I have made a fool of myself,1 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,"2 even though I am nothing.312
The things that mark an apostle--signs, wonders and miracles4--were done among you with great perseverance.
How were you inferior to the other churches, except that I was never a burden to you?5 Forgive me this wrong!614
Now I am ready to visit you for the third time,7 and I will not be a burden to you, because what I want is not your possessions but you. After all, children should not have to save up for their parents,8 but parents for their children.915
So I will very gladly spend for you everything I have and expend myself as well.10 If I love you more,11 will you love me less?
Be that as it may, I have not been a burden to you.12 Yet, crafty fellow that I am, I caught you by trickery!
Did I exploit you through any of the men I sent you?
I urged13 Titus14 to go to you and I sent our brother15 with him. Titus did not exploit you, did he? Did we not act in the same spirit and follow the same course?
Have you been thinking all along that we have been defending ourselves to you? We have been speaking in the sight of God16 as those in Christ; and everything we do, dear friends,17 is for your strengthening.1820
For I am afraid that when I come19 I may not find you as I want you to be, and you may not find me as you want me to be.20 I fear that there may be quarreling,21 jealousy, outbursts of anger, factions,22 slander,23 gossip,24 arrogance25 and disorder.2621
I am afraid that when I come again my God will humble me before you, and I will be grieved27 over many who have sinned earlier28 and have not repented of the impurity, sexual sin and debauchery29 in which they have indulged.