Some people say [v. 1], “Paul’s letters are ·powerful [forceful] and ·sound important [weighty; or demanding], but ·when he is with us, he [his physical presence] is weak. And his ·speaking is nothing [speaking skills are deplorable; or speeches are worthless; C Greek culture highly valued rhetorical skill].”
Do look at things which stare you in the face! So-and-so considers himself to belong to Christ. All right; but let him reflect that we belong to Christ every bit as much as he. You may think that I have boasted unduly of my authority (which the Lord gave me, remember, to build you up not to break you down), but I don’t think I have done anything to be ashamed of. Yet I don’t want you to think of me merely as the man who writes you terrifying letters. I know my critics say, “His letters are impressive and moving but his actual presence is feeble and his speaking beneath contempt.” Let them realise that we can be just as “impressive and moving” in person as they say we are in our letters.
And what’s this talk about me bullying you with my letters? “His letters are brawny and potent, but in person he’s a weakling and mumbles when he talks.” Such talk won’t survive scrutiny. What we write when away, we do when present. We’re the exact same people, absent or present, in letter or in person.
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