II Corinthians 10:1-7

Sunday, May 4th, 2014

Text: II Corinthians 10:1-7

THE WEAPONS OF OUR WARFARE

INTRODUCTION:

As we have noted many times before in our study of II Corinthians, a very personal side of the Apostle Paul is shown to us in this letter. Something, of course, which cannot be hidden is attitudes. They are there for all to behold. As we study together these attitudes of the Apostle Paul, we gain insight into what our attitudes as believers ought to be like.

In II Corinthians 10 we see what our attitudes as servants of the Lord must be.

I. PAUL WAS SLANDERED - 10:1-2

II Corinthians 10:1-2 - (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.

In verse 1 Paul indicates that he has been falsely accused of being servile in his manner when he is present with the Corinthian believers but bold toward them when he was not with them.

Now continues the thought with a slight change of direction.

I Paul myself is emphatic.

Beseech is am beseeching, am appealing to, am urging, am urging strongly, am exhorting, or am encouraging).

You refers to the Corinthian believers.

By is through or by means of.

The meekness suggests the gentleness, the humility, the courtesy, or the considerateness.

And gentleness suggests the clemency, the graciousness, the courtesy, the indulgence, or the tolerance.

Of Christ suggests that the meekness and gentleness come from Christ.

Who refers to Paul.

In presence means face to face, present in person, or in person.

Am has been supplied by the translators and is understood with I Paul myself who am.

Base pertains to being of low social status or to relative inability to cope and is understood as meaning lowly, undistinguished, or of no account. It may also pertain to being servile in manner and be understood in the sense of pliant, subservient, or abject, a negative quality that would make one lose face in the Greek-Roman world, the opposite of a free person's demeanor.

Among you suggests among you Corinthian believers, where Paul is supposedly base.

Paul was not really this way, but he was portrayed as being like this by his enemies who were attempting to undermine his character and ministry.

But introduces the contrast with Paul's demeanor when he is present.

Being absent is understood in the sense of when I am absent or while I am absent.

Am bold is I am bold and suggests I am confident or I am courageous.

Toward you indicates the direction of Paul's supposed boldness when he is away from the Corinthians. Paul's demeanor was not really this way, but his enemies sought to convey this impression of him.

Paul's opponents were claiming that he was acting one way when he was with them but another way when he was absent from them and writing letters to them. They were saying that he was weak or of no account when he was with them in Corinth but that he was bold or courageous when he was somewhere else writing letters to them.

II Corinthians 10:2 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.

In verse 2 Paul urges the Corinthian believers by this letter so that he will not have to be bold against some when he comes to Corinth. It would be far better if they straightened things out with the Lord before he arrives than for him to have to straighten them out after he arrives.

But is the same word translated now in the previous verse and could be understood in this sense in this verse as well.

I beseech you suggests I am beseeching (you), I am asking (you), or I am requesting (of you).

What Paul is requesting of the Corinthian believers is that they, on their own, straighten things out with the Lord so that he does not have to straighten things out for them when he gets there. Paul has no interest in dealing harshly with them.

That I may not be bold indicates a negative purpose. Paul has no desire to have to be bold in dealing with the sins of the people in Corinth. It is the same term translated am bold in the previous verse and suggests I may not be confident or I may not be courageous.

When I am present suggests when I am with you.

With that confidence suggests with the confidence Paul has as an apostle.

Wherewith is with which.

I think is I have in mind, I am thinking, I am proposing, or I am purposing.

To be bold is to be courageous or to show courage (or boldness).

Against some indicates those against whom Paul thinks he will have to be bold when he comes to Corinth.

Paul then specifies who these some are by writing which think of us as if we walked according to the flesh.

Which think of us is who are thinking of us, who are considering us, or who are regarding us).

As if we walked is as if we were walking, as if we were conducting our lives, or as if we were living.

According to the flesh is in accordance with flesh or in conformity with flesh, i.e. in comformity with the old sin nature. The same phrase is used in verse 3 where it is translated after the flesh.

