Introduction: Throughout this epistle Paul has been defending himself against some in Corinth who had been challenging his authority as an apostle of Christ. Previously his defense has been only incidental in his address to the majority whose repentant attitude and support he was so greatly comforted to hear about from Titus (2 Cor 7:6). However, in the remaining chapters he now presses his defense more emphatically in an address aimed more directly at those who stubbornly refused to recognize his credentials.
2Co 10:1-2 What were Paul’s opponents saying about the actual substance of his authority and use of it as an apostle? See also 2Co 10:10. What sort of leadership and use of authority were Paul’s opponents who walked after the flesh and the manner of the world used to exercising? Confer 2Co 10:8. What was it about Paul’s personal presence and Christ-likeness that contradicted their notions of authority and caused them to accuse him? Note: “bold” in 2Co 10:1 is the same word Paul used in 2Co 5:6,8; and “confidence” in 2Co 10:2 is the same word he used in 2Co 1:15 & 3:4.
2Co 10:3-6 How was the way Paul dealt with spiritual battles different from the way his opponents did? See 1 Cor 4:11-13. What actions might characterize a person who wars according to the flesh? See Gal 5:19-20. What Old Testament story illustrates the truth of 2Co 10:4? See Joshua 6. What is the key weapon of a true servant of God that allows him to tear down or destroy the speculations of false teachers and those lofty things raised up against the knowledge of God? See John 8:32. What are some of the lofty things raised up against the knowledge of God today? (Think: Darwin, Wellhausen, Islam, etc…). In what way do Paul’s words at the end of 2Co 10:5 refer both to our own thoughts and to the thoughts of others? Why is it so important for a Christian to guard his thoughts? See Prov 23:7. What insight does 2Co 10:6 give us about why Christ’s return has been so slow in coming? How does it illustrate that Paul was full of the true agape love of Christ? See 1 Cor 13:4.
2Co 10:7-11 How did Paul’s opponents view themselves in relation to Christ? See 2Co 10:7. How did they view Paul in relation to Christ? How is this like so many today who exalt themselves by disparaging others? Why could Paul say in 2Co 10:8 that if he should boast he would not be put to shame? Are there things in our Christian life about which we are confident and yet there is a chance we might be put to shame if we were to boast about them? For what purpose does a true servant of God exercise authority, and with what result to others? For what purpose does a worldly person exercise authority, and with what result to others? What does 2Co 10:10 reveal about Paul’s charisma and eloquence as a minister? See also 2Co 11:6, 1 Cor 2:1. What does this teach us about the necessity of these qualities for a true servant of God? See also Ex 4:10-12. How does Paul answer the charge that he was a weakling who hid behind his letters but had no real substance? See 2Co 10:11.
2Co 10:12-18 What convinced Paul’s opponents that they were true servants of God and gave them such courageous boldness or daring as to commend themselves to others that they were approved by God? See 2Co 10:12. In what way do many do the same thing today? Why does Paul say that in doing so they were without understanding? See 2Co 10:18. By whom should we measure ourselves, and with whom should we compare ourselves? In what way was the boasting of Paul’s opponents empty and beyond their measure in regard to the Corinthians? Why was any boast Paul might have in regard to the Corinthians not empty? What was Paul’s hope for the Corinthians in regard to the sphere of influence of his ministry? See 2Co 10:15-16, cf. Rom 15:23-24. How was this hope very different from that of his opponents? Were they more interested in reaching the lost who had never heard the gospel, or in making themselves spiritually comfortable by comparing themselves with themselves? What are our hopes for Christian ministry?