Book information

Life-Study of 2 Corinthiansby Witness Lee

ISBN: 0-7363-0960-8
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry

Currently in: Chapter 51 of 59 Section 1 of 3

LIFE-STUDY OF SECOND CORINTHIANS

MESSAGE FIFTY-ONE

PAUL’S VINDICATION
OF HIS APOSTOLIC AUTHORITY

(2)

Scripture Reading: 2 Cor. 10:7-18

In 10:7-18 Paul speaks concerning the measure of God’s rule. Let us cover this portion verse by verse.

ASPECTS OF APOSTOLIC AUTHORITY

Verse 7 says, “You look at things according to appearance. If anyone has confidence in himself to be of Christ, let him account this again as to himself, that even as he is of Christ, so also are we.” This is a frank word, quite different from the words in chapters six and seven. No doubt, the Judaizers were those who had confidence in themselves that they were of Christ. Although these Judaizers were Christians, they were not willing to be one with Paul in his ministry. They claimed to be of Christ. Therefore, Paul sought to make it clear that the apostles were surely of Christ also. This indicates that to be of Christ is an important matter. It is vital to the Christian life and ministry.

In verses 8 and 9 Paul says, “For if ever I should boast somewhat more abundantly concerning our authority, which the Lord gave for building up and not for your overthrow, I shall not be put to shame; that I may not seem as if to terrify you through the letters.” Verse 8 indicates that in the past Paul did say something to the Corinthians concerning his apostolic authority. Apostolic authority is not for ruling over the believers, as in the natural sense, but for building them up.

In verse 9 Paul speaks of the believers being terrified through letters. This may refer to Paul’s first Epistle to the Corinthians. In that Epistle Paul did refer to his apostolic authority. Some of the Corinthians may have regarded that word as terrifying. But here Paul indicates that it should not be terrifying to them.

In verse 10 Paul goes on to say, “Because his letters indeed, he says, are weighty and strong, but his bodily presence is weak and his speech contemptible.” This confirms what we said in a previous message about Paul being lowly when present with the Corinthians. He was meek and not at all strong physically. Furthermore, his speech, his utterance, was contemptible, or of no account. The Greek word rendered contemptible means literally “made nothing of.”

In verse 11 Paul continues, “Let such a one account this, that such as we are in word by letters when absent, such also we are when present in deed.” Although Paul seemed different in presence from what he was in his letters, actually he was the same. We should learn from him not to be political or naturally polite, but to be flexible. When we are present with others, we should not be that bold or strong. This, however, does not mean that we really are weak or unknowing. Rather, we may want to keep from offending others unnecessarily. Nevertheless, at times we may need to utter something which seems bold or strong. Sometimes we need to be strong in writing, but we are not willing to be strong. At other times we should not be so bold in someone’s presence, yet we are bold. This indicates that we are not wise, flexible, or forbearing. Let us all learn to be real, not political. At the same time, we must learn to be flexible. On the one hand, we should try not to hurt others’ feelings; on the other hand, we may need at times to speak frankly in truth with some degree of boldness.

In verse 12 Paul says, “For we do not dare to class or compare ourselves with some of those who commend themselves; but they, measuring themselves by themselves and comparing themselves with themselves, do not understand.” Those who are entangled or ensnared in themselves do not have a proper understanding.


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