2 Corinthians 10:1–13:14

The Spiritual War

10 Now aI, Paul, myself am pleading with you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ—bwho in presence am lowly among you, but being absent am bold toward you. But I beg you cthat when I am present I may not be bold with that confidence by which I intend to be bold against some, who think of us as if we walked according to the flesh. For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. dFor the weapons eof our warfare are not 1carnal but fmighty in God gfor pulling down strongholds, hcasting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, iand being ready to punish all disobedience when jyour obedience is fulfilled.

Reality of Paul’s Authority

kDo you look at things according to the outward appearance? lIf anyone is convinced in himself that he is Christ’s, let him again consider this in himself, that just as he is Christ’s, even 2so mwe are Christ’s. For even if I should boast somewhat more nabout our authority, which the Lord gave 3us for 4edification and not for your destruction, oI shall not be ashamed—lest I seem to terrify you by letters. 10 “For his letters,” they say, “are weighty and powerful, but phis bodily presence is weak, and his qspeech contemptible.” 11 Let such a person consider this, that what we are in word by letters when we are absent, such we will also be in deed when we are present.

Limits of Paul’s Authority

12 rFor we dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves. But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise. 13 sWe, however, will not boast beyond measure, but within the limits of the sphere which God appointed us—a sphere which especially includes you. 14 For we are not overextending ourselves (as though our authority did not extend to you), tfor it was to you that we came with the gospel of Christ; 15 not boasting of things beyond measure, that is, uin other men’s labors, but having hope, that as your faith is increased, we shall be greatly enlarged by you in our sphere, 16 to preach the gospel in the regions beyond you, and not to boast in another man’s sphere of accomplishment.

17 But vhe who glories, let him glory in the Lord.” 18 For wnot he who commends himself is approved, but xwhom the Lord commends.

Concern for Their Faithfulness

11 Oh, that you would bear with me in a little afolly—and indeed you do bear with me. For I am bjealous for you with godly jealousy. For cI have betrothed you to one husband, dthat I may present you eas a chaste virgin to Christ. But I fear, lest somehow, as fthe serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds gmay be corrupted from the 1simplicity that is in Christ. For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a hdifferent gospel which you have not accepted—you may well put up with it!

Paul and False Apostles

For I consider that iI am not at all inferior to the most eminent apostles. Even though jI am untrained in speech, yet I am not kin knowledge. But lwe have 2been thoroughly manifested among you in all things.

Did I commit sin in 3humbling myself that you might be exalted, because I preached the gospel of God to you mfree of charge? I robbed other churches, taking wages from them to minister to you. And when I was present with you, and in need, nI was a burden to no one, for what I lacked othe brethren who came from Macedonia supplied. And in everything I kept myself from being burdensome to you, and so I will keep myself. 10 pAs the truth of Christ is in me, qno one shall stop me from this boasting in the regions of Achaia. 11 Why? rBecause I do not love you? God knows!

12 But what I do, I will also continue to do, sthat I may cut off the opportunity from those who desire an opportunity to be regarded just as we are in the things of which they boast. 13 For such tare false apostles, udeceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into van angel of light. 15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, wwhose end will be according to their works.

Reluctant Boasting

16 I say again, let no one think me a fool. If otherwise, at least receive me as a fool, that I also may boast a little. 17 What I speak, xI speak not according to the Lord, but as it were, foolishly, in this confidence of boasting. 18 Seeing that many boast according to the flesh, I also will boast. 19 For you put up with fools gladly, ysince you yourselves are wise! 20 For you put up with it zif one brings you into bondage, if one devours you, if one takes from you, if one exalts himself, if one strikes you on the face. 21 To our shame aI say that we were too weak for that! But bin whatever anyone is bold—I speak foolishly—I am bold also.

Suffering for Christ

22 Are they cHebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? So am I. 23 Are they ministers of Christ?—I speak as a fool—I am more: din labors more abundant, ein stripes above measure, in prisons more frequently, fin deaths often. 24 From the Jews five times I received gforty hstripes minus one. 25 Three times I was ibeaten with rods; jonce I was stoned; three times I kwas shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; 26 in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, lin perils of my own countrymen, min perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; 27 in weariness and toil, nin sleeplessness often, oin hunger and thirst, in pfastings often, in cold and nakedness—28 besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: qmy deep concern for all the churches. 29 rWho is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to stumble, and I do not burn with indignation?

30 If I must boast, sI will boast in the things which concern my 4infirmity. 31 tThe God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, uwho is blessed forever, knows that I am not lying. 32 vIn Damascus the governor, under Aretas the king, was guarding the city of the Damascenes with a garrison, desiring to arrest me; 33 but I was let down in a basket through a window in the wall, and escaped from his hands.

The Vision of Paradise

12 It is 1doubtless not profitable for me to boast. I will come to avisions and brevelations of the Lord: I know a man cin Christ who fourteen years ago—whether in the body I do not know, or whether out of the body I do not know, God knows—such a one dwas caught up to the third heaven. And I know such a man—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows—how he was caught up into eParadise and heard inexpressible words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter. Of such a one I will boast; yet of myself I will not fboast, except in my infirmities. For though I might desire to boast, I will not be a fool; for I will speak the truth. But I refrain, lest anyone should think of me above what he sees me to be or hears from me.

The Thorn in the Flesh

And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a gthorn in the flesh was given to me, ha messenger of Satan to 2buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. iConcerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly jI will rather boast in my infirmities, kthat the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore lI take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. mFor when I am weak, then I am strong.

Signs of an Apostle

11 I have become na fool 3in boasting; you have compelled me. For I ought to have been commended by you; for oin nothing was I behind the most eminent apostles, though pI am nothing. 12 qTruly the signs of an apostle were accomplished among you with all perseverance, in signs and rwonders and mighty sdeeds. 13 For what is it in which you were inferior to other churches, except that I myself was not burdensome to you? Forgive me this wrong!

Love for the Church

14 tNow for the third time I am ready to come to you. And I will not be burdensome to you; for uI do not seek yours, but you. vFor the children ought not to lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children. 15 And I will very gladly spend and be spent wfor your souls; though xthe more abundantly I love you, the less I am loved.

16 But be that as it may, yI did not burden you. Nevertheless, being crafty, I caught you by cunning! 17 Did I take advantage of you by any of those whom I sent to you? 18 I urged Titus, and sent our zbrother with him. Did Titus take advantage of you? Did we not walk in the same spirit? Did we not walk in the same steps?

19 aAgain, 4do you think that we excuse ourselves to you? bWe speak before God in Christ. cBut we do all things, beloved, for your edification. 20 For I fear lest, when I come, I shall not find you such as I wish, and that dI shall be found by you such as you do not wish; lest there be contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, backbitings, whisperings, conceits, tumults; 21 lest, when I come again, my God ewill humble me among you, and I shall mourn for many fwho have sinned before and have not repented of the uncleanness, gfornication, and lewdness which they have practiced.

Coming with Authority

13 This will be athe third time I am coming to you. b“By the mouth of two or three witnesses every word shall be established.” cI have told you before, and foretell as if I were present the second time, and now being absent 1I write to those dwho have sinned before, and to all the rest, that if I come again eI will not spare

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