Wednesday, 11 November 2015
…lest I seem to terrify you by letters. 2 Corinthians 10:9
These words are dependent on the previous verse. Paul mentioned that he might somewhat boast about the authority that he and the others possessed, an authority which was given to them by the Lord for the edification of their audience. In that boasting, he says that he won’t be ashamed, “lest I seem to terrify you by letters.”
In other words, even if his letters bring about a sense of being frightened, he would not be ashamed of causing this type of result. The reason for this will be explained in the coming verses, but he is saying in advance that his boasting in the weight of his letters is not an empty boasting, but rather one which bears his authority to act upon what he has written.
Because of this, if the Corinthians were terrified of his letters, they should also be terrified of whatever action the letters threaten. If that action proves to be necessary, Paul will carry out what he has written.
As a side point, the wording of the Greek says, dia ton epistalon, or “by means of the letters.” It is plural. For this reason, many scholars believe that there is another letter that Paul wrote to them which is not included in the Bible and which is referred to in 1 Corinthians 5:9. This verse may support that theory, but it does not prove it. It could be that he is referring to 1 Corinthians and the letter he is now writing, 2 Corinthians.
Life application: Paul is often very direct in his words as are other authors of the Bible. There are statements which are taken in today’s politically correct world to be too forceful, or the remnants of a less-cultured or loving time. Even many words of Jesus are disregarded because they speak of judgment, hell, and condemnation. But let us stand on these truths and never withhold speaking them when it is appropriate to do so. Just because the “world” finds offense at the word of God, we have no excuse to not declare its whole counsel.
Lord God, Your word stands. Many things included in it, even from the mouth of Jesus, are considered as too offensive to be declared in today’s politically correct world. Words of righteous indignation, justice, judgment, and everlasting punishment are disregarded, even when spoken by Him. But they are a part of the truth of Your word. Give us the fortitude to be willing to speak of these things without compromise so that the entirety of Your word is presented to the world. Amen.