2 Corinthians

Written to the congregation in Corinth, Greece for the Apostle Paul (possibly by Sylvanus and possibly in Aramaic) within months after writing 1 Corinthians.

Chapter 1

1 Paul, who by the Will of God is an Apostle of the Anointed Jesus, and our brother Timothy, to the called ones of God in Corinth, as well as to all the Holy Ones throughout Achaia; 2 May you receive peace and loving care from God our Father and from our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One.

3 May the God and Father of our Lord Jesus the Anointed One – the Father of mercy and the God of all comfort – be praised. 4 For [He's] the One who comforts us during all our trials and enables us to comfort others who are undergoing trials through the comfort that we receive from Him. 5 And since we have received plenty of suffering because of the Anointed One, we've also received plenty of comfort through the Anointed One╔ may it ever be so!

6 [We want you to know that] when we are being tried, it's on behalf of your comfort and salvation. And we are comforted by the fact that the comfort [you receive] is helping you to endure the trials that we [all] share in suffering. 7 So our hope for you is firm, because we know that since you're sharing in the suffering, you'll also share in the comfort.

8 Brothers, we wanted to tell you of the trials that we had to endure while we were in [the province of] Asia. For we were under so much pressure that we thought there was no way out and we feared for our lives╔ 9 in fact, we believed that we had been condemned to death. But this taught us not to trust in ourselves, but in The God who raises the dead, 10 because He rescued us and has continued to rescue us from such a great thing as death╔ and we hope that He'll keep on rescuing us. 11 You can help in this matter by praying for us, so that many faces will give thanks for the gifts we are so kindly being given.

12 Yes, this is something about which we can boast and to which our consciences can testify: It wasn't with fleshly wisdom, but through God's loving care that we've been conducting ourselves in holy ways and in godly sincerity toward this system of things, and especially toward you.

13 Now, we're really writing to you concerning things about which you already know and understand, and which I hope that you will keep on recognizing to the end: 14 That we are something about which you can boast, just as you'll be for us in the Day of our Lord Jesus.

15 So it's with this type of confidence that I had planned to come to you╔ to give you another reason for joy. 16 I wanted to come there on my way to Macedonia and to stop over on my way back, then to have you escort me part of the way to Judea. 17 And when I hoped to do this, don't think that I did so lightly. Rather, believe that what I had planned to do in the flesh is what I really planned to do, so that my yes would mean yes and my no would mean no.

18 You can trust in God that when we tell you yes, we don't mean no, 19 because the Son of The God (the Anointed Jesus) about whom Silvanus, Timothy, and I have preached to you didn't become yes, but really no; for his yes really meant yes! 20 So all the promises of God – as many as there are – have become yes through him, and in him is the 'May it be so,' [which we say] to the glory of The God.

21 And indeed, the One who confirmed us among you into the Anointed One, and the One who anointed us, is God. 22 So He is the One who sealed us and gave us the pledge of [His] Spirit that we now have in our hearts.

23 Therefore, I call God as a witness against myself, that the reason why I haven't come to you in Corinth yet is to spare you. 24 For we aren't the masters of your faith, we're just co-workers for your joy, since your faith is what has enabled you to stand firm.

Chapter 2

1 I've decided not to come to you again as long as I'm feeling sad about you. 2 For if I've made you sad, then who do I have to cheer me up other than those who've been saddened by me? 3 As the result, I'm writing this so that when I do get there, those over whom I should be rejoicing won't sadden me, since I'm confident that I have reasons to be joyful over them. 4 And I'm writing with great difficulty, pain of heart, and with tears, not to make you sadder, but to let you know of the special love that I have for you.

5 So if someone else has saddened you, he hasn't saddened me╔ therefore I won't be laying any further burdens on you, 6 since the discipline that the majority of you gave this man was sufficient. 7 Therefore, you can kindly forgive him and comfort him now, so that he won't somehow be swallowed up by his deep sadness╔ 8 yes, I'm telling you to let him know that you love him!

