|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
10:1-6 While others thought meanly, and spake scornfully of the apostle, he had low thoughts, and spake humbly of himself. We should be aware of our own infirmities, and think humbly of ourselves, even when men reproach us. The work of the ministry is a spiritual warfare with spiritual enemies, and for spiritual purposes. Outward force is not the method of the gospel, but strong persuasions, by the power of truth and the meekness of wisdom. Conscience is accountable to God only; and people must be persuaded to God and their duty, not driven by force. Thus the weapons of our warfare are very powerful; the evidence of truth is convincing. What opposition is made against the gospel, by the powers of sin and Satan in the hearts of men! But observe the conquest the word of God gains. The appointed means, however feeble they appear to some, will be mighty through God. And the preaching of the cross, by men of faith and prayer, has always been fatal to idolatry, impiety, and wickedness.
Verse 5. - Casting down. This agrees with "we" understood, not with "weapons." Imaginations; rather, disputations, or reasonings. Every high thing that exalteth itself; rather, every height that is exalted. Against the knowledge of God (see 1 Corinthians 15:34). There, however, we have passive ignorance, here active opposition. Bringing into captivity. When the fortresses are razed, their defenders will be taken prisoners, but for a beneficent end. Every thought. Even intellectual result. The word (noema) is not common in the New Testament. It occurs five times in this Epistle (2 Corinthians 2:11; 2 Corinthians 3:14; 2 Corinthians 4:4; 2 Corinthians 10:5; 2 Corinthians 11:3), but elsewhere only in Philippians 4:7.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Casting down imaginations,.... Or "reasonings"; the carnal reasonings of the minds of natural men against God, his providences and purposes, against Christ, and the methods of salvation, and every truth of the Gospel; which are all disproved, silenced, and confounded, by the preaching of the word, which though reckoned the foolishness and weakness of God, appears to be wiser and stronger than men; and whereby the wisdom of the wise is destroyed, and the understanding of the prudent brought to nothing:
and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God; every proud thought of the heart, every great swelling word of vanity, every big look, even all the lofty looks and haughtiness of men, with every airy flight, and high towering imagination, reasoning, and argument advanced against the Gospel of Christ; which is here meant by the knowledge of God, and so called, because it is the means of leading souls into the knowledge of God, even into a better knowledge of him than can be attained to, either by the light of nature, or law of Moses; to a knowledge of him, and acquaintance with him in Christ the Mediator, in whom the light of the knowledge of the glory of God is given; and with which knowledge of God eternal life is connected, yea, in this it consists; it is the beginning of it, and will issue in it.
And bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; or "carrying captive the whole understanding"; that is, so illustrating it with divine light, that it clearly sees Christ to be the alone, able, willing, full, and suitable Saviour, and so becomes obedient to him, both as a Saviour and a King; such an enlightened soul looks to him alone for life and salvation, ventures on him, and relies upon him, and is desirous and willing to be saved by him in his own way; he receives and embraces all his truths and doctrines with faith and love, and obeys them from the heart, and cheerfully and willingly submits to all his commands and ordinances; for though he is taken by the grace of God, and all his strong holds, reasonings, and high thoughts are demolished by the power of God in the Gospel, and he himself is carried captive, yet not against, but with his will, to be a voluntary subject of Christ, and cheerfully to submit to the sceptre of his kingdom.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
5. imaginations—rather, "reasonings." Whereas "thought" expresses men's own purpose and determination of living after their own pleasure [Tittmann].
high thing—So it ought to be translated (Ro 8:39). A distinct Greek word from that in Eph 3:18, "height," and Re 21:16, which belongs to God and heaven from whence we receive nothing hurtful. But "high thing" is not so much "height" as something made high, and belongs to those regions of air where the powers of darkness ::exalt themselves" against Christ and us (Eph 2:2; 6:12; 2Th 2:4).
exalteth itself—2Th 2:4 supports English Version rather than the translation of Ellicott, &c., "is lifted up." Such were the high towers of Judaic self-righteousness, philosophic speculations, and rhetorical sophistries, the "knowledge" so much prized by many (opposed to "the knowledge of God"), which endangered a section of the Corinthian Church.
against the knowledge of God—True knowledge makes men humble. Where there is exaltation of self, there knowledge of God is wanting [Bengel]. Arrange the words following thus: "Bringing every thought (that is, intent of the mind or will) into captivity to the obedience of Christ," that is, to obey Christ. The three steps of the apostle's spiritual warfare are: (1) It demolishes what is opposed to Christ; (2) It leads captive; (3) It brings into obedience to Christ (Ro 1:5; 16:26). The "reasonings" (English Version, "imaginations") are utterly "cast down." The "mental intents" (English Version, "thoughts") are taken willing captives, and tender the voluntary obedience of faith to Christ the Conqueror.
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