II Corinthians 10:8-18

Sunday, May 11th, 2014

Text: II Corinthians 10:8-18

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.

We have already seen that -

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.

We have also seen that -

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.

We have furthermore seen that -

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.

Finally, we saw that -

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.

As we continue, we see that -

V. PAUL WAS TO BUILD RATHER THAN TO DESTROY BELIEVERS - 10:8-11

II Corinthians 10:8-11 - (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.

In verse 8 Paul recognizes that the Lord has given him authority as an apostle for the building up of the Corinthian believers and not for their destruction.

For introduces a conditional statement.

The condition is though I should boast somewhat more of our authority, and its conclusion is I should not be ashamed. Its structure indicates that no assumption is made regarding its truthfulness. It may or may not be true.

Though is even if or a more emphatic if indeed or if in fact.

I should boast suggests a possibility and is understood in the sense of I should boast about.

Somewhat more is something more or something further.

Of our authority is concerning my authority or about my authority.

Authority speaks of my right to control or of my right to command. It is a reference to his apostolic authority.

Which refers to authority and introduces a parenthetical statement regarding his authority.

Which the Lord, (i.e. Christ) hath given us is, Which the Lord gave us.

For edification indicates the intended goal or direction of Paul's apostolic authority.

Edification has to do with spiritual edification, i.e. for edifying people or for building up people spiritually.

And not for your destruction suggests And not for tearing you down.

I should not be ashamed is I will not be ashamed. It suggests that Paul will definitely not experience any painful feeling or sense any loss of status because of boasting about his God-given authority.

II Corinthians 10:9 That I may not seem as if I would terrify you by letters.

According to verse 9, Paul is not trying to frighten the Corinthian believers by his letters. They should also not think that he is trying to scare them by this letter. He is telling them the truth when he advises them that he has this God-given authority to build them up in the faith and that, unlike his critics, this is how he has used his apostolic authority.

That is in order that or for the purpose that.

I may not seem is, I may not appear.

As if is as though.

I would terrify you by letters suggests, I would frighten you letters. It indicates that Paul is not attempting to terrify the Corinthian believers with his letters, even though his enemies were saying that he was.

II Corinthians 10:10 For his letters, say they, are weighty and powerful; but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible.

According to verse 10, Paul is being falsely accused of being severe and strong in his letters but weak and of no value in his speech when he is present.

For is the word ordinarily translated because and should be understood in this sense here.

His letters is the letters or the epistles in the Greek text. The is used in a possessive sense, which is common in Greek.

Say they, where they refers to Paul's critics, is, They are saying or, They are affirming. Its tense indicates that these false accusations are going on repeatedly.

Are weighty and powerful describe Paul's letters according to his critics.

Weighty is used in the sense of severe and suggests that his letters are a source of difficulty or trouble because of demands made in them.

Powerful is understood in the sense of strong or mighty.

But introduces a statement in mild contrast to the statement made by Paul's critics that his letters are weighty and powerful: his bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible.

His bodily presence suggests when he is physically present rather than absent.

Is weak suggests (is) unimpressive.

His speech speaks of (his) word, (his) proclamation, (his) instruction, (his) teaching, or (his) message.

Contemptible means has no merit or has no worth and implies that (his) speech amounts to nothing.

II Corinthians 10:11 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.

In verse 11 Paul indicates that, just as he is being falsely accused of being weighty and powerful in his letters, he will be exactly like this when he comes to Corinth.

Such an one suggests the sort of person who thinks that Paul's letters are weighty and powerful but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible.

Let such an one think this means Such a one must think this and is used in the sense of let such a one be giving careful thought to this.

What he is to think is such as we are in word by letters when we are absent, such will we be also in deed when we are present. When I get there, I am going to be just like I have been accused of being when I am writing letters.

Such as we are refers to Paul and is understood in the sense of of what sort I am.

In word is in proclamation, in instruction, in teaching, or in message.

By letters is through letters and refers to letters he would write to them.

When we are (i.e. I am) absent is reminiscent of what Paul's critics said about him.

Such refers to the sort of persons who think that Paul's letters are weighty and powerful but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible.

