Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


2 Corinthians 10:1

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

I Paul myself beseech you by the meekness - Having now finished his directions and advices relative to the collection for the poor, he resumes his argument relative to the false apostle, who had gained considerable influence by representing St. Paul as despicable in his person, his ministry, and his influence. Under this obloquy the apostle was supported by the meekness and gentleness of Christ; and through the same heavenly disposition he delayed inflicting that punishment which, in virtue of his apostolical authority, he might have inflicted on him who had disturbed and labored to corrupt the Christian Church.

Who in presence am base among you, but being absent am bold toward you - He seems to quote these as the words of his calumniator, as if he had said; "This apostle of yours is a mere braggadocio; when he is among you, you know how base and contemptible he is; when absent, see how he brags and boasts." The word ταπεινος, which we render base, signifies lowly, and, as some think, short of stature. The insinuation is, that when there was danger or opposition at hand, St. Paul acted with great obsequiousness, fearing for his person and authority, lest he should lose his secular influence. See the following verse.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

Now I Paul myself beseech you - I entreat you who are members of the church not to give me occasion for the exercise of severity in discipline. I have just expressed my confidence in the church in general, and my belief that you will act in accordance with the rules of the gospel. But I cannot thus speak of all. There are some among you who have spoken with contempt of my authority and my claims as an apostle. Of them I cannot speak in this manner; but instead of commanding them I entreat them not to give me occasion for the exercise of discipline.

By the meekness and gentleness of Christ - In view of the meekness and mildness of the Redeemer; or desiring to imitate his gentleness and kindness. Paul wished to imitate that. He did not wish to have occasion for severity. He desired at all times to imitate, and to exhibit the gentle feelings of the Saviour. He had no pleasure in severity; and he did not desire to exhibit it.

Who in presence - Margin, In outward appearance. It may either mean that when present among them he appeared, according to their representation, to be humble, mild, gentle 2 Corinthians 10:10; or that in his external appearance he had this aspect; see on 2 Corinthians 10:10. Most probably it means that they had represented him, as timid when among them, and afraid to exercise discipline, however much he had threatened it.

Am base among you - The word used here ( ταπεινὸς tapeinos) usually means low, humble, poor. Here it means timid, modest, the opposite of boldness. Such was formerly the meaning of the English word base. It was applied to those of low degree or rank; of humble birth; and stood opposed to those of elevated rank or dignity. Now it is commonly used to denote that which is degraded or worthless; of mean spirit; vile; and stands opposed to that which is manly and noble. But Paul did not mean to use it here in that sense. He meant to say that they regarded him as timid and afraid to execute the punishment which he had threatened, and as manifesting a spirit which was the opposite of boldness. This was doubtless a charge which they brought against him; but we are not necessarily to infer that it was true. All that it proves is, that he was modest and unobtrusive, and that they interpreted this as timidity and lack of spirit.

But being absent am bold toward you - That is, in my letters; see on 2 Corinthians 10:10. This they charged him with, that he was bold enough when away from them, but that he would be tame enough when he should meet them face to face, and that they had nothing to fear from him.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
While others thought meanly, and spake scornfully of the apostle, he had low thoughts, and spake humbly of himself. We should be aware of our own infirmities, and think humbly of ourselves, even when men reproach us. The work of the ministry is a spiritual warfare with spiritual enemies, and for spiritual purposes. Outward force is not the method of the gospel, but strong persuasions, by the power of truth and the meekness of wisdom. Conscience is accountable to God only; and people must be persuaded to God and their duty, not driven by force. Thus the weapons of our warfare are very powerful; the evidence of truth is convincing. What opposition is made against the gospel, by the powers of sin and Satan in the hearts of men! But observe the conquest the word of God gains. The appointed means, however feeble they appear to some, will be mighty through God. And the preaching of the cross, by men of faith and prayer, has always been fatal to idolatry, impiety, and wickedness.
Ellen G. White
SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 6 (EGW), 1062

1-3. See EGW on 2 Timothy 3:14, 15. 6BC 1062.1

14 (2 Corinthians 8:12). Light for Those Who Are Willing—God's Spirit can only enlighten the understanding of those who are willing to be enlightened. We read that God opened the ears of Lydia, so that she attended to the message spoken by Paul. To declare the whole counsel of God and all that was essential for Lydia to receive—this was the part Paul was to act in her conversion; and then the God of all grace exercised His power, leading the soul in the right way. God and the human agent cooperated, and the work was wholly successful (Letter 150, 1900). 6BC 1062.2

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Ellen G. White
This Day With God, 39.4

You will be subject to the infirmities of humanity, and will no doubt make mistakes, but the compassionate, loving Saviour will pardon all your errors, because you ask Him, and because you love Jesus. In spirit you will breathe the meekness of Christ, and will be a light in your home. Your conversation will be seasoned with grace, and a holy unction will pervade your prayers. The Lord will work with your efforts as He has in the past, and His righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rereward. TDG 39.4

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Ellen G. White
This Day With God, 93.5

No matter by whom light is sent, we should open our hearts to receive it in the meekness of Christ.—The Review and Herald, March 25, 1890. TDG 93.5

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