2 Corinthians 10

2 Corinthians 10  •  5 min. read  •  grade level: 10
Rebellion against divinely given authority in the Church or Assembly of God, which the spiritual believer sees on every hand, is not a modern development. It existed at Corinth as we shall see.
“But I myself, Paul, entreat you by the meekness and gentleness of the Christ, who as to appearance (when present) am mean (weak, or not authoritative; making nothing of himself) among you, but absent am bold toward you; but I beseech that present I may not be bold with the confidence with which I think to be daring toward some who think of us as walking according to flesh. For, walking in flesh we do not war according to flesh.
“For the arms of our warfare (are) not fleshly, but powerful according to God to the overthrow of strongholds; overthrowing reasonings and every high thing that lifts itself up against the knowledge of God, and leading captive every thought into the obedience of the Christ; and having in readiness to avenge all disobedience when your obedience shall have been fulfilled” (verses 1-6, JND).
Enemies were at Corinth, who had crept into the assembly; enemies of Christ, they had succeeded in turning some of the saints against Paul, as part of their scheme to rob them of the truth of God. Very probably they were Jews, for from the unbelieving among them, came most of the opposition to the gospel.
Paul’s answer to the charge of inconsistency or cowardice—weak, when present, bold by letter when absent—was to beseech the Corinthians by the meekness and gentleness of Christ (powerful weapons, indeed, if there were a work of God in the souls of those addressed!) that they should not compel him to deal sharply when he should come again to them. We may be sure that the meekness and gentleness of Christ characterized the apostle when he was at Corinth, and wherever he went.
The weapons of his warfare were not those of man, but powerful according to God to the overthrow of strongholds. By them reasonings and every high thing that lifts itself up against the knowledge of God are overthrown; every thought is led captive into the obedience of Christ. What were these weapons? The power and the guidance of the Holy Spirit acting in all patience, to bring to obedience every saint who gave ear to God. Thus the Word of God operated in human hearts and minds, and when the work of grace was done, obedience was fully established, God was glorified and souls were blessed.
Happy would it be if all bowed to God; there perhaps would become manifest an unbroken state in some; for these persistently disobedient ones, the authority given of God must be exercised in discipline.
Verse 7. The apostle asks, Do you look at what concerns appearance? He is referring to what was said about him (verse 1). And then he adds, If any man trust to himself, or has confidence in himself, that he is Christ’s, let him think this again in himself, that even as he is of Christ, so also are we. They should have had that in their thoughts, but a saint of God walking out of communion is not wise.
Verse 8. Paul says little of the authority the Lord had given him; it was for building up, not for overthrowing. In the First Epistle, chapter 4, verses 18-21, however, he speaks of the possibility of his coming with a rod; and in the Second Epistle, chapter 13, verses 1-3, he declares that he will not spare the evildoers when he comes; in 1 Corinthians 5:3-43For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed, 4In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, (1 Corinthians 5:3‑4), he has, he says, judged as present with the gathered saints, to deliver to Satan the wicked person there spoken of, for the destruction of the flesh. Then in Acts 13:6-11 The incident of Elymas the sorcerer, blinded by the apostle, is recorded.
Verses 9-11. He had no thought of frightening the Corinthians by letters—and Paul repeats what his detractors had said of him:
“His letters are weighty and strong, but his presence in the body weak, and his speech naught” (JND); and, he adds:
“Let such an one think this, that such as we are in word by letters when we are absent, such also in deed, when we are present.”
In verses 12 and following, the apostle contrasts with his own, the conduct of those troublemakers who in his absence were seeking to commend themselves (and measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves with themselves, were not intelligent). They had thought to take advantage of Paul’s labors among the Corinthians, and a measure of success must have been theirs, for Satan has traps for the unwary. Paul, as he points out in verses 13 and 14, had gone, according to the measure which God had apportioned to him, where Christ had been unknown, even to Corinth, seeking to bring to them the gospel of their salvation.
And, he hoped, with their faith increasing, when he came again to Corinth, his ministry would be enlarged among them in order that he might go on beyond their city and district to more distant lands where all were still in the darkness and ignorance of God that had marked the Corinthians who now believed.
“But he that glorieth (boasts) let him glory in the Lord. For not he that commendeth himself is approved, but whom the Lord commendeth.”
So the apostle concludes his comment on those would-be, and unworthy leaders who were seeking to commend themselves in his absence.