December 8

2 Corinthians 10:1 — 13:14

Now I myself, Paul, entreat YOU by the mildness and kindness of the Christ, lowly though I am in appearance among YOU, whereas when absent I am bold toward YOU. 2 Indeed I beg that, when present, I may not use boldness with that confidence with which I am counting on taking bold measures against some who appraise us as if we walked according to [what we are in the] flesh. 3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not wage warfare according to [what we are in the] flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not fleshly, but powerful by God for overturning strongly entrenched things. 5 For we are overturning reasonings and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God; and we are bringing every thought into captivity to make it obedient to the Christ; 6 and we are holding ourselves in readiness to inflict punishment for every disobedience, as soon as YOUR own obedience has been fully carried out.

7 YOU look at things according to their face value. If anyone trusts in himself that he belongs to Christ, let him again take this fact into account for himself, that, just as he belongs to Christ, so do we also. 8 For even if I should boast a bit too much about the authority that the Lord gave us to build YOU up and not to tear YOU down, I would not be put to shame, 9 that I may not seem to want to terrify YOU by [my] letters. 10 For, say they: “[His] letters are weighty and forceful, but [his] presence in person is weak and [his] speech contemptible.” 11 Let such a man take this into account, that what we are in our word by letters when absent, such we shall also be in action when present. 12 For we do not dare to class ourselves among some or compare ourselves with some who recommend themselves. Certainly they in measuring themselves by themselves and comparing themselves with themselves have no understanding.

13 For our part we will boast, not outside our assigned boundaries, but according to the boundary of the territory that God apportioned to us by measure, making it reach even as far as YOU. 14 Really we are not overstretching ourselves as if we did not reach to YOU, for we were the first to come even as far as YOU in declaring the good news about the Christ. 15 No, we are not boasting outside our assigned boundaries in the labors of someone else, but we entertain hope that, as YOUR faith is being increased, we may be made great among YOU with reference to our territory. Then we will abound still more, 16 to declare the good news to the countries beyond YOU, so as not to boast in someone else’s territory where things are already prepared. 17 “But he that boasts, let him boast in Jehovah.” 18 For not the one who recommends himself is approved, but the man whom Jehovah recommends.

I wish YOU would put up with me in some little unreasonableness. But, in fact, YOU are putting up with me! 2 For I am jealous over YOU with a godly jealousy, for I personally promised YOU in marriage to one husband that I might present YOU as a chaste virgin to the Christ. 3 But I am afraid that somehow, as the serpent seduced Eve by its cunning, YOUR minds might be corrupted away from the sincerity and the chastity that are due the Christ. 4 For, as it is, if someone comes and preaches a Jesus other than the one we preached, or YOU receive a spirit other than what YOU received, or good news other than what YOU accepted, YOU easily put up [with him]. 5 For I consider that I have not in a single thing proved inferior to YOUR superfine apostles. 6 But even if I am unskilled in speech, I certainly am not in knowledge; but in every way we manifested [it] to YOU in all things.

7 Or did I commit a sin by humbling myself that YOU might be exalted, because without cost I gladly declared the good news of God to YOU? 8 Other congregations I robbed by accepting provisions in order to minister to YOU; 9 and yet when I was present with YOU and I fell in need, I did not become a burden to a single one, for the brothers that came from Macedonia abundantly supplied my deficiency. Yes, in every way I kept myself unburdensome to YOU and will keep myself so. 10 It is a truth of Christ in my case that no stop shall be put to this boasting of mine in the regions of Achaia. 11 For what reason? Because I do not love YOU? God knows [I do].

12 Now what I am doing I will still do, that I may cut off the pretext from those who are wanting a pretext for being found equal to us in the office of which they boast. 13 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder, for Satan himself keeps transforming himself into an angel of light. 15 It is therefore nothing great if his ministers also keep transforming themselves into ministers of righteousness. But their end shall be according to their works.

16 I say again, Let no man think I am unreasonable. Still, if YOU really do, accept me even if as unreasonable, that I too may do some little boasting. 17 What I speak I speak, not after the Lord’s example, but as in unreasonableness, in this cocksureness peculiar to boasting. 18 Since many are boasting according to the flesh, I too will boast. 19 For YOU gladly put up with the unreasonable persons, seeing YOU are reasonable. 20 In fact, YOU put up with whoever enslaves YOU, whoever devours [what YOU have], whoever grabs [what YOU have], whoever exalts himself over [YOU], whoever strikes YOU in the face.

21 I say this to [our] dishonor, as though our position had been weak.

But if anyone else acts bold in something—I am talking unreasonably—I too am acting bold in it. 22 Are they Hebrews? I am one also. Are they Israelites? I am one also. Are they Abraham’s seed? I am also. 23 Are they ministers of Christ? I reply like a madman, I am more outstandingly one: in labors more plentifully, in prisons more plentifully, in blows to an excess, in near-deaths often. 24 By Jews I five times received forty strokes less one, 25 three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I experienced shipwreck, a night and a day I have spent in the deep; 26 in journeys often, in dangers from rivers, in dangers from highwaymen, in dangers from [my own] race, in dangers from the nations, in dangers in the city, in dangers in the wilderness, in dangers at sea, in dangers among false brothers, 27 in labor and toil, in sleepless nights often, in hunger and thirst, in abstinence from food many times, in cold and nakedness.

