But as for me Paul, I entreat you by the gentleness and self-forgetfulness of Christ--I who when among you have not an imposing personal presence, but when absent am fearlessly outspoken in dealing with you.
I beseech you not to compel me when present to make a bold display of the confidence with which I reckon I shall show my `courage' against some who reckon that we are guided by worldly principles.
For, though we are still living in the world, it is no worldly warfare that we are waging.
The weapons with which we fight are not human weapons, but are mighty for God in overthrowing strong fortresses.
For we overthrow arrogant `reckonings,' and every stronghold that towers high in defiance of the knowledge of God, and we carry off every thought as if into slavery--into subjection to Christ;
while we hold ourselves in readiness to punish every act of disobedience, as soon as ever you as a Church have fully shown your obedience.
Is it outward appearances you look to? If any man is confident as regards himself that he specially belongs to Christ, let him consider again and reflect that just as he belongs to Christ, so also do we.
If, however, I were to boast more loudly of our Apostolic authority, which the Lord has given us that we may build you up, not pull you down, I should have no reason to feel ashamed.
Let it not seem as if I wanted to frighten you by my letters.
For they say "His letters are authoritative and forcible, but his personal presence is unimpressive, and as for eloquence, he has none."
Let such people take this into their reckoning, that whatever we are in word by our letters when absent, the same are we also in act when present.
For we have not the `courage' to rank ourselves among, or compare ourselves with, certain persons distinguished by their self-commendation. Yet they are not wise, measuring themselves, as they do, by one another and comparing themselves with one another.
We, however, will not exceed due limits in our boasting, but will keep within the limits of the sphere which God has assigned to us as a limit, which reaches even to you.
For there is no undue stretch of authority on our part, as though it did not extend to you. We pressed on even to Corinth, and were the first to proclaim to you the Good News of the Christ.
We do not exceed our due limits, and take credit for other men's labours; but we entertain the hope that, as your faith grows, we shall gain promotion among you--still keeping within our own sphere--promotion to a larger field of labour,
and shall tell the Good News in the districts beyond you, not boasting in another man's sphere about work already done by him.
But "whoever boasts, let his boast be in the Lord."
For it is not the man that commends himself who is really approved, but he whom the Lord commends.