V. Paul's Vindication
of His Apostolic Authority
A. By the Way of His Warring
1 1But I myself, Paul, aentreat you through the 2bmeekness and 3gentleness of Christ, who (as you say) in cperson am 4dbase among you, but while absent am 5ebold toward you,
2 I beseech you that when apresent I would not have to be bbold in the confidence with which I count myself, to dare do to some who count us as ones who are walking caccording to flesh.
3 For though we walk 1in flesh, we do not awar according to flesh;
4 For the aweapons of our bwarfare are 1not fleshly but 2cpowerful before God for the doverthrowing of strongholds,
5 As we overthrow 1areasonings and every 2bhigh thing rising up against the knowledge of God, and take ccaptive every 1dthought unto the eobedience of Christ.
6 And we are ready to 1apunish all disobedience when your 2bobedience is fulfilled.
B. By the Measure of God's Rule
7 You look at things aaccording to their appearance. If someone 1has confidence in himself to be bof Christ, let him take account of this again concerning himself, that even as he is cof Christ, dso also are we.
8 For even if I should aboast somewhat more abundantly concerning our bauthority, which the Lord has given for 1cbuilding you up and not for overthrowing you, I will not be put to shame.
9 I say this so as not to seem as if I am terrifying you through my letters,
10 Because while his letters, someone says, are weighty and strong, his abodily presence is 1bweak and his cspeech 2contemptible.
11 Let such a one take account of this, that such as we are in word by letters when absent, such also we are in deed when present.
12 For we do not adare to class or compare ourselves with any of those who bcommend themselves; but they, measuring themselves by themselves and comparing themselves with themselves, are without understanding.
13 But we will 1not aboast beyond our measure but 2according to the measure of the 3rule which the God of measure has bapportioned to us, to reach even as far as you.
14 For we are not 1extending ourselves beyond our bounds, as if we did not reach you, for we were the first to acome even as far as unto you in the bgospel of Christ.
15 We are anot boasting beyond our measure in bothers' labors, but have the hope, as your faith is increasing, to be 1magnified in you according to our rule unto abundance,
16 So that we may announce the gospel unto those parts beyond you, not so that we may boast in another man's rule in things already prepared.
17 But he who aboasts, let him boast in the Lord;
18 For it is not the one who acommends himself who is bapproved, but the one whom the Lord commends.
C. By His Jealousy for Christ
1 I wish that you would abear with me in a little 1bfoolishness; but indeed you do bear with me.
2 For I am jealous over you with a 1ajealousy of God; for I bbetrothed you to one husband to cpresent you as a pure 2dvirgin to Christ.
3 But I fear lest somehow, as the aserpent bdeceived cEve by his dcraftiness, your 1ethoughts would be corrupted from the 2fsimplicity and the gpurity toward Christ.
4 For if indeed he who comes preaches 1aanother Jesus, whom we have not preached, or you receive a 1bdifferent spirit, which you have not received, or a 1cdifferent gospel, which you have not accepted, you dbear 2well with him.
5 But I count myself to be inferior to the 1asuper-apostles in nothing.
6 But even if I am a 1layman in aspeech, yet I am not in bknowledge; indeed in every way we have made this cmanifest in all things to you.
7 Or did I commit a sin, abasing myself that you might be exalted, because I announced the gospel of God to you afree of charge?
8 I robbed other churches, taking wages for the ministry to you.
9 And when I was present with you and alacked, I was not a bburden to anyone; for the brothers who came from cMacedonia dfilled up my lack, and in everything I kept myself from being eburdensome to you, and will keep myself.
10 The 1truthfulness of Christ is in me, that this aboasting shall not be stopped as it regards me in the regions of bAchaia.
11 Why? Because I do not alove you? God bknows.
12 But what I do, I also will do, that I may cut off the opportunity of those desiring an opportunity, that in the thing in which they boast, they may be found even as we.
13 For such ones are 1afalse apostles, deceitful bworkers, 2transfiguring themselves into apostles of Christ.
14 And no wonder, for 1aSatan himself transfigures himself into an 2bangel of light.
15 Therefore it is no great thing if also his ministers transfigure themselves into 1ministers of righteousness, whose aend will be according to their works.
D. By His Compelled Boasting
1. Of His Status, Labor, and Afflictions
16 Again I say, Let no one think me to be afoolish; but if otherwise, accept me even as if I were foolish, that I also may bboast a little.
17 What I speak, I speak not according to the Lord but as if in afoolishness, in this 1bconfidence of boasting.
18 Since many aboast according to the bflesh, I also will cboast.
19 For you abear gladly with bfools because you yourselves are 1wise.
20 For you bear it if anyone aenslaves you, if anyone bdevours you, if anyone 1takes you, if anyone clifts himself up, if anyone beats you in the face.
21 1By way of self-disparagement I say this, 2Supposedly we ourselves were aweak. But in whatever anyone else is daring, I speak in bfoolishness, I also am cdaring.
22 1aHebrews are they? I also. 1bIsraelites are they? I also. The 1cseed of Abraham are they? I also.
23 aMinisters of Christ are they? I speak as being 1bbeside myself, I more so! In clabors more abundantly, in dimprisonments more abundantly, in estripes 2excessively, in fdeaths often.