28 Besides those things of an external kind, there is what rushes in on me from day to day, the anxiety for all the congregations. 29 Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is stumbled, and I am not incensed?

30 If boasting there must be, I will boast of the things having to do with my weakness. 31 The God and Father of the Lord Jesus, even the One who is to be praised forever, knows I am not lying. 32 In Damascus the governor under Aretas the king was guarding the city of the Damascenes to seize me, 33 but through a window in the wall I was lowered in a wicker basket and escaped his hands.

I have to boast. It is not beneficial; but I shall pass on to supernatural visions and revelations of [the] Lord. 2 I know a man in union with Christ who, fourteen years ago—whether in the body I do not know, or out of the body I do not know; God knows—was caught away as such to the third heaven. 3 Yes, I know such a man—whether in the body or apart from the body, I do not know, God knows— 4 that he was caught away into paradise and heard unutterable words which it is not lawful for a man to speak. 5 Over such a man I will boast, but I will not boast over myself, except as respects [my] weaknesses. 6 For if I ever do want to boast, I shall not be unreasonable, for I shall say the truth. But I abstain, in order that no one should put to my credit more than what he sees I am or he hears from me, 7 just because of the excess of the revelations.

Therefore, that I might not feel overly exalted, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, an angel of Satan, to keep slapping me, that I might not be overly exalted. 8 In this behalf I three times entreated the Lord that it might depart from me; 9 and yet he really said to me: “My undeserved kindness is sufficient for you; for [my] power is being made perfect in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, will I rather boast as respects my weaknesses, that the power of the Christ may like a tent remain over me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in weaknesses, in insults, in cases of need, in persecutions and difficulties, for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am powerful.

11 I have become unreasonable. YOU compelled me to, for I ought to have been recommended by YOU. For I did not prove to be inferior to [YOUR] superfine apostles in a single thing, even if I am nothing. 12 Indeed, the signs of an apostle were produced among YOU by all endurance, and by signs and portents and powerful works. 13 For in what respect is it that YOU became less than the rest of the congregations, except that I myself did not become a burden to YOU? Kindly forgive me this wrong.

14 Look! This is the third time I am ready to come to YOU, and yet I will not become a burden. For I am seeking, not YOUR possessions, but YOU; for the children ought not to lay up for [their] parents, but the parents for [their] children. 15 For my part I will most gladly spend and be completely spent for YOUR souls. If I love YOU the more abundantly, am I to be loved the less? 16 But be that as it may, I did not burden YOU down. Nevertheless, YOU say, I was “crafty” and I caught YOU “by trickery.” 17 As for any one of those I have dispatched to YOU, I did not take advantage of YOU through him, did I? 18 I urged Titus and I dispatched the brother with him. Titus did not take advantage of YOU at all, did he? We walked in the same spirit, did we not? In the same footsteps, did we not?

19 Have YOU been thinking all this while that we have been making our defense to YOU? It is before God that we are speaking in connection with Christ. But, beloved ones, all things are for YOUR upbuilding. 20 For I am afraid that somehow, when I arrive, I may find YOU not as I could wish and I may prove to be to YOU not as YOU could wish, but, instead, there should somehow be strife, jealousy, cases of anger, contentions, backbitings, whisperings, cases of being puffed up, disorders. 21 Perhaps, when I come again, my God might humiliate me among YOU, and I might mourn over many of those who formerly sinned but have not repented over their uncleanness and fornication and loose conduct that they have practiced.

This is the third time I am coming to YOU. “At the mouth of two witnesses or of three every matter must be established.” 2 I have said previously and, as if present the second time and yet absent now, I say in advance to those who have sinned before and to all the rest, that if ever I come again I will not spare, 3 since YOU are seeking a proof of Christ speaking in me, [Christ] who is not weak toward YOU but is powerful among YOU. 4 True, indeed, he was impaled owing to weakness, but he is alive owing to God’s power. True, also, we are weak with him, but we shall live together with him owing to God’s power toward YOU.

5 Keep testing whether YOU are in the faith, keep proving what YOU yourselves are. Or do YOU not recognize that Jesus Christ is in union with YOU? Unless YOU are disapproved. 6 I truly hope YOU will come to know we are not disapproved.

7 Now we pray to God that YOU may do nothing wrong, not that we ourselves may appear approved, but that YOU may be doing what is fine, though we ourselves may appear disapproved. 8 For we can do nothing against the truth, but only for the truth. 9 We certainly rejoice whenever we are weak but YOU are powerful; and for this we are praying, YOUR being readjusted. 10 That is why I write these things while absent, that, when I am present, I may not act with severity according to the authority that the Lord gave me, to build up and not to tear down.
 Finally, brothers, continue to rejoice, to be readjusted, to be comforted, to think in agreement, to live peaceably; and the God of love and of peace will be with YOU. 12 Greet one another with a holy kiss. 13 All the holy ones send YOU their greetings.
 The undeserved kindness of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the sharing in the holy spirit be with all of YOU.