Our last reading this week is from 2 Cor 10: 12-18
v12: We dare not … compare: This speaks about our humility, spiritual sensitivity as well as a fear of the L-rd.
- Class ourselves: Judge ourselves according to a certain set of standards. We do not classify ourselves according to the standards of other human beings, but our standard is Messiah. He is the One our lives need to match up to – the standard that we compare our lives to.
- Those who commend themselves: There are a couple of different ways that we can understand this. Some were possibly comparing themselves to those who were champions of the faith (the well-known apostles who had a great reputation). Another way to interpret this is that some people were comparing themselves to those who did not have much faithfulness. In both instances these people are trying to elevate themselves in the eyes of other people.
- They: Those who compare themselves with their own preconceived standards. They do this in order to elevate themselves or to make themselves feel good about themselves. When we compare ourselves to Messiah, we all come up short – but that should spur us to grow – to become more like Him.
- Measuring: This is a word for matching a standard. They measure and compare themselves to others.
- (They) are not wise: They do not have understanding. The objective is not to be better than someone else. It is not to compare ourselves with others or to join some elite group in order to make us feel better about ourselves.
v13: Boast: Be impressed by or rejoice over.
- Beyond measure: Things that are unmeasurable. Those abstract things that people put forth that have no substance or measurable indicators – usually a false testimony. It is very dangerous to base our theology, and our behaviour for service to G-d, on testimony alone (our dreams or visions etc). We always need to check our testimony against the Word of G-d.
- Limits of the sphere: The region. Paul is talking about the area or the place where G-d has positioned him to serve.
- The sphere (region to) which G-d appointed us: Paul is not boasting about his position or status. What he is boasting about is the fact that he has been called into service. Paul is thankful for and rejoices in this service.
- Includes you: Paul was rejoicing because they got to minister to this Corinthian congregation. Paul was enabled to be a blessing to their spiritual walk. That was his objective or purpose.
v14: It was to you that we came with the gospel of Messiah: Paul’s call was to take the gospel to the unsaved, and part of that call included taking it to the Corinthian congregation.
v15: Hope: Hope is the belief that G-d is going to, sooner or later, fulfil His promises. Hope brings about perseverance. It brings about a tenacity that causes us to overcome the enemy. Even though Corinth was a difficult area to work into, Paul did not wash his hands of it. He believed in the promises of G-d. He believed that G-d was going to work through him in this congregation. He believed that this congregation was going to be fruitful in righteousness.
- Faith: Faith, from a Hebrew perspective, is connected to truth. Paul wanted to increase their faith by discipling them in the truth of G-d.
- Increased: Abundance. Increasing abundance, abundance that goes beyond, is what motivated Paul. He had a great expectation that G-d would do more and more. Paul was not satisfied with the status quo.
- Enlarged: Made great or magnified. Paul wanted to see growth.
- Our sphere: Our area. Where G-d had placed them.
v16: Paul did not want to interfere in the area of someone else’s call – what G-d had portioned to them. Although Paul did not want to infringe upon the areas of others he did want to go beyond this congregation for the sake of the gospel.
- Boast: This word in this context is not speaking about self-exaltation, but it is speaking of rejoicing in. Paul wanted to be used by G-d in their lives. He wanted to rejoice in their growth and spiritual maturity. He wanted to see an increase in their faith, leading to more fruit and a greater testimony of being more and more pleasing to G-d. This is what we should be rejoicing about – spiritual growth is a victory for us.
v17: He who glories (boasts) let him glory in the L-rd: Quoted from Jeremiah 9:24. This means that whatever good we are boasting about, rejoicing about, talking about, has been imparted to us from the L-rd. He is the source of anything good in our lives. We are just the vessel that gets to hold His glory. It is not the cup that is praised but it is what is in the cup that refreshes and nourishes others. We are like that cup. It is Messiah’s Spirit within us that should always get all the glory and praise.
v18: Not he who commends himself is approved: It is not our approval of ourselves that means anything.
- Whom the L-rd commends (is approved): G-d evaluates our lives, our service, our ministry. We do not want to be people who magnify our ministries or our spheres of influence, but we want to be people who magnify and submit to the L-rd.