I know a man in Christ1 who fourteen years ago was caught up2 to the third heaven.3 Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know--God knows.43
And I know that this man--whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows--
was caught up5 to paradise.6 He heard inexpressible things, things that man is not permitted to tell.
I will boast about a man like that, but I will not boast about myself, except about my weaknesses.76
Even if I should choose to boast,8 I would not be a fool,9 because I would be speaking the truth. But I refrain, so no one will think more of me than is warranted by what I do or say.
To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations,10 there was given me a thorn in my flesh,11 a messenger of Satan,12 to torment me.
Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me.139
But he said to me, "My grace14 is sufficient for you, for my power15 is made perfect in weakness.16"17 Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.
That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight18 in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships,19 in persecutions,20 in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.21
I have made a fool of myself,22 but you drove me to it. I ought to have been commended by you, for I am not in the least inferior to the "super-apostles,"23 even though I am nothing.2412
The things that mark an apostle--signs, wonders and miracles25--were done among you with great perseverance.