Spiritual Authority

Scripture: 2 Corinthians 10:1-18

Topics: Authority, Conflict

Study Guide

In this challenging passage, Paul not only defends his authority, he also explains the power and nature of authority from God. Unlike worldly influence, godly authority is not dependent on charisma or charm. Instead, it flows from God’s divine power and has the ability to affect true life change.
Application
  1. We all have a sphere of influence wherein we can exercise authority over others. Consider who these people are in your life. How are you using your authority to serve God and others? What sense of responsibility do you feel for those under your authority?

  2. Discuss the difference between worldly and godly weapons. Where do you see worldly weapons at work in your life? How can you respond to or exercise godly weapons to further the kingdom?

  3. God has placed authority over all of us in various forms. How do you respond to authority in your life (whether it is good or bad)? What does your response indicate about your belief in God’s sovereignty and ultimate authority over you?

Key Points
  • As Paul defends his God-given authority, he is both direct and kind. He has clarity around God’s purpose and his responsibility, yet he’s humble and willing to make himself vulnerable.

  • Worldly weapons harness our fears and ambitions—they are impressive, yet they lack power to effect lasting change.

  • In contrast, godly weapons demand life change. While God’s truth may not always be flashy, it interrupts the normal flow of our lives and brings us to a point of decision.

  • In his previous letter, Paul explains that not all division is bad. Distinctions reveal the true state of our hearts.

  • In our culture, we often substitute influence for authority. However, influence has no real power other than what is granted by the one being influenced.

  • God-given authority functions without the consent of the governed. God created us to come under his authority, and it’s good for our souls to do so.

Other Scripture References