2 Corinthians 10
New English Translation
Paul’s Authority from the Lord
10 Now I, Paul, appeal to you[a] personally[b] by the meekness and gentleness[c] of Christ (I who am meek[d] when present among[e] you, but am full of courage[f] toward you when away!)— 2 now I ask that when I am present I may not have to be bold with the confidence that (I expect) I will dare to use against some who consider us to be behaving[g] according to human standards.[h] 3 For though we live[i] as human beings,[j] we do not wage war according to human standards,[k] 4 for the weapons of our warfare are not human weapons,[l] but are made powerful by God[m] for tearing down strongholds.[n] We tear down arguments[o] 5 and every arrogant obstacle[p] that is raised up against the knowledge of God, and we take every thought captive to make it obey[q] Christ. 6 We are also ready to punish every act of disobedience,[r] whenever your obedience is complete. 7 You are looking at outward appearances.[s] If anyone is confident that he belongs to Christ, he should reflect on this again: Just as he himself belongs to Christ, so too do we. 8 For if I boast somewhat more about our authority that the Lord gave us[t] for building you up and not for tearing you down, I will not be ashamed of doing so.[u] 9 I do not want to seem as though I am trying to terrify you with my letters, 10 because some say, “His letters are weighty and forceful, but his physical presence is weak[v] and his speech is of no account.”[w] 11 Let such a person consider this: What we say[x] by letters when we are absent, we also are in actions when we are present.
12 For we would not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some of those who recommend themselves. But when they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are without understanding.[y] 13 But we will not boast beyond certain limits,[z] but will confine our boasting[aa] according to the limits of the work to which God has appointed us,[ab] that reaches even as far as you. 14 For we were not overextending ourselves, as though we did not reach as far as you, because we were the first to reach as far as you with the gospel about Christ.[ac] 15 Nor do we boast beyond certain limits[ad] in the work[ae] done by others, but we hope[af] that as your faith continues to grow, our work may be greatly expanded[ag] among you according to our limits,[ah] 16 so that we may preach the gospel in the regions that lie beyond you, and not boast of work already done in another person’s area. 17 But the one who boasts must boast in the Lord.[ai] 18 For it is not the person who commends himself who is approved, but the person the Lord commends.
- 2 Corinthians 10:1 tn The Greek pronoun (“you”) is plural.
- 2 Corinthians 10:1 tn The word “personally” is supplied to reflect the force of the Greek intensive pronoun αὐτός (autos) at the beginning of the verse.
- 2 Corinthians 10:1 tn Or “leniency and clemency.” D. Walker, “Paul’s Offer of Leniency of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:1): Populist Ideology and Rhetoric in a Pauline Letter Fragment (2 Cor 10:1-13:10)” (Ph.D. diss., University of Chicago, 1998), argues for this alternative translation for three main reasons: (1) When the two Greek nouns πραΰτης and ἐπιείκεια (prautēs and epieikeia) are used together, 90% of the time the nuance is “leniency and clemency.” (2) “Leniency and clemency” has a military connotation, which is precisely what appears in the following verses. (3) 2 Cor 10-13 speaks of Paul’s sparing use of his authority, which points to the nuance of “leniency and clemency.”
- 2 Corinthians 10:1 tn Or “who lack confidence.”
- 2 Corinthians 10:1 tn Or “when face-to-face with.”
- 2 Corinthians 10:1 tn Or “but bold.”
- 2 Corinthians 10:2 tn Grk “consider us as walking.”
- 2 Corinthians 10:2 tn Grk “according to the flesh.”
- 2 Corinthians 10:3 tn Grk “we walk.”
- 2 Corinthians 10:3 tn Grk “in the flesh.”
- 2 Corinthians 10:3 tn Grk “according to the flesh.”
- 2 Corinthians 10:4 tn Grk “are not fleshly [weapons].” The repetition of the word “warfare” does not occur in the Greek text, but is supplied for clarity.
- 2 Corinthians 10:4 tn Or “but (are) divinely powerful,” “but they have divine power,” or “but are powerful for God’s [service]”; Grk “but are powerful to God.”
- 2 Corinthians 10:4 sn Ultimately Paul is referring here to the false arguments of his opponents, calling them figuratively “strongholds.” This Greek word (ὀχύρωμα, ochurōma) is used only here in the NT.
- 2 Corinthians 10:4 tn Or “speculations.”
- 2 Corinthians 10:5 tn The phrase “every arrogant obstacle” could be translated simply “all arrogance” (so L&N 88.207).
- 2 Corinthians 10:5 tn Grk “to the obedience of Christ,” but since Χριστοῦ (Christou) is clearly an objective genitive here, it is better to translate “to make it obey Christ.”
- 2 Corinthians 10:6 tn Or “punish all disobedience.”
- 2 Corinthians 10:7 tn The phrase is close to a recognized idiom for judging based on outward appearances (L&N 30.120). Some translators see a distinction, however, and translate 2 Cor 10:7a as “Look at what is in front of your eyes,” that is, the obvious facts of the case (so NRSV).
- 2 Corinthians 10:8 tn The word “us” is not in the Greek text but is supplied. Indirect objects in Greek were often omitted when clear from the context, and must be supplied for the modern English reader.
- 2 Corinthians 10:8 tn Grk “I will not be put to shame,” “I will not be ashamed.” The words “of doing so” are supplied to clarify for the reader that Paul will not be ashamed of boasting somewhat more about the authority the Lord gave him (beginning of v. 8).
- 2 Corinthians 10:10 tn Or “unimpressive.”
- 2 Corinthians 10:10 tn Or “is contemptible”; Grk “is despised.”
- 2 Corinthians 10:11 tn Grk “what we are in word.”
- 2 Corinthians 10:12 tn Or “they are unintelligent.”
- 2 Corinthians 10:13 tn Or “boast excessively.” The phrase εἰς τὰ ἄμετρα (eis ta ametra) is an idiom; literally it means “into that which is not measured,” that is, a point on a scale that goes beyond what might be expected (L&N 78.27).
- 2 Corinthians 10:13 tn The words “will confine our boasting” are not in the Greek text, but the reference to boasting must be repeated from the previous clause to clarify for the modern reader what is being limited.
- 2 Corinthians 10:13 tn Grk “according to the measure of the rule which God has apportioned to us as a measure”; for the translation used in the text see L&N 37.100.
- 2 Corinthians 10:14 tn Grk “with the gospel of Christ,” but since Χριστοῦ (Christou) is clearly an objective genitive here, it is better to translate “with the gospel about Christ.”
- 2 Corinthians 10:15 tn Or “boast excessively.” The phrase εἰς τὰ ἄμετρα (eis ta ametra) is an idiom; literally it means “into that which is not measured,” that is, a point on a scale that goes beyond what might be expected (L&N 78.27).
- 2 Corinthians 10:15 tn Or “in the labors.”
- 2 Corinthians 10:15 tn Grk “but we have the hope.”
- 2 Corinthians 10:15 tn Or “greatly enlarged.”
- 2 Corinthians 10:15 tn That is, Paul’s work might be greatly expanded within the area of activity assigned to him by God.
- 2 Corinthians 10:17 tn The traditional translation (“let the one who boasts boast in the Lord”) can be understood as merely permissive by the English reader, but the Greek verb καυχάσθω (kauchasthō) is a third person imperative.sn A quotation from Jer 9:24 (also quoted in 1 Cor 1:31).