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2 Corinthians 10:1

ESV 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!—
NIV 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!
NASB Now I, Paul, myself urge you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ—I who am meek when face to face with you, but bold toward you when absent!
CSB Now I, Paul, myself, appeal to you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ--I who am humble among you in person but bold toward you when absent.
NLT Now I, Paul, appeal to you with the gentleness and kindness of Christ — though I realize you think I am timid in person and bold only when I write from far away.
KJV Now I Paul myself beseech you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ, who in presence am base among you, but being absent am bold toward you:

What does 2 Corinthians 10:1 mean?

The end of chapter 9 completed an appeal to the Corinthians. Paul called on them to renew their enthusiasm for the collection for the Jerusalem Christians. Here, Paul returns to a defense of himself, especially from those in Corinth who are questioning his integrity.

He begins by declaring himself boldly. "I, Paul, myself" he writes, intending to emphasize exactly who he is in Christ in the following verses. He appeals to the virtues exhibited by Christ. Properly understood, qualities such as meekness and gentleness were valued in the Greek culture of Paul's day. In fact, they were expected from strong leaders.

As used here, meekness is not weakness. The Greek term prautētos has more to do with humility than softness; it implies strength under control. In Paul's case, comparing his letters to his personal conduct, it means the ability to keep a calm spirit under pressure. Paul can keep his power under control and not exercise it beyond what is necessary.

Gentleness, too, requires responding to others with understanding. The Greek term epieikeias implies someone who can adjust to circumstances and responses, rather than forcing them to adjust to you. Another translation for this word is "tolerance." Paul wants the Corinthians to see that he is approaching them with these Christlike qualities and not with weakness.

Some in Corinth, apparently, were saying that Paul was weak, at least in person. He quotes them in this verse as saying that he is "humble"; in this context, this is meant in the sense of being downcast, low, or lacking confidence. This, supposedly, is Paul's attitude when he is with them, as opposed to being brash when he is away, writing his letters. He will counter that accusation in the following verses.
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