2 Corinthians 10

2 Cor. 10:1 Now I Paul myself beseech you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ

Neal A. Maxwell

"Meekness is one of the attributes of Deity. Instructively, Jesus, our Lord and exemplar, called attention to Himself as being 'meek and lowly in heart.' (Matt. 11:29.) Paul extolled the 'meekness and gentleness of Christ.' (2 Cor. 10:1.) The Greek rendition of the word meek in the New Testament, by the way, is 'gentle and humble.'

"Actually, meekness is not an attribute which is essential only in itself, said Moroni. It is also vital because one cannot develop those other crucial virtues-faith, hope, and charity-without meekness.

"In the ecology of the eternal attributes, these cardinal characteristics are inextricably bound up together. Among them, meekness is often the initiator, facilitator, and consolidator.

"In fact, if one needs any further persuasion as to how vital this virtue is, Moroni warned, 'none is acceptable before God, save the meek and lowly in heart.' (Moro. 7:43-44.) If we could but believe, really believe, in the reality of that bold but accurate declaration, you and I would find ourselves focusing on the crucial rather than the marginal tasks in life! We would then cease pursuing lifestyles which, inevitably and irrevocably, are going out of style!" ("Meekness-A Dimension of True Discipleship," Ensign, Mar. 1983, 70)

2 Cor. 10:3-5 we do not war after the flesh

Have you ever asked yourself, "who died in the war in heaven?" There could not have been any mortal casualties in this great conflict. Still, 'Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels' (Rev. 12:7). What then was the nature of the conflict? This would seem to be an important question because we are still engaged in the same war today. In this respect, Paul gives us some interesting insight.

Paul declared that 'the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.' Hereby, we learn that the war in question is a war of words, a war of ideas, a war of testimony, and a war of faith. The goal is not to destroy the enemy but to win their hearts, minds, and souls by pulling down their strongholds of unbelief, by casting down the 'vain imaginations and the pride of the children of men' (1 Ne. 12:18), and by casting down every thing which 'exalteth itself against the knowledge of God.'

In this war of wars, we fight with spiritual weapons. Our most effective offensive weapon is 'the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God' (Eph. 6:17). Hence, the best soldiers are always sharpening their swords by strengthening their testimony, continually honing their skills whereby they preach 'with power and authority of God' (Alma 17:3) 'unto the overpowering of man to [hear] them' (Ether 12:24). Indeed, the only way to overcome Satan is 'by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony' (Rev. 12:11).

This is our fight. It is a fight fought with words, faith, testimony, and the Spirit. It is a fight to the death-to the spiritual death of Satan and his forces. And yet, ironically, while our enemy fights to increase the spiritual casualties on both sides of the conflict, our goal is to destroy only Satan and to save the rest of enemy from becoming 'angels to a devil' (2 Ne. 9:9).

2 Cor. 10:5 bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ

Following the Savior includes emulating the Savior. 'what manner of men ought ye to be? Verily I say unto you, even as I am' (3 Ne. 27:27). This includes doing what the Savior would do; it includes saying what the Savior would say; it even includes thinking what the Savior would think-or at least bringing our 'every thought' into the captive 'obedience of Christ.'

Neal A. Maxwell

"Spiritual submissiveness widens and extends our vision of the most fundamental things, such as how we see life, ourselves, and our circumstances. Mind, thought, and intellect then turns to Jesus, 'bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ' (2 Corinthians 10:5). Then we will also go the second mile, just as Paul assuringly wrote to a colleague, 'knowing that thou wilt also do more than I say' (Philemon 1:21). Others 'have not learned to be obedient to the things which I required at their hands' ("D&C 105:3D&C 105:3)." (Not My Will, But Thine [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1998], 106.)

