Paul's Defense of His Ministry
101 And I, Paul, myself, do call upon you—through the meekness and gentleness of the Christ—who in presence, indeed 'am' humble among you, and being absent, have courage toward you, 2 and I beseech 'you', that, being present, I may not have courage, with the confidence with which I reckon to be bold against certain reckoning us as walking according to the flesh; 3 for walking in the flesh, not according to the flesh do we war, 4 for the weapons of our warfare 'are' not fleshly, but powerful to God for bringing down of strongholds, 5 reasonings bringing down, and every high thing lifted up against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of the Christ, 6 and being in readiness to avenge every disobedience, whenever your obedience may be fulfilled.
7 The things in presence do ye see? if any one hath trusted in himself to be Christ's, this let him reckon again from himself, that according as he is Christ's, so also we 'are' Christ's; 8 for even if also anything more abundantly I shall boast concerning our authority, that the Lord gave us for building up, and not for casting you down, I shall not be ashamed; 9 that I may not seem as if I would terrify you through the letters, 10 'because the letters indeed—saith one—'are' weighty and strong, and the bodily presence weak, and the speech despicable.' 11 This one—let him reckon thus: that such as we are in word, through letters, being absent, such also, being present, 'we are' in deed.
12 For we do not make bold to rank or to compare ourselves with certain of those commending themselves, but they, among themselves measuring themselves, and comparing themselves with themselves, are not wise, 13 and we in regard to the unmeasured things will not boast ourselves, but after the measure of the line that the God of measure did appoint to us—to reach even unto you; 14 for not as not reaching to you do we stretch ourselves overmuch, for even unto you did we come in the good news of the Christ, 15 not boasting of the things not measured, in other men's labours, and having hope—your faith increasing—in you to be enlarged, according to our line—into abundance, 16 in the 'places' beyond you to proclaim good news, not in another's line in regard to the things made ready, to boast; 17 and he who is boasting—in the Lord let him boast; 18 for not he who is commending himself is approved, but he whom the Lord doth commend.
111 O that ye were bearing with me a little of the folly, but ye also do bear with me: 2 for I am zealous for you with zeal of God, for I did betroth you to one husband, a pure virgin, to present to Christ, 3 and I fear, lest, as the serpent did beguile Eve in his subtilty, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that 'is' in the Christ; 4 for if, indeed, he who is coming doth preach another Jesus whom we did not preach, or another Spirit ye receive which ye did not receive, or other good news which ye did not accept—well were ye bearing 'it',
5 for I reckon that I have been nothing behind the very chiefest apostles, 6 and even if unlearned in word—yet not in knowledge, but in every thing we were made manifest in all things to you. 7 The sin did I do—myself humbling that ye might be exalted, because freely the good news of God I did proclaim to you? 8 other assemblies I did rob, having taken wages, for your ministration; 9 and being present with you, and having been in want, I was chargeable to no one, for my lack did the brethren supply—having come from Macedonia—and in everything burdenless to you I did keep myself, and will keep. 10 The truth of Christ is in me, because this boasting shall not be stopped in regard to me in the regions of Achaia; 11 wherefore? because I do not love you? God hath known! 12 and what I do, I also will do, that I may cut off the occasion of those wishing an occasion, that in that which they boast they may be found according as we also; 13 for those such 'are' false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ, 14 and no wonder—for even the Adversary doth transform himself into a messenger of light; 15 no great thing, then, if also his ministrants do transform themselves as ministrants of righteousness—whose end shall be according to their works.
Paul's Sufferings as an Apostle
16 Again I say, may no one think me to be a fool; and if otherwise, even as a fool receive me, that I also a little may boast. 17 That which I speak, I speak not according to the Lord, but as in foolishness, in this the confidence of boasting; 18 since many boast according to the flesh, I also will boast: 19 for gladly do ye bear with the fools—being wise, 20 for ye bear, if any one is bringing you under bondage, if any one doth devour, if any one doth take away, if any one doth exalt himself, if any one on the face doth smite you; 21 in reference to dishonour I speak, how that we were weak, and in whatever any one is bold—in foolishness I say 'it'—I also am bold.
