The Divine Lamp

The unfolding of thy words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple…Make thy face shine upon thy servant, and teach me thy statutes

Father Callan’s Commentary on 2 Corinthians 10:7-11

Posted by Dim Bulb on May 10, 2017


A Summary of 2 Corinthians 10:7-11~From what St. Paul has just said about the spiritual weapons with which he is armed, it is plain that he is not to be despised. His enemies have underestimated his powers and his determination,
saying that he was terrible when absent, but cringing when present. He therefore warns his readers not to mistake his threats. Since he is not less a minister of Christ than others who boast of that dignity, he could have said more about his authority than he has done. And if he has boasted of his authority in his letters, he will do so in person when he comes.

2 Cor 10:7. See the things that are according to outward appearance. If any man trust to himself, that he is Christ’s, let him think this again with himself, that as he is Christ’s, so are we also.

See βλέπετε (= blepete). Whether the verb here is imperative, interrogative, or merely declarative is uncertain. Probably it is merely declarative, “You look.” The Apostle means to say that his adversaries look merely at things external, they consider only outward appearances, and hence they thought he was weak and cowardly, not like a true Apostle. But he cautions them to reflect that, if anyone considers himself a minister of Christ, he must not overlook the fact that Paul and Timothy are also equally ministers of Christ and preachers of the Gospel.

2 Cor 10:8. For if also I should boast somewhat more of our power, which the Lord hath given us unto edification, and not for your destruction, I should not he ashamed.

The Apostle has just said that he is at least as much a minister of Christ as his enemies; and he now observes that if he should choose to boast that he is even more, which he will shortly do (2 Cor 11:23 ff; 12:11-12), his contention will not be found without reason and truth ; and hence he will not be ashamed, i.e., he will not be shown to be a pretending impostor.

Also (Vulg., et before si amplius) should most probably be omitted.

2 Cor 10:9. But that I may not be thought as it were to terrify you by epistles,

This verse may depend on the preceding one, and if so, some such expression as, “I say this”; or, “I will not make any further claims, that I may not be thought,” etc., is to be supplied. Such a connection seems very probable, especially in view of the fact that but (Vulg., autem) at the beginning is likely not genuine. However, it makes very good sense to regard this verse as a protasis, of which verse 11 is the apodasis, verse 10 being taken as parenthetic.

This is the only place in the New Testament where ὡς ἂν (= hos an) is followed by an infinitive. Perhaps the two words should be united, ὡςἂν (= hosan), giving the sense of the Latin quasi (to appear as, to seem like, etc.).  Instead of relating to the infinitive, “terrify” (frighten) the two words hos an can be combined and are then related to the verb “thought” (seem). This makes somewhat better sense. The NABRE reads May I not seem as one frightening you through letters.  The RSVE has I would not seem to be frightening you with letters.

By epistles. The plural doubtless refers to the several letters that had preceded this one to Corinth, namely, First Corinthians, the lost letter of 1 Cor. 5:9, and the lost severe letter between 1 and 2 Cor.

2 Cor 10:10. (For his epistles indeed, say they, are weighty and strong; but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible).

Say they. The weight of authority is in favor of, it is said; but in either case we should most probably not understand a particular individual, but an indefinite expression referring to the Apostle’s critics.

His speech contemptible, i.e., of no account, lacking in polish and elegance.

2 Cor 10:11. Let such a one think this, that such as we are in word by epistles, when absent, such also we will be indeed when present.

The Apostle warns that when he comes, there will be no lack of correspondence and consistency between his letters and his actions; his vigor in the one will not be found greater than in the other.

We will be is not in the Greek; but it, or something equivalent is to be understood.

The absentes of the Vulgate agrees with sumus and not with epistolas.


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