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Paul Defends His Ministry

10 I, Paul, am begging you with the gentleness and the kindness of Christ. Some say that I am bold when I am writing you from a distance, but not when I am there with you. They think our motives for what we do are like those of the world. I plan to be very bold against those people when I come. I hope I will not need to use that same boldness with you. We live in this world, but we don’t fight our battles in the same way the world does. The weapons we use are not human ones. Our weapons have power from God and can destroy the enemy’s strong places. We destroy people’s arguments, and we tear down every proud idea that raises itself against the knowledge of God. We also capture every thought and make it give up and obey Christ. We are ready to punish anyone there who does not obey, but first we want you to be fully obedient.

You must look at the facts before you. If you feel sure you belong to Christ, you must remember that we belong to Christ the same as you do. It may seem as though we boast too much about the authority the Lord gave us. But he gave us this authority to strengthen you, not to hurt you. So I will not be ashamed of whatever boasting we do. I don’t want you to think that I am trying to scare you with my letters. 10 Some people say, “Paul’s letters are powerful and sound important, but when he is with us, he is weak and the worst speaker you have ever heard.” 11 Those people should know this: When we are there with you, we will show the same power that we show now in our letters.

12 We don’t dare put ourselves in the same class with those who think they are so important. We don’t compare ourselves to them. They use themselves to measure themselves, and they judge themselves by what they themselves are. This shows that they know nothing.

13 But we will not boast about anything outside the work that was given us to do. We will limit our boasting to the work God gave us, but this work includes our work with you. 14 We would be boasting too much only if we had not already come to you. But we have come to you with the Good News about Christ. 15 We limit our boasting to the work that is ours. We don’t boast about the work other people have done. We hope that your faith will continue to grow. We hope that you will help our work to grow much larger. 16 We want to tell the Good News in the areas beyond your city. We don’t want to boast about work that has already been done in someone else’s area. 17 “Whoever boasts should boast only about the Lord.”[a] 18 What people say about themselves means nothing. What counts is whether the Lord says they have done well.

Footnotes

  1. 2 Corinthians 10:17 Quote from Jer. 9:24.

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)

Footnotes

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

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