I hope you will put up with1 a little of my foolishness;2 but you are already doing that.
I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy. I promised you to one husband,3 to Christ, so that I might present you4 as a pure virgin to him.
But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent's cunning,5 your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ.
For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached,6 or if you receive a different spirit7 from the one you received, or a different gospel8 from the one you accepted, you put up with it9 easily enough.
But I do not think I am in the least inferior to those "super-apostles."106
I may not be a trained speaker,11 but I do have knowledge.12 We have made this perfectly clear to you in every way.
Was it a sin13 for me to lower myself in order to elevate you by preaching the gospel of God14 to you free of charge?158
I robbed other churches by receiving support from them16 so as to serve you.
And when I was with you and needed something, I was not a burden to anyone, for the brothers who came from Macedonia supplied what I needed.17 I have kept myself from being a burden to you18 in any way, and will continue to do so.
As surely as the truth of Christ is in me,19 nobody in the regions of Achaia20 will stop this boasting21 of mine.
Why? Because I do not love you? God knows22 I do!2312
And I will keep on doing what I am doing in order to cut the ground from under those who want an opportunity to be considered equal with us in the things they boast about.
For such men are false apostles,24 deceitful25 workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ.2614
And no wonder, for Satan27 himself masquerades as an angel of light.
It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.28
I repeat: Let no one take me for a fool.29 But if you do, then receive me just as you would a fool, so that I may do a little boasting.
In this self-confident boasting I am not talking as the Lord would,30 but as a fool.3118
Since many are boasting in the way the world does,32 I too will boast.3319
You gladly put up with34 fools since you are so wise!3520
In fact, you even put up with36 anyone who enslaves you37 or exploits you or takes advantage of you or pushes himself forward or slaps you in the face.
To my shame I admit that we were too weak38 for that! What anyone else dares to boast about--I am speaking as a fool--I also dare to boast about.3922
Are they Hebrews? So am I.40 Are they Israelites? So am I.41 Are they Abraham's descendants? So am I.4223
Are they servants of Christ?43 (I am out of my mind to talk like this.) I am more. I have worked much harder,44 been in prison more frequently,45 been flogged more severely,46 and been exposed to death again and again.4724
Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes48 minus one.
Three times I was beaten with rods,49 once I was stoned,50 three times I was shipwrecked,51 I spent a night and a day in the open sea,
I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen,52 in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city,53 in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers.5427
I have labored and toiled55 and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food;56 I have been cold and naked.
Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches.5729
Who is weak, and I do not feel weak?58 Who is led into sin,59 and I do not inwardly burn?
If I must boast, I will boast60 of the things that show my weakness.6131
The God and Father of the Lord Jesus, who is to be praised forever,62 knows63 that I am not lying.
In Damascus the governor under King Aretas had the city of the Damascenes guarded in order to arrest me.6433
But I was lowered in a basket from a window in the wall and slipped through his hands.65