9 The reason why I wrote you [before] was to prove that you're obedient in everything, 10 and that if you forgive anyone for anything, I do too. For when I forgive someone on your behalf before the Anointed One (that is, if I should ever have anything to forgive), 11 it's so that none are lost to the Opposer, since we know how he operates.

12 I wanted to tell you that when I got to Troas to preach the good news about the Anointed One and found that a doorway of the Lord had been opened to me there, 13 I was deeply disturbed by the fact that I couldn't find my brother Titus. So I left the others and traveled on to Macedonia. 14 And thanks to God, who (through the Anointed One) always leads us triumphantly and uses us to make the [sweet] smell of knowledge about Him known everywhere; 15 for [He has made us] the sweet smell of God and the Anointed One to those who are perishing and to those who are being saved╔ 16 yes, the smell of death to the dying and of life to the living!

So, who is qualified to do this work? 17 We aren't like others who are peddlers of the word of God. Rather, we speak sincerely from God and before God, through the Anointed One.

Chapter 3

1 So now, do we have to introduce ourselves to you again, or do we (as do some men) need introductory letters either to you or from you? 2 Why, you are our letters that are written in our hearts, which are recognized and being read by all men, 3 since you've proven to be a letter of the Anointed One whom we are serving. And you aren't written in ink, but in the Breath of the living God╔ not on tablets made of stone, but on tablets made of flesh╔ on hearts! 4 We are now even more confident of this, through the Anointed One and by The God.

5 No, we should never start thinking that any of this comes from ourselves, because all of our qualifications come from The God. 6 For He's the One who qualifies us to be the ministers of a New Sacred Agreement, which isn't something that's written but comes from the Breath [of God], since the thing that's written brings death, while the Breath [of God] gives life! 7 So if service to the written letters (which were engraved in stone and bring death) came with so much glory that the sons of IsraEl couldn't even look at Moses' face because of the shine (that was to pass away); 8 why shouldn't becoming servants to [something from] His Breath bring even greater glory? 9 Yes, if service to something that condemns brought glory, how much more should serving something [that leads to] righteousness bring glory, 10 since that which was once so glorious has now lost its glory because of this more glorious thing? 11 And if the thing that was to pass away came in great glory, then how much more will this new thing be glorified?

12 So, since we now have such a hope, we can speak out clearly. 13 We don't have to do the same as Moses did, for he had to put a veil over his face so the sons of IsraEl wouldn't see something that was to be done away with in the end. 14 And this [veil] has hardened their minds down to this day, for the veil still hangs there as a covering whenever the Old Sacred Agreement is being read, though it has already been done away with by means of the Anointed One.

15 Yes, whenever Moses is read today, they still have a veil over their hearts, 16 which is removed when they turn to the Lord. 17 For the Lord is [now a] spirit, and wherever the spirit of the Lord is, there's freedom! 18 Therefore when we uncover our faces, each of us have the glory of the Lord╔ we reflect his glory like mirrors, and we are transformed from [the old] glory to [a new] glory that comes from the spirit of the Lord.

Chapter 4

1 Because of this service to which we've been so mercifully assigned, we haven't given up. 2 Rather, what we have given up is those things that lead to shame! No, we aren't sneaking around and changing the Word of God; rather, we're making the truth known! And before God, we're proving ourselves worthy to the consciences of all men. 3 So if the good news that we bring is hidden in any way, it's only hidden to those who are dying╔ 4 to the unbelievers, whose minds have been blinded by the god of this age, so that the light of the glorious good news about the Anointed One (who is the image of The God) is unable to shine through.

5 We aren't preaching about ourselves, but about the Anointed Jesus our Lord! And we've become your slaves for Jesus' sake, 6 because God said, 'Light will shine from the darkness.' And He has caused this light of knowledge about the glory of God to shine into our hearts through the face of Jesus, the Anointed. 7 Yes, we're storing this treasure within [these] clay pots, so that the power may prove to be God's and not our own.

