Paul's Defense of His Ministry
101 But I myself, Paul, entreat you by the meekness and gentleness of the Christ, who, as to appearance, [when present] [am] mean among you, but absent am bold towards you; 2 but I beseech that present I may not be bold with the confidence with which I think to be daring towards some who think of us as walking according to flesh. 3 For walking in flesh, we do not war according to flesh. 4 For the arms of our warfare [are] not fleshly, but powerful according to God to [the] overthrow of strongholds; 5 overthrowing reasonings and every high thing that lifts itself up against the knowledge of God, and leading captive every thought into the obedience of the Christ; 6 and having in readiness to avenge all disobedience when your obedience shall have been fulfilled.
7 Do ye look at what concerns appearance? If any one has confidence in himself that he is of Christ, let him think this again in himself, that even as he [is] of Christ, so also [are] we. 8 For and if I should boast even somewhat more abundantly of our authority, which the Lord has given [to us] for building up and not for your overthrowing, I shall not be put to shame; 9 that I may not seem as if I was frightening you by letters: 10 because his letters, he says, [are] weighty and strong, but his presence in the body weak, and his speech naught. 11 Let such a one think this, that such as we are in word by letters [when] absent, such also present in deed.
12 For we dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves; but these, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves with themselves, are not intelligent. 13 Now we will not boast out of measure, but according to the measure of the rule which the God of measure has apportioned to us, to reach to you also. 14 For we do not, as not reaching to you, overstretch ourselves, (for we have come to you also in the glad tidings of the Christ;) 15 not boasting out of measure in other people's labours, but having hope, your faith increasing, to be enlarged amongst you, according to our rule, yet more abundantly 16 to announce the glad tidings to that [which is] beyond you, not to be boasting in another's rule of things made ready to hand. 17 But he that boasts, let him boast in the Lord. 18 For not he that commends himself is approved, but whom the Lord commends.
111 Would that ye would bear with me [in] a little folly; but indeed bear with me. 2 For I am jealous as to you with a jealousy [which is] of God; for I have espoused you unto one man, to present [you] a chaste virgin to Christ. 3 But I fear lest by any means, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craft, [so] your thoughts should be corrupted from simplicity as to the Christ. 4 For if indeed he that comes preaches another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or ye get a different Spirit, which ye have not got, or a different glad tidings, which ye have not received, ye might well bear with [it].
5 For I reckon that in nothing I am behind those who are in surpassing degree apostles. 6 But if [I am] a simple person in speech, yet not in knowledge, but in everything making [the truth] manifest in all things to you. 7 Have I committed sin, abasing myself in order that ye might be exalted, because I gratuitously announced to you the glad tidings of God? 8 I spoiled other assemblies, receiving hire for ministry towards you. 9 And being present with you and lacking, I did not lazily burden any one, (for the brethren who came from Macedonia supplied what I lacked,) and in everything I kept myself from being a burden to you, and will keep myself. 10 [The] truth of Christ is in me that this boasting shall not be stopped as to me in the regions of Achaia. 11 Why? because I do not love you? God knows. 12 But what I do, I will also do, that I may cut off the opportunity of those wishing [for] an opportunity, that wherein they boast they may be found even as we. 13 For such [are] false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. 14 And [it is] not wonderful, for Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. 15 It is no great thing therefore if his ministers also transform themselves as ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.
Paul's Sufferings as an Apostle
16 Again I say, Let not any one think me to be a fool; but if otherwise, receive me then even as a fool, that I also may boast myself some little. 17 What I speak I do not speak according to [the] Lord, but as in folly, in this confidence of boasting. 18 Since many boast according to flesh, I also will boast. 19 For ye bear fools readily, being wise. 20 For ye bear if any one bring you into bondage, if any one devour [you], if any one get [your money], if any one exalt himself, if any one beat you on the face. 21 I speak as to dishonour, as though we had been weak; but wherein any one is daring, (I speak in folly,) I also am daring.
22 Are they Hebrews? I also. Are they Israelites? I also. Are they seed of Abraham? I also. 23 Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as being beside myself) I above measure [so]; in labours exceedingly abundant, in stripes to excess, in prisons exceedingly abundant, in deaths oft. 24 From the Jews five times have I received forty [stripes], save one. 25 Thrice have I been scourged, once I have been stoned, three times I have suffered shipwreck, a night and day I passed in the deep: 26 in journeyings often, in perils of rivers, in perils of robbers, in perils from [my own] race, in perils from [the] nations, in perils in [the] city, in perils in [the] desert, in perils on [the] sea, in perils among false brethren; 27 in labour and toil, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. 28 Besides those things that are without, the crowd [of cares] pressing on me daily, the burden of all the assemblies. 29 Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is stumbled, and I burn not? 30 If it is needful to boast, I will boast in the things which concern my infirmity. 31 The God and Father of the Lord Jesus knows—he who is blessed for ever—that I do not lie. 32 In Damascus the ethnarch of Aretas the king kept the city of the Damascenes shut up, wishing to take me; 33 and through a window in a basket I was let down by the wall, and escaped his hands.
Paul's Thorn in the Flesh
121 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.
131 This third time I am coming to you. In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every matter be established. 2 I have declared beforehand, and I say beforehand as present the second time, and now absent, to those that have sinned before, and to all the rest, that if I come again I will not spare. 3 Since ye seek a proof of Christ speaking in me, (who is not weak towards you, but is powerful among you, 4 for if indeed he has been crucified in weakness, yet he lives by God's power; for indeed we are weak in him, but we shall live with him by God's power towards you,) 5 examine your own selves if ye be in the faith; prove your own selves: do ye not recognise yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you, unless indeed ye be reprobates? 6 Now I hope that ye will know that we are not reprobates.
7 But we pray to God that ye may do nothing evil; not that we may appear approved, but that ye may do what is right, and we be as reprobates. 8 For we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth. 9 For we rejoice when we may be weak and ye may be powerful. But this also we pray for, your perfecting. 10 On this account I write these things being absent, that being present I may not use severity according to the authority which the Lord has given me for building up, and not for overthrowing.
11 For the rest, brethren, rejoice; be perfected; be encouraged; be of one mind; be at peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you. 12 Salute one another with a holy kiss. 13 All the saints salute you. 14 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit, [be] with you all.