Oh, don't worry; we wouldn't dare say that we are as wonderful as these other men who tell you how important they are! But they are only comparing themselves with each other, using themselves as the standard of measurement. How ignorant!
We will not boast about things done outside our area of authority. We will boast only about what has happened within the boundaries of the work God has given us, which includes our working with you.
We are not reaching beyond these boundaries when we claim authority over you, as if we had never visited you. For we were the first to travel all the way to Corinth with the Good News of Christ.
Nor do we boast and claim credit for the work someone else has done. Instead, we hope that your faith will grow so that the boundaries of our work among you will be extended.
Then we will be able to go and preach the Good News in other places far beyond you, where no one else is working. Then there will be no question of our boasting about work done in someone else's territory.
As the Scriptures say, "If you want to boast, boast only about the LORD."
When people commend themselves, it doesn't count for much. The important thing is for the Lord to commend them. (2 Cor 10:12-18)
Notice at the outset that Paul is still talking about authority and those who are blowing their own horn at the same time as belittling Paul. Notice the two words recurring here: "boast" and "boundaries". Where is your boast and what are your boundaries? We all need boundaries, that is what authority helps to do. What is the standard of measurement that you use to determine these two things. It is right to boast about some things. It is wrong to boast about other things. I trust you have the difference worked out. Once the boundaries are in place that helps with setting the boasting on the right things. All of this boasting is set within the boundaries of authority. You don’t list in a CV something someone else did. Some may try to claim credit for something they didn’t do but it is not good form.
As the title I chose this time suggests, self praise is not a good basis for boasting or as a recommendation. It's suspect and prone to false assessment. Imagine if you received a glowing job reference and then found it was written by the person who was applying for the job. They would be using themselves as the standard of measurement. [You could substitute the word boundary for the word standard there.] Paul describes it as ignorance. Those who tell you how wonderful they are, are suspect. "when people commend themselves, it doesn’t count for much". A little humility goes a long way. But at the end of it all what really counts is boasting which comes from the right side of the ledger, someone who knows you ultimately and who still gives you a good report. That is the kind of job reference a boss wants to read. A balanced yet positive summary statement from someone who truly knows you. Know someone who would be able to give you that kind of reference? God would.
God has the authority, has no boundaries and He boasts about you. God has the ultimate authority to give you a thorough reference. He knows you better than you know yourself. He has the ultimate authority which to give it and there are no boundaries applied to Him which would prevent Him from knowing a particular aspect of your life. There will be no portions of the form filled in an "n/a – not applicable" or an "n/o – no observation" in His report. Everything about you is applicable. And God observes everything so there is nothing that can be classified as "no observation". Such an assessment ought to scare the living daylights out of us. But something else you ought to know is His assessment is positive and loving and He always sees things from the future looking back. He sees your potential not your past; He sees your future not your failures. Now that is the kind of referee you want. Do you get the point now? That's exactly who Paul says appointed him to be an apostle. His recommendation comes from God and His reference is accurate. Now that is something to boast about.
Paul has latched on these three concepts because they are the buzz words of the moment in Corinthian / super apostle circles. Paul has no authority they say, even though he is being authoritarian. Paul is always boasting. Mmm say that again. Who is the one boasting? And furthermore, he keeps overstepping his boundaries. Bold claims by misguided people.
I Am Unqualified To Correct Another Until I Am First Willing To Be Corrected Myself. Robb Thompson
Anytime you try to judge what you've no authority over, you're out of your jurisdiction! Bob Gass
When the Lord is saying you can do it, it doesn't matter who else is saying you can't".Joel Osteen