8 Therefore, although we've been under pressure in every conceivable way, we've never been cornered; although [there were times when] we didn't know a way out, we've never been left without a way; 9 although we've been persecuted, we've never been let down; and although we've been knocked down, we've never been destroyed. 10 For we always bear the death of Jesus' body so that the life of Jesus can be seen in our bodies. 11 [And that's why] those of us who are [still] living are always being handed over to death for Jesus' sake╔ so that the life of Jesus can be seen in our dying flesh. 12 As the result, death is at work in us, while life [is at work] in you.

13 So we share the same spirit of faith; for it's written: 'Because I had faith, I spoke.' And this is why we're speaking about the things in which we believe! 14 For we know that the One who raised the Lord Jesus will also raise us to be with Jesus╔ and when that happens, we'll be standing beside you! 15 Yes, everything is being done through you, so that this loving care can grow as [you] continue to grow, and there will be even more giving of thanks to God's glory.

16 No, we aren't behaving badly. And although the man [you see] on the outside is wasting away, the man on the inside is being renewed day by day. 17 For the difficulties that [we currently have to endure] are far less than what the age-long glory is producing in us. 18 So you should disregard the things that you can see and notice the things that you can't see. For the things that you can see are temporary, while the things you can't see will last through the ages.

Chapter 5

1 Here is one thing that we know [for sure]: If our earthly house (this temporary dwelling) is destroyed, we still have a dwelling from God that lasts through the ages╔ a house in the heavens that isn't made with hands 2 and about which we groan, because we long to be clothed in that house from heaven 3 so that we aren't found to be stripped naked. 5 Yes, while we are still in this temporary dwelling we're groaning and under pressure, because we don't really want to take it off and put on the other, so as to allow that which is dying to be swallowed by life.

5 Now, the One who prepared us for this purpose is God, and He has given us an advance payment╔ His Breath. 6 Therefore, we can be courageous, because we know that as long as we are at home in this body, we aren't at home with the Lord╔ 7 so we're walking by faith, not by something we can see. 8 Yes we can be courageous, for we'll be happy to leave this body so we can be at home with the Lord. 9 And we love the fact that whether we are in this home or we leave it, he is still pleased with us. 10 However, everything about us must be revealed when we stand before the judgment seat of the Anointed One; for what we will each receive will be based on the things that we did while we were in this body, whether it's good or foul.

11 So, since we have come to know the fear of the Lord, we continue to persuade men [to turn toward] God. And I hope that we have shown what we really are to your consciences, 12 so that we don't have to prove ourselves to you again, and that we've really given you reasons to boast about us. For then you'll have something to offer to those who are more influenced by what we look like on the outside than by that which is in [our] hearts. 13 So if we seem to be crazy to you, [we're crazy] to God, while we're sound in mind when it comes to you.

14 Indeed, we're all bound together by the love of the Anointed One; for we have concluded that he died for us all, because we are all dying. 15 Yes, he died for all of us so that none of the living might live for themselves anymore, but for the one who died for them and was raised.

16 So from now on, we don't know anyone by the flesh. And even if we knew the Anointed One in the flesh; we certainly don't know him that way anymore. 17 For all who are in the Anointed One are a new creation! Yes, the old things have passed away╔ but {Look!} now they've been made new! 18 And it all comes from The God who has restored us to a good relationship with Himself through the Anointed One.

Therefore, [God] has assigned us to be servants of a restored relationship with Him! 19 For through the Anointed One, God is bringing the world back into a good relationship with Himself by no longer holding their sins against them. And because He has put the message of this reconciliation within us, 20 we've become the ambassadors of the Anointed One, and God is calling [people] through us. Yes, we are begging them through the Anointed One to come back to a [good] relationship with God, 21 since He made this one who didn't know sin to be sin for us, so that we could become the righteousness of God through him.

