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Read Introduction to 2 Corinthians


2 But I beg you that when I am present I may not be bold with that confidence by which I intend to be bold against some, who think of us as if we walked according to the flesh.


2 But I beg [ask] you

The apostle asked the Corinthian church to sort out the problem before he arrived in the city. He put himself in the place of a supplicant.

that when I am present I may not be bold with that confidence

The Corinthian church needed to prepare itself with a couple of alternatives for when Paul would arrive in Corinth. He hoped that, by the time he arrived, discipline would not be necessary. Judaizers accused him of ineffective leadership and of being a person of excessive timidity.

by which I intend to be bold [courageous]

Paul did not plan to be bold against the church, as he would be against his critics influencing the church. Previously, he had warned the Corinthians that some peddled the Word of God for profit and did not preach Christ (2 Co 2:16-17; 3:1-4). Later, he would caution the church of some who preached another Jesus and a different gospel, parading themselves as apostles of Christ (2 Co 11:4-5, 13). Their claim to super-apostleship was a form of triumphalism.

against some,   

The “some” here may refer to the Judaizers who sought to undermine Paul’s authority as an apostle. These people also claimed that they were “super-apostles” (2 Co 12:11). These interlopers duped the Corinthians. They were impostors who preached another Jesus (2 Co 11:13-15).

who think of us as if we walked according to the flesh [human standards].

The Corinthian detractors judged Paul by human standards as if he were afraid of giving offense when present in the church. The church should not have taken his demeanor for cowardice or timidity. His opponents impugned his authority, saying that he preached his ideas rather than God’s.

There is a distinct division between how Paul thought about himself and how the Judaizers viewed him. The difference lay in the criteria the two parties used. The intruders conceived of themselves as gifted and spiritual. This perception came from their false doctrine of Judaist legalism imposed on Christians. They deemed themselves as spiritually superior (2 Co 11:21-22). They viewed themselves as more competent, especially by their use of rhetoric (2 Co 10:6), spiritual experiences (2 Co 12:1-10), and income (2 Co 10:7). All of this was to walk after the flesh. They were more interested in the esoteric than the Word of God. This was a clash between the worldview of Paul and of his opponents.


Much of ministry is a clash of worldviews.


Christianity as a worldview is distinct, special, and unique because it is God’s viewpoint on the universe. His system of thought does not come by induction, by or from the puny mind of man; it comes from God who is all-knowing, all-powerful, sovereign, and absolute. The biblical approach to life does not primarily derive from the finite but from the infinite. The Christian philosophy of life is supernatural in its origin. Looking at it from a limited perspective is to reduce its genius to man’s meager thoughts. If we start with finite man, we will end with a delimited view of life. If we begin with God’s revelation, we will understand the world from His unique perspective. As it is written, “My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD” (Is 55:8).