A while back, I saw a post on Facebook that began with the letters IMHO. When I looked up the meaning, I discovered that it stands for the phrase “In my humble opinion.” I’ve noticed, however, that often when people begin their comments this way, what follows doesn’t seem very humble.
Paul’s opponents in Corinth felt that he had a credibility problem. They accused him of being timid when he was face to face with them but confident when he was away (v. 1). The real problem was that they were superficial in their assessment of him. The language of verse 7 is ambiguous. It might be a statement about the Corinthians themselves. If so, the apostle accuses them of “judging by appearances.” Or it might be a command, demanding that his critics consider the proof of his ministry that was plainly in view.
Paul’s ministry offered all the credentials he needed: “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (v. 5). The Corinthians themselves were proof of the validity of his ministry (v. 13). Paul was not boasting as he reviewed the facts of his own ministry. He was merely stating facts.
Those false teachers who opposed Paul arrogantly claimed that he did not measure up to their standard. But this was because they had rigged the grading scale in their own favor. They measured themselves by themselves and compared themselves with themselves (v. 12). The only standard that really counts is the standard of God’s approval: “For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends” (v. 18).
>> Be wary of teachers who talk about themselves all the time. This is often a sign that someone is more interested in themselves than the gospel. Bragging, arrogance, and bullying are not marks of “one whom the Lord commends” (v. 18).
Lord, protect Your sheep from the thrall of leaders who speak with charisma but without conviction. Make us wise to see through those who promote themselves instead of You. In all of this keep us humble.