1I wish that you would bear with me in a little foolishness; but indeed you are bearing with me.
2For I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy; for I betrothed you to one husband, so that to Christ I might present you [as] a pure virgin.
3But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity [of devotion] to Christ.
4For if one comes and preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted, you bear [this] beautifully.
5For I consider myself not in the least inferior to the most eminent apostles.
6But even if I am unskilled in speech, yet I am not [so] in knowledge; in fact, in every way we have made [this] evident to you in all things.
7Or did I commit a sin in humbling myself so that you might be exalted, because I preached the gospel of God to you without charge?
8I robbed other churches by taking wages [from] [them] to serve you;
9and when I was present with you and was in need, I was not a burden to anyone; for when the brethren came from Macedonia they fully supplied my need, and in everything I kept myself from being a burden to you, and will continue to do so.
10As the truth of Christ is in me, this boasting of mine will not be stopped in the regions of Achaia.
11Why? Because I do not love you? God knows [I do]!
12But what I am doing I will continue to do, so that I may cut off opportunity from those who desire an opportunity to be regarded just as we are in the matter about which they are boasting.
13For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ.
14No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.
15Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their deeds.
16Again 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.
17What I am saying, I am not saying as the Lord would, but as in foolishness, in this confidence of boasting.
18Since many boast according to the flesh, I will boast also.
19For you, being [so] wise, tolerate the foolish gladly.
20For you tolerate it if anyone enslaves you, anyone devours you, anyone takes advantage of you, anyone exalts himself, anyone hits you in the face.
21To [my] shame I [must] say that we have been weak [by comparison]. But in whatever respect anyone [else] is bold-- I speak in foolishness-- I am just as bold myself.
22Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they descendants of Abraham? So am I.
23Are they servants of Christ?-- I speak as if insane-- I more so; in far more labors, in far more imprisonments, beaten times without number, often in danger of death.
24Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine [lashes].
25Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, 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] countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren;
27[I have been] in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure.
28Apart from [such] external things, there is the daily pressure on me [of] concern for all the churches.
29Who is weak without my being weak? Who is led into sin without my intense concern?
30If I have to boast, I will boast of what pertains to my weakness.
31The God and Father of the Lord Jesus, He who is blessed forever, knows that I am not lying.
32In Damascus the ethnarch under Aretas the king was guarding the city of the Damascenes in order to seize me,
33and I was let down in a basket through a window in the wall, and [so] escaped his hands.