great city, “lit. a city of God]. The power is not ours, but of God. The efficacy of the Christian religion is an argument of its truth.— ὀχυρω΄άτων, of strongholds) A grand expression. [The human understanding may here suspect inflated language; but it is no common force and power, to wit, the force and power of those things, which in the case of the soul are brought out on both sides (both on the carnal and on the spiritual side).—V. g.]


Verse 5

2 Corinthians 10:5. λογισμοὺς [imaginations, reasonings] thoughts) those very thoughts of which he speaks, 2 Corinthians 10:2.(64)καθαιροῦντες, casting down) This expression might be construed with 2 Corinthians 10:3, but it rather depends on 2 Corinthians 10:4, the pulling down [ καθαίρεσιν]. Again, the nominative is used for an oblique case, as in ch. 2 Corinthians 9:13, note.— πᾶν ὓψω΄α, every high thing) Thoughts is the species; high thing, the genus. He does not say, ὕψος; comp. Romans 8:39, note.(65)ἐπαιρόμενον, exalting itself) like a wall and a rampart.— κατὰ τῆς γνώσεως τοῦ θεοῦ, against the knowledge of God) True knowledge makes men humble [attributing all power to GOD alone.—V. g.] Where there is exaltation of self, there the knowledge of God is wanting.— αἰχμαλωτίζοντες πᾶν νόημα) νόη΄α implies the faculty of the mind, νοός, of which λογισ΄οὶ, the thoughts, are the acts. The latter, hostile in [of] themselves, are cast down; the former vanquished and taken captive is wont to surrender itself, so that it necessarily and willingly tenders the obedience of faith to Christ the conqueror, having laid aside all its own authority, even as a slave entirely depends on the will of his master.


Verse 6

2 Corinthians 10:6. ἐν ἑτοίμῳ ἔχοντες) viz., ἡμᾶς, he says, we are ready [having ourselves in readiness]. We have zeal already; and it will be brought forth into action at the proper time.— πᾶσαν, all) This has a more extensive meaning than ὑμῶν, your, presently after.— ὅταν, when) lest the weaker should be injured,(66), 2 Corinthians 10:8. This is the principal point of pastoral prudence. [Paul had already done something of this sort at Corinth, Acts 18:7. On a similar principle, GOD exercises so great long-suffering as He does, in regard to an immense multitude of wicked men, till those things which can be gained thereby, have been drawn forth. See Exodus 32:34.—V. g.]


Verse 7

2 Corinthians 10:7. τὰ κατὰ πρόσωπον βλώπετε, do you look on the things according to the face [outward appearance]) The error of the Corinthians is noticed and refuted generally, 2 Corinthians 10:7-9 : then, having been specially detailed, it is specially refuted, 2 Corinthians 10:10-11. Therefore [2 Corinthians 10:7] let him think this [2 Corinthians 10:11], is repeated.— κατὰ πρόσωπον, after the face [outward appearance]) 2 Corinthians 10:1. In antithesis to, by letters, 2 Corinthians 10:9. He says, I can act with severity face to face [as well as by letters: πρόσωπον being opposed to ἐπιστολῶν].— εἴ τις) if any one of you.— πέποιθεν) πεποίθησις and πέποιθα, have been hitherto variously used by Paul in this epistle, 2 Corinthians 10:2, etc.— ἀφʼ ἑαυτοῦ, of himself) before he is in a more severe manner convinced of it by us. The Christian by his own feelings can measure his brother.— καθὼς, even as) The condescension of Paul, inasmuch as he merely demands an equal place with those, whom he had begotten by the Gospel; for he himself must previously have belonged to Christ, or been a Christian, by whom another was brought to belong to Christ. This was a cause [motive] for modesty [a modest feeling towards Paul] in the case of the Corinthians.— καὶ ἡμεῖς, we also) A fact which such a man [one that trusts he belongs to Christ] will be able to realize by experience.


Verse 8

2 Corinthians 10:8. γὰρ, for) This word makes an emphatic addition to the previous enunciation [epitasis].— καὶ περισσότερον τι, even somewhat more exceedingly [excellently]) for they were not only Christians, but apostles, etc.— ἐξουσίας, of the power) 2 Corinthians 10:6; 2 Corinthians 13:10.— κυρίος, the Lord) Christ.— οὐκ αἰσχυνθήσομαι, I shall not be ashamed) It will not be mere flashes of lightning from a basin;(67) I shall not shrink from exercising my authority.


