The servants of Christ should be sensible of their own infirmities, thinking humbly of themselves, keeping within their own province and careful to give glory to God in all their work. At the same time let them not betray their authority in Christ. Believers should render humble obedience to them as men set over them by God, not comparing their personal appearance or ways with other popular leaders.
II Corinthians 10
1 Now I Paul myself beseech you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ, who in presence am base among you, but being absent am bold toward you:
2 But I beseech you, that I may not be bold when I am present with that confidence, wherewith I think to be bold against some, which think of us as if we walked according to the flesh.
3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:
4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)
5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
6 And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.
7 Do ye look on things after the outward appearance? If any man trust to himself that he is Christ’s, let him of himself think this again, that, as he is Christ’s, even so are we Christ’s.
8 For though I should boast somewhat more of our authority, which the Lord hath given us for edification, and not for your destruction, I should not be ashamed:
9 That I may not seem as if I would terrify you by letters.
10 For his letters, say they, are weighty and powerful; but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible.
11 Let such an one think this, that, such as we are in word by letters when we are absent, such will we be also in deed when we are present.
12 For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.
13 But we will not boast of things without our measure, but according to the measure of the rule which God hath distributed to us, a measure to reach even unto you.
14 For we stretch not ourselves beyond our measure, as though we reached not unto you: for we are come as far as to you also in preaching the gospel of Christ:
15 Not boasting of things without our measure, that is, of other men’s labours; but having hope, when your faith is increased, that we shall be enlarged by you according to our rule abundantly,
16 To preach the gospel in the regions beyond you, and not to boast in another man’s line of things 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 whom the Lord commendeth.
II Corinthians 10:1 – J. Vernon McGee
II Corinthians 10:2-3 – J. Vernon McGee
II Corinthians 10:4 – J. Vernon McGee
II Corinthians 10:5-11 – J. Vernon McGee
II Corinthians 10:12-18 – J. Vernon McGee
2 Corinthians 10:1-7 – Mighty with Spiritual Weapons
Paul here makes his defense. Some who resisted his authority spoke disparagingly of his weak body and uneloquent speech. Why should they yield so absolute a submission to his words? Others suggested that he was little better than a schemer for his own ends, and that he walked after worldly maxims, II Corinthians 10:2. There is considerable comfort to others who are placed in the driving storm of adverse criticism, to know that this great saint passed by the same road. Be of good cheer, comrade, if you are misunderstood and maligned! It is best to leave these reproaches with your Lord. He will shield and vindicate you. “No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn” (Isaiah 54:17).
In reply Paul quotes the spiritual results that have accrued from his ministry, and argues that they attest the purity and spirituality of his methods. He could not have attained to such great usefulness, if his motives had been those which his enemies imputed. What a lesson II Corinthians 10:4 contains! In the gospel there are weapons which no human reasonings or workings can withstand; but we too often trust carnal methods, and do not avail ourselves of this invincible panoply. —Through the Bible Day by Day
II Corinthians 10:5—Bringing every thought to the obedience of Christ.
The apostle is planning a campaign; his words glow with the fire of military enthusiasm: but, as one has eloquently said, the weapons of his warfare are not carnal; the standard under which he fights is a more sacred sign than that of Caesar; the territory he invades is more difficult of conquest than any which kept the conquerors of the world at bay. He sees rising before him the lofty fortresses of hostile error; they must be reduced or razed. Every mountain fastness to which the enemy can retreat must be scaled and destroyed; and every thought of the soul, which is hostile to the authority of the Divine Truth, must become a prisoner of war in the camp of Christ.
Be sure to distinguish between the proper use of the intellect by the man who recognizes its necessary limitations and uses it in the humble and reverent inquiry after truth, and that undue exaltation of the intellect, which sets itself on high as the ultimate judge of truth, or which roams wildly, unheeding the Divine control. There are vain thoughts, sensual thoughts, cynical and self-reliant thoughts, sceptical thoughts, proud thoughts, wandering and wayward thoughts; but the apostle says that, however strongly they fortify themselves against Christ, they should and must be brought into captivity. Paul once thought he ought to do many things contrary to Jesus, but became his humble disciple.
The intellect has its province, but faith has hers; and while the intellect tends to exalt man, faith humbles him and leads him captive in the chains of love. We must come with absolute obedience to Christ, that every vail may be torn away, and whatever blurs the clear surface of the mirroring intellect may be removed. —Our Daily Homily
2 Corinthians 10:8-18 – Enlarging One’s Sphere of Influence
There is marvelous power in the weakest of men, when governed by a single purpose and filled with the consciousness and the power of God. Weak and contemptible in themselves, they are often the chosen channels through which God pours His living water. Any child could have destroyed Raphael’s brush, but in his hand it painted immortal pictures. Incidentally the Apostle remarks that some who criticized him bore themselves proudly, because their standard was so low. A five-foot man thinks himself tall when he compares himself with a dwarf! Always compare what is worst in yourself with what is best in others, and you will be kept humble.
Paul was always pressing outward to the fields that lay beyond. These were vast unoccupied regions, which he coveted to count as provinces in the Kingdom of Christ. This is the supreme test of a man. It is comparatively easy to build on foundations laid by another Christian worker, and to win away his converts. Such conduct is mean and cowardly. Open up new ground and show the stuff that’s in you. The Apostle was justified in making these affirmations, but he did so in the meekness and gentleness of Christ. —Through the Bible Day by Day