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. Chapter 10.

Trials of a Christian missionary

Paul Defends His Ministry (Corinth)

1 BUT I, PAUL, appeal to you by the gentleness and magnanimity of Christ—I, so feeble (you say) when I am face to face with you, so brave when I am away. 2 Spare me, I beg you, the necessity of such bravery when I come, for I reckon I could put on as bold a face as you please against those who charge us with moral weakness. 3 Weak men we may be, but it is not as such that we fight our battles. 4 The weapons we wield are not merely human, [Or: charge us with worldly standards. We live, no doubt, in the world; but it is not on that level that we fight our battles. The weapons we wield are not those of the world ... ] but divinely potent to demolish strongholds; 5 we demolish sophistries and all that rears its proud head against the knowledge of God; we compel every human thought to surrender in obedience to Christ; 6 and we are prepared to punish all rebellion when once you have put yourselves in our hands.

7 Look facts in the face. [Or: You are looking only at what catches the eye.] Someone is convinced, is he, that he belongs to Christ? Let him think again, and reflect that we belong to Christ as much as he does. 8 Indeed, if I am somewhat over-boastful about our authority-an authority given by the Lord to build you up, not pull you down-I shall make my boast good. 9 So you must not think of me as one who scares you by the letters he writes. 10 'His letters', so it is said, 'are weighty and powerful; but when he appears he has no presence, and as a speaker he is beneath contempt.' 11 People who talk in that way should reckon with this: when I come, my actions will show the same man as my letters showed in my absence.

12 We should not dare to class ourselves or compare ourselves with any of those who put forward their own claims. What fools they are to measure themselves by themselves, to find in themselves their own standard of comparison! [Some witnesses read: On the contrary we measure ourselves by ourselves, by our own standards of comparison.] 13 With us there will be no attempt to boast beyond our proper sphere; and our sphere is determined by the limit God laid down for us, which permitted us to come as far as Corinth. 14 We are not overstretching our commission, as we should be if it did not extend to you, for we were the first to reach Corinth in preaching the gospel of Christ. 15 And we do not boast of work done where others have laboured, work beyond our proper sphere. Our hope is rather that, as your faith grows, we may attain a position among you greater than ever before, but still within the limits of our sphere. 16 Then we can carry the Gospel to lands that lie beyond you, never priding ourselves on work already done in another man's sphere. 17 [ Jr.9.24. ] If a man must boast, let him boast of the Lord. 18 Not the man who recommends himself, but the man whom the Lord recommends—he and he alone is to be accepted.

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