2 Corinthians 10:9
That I may not seem as if I would terrify you by letters.
Jump to: AlfordBarnesBengelBensonBICalvinCambridgeChrysostomClarkeDarbyEllicottExpositor'sExp DctExp GrkGaebeleinGSBGillGrayGuzikHaydockHastingsHomileticsICCJFBKellyKingLangeMacLarenMHCMHCWMeyerParkerPNTPoolePulpitSermonSCOTTBVWSWESTSK
(9) That I may not seem as if I would terrify you by letters.—The logical sequence of thought is: “I say this” (i.e., that my sentence of delivery to Satan will not be a hollow form) “in order that I may not seem to frighten you as with a bug-bear.” This, it is clear from what follows, had been said. (Comp. the sneer in the next verse.) The use of the plural in this verse and that which follows is in favour of the hypothesis of a lost letter being referred to in 1Corinthians 5:9, but does not absolutely prove it.

10:7-11 In outward appearance, Paul was mean and despised in the eyes of some, but this was a false rule to judge by. We must not think that none outward appearance, as if the want of such things proved a man not to be a real Christian, or an able, faithful minister of the lowly Saviour.That I may not seem ... - The meaning of this verse seems to be this. "I say that I might boast more of my power in order that I may not appear disposed to terrify you with my letters merely. I do not threaten more than I can perform. I have it in my power to execute all that I have threatened, and to strike an awe not only by my letters, but by the infliction of extraordinary miraculous punishments. And if I should boast that I had done this, and could do it again, I should have no reason to be ashamed. It would not be vain and empty boasting; not boasting which is not well-founded." 9. I say this lest I should seem to be terrifying you, as children, with empty threats [Bengel]. Estius explains, "I might boast more of my authority, but I forbear to do so, that I may not seem as if," &c. But this ellipsis is harsh: and 2Co 10:10, 11 confirm Bengel's view. This was one imputation upon the apostle, as we may learn by the next verse. I tell you, saith the apostle, that I have an authority, and a further authority than those who vilify me can pretend unto: but I also tell you, I have no authority to do any harm to any of you; all the authority I have is for your edification, as much as lieth in me to promote the business of your salvation; so that I need not be reported as one that went about to terrify you by my letters; yet I know there are some who so represent me unto you.

That I may not seem as if I would terrify you by letters. Here seems to be something wanting, which is to be supplied, The sense is, though I might lawfully boast of the superior authority which we apostles have above other persons, in using sharpness with men insolent and hardened in sin; yet I will not, I forbear every thing of that kind, I drop it, I do not choose to insist upon it; , "I overlook", or "neglect" it, "I do not care" to do it, as the Syriac version supplies it; and this he thought most prudent and advisable, lest he should give any occasion to the above calumny that he was bold, and blustering, and terrifying by his letters when absent, and only threatened that he had no power to perform. That I may not seem as if I would terrify you by letters.
2 Corinthians 10:9 is taken by Chrysostom, Calvin, Schulz, Morus, Zachariae, Emmerling, Vater, Rückert, Olshausen, de Wette, Ewald, Maier, Hofmann, as the protasis of 2 Corinthians 10:11, so that 2 Corinthians 10:10 becomes a parenthesis. But by Erasmus, Luther, Castalio, Beza, Grotius, Bengel, and others, also Billroth and Schrader, it is attached to 2 Corinthians 10:8, in which case, however, some (Beza, Bengel, comp. Billroth) supply before ἵνα a “quod ego idcirco dico,” others (Grotius, comp. Erasmus): “non addam plura ea de re.” The latter is pure invention; and from the supplement of Beza there would not at all logically result what is said in 2 Corinthians 10:9. No; let ἵνα μὴ δόξω κ.τ.λ. be joined immediately, without assuming any intervening thought, to οὐκ αἰσχυνθήσομαι: I shall not be put to shame (now comes the definition, in a negative form, of the divine aim with reference to the charge in question), in order that I may not appear, etc., that the matter may not remain on the footing of the mere word, but it may be apparent in point of fact that I am something quite other than the man who wishes to frighten you by his letters. If in this way the passage proceeds simply and correctly without logical difficulty, the less simple connection of Chrysostom et al. (see above) is superfluous, and is, moreover, not to be accepted, because the new part of the passage would begin, in a very palpably abrupt way, with ἵνα without any connecting particle,[304] and because what Paul says in 2 Corinthians 10:11 could not destroy the appearance indicated in 2 Corinthians 10:9, to which belonged matter of fact.

