This is me Paul, personally appealing to you through Christ's kindness and gentleness, the one who is “shy” when I have to face you but who isboldwhen I'm not there.* I'm pleading with you, so that the next time I'm with you I won't have to be as tough as I think I'll have to be, boldly dealing with those who think we behave in worldly ways. Even though we live in this world, we don't fight as the world does. Our weapons are not of this world but God's mighty power that destroys fortresses of human thinking, demolishing misleading theories. Every high wall that stands tall and proud against the knowledge of God is knocked down. Every rebel idea is captured and brought into obedient agreement with Christ. When you are completely obeying Christ then we're ready to punish any disobedience.
Look at what's staring you in the face! Anyone who considers that they belong to Christ should think againjust as they belong to Christ, so do we! Even though I may seem to be boasting a little too much about our authority, I'm not embarrassed about it. The Lord gave this authority to us to build you up, not to knock you down. I'm not trying to scare you by my letters. 10 People say, “His letters are tough and severe, but in person he's feeble, and he's a useless speaker.” 11 People like that should realize that what we say through letters when we're not there we will do when we are there! 12 We're not so arrogant to compare ourselves with those who think so much of themselves. Those who measure themselves by themselves, and compare themselves with themselves, are really foolish! 13 But we won't boast about ourselves in extravagant terms that can't be measured. We simply measure what we have done using God's system of measurement that he gave usand that includes you. 14 We are not over-extending our authority in saying this, as if we didn't get as far as you, for we did get to you and share with you the good news of Christ. 15 We're not boasting in extravagant terms that can't be measured, claiming credit for what others have done. On the contrary, we hope that as your trust in God grows, our work among you will greatly increase. 16 Then we can share the good news in places way beyond you, without boasting about what's already been done where someone else has worked. 17 If anyone wants to boast, boast about the Lord.”§ 18 It's not those who praise themselves that are respected, but those that the Lord praises.
* 10:1 Paul seems to be dealing with an accusation some have made against him. 10:14 Paul is saying that he was working within his commission to spread the gospel when he came to Corinth. It may be that some were saying that Corinth was not really part of Paul's jurisdiction. 10:16 Paul wants to avoid issues of who gets credit for doing what, and would rather move on with the work of spreading the good news. § 10:17 Quoting Jeremiah 9:24.