Verse 9

2 Corinthians 10:9. ἴνα μὴ) I say this, lest, etc.— ὠς ἄν) Apposite particles [as though I would].— ἐκφοβεῖν ὑμᾶς, terrify you) as if you were children, with vain terror.


Verse 10

2 Corinthians 10:10. φησὶ) saith he [one], viz. he, who thus speaks: viz. he, who is mentioned at 2 Corinthians 10:11. The concealed slanderer is intended, whom the Lord, or even Paul, by the Lord’s pointing him out, saw. There was such a slanderer also among the Galatians; Galatians 5:10.— βαρεῖαι, weighty) the antithesis is contemptible.— ἰσχυραὶ, powerful) the antithesis is weak.— παρουσία, his presence) This was an instance of the same truth embodied in the saying of the present day: One’s presence diminishes one’s fame. The Anthologium of the Greek Church for the 29th day of June has a commemoration of Peter and Paul, with a representation of the form of both the apostles, and, so far as Paul is concerned, it agrees well enough with this passage.— ἀσθενὴς, weak) occasioning no fear to the spectators.


Verse 11

2 Corinthians 10:11. τῷ λόγῳ, in word) In antithesis to τῷ ἔργῳ, in deed.


Verse 12

2 Corinthians 10:12. οὐ γὰρ τολμῶμεν, for we dare not) Paul very fully vindicates his apostolic authority, under which the Corinthians are also placed: and he refutes the false apostles who, [2 Corinthians 11:13-14] assuming any specious form whatever, also obtruded themselves among them, and put the sickle into Paul’s harvest. Reproving the bold daring of these drones, he says, we dare not; in which, while he tells what he himself does not do, he marks by implication, what they are doing. I, says he, claim nothing to myself from them [I own no connection with them]; let them in turn cease to join themselves to us [identify themselves with us], even at Corinth. He puts a hedge between himself and them.— ἐγκρῖναι συγκρῖναι) to place [ourselves] on the same level, as sharers of the same office; or to compare [ourselves] as partakers of the same labour; both, in respect to you: ἐγκρίνονται, things are placed on the same level with one another, which are of the same kind; συγκρίνονται, things are compared, which, though they differ in kind, are supposed to have at least the same relative aspect [rationem]. μετροῦντες presently after corresponds to ἐγκρῖναι, as συγκρίνοντες to συγκρῖναι.— τῶν) The Genitive. Of those, who commend themselves, the boldest ἐγκρίνουσι, place themselves on the same level, etc.— καὶ συγκρίνοντες, and comparing) This expression is put at the beginning of the clause for the sake of emphasis.— ἑαυτοῖς,(68) οὐχὶ, κ. τ. λ.) See Appendix. Crit. on this passage. This phraseology does not indeed apply to the false apostles, who really attempted to measure themselves by others, and to obtrude themselves among them. Paul, on the contrary, says of himself and those like himself, we measure ourselves by ourselves, not by them, the false apostles; we compare ourselves with ourselves, not with them.(69)


