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Bible Commentaries
2 Corinthians 10

Garner-Howes Baptist CommentaryGarner-Howes

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Verse 1


1) "Now I Paul myself beseech you," (autos de ego Paulos parakalo humas) "Now I, myself, Paul beseech or entreat you all;" I appeal to you, as I now proceed to answer those who have sought to lower my dignity and hurt my influence, 1 Timothy 5:20.

2) "By the meekness and gentleness of Christ." (dia tes prautetos kai epieikeias tou Christou) "Through the meekness and forbearance of Christ;" Remember how gentle Christ was and do not force me, his servant to be otherwise, thru receiving and making unworthy criticism of me, 1 Corinthians 4:21.

3) "Who in presence am base among you," (hos kata prosopon men tapeinos en humin) "who in presence am humble or base among you all;" not of an imposing, charismatic presence, 1 Corinthians 2:3-4; 2 Corinthians 10:10; 2 Corinthians 12:5; 2 Corinthians 12:7; 2 Corinthians 12:9.

4) "But being absent am bold toward you " (apon de tharro eis humas) "But being away I am bold toward you all," in confidence that you will do what is right toward those who hurtfully and unjustly accuse me and impugn the motives and integrity of my ministry, especially the Judaizers of Corinth, 2 Corinthians 12:2; 2 Corinthians 12:10; 1 Corinthians 4:21. He believed that they would rebuke these erring accusers, 1 Timothy 5:20; Titus 1:13; Titus 2:15.

Verse 2

1) "But I beseech you," (deomai de) "Now I request," adding emphasis to his appeal to the better intentioned ones in the church, that they resist and rebuke those who circulated demeaning, derogatory charges against him, 1 Corinthians 4:13; 1 Corinthians 4:21.

2) "That I may not be bold when I am present with that confidence." (to me paron tharresai to pepoithesei) "not being present to be bold in the confidence;" Paul had confidence to believe that through his letter the better brethren of the church might be embolden to stand up and speak out against the complainers, murmurers, and stink-toters against him.

3) "Wherewith I think to be bold against some," (he logizomai tolmesai epi tinas) "which I calculate to be daring toward certain ones;" if the loose charges against me are still being circulated when I arrive. These opposers were self-servers, false teachers and false prophets, Judges 1:10; Judges 1:13; Judges 1:16; Judges 1:19; 1 Peter 2:3; 1 Peter 2:10-12.

4) "Which think of us," (tous logizomenous hemas) "Those who consider us," or reason concerning us; These malicious accusers of Paul did not know or understand the things of the spirit, having only the natural mind, 1 Corinthians 2:14.

5) "As if we walked according to the flesh," (hos kata sarka peripatountas) "as if we conducted ourselves after the manner of the flesh," as if we were motivated solely by fleshly desires, as these murmuring unregenerate wolves or jackals in sheep’s clothes were, 2 Corinthians 2:17; 2 Corinthians 4:2; 2 Corinthians 11:13-15.

Verse 3

1) "For though we walk in the flesh," (en sarki gar peripatountes) "For though we are continually walking in the flesh;" the body of depravity of -our natural birth, with it’s passions, weaknesses, and impulses; Paul did, Romans 7:18-25; John did, 1 John 1:8-9.

2) "We do not war after the flesh." (ou kata sarka strateuometha) "We do not war after the manner of the flesh;" or struggle after or according to the passions and desires of the flesh; 2 Corinthians 1:12. The redeemed, sanctified, righteous believers are motivated, empowered, to walk after the Spirit of Christ, by the new nature within them, 2 Corinthians 5:17; Ephesians 2:10; Galatians 5:16; Galatians 5:22; Galatians 5:25.

Verse 4


1) "For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal” (ta gar hopla tes strateias hemon ou sarkika ) "For the weapons of our warfare are not fleshly," according to the old nature, but spiritual and divinely furnished, Ephesians 6:13; 1 Thessalonians 5:8; warriors, struggling soldiers of the cross we are to be, 1 Timothy 1:18; 1 Timothy 6:12; 2 Timothy 2:3; 2 Timothy 4:7.