Chapter 6

1 Moreover, since we are your fellow workers, we urge you not to waste the loving care of God that you've received. 2 For He says:
'In a season of favor, I heard you,
And in a day of salvation, I came to your aid.'
So look! This is the season of favor! And look! This is the day of salvation!'

3 Therefore, we aren't doing anything that might offend anyone, so that our service might remain spotless. 4 And we're taking our stand as God's servants in everything╔ by enduring many difficulties, by shortages of necessities, 5 by beatings, by imprisonment, by mobs, by hard work, by sleepless nights, by hunger, 6 by holiness, by knowledge, by patience, by loving care (through the Holy Breath), and by love that isn't judgmental. 7 We do this by telling the truth through the power of God by [using] the weapons of righteousness (the right-handed ones and the left-handed ones) 8 through glory and dishonor, through bad reputations and good reputations, as 'deceivers' who tell the truth, 9 as unknown but recognized among the dying (and yet, look╔ we're alive!), as those who were disciplined but not yet condemned to death, 10 as sad but always rejoicing, as poor but making many rich, and as having nothing while owning it all!

11 Why, our mouths and our hearts have been spread wide open to you Corinthians! 12 So you aren't having a hard time finding room in us; you're having a hard time making room [for us] in yourselves. 13 Just be fair with us! I'm telling you as [my] children: Make room for us!

14 You must stop joining yourselves unevenly (like different types of animals under the same yoke) with unbelievers; for what connection is there between righteousness and law-breaking? Or what does light have in common with darkness? 15 Yes, what harmony is there between the Anointed One and [the demon] BeliEl, or what can a faithful person share with an unbeliever╔ 16 and how can a holy dwelling of God [make room for] idols? For you must recognize that we are in fact the living and holy dwellings of The God. As God Himself said: 'I will live and walk among them╔ I'll be their God and they'll be My people.' 17 And, 'Come out from among them and separate yourselves╔ Stop touching unclean things, and I'll take you in, says Jehovah' ╔ 18 'Then I'll be your Father, and you'll be My sons and My daughters, says Jehovah, the Almighty.'

Chapter 7

1 So, since we've been given these promises, loved ones; let's wash off all the filth of the flesh and the person we've been on the inside, and become perfectly holy in our fear of The God.

2 Also, make room for us, because we haven't wronged anyone, corrupted anyone, or taken advantage of anyone. 3 I'm not saying this to condemn you, because as I told you before, you're in our hearts╔ so we'll live together and die together! 4 And this why I feel so perfectly free to speak to you. Yes, I'm very comfortable [with you], I have many reasons to boast about you, and I overflow with joy over you because of all the difficulties in which we've shared!

5 [I want you to understand that] since we've arrived in here Macedonia, our bodies haven't had any relief, for there have been problems over everything. On the outside there are conflicts, and on the inside there are fears. 6 However, The God who gives comfort to the lowly has provided comfort to us through the presence of Titus. 7 And it wasn't just his presence alone that brought us comfort╔ it was also because of the comfort that he felt over you, since he again brought us word of your longing, mourning, and zeal for me. And that made me very happy.

8 So if what I wrote in my [first] letter made you sad, I don't regret it. And even if I did regret it [at first], I see that my letter only saddened you for a little while. 9 However now I'm rejoicing╔ not because you were saddened, but because you were saddened into repenting! And because you were saddened in a Godly way, we know that we didn't damage you. 10 For being sad in a Godly way brings a repentance that saves (and there's nothing to regret about that), while the sadness of this world brings death. 11 And look at what this sadness in a Godly way has accomplished╔ see how it speeded things up and gave us answers╔ how it caused indignation, fear, desire, zeal, and vengeance! Because after that, you proved yourselves pure in every way in this matter!

12 Now, I didn't write [that letter to] you because of the one that was acting unrighteously or because of the one that was being treated unrighteously. Rather, [I wrote it] to prove how earnestly you obey us in the sight of God, 13 and this is what has brought us much comfort! So now we have even more reasons to be joyful, because of the joy that this has brought to Titus. For the man that he is within has been refreshed by all of you.

