Paul Defends His Apostleship
1 I wish that you would abear with me in a little bfoolishness; but 1indeed you are bearing with me.
2 For I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy; for I abetrothed you to one husband, so that to Christ I might bpresent you as a pure virgin.
3 But I am afraid that, as the aserpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.
4 For if 1one comes and preaches aanother Jesus whom we have not preached, or you receive a bdifferent spirit which you have not received, or a cdifferent gospel which you have not accepted, you dbear this ebeautifully.
5 For I consider myself anot in the least inferior to the 1most eminent apostles.
6 But even if I am aunskilled in speech, yet I am not so in bknowledge; in fact, in every way we have cmade this evident to you in all things.
7 Or adid I commit a sin in humbling myself so that you might be exalted, because I preached the bgospel of God to you cwithout charge?
8 I robbed other churches by ataking wages from them to serve you;
9 and when I was present with you and was in need, I was anot a burden to anyone; for when bthe brethren came from cMacedonia they fully supplied my need, and in everything I kept myself from abeing a burden to you, 1and will continue to do so.
10 aAs the truth of Christ is in me, bthis boasting of mine will not be stopped in the regions of cAchaia.
11 Why? aBecause I do not love you? bGod knows I do!
12 But what I am doing I will continue to do, aso that I may cut off opportunity from those who desire an opportunity to be 1regarded just as we are in the matter about which they are boasting.
13 For such men are afalse apostles, bdeceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ.
14 No wonder, for even aSatan disguises himself as an bangel of light.
15 Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, awhose end will be according to their deeds.
16 aAgain 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 1aas the Lord would, but as bin foolishness, in this confidence of boasting.
18 Since amany boast baccording to the flesh, I will boast also.
19 For you, abeing so wise, tolerate the foolish gladly.
20 For you tolerate it if anyone aenslaves you, anyone bdevours you, anyone ctakes advantage of you, anyone dexalts himself, anyone ehits you in the face.
21 To my ashame I must say that we have been bweak by comparison.
But in whatever respect anyone else cis bold—I dspeak in foolishness—I am just as bold myself.
22 Are they aHebrews? bSo am I. Are they cIsraelites? cSo am I. Are they 1ddescendants of Abraham? eSo am I.
23 Are they aservants of Christ?—I speak as if insane—I more so; in 1bfar more labors, in 1cfar more imprisonments, 2dbeaten times without number, often in edanger of death.
24 Five times I received from the Jews athirty-nine lashes.
25 Three times I was abeaten with rods, once I was bstoned, 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 acountrymen, dangers from the bGentiles, dangers in the ccity, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among dfalse brethren;
27 I have been in alabor and hardship, 1through many sleepless nights, in bhunger and thirst, often cwithout food, in cold and 2dexposure.
28 Apart from such 1external things, there is the daily pressure on me of concern for aall the churches.
29 Who is aweak without my being weak? Who is 1led into sin 2without my intense concern?
30 If I have to boast, I will boast of what pertains to my aweakness.
31 The God and Father of the Lord Jesus, aHe who is blessed forever, bknows that I am not lying.
32 In aDamascus the ethnarch under Aretas the king was bguarding the city of the Damascenes in order to seize me,
33 and I was let down in a basket athrough a window 1in the wall, and so escaped his hands.