In this chapter the apostle has chiefly to do with the false teachers,
and it is taken up in refuting their calumnies of him, and in exposing
their boasting of themselves; and as he goes along, he takes notice of
the efficacy of the Gospel, and of the success and extent of it, as it
was preached by him, and other Gospel ministers, and points at the
proper manner and ground of glorying. And whereas the false teachers
had represented him as a mean spirited man, as well as his outward
aspect was contemptible, and that he had not that authority and courage
he boasted of, he describes himself by those characters they had
reproached him with: by his name Paul, which signified little, they
suggesting that he was little in soul, as well as in body; by his
modesty and humility, when he was with the Corinthians, and by his
boldness, now absent from them: and he entreats them by the meekness
and gentleness of Christ, which he imitated, and they ought also, that
they would not join in those sneers, nor reproach him for these things,
\\#2Co 10:1\\ and that they would so behave, that, when he came among
them, he might have no occasion of using that power and authority,
which the false teachers called bluster and boldness; and which he had
thought and determined in his own mind to exercise on some who traduced
him and his fellow ministers as carnal selfish persons, \\#2Co 10:2\\
which calumny he removes by owning, that they walked in the flesh, in
the body, and were subject to imperfections, as men; but denies that
their ministerial warfare or service was managed in a carnal and
worldly, or in a weak way and manner, \\#2Co 10:3\\ assigning this
reason for it, because the weapons they made use of, in the warfare of
their ministry, to defend truth, and annoy the enemy, to enlarge
Christ's kingdom, and weaken Satan's, were not carnal, weak, and
worldly, but spiritual and efficacious, through the power of God that
accompanied them; and which appeared by the use they were of to the
demolishing the strong holds of the flesh, and bringing down the
haughty and lofty imaginations of the fleshly mind, which were opposed
to the knowledge of God, and the refuting all the sophisms of fleshly
wisdom, and carnal reasonings against the Gospel of Christ. This was
the influence it had on some through the power of divine grace, whereby
they became obedient to Christ, and subject to his word and ordinances,
\\#2Co 10:4,5\\ whilst on others, as on Elymas the sorcerer, who sought
to pervert the right ways of God, the apostolical power was exercised
in a way of just punishment and awful vengeance, \\#2Co 10:6\\. The
apostle moreover suggests to the Corinthians, that they judged of him,
and the false teachers, according to the outward appearance of things,
which was wrong: however, let these men make ever so great a show in
the flesh, or what pretensions soever to Christianity, to being the
members and ministers of Christ, the apostle would have them observe,
that he, and those with him, were, and were to be looked upon as
equally the same, \\#2Co 10:7\\ nay, should he exalt himself above
them, and affirm he had an authority superior to theirs, which he
describes by the efficient cause of it, the Lord, and by its end,
edification, and not destruction, he should have no reason to be
ashamed, since he was capable of giving proof of it, \\#2Co 10:8\\
however, he would say no more of this for the present, lest he should
strengthen the calumny cast upon him, that it was his way to terrify by
his letters, with blustering menaces of his power and authority,
\\#2Co 10:9\\ and which calumny is more fully expressed in the words of
the false teachers, who said, that his letters were bold and blustering,
and by which he would be thought to be a man of power and authority;
though, alas! a man of no speech nor presence, when in person among
men, and so not to be regarded, \\#2Co 10:10\\. In answer to which the
apostle returns, that he would have such a reviler know, that as he was
in word by letters when absent, such would he be found to be in deed
when present, \\#2Co 10:11\\ and then proceeds to expose the
vain glorying of the false teachers, and to observe those things which
he, and other faithful ministers of the word, might glory of; though
they could not give themselves the liberties they did, and chose to
glory in the Lord; they could not commend themselves in that bold and
insolent manner, to the contempt of others, when there was no necessity
for it, as the false teachers did, \\#2Co 10:12\\ nor could they boast
of things they never did; of conversions they never were instruments
of; of the planting of churches they had no concern in; and of
spreading the Gospel where they had never been, which was the case of
these men: whereas, whenever they gloried, it was when there was an
absolute necessity for it, and always with modesty, acknowledging the
grace and goodness of God unto them, and ever with truth; and of their
own labours, and not of others; and particularly with respect to
Corinth, it was with the strictest regard to truth that they affirmed
they were the first that preached the Gospel there, converted souls,
and planted a Gospel church, and hoped they should be the means of
spreading it further still, \\#2Co 10:13-16\\. However, they did not
desire to glory in themselves, but in the Lord, from whom they had all
their gifts, success, and usefulness; and so they directed others to
do, \\#2Co 10:17\\ and because, for this reason, that he that commends
himself is not approved of God, but he that is commended by the Lord,
\\#2Co 10:18\\.