Now I myself, Paul, beseech you, by the gentleness and consideration of Christ [Himself; I] who [am] lowly enough [so they say] when among you face to face, but bold (fearless and outspoken) to you when [I am] absent from you!
I, Paul, ·am begging [urge; appeal to] you with the gentleness and the kindness of Christ. ·Some people say that I am [L …—I who am; C Paul is answering an accusation; see v. 10] ·easy on you [lenient; or timid] when I am with you and bold when I am away [C Paul here confronts those still resisting his authority].
2 He showeth with what confidence, 4 with what weapons, 6 and with what revenge he is armed against the cavillations of the wicked, 7 and that, when he is present, his deeds have no less power, 11 than his words have force when he is absent. Now I Paul myself beseech you by the meekness, and gentleness of Christ, which when I am present among you am base, but am bold toward you being absent:
Now I am going to appeal to you personally, by the gentleness and sympathy of Christ himself. Yes, I, Paul, the one who is “humble enough in our presence but outspoken when away from us”, and begging you to make it unnecessary for me to be outspoken and stern in your presence. For I am afraid otherwise that I shall have to do some plain speaking to those of you who will persist in reckoning that our activities are on the purely human level. The truth is that, although of course we lead normal human lives, the battle we are fighting is on the spiritual level. The very weapons we use are not those of human warfare but powerful in God’s warfare for the destruction of the enemy’s strongholds. Our battle is to bring down every deceptive fantasy and every imposing defence that men erect against the true knowledge of God. We even fight to capture every thought until it acknowledges the authority of Christ. Once we are sure of your obedience we shall not shrink from dealing with those who refuse to obey.
I plead with you—yes, I, Paul—and I plead gently, as Christ himself would do. Yet some of you are saying, “Paul’s letters are bold enough when he is far away, but when he gets here he will be afraid to raise his voice!”
And now a personal but most urgent matter; I write in the gentle but firm spirit of Christ. I hear that I’m being painted as cringing and wishy-washy when I’m with you, but harsh and demanding when at a safe distance writing letters. Please don’t force me to take a hard line when I’m present with you. Don’t think that I’ll hesitate a single minute to stand up to those who say I’m an unprincipled opportunist. Then they’ll have to eat their words.
Christ is humble and free of pride. Because of this, I make my appeal to you. I, Paul, am the one you call “shy” when I am face to face with you. But when I am away from you, you think I am “bold” toward you.
I, Paul, ask you this myself. I do it through Christ Who is so gentle and kind. Some people say that I am gentle and quiet when I am with you, but that I have no fear and that my language is strong when I am away from you.
Think of the Messiah, meek and gentle; then think of me, Paul – yes, Paul himself! – making his appeal to you. You know what I’m like: I’m humble when I’m face to face with you, but I’m bold when I’m away from you!
Now I myself, Sha’ul, appeal to you gently in Moshiach and in his anavah (humility) I who am peh el peh (panim el panim, face to face) "lowly" among you [1C 2:3] but have "chutzpah" with you when absent. [1C 2:4; 7:8]
I, Paul, appeal to you in the same gentle and loving spirit of the Anointed—yes, I who am humble when I’m face-to-face with you but audacious to you in these letters when I’m away (I know what they say).
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