By the meekness and gentleness1 of Christ, I appeal to you--I, Paul,2 who am "timid" when face to face with you, but "bold" toward you when away!
I beg you that when I come I may not have to be as bold3 as I expect to be toward some people who think that we live by the standards of this world.43
For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does.54
The weapons we fight with6 are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power7 to demolish strongholds.85
We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God,9 and we take captive every thought to make it obedient10 to Christ.
And we will be ready to punish every act of disobedience, once your obedience is complete.117
You are judging by appearances.a12 If anyone is confident that they belong to Christ,13 they should consider again that we belong to Christ just as much as they do.148
So even if I boast somewhat freely about the authority the Lord gave us15 for building you up rather than tearing you down,16 I will not be ashamed of it.
I do not want to seem to be trying to frighten you with my letters.
For some say, "His letters are weighty and forceful, but in person he is unimpressive17 and his speaking amounts to nothing."1811
Such people should realize that what we are in our letters when we are absent, we will be in our actions when we are present.
We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves.19 When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise.
We, however, will not boast beyond proper limits, but will confine our boasting to the sphere of service God himself has assigned to us,20 a sphere that also includes you.
We are not going too far in our boasting, as would be the case if we had not come to you, for we did get as far as you21 with the gospel of Christ.2215
Neither do we go beyond our limits23 by boasting of work done by others.24 Our hope is that, as your faith continues to grow,25 our sphere of activity among you will greatly expand,
so that we can preach the gospel26 in the regions beyond you.27 For we do not want to boast about work already done in someone else's territory.
But, "Let those who boast boast in the Lord."b2818
For it is not those who commend themselves29 who are approved, but those whom the Lord commends.30