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2. Of the Lord's Vision and Revelation to Him
1 To boast is necessary, though indeed not expedient; yet I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord.
2 I know a man in Christ, fourteen years ago (whether in the body I do not know, or outside the body I do not know; God knows) such a one was caught away to the third heaven.
3 And I know such a man (whether in the body or outside the body, I do not know; God knows),
4 That he was caught away into Paradise and heard unspeakable words, which it is not allowed for a man to speak.
5 On behalf of such a one I will boast, but on behalf of myself I will not boast, except in my weaknesses.
6 For if I desire to boast, I will not be foolish, for I will speak the truth; but I refrain lest anyone account of me something above what he sees me to be or hears from me.
7 And because of the transcendence of the revelations, in order that I might not be exceedingly lifted up, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan, that he might buffet me, in order that I might not be exceedingly lifted up.
8 Concerning this I entreated the Lord three times that it might depart from me.
9 And He has said to me, My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is perfected in weakness. Most gladly therefore I will rather boast in my weaknesses that the power of Christ might tabernacle over me.
10 Therefore I am well pleased in weaknesses, in insults, in necessities, in persecutions and distresses, on behalf of Christ; for when I am weak, then I am powerful.
3. Of the Signs of His Apostleship
11 I have become foolish; you yourselves have compelled me. For it is I who should have been commended by you; for in nothing am I inferior to the super-apostles, even though I am nothing.
12 Indeed the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all endurance by signs and wonders and works of power.
13 For what is there in which you were treated in a manner inferior to the rest of the churches, except that I myself was not a burden to you? Graciously forgive me this injustice!
14 Behold, this third time I am ready to come to you, and I will not be a burden; for I do not seek what is yours but you. For the children ought not to store up for the parents, but the parents for the children.
15 But I, I will most gladly spend and be utterly spent on behalf of your souls. If I love you more abundantly, am I loved less?
16 But let it be so! I did not burden you; but, as some of you say, being crafty, I took you by guile.
17 Did I take advantage of you through anyone whom I have sent to you?
18 I entreated Titus and sent with him the brother. Titus did not take advantage of you, did he? Did we not walk in the same spirit? In the same steps?
E. By the Authority Given to Him
19 All this time you have been thinking that we are defending ourselves to you. Before God in Christ we speak; but all things, beloved, are for your building up.
20 For I fear that perhaps when I come, I may find you not such as I wish, and I may be found by you not such as you wish; that perhaps there may be strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambitions, slanders, whisperings, demonstrations of being puffed up, tumults;
21 That when I come again my God may humble me before you and I may mourn over many who have sinned before and who have not repented of the uncleanness and fornication and licentiousness which they have practiced.