Now I, Paul, make a personal appeal to you by the gentleness and graciousness of Christ-I who am humble among you in person, but bold toward you when absent.
I beg you that when I am present I will not need to be bold with the confidence by which I plan to challenge certain people who think we are walking in a fleshly way.a3
For although we are walking in the flesh, we do not wage war in a fleshly way,b4
since the weapons of our warfare are not fleshly, but are powerful through God for the demolition of strongholds. We demolish arguments
and every high-minded thing that is raised up against the knowledge of God, taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.
And we are ready to punish any disobedience, once your obedience is complete.
Look at what is obvious.c If anyone is confident that he belongs to Christ, he should remind himself of this: just as he belongs to Christ, so do we.
For if I boast some more about our authority, which the Lord gave for building you up and not for tearing you down, I am not ashamed.
I don't want to seem as though I am trying to terrify you with my letters.
For it is said, "His letters are weighty and powerful, but his physical presence is weak, and his public speaking is despicable."
Such a person should consider this: what we are in the words of our letters when absent, we will be in actions when present.
For we don't dare classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. But in measuring themselves by themselves and comparing themselves to themselves, they lack understanding.
We, however, will not boast beyond measure, but according to the measure of the area [of ministry] that God has assigned to us, [which] reaches even to you.
For we are not overextending ourselves, as if we had not reached you, since we have come to you with the gospel of Christ.
We are not bragging beyond measure about other people's labors. But we have the hope that as your faith increases, our area [of ministry] will be greatly enlarged,
so that we may preach the gospel to the regions beyond you, not boasting about what has already been done in someone else's area [of ministry].
So the one who boasts must boast in the Lord. d18
For it is not the one commending himself who is approved, but the one the Lord commends.