2 Corinthians 10:10
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
For some say, "His letters are weighty and forceful, but in person he is unimpressive and his speaking amounts to nothing."

New Living Translation
For some say, "Paul's letters are demanding and forceful, but in person he is weak, and his speeches are worthless!"

English Standard Version
For they say, “His letters are weighty and strong, but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech of no account.”

Berean Study Bible
For some say, "His letters are weighty and forceful, but his physical presence is unimpressive, and his speaking is of no account."

Berean Literal Bible
For they say, "The letters indeed are weighty and strong, but the presence of the body is weak, and the speech having been ignored."

New American Standard Bible
For they say, "His letters are weighty and strong, but his personal presence is unimpressive and his speech contemptible."

King James Bible
For his letters, say they, are weighty and powerful; but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
For it is said, "His letters are weighty and powerful, but his physical presence is weak, and his public speaking is despicable."

International Standard Version
For someone is saying, "His letters are impressive and forceful, but his bodily presence is weak and his speech contemptible."

NET Bible
because some say, "His letters are weighty and forceful, but his physical presence is weak and his speech is of no account."

New Heart English Bible
For, "His letters," they say, "are weighty and strong, but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech is despised."

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
Because there are many people who say, “The letters are weighty and powerful, but his bodily presence is weak and his speech contemptible.”

GOD'S WORD® Translation
I know that someone is saying that my letters are powerful and strong, but that I'm a weakling and a terrible speaker.

New American Standard 1977
For they say, “His letters are weighty and strong, but his personal presence is unimpressive, and his speech contemptible.”

Jubilee Bible 2000
For his letters, they say, are weighty and powerful; but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible.

King James 2000 Bible
For his letters, say they, are weighty and powerful; but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible.

American King James Version
For his letters, say they, are weighty and powerful; but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible.

American Standard Version
For, His letters, they say, are weighty and strong; but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech of no account.

Douay-Rheims Bible
(For his epistles indeed, say they, are weighty and strong; but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible,)

Darby Bible Translation
because his letters, he says, [are] weighty and strong, but his presence in the body weak, and his speech naught.

English Revised Version
For, His letters, they say, are weighty and strong; but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech of no account.

Webster's Bible Translation
For his letters (say they) are weighty and powerful; but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible.

Weymouth New Testament
For they say "His letters are authoritative and forcible, but his personal presence is unimpressive, and as for eloquence, he has none."

World English Bible
For, "His letters," they say, "are weighty and strong, but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech is despised."

Young's Literal Translation
because the letters indeed -- saith one -- are weighty and strong, and the bodily presence weak, and the speech despicable.'
Study Bible
Paul's Apostolic Authority
9I do not want to seem to be trying to frighten you by my letters. 10For some say, “His letters are weighty and forceful, but his physical presence is unimpressive, and his speaking is of no account.” 11Such people should consider that what we are in our letters when absent, we will be in our actions when present.…
Cross References
1 Corinthians 1:17
For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not with eloquent words of wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.

1 Corinthians 2:3
I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling.

2 Corinthians 10:1
Now by the mildness and gentleness of Christ, I appeal to you--I, Paul, who am humble when face to face with you, but bold when away.

2 Corinthians 10:9
I do not want to seem to be trying to frighten you by my letters.

2 Corinthians 10:11
Such people should consider that what we are in our letters when absent, we will be in our actions when present.

2 Corinthians 11:6
Although I am not a polished speaker, I am certainly not lacking in knowledge. We have made this clear to you in every way possible.

2 Corinthians 11:21
To my shame I concede that we were too weak for that! Speaking as a fool, however, I can match what anyone else dares to boast about.

2 Corinthians 12:7
or with these surpassingly great revelations. So to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.

2 Corinthians 13:3
since you are demanding proof that Christ is speaking through me. He is not weak in dealing with you, but is powerful among you.

Galatians 4:13
You know that it was because of an illness that I first preached the gospel to you.
Treasury of Scripture

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

say they. Gr. saith he.

2 Corinthians 10:11 Let such an one think this, that, such as we are in word by letters …

but.

2 Corinthians 10:1 Now I Paul myself beseech you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ, …

2 Corinthians 12:5-9 Of such an one will I glory: yet of myself I will not glory, but …

1 Corinthians 2:3,4 And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling…

Galatians 4:13,14 You know how through infirmity of the flesh I preached the gospel …

and his.

2 Corinthians 11:6 But though I be rude in speech, yet not in knowledge; but we have …

Exodus 4:10 And Moses said to the LORD, O my LORD, I am not eloquent, neither …

Jeremiah 1:6 Then said I, Ah, Lord GOD! behold, I cannot speak: for I am a child.

1 Corinthians 1:17,21 For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not …

1 Corinthians 2:1-4 And I, brothers, when I came to you, came not with excellency of …

(10) For his letters, say they, are weighty and powerful.--Allusive references to what had been said of him at Corinth have already appeared frequently. Here, for the first time, we have the very words quoted. The scorn conveyed in them had wounded the Apostle's sensitive nature like a poisoned arrow; and we have here the nearest approach which the New Testament presents to the passionate complaints poured forth by some of the Psalmists of the Old (Psalms 69, 109). We note the common element of a burning indignation under the sense of wrong. We note also the absence from the Apostle's feelings of the maledictory element which is so prominent in theirs. The "meekness and gentleness of Christ" had not been without their effect in tempering even the most vehement emotions.

