Paul Defends His Apostleship

1 I wish that you would 1bear with me in a little 2foolishness; but indeed you are bearing with me.
2 For I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy; for I 3betrothed you to one husband, so that to Christ I might 4present you as a pure virgin.
3 But I am afraid that, as the 5serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.
4 For if one comes and preaches 6another Jesus whom we have not preached, or you receive a 7different spirit which you have not received, or a 8different gospel which you have not accepted, you 9bear this 10beautifully.
5 For I consider myself 11not in the least inferior to the most eminent apostles.
6 But even if I am 12unskilled in speech, yet I am not so in 13knowledge; in fact, in every way we have 14made this evident to you in all things.
7 Or 15did I commit a sin in humbling myself so that you might be exalted, because I preached the 16gospel of God to you 17without charge?
8 I robbed other churches by 18taking wages from them to serve you;
9 and when I was present with you and was in need, I was 19not a burden to anyone; for when 20the brethren came from 21Macedonia they fully supplied my need, and in everything I kept myself from 22being a burden to you, and will continue to do so.
10 23As the truth of Christ is in me, 24this boasting of mine * will not be stopped in the regions of 25Achaia.
11 Why *? 26Because I do not love you? 27God knows I do!
12 But what I am doing I will continue to do, 28so that I may cut off opportunity from those who desire an opportunity to be regarded just as we are in the matter about which they are boasting.
14 No wonder, for even 31Satan disguises himself as an 32angel of light.
15 Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, 33whose end will be according to their deeds.
16 34Again I say, let no one think me foolish; but if you do, receive me even as foolish, so that I also may boast a little.
17 What I am saying, I am not saying 35as the Lord would, but as 36in foolishness, in this confidence of boasting.
19 For you, 39being so wise, tolerate the foolish gladly.
20 For you tolerate it if anyone 40enslaves you, anyone 41devours you, anyone 42takes advantage of you, anyone 43exalts himself, anyone 44hits you in the face.
21 To my 45shame I must say that we have been 46weak by comparison. But in whatever * respect anyone else 47is bold -I 48speak in foolishness -I am just as bold myself.
22 Are they 49Hebrews? 50So am I. Are they 51Israelites? 52So am I. Are they 53descendants of Abraham? 54So am I.
24 Five times I received from the Jews 60thirty-nine * * lashes.
25 Three times I was 61beaten with rods, once I was 62stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep.
26 I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my 63countrymen, dangers from the 64Gentiles, dangers in the 65city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among 66false brethren;
28 Apart from such external things, there is the daily * pressure on me of concern for 71all the churches.
29 Who is 72weak without * my being weak? Who is led into sin without * my intense concern?
30 If I have to boast, I will boast of what pertains to my 73weakness.
31 The God and Father of the Lord Jesus, 74He who is blessed forever, 75knows that I am not lying.
32 In 76Damascus the ethnarch under Aretas the king was 77guarding the city of the Damascenes in order to seize me,
33 and I was let down in a basket 78through a window in the wall, and so escaped his hands.