22 Hebrews are they? I also! Israelites are they? I also! seed of Abraham are they? I also! 23 ministrants of Christ are they?—as beside myself I speak—I more; in labours more abundantly, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequently, in deaths many times; 24 from Jews five times forty 'stripes' save one I did receive; 25 thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice was I shipwrecked, a night and a day in the deep I have passed; 26 journeyings many times, perils of rivers, perils of robbers, perils from kindred, perils from nations, perils in city, perils in wilderness, perils in sea, perils among false brethren; 27 in laboriousness and painfulness, in watchings many times, in hunger and thirst, in fastings many times, in cold and nakedness; 28 apart from the things without—the crowding upon me that is daily—the care of all the assemblies. 29 Who is infirm, and I am not infirm? who is stumbled, and I am not fired; 30 if to boast it behoveth 'me', of the things of my infirmity I will boast; 31 the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ—who is blessed to the ages—hath known that I do not lie!— 32 In Damascus the ethnarch of Aretas the king was watching the city of the Damascenes, wishing to seize me, 33 and through a window in a rope basket I was let down, through the wall, and fled out of his hands.
Paul's Thorn in the Flesh
121 To boast, really, is not profitable for me, for I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord. 2 I have known a man in Christ, fourteen years ago—whether in the body I have not known, whether out of the body I have not known, God hath known—such an one being caught away unto the third heaven; 3 and I have known such a man—whether in the body, whether out of the body, I have not known, God hath known,— 4 that he was caught away to the paradise, and heard unutterable sayings, that it is not possible for man to speak. 5 Of such an one I will boast, and of myself I will not boast, except in my infirmities, 6 for if I may wish to boast, I shall not be a fool, for truth I will say; but I forebear, lest any one in regard to me may think anything above what he doth see me, or doth hear anything of me; 7 and that by the exceeding greatness of the revelations I might not be exalted overmuch, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of the Adversary, that he might buffet me, that I might not be exalted overmuch. 8 Concerning this thing thrice the Lord did I call upon, that it might depart from me, 9 and He said to me, 'Sufficient for thee is My grace, for My power in infirmity is perfected;' most gladly, therefore, will I rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of the Christ may rest on me: 10 wherefore I am well pleased in infirmities, in damages, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses—for Christ; for whenever I am infirm, then I am powerful;
11 I have become a fool—boasting; ye—ye did compel me; for I ought by you to have been commended, for in nothing was I behind the very chiefest apostles—even if I am nothing. 12 The signs, indeed, of the apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds, 13 for what is there in which ye were inferior to the rest of the assemblies, except that I myself was not a burden to you? forgive me this injustice!
Paul Plans a Third Visit
14 Lo, a third time I am ready to come unto you, and I will not be a burden to you, for I seek not yours, but you, for the children ought not for the parents to lay up, but the parents for the children, 15 and I most gladly will spend and be entirely spent for your souls, even if, more abundantly loving you, less I am loved. 16 And be it 'so', I—I did not burden you, but being crafty, with guile I did take you; 17 any one of those whom I have sent unto you—by him did I take advantage of you? 18 I entreated Titus, and did send with 'him' the brother; did Titus take advantage of you? in the same spirit did we not walk?—did we not in the same steps? 19 Again, think ye that to you we are making defence? before God in Christ do we speak; and the all things, beloved, 'are' for your up-building, 20 for I fear lest, having come, not such as I wish I may find you, and I—I may be found by you such as ye do not wish, lest there be strifes, envyings, wraths, revelries, evil-speakings, whisperings, puffings up, insurrections, 21 lest again having come, my God may humble me in regard to you, and I may bewail many of those having sinned before, and not having reformed concerning the uncleanness, and whoredom, and lasciviousness, that they did practise.
131 This third time do I come unto you; on the mouth of two witnesses or three shall every saying be established; 2 I have said before, and I say 'it' before, as being present, the second time, and being absent, now, do I write to those having sinned before, and to all the rest, that if I come again, I will not spare, 3 since a proof ye seek of the Christ speaking in me, who to you is not infirm, but is powerful in you, 4 for even if he was crucified from infirmity, yet he doth live from the power of God; for we also are weak in him, but we shall live with him from the power of God toward you. 5 Your ownselves try ye, if ye are in the faith; your ownselves prove ye; do ye not know your ownselves, that Jesus Christ is in you, if ye be not in some respect disapproved of? 6 and I hope that ye shall know that we—we are not disapproved of;
7 and I pray before God that ye do no evil, not that we may appear approved, but that ye may do that which is right, and we may be as disapproved; 8 for we are not able to do anything against the truth, but for the truth; 9 for we rejoice when we may be infirm, and ye may be powerful; and this also we pray for—your perfection! 10 because of this, these things—being absent—I write, that being present, I may not treat 'any' sharply, according to the authority that the Lord did give me for building up, and not for casting down.
11 Henceforth, brethren, rejoice; be made perfect, be comforted, be of the same mind, be at peace, and the God of the love and peace shall be with you; 12 salute one another in an holy kiss; 13 salute you do all the saints; 14 the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, 'is' with you all! Amen.