Paul's Thorn in the Flesh
12 1 Well, it is not of profit to me to boast, for I will come to visions and revelations of [the] Lord. 2 I know a man in Christ, fourteen years ago, (whether in [the] body I know not, or out of the body I know not, God knows;) such [a one] caught up to [the] third heaven. 3 And I know such a man, (whether in [the] body or out of the body I know not, God knows;) 4 that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable things said which it is not allowed to man to utter. 5 Of such [a one] I will boast, but of myself I will not boast, unless in my weaknesses. 6 For if I shall desire to boast, I shall not be a fool; for I will say [the] truth; but I forbear, lest any one should think as to me above what he sees me [to be], or whatever he may hear of me. 7 And that I might not be exalted by the exceeding greatness of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn for the flesh, a messenger of Satan that he might buffet me, that I might not be exalted. 8 For this I thrice besought the Lord that it might depart from me. 9 And he said to me, My grace suffices thee; for [my] power is perfected in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather boast in my weaknesses, that the power of the Christ may dwell upon me. 10 Wherefore I take pleasure in weaknesses, in insults, in necessities, in persecutions, in straits, for Christ: for when I am weak, then I am powerful.
11 I have become a fool; ye have compelled me; for I ought to have been commended by you; for I have been nothing behind those who were in surpassing degree apostles, if also I am nothing. 12 The signs indeed of the apostle were wrought among you in all endurance, signs, and wonders, and works of power. 13 For in what is it that ye have been inferior to the other assemblies, unless that I myself have not been in laziness a charge upon you? Forgive me this injury.
Paul Plans a Third Visit
14 Behold, this third time I am ready to come to you, and I will not be in laziness a charge; for I do not seek yours, but you; for the children ought not to lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children. 15 Now I shall most gladly spend and be utterly spent for your souls, if even in abundantly loving you I should be less loved. 16 But be it so. I did not burden you, but being crafty I took you by guile. 17 Did I make gain of you by any of those whom I have sent to you? 18 I begged Titus, and sent the brother with [him]: did Titus at all make gain of you? have we not walked in the same spirit? [have we] not in the same steps? 19 Ye have long been supposing that we excuse ourselves to you: we speak before God in Christ; and all things, beloved, for your building up. 20 For I fear lest perhaps coming I find you not such as I wish, and that I be found by you such as ye do not wish: lest [there might be] strifes, jealousies, angers, contentions, evil speakings, whisperings, puffings up, disturbances; 21 lest my God should humble me as to you when I come again, and that I shall grieve over many of those who have sinned before, and have not repented as to the uncleanness and fornication and licentiousness which they have practised.