2 Corinthians x.
Notes & Commentary:
In these three following chapters, St. Paul, for the common good of those
whom he had converted, and to obviate the prejudice raised by his adversaries against his person and preaching, is forced
to set in a true light his apostolical authority, the favours he had received from God, his actions, his labours, and his
sufferings, with an apology for mentioning them, giving all the glory to God. (Witham)
Ver. 1-11. Who
in presence indeed am lowly. Literally, humble, (see Luke i. ver. 48.) that is, of a mean aspect, as to exterior
appearances, and my speech contemptible, without the ornaments of human eloquence, but am said to be bold when
absent, reprehending and threatening by my letters, which are owned to be weighty and strong, let such
persons think, and be convinced, that such as I am by my letters, they shall find me by deeds, when I
come, and shall be present with them. I desire and beseech you, that I may not be bold when I come, to
make use of my authority, nor of those spiritual arms and weapons, of censures and excommunications, nor perhaps of exemplary
punishments, which God sometimes in a miraculous manner shewed by his apostles. See the examples of Ananias and Saphira struck
dead at St. Peter's words, (Acts v.) of Elymas struck with blindness for opposing St. Paul's preaching. (Acts xiii.) He puts
them in mind, that the power, which God has given to his apostles, is so great and prevalent, that no force upon earth has
been able to resist or hinder the designs of God, as to the spreading of the gospel, and the faith of Christ, and as he expresseth
it, to the destruction of fortifications, we subverting counsels, and every thing that opposed the knowledge of
God, who reduceth whom he pleaseth to the obedience of Christ. He admonishes them all to return to the obedience
due to him, and the true ministers of the gospel, lest he be obliged to revenge, that is, punish such as remain disobedient.
He acknowledges that his apostolical power was given him for the good and edification of the faithful, not for their
destruction, which he will take care not to abuse. In fine, he tells them here in short, and more at large in the following
chapter, that they may, if they please, consider outward appearances, his apostolical functions, the miracles God has wrought
in his favour, what he has done, and suffered, by which will appear the advantages he has above his adversaries, who spoke
with contempt of him. (Witham)
Ver. 2. I beg
of you now to hear my apology, that I may not be obliged to make us of my authority, when present among you, which they say
I have abused, and usurped over you. There is in this discourse a little irony against the facility with which the Corinthians
heard the enemies of St. Paul. He alludes to those false teachers who decried his doctrine, by preaching up the observance
of the ceremonial parts of the law, for they were Jews, and had introduced many new practices into the Church. We may here
take notice, that these observations are applicable to the epistles of St. Paul to the Galatians, and Philippians, for they
are the same false teachers whom he there attacks, and who accused St. Paul of being a hypocrite, a seducer, in a word, one
who walked according to the flesh. (Estius and St. Chrysostom)
Ver. 4. For
the weapons, &c. The powers with which we are endowed will easily overturn all obstacles, or fortifications which
devils may raise against us. They will easily refute the pride, the learning, and the eloquent sophisms of philosophers, and
reduce every height, or high-minded philosopher, to the obedience of Christ. (Calmet) --- Hence doth our Saviour pray, "I
praise thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed
them to little ones. Yea, Father, for so hath it seemed good in thy sight." (Matthew xi. 25.)
Ver. 6. Having
in readiness. God gave power, not only to persuade, and to convince the incredulous, but also to punish them, as we see
in the examples of Simon Magus and Elymas. What then should hinder him from using the same against these false apostles? But
he says, your obedience must first be fulfilled. God forbid that I should first use the sword, before I have tried the ways
of sweetness and conciliation. But if any remain obstinate, then I will employ the arms that God has given me. (Grotius) ---
This sweet and forcible example of the apostle is worthy the imitation of all superiors, temporal and ecclesiastical, how
ever high their dignity or command. (Haydock)
Ver. 12. &c.
