This will be a multi-part series because after I finished writing this, I realized the next 2 Chapters discuss boasting as well. (Sorry if you don’t like Paul as much as I do LOL)
One characteristic of Paul throughout the letters is his confidence! He says things with such boldness and makes very specific statements (2 Cor 2:17). He even has the audacity to tell others to imitate him (1 Cor 10:33), and often rebukes them in their wrongdoings.
It’s no wonder he spends the whole chapter explaining his boasting. I guess God told him he needed to do some explaining to the church in Corinth. With that said, I tried to pick out the more relevant verses to break up into smaller topics. Verse 1!
I, Paul, myself entreat you, by the meekness and gentleness of Christ—I who am humble when face to face with you, but bold toward you when I am away! (V10:1)
Why does Paul speak differently face to face than in his letters? We’ll come back to this when he explains himself later on. However, he hints that it’s due to the meekness and gentleness of Christ.
I beg of you that when I am present I may not have to show boldness with such confidence as I count on showing against some who suspect us of walking according to the flesh. (V10:2)
Paul hopes that he does not need to rebuke them in person, and he certainly does not take joy in the fact that they need to be rebuked (different than finding joy in rebuking them). This is pretty normal if you think about it, confrontation is often a dreadful thing. He truly hopes that he never has to defend his faith against these brothers and sisters.
For even if I boast a little too much of our authority, which the Lord gave for building you up and not for destroying you, I will not be ashamed. (V10:8)
Paul is not ashamed of boasting …
Paul admits it! He may boast a little too much of his authority, and he isn’t subtle about it. But he also says that he was given this authority straight from the Lord so that this church in Corinth could be built up, not to destroy them.
Paul is not ashamed of boasting … of what God has given him!
For they say, “His letters are weighty and strong, but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech of no account.” Let such a person understand that what we say by letter when absent, we do when present. (V10:10-11)
This goes back to verse 1. It may seem like to the church in Corinth that Paul doesn’t live up to what he says. They probably think Paul is foolish for boasting because he doesn’t speak with the same weight and strength that he portrays in his letters. However, he explains in verse 11 why he chooses to speak differently in his letters.
Paul chooses to teach by works, not words.
Paul puts it simply. “I speak harshly in my letters, but I follow all I say through my works.” He only says these things by letter because he is not there in person, and everything he does in person encapsulates what he says by letter.
But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding. (V10:12)
I definitely compare myself to others when it comes to serving, and in this simple judgment I boast of my ability instead of how much God has given me. Paul describes this type of person as someone who commends themselves, because they do not understand why they have been given strength.
Those that commend themselves in their boasting lack understanding in God’s plan.
But we will not boast beyond limits, but will boast only with regard to the area of influence God assigned to us, to reach even to you. (V10:13)
Paul boasts truthfully …
We are forgetful, and the church forgets as well, but he needs to make sure that people remember what he has done or else his words are easily ignored. Paul reminds the church that he has only boasted in God’s work through him.
Paul boasts truthfully … in what he has reason to boast in!
Paul is quite honest in the following verses. His goal is to grow the church of Corinth so that they can preach the gospel to further lands, using the church in Corinth as their treasure to boast in. He’s eager to have more to boast in because he correctly credits God as the assigner of it all, and he knows there will be many more churches that need similar work.
So … if I boast in God-given wisdom, what is my reason to boast? Even if I am being truthful, do I really have a reason to boast?
“Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends. (V10:17-18)
His wrap-up statement here is his conclusive statement. Just as one does well if they love their neighbor, if one boasts in the Lord they stand on solid grounds. In 2 Corinthians 11 and 12, Paul discusses more about boasting of weakness, so I’ll leave that for the future 🙂
Part two is here.
Michael “tbt when Trump said one Corinthians” Ru