2 Corinthians 10

1 Now I, Paul, myself urge you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ – I who am meek when face to face with you, but bold toward you when absent!

2 I ask that when I am present I {need} not be bold with the confidence with which I propose to be courageous against some, who regard us as if we walked according to the flesh.

Paul wanted the Corinthians to understand that he is going to say things to them now that are better said when he is not present rather than when he is present.

3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh,

4 for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses.

5 {We are} destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and {we are} taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ,

6 and we are ready to punish all disobedience, whenever your obedience is complete.

Paul explained that the nature of the stuff that he is engaged in is not the physical stuff or even mental stuff but the spiritual stuff. He wasn’t demonstrating physical prowess or mental prowess but spiritual prowess – not the outward stuff, but the inner stuff.

7 You are looking at things as they are outwardly. If anyone is confident in himself that he is Christ's, let him consider this again within himself, that just as he is Christ's, so also are we.

The Corinthians gave more importance to the outward appearance of people instead of trying to discern their character. Many people are like that even today – they are more willing to believe a handsome man, with stature and personality, which is why the film stars and athletes are given so much importance.

8 For even if I boast somewhat further about our authority, which the Lord gave for building you up and not for destroying you, I will not be put to shame,

9 for I do not wish to seem as if I would terrify you by my letters.

Paul points out that it was okay for him to boast about himself to the Corinthians because his motive was to build up the Corinthians and to prevent them from getting destroyed, and these were things that God wanted him to do.

10 For they say, “His letters are weighty and strong, but his personal presence is unimpressive and his speech contemptible.”

Paul had a great mind, but his stature and personality was not impressive. Also, he didn’t have a nice-sounding voice; in fact, it seems as if he had a speech impediment, like a stutter.

11 Let such a person consider this, that what we are in word by letters when absent, such persons {we are} also in deed when present.

But he was a man of character, and someone who practiced what he preached.

12 For we are not bold to class or compare ourselves with some of those who commend themselves; but when they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are without understanding.

Paul points out that comparing oneself to others is even more foolish that boasting about oneself, and that is why he won’t engage in such comparisons.

13 But we will not boast beyond {our} measure, but within the measure of the sphere which God apportioned to us as a measure, to reach even as far as you.

Paul also points out that exaggerating things and telling lies about oneself is also not something that he would do.

14 For we are not overextending ourselves, as if we did not reach to you, for we were the first to come even as far as you in the gospel of Christ;

15 not boasting beyond {our} measure, {that} {is,} in other men's labors, but with the hope that as your faith grows, we will be, within our sphere, enlarged even more by you,

16 so as to preach the gospel even to the regions beyond you, {and} not to boast in what has been accomplished in the sphere of another.

Paul also mentions that he is careful to not take credit for what others have done.


Paul didn’t boast about worldly things like the size of his bank account, or the power he had in business, and so on. He boasted about the things that God accomplished in him and through him.

18 For it is not he who commends himself that is approved, but he whom the Lord commends.

In the end, Paul points out that, in the grand scheme of things, it isn’t really what you say about yourself that matter, but what God thinks about you.

There were other things that Paul did that are not mentioned here: he wrote a sizable portion of New Testament Scripture, he was a martyr, and he started many churches. He is a great example of what God can do in a man.

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