It is important for us to know the nature and source of a church leaderís authority*. Clearly today most church leaders receive much of their authority from other people. However if God has given authority to someone, it is our duty to respect that authority.
Clearly, no person gave Paul authority over the church at Corinth. When Paul arrived there originally, Corinth had no church*. Nobody - except God - appointed Paul to establish and to lead that church.
Now people were saying that Paulís authority came not from God, but from Paul himself. They were saying that Paul was trying to frighten them by his letters. Paul was writing bold and powerful letters in order to control the church. That was what they said.
Those people did not expect Paul to be bold or powerful when he arrived back in Corinth. They insisted that Paulís authority was not real.
Paul did not really want to behave in a bold or powerful manner towards Corinthís Christians, whom he loved*. He admired the humble and gentle way that Christ leads his people*. For that reason, Paul did not usually say much about his authority.
However, Paulís authority as a church leader was real, and it came from God. Paul used that authority not to defeat people, but to defeat wrong ideas and thoughts*. Sometimes he had to use his authority to deal with certain people*. However, Paul was not trying to control people, but to help them. Paul did not want to make other people weaker so that he would be stronger. That was not the purpose of Paulís authority as a church leader. Rather, the purpose of that authority was to make Godís people stronger in their relationship with God. That is how church leaders should always use their authority.
Next part: A physical description of Paul (10:10)
* See complete article for these Bible references.
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© 2016, Keith Simons.