2 Corinthians 10:10
Parallel Verses
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.

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

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.'

2 Corinthians 10:10 Parallel
Commentary
Barnes' Notes on the Bible

For his letters - The letters which he has sent to the church when absent. Reference is had here probably to the First Epistle to the Corinthians. They might also have seen some of Paul's other epistles, and been so well acquainted with them as to he able to make the general remark that he had the power of writing in an authoritative and impressive manner.

Say they - Margin, "Said he." Greek (φησὶν phēsin) in the singular. This seems to have referred to some one person who had uttered the words - perhaps some one who was the principal leader of the faction opposed to Paul.

Are weighty and powerful - Tyndale renders this: "Sore and strong." The Greek is, "heavy and strong" (βαρεῖαι καὶ ἰσχυραί bareiai kai ischurai. The sense is, that his letters were energetic and powerful. They abounded with strong argument, manly appeals, and impressive reproof. This even his enemies were compelled to admit, and this no one can deny who ever read them. Paul's letters comprise a considerable portion of the New Testament; and some of the most important doctrines of the New Testament are those which are advocated and enforced by him; and his letters have done more to give shape to the theological doctrines of the Christian world than any other cause whatever. He wrote 14 epistles to churches and individuals on various occasions and on a great variety of topics; and his letters soon rose into very high repute among even the inspired ministers of the New Testament (see 2 Peter 3:15, 2 Peter 3:16), and were regarded as inculcating the most important doctrines of religion. The general characteristics of Paul's letters are:

(1) They are strongly argumentative. See especially the Epistles to the Romans and the Hebrews.

(2) they are distinguished for boldness and vigor of style.

(3) they are written under great energy of feeling and of thought - a rapid and impetuous torrent that bears him forcibly along.

(4) they abound more than most other writings in parentheses, and the sentences are often involved and obscure.

(5) they often evince rapid transitions and departures from the regular current of thought. A thought strikes him suddenly, and he pauses to illustrate it, and dwells upon it long, before he returns to the main subject. The consequence is, that it is often difficult to follow him.

(6) they are powerful in reproof - abounding with strokes of great boldness of denunciation, and also with specimens of most withering sarcasm and most delicate irony.

(7) they abound in expressions of great tenderness and pathos. Nowhere can be found expressions of a heart more tender and affectionate than in the writings of Paul.

(8) they dwell much on great and profound doctrines, and on the application of the principles of Christianity to the various duties of life.

(9) they abound with references to the Saviour. He illustrates everything by his life, his example, his death, his resurrection. It is not wonderful that letters composed on such subjects and in such a manner by an inspired man produced a deep impression on the Christian world; nor that they should be regarded now as among the most important and valuable portions of the Bible. Take away Paul's letters, and what a chasm would be made in the New Testament! What a chasm in the religious opinions and in the consolations of the Christian world!

But his bodily presence - His personal appearance.

Is weak - Imbecile, feeble (ἀσθενὴς asthenēs) - a word often used to denote infirmity of body, sickness, disease; Matthew 25:39, Matthew 25:43-44; Luke 10:9; Acts 4:9; Acts 5:15-16; 1 Corinthians 11:30. Here it is to be observed that this is a mere charge which was brought against him, and it is not of necessity to be supposed that it was true, though the presumption is, that there was some foundation for it. It is supposed to refer to some bodily imperfections, and possibly to his diminutive stature. Chrysostom says that his stature was low, his body crooked, and his head bald. Lucian, in his Philopatris, says of him, "Corpore erat parvo, contracto, incurvo, tricubitali" - probably an exaggerated description, perhaps a caricature - to denote one very diminutive and having no advantages of personal appearance. According to Nicephorus, Paul "was a little man, crooked, and almost bent like a bow; with a pale countenance, long and wrinkled; a bald head; his eyes full of fire and benevolence; his beard long, thick, and interspersed with gray hairs, as was his head," etc. But there is no certain evidence of the truth of these representations. Nothing in the Bible would lead us to suppose that Paul was remarkably diminutive or deformed; and though there may be some foundation for the charge here alleged that his bodily presence was weak, yet we are to remember that this was the accusation of his enemies, and that it was doubtless greatly exaggerated. Nicephorus was a writer of the sixteenth century, and his statements are worthy of no regard. That Paul was eminently an eloquent man may be inferred from a great many considerations; some of which are:

continued...

