2 Corinthians 10:7
Do you look on things after the outward appearance? If any man trust to himself that he is Christ's, let him of himself think this again, that, as he is Christ's, even so are we Christ's.
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(7) Do ye look on things after the outward appearance?—The Greek sentence may be taken either as interrogative, imperative, or indicative. The latter “ye look on things . . .” gives the most satisfactory meaning, as pressing home the charge on which he proceeds to dwell. He has, of course, the party of resistance in his thoughts, but he writes to the whole community, as influenced—some more and some less—by the tendency to attach undue weight to the outward accidents of those who claimed their allegiance rather than to that which was of the essence of all true Apostolic ministry.

If any man trust to himself that he is Christ’s . . .—There cannot be the shadow of a doubt that the words refer to those whose watchword was “I am of Christ” (see Note on 1Corinthians 1:12), who laid claim to some special connection with Him, either as having been His personal disciples, or, at least, as having seen and known Him. In answer to that claim, with a half-ironical emphasis on “let him think,” or “let him reckon” (comp. 2Corinthians 10:2; 2Corinthians 10:5), he asserts that he is as truly His—i.e., connected with Him, chosen by Him—as they were.

2 Corinthians 10:7. Do ye look on the outward appearance of things — Judging of me by my outward person, and the infirmities of my body, (2 Corinthians 10:1-2,) and not from the power of Christ resting on me, and working by me? 2 Corinthians 12:9. If any man trust — Πεποιθεν εαυτω, be confident, in himself; that he is Christ’s minister — And claims authority on that account; let him think this again — Let him consider seriously; that as he is Christ’s, even so are we Christ’s — Nor can any one produce more convincing proofs of Christ’s calling him to the ministry, and approving his discharge of it, than myself. By speaking thus, the apostle did not intend to acknowledge the false teacher referred to to be a true and faithful minister of Christ. That teacher had taken on himself the work of the ministry, and was by profession a servant of Christ. This Paul acknowledged, without entering into the consideration of his integrity or faithfulness. “At the same time, as he pretended to great powers of reasoning, the apostle desired him to reason this from himself: That if he was a minister of Christ merely by professing to be one, the apostle, who, besides laying claim to that character, had exercised miraculous powers among the Corinthians, was thereby shown to be more truly a minister of Christ than he was, who did not possess that proof.” — Macknight. See 2 Corinthians 11:23.10:7-11 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.Do ye look on things after the outward appearance? - This is addressed evidently to the members of the church, and with reference to the claims which had been set up by the false teachers. There can be no doubt that they valued themselves on their external advantages, and laid claim to special honor in the work of the ministry, because they were superior in personal appearance, in rank, manners, or eloquence to Paul. Paul reproves them for thus judging, and assures them that this was not a proper criterion by which to determine on qualifications for the apostolic office. Such things were highly valued among the Greeks, and a considerable part of the effort of Paul in these letters is to show that these things constitute no evidence that those who possessed them were sent from God.

If any man trust to himself ... - This refers to the false teachers who laid claims to be the followers of Christ by way of eminence. Whoever these teachers were, it is evident that they claimed to be on the side of Christ, and to be appointed by him. They were probably Jews, and they boasted of their talents and eloquence, and possibly that they had seen the Saviour. The phrase "trust to himself," seems to imply that they relied on some special merit of their own, or some special advantage which they had - Bloomfield. It may have been that they were of the same tribe that he was, or that they had seen him, or that they. confided in their own talents or endowments as a proof that they had been sent by him. It is not an uncommon thing for people to have such confidence in their own gifts, and particularly in a power of fluent speaking, as to suppose that this is a sufficient evidence that they are sent to preach the gospel.

Let him of himself think this again - Since he relies so much on himself; since he has such confidence in his own powers, let him look at the evidence that I also am of Christ.

That as he is Christ's, even so are we Christ's - That I have given as much evidence that I am commissioned by Christ as they can produce. It may be of a different kind. It is not in eloquence. and rank, and the gift of a rapid and ready elocution, but it may be superior to what they are able to produce. Probably Paul refers here to the fact that he had seen the Lord Jesus, and that he had been directly commissioned by him. The sense is, that no one could produce more proofs of being called to the ministry than he could.

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 [2319]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].

Are ye so weak as to judge of persons and things merely from their faces, pretences, or outward appearances? And to magnify these false apostles and teachers, merely because they set forth and magnify themselves, or because they take up a great breadth in the world, and live in a little state and splendour? If any of them do judge that he is the servant or the minister of Christ, why should he not think the same of me? What hath he to say to prove his relation to Christ more than I have? What hath he to glory in upon that account more than I have? 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.

{4} Do ye look on things after the {e} outward appearance? If any man trust to himself that he is Christ's, let him of {f} himself think this again, that, as he is Christ's, even so are we Christ's.

(4) He emphasises the same matter with very weighty words and sentences.

(e) Do you judge things according to the outward appearance?

(f) Not being told about it by me.

