1I wish you would put up with a little foolishness from me -- not that you don't do this already. 2The jealousy that I feel for you is, you see, God's own jealousy: I gave you all in marriage to a singlehusband, a virgin pure for presentation to Christ. 3But I am afraid that, just as the snake with his cunning seduced Eve, your minds may be led astrayfrom single-minded devotion to Christ. 4Because any chance comer has only to preach a Jesus other than the one we preached, or you haveonly to receive a spirit different from the one you received, or a gospel different from the one you accepted -- andyou put up with that only too wil ingly. 5Now, I consider that I am not in the least inferior to the super-apostles. 6Even if there is something lacking in my public speaking, this is not the case with my knowledge, aswe have openly shown to you at al times and before everyone. 7Have I done wrong, then, humbling myself so that you might be raised up, by preaching the gospel ofGod to you for nothing? 8I was robbing other churches, taking wages from them in order to work for you. 9When I was with you and needed money, I was no burden to anybody, for the brothers fromMacedonia brought me as much as I needed when they came; I have always been careful not to let myself be aburden to you in any way, and I shall continue to be so. 10And as Christ's truth is in me, this boast of mine is not going to be silenced in the regions of Achaia. 11Why should it be? Because I do not love you? God knows that I do. 12I wil go on acting as I do at present, to cut the ground from under the feet of those who are lookingfor a chance to be proved my equals in grounds for boasting. 13These people are counterfeit apostles, dishonest workers disguising themselves as apostles ofChrist. 14There is nothing astonishing in this; even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. 15It is nothing extraordinary, then, when his servants disguise themselves as the servants ofuprightness. They wil come to the end appropriate to what they have done. 16To repeat: let no one take me for a fool, but if you do, then treat me as a fool, so that I, too, can do alittle boasting. 17I shal not be fol owing the Lord's way in what I say now, but wil be speaking out of foolishness in theconviction that I have something to boast about. 18So many people boast on merely human grounds that I shal too. 19I know how happy you are to put up with fools, being so wise yourselves; 20and how you wil still go on putting up with a man who enslaves you, eats up al you possess, keepsyou under his orders and sets himself above you, or even slaps you in the face. 21I say it to your shame; perhaps we have been too weak. Whatever bold claims anyone makes -- nowI am talking as a fool -- I can make them too. 22Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they descendants of Abraham? So amI. 23Are they servants of Christ? I speak in utter fol y -- I am too, and more than they are: I have donemore work, I have been in prison more, I have been flogged more severely, many times exposed to death. 24Five times I have been given the thirty-nine lashes by the Jews; 25three times I have been beaten with sticks; once I was stoned; three times I have been shipwrecked,and once I have been in the open sea for a night and a day; 26continual y travelling, I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from brigands, in danger from myown people and in danger from the gentiles, in danger in the towns and in danger in the open country, in dangerat sea and in danger from people masquerading as brothers; 27I have worked with unsparing energy, for many nights without sleep; I have been hungry and thirsty,and often altogether without food or drink; I have been cold and lacked clothing. 28And, besides all the external things, there is, day in day out, the pressure on me of my anxiety for althe churches. 29If anyone weakens, I am weakened as wel ; and when anyone is made to fal , I burn in agony myself. 30If I have to boast, I will boast of al the ways in which I am weak. 31The God and Father of the Lord Jesus -- who is for ever to be blessed -- knows that I am not lying. 32When I was in Damascus, the governor who was under King Aretas put guards round Damascus cityto catch me, 33and I was let down in a basket through a window in the wall, and that was how I escaped from hishands.
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