2) "But mighty through God," (alla dunata to theo) "But powerful (dynamic) toward God;" the might of our strength is from God thru salvation, then to or toward God’s glory through our lives of obedient service, Romans 1:16; as Jesus and as Moses were mighty in word and deed, so are we to be Acts 7:22; Luke 24:19.

3) "To the pulling down of strongholds," (pros Kathairesin ochuromaton)" toward overthrow or tearing down of strongholds;" to keep primary fleshly impulses, passions, and the fleshly will and desires under subjection, as Paul did, 1 Corinthians 9:26-27; Jeremiah 1:9-10; to rule one’s self is the first priority step in leading others well, Proverbs 16:22.

4) "Casting down imaginations” (logismous kathairountes) "overthrowing reasonings of the fleshly man," or imaginations of the flesh, which is inclined to evil, continually, or everyday; Genesis 6:5; Genesis 8:21; Deuteronomy 29:19; Proverbs 6:18; Matthew 15:19.

Christian warfare must begin with and pursue subjection of the body by the power of the spirit to be victorious and overcoming in Christ, Romans 12:1-2; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20; 1 John 5:4.

Verse 5

1) "And every high thing," (kai pan hupsoma) "and every high (exalted) thing," such as conceit, egotism, pride of the flesh, Proverbs 11:2; Proverbs 13:10; Proverbs 16:18; Proverbs 29:23. These passions are citadels of Satan, let them be torn down.

2) "That exalteth itself against the knowledge of God," (epairomenon kata tes gnesos tou theou) "That rises up against (or opposes) the knowledge of God," even as Lucifer was lifted up, "puffed up," in conceit and pride against God, Isaiah 28:2; Isaiah 28:5; Isaiah 28:17; Isaiah 14:13-14; Romans 1:21-22; 1 Corinthians 1:18-19; 1 Corinthians 1:21; 1 Corinthians 1:25-29.

3) "And bringing into captivity," (kai eichmalotizontes)" and continually take captive or captivate," these fleshly passions, mortify or put them to death, under control, so that they will be fruitless, giving place to spiritual fruit, Colossians 3:1-5.

4) "Every thought to the obedience of Christ," (pan noema eis ten hupakoen tou christou) "Every design to the obedience of Christ," or thru God’s power we are able to bring every thought, design, or intent to obedient service to Christ, Hebrews 12:1-3; 1 Peter 3:15; Isaiah 55:11-12; Philippians 2:5-7; Hebrews 4:12. Let every intent, purpose, and motive be wholly subject to the word and will of Christ, Romans 12:1-2.

Verse 6

1) "And having in a readiness," (kai en hetoimo echontes) "and having or holding (ourselves) in readiness;" being ready, to reprove with great sharpness those of the church who persisted in other carnal matters which he had reproved in his former letter of 1Corinthians, 2 Corinthians 13:2; 2 Corinthians 13:10.

2) "To revenge all disobedience," (ekdikesai pasan parakoen) "to avenge all (kind of) disobedience," to punish all who go on in disobedience. Perhaps the punishment was to be to exclude those who did not amend their ways of gross error, as the young man who was excluded for taking his father’s wife, 1 Corinthians 5:1; 1 Corinthians 5:4-5; 1 Corinthians 5:11; 1 Corinthians 5:13; 2 Corinthians 2:6-8.

3) "When your obedience is fulfilled," (hotan plerothe humon te hupakon) "Whenever your obedience is fulfilled," or you all have kept or fulfilled your promise; 2 Corinthians 2:6-9. When he learned they had restored and were trying to help the erring, fallen, excluded young man who had been guilty of fornication or incest, Galatians 6:1. They were also to receive Titus and the other two unnamed brethren with respect and support, 2 Corinthians 7:15.

Verse 7

1) "Do ye look on things after the outward appearance?" (ta kata prosopon blepete) "do you all (not) look at things according to outward appearance?" they did, judging from the "eye pupil" alone, too often, Proverbs 24:23; John 7:24; John 8:15. If you look only on the outward appearance, I will still show you I am an apostle, more than my accusers.

2) "If any man trust to himself," (ei tis pepoithen heautou) "If anyone has persuaded himself," 1 Corinthians 14:37-38; 1 John 4:6-7.