Paul is being accused of being an unspiritual, carnal Christian by false teachers who were trying to undermine his ministry.

II. PAUL DID NOT WAR AFTER THE FLESH - 10:3

II Corinthians 10:3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh.

According to verse 3, although he is physically alive, Paul does not conduct his ministry in the power of the flesh even though others, who do this themselves, have been accusing him of doing so.

For is emphatic and understood in sense of but really, indeed, or certainly.

Though we walk is although we are walking, although we are living, or although we are conducting our lives and speaks of his physical life.

In the flesh is in flesh and suggests in a physical body.

We do not war, where we is Paul, suggests that Paul does not engage in a conflict in the figurative sense of we are not waging battle or we are not fighting. When negated as in this verse, it suggests that this is never the case.

Paul is not waging spiritual warfare after the flesh, i.e. in accordance with flesh or in conformity with flesh, by which Paul means in accordance with his old sin nature. He does not employ fleshly methods which the unsaved crowd would use. After the flesh is the same phrase used in verse 2, in the statement, Which think of us as if we walked according to the flesh.

III. THE WEAPONS OF PAUL'S WARFARE WERE MIGHTY THROUGH GOD - 10:4-6

II Corinthians 10:4-6 - (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.

In verse 4 Paul explains why he does not war after the flesh. His weapons are not physical but spiritual, mighty through God so that strongholds are able to be pulled down. Verse 4 is a parenthetical statement which does not advance the narrative.

For introduces an explanation of why his warfare is not after the flesh. It is understood in the sense of because.

The weapons speaks of instruments designed to make ready for military engagement, but here the weapons are intended to be used for spiritual warfare.

Of our warfare, where our refers to Paul, speaks of a military engagement in the sense of an our expedition or our campaign. Here it refers to a spiritual battle.

As indicated by the italics, are has been supplied by the translators.

The weapons of Paul's warfare are first described negatively: they are not carnal, which suggests that they do not belong to the physical realm. They are not material, physical, human, or fleshly. They are not characterized by cleverness, human intelligence, organization, eloquence, charm, or personality.

But, which is emphatic, introduces the positive description of the weapons of Paul's warfare.

Mighty is powerful.

Through God suggests by God the Father.

To the pulling down of suggests for tearing down or for the purpose of destruction.

Strong holds are what are pulled down, torn down, or destroyed and suggests strong military installations in the sense of fortresses.

II Corinthians 10:5 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.

In verse 5 the thought returns to verse 3, and Paul describes his warfare mentioned in verse 3. Imaginations and wrong thoughts are cast down and brought into subjection to Christ.

Casting down is the verb form of the word translated the pulling down in verse 4. Here it means destroying by tearing down, tearing down, destroying, or overpowering. It is understood in the sense of while (or when) casting down or while (or when) we cast down.

What Paul casts down are imaginations which is understood in the sense of calculations, reasonings, reflections, or thoughts.

And may introduce a second thing Paul casts down, or it may state the idea of imaginations in a different way. If stating the idea of imaginations in a different way, and is understood in the sense of even or in the more emphatic sense of indeed, in fact, yea, verily, or certainly.

Every high thing is each high thing. It refers to something which postures itself arrogantly and is understood in the sense of everything that rises up, possibly all pride or every proud thing.

Every high thing is further described by that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God.

That exalteth itself refers to something which postures itself arrogantly and is understood in the sense of everything exalting itself, everything rising up, or everything that rises up.

Against the knowledge of God, where against is used in a hostile sense and knowledge suggests what is known or the content of what is known. In particular, it means what is known about God the Father. Rather than being submissive to God the Father, these imaginations are in defiance of Him.

And bringing into captivity is parallel to casting down. It is understood in the sense of while casting down or while we cast down. Its tense indicates that its action is habitual or customary and that its action occurs at the same time as the action of war. When used literally, bringing into captivity suggests making someone a prisoner of war; but when used figuratively as in this verse, it suggests making captive.

What is brought into captivity or made captive is every thought which refers to what someone has in mind. Every human thought, idea, and teaching must be subjected to God's standard found in the Scriptures.

