Paul complains that Corinthís Christians were looking only at the appearance of things. In other words, they accepted as reality whatever something seemed to be. They were not checking whether the appearance of something gave a false impression. They made immediate decisions when they should have studied hard to know the reality.
In particular, they accepted any teacher who impressed them, to teach in their church*. Also, they allowed any leader who seemed strong and bold to lead their church*. They did not check whether the teacher genuinely taught Godís message. They did not check whether the leaderís authority really was from God.
The result was that the church in Corinth had made several wrong decisions. They had allowed several people to have important positions in their church, simply because those people seemed impressive. Now those people were using their positions in the church to speak against Paul.
Paul did not care about his own importance, or whether he impressed anyone. However, he cared very much about Godís message, and about Godís work in Corinth. He had brought the genuine message of God to Corinth; he saw that he must defend it. God had given him authority over the church at Corinth; he saw that he must use it.
The church members at Corinth all claimed to belong to Christ as true Christians. Therefore, they should accept Paul, who originally brought the true Christian message to Corinth. They should recognise that he, too, belonged to Christ. So, they should realise that Christ had sent Paul there to declare his message. If Paul was the servant of Christ, then Paul had authority from Christ. Paul did not ask them to respect Paul himself. He urged them to respect Christ, and Christís message.
* See complete article for these Bible references.
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© 2016, Keith Simons.