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2 Corinthians 10 Commentary

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A verse by verse commentary with quotations from many different authors.
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  2 CORITHIAS 10 COMMETARY Edited by Glenn Pease ITRODUCTIO 1. Calvin wrote, “Having finished his exhortation, he now proceeds partly to refute the calumnies with which he had been defamed by the false apostles, and partly to repress the insolence. “The insolence and audacity.” of certain wicked persons, who could not bear to be under restraint. Both parties, with the view of destroying Paul’s authority, construed the vehemence with which he thundered in his Epistles to be θρασοδειλίαν — ( mere bravado, ) “The boldness of a braggadocio.” Θρασοδειλία is a compound of θράσος ( boldness ) and δείλια ( timidity. ) because when present he was not equally prepared to show himself off in respect of appearance, and address, but was mean and contemptible. “See,” said they, “here is a man, that, under a consciousness of his inferiority, is so very modest and timid, but now, when at a distance, makes a fierce attack! Why is he less bold in speech than in letters? Will he terrify us, when he is at a distance, who, when present, is the object of contempt? How comes he to have such confidence as to imagine, that he is at liberty to do anything with us?” “That he thinks he has entire authority over us.” They put speeches of this kind into circulation, with the view of disparaging his strictness, and even rendering it odious. Paul replies, that he is not bold except in so far as he is constrained by necessity, and that the meanness of his bodily presence, for which he was held in contempt, detracted nothing from his authority, inasmuch as he was distinguished by spiritual excellence, not by carnal show. Hence those would not pass with impunity, who derided either his exhortations, or his reproaches, or his threatening. The words  I myself   are emphatic; as though he had said, that however the malevolent might blame him for inconstancy, he was in reality not changeable, but remained uniformly the same.2. Henry wrote, “There was no place in which the apostle Paul met with more opposition from false apostles than at Corinth; he had many enemies there. Let not any of the ministers of Christ think it strange if they meet with perils, not only from enemies, but from false brethren; for blessed Paul himself did so. Though he was so blameless and inoffensive in all his carriage, so condescending and useful to all, yet there were those who bore him ill-will, who envied him, and did all they could to undermine him, and lesson his interest and reputation. Therefore he vindicates himself from their imputation, and arms the Corinthians against their insinuations. In this chapter the apostle, in a mild and humble manner, asserts the power of his preaching, and to punish offenders, 2Corinthians 10:1-6. He then proceeds to reason the case with the Corinthians, asserting his relation to Christ, and his  authority as an apostle of Christ (2Corinthians 10:7-11), and refuses to justify himself, or to act by such rules as the false teachers did, but according to the better rules he had fixed for himself, 2Corinthians 10:12-18. ”””” Paul's Defense of His Ministry 1. By the meekness and gentleness of Christ, I appeal to you—I, Paul, who am timid when face to face with you, but bold when away! 1. Jamison, ““““ by the meekness and gentleness of Christ--He mentions these graces of Christ especially (Ps 18:35; Mt 11:29), as on account of his imitation of them in particular he was despised [GROTIUS]. He entreats them by these, in order to show that though he must have recourse to more severe measures, he is naturally inclined to gentle ones after Christ's example [MEOCHIUS]. Meekness is more in the mind internally; gentleness in the external behavior, and in relation to others; for instance, the condescending    yieldingness  of a superior to an inferior, the former not insisting on his strict rights [TRECH]. BEGEL explains it, By the meekness and gentleness derived by me from Christ, not from my own nature: he objects to understanding it of Christ's  meekness and gentleness, since nowhere else is gentleness attributed to Him. But though the exact Greek   word is not applied to Him, the idea expressed by it is (compare Isa 40:11; Mt 12:19, 20). in presence--in personal appearance when present with you. base-- Greek,   lowly ; timid, humbly diffident: opposed to bold. Am stands here by ironical concession for am reputed to be (compare 2Co10:10).2. Robertson, ““““ By the meekness and gentleness of Christ (dia tev prauthtov kai epieikiav tou Xristou). This appeal shows (Plummer) that Paul had spoken to the Corinthians about the character of Christ. Jesus claimed meekness for himself (Matthew 11:29) and felicitated the meek (Matthew 5:5) and he exemplified it abundantly (Luke 23:34). See on Matthew 5:15; 1Corinthians 4:21 for this great word that has worn thin with us. Plutarch combines prauthv with epieikia as Paul does here. Matthew Arnold suggested sweet reasonableness for epieikeia in Plato, Aristotle, Plutarch. It is in the .T. only here and Acts 24:4 (to epieikev in Philippians 4:5). In Greek Ethics the equitable man was called epieikhv , a man who does not press for the last farthing of his rights (Bernard). Lowly among you (tapeinov en umin). The bad use of tapeinov , the old use, but here alone in .T. in  that meaning. Socrates and Aristotle used it for littleness of soul. Probably Paul here is quoting one of the sneers of his traducers in Corinth about his humble conduct while with them (1Co 2:23; 2Corinthians 7:6) and his boldness (apwn tarrw) when away (1Corinthians 7:16). It was easy to satirize and misrepresent a depression of spirits, a humility