We have said much about the men who were wrongly trying to gain authority over the church at Corinth. Those men wanted very much to create a good impression of themselves.
A good church leader also wants to create a good impression. Like Paul, he may not care what people think about him*. However, a good church leader still wants people to trust his message. So it still matters whether people have a good, or a bad, impression.
The difference, therefore, is not the desire to create a good impression. The difference is the methods that the leader uses to create that impression. An evil person uses whatever methods achieve his purpose. He does not care whether he speaks lies or the truth. A good person uses only those methods that please God*. Therefore, he can only speak the truth*.
Paul saw that God wants his people to live by even better standards than that. Sometimes it is not good enough only to speak the truth.
For example, the men who wanted to control Corinthís church spoke proudly about their own experiences. They saw it as an easy way to impress people. Probably, not everything that they said was actually true.
Paul saw that he could impress people like that, too. If he did, he would still be speaking the truth. He really did have the most astonishing experiences as he served God. God really had shown him wonderful things. However, Paul refused to speak proudly about himself.
Paul wanted people to form their own impression of him and his message. He wanted them to examine his words and to find out whether they were true. He wanted them to examine his life, to see whether he truly was a servant of God. Paul did not want to control people by clever or powerful words*. The people might see Paulís weakness, but they would also see the power of God.
Next part: Paulís thorn in the flesh (12:7)
* See complete article for these Bible references.
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© 2016, Keith Simons.