Here is what we take pride in. Our sense of what is right and wrong gives witness that we have acted in God's holy and honest ways. That is how we live in the world. We live that way most of all when we are dealing with you. Our way of living is not wise in the eyes of the world. But it is in keeping with God's grace.
We are writing only what you can read and understand. And here is what I hope.
Up to this point you have understood some of the things we have said. But now I hope that someday you will be able to take pride in us, just as we will take pride in you on the day the Lord Jesus returns. When you are able to do that, you will understand us completely.
I was sure of those things. So I planned to visit you first. Here is how I thought you would be helped twice.
I planned to visit you on my way to Macedonia. I would have come back to you from there. Then you would have sent me on my way to Judea.
When I planned all of that, did I do it without much thought? No. I don't make my plans the way the world makes theirs. In the same breath the world says, "Yes! Yes!" and "No! No!"
But just as sure as God is faithful, our message to you is not "Yes" and "No."
Silas, Timothy and I preached to you about the Son of God, Jesus Christ. Our message did not say "Yes" and "No" at the same time. The message of Christ has always been "Yes."
God has made a great many promises. They are all "Yes" because of what Christ has done. So through Christ we say "Amen." We want God to receive glory.
He makes both us and you stand firm because we belong to Christ. He anointed us.
He put his Spirit in our hearts and marked us as his own. We can now be sure that he will give us everything he promised us.
I call God as my witness. I wanted to spare you. So I didn't return to Corinth.
Your faith is not under our control. You stand firm in your own faith. But we work together with you for your joy.