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Verse 13. But we will not boast of things without our measure. Tindal renders this, "But we will not rejoice above measure." There is great obscurity in the language here, arising from its brevity. But the general idea seems to be plain. Paul says that he had not boldness as they had to boast of things wholly beyond his proper rule and his actual attainments and influence: and, especially, that he was not disposed to enter into other men's labours; or to boast of things that had been done by the mere influence of his name, and beyond the proper limits of his personal exertions. He made no boast of having done anything where he had not been himself on the ground and laboured assiduously to secure the object. They, it is not improbable, had boasted of what had been done in Corinth as though it were really their work, though it had been done by the apostle himself. Nay more, it is probable that they boasted of what had been done by the mere influence of their name. Occupying a central position, they supposed that their reputation had gone abroad, and that the mere influence of their reputation had had an important effect. Not so with Paul. He made no boast of anything but what God had enabled him to do by his evangelical labours, and by personal exertions. He entered into no other men's labours, and claimed nothing that others had done as his own. He was not bold enough for that.

But according to the measure of the rule, etc. Marg., or line. The word rendered "rule," (kanwn, whence our English word canon,) means properly a reed, rod, or staff employed to keep anything stiff, erect, asunder, (Hom. Iliad, 8, 103;) then a measuring rod or line; then any standard or rule—its usual meaning in the New Testament, as, e.g., of life and doctrine, Ga 6:16; Php 3:16.—Robinson's Lex. Here it means the limit, boundary line, or sphere of action assigned to any one. Paul means to say that God had appropriated a certain line or boundary as the proper limit of his sphere of action; that his appropriate sphere extended to them; that in going to them, though they were far distant from the field of his early labours, he had confined himself within the proper limits assigned him by God; and that in boasting of his labours among them he was not boasting of anything which did not properly fall within the sphere of labour assigned to him. The meaning is, that Paul was especially careful not to boast of anything beyond his proper bounds.

Which God hath distributed to us. Which, in assigning our respective fields of labour, God has assigned unto me and my fellow-labourers. The Greek word here rendered "distributed" (emerisen) means, properly, to measure; and the sense is, that God had measured out or apportioned their respective fields of labour; that by his providence he had assigned to each one his proper sphere; and that, in the distribution, Corinth had fallen to the lot of Paul. In going there he had kept within the proper limits; in boasting of his labours and success there he did not boast of what did not belong to him.

A measure to reach even unto you. The sense is, "The limits assigned me include you, and I may therefore justly boast of what I have done among you as within my proper field of labour." Paul was the apostle to the Gentiles, Ac 26:17,18; and the whole country of Greece, therefore, he regarded as falling within the limits assigned to him. No one therefore, could blame him for going there as if he was an intruder; no one assert that he had gone beyond the proper bounds.

{2} "the rule" "line"

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