2 Corinthians 10:10 Parallel Commentaries

Library
Excursus on the Use of the Word "Canon. "
(Bright: Notes on the Canons, pp. 2 and 3.) Kanon, as an ecclesiastical term, has a very interesting history. See Westcott's account of it, On the New Testament Canon, p. 498 ff. The original sense, "a straight rod" or "line," determines all its religious applications, which begin with St. Paul's use of it for a prescribed sphere of apostolic work (2 Cor. x. 13, 15), or a regulative principle of Christian life (Gal. vi. 16). It represents the element of definiteness in Christianity and in the
Philip Schaff—The Seven Ecumenical Councils

But, Again, Lest by Occasion of this Sentence...
50. But, again, lest by occasion of this sentence, any one should sin with deadly security, and should allow himself to be carried away, as though his sins were soon by easy confession to be blotted out, he straightway added, "My little children, these things have I written unto you, that ye sin not; and, if one shall have sinned, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous, and Himself is a propitiation of our sins." [2207] Let no one therefore depart from sin as though about
St. Augustine—Of Holy Virginity.

A Discourse Upon the Pharisee and the Publican
WHEREIN SEVERAL GREAT AND WEIGHTY THINGS ARE HANDLED: AS, THE NATURE OF PRAYER, AND OF OBEDIENCE TO THE LAW, WITH HOW FAR IT OBLIGES CHRISTIANS, AND WHEREIN IT CONSISTS. WHEREIN IS ALSO SHEWED, THE EQUALLY DEPLORABLE CONDITION OF THE PHARISEE, OR HYPOCRITICAL AND SELF-RIGHTEOUS MAN; AND OF THE PUBLICAN, OR SINNER THAT LIVES IN SIN, AND IN OPEN VIOLATION OF THE DIVINE LAWS. TOGETHER WITH THE WAY AND METHOD OF GOD'S FREE GRACE IN PARDONING PENITENT SINNERS; PROVING THAT HE JUSTIFIES THEM BY IMPUTING
John Bunyan—The Works of John Bunyan Volumes 1-3

The Sick Person Ought Now to Send for Some Godly and Religious Pastor.
In any wise remember, if conveniently it may be, to send for some godly and religious pastor, not only to pray for thee at thy death--for God in such a case hath promised to hear the prayers of the righteous prophets, and elders of the church (Gen. xx. 7; Jer. xviii. 20; xv. 1; 1 Sam. xii. 19, 23; James v. 14, 15, 16)--but also upon thy unfeigned repentance to declare to thee the absolution of thy sins. For as Christ hath given him a calling to baptize thee unto repentance for the remission of thy
Lewis Bayly—The Practice of Piety

Cross References
1 Corinthians 1:17
For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not in cleverness of speech, so that the cross of Christ would not be made void.

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

2 Corinthians 10:1
Now I, Paul, myself urge you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ-- I who am meek when face to face with you, but bold toward you when absent!

2 Corinthians 10:9
for I do not wish to seem as if I would terrify you by my letters.

2 Corinthians 10:11
Let such a person consider this, that what we are in word by letters when absent, such persons we are also in deed when present.

2 Corinthians 11:6
But even if I am unskilled in speech, yet I am not so in knowledge; in fact, in every way we have made this evident to you in all things.

2 Corinthians 11:21
To my shame I must say that we have been weak by comparison. But in whatever respect anyone else is bold-- I speak in foolishness-- I am just as bold myself.

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