2 Corinthians 10:5 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

2 Corinthians 10:5, NIV: We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

2 Corinthians 10:5, ESV: We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,

2 Corinthians 10:5, KJV: Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

2 Corinthians 10:5, NASB: We are destroying arguments and all arrogance raised against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ,

2 Corinthians 10:5, NLT: We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ.

2 Corinthians 10:5, CSB: and every proud thing that is raised up against the knowledge of God, and we take every thought captive to obey Christ.

What does 2 Corinthians 10:5 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

This passage is answering critics among the Corinthians who claim Paul's brash letters and calm persona are evidence of hypocrisy or weakness. Their intent seems to have been undermining authority as an apostle. They would particularly have objected to Paul's right to rebuke or correct those in Corinth in matters of the knowledge of God and the practice of Christian faith.

Paul takes this challenge seriously. He sees himself at war with these false teachers. He has written that he does not fight with physical weapons but with spiritual ones. These tools, such as prayer and Scripture, are powered by God. This makes them potent enough for Paul and his fellow workers to destroy strongholds of resistance to the true gospel of Jesus. The prior verse used terminology referring both to military fortresses and to debate—combining imagery to make a powerful point.

The battlefield in question is not an earthly region, but the hearts and minds of the people in Corinth. In God's power, Paul and his co-workers for Christ are able to destroy all the arguments and impressive-sounding opinions his opponents put forward against the knowledge of God. Using godly tools, Paul and his associates destroy the feeble arguments, but they capture the thoughts of the people in order to motivate them to obey Christ.

In posing this as spiritual war for the mind, Paul reveals an essential truth. Wrong teaching leads to wrong thinking, which leads to disobedience to Christ. Understanding the true knowledge of God leads to right thinking, which leads to obedience to Christ. In going to war against the false arguments of his opponents, Paul's final goal is that God's people would obey Christ. Paul doesn't fight for his own glory or for the sake of victory alone, but to bring more and more obedience to Christ among the Corinthians.