The great majority of MSS. give the verb in the singular: "For his letters, saith he . . ." This may be taken, like the French on dit, as used impersonally, and possibly this is the meaning which the English version was intended to convey. The context, however, the definite "such a man as that" of the next verse, is obviously decisive. St. Paul has in his thoughts here, and through the rest of the chapter, one conspicuous antagonist,--the head of a clique and cabal of opponents.

His bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible.--As with other antithetical epigrams, the sting was found in the tail. It would seem all but incredible that any doubt could ever have been expressed as to the fact that the words point to physical infirmities. They can, indeed, refer to nothing else. For the tradition as to the Apostle's personal appearance, see Excursus at the end of the Acts of the Apostles. The "contemptible speech" (literally, speech of no value; counted as nought) may refer either to a weak or unmusical voice, or to the absence of the rhetorical artifices, the exordium, divisions, perorations, in which Greek audiences delighted. It may be noted that these words give a fresh significance to a remarkable passage in an Epistle written, in the judgment of many critics, within a few weeks of this. "You," he says to the Galatians (Galatians 4:13-14), "though I came to you with that infirmity of the flesh which others sneer at, the chronic trial of my life, you did not contemn" (the self-same verb as that used here) "nor loathe me." There is manifestly a contrast present to his thoughts between the mean insults of his rivals at Corinth and the affection which the Galatians had once manifested, and which made their subsequent alienation all the more painful to him.

Verse 10. - Say they; literally, says he. The phrase may, indeed, imply "it is said" (on dit); but it may refer to one main critic and opponent (comp. vers. 7, 11). Perhaps it would have been wiser and kinder if no one had reported to St. Paul all these subterranean calumnies and innuendoes. Weighty and strong. This could not be denied, considering the immense effect which had been produced by his first letter (2 Corinthians 7:7). His bodily presence is weak. This is usually taken to mean that St. Paul's personal appearance was unprepossessing (Galatians 4:1). This, indeed, we should infer from many other passages (1 Corinthians 2:34; Galatians 4:13, 14), and as a natural result of his "stake in the flesh." It is, too, the consistent though late tradition respecting him (see my 'Life of St. Paul,' 2:628). Here, however, the words may mean no more than that "he adds nothing to his cause by being present in person, since he shows vacillation and want of energy." Contemptible; rather, despised (see 1 Corinthians 2:3, 4). For his letters, say they, are weighty and powerful,.... These words contain the reason why he did not choose to say any more of his authority as an apostle to punish offenders, that he might give no occasion for such a calumny, some among them, or the false apostles, had cast upon him; that his epistles, referring particularly to his former epistle, and that part of it which respected the incestuous person, and his delivery to Satan, were blustering and thundering; were laden with sharp reproofs and severe menaces; were heavy with charges, were filled with great swelling words, with boasts of power and authority, and with threatenings what he would do, when he came among them; whereas when present, as at his first coming to them, he was mild and gentle, even to a degree of meanness and baseness, as they suggested; and so they concluded he would be, should he come again; and therefore his letters were not to be regarded:

but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible: he made a mean figure, being of a low stature, and having an infirm body: the account the historian (m) gives of him is this, that

"he had a small and contracted body, somewhat crooked and bowed, a pale face, looked old, and had a little head; he had a sharp eye; his eyebrows hung downwards; his nose was beautifully bent, somewhat long; his beard thick and pretty long; and that, as the hair of his head, had a sprinkling of gray hairs:''

hence one in Lucian (n) scoffingly says of him,

"when the bald headed Galilean met me, with his hook nose, who went through the air to the third heaven:''

though the words of this text rather regard his mind and mien than the make of his body; and suggest that he was not a man of that greatness of soul, and largeness of mind, not possessed of those abilities and gifts, and of that freedom of speech, and flow of words, his letters promised; but instead of that, was a man of a mean spirit, very abject and servile, and to be despised; his conduct weak, and carrying no majesty and authority with his presence, his words without weight, his language vulgar, and style neglected; and, upon all accounts, a person worthy of no notice, and not at all to be either feared or regarded.

(m) Nicephorus, l. 2. c. 37. (n) In Philopatr. 10. letters—implying that there had been already more letters of Paul received by the Corinthians than the one we have, namely, First Corinthians; and that they contained strong reproofs.

say they—Greek, "says one," "such a one" (2Co 10:11) seems to point to some definite individual. Compare Ga 5:10; a similar slanderer was in the Galatian Church.

weak—(2Co 12:7; 1Co 2:3). There was nothing of majesty or authority in his manner; he bore himself tremblingly among them, whereas the false teachers spoke with authoritative bearing and language.10:7-11 In outward appearance, Paul was mean and despised in the eyes of some, but this was a false rule to judge by. We must not think that none outward appearance, as if the want of such things proved a man not to be a real Christian, or an able, faithful minister of the lowly Saviour.
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Alphabetical: amounts and are but contemptible For forceful he His in is letters nothing person personal presence say some speaking speech strong they to unimpressive weighty

NT Letters: 2 Corinthians 10:10 For His letters they say are weighty (2 Cor. 2C iiC 2Cor ii cor iicor) Christian Bible Study Resources, Dictionary, Concordance and Search Tools
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