Paul confesses here that, perhaps, he is an unskilled public speaker. That surprises us. However, it matches the description of him in 2 Corinthians 10:10.
We do not expect that description because Paul achieved so much in his work as a public speaker. By means of him, vast numbers of people heard Godís message, the gospel, for the first time. Many of them accepted it and they became Christians. Everywhere, people were talking about him*. Even Paulís enemies recognised the importance of his activities.
Paul cannot be referring to the effect of his speeches, so clearly he refers to the style of those speeches. Paul did not speak like a professional speaker. Instead, he tried to explain everything as simply and clearly as possible*. His constant subjects were Christ and his death*. He confesses that he spoke in weakness and fear. He tried on purpose not to impress people with his words. He acted in this manner because he wanted people to see only the power of God*.
That contrasts strongly with the attitude of the teachers who wanted to control the church at Corinth. They wanted very much to impress people with their own (the teachersí) greatness. They laughed at Paulís speeches because they considered their own speeches so much more impressive.
However, unlike them, Paul knew what he was speaking about. Paul had studied the Bible very carefully and he knew the power of God. He was not speaking clever words from his own mind, but wisdom that came from the Holy Spirit*. By his words, which the teachers considered foolish, God was saving people*.
* See complete article for these Bible references.
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© 2016, Keith Simons.