2 Corinthians 10:2
But I beseech you, that I may not be bold when I am present with that confidence, with which I think to be bold against some, which think of us as if we walked according to the flesh.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(2) But I beseech you . . .—There is, of course, an implied warning, almost a menace, in the entreaty. He would fain be spared the necessity for boldness when he and those of whom he speaks meet face to face; but if the necessity comes it will be the worse for them. They “reckon” him as walking “after the flesh,” with low and selfish aims and tortuous arts. (Comp. 2Corinthians 1:17; Romans 8:12-13; 1Corinthians 1:26.) He “reckons” that he has daring enough to confront those who take that estimate of him.

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.That I may not be bold - I entreat you so to act that I may not have occasion to exercise the severity which I fear I shall be compelled to use against those who accuse me of being governed wholly by worldly motives and policy. In other words, that I may not be compelled to be bold and decisive in my measures by your improper conduct.

Which think of us - Margin, "reckon." They suppose this; or, they accuse me of it. By the word "us" here Paul means himself, though it is possible also that he speaks in the name of his fellow apostles and laborers who were associated with him, and the objections may have referred to all who acted with him.

As if we walked - As if we lived or acted. The word "walk" in the Scriptures is often used to denote the course or manner of life; see the Romans 4:12, note; 2 Corinthians 5:7, note.

According to the flesh - see the note on 2 Corinthians 1:17. As if we were governed by the weak and corrupt principles of human nature. As if we had no higher motive than carnal and worldly policy. As if we were seeking our own advantage and not the welfare of the world. The charge was, probably, that he was not governed by high and holy principles, but by the principles of mere worldly policy; that he was guided by personal interests, and by worldly views - by ambition, or the love of dominion, wealth, or popularity, and that he was destitute of every supernatural endowment and every evidence of a divine commission.

2. I beseech you—Intimating that, as he can beseech in letters, so he can be severe in their presence.

that I may not be—that I may not have to be bold, &c.

with that confidence—that authoritative sternness.

I think—I am minded to be.

as if we walked according to the flesh—His Corinthian detractors judged of him by themselves, as if he were influenced by fleshly motives, the desire of favor or fear of giving offense, so as not to exercise his authority when present.

It is true, (saith the apostle), when I have been with you I have made it my business to behave myself with all obliging sweetness, not using that authority which I might have used; and I beseech you, as not to blame me for that, (remembering the meekness and gentleness of Christ), so by your conversation not to force me to another kind of conversation amongst you; that you would not constrain me to a severer behaviour towards you when I am present with you, to be so free with some of you, as at present I am resolved to be; such, I mean, as have traduced me, as if I

walked according to the flesh, that is, not guided by the Holy Spirit of God, and the directions of his word, but by some external, carnal considerations, respecting my own profit, pleasure, or reputation, indulging my own passions or corrupt affections. Walking after the flesh is opposed to a walking after the Spirit, Romans 8:1. He walketh after the flesh, to whom the fleshly appetite is the principle, rule, and end of his actions; as he, on the contrary, to whom those habits of grace which are wrought in the soul by the Holy Spirit, or the Spirit himself more immediately by his motions or impulses, are the principle of his actions, and the word dictated by the Spirit is the rule of his actions, and the glory of God is the end of his actions, is truly said to walk after the Spirit. But I beseech you, that I may not be bold when I am present,.... That is, he entreated them that they would so behave for the future, that he might have no occasion, when he came among them, to use that power and authority they called boldness, which he had received from Christ for edification, and not destruction; as for that asperity and roughness with which he wrote, and which was thought to be too severe, it was in order to reclaim them, and so prevent that sharpness he was empowered by Christ to use: for though he had said in his former epistle, 1 Corinthians 4:21 "shall I come unto you with a rod or in love? and in the spirit of meekness?" he chose to come in the latter, rather than with the former; namely, not

with that confidence wherewith, says he,

I think to be bold: by "confidence" he means the faith of miracles he was possessed of, and particularly the power he, and other apostles had, of striking dead or blind incorrigible offenders, or of delivering them to Satan to undergo some corporeal punishment; which he had been thinking of, and reasoning about in his own mind, and was almost come to a conclusion concerning it, to inflict it upon, and with it to be bold,

against some which think of us as if we walked according to the flesh; who not barely thought so within themselves, but reasoned the matter with others, and would fain persuade them to believe that they did walk in a carnal manner; not that they had the face to say, that they walked after the dictates of corrupt nature, or lived in open vice and profaneness; but that they walked in craftiness, had their conversation in the world with fleshly wisdom, seeking their own worldly interest and secular advantage; which is denied by the apostle, 2 Corinthians 1:12 and was the real case, and true picture of the false teachers themselves.

But I beseech you, that I may not be bold when I am present with that confidence, wherewith I think to be bold against some, which think of us as if we walked {b} according to the flesh.