2 Corinthians 10:7. Paul feels that the ἐξουσία, just described in 2 Corinthians 10:3-6, is not conceded to him by his opponents and those misled by them in the church; they judge that he is evidently no right servant of Christ, and that he must come to shame with his boasting (comp. 2 Corinthians 10:8). He at once breaks into the midst of this course of thought on the part of his opponents with the disapproving question: Do you look on that which lies before the eyes? I do you judge according to the appearance? by which he means this, that they profess to have seen him weak and cowardly, when he was in Corinth personally (comp. 2 Corinthians 10:1). This does not involve any admission of the charge in 2 Corinthians 10:1, but, on the contrary, discloses the error, in accordance with which the charge was based on the apostle’s outward appearance, winch did not make a display of his boldness. The answer to the question is: If any one is confident that he belongs to Christ, let him judge this again of himself, that just as he belongs to Christ, so do we. The opposing teachers had certainly boasted: How utterly different people are we from this Paul, who is bold only at a distance, and makes a boast of belonging as an apostle to Christ! We are right servants of Christ!

τὰ κατὰ πρόσωπον βλέπετε] is taken interrogatively by Theodoret, Erasmus, Luther, Castalio, Cajetanus, Beza, Grotius, Calovius, Wolf, Hammond, Bengel, Heumann, Rosenmüller, Emmerling, Räbiger, Osiander, Klöpper, and others; along with which, however, many import into κατὰ πρόσωπον elements at variance with the text (see 2 Corinthians 10:1; 2 Corinthians 10:10), such as intercourse with Jesus when on earth and other matters. It is taken as not interrogative (Lachmann and Tischendorf), but also with βλέπετε as indicative, and the sentence, consequently, as a judgment of censure, by Chrysostom, Gennadius, Oecumenius, Theophylact, Calvin, Schulz, Flatt. Calvin says: “Magni facitis alios, qui magnis ampullis turgent; me, quia ostentatione et jactantia careo, despicitis;” while Flatt, following Storr, in spite of 2 Corinthians 10:1; 2 Corinthians 10:10, refers κατὰ πρόσωπον to the kinship of James with Christ, on which the Christine party had relied. In any case, however, it is more lively and forcible, and therefore more suitable, to take it as interrogative. Others, again, take βλέπετε as an imperative (Vulgate, Ambrosiaster, Anselm, Cornelius a Lapide, Billroth, Rückert, Olshausen, de Wette, Bisping, Hofmann): observe withal what lies so clearly before the eyes! In this view we should not have to explain it with Ewald: “regard personal matters;” so that Paul begins to point to the personal element which is now to be taken into consideration; but with Hofmann: the readers only needed to have their eyes open to what lay before them, in order to judge rightly. But against this it may be urged that κατὰ πρόσωπον could not but most naturally explain itself from 2 Corinthians 10:1, and that the meaning itself would have something tame and more calmly argumentative, than would be suited to the lively emotion of the passage. Besides, it is Paul’s custom elsewhere to put βλέπετε first, when he summons to an intuemini. See 1 Corinthians 1:26; 1 Corinthians 10:18; Php 3:2.

εἴτις πέποιθεν ἑαυτῷ Χριστοῦ εἶναι] In this way is designated the confidence which his opponents (not a single peculiar false teacher, as Michaelis thinks) arrogantly cherished for themselves, but denied to Paul, that they were genuine Christ-people, genuine servants of Christ. The addition of δοῦλος to Χριστοῦ in D* E* F G, It. Ambrosiaster, is a correct gloss (comp. 2 Corinthians 11:23). For it is not the confiteor of the Christine party (1 Corinthians 1:12) that is meant here (Mosheim, Stolz, Flatt, comp. also Olshausen, Dähne, de Wette, Schenkel, Beyschlag, Hilgenfeld, Klöpper, and others; see against this, Neander, I. p. 393 ff., and also Hofmann), but the assertion—to the exaltation of themselves and the exclusion of Paul—of a true apostolic connection (through calling, gifts, etc.) with Christ[302] on the part of Judaistic pseudo-apostles (2 Corinthians 11:5, 2 Corinthians 13:12-13). Observe that the teachers here meant were not a party of the church, like the adherents of Christ designated in 1 Corinthians 1:12. The very οὕτω καὶ ἡμεῖς, compared with 2 Corinthians 10:8,—to say nothing of the fact that there is no hint of any such special reference,—precludes our explaining it of the continued immediate connection with Christ through visions and the like, of which the heads of the Christine party had probably boasted (de Wette, Dähne, Goldhorn, and others, following Schenkel).

πάλιν] not: on the contrary, or on the other hand, which it never means in the N. T. (see on Matthew 4:7, and Fritzsche, ad Matt. p. 16 7), but again, denuo. It refers to ἐφʼ ἑαυτοῦ, which is correlative to the previous ἑαυτῷ. He is confident to himself; let him then consider once more for himself. In this view there was no need of the shift to which Fritzsche has recourse, that πεποιθέναι and λογίζεσθαι “communem continent mente volvendi notionem.” The verbs might be quite heterogeneous in point of the notion conveyed, since πάλιν is logically defined by the relation of ἑαυτῷ and ἑαυτοῦ.

