New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures Reference Bible

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2 Corinthians

1 Paul, an apostle+ of Christ Jesus through God’s will, and Timothy+ [our] brother to the congregation of God that is in Corinth, together with all the holy ones+ who are in all of Achaia:*+

2 May YOU have undeserved kindness and peace from God our Father and [the] Lord Jesus Christ.+

3 Blessed be the God and Father+ of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of tender mercies+ and the God of all comfort,+ 4 who comforts us in all our tribulation,+ that we may be able to comfort+ those in any sort of tribulation through the comfort with which we ourselves are being comforted by God.+ 5 For just as the sufferings for the Christ abound in us,+ so the comfort we get also abounds through the Christ.+ 6 Now whether we are in tribulation, it is for YOUR comfort and salvation;+ or whether we are being comforted, it is for YOUR comfort that operates to make YOU endure the same sufferings that we also suffer.+ 7 And so our hope for YOU is unwavering, knowing as we do that, just as YOU are sharers of the sufferings, in the same way YOU will also share the comfort.+

8 For we do not wish YOU to be ignorant, brothers, about the tribulation that happened to us in the [district of] Asia,+ that we were under extreme pressure beyond our strength, so that we were very uncertain even of our lives.+ 9 In fact, we felt within ourselves that we had received the sentence of death. This was that we might have our trust,+ not in ourselves, but in the God who raises up the dead.+ 10 From such a great thing as death he did rescue us and will rescue us;+ and our hope is in him that he will also rescue us further.+ 11 YOU also can help along by YOUR supplication for us,+ in order that thanks+ may be given by many in our behalf for what is kindly given to us due to many [prayerful] faces.+

12 For the thing we boast of is this, to which our conscience bears witness,+ that with holiness and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom+ but with God’s undeserved kindness, we have conducted ourselves in the world, but more especially toward YOU. 13 For we are really not writing YOU things except those which YOU well know* or also recognize; and which I hope YOU will continue to recognize to the end,+ 14 just as YOU have also recognized, to an extent, that we are a cause for YOU to boast,+ just as YOU will also be for us in the day of our Lord Jesus.+

15 So, with this confidence, I was intending before to come to YOU,+ that YOU might have a second+ [occasion for] joy, 16 and after a stopover with YOU to go to Macedonia,+ and to come back from Macedonia to YOU+ and be conducted+ partway by YOU to Judea. 17 Well, when I had such an intention, I did not indulge in any lightness,+ did I? Or what things I purpose, do I purpose [them] according to the flesh,+ that with me there should be “Yes, Yes” and “No, No”?+ 18 But God can be relied upon that our speech addressed to YOU is not Yes and yet No.* 19 For the Son of God,+ Christ Jesus, who was preached among YOU through us, that is, through me and Silvanus and Timothy,+ did not become Yes and yet No, but Yes has become Yes in his case.+ 20 For no matter how many the promises+ of God are, they have become Yes by means of him.*+ Therefore also through him is the “Amen”+ [said] to God for glory through us. 21 But he who guarantees that YOU and we belong to Christ and he who has anointed+ us is God. 22 He has also put his seal+ upon us and has given us the token+ of what is to come,* that is, the spirit,+ in our hearts.

23 Now I call upon God as a witness+ against my own soul that it is to spare YOU+ that I have not yet come to Corinth. 24 Not that we are the masters+ over YOUR faith, but we are fellow workers+ for YOUR joy, for it is by [YOUR] faith+ that YOU are standing.+

2 For this is what I have decided for myself, not to come to YOU again in sadness.+ 2 For if I make YOU sad,+ who indeed is there to cheer me except the one that is made sad by me? 3 And so I wrote this very thing, that, when I come, I may not get sad+ because of those over whom I ought to rejoice;+ because I have confidence+ in all of YOU that the joy I have is that of all of YOU. 4 For out of much tribulation and anguish of heart I wrote YOU with many tears,+ not that YOU might be saddened,+ but that YOU might know the love that I have more especially for YOU.