Will we be also in deed suggests (will we be) in action. This means in addition to the way he is thought to be when he is absent.

When we are present. In summary, Paul is stating that, if necessary, he will be stern in his actions when he comes to Corinth just like some in Corinth have accused him of being in his letters.

We see next that -

VI. PAUL DARED NOT COMMEND OR COMPARE HIMSELF WITH OTHERS - 10:12

II Corinthians 10:12 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.

According to verse 12, Paul is not about to join, or compare himself with, the group composed of those who recommend themselves. People who use themselves as a basis for comparing themselves are not acting wisely.

For introduces a clarification of Paul's line of reasoning and is understood in the sense of you see.

We dare not suggests we are not bringing ourselves to or are not presuming to.

What Paul does not dare to do is make ourselves of the number or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves.

Make ourselves of the number suggests class ourselves with or classify ourselves with.

Or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves indicates the group with which Paul does not classify himself or compare himself. With some gives no indication of how many comprise this group. Its reference is to Paul's critics who were doing this. They are false teachers, seeking to turn the hearts of the Corinthian believers against Paul; and they have apparently had some success in doing so. That commend themselves is understood in the sense of who are presenting themselves, who are introducing themselves, or who are recommending themselves to others.

But introduces a statement in strong contrast to the first half of this verse.

They (i.e. the ones who commend themselves) . . . are not wise suggests they do not understand or they do not comprehend.

Measuring themselves by themselves is understood in the sense while they are measuring themselves by themselves or because they are measuring themselves by themselves.

By themselves indicates that they are the standard by which they measure themselves, i.e. they are the standard for their measurement. Anyone who measures himself using himself as his standard of measurement is making a big mistake. He should instead use an absolute standard of measurement, such as the standard of what the Bible says or of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.

And comparing themselves among themselves is while they are comparing themselves by themselves or because they are comparing themselves by themselves.

This indicates again that these people are not using an absolute standard of comparison such as the Scriptures or Christ. By doing this, they can make themselves appear much better than they really are. Using a low standard for comparison is not a wise decision.

Furthermore, we also see that -

VII. PAUL REALIZED THAT OTHER SERVANTS HAD DIFFERENT AREAS OF SERVICE - 10:13-16

II Corinthians 10:13-16 - (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.

According to verse 13, Paul is not going to speak of things which are outside of God's direction for his life. Among other places, God directed Paul to Corinth.

But is used to continue Paul's discussion with a slight change of direction. It is understood in the sense of now.

We will not boast suggests we will not take pride or we will not brag.

Of things without our measure is literally unto the immeasurable things and suggests upon the things beyond our limits. It means that Paul will place a limit on his boasting.

But introduces a statement in strong contrast to Paul's boasting beyond his limits.

According to the measure is in accordance with the measure or in conformity with the measure, which speaks of the limits of Paul's boasting.

Of the rule speaks of a set of directions in the sense of the assignment. It is used here of the mission assignment given to Paul by God, which included directions about geographical areas.

Which refers to the rule or the assignment.

God (i.e. God the Father) hath distributed to us suggests God dealt out to me, God assigned to me, or God apportioned to me.

A measure to reach even unto you (Corinthian believers). It suggests to arrive or to come even as far as you.

II Corinthians 10:14 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.

According to verse 14, Paul is not going to speak about things which are beyond what he has accomplished in accordance with God's direction in his life; but his ministry of proclaiming the gospel has brought him to Corinth.

For we stretch not ourselves beyond our measure, where we, ourselves, and our all refer to Paul, is, For we are not stretching out ourselves beyond (the limits set by God), i.e., For we are not overextending ourselves.

As though we reached not unto you is understood in the sense of as if we reached not unto you Corinthian believers or as if we were not reaching unto you Corinthian believers. It indicates how far Paul had come in proclaiming the gospel.

For we are come, suggests For we arrived, or for we reached.

As far as to you also is as far as to you in addition to his having reached other people with the gospel.

In preaching the gospel of Christ speaks of Paul's travels as an apostle which took him to Corinth where he proclaimed the gospel, i.e. the good news about Christ's having died on the cross for our sins, His having been buried; and His having been raised again from the dead on the third day (I Corinthians 15:3-4 ).

