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But I beseech you, that I may not be bold when I am present with that confidence, wherewith I think to be bold against some, which think of us as if we walked according to the flesh.
For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:
(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)
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;
Do ye look on things after the outward appearance? If any man trust to himself that he is Christ's, let him of himself think this again, that, as he is Christ's, even so are we Christ's.
For his letters, say they, are weighty and powerful; but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible.
Let such an one think this, that, such as we are in word by letters when we are absent, such will we be also in deed when we are present.
For we stretch not ourselves beyond our measure, as though we reached not unto you: for we are come as far as to you also in preaching the gospel of Christ:
To preach the gospel in the regions beyond you, and not to boast in another man's line of things made ready to our hand.
But he that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.

New Defender's Study Bible Notes

10:3 war after the flesh. Paul often used a military metaphor to describe the Christian life (e.g., II Timothy 2:3-4). In this verse, “flesh” is not used theologically, but physiologically, referring to our natural human abilities. We “walk” like all natural men physically, but our warfare is conducted in the realm of the spirit, not with swords or guns.

10:4 not carnal. Our weapons are not “fleshly” weapons, but spiritual. In fact, Paul enumerates them in Ephesians 6:13-18, as “the whole armour of God,” namely truth, righteousness, peace, faith, salvation, the Word of God, and prayer. All too often, Christians and their churches try to do God’s work in ways that appeal to the flesh—great organizations, Christian entertainment, human wisdom and philosophy, beautiful facilities, glamorous advertising, and the like. These are “carnal” weapons, not the weapons provided by the Lord, and those who use them are in danger of eventual spiritual defeat, even if outward appearances seem impressive.

10:5 imaginations. The spiritual panoply of weapons ordained by God may not appear impressive outwardly to a humanistically oriented society, but it is only these that can pull down the strong holds of Satan in this world, casting down the humanistic “reasonings” (literal meaning of “imaginations”) of the leaders of this world’s educational and political systems. Otherwise the enemy will “spoil” us—that is, defeat us and despoil us of the carnal weapons we have tried to use (see Colossians 2:8).

10:5 every thought. “Thought” here is the same word as “mind.” Judicious use of our spiritual weapons—especially the one offensive weapon, “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:17)—will result in opening the blinded “minds” (note II Corinthians 4:4) of those who have rejected God and His Word, and capturing them for Christ. Thus, we are not to use such carnal weapons as bullets—or even ballots—in our battle for the human mind, but the mighty spiritual weapons in “the whole armour of God” (Ephesians 6:11).

10:10 weak. Paul was evidently small and unimpressive in appearance, though certainly not a weakling (in view of the many hardships he had to overcome). Neither was he an eloquent orator. He probably would seem outwardly to compare very unfavorably to many charismatic preachers and evangelists today. Nevertheless, by both his spiritual power and his intellectual ability, he was probably the most effective missionary who ever lived. And his writings, of course, the so-called Pauline epistles, are indeed “weighty and powerful”—among the greatest ever written, even by secular standards.

10:16 regions beyond. Paul earnestly desired that the gospel be preached, as Christ had commanded, to “the uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1:8).

10:17 he that glorieth. Compare Jeremiah 9:23-24; I Corinthians 1:31.

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