2 Corinthians 10:10

10 For some say, “His letters are weighty and forceful, but in person he is unimpressive and his speaking amounts to nothing.”

Read 2 Corinthians 10:10 Using Other Translations

For his letters, say they, are weighty and powerful; but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible.
For they say, "His letters are weighty and strong, but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech of no account."
For some say, “Paul’s letters are demanding and forceful, but in person he is weak, and his speeches are worthless!”

What does 2 Corinthians 10:10 mean?

John Gill's Exposition of the Bible
2 Corinthians 10:10

For his letters, say they, are weighty and powerful
These words contain the reason why he did not choose to say any more of his authority as an apostle to punish offenders, that he might give no occasion for such a calumny, some among them, or the false apostles, had cast upon him; that his epistles, referring particularly to his former epistle, and that part of it which respected the incestuous person, and his delivery to Satan, were blustering and thundering; were laden with sharp reproofs and severe menaces; were heavy with charges, were filled with great swelling words, with boasts of power and authority, and with threatenings what he would do, when he came among them; whereas when present, as at his first coming to them, he was mild and gentle, even to a degree of meanness and baseness, as they suggested; and so they concluded he would be, should he come again; and therefore his letters were not to be regarded:

but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible:
he made a mean figure, being of a low stature, and having an infirm body: the account the historian F13 gives of him is this, that

``he had a small and contracted body, somewhat crooked and bowed, a pale face, looked old, and had a little head; he had a sharp eye; his eyebrows hung downwards; his nose was beautifully bent, somewhat long; his beard thick and pretty long; and that, as the hair of his head, had a sprinkling of gray hairs:''

hence one in Lucian F14 scoffingly says of him,

``when the bald headed Galilean met me, with his hook nose, who went through the air to the third heaven:''

though the words of this text rather regard his mind and mien than the make of his body; and suggest that he was not a man of that greatness of soul, and largeness of mind, not possessed of those abilities and gifts, and of that freedom of speech, and flow of words, his letters promised; but instead of that, was a man of a mean spirit, very abject and servile, and to be despised; his conduct weak, and carrying no majesty and authority with his presence, his words without weight, his language vulgar, and style neglected; and, upon all accounts, a person worthy of no notice, and not at all to be either feared or regarded.


F13 Nicephorus, l. 2. c. 37.
F14 In Philopatr.
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