14 Therefore, if I have boasted to him about you, I've had no reason to be ashamed of it, because everything that I said about you is true╔ yes, after we bragged about you to Titus, it has all proven to be true! 15 And he cares for you even more deeply now, as he remembers how well you've obeyed, and how all of you received him with fear and trembling. 16 So I'm rejoicing and I'm encouraged in every way because of you!

Chapter 8

1 Brothers, we want to tell you about how God's loving care has been shown toward the congregations in Macedonia. 2 Although they are undergoing many trials and difficulties, their great joy and deep poverty brought out the richness of their generosity. 3 For as they were able (and I testify that it was more than they were able to do) 4 and of their own accord, they kept on begging us to [allow them to] have a share in contributing to the collection for the Holy Ones. 5 And it wasn't just as we had hoped they would do; first they gave to the Lord, and then they gave to us (as it was God's Will). 6 So this led us to encourage Titus (since he was the one who initiated it) to complete the collection among you also. 7 Therefore, because you're prospering in everything – in your faith, words, knowledge, eagerness, and in our love for you – may you share your prosperity through similar [acts of] loving kindness.

8 I'm not saying this to pressure you; [I'm saying this] because these others have been so eager, and because I want to prove the genuineness of your love. 9 Of course, you know of the loving care that was shown by our Lord Jesus the Anointed One; for though he was rich, he became poor for your sakes in order to make you rich through his poverty.

10 Therefore, this is my opinion on the best way to handle it: Last year, you were the first of those who wanted to give, and you even started contributing. 11 So now, finish what you started, and bring all of that eagerness and willingness to a climax. Just give from whatever you have on hand; 12 for when [people] are already willing, it's best to accept what they have rather than what they don't have.

13 Understand that I'm not trying to make it harder on you than for the others, 14 because everything balances out. If you can give more right now, it will make up for those who can give less. And if others can give more than you, it will make up for those who can give less. So everything balances out. 15 As it is written: 'Those who gathered more didn't have too much, and those who gathered little didn't lack.'

16 Now, thanks to God that He has put the same earnestness [that I have] for you into the heart of Titus, 17 for he has responded to your encouragement and he's decided to return to you quickly. 18 We're also sending a brother along with him whose praise in the good news has spread throughout all the congregations. 19 He's the one that was appointed by the congregations to be our traveling companion, and who will actually distribute the gifts that are so willingly being donated for the glory of the Lord. 20 That way, we can avoid having anyone complain about us over the generous contributions that are being handled by us. 21 For we are planning ahead to do good things not just in the sight of the Lord, but also from the viewpoint of men.

22 And of course; we're sending along our brother who has proven to be zealous so many times and in so many ways, but who is now even more eager because of his greater confidence in you.

23 If there are any questions about Titus; he's my partner and co-worker for your interests. Or if [there are any questions] about [the rest of] our brothers; they are apostles to the congregations and a glory to the Anointed One. 24 So now, prove your love for them that we've been boasting about to the congregations.

Chapter 9

1 Regarding the collections for the Holy Ones; I really don't have to write anything about this to you, 2 for I know how eager you've been. I've even bragged to the Macedonians about you, telling them that Achaia has been ready for a year now, and your zeal has been an incentive to most of them. 3 So at this time, I'm sending the brothers [to you] to prove that our boasting about you hasn't been in vain╔ and I hope that you're ready, as I said you'd be. 4 Otherwise, if the Macedonians should come with me and find that you aren't ready, we'd be shamed by the assurances we gave them. 5 So, I thought it would be best to encourage the brothers to come to you ahead of time in order for you to start collecting the generous gift that you promised. That way, what is given will for a fact be a generous gift and not something that we've extorted from you.