II Corinthians 10:15 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.

According to verse 15, Paul is not about to boast of what others have done but hopes that, when the believers in Corinth have straightened things out in their own lives and in their church, he will be able, with their help, to go beyond Corinth in his ministry of proclaiming the gospel.

Not boasting is not bragging.

Of things without our measure means that Paul has placed a limit on his boasting.

That is of other men's labours indicates what Paul is not boasting about. It is in work or labors done by others.

But introduces a statement in mild contrast with not boasting of things without our measure, that is of other men's labours: having hope, when your faith is increased, that we shall be enlarged by you according to our rule abundantly.

Having hope is understood as something which is certain of fulfillment in the sense of having expectation.

Paul's hope or expectation is that we shall be enlarged by you according to our rule abundantly.

When your faith is increased is when your trust (i.e. your belief, your confidence, or your firm commitment) is made greater.

That we shall be enlarged by you indicates the result for which Paul is hoping when the faith of the Corinthian believers has been caused to grow.

We shall be enlarged suggests we shall be caused to be large, we shall increase, or we shall grow.

By you suggests that Paul desires the commitment of the Corinthian believers to grow in order that they might be able to assist him in expanding his ministry beyond areas where he has already proclaimed the gospel.

According to our rule is in accordance with our assignment.

Abundantly suggests greatly.

II Corinthians 10:16 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.

According to verse 16, Paul's rule was to preach the gospel where it had not been proclaimed rather than to build on the foundation laid by someone else and then boast on the work he had done. Paul desired to proclaim the gospel in the regions beyond Corinth.

To preach the gospel is used specifically of proclaiming the message of salvation, i.e. the good news that Christ died on the cross to pay for the sins of all humanity, that He was buried, and that He rose again from the dead on the third day (I Corinthians 15:3-4).

In the regions beyond you suggests in the lands beyond where the Corinthian believers live.

In Romans 15:28 , which Paul would write within a few months of writing II Corinthians, he expressed a desire to go to Spain.

And not to boast in suggests and not to brag in.

Another man's line is another's assignment. The word translated line of things is the same word translated rule in verse 13 and measure in verse 15. It suggests that Paul does not desire to boast (of work already done) in someone else's field.

Of things made ready to our hand is in the things (that are) ready or in the prepared things. It suggests in the things accomplished (by someone else).

Finally, we see that -

VIII. PAUL'S BOAST WAS IN THE LORD - 10:17-18

II Corinthians 10:17-18 - (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.

According to verse 17, any boast either Paul or anyone else could make must be in the person and work of the Lord.

But introduces a statement in mild contrast to what Paul has written regarding boasting in verses 13-16.

He that glorieth is the one who boasts or the one who is boasting.

Let him glory is the same word translated he that glorieth. This time it is used as an imperative or command and means he must be glorying or he must be boasting.

In the Lord indicates where his boast is to be rather than in himself. It suggests all that the Lord is and all that He has accomplished.

II Corinthians 10:18 For not he that commendeth himself is approved, but whom the Lord commendeth.

According to verse 18, what someone says about himself does not result in his being approved. On the contrary, the one whom the Lord commends is approved.

For not he that commendeth himself is for not the one who commends himself.

Not is used in the sense of not this one, but someone else.

He that commendeth suggests the one who recommends.

Himself is the one he is recommending. One should never recommend himself. If he is worth recommending, someone else should do it. In this context, it is the Lord Who should do the recommending.

Is approved suggests that Paul's critics were not only seeking to undermine Paul's ministry but were also seeking to recommend themselves as being better than Paul.

Approved suggests being genuine on the basis of testing in the sense of being approved (by test), tried and true, or genuine.

But introduces a statement in strong contrast to one being approved who commends himself.

The one who is approved is the one whom the Lord commendeth.

The Lord is a reference to Christ, and commendeth is the same term used in the previous phrase suggesting recommends.

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.

What I can and must do is submit my heart and mind to the teaching of the Scriptures, which results in the Holy Spirit making me more and more Christlike.