3) "That he is Christ’s," (Christou einai) "That he is Christ’s," he belongs to Christ, 2 Corinthians 5:17; 1 Corinthians 3:23; 1 Corinthians 6:19. Whether we "live or die" we are the Lord’s property, Romans 14:8.

4) "Let him of himself think this again," (touto logizestho palin eph’ heautou) "Let him consider this again," or just consider this: that one should not think of himself more highly than he ought, with selfish pride of superiority, 1 Corinthians 10:12; Romans 11:20; Romans 12:16.

5) "That as he is Christ’s", (hoti kathos autos Christou) "That just as he exists (is of) Christ," if he is, 2 Corinthians 13:5.

6) "Even so are we, Christ’s." (houtos kai hemeis) "Thus also (just like this), so are we," the missionary workers, Paul and his compatriots in mutual labors, 1 Corinthians 3:23; 1 Corinthians 9:1-2; 1 Corinthians 11:23.

Verse 8

1) "For though I should boast," (ean te gar kauchesomai) "For even if I should boast," or glory, Galatians 6:14; 1 Corinthians 9:16.

2) "Somewhat more of our authority," (perissoteron ti peri tes eksousias hemon) "somewhat more abundantly concerning our authority;" from the Lord to preach the gospel, serve as an apostle, in establishing and administering missionary, educational, and charitable matters, 1 Corinthians 9:1-6.

3) "Which the Lord hath given us for edification," (hes edoken ho kurios eis oikodomen) "Which the Lord gave for edification;" to build up the churches, thru teaching, preaching, and inspirational writing, Romans 15:2; 1 Corinthians 14:3; 2 Corinthians 13:10.

4) "And not for your destruction," (kai ouk eis kathairesin humon) "And not for your overthrow;" not to hurt or injure you all, 2 Corinthians 13:10. Paul sought to rescue fallen brethren, erring brethren from destruction, not to destroy them, Luke 4:18; 2 Timothy 2:26.

5) "I should not be ashamed," (ouk aischunthesomai) "I shall not be ashamed," Romans 1:14-16; Philippians 1:20; 2 Timothy 1:8; 2 Timothy 2:15; 1 Peter 4:16.

Verse 9

1) "That I may not seem," (hina me doksa) "In order that I may not seem or appear;" make a show or appearance to take advantage of them unfairly, 1 Corinthians 9:12; 1 Corinthians 9:15; 1 Corinthians 9:18-19; Acts 20:33.

2) "As if I would terrify you." (hosan ekphobein humas) "as 0 were attempting) to frighten you all or to terrify you all," but to build them up or help them, Acts 9:31; Acts 20:32.

3) "By letter " (dia epistolon) "Through the letters," I have written; 1 Corinthians 5:2; 1 Corinthians 5:7; 1 Corinthians 5:9, alludes to a letter of rebuke Paul had written even prior to the letter of First Corinthians.

Verse 10

1) "For his letters, say they," (hoti hai epistoloi men phesin) "Because indeed the letters, they say," says he, the accuser, the disaffecters at Corinth, the snipers, faultfinders, and hypercritical of Paul, those who judged outward appearance only.

2) "Are weighty and powerful " (bareiai kai ischurai) "are weighty and strong," logical, convincing, with content, unity of thought, and coherent, for anyone to evaluate, hard for men to withstand or reject, Ephesians 6:13; Acts 13:8-12; Galatians 2:11; 1 Peter 3:15.

3) "But his bodily presence is weak," (he de parousia tou somatos asthenes) "But his body presence is weak," or his bodily presence is weak, perhaps short of stature, 1 Corinthians 2:3-4; Galatians 4:13; 2 Corinthians 11:30; 2 Corinthians 12:5; 2 Corinthians 12:9-10.

4) "And his speech contemptible," (kai ho logos eksouthemeneos) "and his speech is despicable, despised, or very unpleasant;" not excelling, not refined, in diction and voice quality, a matter that seemed to offend the unregenerate elite of the Greeks who doted on art, 1 Corinthians 1:17; 1 Corinthians 2:1-4; 1 Corinthians 2:13.

Verse 11

1) "Let such an one think this,” (touto logizestho ho toioutos) "Let such a person calculate or reckon like this," after the following manner. Let it be clearly understood.

