Summary: We need to keep in mind that throughout this letter Paul is writing to a divided church, and a church that is being seduced by false teachers. These false teachers charged Paul with being very courageous when he wrote letters from a distance, but said t
THOUGHTS ABOUT THE PASSAGE:
A custom of the natives in New Guinea is told. At certain times they have rituals, songs, and dances. They work themselves up into a frenzy and the ritual culminates in what are called “the murder songs,” in which they shout before God the names of the people they wish to kill. When the natives became Christian, they retained these customs and that ritual, However, in the murder songs, they no longer shouted the names of the people they hated, but the names of the sins they hated, and called on God to destroy them. A pagan custom had been captured for Christ. (Source Unknown)
We need to keep in mind that throughout this letter Paul is writing to a divided church, and a church that is being seduced by false teachers. These false teachers charged Paul with being very courageous when he wrote letters from a distance, but said that he was very weak when he was present with the Corinthians. I remember a few years ago of hearing a great Christian leader of our day described as a person who had a poison pen when he wrote, but was like a gentle lamb when you heard him preach. If Paul was a weakling, then so was Jesus Christ; for Jesus was very meek and gentle (Matthew 11:29). However, our Lord could also be stern and even showed anger when the occasion demanded it (Matthew 15:1 2).
In this section of his letter, Paul confronts these false teachers and charges them with being ministers of Satan who want to destroy the work of God. Like many "religious personalities" today, these Judaizers impressed the people with their overpowering personalities. As you read these verses you could get the impression that Paul was bragging about himself; but such was not the case. His purpose was to exalt Christ and not himself (I Corinthians 2:1 5). Christians usually reflect the atmosphere of the church or fellowship they are associated with. If they are in an atmosphere of dictatorial leadership, they will depend on man’s wisdom and strength. If they are in an atmosphere of humility and love, they will learn to depend on the Lord. Paul wanted his converts to trust the Lord and not the servant, so he had deliberately "played down" his own authority and ability.
As a Christian I need to “cast down imaginations and everything that exalts itself against the knowledge of God and bring into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (v. 5).