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11
1 I WISH you would bear with me while I indulge in a little [so-called] foolishness. Do bear with me!
2 For I am zealous for you with a godly eagerness and a divine jealousy, for I have betrothed you to one Husband, to present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. [Hos. 2:19, 20.]
3 But [now] I am fearful, lest that even as the serpent beguiled Eve by his cunning, so your minds may be corrupted and seduced from wholehearted and sincere and pure devotion to Christ. [Gen. 3:4.]
4 For [you seem readily to endure it] if a man comes and preaches another Jesus than the One we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the [Spirit] you [once] received or a different gospel from the one you [then] received and welcomed; you tolerate [all that] well enough!
5 Yet I consider myself as in no way inferior to these [precious] extra-super [false] apostles.
6 But even if [I am] unskilled in speaking, yet [I am] not [unskilled] in knowledge [I know what I am talking about]; we have made this evident to you in all things.
7 But did I perhaps make a mistake and do you a wrong in debasing and cheapening myself so that you might be exalted and enriched in dignity and honor and happiness by preaching God's Gospel without expense to you?
8 Other churches I have robbed by accepting [more than their share of] support for my ministry [from them in order] to serve you.
9 And when I was with you and ran short financially, I did not burden any [of you], for what I lacked was abundantly made up by the brethren who came from Macedonia. So I kept myself from being burdensome to you in any way, and will continue to keep [myself from being so].
10 As the truth of Christ is in me, this my boast [of independence] shall not be debarred (silenced or checked) in the regions of Achaia (most of Greece).
11 And why? Because I do not love you [do not have a preference for you, wish you well, and regard your welfare]? God perceives and knows that I do!
12 But what I do, I will continue to do, [for I am determined to maintain this independence] in order to cut off the claim of those who would like [to find an occasion and incentive] to claim that in their boasted [mission] they work on the same terms that we do.
13 For such men are false apostles [spurious, counterfeits], deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles (special messengers) of Christ (the Messiah).
14 And it is no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light;
15 So it is not surprising if his servants also masquerade as ministers of righteousness. [But] their end will correspond with their deeds.
16 I repeat then, let no one think I have lost my wits; but even if you do, then bear with a witless man, so that I too may boast a little.
17 What I say by way of this confident boasting, I say not with the Lord's authority [by inspiration] but, as it were, in pure witlessness.
18 [For] since many boast of worldly things and according to the flesh, I will glory (boast) also.
19 For you readily and gladly bear with the foolish, since you are so smart and wise yourselves!
20 For you endure it if a man assumes control of your souls and makes slaves of you, or devours [your substance, spends your money] and preys upon you, or deceives and takes advantage of you, or is arrogant and puts on airs, or strikes you in the face.
21 To my discredit, I must say, we have shown ourselves too weak [for you to show such tolerance of us and for us to do strong, courageous things like that to you]! But in whatever any person is bold and dares [to boast]–mind you, I am speaking in this foolish (witless) way–I also am bold and dare [to boast].
22 They are Hebrews? So am I! They are Israelites? So am I! They are descendants of Abraham? So am I!
23 Are they [ministering] servants of Christ (the Messiah)? I am talking like one beside himself, [but] I am more, with far more extensive and abundant labors, with far more imprisonments, [beaten] with countless stripes, and frequently [at the point of] death.
24 Five times I received from [the hands of] the Jews forty [lashes all] but one; [Deut. 25:3.]
25 Three times I have been beaten with rods; once I was stoned. Three times I have been aboard a ship wrecked at sea; a [whole] night and a day I have spent [adrift] on the deep;
26 Many times on journeys, [exposed to] perils from rivers, perils from bandits, perils from [my own] nation, perils from the Gentiles, perils in the city, perils in the desert places, perils in the sea, perils from those posing as believers [but destitute of Christian knowledge and piety];
27 In toil and hardship, watching often [through sleepless nights], in hunger and thirst, frequently driven to fasting by want, in cold and exposure and lack of clothing.
28 And besides those things that are without, there is the daily [inescapable pressure] of my care and anxiety for all the churches!
29 Who is weak, and I do not feel [his] weakness? Who is made to stumble and fall and have his faith hurt, and I am not on fire [with sorrow or indignation]?
30 If I must boast, I will boast of the things that [show] my infirmity [of the things by which I am made weak and contemptible in the eyes of my opponents].
31 The God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ knows, He Who is blessed and to be praised forevermore, that I do not lie.
32 In Damascus, the city governor acting under King Aretas guarded the city of Damascus [on purpose] to arrest me,
33 And I was [actually] let down in a [rope] basket or hamper through a window (a small door) in the wall, and I escaped through his fingers.