2) "That such as we are in word," (hoti hoioi esmen to logo) "That such as we are in the written word," in accuracy, truth, sharpness and reproof for wrong and grateful for every evidence of good in you all, 2 Timothy 4:1-4.

3) "By letters when we are absent," (di’ epistolon apontes) "Through epistles (while) absent;" as reflected in the three particular letters to the Corinth brethren, 1 Corinthians 5:9, a prelude letter to the letters of First and Second Corinthians, 2 Corinthians 13:1.

4) "Such will we be also in deed when we are present,"’ (toioutoi kai parontes to ergo) "Such we will also be when present in work," (among you all). Paul was not a compromising pacifist, or a moral, ethical, or doctrinal fence-straddler. This he wanted both friend and foe to know, 2 Corinthians 13:2; 2 Corinthians 13:10.

Verse 12

1) "For we dare not," (ou gar tolmomen) "For we dare not," are not so conceited and presumptuous as the self-esteeming, super-pious. 2 Corinthians 3:1-4.

2) "Make ourselves of the number or compare ourselves," (egkrinai he sugkrinai’ heautous) "to classify or to compare ourselves," we do not wish even to be identified by comparison with the following type of people:

3) "With some that commend themselves," (tisin ton heautous sunisthanonton) "With some, the ones commending themselves;" 2 Corinthians 5:12; Mark 7:6-13; Like the Pharisee of Luke 18:11; Isaiah 1:15; Romans 12:16.

4) "But they measuring themselves by themselves," (alla autoi en heautois heautous metrountes) "But they are measuring themselves continually among themselves;" full of self-emulation and conceit, Proverbs 26:12; Proverbs 29:20.

5) "And comparing themselves among themselves," (kai sugkrinontes heautous heautois) "And they are continually comparing themselves with themselves;" wise in their own eyes, not in comparison with the mind and the Word of God, 1 Corinthians 1:21; 1 Corinthians 1:24-29; Romans 1:21-22; Romans 1:25.

6) "Are not wise," (ou suniasin) "do not understand what they are doing," are unwise, spiritually blinded, deceived, and ignorant of their alien condition, Ephesians 4:18.

Verse 13

1) "But we will not boast of things without our measure," (hemeis de ouk eis to ametra kauchesmetha) "But we will not boast immeasurably," in a manner unbecoming to a witness of Christ, 2 Corinthians 10:15; not building on another’s man’s foundation, Romans 15:20.

2) "But according to the measure," (alla kata to metron) "But according to the measure;" their glorying was in Christ and Him crucified, not in the measure or limit or rule and guide of the law of Moses, or humanism of the Grecians, Galatians 6:14.

3) "Of the rule," (tou kanonos) "of the rule or order; under his apostolic call and the sending of the Antioch church, Acts 9:6; Acts 9:16; Acts 9:15; Acts 26:15-18; Acts 13:1-3.

4) "Which God hath distributed to us." (hou emensen hemin ho theos) "Which God has divided to us," the ministry of the Word, Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:1-5; John 20:21; Acts 1:8.

5) "A measure to reach even unto you," (metrou ephikesthai achri kai humon) "of a measure to reach even as far as you;" to the Gentiles at Corinth. He was sent to the Gentiles, not the Jews; Acts 26:15-18; Ephesians 3:1-2; Acts 22:21; 2 Timothy 1:11.

Verse 14

1) "For we stretch not ourselves beyond our measure," (ou gar huperkteinomen heautous) "For we do not overstretch ourselves," or do not go outside our territory of God’s call and commission in bringing the gospel to you all, Acts 26:15-18.

2) "As though we reached not unto you " (hos me ephiknoumenoi eis humas) "as not reaching to you;" Corinth was at this time the farthest point West to which Paul had carried the gospel, 2 Corinthians 5:20-21.

3) "For we are come as far as to you also " (achri gar kai humon ephthasamen) "For we even came as far as to you all;" 1 Corinthians 3:5; 1 Corinthians 3:9; 1 Corinthians 4:15-21; 1 Corinthians 9:1.

4) "In preaching the gospel of Christ," (en to euangellio tou Christou) "in the gospel of Christ," in declaring, bearing or preaching it, 1 Corinthians 1:17-18; 1 Corinthians 15:1-4.