5 Now if anyone has caused sadness,+ he has saddened, not me, but all of YOU to an extent—not to be too harsh in what I say. 6 This rebuke+ given by the majority is sufficient for such a man, 7 so that, on the contrary now, YOU should kindly forgive+ and comfort [him], that somehow such a man may not be swallowed up by his being overly sad.+ 8 Therefore I exhort YOU to confirm YOUR love+ for him. 9 For to this end also I write to ascertain the proof of YOU, whether YOU are obedient in all things.+ 10 Anything YOU kindly forgive anyone, I do too.+ In fact, as for me, whatever I have kindly forgiven, if I have kindly forgiven anything, it has been for YOUR sakes in Christ’s sight; 11 that we may not be overreached by Satan,+ for we are not ignorant of his designs.+

12 Now when I arrived in Troas+ to declare the good news about the Christ, and a door was opened to me in [the] Lord,+ 13 I got no relief in my spirit on account of not finding Titus+ my brother, but I said good-bye to them and departed for Macedonia.+

14 But thanks be to God who always leads+ us in a triumphal procession in company+ with the Christ and makes the odor of the knowledge of him perceptible through us in every place!+ 15 For to God we are a sweet odor+ of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing;+ 16 to the latter ones an odor issuing from death to death,+ to the former ones an odor issuing from life to life. And who is adequately qualified for these things?+ 17 [We are;] for we are not peddlers* of the word of God+ as many men are,+ but as out of sincerity, yes, as sent from God, under God’s view, in company with Christ, we are speaking.+

3 Are we starting again to recommend ourselves?+ Or do we, perhaps, like some men, need letters+ of recommendation to YOU or from YOU? 2 YOU yourselves are our letter,+ inscribed on our* hearts and known and being read by all mankind.+ 3 For YOU are shown to be a letter of Christ written by us as ministers,+ inscribed not with ink but with spirit+ of a living God, not on stone tablets,+ but on fleshly tablets, on hearts.*+

4 Now through the Christ we have this sort of confidence+ toward God. 5 Not that we of ourselves are adequately qualified to reckon anything as issuing from ourselves,+ but our being adequately qualified* issues from God,+ 6 who has indeed adequately qualified us to be ministers* of a new covenant,+ not of a written code,*+ but of spirit;+ for the written code condemns+ to death, but the spirit makes alive.+

7 Moreover, if the code which administers death+ and which was engraved* in letters in stones+ came about in a glory,+ so that the sons of Israel could not gaze intently at the face of Moses because of the glory of his face,+ [a glory] that was to be done away with, 8 why should not the administering of the spirit+ be much more with glory?+ 9 For if the code administering condemnation*+ was glorious,*+ much more does the administering of righteousness+ abound with glory.+ 10 In fact, even that which has once been made glorious has been stripped of glory in this respect,+ because of the glory that excels it.+ 11 For if that which was to be done away with was brought in with glory,+ much more would that which remains be with glory.+

12 Therefore, as we have such a hope,+ we are using great freeness of speech, 13 and not doing as when Moses would put a veil+ upon his face, that the sons of Israel might not gaze intently at the end+ of that which was to be done away with. 14 But their mental powers were dulled.+ For to this present day the same veil remains unlifted at the reading of the old covenant,*+ because it is done away with by means of Christ.+ 15 In fact, down till today whenever Moses is read,+ a veil lies upon their hearts.+ 16 But when there is a turning to Jehovah,* the veil is taken away.+ 17 Now Jehovah* is the Spirit;+ and where the spirit+ of Jehovah*+ is, there is freedom.+ 18 And all of us,+ while we with unveiled faces reflect like mirrors the glory of Jehovah,*+ are transformed+ into the same image+ from glory to glory,+ exactly as done by Jehovah*+ [the] Spirit.*

4 That is why, since we have this ministry+ according to the mercy that was shown us,+ we do not give up; 2 but we have renounced the underhanded things of which to be ashamed,+ not walking with cunning, neither adulterating the word of God,+ but by making the truth manifest recommending ourselves to every human conscience in the sight of God.+ 3 If, now, the good news we declare is in fact veiled, it is veiled among those who are perishing,+ 4 among whom the god* of this system of things*+ has blinded the minds* of the unbelievers,+ that the illumination*+ of the glorious good news+ about the Christ,* who is the image+ of God, might not shine through.+ 5 For we are preaching, not ourselves, but Christ Jesus as Lord,+ and ourselves as YOUR slaves+ for Jesus’ sake. 6 For God is he who said: “Let the light shine* out of darkness,”+ and he has shone on our hearts to illuminate+ [them] with the glorious knowledge*+ of God by* the face of Christ.+

