In the last four chapters of this book, the apostle Paul is writing to DEFEND HIS APOSTLESHIP. There were “false apostles” among the Corinthians who were saying that Paul wasn’t an apostle and in order to “defend the truth” that he had brought to Corinth, he was forced to “defend his apostleship.” He introduces this subject in verses 1-2 which reads, “Now I, Paul, myself urge you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ—I who am meek when face to face with you, but bold toward you when absent! I ask that when I am present I need not be bold with the confidence with which I propose to be courageous against some, who regard us as if we walked according to the flesh” (NASB).

When Paul had first visited Corinth he manifested the “meekness and gentleness of Christ.” In his absence false apostles had come to Corinth (see 11:12-15), accusing Paul of being a con artist. Paul wrote bold letters telling the Corinthians that he would visit them and that if they were still giving ear to the lies of his accusers they would see another side of him; they would see that he could also be bold among them in dealing with his critics. His critics responded to Paul’s letter in verse 10, “For they say, ‘His letters are weighty and strong, but his personal presence is unimpressive and his speech contemptible’.” Again, they looked at Paul as a phony and as one who “walked according to the flesh.”

Paul’s response to that is seen in verses 3-6 which states, “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, and we are ready to punish all disobedience, whenever your obedience is complete” (NASB). Let’s break these important verses down to see what they are saying.

It is vital to see what Paul is saying in verse 3 when he says, “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh.” We believe he is saying, “We do walk in “bodies of flesh,” but we do not wage war according to “the fallen nature” (which is also referred to as “flesh” in Scripture). In other words Paul is saying, “We do not use “fleshly methods” in our warfare like men of the world do.

Paul then goes on to describe the WARFARE we are in and the WEAPONS we use in that warfare. He speaks of the WEAPONS in verse 4 as being “not of the flesh, but divinely powerful.” I would encourage the reader to read Ephesians 6:10-18 to see the ARMOR that God has provided for us as we enter into conflict with Satan. Most of the armor is for DEFENSE, but in verse 17 we have something for OFFENSE. It tells us, “And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” This is what Paul is referring to in our portion, for the Word of God is indeed “divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses.”  Verse 5 explains exactly what that means, “We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God.” The Word of God can BRING DOWN every PROUD REASONING of men that contradicts the knowledge of God. This would include the reasonings of scientists, philosophers and religious men who argue against the truth of God. And surely Paul had in mind the “false apostles” who were seeking to deceive the saints of Corinth with their corrupt teachings. And on a positive note, the Word of God would also result in “taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ,” which simply means once the reasonings of men were removed, the thoughts of the mind would be brought into subjection to Christ.

In verse 6 Paul once again reminds them that he is “ready to punish all disobedience.” But in grace he adds, “whenever your obedience is complete” because he will give them time to obey his letter by ridding their minds of the human reasonings of the false apostles.  (201.9)  (DO)