Verse 15

1) "Not boasting of things without our measure," (ouk eis ta ametar kauchomenoi) "not immeasurably or loosely boasting," not thinking of one’s self more highly than he ought, not exuding fleshly pride, 1 Corinthians 10:12; James 4:16-17; Romans 1:30; 2 Timothy 3:2.

2) "That is, of other men’s labours," (en allotriois kopois) "in labors of others;" John 4:36-38; Don’t claim all the credit yourself for seeming success that comes to you, 1 Corinthians 3:6-9.

3) "But having hope," (elpida de echontes) "Yet having or holding hope," confidence that our labors and seed-sowing shall not be in vain, Psalms 126:5-6; Isaiah 55:11-12.

4) "When your faith is increased," (auksanomenes tes pisteos humon) "as your faith grows;" is enlarged, Luke 17:5; Psalms 115:14; 1 Thessalonians 4:10.

5) "That we shall be enlarged by you," (tes pisteos humon en humin meaglunthenai) "as your faith is increased, it is to be magnified among you," in the way you live and work, Ephesians 2:10.

6) "According to our rule abundantly," (kata ton kanona hemon eis perisseian) according to our rule in abundance, or reaching as far West, as unto you again and again, Ephesians 2:21-22; Ephesians 4:15; Colossians 1:10, to make you all "complete" or mature in Him.

Verse 16

1) "To preach the gospel in the regions beyond you," (eis to humon euangelisasthai) "In the parts (regions) beyond you all to preach good tidings;" in areas where the gospel had not gone, western Greece, Rome, and Spain in particular, Romans 1:14-16; Romans 15:23-24.

2) "And not to boast," (ouk kauchesasthai) "not to boast," to take credit for success, as others had tried to claim credit for Paul’s labors in Corinth, 1 Corinthians 3:6-7.

3) "In another man’s line of things made ready to our hand," (en allotrio kanoni eis ta etoma) "in another’s rule or order in the matters ready, at hand;" not to claim achievement that was really reached by others, where churches had already been planted, Romans 15:20-24; 1 Corinthians 3:10.

Verse 17

1) "But he that glorieth," (ho dekauchomenos) "But the one continually boasting," in fleshly achievements, an allusion to Old Testament statements, as well as the boastful antagonists against Paul, Isaiah 65:16; Jeremiah 9:23-24; James 4:16; 1 Corinthians 1:27-31; 1 Corinthians 5:6.

2) "Let him glory in the Lord," (en kuriou kauchastho) "Let him do his boasting in the Lord," the true object of glory or rejoicing not in selfish things done for the praise of men, Jeremiah 9:23-24; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20; 1 Corinthians 10:31; Ephesians 3:21; Galatians 6:14. It is the Lord who saves and gives men work to do, then sustains them in doing it, Acts 17:26-27; John 16:5.


If I were a pupil of Titian, and he should design my picture, and sketch it for me, and look over my work every day, and make suggestions, and then, when I had exhausted my skill, he should take the brush and give the ,finishing touches, bring out a part here and there, and making the whole glow with beauty, and then I should hang it upon the wall and call it mine, what a meanness it would be! When life is the picture, and Christ is the Designer and Master, what greater meanness is it to allow all the excellencies to be attributed of ourselves!


Verse 18

1) "For not he that commendeth himself," (ou gar ho heauton sumistanon) "For (it) is not the one commending himself," continually bragging on himself; such if worthy, should come from others, Proverbs 27:2; Proverbs 25:27.

2) "Is approved," (ekeinos estin dokimos) "That one is (not) approved;" is he? Surely not, nor is he worthy of approval, 2 Peter 2:17-19; Judges 1:12-13; Judges 1:16.

3) "But whom the Lord commendeth," (alla hon ho kurios sunistesin) "But the one whom the Lord commends," who is approved, genuine, or for real. It is God who knows the hearts and motives and sets standards for praise, and commendation. These are not made by outward appearance only, Romans 2:29; 1 Corinthians 2:13-14; 1 Corinthians 4:5; Matthew 25:21.

Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on 2 Corinthians 10". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/2-corinthians-10.html. 1985.
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