2 Corinthians 10:10
Parallel Verses
English Standard Version
For they say, “His letters are weighty and strong, but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech of no account.”

King James Bible
For his letters, say they, are weighty and powerful; but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible.

American Standard Version
For, His letters, they say, are weighty and strong; but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech of no account.

Douay-Rheims Bible
(For his epistles indeed, say they, are weighty and strong; but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible,)

English Revised Version
For, His letters, they say, are weighty and strong; but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech of no account.

Webster's Bible Translation
For his letters (say they) are weighty and powerful; but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible.

Weymouth New Testament
For they say "His letters are authoritative and forcible, but his personal presence is unimpressive, and as for eloquence, he has none."

2 Corinthians 10:10 Parallel
Commentary
Vincent's Word Studies

They say (φασίν)

The correct reading is φησί says he. The Revisers retain they say, but read φησί he says in their text. The reference is to some well-known opponent. Compare one, any one in 2 Corinthians 10:7; 2 Corinthians 11:20. The only instance of the very words used by Paul's adversaries.

Weighty (βαρεῖαι)

In classical Greek, besides the physical sense of heavy, the word very generally implies something painful or oppressive. As applied to persons, severe, stern. In later Greek it has sometimes the meaning of grave or dignified, and by the later Greek rhetoricians it was applied to oratory, in the sense of impressive, as here.

Weak

"No one can even cursorily read St. Paul's epistles without observing that he was aware of something in his aspect or his personality which distressed him with an agony of humiliation - something which seems to force him, against every natural instinct of his disposition, into language which sounds to himself like a boastfulness which was abhorrent to him, but which he finds to be more necessary to himself than to other men. It is as though he felt that his appearance was against him.... His language leaves on us the impression of one who was acutely sensitive, and whose sensitiveness of temperament has been aggravated by a meanness of presence which is indeed forgotten by the friends who know him, but which raises in strangers a prejudice not always overcome" (Farrar).

Bodily presence

All the traditions as to Paul's personal appearance are late. A bronze medal discovered in the cemetery of St. Domitilla at Rome, and ascribed to the first or second century, represents the apostle with a bald, round, well-developed head; rather long, curling beard; high forehead; prominent nose; and open, staring eye. The intellectual character of the face is emphasized by the contrast with the portrait of Peter, which faces Paul's. Peter's forehead is flat, the head not so finely developed, the face commonplace, the cheek bones high, the eye small, and the hair and beard short, thick, and curling. An ivory diptych of the fourth century, reproduced in Mr. Lewin's "Life of Paul," contains two portraits. In the one he is sitting in an official chair, with uplifted hand and two fingers raised, apparently in the act of ordination. The face is oval, the beard long and pointed, the moustache full, the forehead high, the head bald, and the eyes small and weak. The other portrait represents him in the act of throwing off the viper. A forgery of the fourth century, under the name of Lucian, alludes to him as "the bald-headed, hooknosed Galilean." In the "Apocryphal Acts of the Apostles" mention is made of one Dioscorus, the bald shipmaster, who followed Paul to Rome, and was mistaken for him and beheaded in his stead. In the "Acts of Paul and Thekla," a third-century romance, he is described as "short, bald, bowlegged, with meeting eyebrows, hook-nosed, full of grace." John of Antioch, in the sixth century, says that he was round-shouldered, with aquiline nose, greyish eyes, meeting eyebrows, and ample beard.

Contemptible (ἐξουθενημένος)

Lit., made nothing of. Rev., of no account.

2 Corinthians 10:10 Parallel Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

say they. Gr. saith he.

2 Corinthians 10:11 Let such an one think this, that, such as we are in word by letters when we are absent...

but.

2 Corinthians 10:1 Now I Paul myself beseech you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ, who in presence am base among you...

2 Corinthians 12:5-9 Of such an one will I glory: yet of myself I will not glory, but in my infirmities...

1 Corinthians 2:3,4 And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling...

Galatians 4:13,14 You know how through infirmity of the flesh I preached the gospel to you at the first...

and his.

2 Corinthians 11:6 But though I be rude in speech, yet not in knowledge; but we have been thoroughly made manifest among you in all things.

Exodus 4:10 And Moses said to the LORD, O my LORD, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since you have spoken to your servant...

Jeremiah 1:6 Then said I, Ah, Lord GOD! behold, I cannot speak: for I am a child.

1 Corinthians 1:17,21 For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words...

1 Corinthians 2:1-4 And I, brothers, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring to you the testimony of God...

Cross References
1 Corinthians 1:17
For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.

1 Corinthians 2:3
And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling,

2 Corinthians 10:1
I, Paul, myself entreat you, by the meekness and gentleness of Christ--I who am humble when face to face with you, but bold toward you when I am away!--

2 Corinthians 10:9
I do not want to appear to be frightening you with my letters.

2 Corinthians 10:11
Let such a person understand that what we say by letter when absent, we do when present.

2 Corinthians 11:6
Even if I am unskilled in speaking, I am not so in knowledge; indeed, in every way we have made this plain to you in all things.

2 Corinthians 11:21
To my shame, I must say, we were too weak for that! But whatever anyone else dares to boast of--I am speaking as a fool--I also dare to boast of that.

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