1 I must go on boasting, though there is nothing to be gained by it; but I will go on to visions and revelations of the Lord.
2 I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not knowGod knows.
3 And I know that this manwhether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows
4 was caught up to paradise and heard inexpressible things, which a man is not permitted to tell.
5 On behalf of such a man I will boast, but on my own behalf I will not boast, except of my weaknesses.
6 Though if I should boast, I will not be a fool, for I will be speaking the truth. But I refrain from it, so that no one may think more of me than he sees in me or hears from me.
7 And to keep me from being too elated because of the abundance of revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan, to harass me, to keep me from being too elated.
8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should depart from me.
9 But he said to me, »My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.« Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest on me.
10 That is why, for Christ's sake, I am content in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties; for when I am weak, then I am strong.
11 I have been a fool! You forced me to it, for I ought to have been commended by you. For I was not in the least inferior to these super-apostles, even though I am nothing.
12 The signs of a true apostle were performed among you in all perseverance, with signs and wonders and mighty works.
13 For in what respect were you inferior to the rest of the churches, except that I myself did not become a burden to you? Forgive me this wrong!
14 Here for the third time I am ready to come to you. And I will not be a burden to you, for I seek not what is yours but you; for children ought not to lay up for their parents, but parents for their children.
15 I will most gladly spend and be spent for your souls. If I love you the more, am I to be loved the less?
16 But be that as it may, I did not burden you myself. Yet, crafty fellow that I am, I caught you by trickery!
17 Did I take advantage of you through any of those whom I sent to you?
18 I urged Titus to go, and I sent the brother with him. Titus did not take advantage of you, did he? Did we not act in the same spirit and walk in the same steps?
19 Have you been thinking all along that we have been defending ourselves before you? It is in the sight of God that we have been speaking in Christ, and all for your upbuilding, beloved.
20 For I am afraid that when I come I may not find you what I wish you to be, and you may not find me what you wish me to be; I fear that there may be quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, factions, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorder.
21 I am afraid that when I come again my God will humble me before you, and I will have to mourn over many of those who sinned before and have not repented of the impurity, immorality, and lewdness which they have practiced.