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2 Corinthians 10:4

2 Corinthians 10:4

For the weapons of our warfare
By "warfare" is here meant, not that which is common to all believers, who are enlisted as volunteers under the captain of their salvation, and fight his battles, and are more than conquerors through him; but what is peculiar to the ministers of the Gospel; and designs the ministerial function, or office, and the discharge of it. So the Levitical function, or the ministerial service of the Levites, is called (hdbeh) (abu) , "the warfare of the service", ( Numbers 8:25 ) . The ministry of the word is so styled, because that as war is waged in defence of men's rights, properties, and liberties, and for the weakening of an enemy's power and possessions, and for the enlargement of kingdoms and dominions; so this is in defence of the truths and liberty of the Gospel, that they may continue and abide; for the weakening of Satan's kingdom, by delivering the lawful captives, taking the prey from the mighty, turning souls from the power of Satan to God, and translating them from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of Christ Jesus; and so for the enlargement of his kingdom, by spreading the Gospel far and near. The "weapons" with which this warfare is managed are the Scriptures of truth, the sword of the Spirit, the word of God; and which indeed are an armoury, out of which may be taken weapons of all sorts, both offensive and defensive; such as serve both to establish and secure the doctrines of the Gospel, and to refute the errors of the wicked: to which may be added all those gifts which Christ has received for, and gives to men, qualifying them for the work of the ministry, and for the understanding of the sacred writings; together with all those means made use of by them for their improvement in spiritual knowledge; such as diligent reading the word of God, and the labours of his faithful servants, frequent meditation thereon, and earnest prayer to God for more light and experience. Also the various graces of the Spirit, with which they are endued, may be taken into the account; such as the breast plate of faith in Christ, and love to himself, his people, word, ordinances, cause, and interest; the helmet of salvation, hope, the girdle of truth and faithfulness, and the excellent grace of patience to endure all hardships, reproaches, insults, afflictions, and persecutions, cheerfully; and finally, all the acts of their ministration, such as preaching, prayer, the administration of ordinances, and laying on of censures, with the consent of the church. Now these weapons

are not carnal;
such as the men of the world fight with, not the temporal sword; for Christ sent forth his apostles without that, naked and unarmed amidst their enemies, his kingdom not being of this world, and so not to be defended and propagated in such a way; or as the weapons the false apostles used, such as natural eloquence, fleshly wisdom, carnal reason, cunning craftiness, the hidden things of dishonesty, and great swelling words of vanity; or they were not weak and impotent, which is sometimes the signification of "flesh"; see ( Genesis 6:3 ) ( Isaiah 31:3 )

but mighty through God:
powerful and effectual through the blessing of God, and the influences of his grace and Spirit for the conversion of sinners, the edification of saints, the defence of truth, the confutation of error, the destruction of Satan's kingdom, and the enlargement of Christ's: for these weapons are not powerful of themselves; they are passive instruments, which are only efficacious when used by a superior hand; when the Gospel ministration is attended with "the demonstration of the Spirit, and of power"; and then they are serviceable

to the pulling down of strong holds.
The allusion seems to be to the falling of the walls of Jericho, at the sound of ram's horns, which must be ascribed not to those instruments, which were in themselves weak and despicable, but to the power of God that went along with the sound of them. By strong holds are meant, the strong holds of sin and Satan; such as unbelief, pride, hardness of heart with which the heart of man is walled (so (bl twryq) , "the walls of the heart", ( Jeremiah 4:19 ) ) against God and Christ, and the Gospel of the grace of God, and by which Satan fortifies himself, and keeps the palace and goods in peace, until the everlasting doors are thrown open, which were bolted and barred; and these walls of defence are pulled down by the King of glory, who enters in, which is usually done by the power of God, in the ministry of the Gospel: so sins are called strong holds, fortresses, and bulwarks, by the Talmudists {k}, who give this as the sense of ( Ecclesiastes 9:14 )

``a little city, this is the body; "and few men in it", these are the members; "and there came a great king against it, and besieged it", this is the evil imagination, lust, or concupiscence; and built against it (Mydwum) , "great bulwarks", or fortresses, (twnwe hla) , "these are iniquities".''

And so Philo the Jew F12 speaks of (ta bebaiathv kakiav ereismata) , "the firm munitions of vice" being broken down. Or else by them may be meant the fortresses of a man's own righteousness, holiness, good works, and moral duties, in which he entrenches, and thinks himself safe: which the Spirit of God, in the ministry of the word, blows a blast upon, and which are cast down by it, that revealing a better righteousness, even the righteousness of Christ; or else the fleshly wisdom, rhetorical eloquence, and sophisms of false teachers, with which they endeavoured to fortify themselves against the doctrines of the Gospel, but in vain.


FOOTNOTES:

F11 T. Bab. Nedarim, fol. 32. 2.
F12 De Confusione Linguarum, p. 335.
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