(b) As though I had no other aid and help than that which outwardly I seem to have: and therefore Paul contrasts his flesh, that is, his weak condition and state, with his spiritual and apostolic dignity.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
2 Corinthians 10:2. After the previous relative clause, the παρακαλῶ is in substance resumed by means of δέομαι δέ, and that in such a way that δέ has its adversative reference in the contents of the relative clause (Hartung, Partikell. I. p. 174; Klotz, ad Devar. p. 377), and the δέομαι now substituted for παρακαλῶ betrays the increasing earnestness softened by the mention of Christ’s gentleness and meekness. Emmerling and Rückert refer δέομαι not to the Corinthians, but to God: “but I pray God that I when present may not be obliged to act with the confidence and boldness,” etc. So also Ewald and Hofmann. But how strangely Paul would have written, if he had left his παρακαλῶ ὑμᾶς to stand quite abruptly at the very beginning of the new address! It is all the more arbitrary not to refer δέομαι also to the readers, and not to be willing to supply a ὑμῶν with δέομαι from the previous παρακαλῶ ὑμᾶς. Chrysostom and most expositors rightly give it this reference. And how little does what is attached to δέομαι δέ (observe especially ᾗ λογίζομαι κ.τ.λ.) sound like the contents of prayer!

τὸ μὴ παρὼν θαῤῥῆσαι κ.τ.λ.] I entreat the not being courageous in presence, i.e. that I may not when present (this παρών has the emphasis) be of brave courage with the confidence, etc. The meaning is: that you may not let it come to this, that I, etc. Comp. Chrysostom: μή με ἀναγκάσητε κ.τ.λ. On the infinitive with the article, see Buttmann, neut. Gr. p. 225 [E. T. 261]. The nominative παρών with the infinitive is quite according to Greek usage. See Kühner, II. p. 344; Matthiae, p. 1248. The πεποίθησις is not specially fiducia in Deum (Grotius, against the context), but generally the official confidentia, assurance.

ᾗ λογίζομαι τολμῆσαι] with which I reckon (am minded) to be bold towards certain people, etc. On λογίζομαι, comp. Herod. vii. 176; Xen. Anab. ii. 2. 13; 1Ma 4:35; 1Ma 6:19; LXX. 1 Samuel 18:25; Jeremiah 26:3; and on τολμῆσαι, 2 Corinthians 11:21; Hom. Il. x. 232; Maetzner, ad Antiph. p. 173. Others, such as the Vulgate, Anselm, Luther, Beza, Piscator, Estius, Er. Schmid, Calovius, Bengel, Semler, Schulz, take λογίζομαι passively (qua efferri ducor, Emmerling). In that case we should have had an ἀπών with τολμῆσαι, because in this lay the most essential point of the hostile criticism; besides, the boldness of the expression, which lies in the correlation of λογίζομαι τοὺς λογιζομένους, would be obliterate.

ἐπί τινας τοὺς λογιζομ.] against certain, who reckon us, etc., is to be connected with τολμῆσαι, since only by the erroneous course of taking the previous λογίζομαι, as passive would the connection with θαῤῥῆσαι be required (Luther, Beza, Estius, Emmerling, also Billroth).

τινάς denotes quosdam, quos nominare nolo. See on 1 Corinthians 15:12. These are then characterized in their definite quality by τοὺς λογιζομ. See on Luke 18:9, and Doederl. ad Oed. Col. p. 296.

ὡς κατὰ σάρκα περιπατοῦντας] as people who walk according to the standard of the flesh. ὡς with the participle as the object of a verb of believing or saying. See Kühner, II. p. 375. Comp. Romans 8:36; 1 Corinthians 4:1; LXX. Genesis 31:15, al. The περιπατεῖν κατὰ σάρκα is not an expression of weakness,[299] since ΠΕΡΙΠΑΤΕῖΝ denotes the moral conduct. Hence the meaning is: as those, whose way of thinking and of acting follows, not the influence of the Holy Spirit, but the lusts opposed to God, which have their seat in the materio-psychical nature of man. Comp. on Romans 8:4. This general interpretation is not at variance with the context, since, in fact, a κατὰ σάρκα περιπατεῖν would have shown such a demeanour in the apostle’s position as his opponents blamed him for,—bold at a distance, timid when near, full of the fear of men and of the desire to please men. In that special accusation there was therefore expressed this general one of the κατὰ σάρκα περιπατεῖν; διέβαλλον γὰρ αὐτὸν ὡς ὑποκριτῆν, ὡς πονηρὸν, ὡς ἁλαζόνα, Chrysostom. Thus the expression is to be explained from the immediate context, and not of the reproach made to him by the representatives of a false spirituality, that he acted on too free principles (Ewald).

