2 Corinthians 10:7-12
2 Cor 10:7 (KJB)
Do ye 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.
Some of the Corinthians had judged Paul according to his appearance. They accused him of walking in the flesh, being weak in body, being bold in the flesh when he was absent from them, that he was teaching falsely. These accusers were looking at the outward appearance instead of looking at the person himself. Remember back in 5:16 Paul stated that no longer do we see anyone after the flesh but we see them as new creatures in Christ. Paul was chiding these false accusers because if they claim to be in Christ and they treat a fellow brother like they treated Paul, then they need to look at themselves to see if they really do belong to Christ. Having a very accusatory and censorious spirit does not exude the Christian personality. Paul is reminding them that if they belong to Christ, so does He and his band and they at least deserve the benefit of the doubt, if someone is doubting them, rather than public excoriation. If there is any questions, it should be brought to them in private so the unbelievers would have nothing to accuse the body of. Unbelievers love it when Christians fight because it feeds their cause.
2 Cor 10:8 (KJB)
For though I should boast somewhat more of our authority, which the Lord hath given us for edification, and not for your destruction, I should not be ashamed:
Edification - Building or edifice
Destruction - Tearing or pulling down
Paul now explains himself to those in Corinth who may have believed that he has pushed his apostolic authority a little too far. Paul would not be ashamed if he did boast more concerning the apostolic authority the Lord had given. Paul reassures them that this authority was given to him for the purpose of building up the churches and not to tear them down. Paul had torn down the works of the devil as we read in 10:4 but not the works of the Lord. The word in the Greek for “edification” carries with it the meaning of a building. In other words, Paul is stating that he is to help build the church as if he was constructing a building. In reality the church is the building of God.
(Eph 2:19-22 KJV) Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; {20} And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; {21} In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: {22} In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.
2 Cor 10:9 (KJB)
That I may not seem as if I would terrify you by letters.
I would terrify - Frighten greatly
Here Paul is stating that he has no desire to try and terrify the Corinthians. He is basically stating that in dealing with the false accusers, he was not trying to terrify them with words above and beyond that he is able to perform. If he was going to deal harshly with the false accusers, he would not write anything to them which would be outside his realm of power and authority. He was there to help them and not to hurt them.
2 Cor 10:10 (KJB)
For his letters, say they, are weighty and powerful; but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible.
Weighty - Heavy or burdensome
Powerful - Strong, mighty, or forcible
Contemptible - Despise utterly or make of no account
Paul’s detractors had recognized that his letters held a certain weight and power to them but they clamed that he was weak in body when in their presence. Again, they had confused weakness with meekness. They also held that his speech was of no account. Paul probably brought the truth to them but not in an eloquent manner. The false teachers would possess an eloquence which would have the ability to draw people unto themselves. Paul had probably tried to bring the message in a more appealing manner but he would not pander to the unbelieving element in Corinth. So sometimes different inflections and different volume was needed to drive home the message.
2 Cor 10:11 (KJB)
Let such an one think this, that, such as we are in word by letters when we are absent, such will we be also in deed when we are present.
Here Paul is s stating that he does not have a double standard of communication. The same strength with which he wrote his letters will be the same strength that he will deal with the false accusers when he comes to Corinth. He would come to them and disabuse them of the notion that his letters were stronger than he was in real life. This is also a communication principle for us. We must never communicate to anyone above and beyond what we are able to deliver.
2 Cor 10:12 (KJB)
For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.
Compare and Comparing - Evaluate, join together, or classing someone with someone
Commend - Recommending
Measuring - Measurement or gauge
This verse is probably one of the most apropos verses for our present day. Paul was probably stating that he, as a poor, weakling could not join himself to the number of the great preachers who were so eloquent and powerful. He would not even consider comparing himself with those who recommend themselves, that is, the elitists who push each other for the purpose of self-promotion. Paul then states that they are gauging themselves by themselves and comparing themselves by themselves are completely wrong. The standard for every preacher is not another preacher, it is Christ. However, if a person is a false preacher and then compares himself or joins himself to a band of other false preachers, then they are showing no wisdom because Hell in comparison to Hell is still Hell. If the teachers are false, then Hell is their authority. They serve the kingdom of Satan and part of the great deception is that each think they are eloquent and sophisticated. This is so true today when preachers keep striving for higher and higher degrees so they sound superior to other Christians. The problem is they lose touch with reality and then lose touch with their hearers. What good does it do a person if he has three doctorates and loses the ability to communicate truth to their hearers? How many preachers today are comparing themselves with other preachers and are falling short.