The Spiritual War
1Now ⚓I, Paul, myself am pleading with you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ—⚓who in presence am lowly among you, but being absent am bold toward you.
2But 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.
3For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh.
4⚓For the weapons ⚓of our warfare are not carnal but ⚓mighty in God ⚓for pulling down strongholds,
5⚓casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,
6⚓and being ready to punish all disobedience when ⚓your obedience is fulfilled.
Reality of Paul’s Authority
7⚓Do you look at things according to the outward appearance? ⚓If anyone is convinced in himself that he is Christ’s, let him again consider this in himself, that just as he is Christ’s, even so ⚓we are Christ’s.
8For 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—
9lest I seem to terrify you by letters.
10“For his letters,” they say, “are weighty and powerful, but ⚓his bodily presence is weak, and his⚓speech contemptible.”
11Let such a person consider this, that what we are in word by letters when we are absent, such we will also be in deed when we are present.
Limits of Paul’s Authority
12⚓For we dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves. But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.
13⚓We, however, will not boast beyond measure, but within the limits of the sphere which God appointed us—a sphere which especially includes you.
14For we are not overextending ourselves (as though our authority did not extend to you), ⚓for it was to you that we came with the gospel of Christ;
15not boasting of things beyond measure, that is,⚓in other men’s labors, but having hope, that as your faith is increased, we shall be greatly enlarged by you in our sphere,
16to preach the gospel in the regions beyond you, and not to boast in another man’s sphere of accomplishment.
17But ⚓“he who glories, let him glory in the LORD.”
18For ⚓not he who commends himself is approved, but ⚓whom the Lord commends.