Paul's Defense of His Ministry
10 1 Now I, Paul, myself make request to you by the quiet and gentle behaviour of Christ, I who am poor in spirit when with you, but who say what is in my mind to you without fear when I am away from you: 2 Yes, I make my request to you, so that when I am with you I may not have to make use of the authority which may be needed against some to whom we seem to be walking after the flesh. 3 For though we may be living in the flesh, we are not fighting after the way of the flesh 4 (For the arms with which we are fighting are not those of the flesh, but are strong before God for the destruction of high places); 5 Putting an end to reasonings, and every high thing which is lifted up against the knowledge of God, and causing every thought to come under the authority of Christ; 6 Being ready to give punishment to whatever is against his authority, after you have made it clear that you are completely under his control.
7 Give attention to the things which are before you. If any man seems to himself to be Christ's, let him keep in mind that we are as much Christ's as he is. 8 For though I might take pride in our authority (which the Lord gave for building you up, and not for your destruction), it will not be a cause of shame to me: 9 That I may not seem to have the desire of causing you fear by my letters. 10 For his letters, they say, have weight and are strong; but in body he is feeble, and his way of talking has little force. 11 Let those who say this keep in mind that, what we are in word by letters when we are away, so will we be in act when we are present.
12 For we will not make comparison of ourselves with some of those who say good things about themselves: but these, measuring themselves by themselves, and making comparison of themselves with themselves, are not wise. 13 We will not give glory to ourselves in over-great measure, but after the measure of the rule which God has given us, a measure which comes even to you. 14 For we have no need to make ourselves seem more than we are, as if our authority did not come as far as to you: for we came even as far as you with the good news of Christ: 15 Not taking credit to ourselves for what is not our business, that is, for the work of others; but having hope that, with the growth of your faith, we may get the credit for an increase which is the effect of our work, 16 So that we may be able to go on and take the good news to countries still farther away than you are, and not take credit for another man's work in making things ready to our hand. 17 But whoever has a desire for glory, let his glory be in the Lord. 18 For the Lord's approval of a man is not dependent on his opinion of himself, but on the Lord's opinion of him.
11 1 Put up with me if I am a little foolish: but, truly, you do put up with me. 2 For I have a very great care for you: because you have been married by me to one husband, and it is my desire to give you completely holy to Christ. 3 But I have a fear, that in some way, as Eve was tricked by the deceit of the snake, your minds may be turned away from their simple and holy love for Christ. 4 For if anyone comes preaching another Jesus from the one whose preachers we are, or if you have got a different spirit, or a different sort of good news from those which came to you, how well you put up with these things.
5 For in my opinion, I am in no way less than the most important of the Apostles. 6 But though I am rough in my way of talking, I am not so in knowledge, as we have made clear to all by our acts among you. 7 Or did I do wrong in making myself low so that you might be lifted up, because I gave you the good news of God without reward? 8 I took money from other churches as payment for my work, so that I might be your servant; 9 And when I was present with you, and was in need, I let no man be responsible for me; for the brothers, when they came from Macedonia, gave me whatever was needed; and in everything I kept myself from being a trouble to you, and I will go on doing so. 10 As the true word of Christ is in me, I will let no man take from me this my cause of pride in the country of Achaia. 11 Why? because I have no love for you? let God be judge. 12 But what I do, that I will go on doing, so that I may give no chance to those who are looking for one; so that, in the cause of their pride, they may be seen to be the same as we are. 13 For such men are false Apostles, workers of deceit, making themselves seem like Apostles of Christ. 14 And it is no wonder; for even Satan himself is able to take the form of an angel of light. 15 So it is no great thing if his servants make themselves seem to be servants of righteousness; whose end will be the reward of their works.
Paul's Sufferings as an Apostle
16 I say again, Let me not seem foolish to anyone; but if I do, put up with me as such, so that I may take a little glory to myself. 17 What I am now saying is not by the order of the Lord, but as a foolish person, taking credit to myself, as it seems. 18 Seeing that there are those who take credit to themselves after the flesh, I will do the same. 19 For you put up with the foolish gladly, being wise yourselves. 20 You put up with a man if he makes servants of you, if he makes profit out of you, if he makes you prisoners, if he puts himself in a high place, if he gives you blows on the face. 21 I say this by way of shaming ourselves, as if we had been feeble. But if anyone puts himself forward (I am talking like a foolish person), I will do the same.