7 However, we have this treasure+ in earthen+ vessels,*+ that the power+ beyond what is normal may be God’s+ and not that out of ourselves.+ 8 We are pressed in every way,+ but not cramped beyond movement; we are perplexed, but not absolutely with no way out;+ 9 we are persecuted, but not left in the lurch;+ we are thrown down,+ but not destroyed.+ 10 Always we endure everywhere in our body the death-dealing treatment given to Jesus,*+ that the life of Jesus may also be made manifest in our body.+ 11 For we who live are ever being brought face to face with death*+ for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus may also be made manifest in our mortal flesh.+ 12 Consequently death is at work in us, but life in YOU.+

13 Now because we have the same spirit of faith as that of which it is written: “I exercised faith, therefore I spoke,”+ we too exercise faith and therefore we speak, 14 knowing that he who raised Jesus* up will raise us up also together with Jesus and will present us together with YOU.+ 15 For all things are for YOUR sakes,+ in order that the undeserved kindness which was multiplied should abound because of the thanksgiving of many more to the glory of God.+

16 Therefore we do not give up, but even if the man we are outside is wasting away, certainly the man we are inside+ is being renewed from day to day. 17 For though the tribulation is momentary+ and light, it works out for us a glory that is of more and more surpassing weight and is everlasting;+ 18 while we keep our eyes, not on the things seen, but on the things unseen.+ For the things seen are temporary,+ but the things unseen are everlasting.+

5 For we know that if our earthly house,+ this tent,+ should be dissolved,+ we are to have a building from God, a house not made with hands,+ everlasting+ in the heavens. 2 For in this dwelling house we do indeed groan,+ earnestly desiring to put on the one for us from heaven,+ 3 so that, having really put it on, we shall not be found naked.+ 4 In fact, we who are in this tent groan, being weighed down; because we want, not to put it off, but to put on the other,+ that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.+ 5 Now he that produced us for this very thing is God,+ who gave us the token+ of what is to come,* that is, the spirit.+

6 We are therefore always of good courage and know that, while we have our home in the body, we are absent from the Lord,+ 7 for we are walking by faith, not by sight.+ 8 But we are of good courage and are well pleased rather to become absent from the body and to make our home with the Lord.+ 9 Therefore we are also making it our aim that, whether having our home with him or being absent from him,+ we may be acceptable to him.+ 10 For we must all be made manifest before the judgment seat of the Christ,+ that each one may get his award for the things done through the body, according to the things he has practiced, whether it is good or vile.+

11 Knowing, therefore, the fear+ of the Lord, we keep persuading+ men, but we have been made manifest to God. However, I hope that we have been made manifest also to YOUR consciences.+ 12 We are not again recommending+ ourselves to YOU, but giving YOU an inducement for boasting in respect to us,+ that YOU may have [an answer] for those who boast over the outward appearance+ but not over the heart.+ 13 For if we were out of our mind,+ it was for God; if we are sound in mind,+ it is for YOU. 14 For the love the Christ has* compels us, because this is what we have judged, that one man died for all;+ so, then, all had died; 15 and he died for all that those who live might live no longer for themselves,+ but for him+ who died for them and was raised up.+

16 Consequently from now on we know no man according to the flesh.+ Even if we have known Christ according to the flesh,+ certainly we now know him so no more.+ 17 Consequently if anyone is in union with Christ, he is a new creation;*+ the old things passed away,+ look! new things have come into existence.+ 18 But all things are from God, who reconciled+ us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry+ of the reconciliation, 19 namely, that God was by means of Christ+ reconciling a world+ to himself,+ not reckoning to them their trespasses,+ and he committed the word+ of the reconciliation to us.+

20 We+ are therefore ambassadors+ substituting for* Christ,+ as though God were making entreaty through us.+ As substitutes for Christ we beg:+ “Become reconciled to God.” 21 The one who did not know sin+ he made to be sin*+ for us, that we might become God’s righteousness+ by means of him.

6 Working together with him,+ we also entreat YOU not to accept the undeserved kindness of God and miss its purpose.+ 2 For he says: “In an acceptable time I heard you, and in a day of salvation I helped you.”+ Look! Now is the especially acceptable time.+ Look! Now is the day of salvation.+

3 In no way are we giving any cause for stumbling,+ that our ministry might not be found fault with;+ 4 but in every way we recommend+ ourselves as God’s ministers,* by the endurance of much, by tribulations, by cases of need, by difficulties,+ 5 by beatings, by prisons,+ by disorders, by labors, by sleepless nights, by times without food,+ 6 by purity, by knowledge, by long-suffering,+ by kindness,+ by holy spirit, by love free from hypocrisy,+ 7 by truthful speech, by God’s power;+ through the weapons+ of righteousness on the right hand and on the left,* 8 through glory and dishonor, through bad report and good report; as deceivers+ and yet truthful, 9 as being unknown and yet being recognized,+ as dying and yet, look! we live,+ as disciplined+ and yet not delivered to death,+ 10 as sorrowing but ever rejoicing, as poor but making many rich, as having nothing and yet possessing all things.+

11 Our mouth has been opened to YOU, Corinthians, our heart+ has widened out. 12 YOU are not cramped for room within us,+ but YOU are cramped for room in YOUR own tender affections.+ 13 So, as a recompense in return—I speak as to children+YOU, too, widen out.

