2 Corinthians 10:12 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

2 Corinthians 10:12, NIV: "We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise."

2 Corinthians 10:12, ESV: "Not that we dare to classify or compare ourselves with some of those who are commending themselves. But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding."

2 Corinthians 10:12, KJV: "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."

2 Corinthians 10:12, NASB: "For we do not presume to rank or compare ourselves with some of those who commend themselves; but when they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they have no understanding."

2 Corinthians 10:12, NLT: "Oh, don't worry; we wouldn't dare say that we are as wonderful as these other men who tell you how important they are! But they are only comparing themselves with each other, using themselves as the standard of measurement. How ignorant!"

2 Corinthians 10:12, CSB: "For we don't dare classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. But in measuring themselves by themselves and comparing themselves to themselves, they lack understanding."

What does 2 Corinthians 10:12 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Paul is answering challenges to his authority as an apostle, made by false teachers among the Corinthians. One of their accusations was that, though Paul's letters were bold and strongly worded, he was unimpressive as a person when he was with them in person. In other words, the Corinthians did not need to worry about what Paul wrote since he could not back it up in a meaningful way when he showed up.

Paul's answer is that he and his friends would, in fact, do everything he wrote in his letters, no matter how unimpressive he might appear.

Now he clarifies, somewhat sarcastically, that he does not see himself as being in competition with his opponents in Corinth. They are commending themselves to the Corinthians based on secular standards that included dramatic speaking ability and skillful self-promotion. Paul is not participating in the cultural competition to be the most popular or most followed public personality. In fact, he describes his opponents as being without understanding—they are unwise—as proven by their continual need to measure themselves against each other. That's a game Paul refuses to play. He doesn't need to win a cultural competition to prove he truly represents Christ to the Corinthians.