The following verses to the end of the chapter, are equally obscure, both in the Greek and Latin text. --- We dare not
rank or compare ourselves, &c. He seems to write this ironically, by way of mocking at those, who commended and preferred
themselves before others. But I will not compare myself with others, but will only compare  myself with myself,
to shew that my actions agree with my words and my letters. --- We will not glory beyond our measure, but according to
the measure of the rule which God hath measured to us, a measure to reach even to you. Here he speaks of a measure, and
a rule. By the measure, with which God measured to him, he means the places and countries, in which he, and the other
apostles were appointed to preach, and plant the gospel: and by the rule also prescribed him, he means that it was
given him as a rule not to preach, where other ministers of Christ had preached. When he says, therefore, we will not glory
beyond our measure, or (as it is implied in the Greek) of things out of the measure, the sense is, I will not,
like false preachers, pretend to have preached in places out of my province, or which were not measured out to me, nor have
we extended ourselves farther than we ought to have done, when we came to you, for you were within our measure. Nor
have I transgressed the rule, because others had not preached to you before me, so that I have not boasted in other
men's labours. But as your faith is growing, and increasing, when I have sufficiently settled the gospel among you, I
hope my measure may be enlarged, and that without breaking the settled rule, I may preach also to people and places
beyond you. This is what seems to be understood by these words, to be enlarged or magnified, even to
an abundance, and yet not to glory in other men's labours, but to glory in the Lord only, and in what we do, as we have
been directed, and assisted by him. (Witham)
Ver. 13. The
apostle here reprehends the vain boasting of false teachers. I will not, like them, say, that I have carried the light of
the gospel to the utmost limits of the globe, that I have converted millions of men, avoided an infinity of dangers, performed
many miracles, &c. No: I confine myself to the part assigned me by God. I will only glory in having come even to you.
This I can do with justice, and without arrogance. Each one has his share, his measure, or his part to cultivate in the vineyard
of Christ. (Calmet and Bible de Vence)
Ver. 16. The
words, measure, rule, &c. signify through the whole of this chapter a share, or an allotment of any place to cultivate.
St. Paul never gloried like the persons whom he is here blaming, that he entered into other men's labours. But still neither
those persons who have come to you, nor we who first preached the gospel to you, have any right to glory, except in God alone.
(Calmet) --- We still hope, that your faith every day increasing, we shall be able to extend our measure much further, and
carry the gospel to nations far beyond you, without interfering with any other, by glorying of having built on what they had
already prepared. (Bible de Vence)
 Ver. 1. Humilis sum, tapeinos.
 Ver. 12. Ipsi in nobis nos metipsos metientes; the Greek is somewhat
different, autoi en eautois eautous metrountes, ipsi in seipsis, seipsos mensurantes.
 Ver. 15. Non in immensum, ouk eis ta ametra, non
in non mensurata.
Bible Text & Cross-references:
To stop the calumny and boasting of false apostles, he sets
forth the power of his apostleship.
1 Now I Paul myself beseech you, by the meekness and gentleness of Christ,
who in presence indeed am lowly among you, but being absent, am bold towards you.
2 But I beseech you, that I may not be bold when I am present, with that
confidence wherewith I am thought to be bold against some, who think of us as if we walked according to the flesh.
3 For walking in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh.
4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but powerful through God
to the destruction of fortifications, we subverting counsels,
5 And every height that exhalteth itself against the knowledge of God,
and bringing into captivity every understanding to the obedience of Christ,
6 And having in readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience
shall be fulfilled.
7 See the things that are according to outward appearance. If any man trust
to himself, that he is Christ's, let him think this again with himself, that as he is Christ's, so are we also.
8 For if I also should boast somewhat more of our power, which the Lord
hath given us for edification, and not for your destruction, I should not be ashamed,
9 But that I may not be thought as it were to terrify you by epistles:
10 (For his epistles, indeed, say they, are weighty and strong; but his
bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible:)
11 Let such a one think this, that such as we are in word by epistles,
when absent, such are we also indeed, when present.
12 For we dare not rank or compare ourselves with some, that commend themselves:
but we measure ourselves by ourselves, and compare ourselves with ourselves.
13 *But we will not glory beyond our measure: but according to the measure
of the rule, which God hath measured to us, a measure to reach even to you.
14 For we stretch not ourselves beyond our measure, as if we reached not
to you: for we are come as far as to you in the gospel of Christ.
15 Not glorying beyond measure in other men's labours: but having hope
of your increase in faith, to be magnified in you according to our rule abundantly.
16 Yea, to those places that are beyond you, to preach the gospel, not
to glory in another man's rule in those things that are made ready to our hand.
17 *But he that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.
18 For not he, that commendeth himself, is approved: but he whom God commendeth.
13: Ephesians iv. 7.
17: Jeremias ix. 23.; 1 Corinthians i. 31.