Holman Christian Standard Bible
1Boasting is necessary. It is not profitable, but I will move on to visions and revelations of the Lord. 2I know a man in Christ who was caught up 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. 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. 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 flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan 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 power is perfected in weakness." 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. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
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. 12The signs of an apostle were performed with great endurance among you--not only signs but also wonders and miracles. 13So in what way were you treated worse than the other churches, except that I personally did not burden you? Forgive me this wrong!
14Now I am ready to come to you this third time. 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. If I love you more, am I to be loved less? 16Now granted, I have not burdened you; yet sly as I am, I took you in by deceit! 17Did I take advantage of you by anyone I sent you? 18I urged Titus to come, and I sent the brother with him. Did Titus take advantage of you? Didn't we walk in the same spirit and in the same footsteps?
19You have thought all along that we were defending ourselves to you. No, in the sight of God we are speaking in Christ, and everything, dear friends, is for building you up. 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; there may be quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambitions, slander, gossip, arrogance, and disorder. 21I fear that when I come my God will again humiliate me in your presence, and I will grieve for many who sinned before and have not repented of the moral impurity, sexual immorality, and promiscuity they practiced.