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1: Now I Paul myself - - A strongly emphatical expression.
Who when present am base among you - So, probably, some of the
false teachers affirmed. Copying after the meekness and
gentleness of Christ, entreat - Though I might command you.
2: Do not constrain me when present to be bold - To
exert my apostolical authority. Who think of us as walking
after the flesh - As acting in a cowardly or crafty manner.
3: Though we walk in the flesh - In mortal bodies, and,
consequently, are not free from human weakness. Yet we do not
war - Against the world and the devil. After the flesh - By any
carnal or worldly methods. Though the apostle here, and in
several other parts of this epistle, speaks in the plural
number, for the sake of modesty and decency, yet he principally
means himself. On him were these reflections thrown, and it
is his own authority which he is vindicating.
4: For the weapons of our warfare - Those we use in this
war. Are not carnal - But spiritual, and therefore mighty to
the throwing down of strong holds - Of all the difficulties
which men or devils can raise in our way. Though faith and
prayer belong also to the Christian armour, (Eph 6:15), &c.,
yet the word of God seems to be here chiefly intended.
5: Destroying all vain reasonings, and every high thing
which exalteth itself - As a wall or rampart. Against the
knowledge of God, and bringing every thought - Or, rather,
faculty of the mind. Into captivity to the obedience of Christ
- Those evil reasonings are destroyed. The mind itself, being
overcome and taken captive, lays down all authority of its own,
and entirely gives itself up to perform, for the time to come,
to Christ its conqueror the obedience of faith.
6: Being in readiness to avenge all disobedience - Not only
by spiritual censure, but miraculous punishments. When your
obedience is fulfilled - When the sound part of you have given
proof of your obedience, so that I am in no danger of punishing
the innocent with the guilty.
7: Do ye look at the outward appearance of things - Does
any of you judge of a minister of Christ by his person, or any
outward circumstance? Let him again think this of himself - Let
him learn it from his own reflection, before I convince him by
a severer method.
8: I should not be ashamed - As having said more than I
could make good.
9: I say this, that I may not seem to terrify you by
letters - Threatening more than I can perform.
10: His bodily presence is weak - His stature, says
St. Chrysostom, was low, his body crooked, and his head bald.
12: For we presume not - A strong irony. To equal
ourselves - As partners of the same office. Or to compare
ourselves - As partakers of the same labour. They among
themselves limiting themselves - Choosing and limiting
their provinces according to their own fancy.
13: But we will not, like them, boastingly extend
ourselves beyond our measure, but according to the measure
of the province which God hath allotted us - To me, in particular,
as the apostle of the gentiles. A measure which reaches even
unto you - God allotted to each apostle his province, and the
measure or bounds thereof.
14: We are come even to you - By a gradual, regular
process, having taken the intermediate places in our way,
in preaching the gospel of Christ.
15: Having hope, now your faith is increased - So that you
can the better spare us. To be enlarged by you abundantly - That
is, enabled by you to go still further.
16: In the regions beyond you - To the west and south,
where the gospel had not yet been preached.