The Reality of Paul’s Authority

“A man’s life is always more forcible than his speech. When men take stock of him they reckon his deeds as dollars and his words as pennies. If his life and doctrine disagree, the mass of onlookers accept his practice and reject his preaching.” (C.H. Spurgeon). … More


The Corinthians looked only on the surface of things and as a result the false apostles found them to be gullible (v. 7). They interpreted Paul’s love and meekness as a sign of weakness (vv. 8-10). These false teachers were accusing Paul of not being a true apostle, for if he was, he would show it by using his authority. The big difference between Paul and the Judaizers was that Paul used his authority to build up the church, while the Judaizers used the church to build up their authority. It is sort of like churches today that use people to build their church rather than using the church to build people.

In the economy of God, position and power are not an evidence of true authority. In fact, Jesus  warned his followers that they were not to pattern their leadership after the Gentiles who loved to “lord it over” others as they tried to act important. How a Christian uses authority is an evidence of his spiritual maturity and character. An  immature person demands respect while a mature person earns it. The key is to be a leader and not a boss. The  boss says “Go” while the leader says “Let’s go.” The boss knows how it is to be done but the leader shows how it is to be done.

Paul wants the people to understand that when I am with you, I will do exactly what I say in my letters (v. 11). He does not measure his credentials as his enemies do,"measuring themselves by themselves"  (v. 12). He says  that a person who does so is not wise. Our standard of measurement should come from the Word of God. It is easy enough to say, “I am as good as the next man,” and it may be true. But the point is, are we as good as Jesus Christ? He is our true rod of measurement and our proper standard of comparison: When we measure ourselves by Him, there is no room left for pride. “Self-praise,” says Paul, “is no honor.” It is not his own, but Christ’s “Well done!” that man must seek.


I need to be careful that I do not want to compare my test scores and achievements in life with those of other people. This is what Paul is warning against. One of the biggest stumbling blocks of people coming to the Lord is their saying they are not as bad as someone else.

II Corinthians 10:7-12 (English Standard Version)

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