2 Cor. 10:10 his bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible

"Although the scripture gives no detailed physical description of Paul, he himself gives some clues in his epistles. Writing to the Corinthian Saints about those who criticized him, he said: 'Do ye look on things after the outward appearance?... For his letters, say they, are weighty and powerful; but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible' (2 Cor. 10:7, 10). And also: 'But though I be rude in speech, yet not in knowledge' (2 Cor. 11:6).

"To the Galatians he wrote: 'Ye know how through infirmity of the flesh I preached the gospel unto you at the first' (Gal. 4:13).

"These hints of Paul's physical unimpressiveness but his power in writing seem to be reflected in a statement by the Prophet Joseph Smith, given January 5, 1841, at the organization of a school of instruction: 'He is about five feet high; very dark hair; dark complexion; dark skin; large Roman nose; sharp face; small black eyes, penetrating as eternity; round shoulders; a whining voice, except when elevated, and then it almost resembled the roaring of a lion. He was a good orator, active and diligent, always employing himself in doing good to his fellow man.' (Joseph Fielding Smith, comp. Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1976, 180.)" (Robert J. Matthews, Behold the Messiah [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1994], 333.)

Neal A. Maxwell

"Paul, in his epistles, indicated at least one reaction to his outward appearance and to his personality. Some people regarded his letters as powerful and weighty, but his bodily presence as weak (see 2 Corinthians 10:10). His speech was regarded as rude, or contemptible (see 2 Corinthians 11:6)...Thus the absence of a commanding physical presence-or, in modern political terms, the absence of charisma-can cause people to disregard or dismiss one actually sent of God, even though the substance of the individual or his message is exceedingly important." (Sermons Not Spoken [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1985], 45.)

2 Cor. 10:12 we dare not...compare ourselves with some that commend themselves

"Don't compare yourself to others. Ours is not a gospel of comparisons. We don't know another's situation, their past, or their advantages. While we are envying them, they may be admiring us.

"A friend told me one day how much she wished she were like me. 'You have so many talents. You can write, sing, speak with confidence in front of an audience.' I laughed. I was feeling inferior because my front room was messy and I knew her house was spotless. My children were wildly showing off while hers were sitting quietly.

"The only person we can compare ourselves to is the person we were and the person we want to become." (Sharon S. Brown, "One Step at a Time," Ensign, Aug. 1986, 23)

Marvin J. Ashton

"There is a natural, probably a mortal, tendency to compare ourselves with others. Unfortunately, when we make these comparisons, we tend to compare our weakest attributes with someone else's strongest. For example, a woman who feels unschooled in the gospel may take particular note of a woman in her ward who teaches the Gospel Doctrine class and seems to have every scripture at her fingertips. Obviously these kinds of comparisons are destructive and only reinforce the fear that somehow we don't measure up and therefore we must not be as worthy as the next person." ("On Being Worthy," Ensign, May 1989, 20)

Dean L. Larsen

"Generally, when we make such comparisons, we match our weaknesses against the most prominent talents and virtues of those we admire or envy. No one comes out well in this useless game. Its effects can be devastating." ("The Peaceable Things of the Kingdom," New Era, Feb. 1986, 7)

2 Cor. 10:13 we will not boast...but according to the measure of the rule which God hath distributed

Bruce R. McConkie

"Boasting is of two kinds: either righteous, or unrighteous; either in the arm of flesh, or in the Lord and his gracious goodness and power. 'He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord,' Paul said in summing up a sermon on boasting, 'For not he that commendeth himself is approved, but whom the Lord commendeth.' (2 Cor. 10:7-18; Ps. 44:8.) Ammon spoke similarly: 'I do not boast in my own strength, nor in my own wisdom; but behold, my joy is full, yea, my heart is brim with joy, and I will rejoice in my God. Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things. Therefore, let us glory, yea, we will glory in the Lord; yea, we will rejoice for our joy is full; yea, we will praise our God forever. Behold, who can glory too much in the Lord?' (Alma 26:8-16, 35.)" (Mormon Doctrine, 2d ed. [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1966], 93.)