22 Are they Hebrews? so am I. Are they of Israel? so am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? so am I. 23 Are they servants of Christ? (I am talking foolishly) I am more so; I have had more experience of hard work, of prisons, of blows more than measure, of death. 24 Five times the Jews gave me forty blows but one. 25 Three times I was whipped with rods, once I was stoned, three times the ship I was in came to destruction at sea, a night and a day I have been in the water; 26 In frequent travels, in dangers on rivers, in dangers from outlaws, in dangers from my countrymen, in dangers from the Gentiles, in dangers in the town, in dangers in the waste land, in dangers at sea, in dangers among false brothers; 27 In hard work and weariness, in frequent watchings, going without food and drink, cold and in need of clothing. 28 In addition to all the other things, there is that which comes on me every day, the care of all the churches. 29 Who is feeble and I am not feeble? who is in danger of falling, and I am not angry? 30 If I have to take credit to myself, I will do so in the things in which I am feeble. 31 The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom be praise for ever, is witness that the things which I say are true. 32 In Damascus, the ruler under Aretas the king kept watch over the town of the people of Damascus, in order to take me: 33 And being let down in a basket from the wall through a window, I got free from his hands.
Paul's Thorn in the Flesh
12 1 As it is necessary for me to take glory to myself, though it is not a good thing, I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord. 2 I have knowledge of a man in Christ, fourteen years back (if he was in the body, or out of the body, I am not able to say, but God only), who was taken up to the third heaven. 3 And I have knowledge of such a man (if he was in the body, or out of the body, I am not able to say, but God only), 4 How he was taken up into Paradise, and words came to his ears which may not be said, and which man is not able to say. 5 On account of such a one I will have glory: for myself I will take no glory, but only in my feeble body. 6 For if I had a desire to take credit to myself, it would not be foolish, for I would be saying what is true: but I will not, for fear that I might seem to any man more than he sees me to be, or has word from me that I am. 7 And because the revelations were so very great, in order that I might not be overmuch lifted up, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, one sent from Satan to give me pain. 8 And about this thing I made request to the Lord three times that it might be taken away from me. 9 And he said to me, My grace is enough for you, for my power is made complete in what is feeble. Most gladly, then, will I take pride in my feeble body, so that the power of Christ may be on me. 10 So I take pleasure in being feeble, in unkind words, in needs, in cruel attacks, in troubles, on account of Christ: for when I am feeble, then am I strong.
11 I have been forced by you to become foolish, though it was right for my praise to have come from you: for in no way was I less than the chief of the Apostles, though I am nothing. 12 Truly the signs of an Apostle were done among you in quiet strength, with wonders and acts of power. 13 For what is there in which you were made less than the other churches, but in the one thing that I was not a trouble to you? Let me have forgiveness for this wrong.
Paul Plans a Third Visit
14 This is now the third time that I am ready to come to you; and I will not be a trouble to you: my desire is for you, not for your property: for it is not the children's business to make store for their fathers, but the fathers for the children. 15 And I will gladly give all I have for your souls. If I have the more love for you, am I to be loved the less? 16 But let it be so, that I was not a trouble to you myself; but (someone may say) being false, I took you with deceit. 17 Did I make a profit out of you by any of those whom I sent to you? 18 I gave orders to Titus, and I sent the brother with him. Did Titus make any profit out of you? were we not guided by the same Spirit, in the same ways? 19 It may seem to you that all this time we have been attempting to put ourselves in the right; but we are saying these things before God in Christ. For all things, dear brothers, are for your profit. 20 For I have a fear that, when I come, you may not be answering to my desire, and that I may not be answering to yours; that there may be fighting, hate, angry feeling, divisions, evil talk about others, secrets, thoughts of pride, outbursts against authority; 21 And that when I come again, my God may put me to shame among you, and I may have grief for those who have done wrong before and have had no regret for their unclean ways, and for the evil desires of the flesh to which they have given way.
13 1 This is the third time that I am coming to you. From the mouth of two or three witnesses will every word be made certain. 2 I said before, and still say it before I come, as being present for the second time, though I am still away from you, to those who have done wrong before, and to all the others, that if I come again I will not have pity; 3 Seeing that you are looking for a sign of Christ giving out his word in me; who is not feeble in relation to you, but is strong in you: 4 For he was feeble in that he was put to death on the cross, but he is living by the power of God. And we are feeble in him, but we will be living with him through the power of God in relation to you. 5 Make a test of yourselves, if you are in the faith; make certain of yourselves. Or are you not conscious in yourselves that Jesus Christ is in you, if you are truly Christ's? 6 But it is my hope that you will have no doubt that we are truly Christ's.
7 Now our prayer to God is that you may do no evil; not in order that it may be put to our credit, but so that you may do what is right, whatever we may seem. 8 Because we are able to do nothing against what is true, but only for it. 9 For we are glad when we are feeble and you are strong: and this is our prayer, even that you may be made complete. 10 For this cause I am writing these things while I am away, so that there may be need for me, when I am present, to make use of sharp measures, by the authority which the Lord has given me for building up and not for destruction.
11 Let this be my last word, brothers; be glad; be complete; be comforted; be of the same mind; be at peace with one another: and the God of love and peace will be with you. 12 Give one another a holy kiss. 13 All the saints send their love to you. 14 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the harmony of the Holy Spirit, be with you all.