To the obedience suggests a state of being in compliance wherein one listens and follows instructions. It is used predominantly of obedience to God and His commands. The same term is used in verse 6. Here obedience is used of obeying Christ or of obedience to Christ. It is reminiscent of what Paul urges in Romans 12:1-2 , particularly of being transformed by the renewing of your mind.

Romans 12:1-2 - (1) I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

(2) And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God (emphasis added).

II Corinthians 10:6 And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.

In verse 6 Paul continues the description of his warfare begun in verse 5. If necessary, Paul is ready to use his spiritual weapons against those in Corinth who oppose the truth whenever the obedience of the Corinthian believers is fulfilled.

Having in a readiness means that Paul is ready or prepared.

What Paul is ready to do is to revenge all disobedience.

To revenge suggests to inflict appropriate penalty for wrong done, to punish, or to take vengeance for.

All disobedience is each disobedience or every disobedience, which is used in the sense of each refusal to listen and so be disobedient or each unwillingness to hear. If each disobedience or every disobedience will be punished, then all disobedience will be punished.

Disobedience is the opposite of the word translated obedience both in the previous verse and in the next phrase. Paul is speaking of the disobedience of the false apostles and their loyal supporters.

When is whenever. It indicates potential action whose time is uncertain.

Your obedience speaks of those believers in Corinth who were genuinely saved and desiring to do right in the sight of the Lord. Obedience is understood as a state of being in compliance when someone listens and follows instructions. It is used of obedience every slave owes to his master, and it is used of obedience believers owe to God. The same term was used in verse 5.

Is fulfilled suggests is brought to completion. Paul was prepared to take action against the false teachers, but he would not do so until the Corinthian believers were obedient in all things to the Lord.

IV. PAUL WAS CHRIST'S SERVANT - 10:7

II Corinthians 10:7 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.

In verse 7 Paul indicates that the outward appearance may be deceptive and lead to wrong conclusions. Someone who thinks he is Christ's servant must realize that, just as he perceives himself to be Christ's servant, Paul is Christ's servant.

Do ye look on? is, Are you looking on?, Are you paying especially close attention to?, or, Are you noticing?

Things after the outward appearance is literally the things according to face. It means what is before your eyes and suggests the way things appear.

Paul answers his own question with a conditional statement. The condition is: if any man trust to himself that he is Christ's; and the conclusion is: let him of himself think this again, that, as he is Christ's, even so are we Christ's. The structure of the condition indicates that, for sake of discussion, it is assumed to be true. It may or may not actually be true, however. We don't know if any man trusts to himself that he is Christ's. Therefore, if should be understood in the sense of assuming that.

Some of Paul's critics were apparently claiming that they, rather than Paul, belonged to Christ.

Any man is any, anyone, anybody, someone, or somebody and may refer to a female as well as to a male.

Trust suggests being so convinced of something that he puts confidence in it and is understood in the sense of is convinced, is sure, or is certain. Its tense indicates that its action has occurred in the past and that its result has continued. It has been translated in a way which emphasizes its existing result.

To himself is in himself.

What he is convinced, sure, or certain of in himself is that he is Christ's, which means that he belongs to Christ.

Let him . . . think means he must think, he must consider, he must ponder, or let his mind dwell on.

Of himself is in himself or from within himself, indicating the source of his thought.

What he is to think is this, and its content is that, as he is Christ's, even so are we Christ's.

Again suggests a contrast or alternate thought in the sense of on the other hand or in turn. That introduces what this person is to consider. The combination of that as is that just as.

He refers to any man who trusts to himself that he is Christ's.

Is Christ's means that he belongs to Christ.

Even so, or so also, introduces a statement in comparison to as he (is) Christ's.

Are we Christ's means that Paul likewise belongs to Christ.

CONCLUSION:

Therefore, let's watch our attitudes. Let's remember that we will act in accordance with our attitudes. But, how can I change my attitudes? I can't, but God the Holy Spirit can.