10:12-18 If we would compare ourselves with others who excel us, this would be a good method to keep us humble. The apostle fixes a good rule for his conduct; namely, not to boast of things without his measure, which was the measure God had distributed to him. There is not a more fruitful source of error, than to judge of persons and opinions by our own prejudices. How common is it for persons to judge of their own religious character, by the opinions and maxims of the world around them! But how different is the rule of God's word! And of all flattery, self-flattery is the worst. Therefore, instead of praising ourselves, we should strive to approve ourselves to God. In a word, let us glory in the Lord our salvation, and in all other things only as evidences of his love, or means of promoting his glory. Instead of praising ourselves, or seeking the praise of men, let us desire that honour which cometh from God only.
13. not boast … without … measure—Greek, "to unmeasured bounds." There is no limit to a man's high opinion of himself, so long as he measures himself by himself (2Co 10:13) and his fellows, and does not compare himself with his superiors. It marks the personal character of this Epistle that the word "boast" occurs twenty-nine times in it, and only twenty-six times in all the other Epistles put together. Undeterred by the charge of vanity, he felt he must vindicate his apostolic authority by facts [Conybeare and Howson]. It would be to "boast of things without our measure," were we to boast of conversions made by "other men's labors" (2Co 10:15).
a measure—as a measure [Alford].
to reach—"that we should reach as far as even to you": not that he meant to go no further (2Co 10:16; Ro 15:20-24). Paul's "measure" is the apportionment of his sphere of Gospel labors ruled for him by God. A "rule" among the so-called "apostolic canons" subsequently was, that no bishop should appoint ministers beyond his own limits. At Corinth no minister ought to have been received without Paul's sanction, as Corinth was apportioned to him by God as his apostolic sphere. The Epistle here incidentally, and therefore undesignedly, confirms the independent history, the Acts, which represents Corinth as the extreme limit as yet of his preaching, at which he had stopped, after he had from Philippi passed southward successively through Amphipolis, Apollonia, Thessalonica, Berea, and Athens [Paley, Horæ Paulinæ].