of demeanour, which were either the direct results of some bodily affliction, or which the consciousness of this affliction had rendered habitual (Farrar). The words stung Paul to the quick. ”””” 3. Gill, ““““ by the meekness and gentleness of Christ  , not to regard their reproaches, and join with them in them; for did they but consider the meek and gentle deportment of Christ, so worthy of his and their imitation, they would see there was no reason to reflect on him for that part of his conduct, in which he followed his Lord and master; whose meekness was to be seen in the assumption of human nature, in the whole of his life and conversation, and in his sufferings and death; and his gentleness of Spirit to be observed in his coming into this world, not to  judge and condemn it, but that the world might be saved; in bearing all indignities and insults, without being provoked to wrath and revenge; in rebuking his disciples for the severity of their spirits, declaring he came to save, and not take away the lives of men; in praying for his enemies, and in his silence under all the ill treatment he met with from the worst of men. As the apostle had this excellent example before him, which served both to regulate his conduct, and support him under the hard measures he met with, so he was desirous to direct others to the observance of it, which might be a check upon the ill usage of him. He here speaks of himself in the language of his adversaries, who meant by these characters to expose him to scorn and contempt: I Paul myself ; whose name the false teachers played upon, it signifying little ; and he being of little stature, they reproached him for it, and would insinuate, that as his name was little , and his person mean, his bodily presence weak, and his speech contemptible, that he had a little soul, was a man of small knowledge, mean parts, and a very insignificant minister. ow it is as if the apostle should say, I am not ashamed of my name, nor of my person, and I am willing to own myself the least of the apostles, yea, less than the least of all saints; but I beg of you by the mild and gentle Spirit of my Lord and master, whom I am not ashamed to imitate, that you would not join in those sneers. I am Paul, (autov) , the same in my principles and practice, in my doctrine and life, when present and absent; though my enemies say the contrary, as that I am such an one, who in presence am base ,or humble among you : they suggested, that when he was at Corinth he was humble and modest in his conversation, mild and gentle in all his expressions and  deportment; and which they interpreted of a meanness and baseness of spirit, as though he crept and cringed to curry favour with men, to avoid offence, and gain and keep an interest among them: but being absent, am bold toward you ;wrote blustering, hectoring, terrifying letters, threatening to come with his apostolic rod and deliver them up to Satan, to fright them into a compliance with him. ”””” 4. Clarke, ““““ He seems to quote these  as the words of hiscalumniator  , as if he had said; This apostle of yours is a mere braggadocio; when he is among you, you know how base  and contemptible  he is; when absent, see how he brags  and boasts . The word ταπεινοςταπεινοςταπεινοςταπεινος , which we render base , signifies lowly , and, as some think, short of stature . The insinuation is, that when there was danger or opposition at hand, St. Paul acted with great obsequiousness, fearing for his person and authority, lest he should lose his secular influence.5. Barnes, ““““ ow I Paul myself beseech you - I entreat you who are members of the church not to give me occasion for the exercise of severity in discipline. I have just expressed my confidence in the church in general, and my belief that you will act in accordance with the rules of the gospel. But I cannot thus speak of all. There are some among you who have spoken with contempt of my authority and my claims as an apostle. Of them I cannot speak in this manner; but instead of commanding them I entreat them not to give me occasion for the exercise of discipline.By the meekness and gentleness of Christ - In view of the meekness and mildness of the Redeemer; or desiring to imitate his gentleness and kindness. Paul wished to imitate that. He did not wish to have occasion for severity. He desired at all times to imitate, and to exhibit the gentle feelings of the Saviour. He had no pleasure in severity; and he did not desire to exhibit it.Who in presence - Margin, In outward appearance. It may either mean that when present among them he appeared, according to their representation, to be humble, mild, gentle 2Co_10:10; or that in his external appearance he had this aspect; see on 2Co_10:10. Most probably it means that they had represented him, as timid when among them, and afraid to exercise discipline, however much he had threatened it.Am base among you - The word used here ( ταπεινὸταπεινὸταπεινὸταπεινὸ ς tapeinos) usually means low, humble, poor. Here it means timid, modest, the opposite of boldness. Such was formerly the meaning of the English word base. It was applied to those of low degree or rank; of humble birth; and stood opposed to those of elevated rank or dignity. ow it is commonly used to denote that which is degraded or worthless; of mean spirit; vile; and stands opposed to that which is manly and noble. But Paul did not mean to use it here in that sense. He meant to say that they regarded him as timid and afraid to execute the punishment which he had threatened, and as manifesting a spirit which was the opposite of boldness. This was doubtless a charge which they brought against him; but we are not necessarily to infer that it was true. All that it proves is, that he was modest and unobtrusive, and that they interpreted
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