1To boast, indeed, is useless for me, for I shall go on to visions and revelations of יהוה.
2I know a man in Messiah who fourteen years ago – whether in the body I do not know, or whether out of the body I do not know, Elohim knows – such a one was caught up to the third heaven.
3And I know such a man – whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, Elohim knows –
4that he was caught up into paradise#Lit. garden. and heard unspeakable words, which it is not right for a man to speak.
5Of such a one I shall boast, but of myself I shall not boast, except in my weaknesses.
6For if I shall wish to boast, I shall not be a fool, for I shall speak the truth. But I refrain, lest anyone should think more of me than what he sees in me, or hears of me.
7And to keep me from exalting myself because of the exceeding greatness of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to hit me, to keep me from exalting myself.
8Concerning this I pleaded with the Master three times to take it away from me.
9And He said to me, “My favour is sufficient for you, for My power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, then, I shall rather boast in my weaknesses, so that the power of Messiah rests on me.
10Therefore I take pleasure in weaknesses, in insults, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for the sake of Messiah. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
11I have become a fool – you have compelled me. For I should have been commended by you, for in no respect was I behind the most eminent emissaries, though I am a nobody.
12Indeed, the signs of an emissary were wrought among you with all endurance, in signs and wonders and powers.
13For what is there in which you were inferior to other assemblies, except that I myself was not a burden to you? Forgive me this wrong!
14See, I am ready to come to you for the third time. And I shall not be a burden to you, for I do not seek yours, but you. For the children should not lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children.
15And I shall most gladly spend and be spent for your lives. If I love you more and more, am I to be loved less?
16But be it so, I did not burden you. But being crafty, did I catch you with guile?
17Did I take advantage of you by any of those whom I sent to you?
18I urged Titos, and sent our brother with him. Did Titos take advantage of you? Did we not walk in the same spirit – not in the same steps?
19Again, do you think that we defend ourselves to you? We speak before Elohim in Messiah. But all this, beloved, is for your upbuilding.
20For I fear lest, when I come, I do not find you such as I wish, and I be found by you such as you do not wish – lest there be strife, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, slander, gossip, puffings up, unrests,
21and lest, when I come again, my Elohim should humble me among you, and I shall mourn for many who have sinned before and have not repented of the uncleanness, and whoring, and indecency which they have practised.