1Boasting is necessary. It is not profitable, but I will move on to visionsa and revelationsb of the Lord.
2I know a man in Christ who was caught upc into the third heaven 14 years ago. Whether he was in the body or out of the body, I don’t know, God knows.
3I know that this man — whether in the body or out of the body I don’t know, God knows —
4was caught up into paradise.d He heard inexpressible words, which a man is not allowed to speak.
5I will boast about this person, but not about myself, except of my weaknesses.
6For if I want to boast, I will not be a fool, because I will be telling the truth.e But I will spare you, so that no one can credit me with something beyond what he sees in me or hears from me,
7especially because of the extraordinary revelations. Therefore, so that I would not exalt myself, a thorn in the fleshf was given to me, a messengerg of Satanh to torment me so I would not exalt myself.
8Concerning this, I pleaded with the Lord three times to take it away from me.
9But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for poweri,j is perfected in weakness.”k Therefore, I will most gladly boast all the more about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may reside in me.
10So I take pleasure in weaknesses, insults, catastrophes, persecutions, and in pressures, because of Christ.l For when I am weak, then I am strong.m
Signs of an Apostle
11I have become a fool; you forced it on me. I should have been endorsed by you, since I am not in any way inferior to the “super-apostles,” even though I am nothing.n
12The signso of an apostlep were performed with great endurance among you — not only signs but also wondersq and miracles.r
13So in what way were you treated worse than the other churches, except that I personally did not burden you? Forgive me this wrong!
Paul’s Concern for the Corinthians
14Now I am ready to come to you this third time.s I will not burden you, for I am not seeking what is yours, but you. For children are not obligated to save up for their parents, but parents for their children.
15I will most gladly spend and be spent for you.t, u If I love you more, am I to be loved less?
16Now granted, I have not burdenedv you; yet sly as I am, I took you in by deceit!w
17Did I take advantage of you by anyone I sent you?
18I urged Titusx to come, and I sent the brother with him. Did Titus take advantage of you? Didn’t we •walk in the same spirity and in the same footsteps?
19You have thought all along that we were defending ourselves to you.z No, in the sight of God we are speaking in Christ, and everything, dear friends, is for building you up.aa
20For I fear that perhaps when I come I will not find you to be what I want, and I may not be found by you to be what you want;ab there may be quarreling,ac jealousy,ad outbursts of anger, selfish ambitions,ae slander,af gossip, arrogance, and disorder.ag
21I fear that when I come my God will againah humiliate me in your presence, and I will grieve for many who sinned before and have not repentedai of the moral impurity, sexual immorality,aj and promiscuityak they practiced.
a. 12:1 Lk 1:22
b. 12:1 1Pt 4:13
c. 12:2 1Th 4:17
d. 12:4 Lk 23:43
e. 12:6 Ps 119:142; Jn 8:14; 14:6; 2Co 11:10; 1Jn 5:20; 3Jn 3
f. 12:7 Nm 33:55; Ezk 28:24; Php 3:3
g. 12:7 Or me, an angel
h. 12:7 Mt 4:1,10; Ac 13:10
i. 12:9 Other mss read My power
j. 12:9 Mk 5:30; Lk 1:35; 6:19; Ac 19:11; 2Co 13:4; Rv 11:17
k. 12:9 Is 40:29-31; 1Co 2:5; Php 4:13
l. 12:10 Mt 5:11-12; Rm 5:3; 2Co 13:4
m. 12:10 Eph 6:10
n. 12:11 Gl 6:3
o. 12:12 Heb 2:4
p. 12:12 Ac 1:2; Jd 17
q. 12:12 Mk 13:22
r. 12:12 Ac 19:11
s. 12:14 Ac 18; 2Co 2:1; 13:1
t. 12:15 Lit for your souls, or for your lives
u. 12:15 2Co 1:6; Php 2:17; Col 1:24; 1Th 2:8; 2Tm 2:10
v. 12:16 1Th 2:7
w. 12:16 Ps 10:7
x. 12:18 Ti 1:4
y. 12:18 Ps 51:12
z. 12:19 Or Have you thought . . . to you?
aa. 12:19 1Co 14:3-4
ab. 12:20 Lit be as you want
ac. 12:20 Ti 3:9
ad. 12:20 Jms 3:14
ae. 12:20 Rm 2:8
af. 12:20 1Pt 2:1
ag. 12:20 1Co 14:33,40
ah. 12:21 Or come again my God will
ai. 12:21 Ac 3:19
aj. 12:21 1Th 4:3
ak. 12:21 Mk 7:21-22