It is necessary to boast; it is not helpful, but I will move on to visions and revelations of the Lord.
I know a man in Christ who was caught up into the third heaven 14 years ago. Whether he was in the body or out of the body, I don't know; God knows.
I know that this man-whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows-
was caught up into paradise. He heard inexpressible words, which a man is not allowed to speak.
I will boast about this person, but not about myself, except of my weaknesses.
For if I want to boast, I will not be a fool, because I will be telling the truth. But I will spare you, so that no one can credit me with something beyond what he sees in me or hears from me,
especially because of the extraordinary revelations. Therefore, so that I would not exalt myself, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messengera of Satan to torment me so I would not exalt myself.
Concerning this, I pleaded with the Lord three times to take it away from me.
But He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power b is perfected in weakness." Therefore, I will most gladly boast all the more about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may reside in me.
So because of Christ, I am pleased in weaknesses, in insults, in catastrophes, in persecutions, and in pressures. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
I have become a fool; you forced it on me. I ought to have been recommended by you, since I am in no way inferior to the "super-apostles," even though I am nothing.
The signs of an apostle were performed among you in all endurance-not only signs but also wonders and miracles.
So in what way were you treated worse than the other churches, except that I personally did not burden you? Forgive me this wrong!
Look! I am ready to come to you this third time. I will not burden you, for I am not seeking what is yours, but you. For children are not obligated to save up for their parents, but parents for their children.
I will most gladly spend and be spent for you.c If I love you more, am I to be loved less?
Now granted, I have not burdened you; yet sly as I am, I took you in by deceit!
Did I take advantage of you by anyone I sent you?
I urged Titus [to come], and I sent the brother with him. Did Titus take advantage of you? Didn't we walk in the same spirit and in the same footsteps?
You have thought all along that we were defending ourselves to you.d [No], in the sight of God we are speaking in Christ, and everything, dear friends, is for building you up.
For I fear that perhaps when I come I will not find you to be what I want, and I may not be found by you to be what you want;e there may be quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambitions, slander, gossip, arrogance, and disorder.
I fear that when I comef my God will againg humiliate me in your presence, and I will grieve for many who sinned before and have not repented of the uncleanness, sexual immorality, and promiscuity they practiced.