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The Scriptorium

Holy Boldness

You'll need it sometimes. 2 Corinthians 10.1, 2

2 Corinthians 10 (1)

Pray Psalm 86.16, 17.
Oh, turn to me, and have mercy on me!
Give Your strength to Your servant,
And save the son of Your maidservant.
Show me a sign for good,
That those who hate me may see it and be ashamed,
Because You, LORD, have helped me and comforted me.

Sing Psalm 86.16, 17.
Andrews: Praise, My Soul, the King of Heaven)
Turn to me, LORD; be gracious to me;
grant me Your strength; save Your servant, LORD!
Let me a sign of something good see;
shame all who hate me beneath Your Word.
LORD, be gracious to me, LORD, be gracious to me,
for You help me, sovereign Lord!

Read and meditate on 2 Corinthians 10.1-3.

1. How did Paul appear when he was present with the Corinthians?

2. What did he promise about when he came to them again?

I get the impression that the false apostles who had caused all the trouble in Corinth were smooth-talking, confident, and loud. They made themselves the center of attention, which is why the “babes-in-Christ” Corinthians gravitated to one or another of them. Paul, after all, was not eloquent, neither did he push himself on others (1 Cor. 2.1-5). Paul was getting ready to come to Corinth again, and again he would be “lowly” among them (v. 1). He was, after all, still Paul.

But they must not mistake that lowliness as somehow weakness. What they saw outwardly was the “meekness and gentleness of Christ”; what lurked inwardly was the lion side of the Savior. They had experienced Paul’s great boldness through his first epistle. But he did not expect to have to be that way when he came among them (vv. 1, 2), for grace was flowing again and they were back on the Yes Path with Jesus.

But some folks there in Corinth were going to feel the lion’s breath (v. 2). Paul saw himself as at war with all false teaching, and it was not a war he would wage with his gentle, meek, and lowly flesh. His words, joined with all the weaponry of spiritual warfare (v. 3; cf. Eph. 6.10-20), would expose, humble, and pull down those false teachers, if indeed any were still sticking around.

This is how Jesus was. He confessed that He was gentle and lowly; yet He bound the strong man, broke the bonds of death, repudiated the sting of the grave, and gained the victory of eternal glory. The Lion of the tribe of Judah lives in each of us who believes. He is gentle and lowly in appearance, but holy boldness is ready within us to break forth against all lies and distortions of truth.

Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
Paul was a master in self-awareness. He had the ability to perceive and understand himself clearly. And being filled with the Holy Spirit only heightened his gift. “When I am in your presence, I am perceived as being lowly and gentle; but when I am in absentia, I am far bolder with you.” (2 Cor. 10.1)

“And contrary to the false teachers’ words, this is not because I am far from the Lord and living carnally (2 Cor. 10.2, 3). If you want to see boldness in me, get ready, for I may have to become that in your presence. It is altogether possible.”

“I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some” (1 Cor. 9.22). Paul, imitating Jesus (1 Cor. 11.1), as He exemplified the many facets of grace, love, mercy, and indignation in action.

“Come to Me…for I am gentle and lowly in heart…” (Matt. 11.28, 29). A welcoming and empathetic word.

“And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had said to him, ‘Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.’ So Peter went out and wept bitterly” (Lk. 22.61, 62). Without a word, but only a withering look.

“Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks…For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned” (Matt. 12.34, 37). A word of blistering condemnation.

“When He had made a whip of cords, He drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen, and poured out the changers’ money and overturned the tables. And He said to those who sold doves, ‘Take these things away! Do not make My Father’s house a house of merchandise!’” (Jn. 2.15, 16) Acts and words of righteous indignation.

“As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.” A word on abiding love.

“These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.” An explanatory word on joy and how to keep it.

“This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” A word of commandment.

“Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. You are My friends if you do whatever I command you.” A word on amazing love and grace, and how to incorporate that abounding, abundance into our life and work. (Jn. 15.9-14).

Holy boldness, in all its iterations, is a beautiful thing to observe, worked out in the life of Jesus, and Paul, and many others—past and present. Quite simply, holy boldness can become ours too—as we daily, through the Word of God and power of the Holy Spirit, contemplate it, meditate on it, and pray it into our lives—for God’s glory and the good of others.

“I will meditate on Your precepts, and contemplate Your ways.
I will delight myself in Your statutes; I will not forget Your word” (Ps. 119.15, 16).

Words of guidance for the self-aware:
Without Him we can do nothing (Jn. 15.5); but with Him and His Word and Spirit, all things are possible (Lk. 1.37): even holy love, grace, mercy, peace, joy, and boldness!

For reflection
1. In working your Personal Mission Field, where would you like to know more holy boldness?

2. Does holy boldness mean we don’t speak the truth in love? Explain.

3. What would you say are the keys to having holy boldness when you need it?

Having completed his discourse on almsgiving, Paul now turns to less pleasant matters, concluding his epistle with denunciations of the false apostles. He offers explanations of himself and his ministry. Indeed, it would not be wrong to say that the whole epistle is an apology for Paul, because he makes so much mention of the grace and patience given to him.
John Chrysostom (344-407), Homilies on the Epistles of Paul to the Corinthians 21.1

Pray Psalm 86.7-15.
Pray for patience and holy boldness, as needed, to fulfill your calling as a witness to the Lord and sower of His Word.

Sing Psalm 86.7-15.
(Andrews: Praise, My Soul, the King of Heaven)
When in my trouble, LORD, I call You,
You answer me; there is none like You!
There are no works like Yours, and all whom
You have created shall worship You.
LORD, be gracious to me, LORD, be gracious to me,
all shall glory give to You!

For You are great, You wondrous do;
You are the only and sovereign LORD.
Teach me Your way, let me give heed to,
with all my heart, Savior, all Your Word!
LORD, be gracious to me, LORD, be gracious to me,
praise Your Name forever, LORD!

Great is Your mercy, LORD, toward me;
You have delivered my soul from hell.
Though dreadful foes and threats arrayed be,
You will Your grace and Your mercy tell!
LORD, be gracious to me, LORD, be gracious to me,
slow to anger, loving well!

T. M. and Susie Moore

The Church in Corinth was in need of revival. But there was much to be done before that would happen. The Church today needs revival, and the same is true for us. Our book, Revived!, can help us to discern our need for revival and lead us in getting there. Order your copy by clicking here.

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Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter, available by clicking here.


T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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