New American Standard Bible
For we are not bold to class or compare ourselves with some of those who commend themselves; but when they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are without understanding.
King James Bible
For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.
Darby Bible Translation
For we dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves; but these, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves with themselves, are not intelligent.
World English Bible
For we are not bold to number or compare ourselves with some of those who commend themselves. But they themselves, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves with themselves, are without understanding.
Young's Literal Translation
For we do not make bold to rank or to compare ourselves with certain of those commending themselves, but they, among themselves measuring themselves, and comparing themselves with themselves, are not wise,
2 Corinthians 10:12 Parallel
CommentaryBarnes' Notes on the Bible
For we dare not make ourselves of the number - We admit that we are not bold enough for that. They had accused him of a lack of boldness and energy when present with them, 2 Corinthians 10:1, 2 Corinthians 10:10. Here in a strain of severe but delicate irony, he says he was not bold enough to do things which the had done. He did not dare to do the things which had been done among them. To such boldness of character, present or absent, he could lay no claim.
Or compare ourselves ... - I am not bold enough for that. That requires a stretch of boldness and energy to which I can lay no claim.
That commend themselves - That put themselves forward, and that boast of their endowments and attainments. It is probable that this was commonly done by those to whom the apostle here refers; and it is certain that it is everywhere the characteristic of pride. To do this, Paul says, required greater boldness than he possessed, and on this point he yielded to them the palm. The satire here is very delicate, and yet very severe, and was such as would doubtless be felt by them.
But they measuring themselves by themselves - Whitby and Clarke suppose that this means that they compare themselves with each other; and that they made the false apostles particularly their standard. Doddridge, Grotius, Bloomfield, and some others suppose the sense to be, that they made themselves the standard of excellence. They looked continually on their own accomplishments, and did not look at the excellences of others. They thus formed a disproportionate opinion of themselves, and undervalued all others. Paul says that he had not boldness enough for that. It required a moral courage to which he could lay no claim. Horace (Epis. 2 Corinthians 1:7. 98) has an expression similar to this:
"Metirise quemque sue modulo ac pede verum est."
The sense of Paul is, that they made themselves the standard of excellence; that they were satisfied with their own attainments; and that they overlooked the superior excellence and attainments of others. This is a graphic description of pride and self-complacency; and, alas! it is what is often exhibited. How many there are, and it is to be feared even among professing Christians, who have no other standard of excellence than themselves. Their views are the standard of orthodoxy; their modes of worship are the standard of the proper manner of devotion; their habits and customs are in their own estimation perfect; and their own characters are the models of excellence, and they see little or no excellence in those who differ from them. They look on themselves as the true measure of orthodoxy, humility, zeal, and piety; and they condemn all others, however excellent they may be, who differ from them.
And comparing themselves ... - Or rather comparing themselves with themselves. Themselves they make to be the standard, and they judge of everything by that.
Are not wise - Are stupid and foolish. Because:
(1) They had no such excellence as to make themselves the standard.
(2) because this was an indication of pride.
(3) because it made them blind to the excellences of others. It was to be presumed that others had endowments not inferior to theirs.
(4) because the requirements of God, and the character of the Redeemer, were the proper standard of conduct. Nothing is a more certain indication of folly than for a man to make himself the standard of excellence. Such an individual must be blind to his own real character; and the only thing certain about his attainments is, that he is inflated with pride. And yet how common! How self-satisfied are most persons! How pleased with their own character and attainments! How grieved at any comparison which is made with others implying their inferiority! How prone to undervalue all others simply because they differ from them! - The margin renders this: "understand it not," that is, they do not understand their own character or their inferiority.
LibraryExcursus on the Use of the Word "Canon. "
(Bright: Notes on the Canons, pp. 2 and 3.) Kanon, as an ecclesiastical term, has a very interesting history. See Westcott's account of it, On the New Testament Canon, p. 498 ff. The original sense, "a straight rod" or "line," determines all its religious applications, which begin with St. Paul's use of it for a prescribed sphere of apostolic work (2 Cor. x. 13, 15), or a regulative principle of Christian life (Gal. vi. 16). It represents the element of definiteness in Christianity and in the …
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Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; A stranger, and not your own lips.
2 Corinthians 3:1
Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, as some, letters of commendation to you or from you?
2 Corinthians 10:11
Let such a person consider this, that what we are in word by letters when absent, such persons we are also in deed when present.
2 Corinthians 10:18
For it is not he who commends himself that is approved, but he whom the Lord commends.
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