The Recepta ἀφʼ ἑαυτοῦ, instead of which, however, ἐφʼ ἑαυτοῦ is to be read,[303] would mean proprio motu, Luke 12:57; Luke 21:30, 2 Corinthians 3:5, i.e. without any need for one first to say it to him. The text gives no warrant for ironical interpretation (from his own high estimate, Rückert).

] is a litotes from the apostle’s point of view. Οὐ γὰρ βούλεται ἐκ προοιμίων σφοδρὸς γίνεσθαι ἀλλὰ κατὰ μικρὸν αὔξεται καὶ κορυφοῦται, Chrysostom.

[302] Not with His disciples, and in particular with Peter, as Baur insinuates. See his Paulus, I. p. 306, ed. 2. It was in his view the original apostles as immediate disciples of the Lord (see also Holsten, z. Evang. des Paul. u. Petr. p. 24 ff.), from whose position the anti-Pauline party in Corinth had borrowed their watchword Χριστοῦ εἶναι. And in these his opponents Paul was at the same time combating the original apostles.

[303] The reading ἐφʼ ἑαυτοῦ (Lachm. ed. min.), supported by B L א 21, is not meaningless (Ewald), but is to be taken: with himself, in quietness for himself—a classic usage since Homer (Il. viii. 195, xix. 255; see Faesi on these passages) of very frequent occurrence; see Kühner, II. p. 296. The translation apud se in the Vulg. and It. also rests on this reading, which might easily enough be supplanted by the better known ἀφʼ ἑαυτοῦ, and hence deserves to be preferred. There lies in this ἐφʼ ἑαυτοῦ (secum solo reputet) a reproof putting more delicately to shame than in ἀφʼ ἑαυτοῦ.2 Corinthians 10:7-18. DESPITE ALL APPEARANCES, HIS APOSTOLICAL AUTHORITY IS WEIGHTY; HIS MISSION TO THE GREEKS IS A DIVINE TRUST.7–18. Caution to those who judge by outward appearance

7. Do ye look on things after the outward appearance?] The words here translated outward appearance are translated when I am present in 2 Corinthians 10:2. They may be rendered in three ways, (1) as in the text, (2) ye look on things after the outward appearance, or (3) as some interpreters prefer to render, look at what lies plainly before your eyes, i.e. the genuineness of St Paul’s Apostolic mission. The Vulgate and Rhemish versions render thus. So also Wiclif, See ye the thingis that ben aftir the face. Either (1) or (2) is preferable to (3), which not only does not suit the context (cf. also 1 Corinthians 2:5; 1 Corinthians 3:21, and John 7:24, where however the Greek is not the same as here, and 2 Corinthians 8:15), but is contrary to the spirit of St Paul’s writings, which invariably glorify what does not lie on the surface, at the expense of what does so. The meaning of the last of the three renderings is that if the Corinthians regard their teachers from an exclusively fleshly point of view, St Paul has no need to shrink from the comparison. Cf. ch. 2 Corinthians 11:18-33.

as he is Christ’s, even so are we Christ’s] St Paul proceeds to give four proofs of this. He shews (1) that he was unquestionably the founder of the Corinthian Church (2 Corinthians 10:13-18, cf. 1 Corinthians 4:15; 1 Corinthians 9:2, and ch. 2 Corinthians 3:2-3); (2) that if he refused to be maintained by them, it was for no other reason than his desire for their benefit (ch. 2 Corinthians 11:1-15, cf. 1 Corinthians 9:12; 1 Corinthians 9:15; 1 Corinthians 9:18); (3) that his life was a sufficient proof of his sincerity (ch. 2 Corinthians 11:21-33); and (4) that the supernatural revelations vouchsafed to him were vouchers for his inspiration (ch. 2 Corinthians 12:1-6).2 Corinthians 10:7. Τὰ κατὰ πρόσωπον βλώπετε, do you look on the things according to the face [outward appearance]) The error of the Corinthians is noticed and refuted generally, 2 Corinthians 10:7-9 : then, having been specially detailed, it is specially refuted, 2 Corinthians 10:10-11. Therefore [2 Corinthians 10:7] let him think this [2 Corinthians 10:11], is repeated.—κατὰ πρόσωπον, after the face [outward appearance]) 2 Corinthians 10:1. In antithesis to, by letters, 2 Corinthians 10:9. He says, I can act with severity face to face [as well as by letters: πρόσωπον being opposed to ἐπιστολῶν].—εἴ τις) if any one of you.—πέποιθεν) πεποίθησις and πέποιθα, have been hitherto variously used by Paul in this epistle, 2 Corinthians 10:2, etc.—ἀφʼ ἑαυτοῦ, of himself) before he is in a more severe manner convinced of it by us. The Christian by his own feelings can measure his brother.—καθὼς, even as) The condescension of Paul, inasmuch as he merely demands an equal place with those, whom he had begotten by the Gospel; for he himself must previously have belonged to Christ, or been a Christian, by whom another was brought to belong to Christ. This was a cause [motive] for modesty [a modest feeling towards Paul] in the case of the Corinthians.—καὶ ἡμεῖς, we also) A fact which such a man [one that trusts he belongs to Christ] will be able to realize by experience.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).
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