24 Under the hands of the Jews five times I received aforty stripes less one;
25 Three times I was beaten with 1rods, once I was astoned, 2three times I was bshipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep;
26 In journeys often, in dangers of 1rivers, in dangers of 2robbers, in dangers from my arace, in dangers from the Gentiles, in dangers in the bcity, in dangers in the wilderness, in dangers in the sea, in dangers among 3cfalse brothers;
27 In alabor and hardship; in 1watchings often; in 2bhunger and thirst; in 2cfastings often; in 3cold and 4dnakedness --
28 Apart from the things which have 1not been mentioned, there is this: the crowd of cares pressing upon me daily, the 2anxious concern for aall the churches.
29 Who is aweak, and I am not weak? Who is bstumbled, and 1I myself do not 2burn?
30 If I must aboast, I will boast of the 1things of my bweakness.
31 The aGod and Father of the Lord Jesus, He who is bblessed forever, cknows that I am dnot lying.
32 In aDamascus, the 1governor under Aretas the king bguarded the city of the Damascenes in order to seize me;
33 And in a basket I was alowered through a window, through the wall, and escaped his hands.
2. Of the Lord's Vision and Revelation to Him
1 To aboast is 1necessary, though indeed not bexpedient; yet I will 2come to 3cvisions and drevelations of the Lord.
2 I know a 1man ain Christ, fourteen years ago (whether in the body I do not know, or outside the body I do not know; God bknows) such a one was 2caught away 3to the 4third heaven.
3 1And I know such a man (whether in the body or 2outside the body, I do not know; God knows),
4 That he was caught away into 1Paradise and heard unspeakable words, which it is anot allowed for a man to speak.
5 On behalf of such a one I will aboast, but on behalf of myself I will not bboast, except in my cweaknesses.
6 For if I desire to aboast, I will not be foolish, for I will bspeak the truth; but I refrain lest anyone account of me something above what he csees me to be or dhears from me.
7 And because of the 1transcendence of the revelations, in order that I might not be exceedingly alifted up, there was given to me a 2bthorn in the flesh, a messenger of cSatan, that he might 3buffet me, in order that I might not be exceedingly lifted up.
8 Concerning this I entreated the Lord athree times that it might depart from me.
9 And He has said to me, My 1agrace is sufficient for you, for My 2bpower is perfected in cweakness. Most gladly therefore I will rather boast in my weaknesses that the dpower of Christ might 3etabernacle over me.
10 Therefore I am 1well pleased in aweaknesses, in 2insults, in 3bnecessities, in cpersecutions and 4ddistresses, on behalf of Christ; for when I am 5eweak, then I am 5powerful.
3. Of the Signs of His Apostleship
11 I have become afoolish; you yourselves have compelled me. For it is I who should have been bcommended by you; for in nothing am I inferior to the 1csuper-apostles, even though I am dnothing.
12 Indeed the 1signs of an aapostle were wrought among you in all bendurance by 2csigns and 3wonders and 4works of power.
13 For what is there in which you were 1treated in a manner inferior to the rest of the churches, except that I myself was not a aburden to you? 2Graciously forgive me this 2injustice!
14 Behold, this athird time I am ready to come to you, and I will not be a burden; for I do bnot seek what is yours but you. For the cchildren ought not to store up for the parents, but the dparents for the children.
15 But I, I will most gladly 1spend and 2abe utterly spent on behalf of your souls. If I blove you more abundantly, am I loved less?
16 But 1let it be so! I did anot burden you; but, as some of you say, being 2crafty, I took you by guile.
17 Did I take aadvantage of you through anyone whom I have sent bto you?
18 I entreated aTitus and sent with him the bbrother. Titus did not take advantage of you, did he? Did we not walk in the same 1cspirit? In the same dsteps?
E. By the Authority Given to Him
19 All this time you have been thinking that we are defending ourselves to you. 1aBefore God bin Christ we speak; but all things, beloved, are for your cbuilding up.
20 For I afear 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 1bstrife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, cselfish ambitions, 2slanders, 3whisperings, 4demonstrations of being puffed up, 5dtumults;
21 That when I come again my God may humble me before you and I may mourn over many who have asinned before and who have not brepented of the cuncleanness and dfornication and licentiousness which they have practiced.
1 This athird time I am coming to you; at the mouth of two or three bwitnesses shall every word be established.
2 I have previously said and I say beforehand, when I was present the second time and being aabsent now, to those who have bsinned before and to all the rest, that if I come again, I will cnot spare,
3 Since you seek a proof of the Christ who is speaking in me, who is not weak unto you but is 1apowerful in you.
4 For indeed He was acrucified out of 1weakness, but He blives 2by the power of God. For indeed 3we are cweak in Him, but we will dlive together with Him 2by the epower of God directed toward you.
5 Test yourselves whether you are in the 1faith; 2prove yourselves. Or do you not realize about yourselves that 3Jesus Christ is ain you, unless you are 4bdisapproved?
6 But I hope that you will know that 1we are not disapproved.
7 Now we pray to God that you do nothing wrong, 1not that we may appear approved, but that you yourselves may do what is good and we may be as if disapproved.
8 1For we are not able to do anything against the 2truth but rather for the truth.
9 For we rejoice whenever we are 1aweak and you are powerful; this also we pray for, your 2bperfecting.
10 Therefore I write these things while being aabsent in order that when bpresent I would not have to use cseverity, according to the dauthority which the Lord has given me for ebuilding up and not for overthrowing.