Aug. 23. Paul Defends his Authority as an Apostle

II Cor. 10:1-18

Since Timothy had been with Paul as he wrote this letter, he used the plural pronouns we and us in his admonitions to the Corinthians. At this point, however, he began to attack his detractors in a more personal way, “Now I, Paul, myself…”

The majority of the Corinthians accepted Paul’s authority as an apostle as was evidenced in the report of Titus. There was a faction who joined with the Judaizers and they denied his apostleship. It was that group that he addressed in this part of his letter.

These people had mistaken the gentleness of Christ for weakness when Paul had been with them. They accused him of being a coward because of the severity of his letter when he was out of their presence. He pleaded with them to change their attitudes so he could continue to speak in gentleness when he returned to Corinth.

Paul’s enemies accused him of walking after the flesh instead of after the Spirit. He assured them that he was indeed living in the flesh, but that the weapons of his warfare were from God. Those who failed to obey his teaching would be removed from fellowship as punishment. This would be done to purify the church and to make them more aware of their need to repent.

A person’s qualifications for a position are reflected in what he has done in the past. Paul challenged the false teachers to look at his accomplishments and to compare them with what they could see in themselves. It had been through his preaching that the church in Corinth had been established.

Paul warned his critics that if they did not change their attitude, his next visit would be as severe in presence, as he had been in his written word. They were guilty of self-commendation; judging themselves by themselves, a faulty measure, instead of using Christ, the perfect measure.

Other preachers had established churches in various places and some of the Corinthians questioned Paul’s authority to preach in Corinth. He assured them that he, indeed, had been sent to preach to them and that after establishing them, he would turn to other places beyond their area. It was not his desire to take over some other man’s territory and to claim credit for his accomplishments. He preferred to preach where no one else had gone.

Paul explained that no amount of self-commendation would bring approval from God. His claims of authority were based upon God’s gifts and commendation to him.