ὡς ἂν ἐκφοβεῖν ὑμᾶς] The Vulgate rightly has: “tanquam terrere vos,” and Beza: “ceu perterrefacere vos.” The ὡς ἄν modestly takes away from the harsh and strong ἐκφοβεῖν the offensiveness, which in the feeling of the apostle it would have had, if taken by itself and in its full sense. It is not modal (“in any way,” Hofmann), but comparative, corresponding quite to our modifying as [German wie]: that I may not appear to put you as in dread. In later Greek ὡς ἄν certainly has the meaning tanquam, quasi, ἄν having lost its specific reference. See Hermann, de part. ἄν, 4. 3, p. 184; Bornemann, in d. Sächs. Stud. 1846, p. 61; Buttmann, neut. Gram. p. 189 [E. T. 219]. To resolve it into ὡς ἂν ἐκφοβοῖμι ὑμᾶς (Olshausen) is arbitrary, as if it were oratio directa. The classical ὡς ἄν with optative and subjunctive (Klotz, ad Devar. p. 767), as in 1 Thessalonians 2:7, is not to be brought into comparison her.

διὰ τῶν ἐπιστ.] namely, which I write to you (article); he had already written two. The plural does not justify the hypothesis of a third letter already written (Bleek).

The compound ἐκφοβεῖν (comp. ἔκφοβος, Mark 9:6; Hebrews 12:21) is stronger than the simple form, Plato, Gorg. p. 483 C; Ephesians 3, p. 318 B; Thuc. iii. 42. 4; Polyb. xiv. 10. 3; Wis 17:9; Wis 17:19; 1Ma 14:17.

[304] Hence also at a very early time there crept in after ἵνα a δέ, which we still find in Syr. Vulg. Chrys. Theophyl. Pel. Ambrosiast. and several cursives.

2 Corinthians 10:9. ἵνα μὴ δόξω κ.τ.λ.: that I may not seem as if I would scare you by my letters. It is best to take these words with εἰς οἰκοδομήν of the preceding verse; his purpose in writing so severely is not to terrify them, but to build them up in holiness and obedience. ὡς ἄν = tanquam, with the infin. is only found here in the N.T. The plural τῶν ἐπιστολῶν suggests (what we know from 1 Corinthians 5:9) that at least one letter of rebuke in addition to 1 Cor. had been written before this.

9. that I may not seem as if I would terrify you by letters] Literally, by means of the letters, i.e. this and the two former. See note on 1 Corinthians 5:9. The connection of thought is not clear at first sight, but a little consideration will serve to bring it out. St Paul is about to boast of his authority. This boast is no brutum fulmen. He means to act upon it in all seriousness when he comes to Corinth. He wishes them to understand that it will not be confined to words, but will be shewn in deeds when he arrives. See note on 2 Corinthians 10:6.

2 Corinthians 10:9. Ἴνα μὴ) I say this, lest, etc.—ὠς ἄν) Apposite particles [as though I would].—ἐκφοβεῖν ὑμᾶς, terrify you) as if you were children, with vain terror.

Verse 9. - By letters; rather, by the letters. He had certainly addressed two letters to them (1 Corinthians 5:9). 2 Corinthians 10:9That I may not seem

The construction is abrupt. Probably something is to be supplied, as I say this in order that I may not seem, etc.

2 Corinthians 10:9 Interlinear
2 Corinthians 10:9 Parallel Texts

2 Corinthians 10:9 NIV
2 Corinthians 10:9 NLT
2 Corinthians 10:9 ESV
2 Corinthians 10:9 NASB
2 Corinthians 10:9 KJV

2 Corinthians 10:9 Bible Apps
2 Corinthians 10:9 Parallel
2 Corinthians 10:9 Biblia Paralela
2 Corinthians 10:9 Chinese Bible
2 Corinthians 10:9 French Bible
2 Corinthians 10:9 German Bible

Bible Hub

2 Corinthians 10:8
Top of Page
Top of Page