14 Do not become unevenly yoked* with unbelievers.+ For what fellowship do righteousness and lawlessness have?+ Or what sharing does light have with darkness?+ 15 Further, what harmony is there between Christ and Belial?*+ Or what portion+ does a faithful* person have with an unbeliever? 16 And what agreement does God’s temple* have with idols?+ For we are a temple+ of a living God; just as God said: “I shall reside among them+ and walk among [them], and I shall be their God, and they will be my people.+ 17 “‘Therefore get out from among them, and separate yourselves,’ Rev.9:20 says Jehovah,* ‘and quit touching the unclean thing’”;+ “‘and I will take YOU in.’”+ 18 “‘And I shall be a father to YOU,+ and YOU will be sons and daughters to me,’+ says Jehovah* the Almighty.”+ Mal.3:17-18

7 Therefore, since we have these promises,+ beloved ones, let us cleanse+ ourselves of every defilement of flesh and spirit,+ perfecting holiness in God’s fear.+

2 ALLOW room for us.*+ We have wronged no one, we have corrupted no one, we have taken advantage of no one.+ 3 I do not say this to condemn YOU. For I have said before that YOU are in our hearts to die and to live with us.+ 4 I have great freeness of speech* toward YOU. I have great boasting in regard to YOU.+ I am filled with comfort,+ I am overflowing with joy in all our affliction.+

5 In fact, when we arrived in Macedonia,+ our flesh got no relief,+ but we continued to be afflicted+ in every manner—there were fights without, fears within. 6 Nevertheless God, who comforts+ those laid low, comforted us by the presence* of Titus; 7 yet not alone by his presence, but also by the comfort with which he had been comforted over YOU, as he brought us word+ again of YOUR longing, YOUR mourning, YOUR zeal for me; so that I rejoiced yet more.

8 Hence even if I saddened YOU by my letter,+ I do not regret it. Even if I did at first regret it, (I see that that letter saddened YOU, though but for a little while,)* 9 now I rejoice, not because YOU were just saddened, but because YOU were saddened into repenting;+ for YOU were saddened in a godly way,+ that YOU might suffer no damage in anything due to us. 10 For sadness in a godly way makes for repentance* to salvation that is not to be regretted;+ but the sadness of the world produces death.+ 11 For, look! this very thing, YOUR being saddened in a godly way,+ what a great earnestness it produced in YOU, yes, clearing of yourselves, yes, indignation, yes, fear, yes, longing, yes, zeal, yes, righting of the wrong!+ In every respect YOU demonstrated yourselves to be chaste in this matter. 12 Certainly, although I wrote YOU, I did it, neither for the one who did the wrong,+ nor for the one who was wronged, but that YOUR earnestness for us might be made manifest among YOU in the sight of God. 13 That is why we have been comforted.

However, in addition to our comfort we rejoiced still more abundantly due to the joy of Titus, because his spirit+ has been refreshed by all of YOU. 14 For if I have made any boast to him about YOU, I have not been put to shame; but as we have spoken all things to YOU in truth, so also our boasting+ before Titus has proved to be true. 15 Also, his tender affections are more abundant toward YOU, while he calls to mind the obedience+ of all of YOU, how YOU received him with fear and trembling. 16 I rejoice that in every way I may have good courage by reason of YOU.+

8 Now we let YOU know, brothers, about the undeserved kindness of God that has been bestowed upon the congregations of Macedonia,+ 2 that during a great test under affliction their abundance of joy and their deep poverty made the riches of their generosity abound.+ 3 For according to their actual ability,+ yes, I testify, beyond their actual ability this was, 4 while they of their own accord kept begging us with much entreaty for the [privilege of] kindly giving and for a share in the ministry destined for the holy ones.+ 5 And not merely as we had hoped, but first they gave themselves to the Lord+ and to us through God’s will. 6 This led us to encourage Titus+ that, just as he had been the one to initiate it among YOU, so too he should complete this same kind giving on YOUR part. 7 Nevertheless, just as YOU are abounding in everything,+ in faith and word and knowledge+ and all earnestness and in this love of ours to YOU, may YOU also abound in this kind giving.

