Why? Because I do not love you? God knows1 I do!212
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,3 deceitful4 workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ.514
And no wonder, for Satan6 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.7
I repeat: Let no one take me for a fool.8 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,9 but as a fool.1018
Since many are boasting in the way the world does,11 I too will boast.1219
You gladly put up with13 fools since you are so wise!1420
In fact, you even put up with15 anyone who enslaves you16 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 weak17 for that! What anyone else dares to boast about--I am speaking as a fool--I also dare to boast about.1822
Are they Hebrews? So am I.19 Are they Israelites? So am I.20 Are they Abraham's descendants? So am I.2123
Are they servants of Christ?22 (I am out of my mind to talk like this.) I am more. I have worked much harder,23 been in prison more frequently,24 been flogged more severely,25 and been exposed to death again and again.2624
Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes27 minus one.
Three times I was beaten with rods,28 once I was stoned,29 three times I was shipwrecked,30 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,31 in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city,32 in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers.3327
I have labored and toiled34 and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food;35 I have been cold and naked.
Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches.3629
Who is weak, and I do not feel weak?37 Who is led into sin,38 and I do not inwardly burn?
If I must boast, I will boast39 of the things that show my weakness.4031
The God and Father of the Lord Jesus, who is to be praised forever,41 knows42 that I am not lying.
In Damascus the governor under King Aretas had the city of the Damascenes guarded in order to arrest me.4333
But I was lowered in a basket from a window in the wall and slipped through his hands.44