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Now Don’t Make Me Have To Act Boldly Against Some of You, For My Weapons Are Powerful

10 Now I, Paul, myself, am appealing-to you by the gentleness and kindness of Christ— I who face-to-face am lowly among you, but while absent am-bold toward you! And I am begging that I may not [have to] be bold[a] while present with the confidence with which I am considering to dare [to act] against some considering us as walking in accordance with the flesh[b]. For [though] walking in the flesh, we are not waging-war in accordance with the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not fleshly[c], but powerful in[d] God for the tearing-down of fortresses. We are tearing-down[e] considerations[f] and every height[g] being raised-up against the knowledge of God, and taking-captive every thought[h] to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish[i] all disobedience[j], when your obedience is fulfilled[k].

If I Boast In My Authority In Christ, I Will Not Be Put To Shame

You are[l] looking at things according to appearance. If someone[m] is confident in himself that he is Christ’s[n], let him consider this again in himself: that just as he is Christ’s, so also are we. For if I should boast anything more about our authority, which the Lord gave for building-up and not for tearing you down, I shall not be put-to-shame— in order that I may not seem[o] as-if I would [merely] frighten you by my letters! 10 Because “The letters”, he[p] says, “are weighty and strong, but the presence of his body is weak, and his speaking is treated-with-contempt[q]”. 11 Let such a one consider this: that such as we are in word by letters while absent, such ones we are also in deed while present!

For I Do Not Commend Myself Or Compare Myself To Others

12 For we do not dare to class or compare ourselves with some of the ones commending themselves. But they— measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves with themselves— do not understand[r].

And I Do Not Boast In Unmeasured Things Or In The Labors of Others

13 And we will not boast in unmeasured[s] things, but in-relation-to[t] the measure of [u] the standard[v] which God apportioned to us as a measure: to reach as far as even you. 14 For we are not, as-if not reaching to you, overextending ourselves. For we arrived even as far as you in connection with the good-news of Christ!— 15 not boasting in unmeasured things, in labors belonging-to-others, but having the hope, while your faith is growing, that we might be enlarged[w] in[x] you in relation to our standard of measure, for an abundance; 16 that we might announce-the-good-news in the regions beyond[y] you, not that we might boast in the prepared things in the standard of measure belonging-to-another.

The One The Lord Commends Is The Approved One

17 But “let the one boasting be boasting in the Lord” [Jer 9:24]. 18 For not that one commending himself is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends.


  1. 2 Corinthians 10:2 With this opening comment for this section compare the closing comment in 13:10. Paul is writing to correct a wrong attitude toward him on the part of some, the precise details of which are not stated but can only be inferred from what Paul says. His desire is to be bold in words here in order to avoid having to be bold in actions against them when he comes.
  2. 2 Corinthians 10:2 That is, with mere human authority, motives, and power.
  3. 2 Corinthians 10:4 That is, pertaining to the flesh, physical.
  4. 2 Corinthians 10:4 Or, for God; or, by God, that is, divinely powerful.
  5. 2 Corinthians 10:4 tearing down... punish (v 6). Warfare against a rebellious city in that day consisted of tearing down walls and defenses, then taking the people captive, then punishing the offenders. This is the metaphor here.
  6. 2 Corinthians 10:4 Or, thoughts, reasonings; that is, the wrong thoughts raised up against God.
  7. 2 Corinthians 10:5 Or, elevation, barrier, obstacle.
  8. 2 Corinthians 10:5 Or, mind.
  9. 2 Corinthians 10:6 Or, avenge.
  10. 2 Corinthians 10:6 Or, every refusal-to-listen.
  11. 2 Corinthians 10:6 After the full obedience of the majority, Paul will punish those remaining disobedient.
  12. 2 Corinthians 10:7 You are... appearance. This sentence can be rendered in several ways, all implying ‘Look deeper!’
  13. 2 Corinthians 10:7 That is, one of the ‘some’ in v 2.
  14. 2 Corinthians 10:7 That is, belongs to Christ; or, is Christ’s servant.
  15. 2 Corinthians 10:9 That is, as ‘some’ say.
  16. 2 Corinthians 10:10 That is, one of the ‘some’ in v 2.
  17. 2 Corinthians 10:10 Or, despised, disdained.
  18. 2 Corinthians 10:12 That is, understand the true reality of the matter, stated in v 18.
  19. 2 Corinthians 10:13 Or, unmeasurable; things beyond measure or without measure.
  20. 2 Corinthians 10:13 Or, based-on.
  21. 2 Corinthians 10:13 That is, consisting of.
  22. 2 Corinthians 10:13 Or, sphere. That is, the measuring rod or the measured out sphere or territory allotted to Paul by God. If Paul did boast, it would be in his own accomplishments as measured by what God gave him to do.
  23. 2 Corinthians 10:15 Or, lengthened.
  24. 2 Corinthians 10:15 Or, by.
  25. 2 Corinthians 10:16 A few months later, Paul wrote Romans from Corinth in Act 20:2-3, setting his sights on Rome.

Paul’s Defense of His Ministry

10 By the humility and gentleness(A) of Christ, I appeal to you—I, Paul,(B) who am “timid” when face to face with you, but “bold” toward you when away! I beg you that when I come I may not have to be as bold(C) as I expect to be toward some people who think that we live by the standards of this world.(D) For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does.(E) The weapons we fight with(F) are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power(G) to demolish strongholds.(H) We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God,(I) and we take captive every thought to make it obedient(J) to Christ. And we will be ready to punish every act of disobedience, once your obedience is complete.(K)

You are judging by appearances.[a](L) If anyone is confident that they belong to Christ,(M) they should consider again that we belong to Christ just as much as they do.(N) So even if I boast somewhat freely about the authority the Lord gave us(O) for building you up rather than tearing you down,(P) I will not be ashamed of it. I do not want to seem to be trying to frighten you with my letters. 10 For some say, “His letters are weighty and forceful, but in person he is unimpressive(Q) and his speaking amounts to nothing.”(R) 11 Such people should realize that what we are in our letters when we are absent, we will be in our actions when we are present.

12 We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves.(S) When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise. 13 We, however, will not boast beyond proper limits, but will confine our boasting to the sphere of service God himself has assigned to us,(T) a sphere that also includes you. 14 We are not going too far in our boasting, as would be the case if we had not come to you, for we did get as far as you(U) with the gospel of Christ.(V) 15 Neither do we go beyond our limits(W) by boasting of work done by others.(X) Our hope is that, as your faith continues to grow,(Y) our sphere of activity among you will greatly expand, 16 so that we can preach the gospel(Z) in the regions beyond you.(AA) For we do not want to boast about work already done in someone else’s territory. 17 But, “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.”[b](AB) 18 For it is not the one who commends himself(AC) who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends.(AD)


  1. 2 Corinthians 10:7 Or Look at the obvious facts
  2. 2 Corinthians 10:17 Jer. 9:24