Confraternity Bible: New Testament and Supplemental Commentary

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2 CORINTHIANS - Chapter 10

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2 Corinthians 10

Supplemental Commentary:


This is the last main division of the letter.  See remarks on this part in Introduction.  St. Paul is here vindicating his person and apostolic authority against the attacks of vicious enemies.

10, 1-18:  His Authority.  St. Paul first urges his readers to amend their lives, so that when he arrives in Corinth he may not be forced to use his powers against any of them.  Let no one underestimate him and his authority.  When he comes, he will be prepared to take action, if necessary.  His boasting, unlike that of his critics, is not in the labors of other men, but only in the realms assigned to him by Christ.  Let him who would glory, do so in the Lord.

1.  Am mean, etc.: thus did the Apostle's adversaries speak about him.    2.  The Apostle hopes that it will not be necessary when he arrives in Corinth to give proof and demonstration of the boldness of which he is accused.  Walking according to the flesh: regulating their life and conduct according to human and worldly standards.    4 f.  Faith is a gift of God and is above reason, though not contrary to it.  Everything that opposes faith is wrong and must be set aside or destroyed.  Bringing every mind, etc.: i.e., all the designs and workings of the natural reason that are opposed to the gospel must be brought into subjection, making all obedient to the faith of Christ.  True faith consists not only in the assent of the intellect, but also in the submission of the will to God's revelation.  The evidence for faith is not sufficient to force the intellect, but the will freely determines to move the intellect to accept revelation and give its assent.    6.  When once the faithful of Corinth have submitted to the gospel and apostolic teaching, St. Paul will deal with the rest as they deserve.

7.  Look may also be interrogative.  That he is Christ's: the Apostle cautions his adversaries to reflect that, if anyone considers himself a minister of Christ, he must not overlook the fact that Paul and Timothy are also equally ministers of Christ and preachers of the gospel.    8.  The Apostle is confident of his divine authority and will not hesitate to use it if necessary.

12-18:  The work entrusted to St. Paul was designated and defined by God Himself, and the Corinthians were included within those divinely appointed limits.    12.  We, on the contrary, measure, etc.: our English versions, like the Vulgate, have perhaps missed the meaning here, because they have failed to take account of the words, "they do not understand," which occur at the close of this verse in nearly all the manuscripts and in the citations of many of the Fathers.  Hence the clause should read: "They measure themselves by themselves, and compare themselves with themselves, and (so) they do not understand."  The general sense is: "They make fools of themselves, measuring themselves by their own standards" (Rickaby).    15 f.  The Apostle is referring to his opponents at Corinth who have obtruded themselves into the field of his own labors and commission.

Confraternity Bible:

His Authority  1* Now I myself, Paul, appeal to you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ---I who to your face indeed am diffident when among you, but when absent am fearless towards you!  2 Yes, I beseech you that I may not when I come have to be bold, with that assurance wherewith I am thought to be bold, against those who regard us as walking according to the flesh.  3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not make war according to the flesh; 4 for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but powerful before God to the demolishing of strongholds, the destroying of reasoning--- 5 yes, of every lofty thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every mind into captivity to the obedience of Christ, 6 and being prepared to take vengeance on all disobedience when once your own submission is complete.

7 Look at what is before you.  If anyone is confident that he is Christ's, let him reflect within himself that even as he is Christ's, so too are we.  8 For even if I boast somewhat more about our authority (which the Lord has given for your upbuilding, and not for your destruction), I shall not be put to shame.  9 But that I may not seem to terrify you, as it were, by letters 10 ("for his letters," they say, "are weighty and telling, but his bodily appearance is weak and his speech of no account"), 11 let such people understand that what we are in word by letter when absent, such are we also in deed when bodily present.

12 Of course we have not the boldness to class ourselves or to compare ourselves with certain ones who commend themselves.  We, on the contrary, measure ourselves by ourselves and compare ourselves with ourselves; 13 and so we do not boast beyond our limits, but within the limits of the commission which God has given us---limits which include you also.  14 For we are not going beyond our commission, as if it did not embrace you, since we reached even as far as you with the gospel of Christ.

15 We do not boast beyond our limits, in the labors of other men; but we hope, as your faith increases, greatly to enlarge through you the province allotted to us, 16 so as even to preach the gospel in places that lie beyond you, instead of boasting in another man's sphere about work already done.  17 "But he who boasts, let him boast in the Lord."  18 For he is not approved who commends himself, but he whom the Lord commends.


1: Am diffident, etc.: thus did the Apostle's adversaries speak about him.