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Rays of Light Bible Lessons by Keith Holder


2 Corinthians 10:12-13 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. But we will not boast of things without our measure, but according to the measure of the rule, which God hath distributed to us, a measure to reach even unto you.

As Paul began this letter to the church at Corinth, he spoke in a plural form by recognizing Timothy as a brother and fellow laborer in Christ. Thus, his lessons reflect that we write none other things unto you than what ye read or acknowledge (See 2 Cor. 1:1 & 13). This plural form is used in this letter through chapter 9. As he begins the 10th chapter, Paul reverts to speaking in the singular form of him and him alone, using the phrase, "I Paul myself..." to address them (2 Cor. 10:1). The reason for this change is probably due to the fact that there remained a faction within the church at Corinth that opposed Paul personally, by contending that he was not an apostle and had no authority to judge and admonish their deeds. This being the case, Paul wrote here, in the first portion of the subject chapter, to vindicate himself of these charges.

The discipline that Paul voiced to them, especially in his first letter, was spoken in a meek, mild, and gentle manner. He did not desire to exercise his authority in a severe fashion, and he tells them why he did so - That I may not seem as if I would terrify you by letters (Vs. 9). Paul used the inspired word of God as his weapon to defend his authority, and the cause of Christ, for which he was called to proclaim (See Vs. 4). In verse 6, above, Paul indicated that, if necessary, he was ready to take more severe measures against the false teachers that opposed his authority. And, finally, Paul tells them that the corrective reprimands he had made, in a meek and inoffensive way, were not to be ignored because of the mild manner in which they were presented. But, rather, they would be more sternly expressed when present with them, and meeting, face to face, the false teachers that opposed him (See Vs. 11).

Considering this introduction, Paul, in the lesson text, exposes a method of "warfare" often used by almost all false preachers and teachers. In order gain the allegiance of hearers, it is necessary for false teachers to gain their confidence before they will accept their doctrine. This can be accomplished in two ways. First they can elevate their own character above that of their opposition, or, secondly, they can destroy the character of those opposing them. Such is the teaching found in the lesson text. Paul assures the Christians at Corinth that he, and his fellow laborers, never used this tactic in their preaching of God's word. However, Paul assures them that those that opposed him, used it to their advantage, in order to persuade the members of their congregation to follow their teaching instead of the doctrine that Paul brought to them.

The writer of Proverbs tells us not to boast, or glorify ourselves. It is not good to eat much honey: so for men to search their own glory is not glory (Prov. 25:27). Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth; a stranger, and not thine own lips Prov. 27:2). Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? There is more hope of a fool than of him (Prov. 26:12). Those that are consumed with self-praise and glory are like the Pharisee (that) stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican (Luke 18:11).

From this, we are assured thatGod never intended His children to compare themselves with themselves, or to compare themselves with others, even though they may be Christians. God wants us to compare ourselves to the teaching and examples we find in His word; to compare ourselves with what He has designed that we should be. Those that compare themselves with any other standard are not wise. The false prophets, with whom Paul was contending, measured themselves by themselves. The character of a sinner looks good when compared to that of another sinner. A false teacher, that perverts the word of God, justifies his action by comparing himself to others that do the same. Anyone, including Christians, can always find someone to measure their character against that makes their actions, even though wrong, appear favorable.

The problem with this character measurement is that the standard we use to compare ourselves never meets the true and excellent standard that God expects of Christian men and women, which He has revealed in His Holy Word. This is the measure of the rule, which God hath distributed to us, a measure to reach even unto you. Those that reject, alter, or add to God's word, as do false teachers, are not wise. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the Lord, and depart from evil (Prov. 3:7). Measure yourself rightfully!Measure yourself by God's Holy Word!