8 It is not in the way of commanding YOU,+ but in view of the earnestness of others and to make a test of the genuineness of YOUR love, that I am speaking. 9 For YOU know the undeserved kindness of our Lord Jesus Christ,* that though he was rich he became poor for YOUR sakes,+ that YOU might become rich+ through his poverty.

10 And in this I render an opinion:+ for this matter is of benefit to YOU,+ seeing that already a year ago YOU initiated not only the doing but also the wanting [to do];+ 11 now, then, finish up also the doing of it, in order that, just as there was a readiness to want to do, so also there should be a finishing up of it out of what YOU have.* 12 For if the readiness is there first, it is especially acceptable according to what a person has,+ not according to what a person does not have. 13 For I do not mean for it to be easy for others,+ but hard on YOU; 14 but that by means of an equalizing YOUR surplus just now might offset their deficiency, in order that their surplus might also come to offset YOUR deficiency, that an equalizing might take place.+ 15 Just as it is written: “The person with much did not have too much, and the person with little did not have too little.”+

16 Now thanks be to God for putting the same earnestness for YOU in the heart of Titus,+ 17 because he has indeed responded to the encouragement, but, being very earnest, he is going forth of his own accord to YOU. 18 But we are sending along with him the brother whose praise in connection with the good news has spread through all the congregations. 19 Not only that, but he was also appointed+ by the congregations to be our traveling companion in connection with this kind gift to be administered by us for the glory+ of the Lord and in proof of our ready mind.+ 20 Thus we are avoiding having any man find fault+ with us in connection with this liberal contribution+ to be administered by us. 21 For we “make honest provision, not only in the sight of Jehovah,* but also in the sight of men.”+

22 Moreover, we are sending with them our brother whom we have often proved in many things to be earnest, but now much more earnest due to his great confidence in YOU. 23 If, though, there is any question about Titus, he is a sharer with me and a fellow worker+ for YOUR interests; or if about our brothers, they are apostles* of congregations and a glory of Christ. 24 Therefore demonstrate to them the proof of YOUR love+ and of what we boasted+ about YOU, before the face of the congregations.

9 Now concerning the ministry+ that is for the holy ones, it is superfluous for me to write YOU, 2 for I know YOUR readiness of mind of which I am boasting to the Macedonians about YOU, that Achaia has stood ready now for a year,+ and YOUR zeal has stirred up the majority of them. 3 But I am sending the brothers, that our boasting about YOU might not prove empty in this respect, but that YOU may really be ready,+ just as I used to say YOU would be. 4 Otherwise, in some way, if Macedonians should come with me and find YOU not ready, we—not to say YOU—should be put to shame in this assurance of ours. 5 Therefore I thought it necessary to encourage the brothers to come to YOU in advance and to get ready in advance YOUR bountiful gift previously promised,+ that thus this might be ready as a bountiful gift and not as something extorted.*+

6 But as to this, he that sows sparingly+ will also reap sparingly; and he that sows bountifully+ will also reap bountifully. 7 Let each one do just as he has resolved in his heart, not grudgingly+ or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.+

8 God, moreover, is able to make all his undeserved kindness abound toward YOU, that, while YOU always have full self-sufficiency in everything, YOU may have plenty for every good work.+ 9 (Just as it is written: “He has distributed widely, he has given to the poor ones, his righteousness* continues forever.”+ 10 Now he that abundantly supplies seed to the sower and bread for eating+ will supply and multiply the seed for YOU to sow and will increase the products of YOUR righteousness.)+ 11 In everything YOU are being enriched for every sort of generosity, which produces through us an expression of thanks to God;+ 12 because the ministry of this public service is not only to supply abundantly the wants of the holy ones+ but also to be rich with many expressions of thanks to God. 13 Through the proof that this ministry gives, they glorify God because YOU are submissive to the good news about the Christ,+ as YOU publicly declare YOU are, and because YOU are generous in YOUR contribution to them and to all;+ 14 and with supplication for YOU they long for YOU because of the surpassing undeserved kindness+ of God upon YOU.

15 Thanks be to God for his indescribable free gift.+

10 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.+

11 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, John20:17; 2Cor. 11:31; Eph.1:17 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.

12 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.

13 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.

11 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.

14 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.+