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Read Introduction to 2 Corinthians


8 For even if I should boast somewhat more about our authority, which the Lord gave us for edification and not for your destruction, I shall not be ashamed—


8 For even if I should boast somewhat more about our authority,

The apostle’s authority did not come from himself but God (2 Co 13:10). He did not speak in self-glorification. Paul found himself in the unenviable place of promoting and defending himself. This was not his purpose.

The Greek word for “authority” includes both ideas of power and authority, the right to write Scripture and give direction to the local church. Paul had authority or power from God; his critics could not make this claim. His authority came from the highest gift in the New Testament—the gift of apostleship. Only an apostle had the right to write Scripture.

which the Lord gave us for [purpose] edification

Paul’s authority as an apostle was God given, whether he was present with the Corinthians or absent. The purpose of inspired Scripture is to edify believers; that is, build them up in the faith. The “Lord” here is Jesus Christ. Paul was an apostle of Christ, apostleship giving special authorities such as writing Scripture and founding the church (replacing Israel as the God-given institution). He was not an apostle sent from a church, although his home church sent him on a missionary enterprise.

and not for your destruction [casting down],

The purpose of Paul’s authority and epistles was to build believers rather than tearing them down. His goal in writing this epistle was also to correct false teachers.

I shall not be ashamed—

Paul was not ashamed of his authority, especially as it was applied to establish and build the church at Corinth. The facts of the case would prove him right. If the church rejected Paul, they would, in effect, deny the Lord’s primary agent for the church by accepting the so-called authority of false teachers; this would be a violation of God’s system of authority.


God gives authority to his earthly leaders, not for themselves but for the edifying of those who follow them.


The purpose of leaders in the local church is to build Christians to become firm and mature believers. Note this extensive study on building the believers’ edification construct: