2 Corinthians 10:1-6
2 Cor 10:1 (KJB)
Now I Paul myself beseech you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ, who in presence am base among you, but being absent am bold toward you:
Beseech - Encourage
Base - Humble or lowly
Bold - Be of good courage or confident
Paul had just given a discourse on giving of gifts to the Jerusalem church but now he returns to the defense of his person and ministry. Paul encourages the Corinthians to use the example set by the Lord Jesus Christ who was very humble and gentle when He was here on earth. Some had accused Paul that when he was among the Corinthians, he was very lowly and humble but the moment he was at a distance, he became very bold toward them. Sometimes it is easier to write something which is of a bold nature than it is to deliver such a message in person. This is our very nature that when we come into someoneís presence, we may find it harder to be bold, not out of fear, but more out of not wanting to hurt that person. However, that could happen when we write a letter from a distance unless we watch ourselves and follow Paulís advice to the Corinthians to adhere to the example of the meekness of Christ.
2 Cor 10:2 (KJB)
But I beseech you, that I may not be (1) bold when I am present with that confidence, wherewith I think to be (2) bold against some, which think of us as if we walked according to the flesh.
Beseech - Beg, pray, or request
Confidence - Persuasion, trust, or assurance
Bold 1 - To be of good courage or confidence
Bold 2 - To be brave or dare
One of the mistakes people make is to think that meekness is weakness. Weakness is a person who is without strength but a meek person has strength which is under control. Paul had used all his patience to desire that those who brought these false accusations against him would cease and desist. They even got to the point where they believed that Paul was walking according to the flesh but it was just the opposite, in that those who were falsely accusing Paul were the ones walking in the flesh. These type of accusations usually come from those who are walking in the flesh, doing exactly what they accuse somebody else of doing. Paul did want to be bold when he came to them but if the false accusations continued, then he would have no choice but to boldly defend himself against the false accusers. This does not mean yelling and screaming but it means confronting them with the facts in front of those who heard the false accusations. (Prov 18:17 KJV) He that is first in his own cause seemeth just; but his neighbour cometh and searcheth him. The Proverbs verse teaches the principle that the first to make an accusation seems just but when it is challenged, it may be found to be false.
2 Cor 10:3 (KJB)
For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:
Walk - Live or conduct oneself
War - Serve as a soldier or to serve in war
Paul here states emphatically that he, as all human beings, is walking in the flesh, that is, he has a human body which hungers, thirsts, and tires out. This is the same situation with every human in the world, whether saved or unsaved. Then Paul goes on to state, that the difference comes in by the way we go to war. He is not speaking of a physical war but a spiritual war. Christians do not battle the flesh but they are in a constant battle with the kingdom of Satan. The kingdom of Satan is a spiritual kingdom and the battle is in the spiritual realm. Christians are called soldiers. (2 Tim 2:3-4 KJV) Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. {4} No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier. As Christians, we are not only Saints, but we are soldiers in the Lordís army. Just as in a war, one army tries to displace the other army to make gains and eventually win the war. The Christian is going to be faced by the army of the kingdom of Satan because they are not going to give up ground. What kind of spiritual battles do the Christians face each day? There is apostasy, atheism, agnosticism, evolution, hatred, prejudice, and so on. The kingdom of Satan manifests itself in different ways in the flesh, but it is not the flesh which is driving the attacks against Christianity, it is the evilness of the kingdom of Satan going back as far as Eden.
2 Cor 10:4 (KJB)
(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)
Weapons - Tool or instrument
Warfare - Military expedition or campaign
Carnal - Fleshly
Mighty - Powerful
Pulling down - Tearing down or destruction
Of strong holds - Fortress or prison
Paul here states a major war principle for the believers. He states that the weapons which we use in spiritual combat are not those of a carnal nature. Some of those types of weapons of the physical nature would be guns, bombs, knives, swords, fists, and such. Some of the weapons of the psychological nature would be lying, false flattery, manipulation and such. Then another type of carnal weapon would be philosophical where one would appeal to the intellect of man. We see much of this today among the Christian community with the higher Seminary degrees as they each try to out do one another with philosophies and keep writing books which have no appeal to anyone except another high degree. Manís intellectualism has become so corrupt that they have begun attacking the Bible with a false science called ďtextual criticismĒ in which many Christians have attached themselves to for the purpose of sounding superior to other Christians. Jesus had something to say about that. (Mat 11:25 KJV) At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. Truth has been withheld from those who believe they are superior intellects and this also applies to the Christian community too. I have heard many Christians become so intellectual they are actually of no value to anyone but their own ego.
Paul goes on to say that the weapons of the Christian are far superior to those who use the flesh to attempt warfare. The mind of man will remain closed until it is opened and the only one who can open it to biblical truth is God Himself. This is why our weapons of warfare are mighty through God and not ourselves. The spiritual weapons of God are used to bring down or destroy those strongholds which are a fortress or prison. The prison is where a person is confined and cannot get out until their day of release. Manís mind is also a prison whereby unless God opens his mind, then they can never understand truth and will never be freed from their own prison of unbelief. The weapons of our spiritual warfare is prayer, exposition of Godís Word by preaching or by writing, missions, publishing the Gospel by radio, TV, or Internet, one on one communications and always with Godís word as our source. As we proclaim the Gospel, then God will free the minds of His Elect and save them.
2 Cor 10:5 (KJB)
Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
Casting down - Overthrow, destroy, or demolish
Imaginations - Thoughts or reasoning
High thing - Something elevated, stronghold, or height
Captivity - Take prisoner or be taken prisoner
Thought - Thoughts or purposes formed in the mind
One of the things which the Christian must battle against and that is the false philosophies and reasoning of man which have an outcome of fallacious logic. This is why intellectualism in the Christian community is dangerous because it too can produce false results. When Paul debated the philosophers on Mars Hill, he was faced with all the different types of philosophy which circulated at the time. These false systems such as Platonic or Aristotelian are all contrary to the knowledge of God and will never bring a person into truth. (2 Tim 3:7 KJV) Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. The more one plunges into philosophy, the farther one gets from the truth of God. This also applies to other areas such as science where people believe evolution or the Big Bang theory, and the deeper they study these false teachings, the farther they are away from the real truth. The Word of God, when applied to the heart of the believer, will demolish all these futile systems and will break through with truth. Then what will happen will be that all these false ideas will be taken prisoner and brought under the obedience of Christ, that is, they will no longer be subject to the false teachings as they will no longer hold them in captivity. They will now experience truth as a regular part of their Christian life plus if they are involved in science, they will now see all the discoveries through the eyes of a saved person.
2 Cor 10:6 (KJB)
And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.
Readiness - Prepared
Revenge - Avenge or punish
Fulfilled - Completed, accomplished, or made full
Paul was ready to use his apostolic power to punish the troublemakers at Corinth. He was not speaking of a sword or a whip, but of the things associated with his office. He could use things like excommunication or public censure for the false accusations made against him. It is not that he was looking to be vindicated but the fact that the false teachers were causing the Church at Corinth to be destabilized and could lead to the ruin of the church. He wanted them to know that he would deal with these false teachers when the Corinthians were ready to hear the matter with the intent on being obedient to the outcome. Only when they became fully obedient would he then deal with the situation concerning these false teachers. First came their obedience, then came the dealing with the false teachers. If they were not obedient to begin with, then they would not be obedient to the ruling on the false teachers.