[299] Beza: “non alio praesidio freti, quam quod prae nobis ferimus, qui videlicet homines sumus viles, si nihil aliud quam hominem spectes.” Comp. Bengel, Mosheim, Flatt, Emmerling, also Billroth.2 Corinthians 10:2. δέομαι δὲ τὸ μὴ παρὼν κ.τ.λ.: nay (sc., “however that be,” δέ recommencing the sentence) I beseech you, that I may not (the use of the article with μή and the inf. is somewhat unusual; but cf. 2 Corinthians 2:1, Romans 14:13; τὸ adds emphasis to the thing asked), when present, shew courage with the confidence (almost = “peremptoriness”) wherewith I count on myself (mid., not passive) to be bold against some (for the vague τινες see on 2 Corinthians 3:1) which count of us as if we walked according to the flesh. His opponents charged him with low motives (cf. 2 Corinthians 2:17) which he will indignantly and sternly repudiate.2. I beseech you, that I may not be bold] Literally, I entreat the not being bold. Compliance or non-compliance with this request rested entirely with the Corinthians. The word here translated beseech is not the same as the one used in the last verse.

with that confidence, wherewith I think to be bold] It does not clearly appear from this passage what St Paul meant to do when he arrived at Corinth. He speaks of ‘pulling down of strongholds,’ of ‘casting down whatever exalteth itself’ against Christ. But he never says what he intends to do. Calvin (1) interprets the passage of excommunication. Others (2) of bodily punishments, such as those inflicted on Elymas (Acts 13:6-11), or on Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:1-10). Or (3) we may regard it as referring to the authoritative proclamation of the Gospel by one fully inspired, which must of necessity bring about in the end the disappearance of error. This is thought to be implied by 2 Corinthians 10:11, which implies the immediate exercise when present, of the same power which when absent is exercised by letter. But a comparison of 2 Corinthians 10:11 with 1 Corinthians 4:21; 1 Corinthians 5:1-5 would lead to the idea of a formal delivery over to Satan of those who wilfully corrupted the doctrine of Christ, and gainsaid the authority of His Apostle. See note on 1 Corinthians 5:5. The word rendered ‘bold’ here is not the same as that in the former part of the verse. It implies (1) to dare, (2) to bear oneself boldly, i.e. to others, while the former word seems to imply confidence in oneself.

against some] i.e. the false teachers.

according to the flesh] See ch. 2 Corinthians 5:16; Romans 8:1.2 Corinthians 10:2. Δέομαι, I beseech) God; as at 2 Corinthians 13:7, or here it is, I beseech you. Paul intimates, that, as he may beseech in his letters, so he can nevertheless act with severity in their presence.—λογίζομαι, I am thought [but Engl. Vers., I think to be bold]) Passive as in Romans 4:4-5.—ἐπί τινας [against] as to, with respect to some) construe with to be bold.—τοὺς λογιζομένους, thinking) in the middle voice.—ὡς, as if) Connect it with according to the flesh.—κατὰ σάρκα, according to the flesh) as if they may despise us with impunity.Verse 2. - I beseech you. The "beseech" is here right (deomai). The "you" is not in the Greek, but is rightly supplied. It rests with them to avert the necessity of personal severity, and he entreats them to do so (comp. 2 Corinthians 13:2, 10; 1 Corinthians 4:21). Against some. He leaves these undefined till the vehement outburst of 2 Corinthians 11:13, 14. As if we walked according to the flesh (see note on 2 Corinthians 5:16). To say this of St. Paul was to charge him with being insincere and not disinterested. But I beseech you (δέομαι δὲ)

In 2 Corinthians 10:1, παρακαλῶ is used for beseech. It is doubtful whether the two words can be strictly distinguished as indicating different degrees of feeling. It may be said that δέομαι and its kindred noun δέησις are frequently used of prayer to God, while παρακαλῶ occurs only twice in this sense, Matthew 26:53; 2 Corinthians 12:8. On the other hand, παρακαλῶ is used of God's pleading with men, while in the same passage δέομαι is used of men's entreating men; 2 Corinthians 5:20. Rev., in 2 Corinthians 10:1, renders entreat, which, according to older English usage, is the stronger word, meaning to prevail by entreaty, just as persuade, which originally meant to use persuasion, now signifies to prevail by persuasion.

The construction of the passage is difficult. Literally it is: I pray the not showing courage when present, with the confidence, etc. The sense is: I pray you that you may not make it necessary for me to show, when I am present, that official peremptoriness which I am minded to show against those who charge me with unworthy motives.

May not be bold - think to be bold (θαῤῥῆσαι - τολμῆσαι)

The A.V. thus misses the distinction between the two verbs. The former signifies to be stout-hearted or resolutely confident in view of one's conscious strength or capacity; the latter, to carry this feeling into action; to dare. The distinction is not easy to represent by single English words. It might be approximately given by brave and bold, though, in common usage, this distinction practically disappears. Θαῤῥῆσαι does not so much emphasize fearlessness as the tore positive quality of cheerful confidence in the presence of difficulty and danger, the sense which appears in the earlier usage of brave as gay (see the various uses in Shakespeare). Hence Rev. is on the right line in the use of courage, from cor heart, through the French coeur. Rev. renders, show courage - be bold. In classical Greek, the kindred noun θάρσος is sometimes, though not often, used in a bad sense, audacity, as in Homer, where Minerva is rebuking Mars for exciting strife among the gods with stormy or furious courage (θάρσος ἄητον "Iliad," xxi., 395). So the reckless daring of Hector is described θάρσος μυίης the effrontery of a fly ("Iliad," xvii., 570).

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