Verse 13

2 Corinthians 10:13. οὐχι, not) From 2 Corinthians 10:13-16, both the ἔγκρισις and the σύγκρισις [alleged by the false apostles as subsisting] between the apostle and the false apostles are utterly set aside. This is the summary of his argument: οὐχὶ εἰς τὰ ἄμετρα καυχησόμεθα ἐν ἀλλοτρίοις κόποις. The first member, οὐχὶ εἰς τὰ ἄμετρα, is put in antithesis to the ἐν ἐαυτοῖς μετροῦντες, and is treated of 2 Corinthians 10:13-14, the word μέτρον being often repeated. The second, οὐχι ἐν ἀλλοτρίοις κόποις, is put in antithesis to the ἑαυτοῖς συγκρίνοντες, and is treated of 2 Corinthians 10:15-16, the word ἀλλοτρίοις being repeated. Paul has a measure; they boast as to things that are without measure [in immensa gloriantur], and Paul will proceed to preach the Gospel among the untutored [rudes, heretofore untaught] Gentiles; they boast εἰς τὰ ἓτοιμα, of things made ready for them [2 Corinthians 10:16].— εἰς) as to, concerning; comp. 2 Corinthians 10:15, note.— ἄμετρα, things without measure) an acute amphibology; ἄμετρον is that which either does not keep, or else has not a standard or measure. Paul keeps his measure; the false apostles have none at all.— ἀλλὰ) but, viz., we will act.— τὸ μέτρον τοῦ κανόνος, the measure of the rule) ΄έτρον καὶ κανὼν is a phrase sometimes used as a combination of synonyms: here they differ. ΄έτρον is said in respect of God who distributes the several functions, κανὼν, in respect of the apostle who labours in the discharge of his function. Therefore κανὼν is determined by μέτρον; for μέτρον with Eustathius is τάξις; and μέτρον and μερίζω are conjugates, because both are from μείρω, comp. Clavis Homerica, p. 222. Their respective provinces were apportioned to each of the apostles.— μέτρου, a measure) This word is repeated, so that the οὗ may be explicitly recognised as having relation to μέτρον.— τοῦ κανόνος is put absolutely. After the accusative μέτρον the genitive μέτρου is put, to mark the part [ μέρος taken out of ἐμέρισεν, i.e. the province assigned to Paul] among the Corinthians.— ἐμέρισεν, distributed) By this verb the false apostles are openly excluded.— ἐφικέσθαι) i.e. τοῦ ἐφικέσθαι.— ἄχρι καὶ ὑμῶν) even to you. Meiosis.(70)


Verse 14

2 Corinthians 10:14. οὐ γὰρ ὑπερεκτείνομεν) for we stretch not ourselves beyond our measure.— ἄχρι γὰρ, for as far as) Paul proves from the effect, that the Corinthians were included in the rule marked out to him by God.— ἐν τῷ εὐαγγελίῳ, in the office of (preaching) the Gospel) comp. 2 Corinthians 2:12, [ ἐλθὼνεἰς τὸ εὐαγγέλιον χριστοῦ, when I came to (preach) Christ’s Gospel.]


Verse 15

2 Corinthians 10:15. οὐκ εἰς, not in relation to) This is the beginning of the second member [See beginning of note 2 Corinthians 10:13], which, so far as the construction is concerned, is connected with the end of the first: comp. notes on Romans 8:1. We will not make an advance into any other man’s province, saying: These are mine.— αὐξανομένης, increasing) The present [as your faith is now increasing. But Engl. V. When your faith is increased]. Paul wished neither to leave the Corinthians before the proper time, nor to put off [preaching to] others too long.— ἐν ὑμῖν, in your case, [by you]) Our altogether solid and complete success in your case will give us an important step towards still farther successes.— μεγαλυνθῆναιεὐαγγελίσασθαι) to be truly enlarged by preaching the Gospel [lit. So as to preach the Gospel]. To boast is in antithesis to both verbs conjointly, but especially to enlarged.— εἰς περισσείαν) abundantly.


Verse 16

2 Corinthians 10:16. εἰς, to) or in relation to. The antitheses are, in the places beyond you, and, as to the things (places) that are ready to our hand.— τὰ ὑπερέκεινα, those places, which are beyond) to which no person has yet come with the Gospel, towards the south and west; for he had come from Athens to Corinth, Acts 18:1.— οὐκ ἐν ἀλλοτρίῳ, not in another man’s) The antithesis is, according to our rule [2 Corinthians 10:15].— εἰς) to intrude ourselves by boasting into [as to] those things (places) which are ready to our hand.— ἓτοιμα, ready. It denotes even more than ἡτοιμασμένα.(71)


Verse 17

2 Corinthians 10:17. δὲ, but he who) He hereby in some measure sounds a retreat; and yet by this very clause of after-mitigation,(72) he again gives a blow to the false apostles.— ἐν κυρίῳ, in the Lord) and therefore with the approval of the Lord [2 Corinthians 10:18].

 


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Bibliography Information
Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on 2 Corinthians 10:4". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/2-corinthians-10.html. 1897.

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