|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
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.
Verse 7. - Do ye look on things after the outward appearance? Like many clauses in this section, the words are capable of different interpretations. They might mean,
(1) as in the Authorized Version, "Do you judge by mere externals?" or,
(2) "You judge by things which merely lie on the surface!" or,
(3) "Consider the personal aspect of the question." The Authorized Version is probably right (comp. John 7:24). If any man. Perhaps alluding to some party ringleader. That he is Christ's. If a man holds this in an exclusive and partisan sense (1 Corinthians 1:12). Some manuscripts (D, E, F, G) read, "a slave of Christ." Of himself. The true reading is probably ἐφ, not ἀφ, but in either ease the meaning is, "by his own fair judgment." Even so are we Christ's. In a true and real sense, not by external knowledge and connection (which he has already disclaimed), but by inward union. This he proceeds to prove by the fact that he was the founder of their Church (vers. 13-18); that he had always acted with absolute disinterestedness (2 Corinthians 11:1-15); that he had lived a life of toil and suffering (2 Corinthians 11:21-33), and that he had received special revelations from God (2 Corinthians 12:1-6).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Do ye look on things after the outward appearance,.... Or "look upon things", ironically said; or "ye do look on things", a reproof for making judgment of persons and things, by the outward appearance of them; so many judged of Paul by the meanness of his person, the weakness of his body, the lowness of his voice, his outward circumstances of life, his poverty, afflictions, and persecutions; and despised him; whilst they looked upon the riches, eloquence, haughty airs, noisiness, and personable mien, of the false apostles, and admired them:
if a man trusts to himself that he is Christ's: is fully assured that he has an interest in his love and favour, is redeemed by his blood, is a partaker of his grace, and a believer in him; or rather, that he is a minister of the Gospel, and an apostle of Christ, one that is qualified and sent forth by him to preach the word:
let him, of himself, think this again, that as he is Christ's, even so are we Christ's; that is, he may, and ought of himself, without another's observing it to him, of his own accord, willingly reason and conclude, by the selfsame marks and evidences he would be thought to be a minister of Christ, that we are also. The sense is, that let a man be ever so confident of his being a true minister of the Gospel, he will not be able to point out one criterion or proof of his being so, but what he might discern in the Apostle Paul, and the rest of his fellow ministers, and therefore ought to conclude the same of them as of himself. In which may be observed the great modesty of the apostle, who does not go about to disprove others being Christ's, who so confidently boasted of it; nor bid them look to it to see if they were or not, since all that say so are not; only as if granting that they were, he would have them look upon him, and his fellow apostles as such also, who had at least equal pretensions to this character.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
7. Do ye regard mere outward appearance (mere external recommendations, personal appearance, voice, manner, oratory of teachers present face to face, such as they admired in the false teachers to the disparagement of Paul, 2Co 10:10; see on 2Co 5:12)? Even in outward bearing when I shall be present with you (in contrast to "by letters," 2Co 10:9) I will show that I am more really armed with the authority of Christ, than those who arrogate to themselves the title of being peculiarly "Christ's" (1Co 1:12). A Jewish emissary seems to have led this party.
let him of himself think this again—He may "of himself," without needing to be taught it in a more severe manner, by "thinking again," arrive at "this" conclusion, "that even as," &c. Paul modestly demands for himself only an equal place with those whom he had begotten in the Gospel [Bengel].
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