I wish you would put up with a little foolishness from me. Yes, do put up with me.a2
For I am jealous over you with a godly jealousy, because I have promised you in marriage to one husband-to present a pure virgin to Christ.
But I fear that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your minds may be corrupted from a complete and pureb devotion to Christ.
For if a person comes and preaches another Jesus, whom we did not preach, or you receive a different spirit, which you had not received, or a different gospel, which you had not accepted, you put up with it splendidly!
Now I consider myself in no way inferior to the "super-apostles."
Though untrained in public speaking, I am certainly not [untrained] in knowledge. Indeed, we have always made that clear to you in everything.
Or did I commit a sin by humbling myself so that you might be exalted, because I preached the gospel of God to you free of charge?
I robbed other churches by taking pay [from them] to minister to you.
When I was present with you and in need, I did not burden anyone, for the brothers who came from Macedonia supplied my needs. I have kept myself, and will keep myself, from burdening you in any way.
As the truth of Christ is in me, this boasting of mine will not be stoppedc in the regions of Achaia.
Why? Because I don't love you? God knows I do!
But I will continue to do what I am doing, in order to cut off the opportunity of those who want an opportunity to be regarded just as we are in what they are boasting about.
For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ.
And no wonder! For Satan himself is disguised as an angel of light.
So it is no great thing if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their destinyd will be according to their works.
I repeat: no one should consider me a fool. But if [you do], at least accept me as a fool, so I too may boast a little.
What I say in this mattere of boasting, I don't speak as the Lord would, but foolishly.
Since many boast from a human perspective,f I will also boast.
For you gladly put up with fools since you are so smart!g20
In fact, you put up with it if someone enslaves you, if someone devours you, if someone captures you, if someone dominates you, or if someone hits you in the face.
I say this to [our] shame: we have been weak. But in whatever anyone dares [to boast]-I am talking foolishly-I also dare:
Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? So am I.
Are they servants of Christ? I'm talking like a madman-I'm a better one: with far more labors, many more imprisonments, far worse beatings, near deathh many times.
Five times I received from the Jewsi 40 lashes minus one.
Three times I was beaten with rods.j Once I was stoned.k Three times I was shipwrecked. I have spent a night and a day in the depths of the sea.
On frequent journeys, [I faced] dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my own people, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the open country, dangers on the sea, and dangers among false brothers;
labor and hardship, many sleepless nights, hunger and thirst, often without food, cold, and lacking clothing.
Not to mentionl other things, there is the daily pressure on me: my care for all the churches.
Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to stumble, and I do not burn with indignation?
If boasting is necessary, I will boast about my weaknesses.
The eternally blessed One, the God and Father of the Lord Jesus, knows I am not lying.
In Damascus, the governor under King Aretasm 40), a Nabatean Arab king guarded the city of the Damascenes in order to arrest me,
so I was let down in a basket through a window in the wall and escaped his hands.