2 Corinthians 10:10
Parallel Verses
New International Version
For some say, "His letters are weighty and forceful, but in person he is unimpressive and his speaking amounts to nothing."

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

Darby Bible Translation
because his letters, he says, [are] weighty and strong, but his presence in the body weak, and his speech naught.

World English Bible
For, "His letters," they say, "are weighty and strong, but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech is despised."

Young's Literal Translation
because the letters indeed -- saith one -- are weighty and strong, and the bodily presence weak, and the speech despicable.'

2 Corinthians 10:10 Parallel
Clarke's Commentary on the Bible

For his letters, say they, are weighty and powerful - He boasts of high powers, and that he can do great things. See on 2 Corinthians 10:1-2 (note).

But his bodily presence is weak - When you behold the man, you find him a feeble, contemptible mortal; and when ye hear him speak, his speech, ὁ λογος, probably, his doctrine, εξουθενημενος, is good for nothing; his person, matter, and manner, are altogether uninteresting, unimpressive, and too contemptible to be valued by the wise and the learned. This seems to be the spirit and design of this slander.

Many, both among the ancients and moderns, have endeavored to find out the ground there was for any part of this calumny; as to the moral conduct of the apostle, that was invulnerable; his motives, it is true, were suspected and denounced by this false apostle and his partisans; but they could never find any thing in his conduct which could support their insinuations.

What they could not attach to his character, they disingenuously attached to his person and his elocution.

If we can credit some ancient writers, such as Nicephorus, we shall find the apostle thus described:

Παυλος μικρος ην και συνεσταλμενος το του σωματος μεγεθος· και ὡσπερ αγκυλον αυτο κεκτημενος· σμικρον δε, και κεκυφος· την οφιν λευκος, και το προσωπον προφερης, ψιλος την κεφαλην, κ. τ. λ.

Nicephor., lib. ii., cap. 17.

"Paul was a little man, crooked, and almost bent like a bow; with a pale countenance, long and wrinkled; a bald head; his eyes full of fire and benevolence; his beard long, thick, and interspersed with grey hairs, as was his head, etc."

I quote from Calmet, not having Nicephorus at hand.

An old Greek writer, says the same author, whose works are found among those of Chrysostom, tom. vi. hom. 30, page 265, represents him thus: - Παυλος ὁ τριπηχυς ανθρωπος, και των ουρανων ἁπτομενος· "Paul was a man of about three cubits in height, (four feet six), and yet, nevertheless, touched the heavens." Others say that "he was a little man, had a bald head, and a large nose." See the above, and several other authorities in Calmet. Perhaps there is not one of these statements correct: as to Nicephorus, he is a writer of the fourteenth century, weak and credulous, and worthy of no regard. And the writer found in the works of Chrysostom, in making the apostle little more than a pigmy, has rendered his account incredible.

That St. Paul could be no such diminutive person we may fairly presume from the office he filled under the high priest, in the persecution of the Church of Christ; and that he had not an impediment in his speech, but was a graceful orator, we may learn from his whole history, and especially from the account we have, Acts 14:12, where the Lycaonians took him for Mercury, the god of eloquence, induced thereto by his powerful and persuasive elocution. In short, there does not appear to be any substantial evidence of the apostle's deformity, pigmy stature, bald head, pale and wrinkled face, large nose, stammering speech, etc., etc. These are probably all figments of an unbridled fancy, and foolish surmisings.

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...


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...

A Militant Message
'Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that is exalted against the knowledge of God, and bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ; and being in readiness to avenge all disobedience, when your obedience shall be fulfilled.'--2 COR. x. 5 and 6 (R.V.). None of Paul's letters are so full of personal feeling as this one is. It is written, for the most part, at a white heat; he had heard from his trusted Titus tidings which on one hand filled him with a thankfulness of
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

Perfect in Parts, Imperfect in Degrees.
And the very God of peace sanctify, you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. -- 1 Thess. v. 23. The Scriptural doctrine that sanctification is a gradual process perfected only in death must be maintained clearly and soberly: first, in opposition to the Perfectionist, who says that saints may be "wholly sanctified" in this life; secondly, to those who deny the implanting of inherent holy dispositions in God's children.
Abraham Kuyper—The Work of the Holy Spirit

Caesar's Household
The gospel has ever achieved its greatest success among the humbler classes. "Not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called." 1 Corinthians 1:26. It could not be expected that Paul, a poor and friendless prisoner, would be able to gain the attention of the wealthy and titled classes of Roman citizens. To them vice presented all its glittering allurements and held them willing captives. But from among the toilworn, want-stricken victims of their oppression, even from
Ellen Gould White—The Acts of the Apostles

"But Seek Ye First the Kingdom of God," &C.
Matt. vi. 33.--"But seek ye first the kingdom of God," &c. O "seekest thou great things for thyself," says God to Baruch, (Jer. xlv. 5) "seek them not." How then doth he command us in the text to seek a kingdom? Is not this a great thing? Certainly it is greater than those great things he would not have Baruch to seek after, and yet he charges us to seek after it. In every kind of creatures there is some difference, some greater, some lesser, some higher, some lower; so there are some men far above
Hugh Binning—The Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning

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

1 Corinthians 2:3
I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling.

2 Corinthians 10:1
By the humility and gentleness of Christ, I appeal to you--I, Paul, who am "timid" when face to face with you, but "bold" toward you when away!

2 Corinthians 10:9
I do not want to seem to be trying to frighten you with my letters.

2 Corinthians 10:11
Such people should realize that what we are in our letters when we are absent, we will be in our actions when we are present.

2 Corinthians 11:6
I may indeed be untrained as a speaker, but I do have knowledge. We have made this perfectly clear to you in every way.

2 Corinthians 11:21
To my shame I admit that we were too weak for that! Whatever anyone else dares to boast about--I am speaking as a fool--I also dare to boast about.

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