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2 Corinthians 10 Expanded Bible (EXB)

Paul Defends His Ministry

10 I, Paul, ·am begging [urge; appeal to] you with the gentleness and the kindness of Christ. ·Some people say that I am [L …—I who am; C Paul is answering an accusation; see v. 10] ·easy on you [lenient; or timid] when I am with you and bold when I am away [C Paul here confronts those still resisting his authority]. I ·beg [ask] you that when I ·come [am present] I will not need to use that same boldness with you that I expect to use with those who ·think [or claim] we ·live [walk] ·in a worldly way [by the world’s standards; L according to the flesh]. [L For] Although we ·live in the world [L walk in the flesh], we do not ·fight [wage war] ·in the same way the world fights [L according to the flesh]. We fight with weapons that are ·different from those the world uses [not merely human weapons; L not of the flesh]. Our weapons have power from God that can destroy ·the enemy’s strong places [L strongholds; fortresses]. We destroy ·people’s arguments [human reasoning; sophistries] and every ·proud thing [pretension; exalted opinion; L high thing] that raises itself against the knowledge of God. We capture every thought and make it obey Christ. We are ready to ·punish [avenge] ·anyone there who does not obey [L every disobedience], ·but first we want you to obey fully [L once/after your obedience is fulfilled; C once the church as a whole repents, Paul will discipline those who refuse].

You ·must look at the facts before you [or are looking only at outward appearances]. If you ·feel sure [are confident] that you belong to Christ, you must ·remember [consider again] that we belong to Christ just as you do. ·It is true that we brag freely [L If I boast too much…] about the authority the Lord gave us. But this authority is to build you up, not to tear you down. So I will not be ashamed. I do not want you to think I am trying to scare you with my letters. 10 Some people say [v. 1], “Paul’s letters are ·powerful [forceful] and ·sound important [weighty; or demanding], but ·when he is with us, he [his physical presence] is weak. And his ·speaking is nothing [speaking skills are deplorable; or speeches are worthless; C Greek culture highly valued rhetorical skill].” 11 They should ·know [consider] this: ·The authority we show by letter [L What we are in word] while we are ·away [absent], we will ·demonstrate in our actions [L be in deed] when we ·come to you [L are present].

12 [L For] We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with those who ·think they are very important [commend/promote themselves; 3:1]. They use themselves to measure themselves, and they judge themselves by what they themselves are. ·This shows that they know nothing [or What ignorance!; or What fools!]. 13 But we will not ·brag [boast] ·about things outside the work that was given us to do [L beyond the limits]. We will limit our ·bragging [boasting] to the ·work [sphere of ministry] that God gave us, ·and this includes our work with you [L which reaches even to you]. 14 [L For] We are not ·bragging too much [or going beyond our commission; L overreaching/overextending ourselves], as we would be if we had not already come to you. But we have come to you with the Good News of Christ [C Paul’s opponents claimed the Corinthians were their sphere of ministry; Paul counters that he first brought the Gospel to Corinth (Acts 18)]. 15 We limit our ·bragging [boasting] to the work that is ours, not what others have done. We hope that as your faith continues to grow, ·the scope of our work among you will greatly increase [or our work among you will greatly increase within the sphere/limits God has given us]. 16 ·We want to [L …so that we may] ·tell the Good News [preach the Gospel] in the areas beyond ·your city [L you]. We do not want to ·brag [boast] about work that has already been done in another person’s area. 17 But, “·If people want to brag, they should brag only [L Let the one who boasts, boast] about the Lord [Jer. 9:24; 1 Cor. 1:31].” 18 [L For] It is not those who ·say they are good [L commend/promote themselves; v. 12] who are ·accepted [approved] but those the Lord ·thinks are good [commends].

Expanded Bible (EXB)

The Expanded Bible, Copyright © 2011 Thomas Nelson Inc. All rights reserved.

2 Corinthians 10 New International Version (NIV)

Paul’s Defense of His Ministry

10 By the humility and gentleness of Christ, I appeal to you—I, Paul, who am “timid” when face to face with you, but “bold” toward you when away! I beg you that when I come I may not have to be as bold as I expect to be toward some people who think that we live by the standards of this world. For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. And we will be ready to punish every act of disobedience, once your obedience is complete.

You are judging by appearances.[a] If anyone is confident that they belong to Christ, they should consider again that we belong to Christ just as much as they do. So even if I boast somewhat freely about the authority the Lord gave us for building you up rather than tearing you down, I will not be ashamed of it. I do not want to seem to be trying to frighten you with my letters. 10 For some say, “His letters are weighty and forceful, but in person he is unimpressive and his speaking amounts to nothing.” 11 Such people should realize that what we are in our letters when we are absent, we will be in our actions when we are present.

12 We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise. 13 We, however, will not boast beyond proper limits, but will confine our boasting to the sphere of service God himself has assigned to us, a sphere that also includes you. 14 We are not going too far in our boasting, as would be the case if we had not come to you, for we did get as far as you with the gospel of Christ. 15 Neither do we go beyond our limits by boasting of work done by others. Our hope is that, as your faith continues to grow, our sphere of activity among you will greatly expand, 16 so that we can preach the gospel in the regions beyond you. For we do not want to boast about work already done in someone else’s territory. 17 But, “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.”[b] 18 For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends.


  1. 2 Corinthians 10:7 Or Look at the obvious facts
  2. 2 Corinthians 10:17 Jer. 9:24
New International Version (NIV)

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