6 Remember that those who plant little will harvest little, while those who plant much will harvest much. 7 So may each of you do whatever you've resolved in your hearts (but not grudgingly or because you feel pressured), since God loves a cheerful giver. 8 Moreover, God is able to show all His loving kindness toward you, so that you can have more than enough of everything and an abundance of good deeds! 9 As it is written:
'They contribute to those who are needy,
And through the ages, they prove themselves just.'

10 Therefore, may the One who supplies an abundance of seeds to the farmers and plenty of bread to the hungry supply (and even multiply) the seeds that you need for planting, and may He increase your harvests because of your righteousness, 11 so that you will be made rich because of your generosity╔ yes, thank God for that! 12 For the purpose of this community service isn't just to supply the needs of the Holy Ones abundantly, but also to [make you] rich through their many words of thanks to God. 13 Realize that the proof of the value of the service [that you are performing] is when others glorify God because of you over your generous contributions to them and to everyone else, as you continue to obey and preach the good news about the Anointed One. 14 And this is why they're praying for you and longing [to see] you╔ because of the tremendous loving care that God has shown to them through you. 15 Yes, thanks to God for His indescribable gifts!

Chapter 10

1 Now, I Paul – whose appearance is considered lowly among you – am pleading with you [in the same] mild and obedient ways as did the Anointed One. And although I'm not there, I hope that I can be so bold as to say this to you: 2 I beg that in my absence, I can unflinchingly dare to take on some of those [among you] who think of us as just walking in the flesh. 3 For although we are in fact just flesh, we don't fight in fleshly ways, 4 because the weapons that we use aren't fleshly╔ they come from the power of God and they can tear down mighty fortifications! 5 So this is what we will use to tear down their ideas and all the high-minded things that they are raising against the knowledge of God. Yes, we can capture all their thoughts and then force them to obey the Anointed One! 6 We are also ready to avenge any disobedience (whenever there is disobedience) 7 of those who are just looking at our faces!

So let those who are trusting that they belong to the Anointed One remember this: As they belong to the Anointed One, so do we! 8 Therefore, even if I do boast a little too much about the power that the Lord gave me to build you up (not to tear you down), 9 I'm not ashamed if I also give you the impression that I want to terrify you with my letters. 10 For it's a fact that some of you are saying, 'His letters are heavy and forceful, but when he's here, he looks weak and what he says has little value.' 11 So may they be reminded that what we write about in letters when we're away, is what we're going to do when we get there!

12 Notice that we don't dare to make any comparisons╔ we aren't comparing ourselves with those who think too much of themselves, because when they measure themselves (when they compare themselves against themselves), they aren't reaching the right conclusions. 13 However, we don't have to brag about how we measure up, for we gauge everything by the yard stick that God gave us to measure with╔ and that stick reaches as far as you! 14 So we aren't stretching ourselves out too far as though we can't reach you, because we were the first to come all the way to you [when we] preached the good news to you about the Anointed One. 15 So understand that those braggarts can't really measure [themselves against] the efforts of others.

What we are hoping is that as your faith grows, we will be recognized as great among you when you measure us by this same ruler; for then we will [see more results] 16 as we go out preaching the good news to regions that are far beyond you, and there will be no more boasting over how we measure up to someone else's stick. 17 [As the Prophet said,] 'Let those who boast, boast in Jehovah.' 18 So understand that those who think of themselves as being important aren't necessarily the ones that will be approved╔ just those who are recommended by our Lord!

Chapter 11

1 I wish that you'd bear with me in my foolishness╔ but then, you are bearing with me. 2 For I'm jealous over you with a Godly zeal, since I personally promised you in marriage as chaste virgins to a husband╔ yes, to stand beside the Anointed One. 3 However, I'm afraid that somehow, in the same way that the snake cunningly seduced Eve, your minds might be corrupted away from the sincerity and chastity that we owe to the Anointed One. 4 For [I know that] if [someone] should come preaching about a Jesus other than the one that we preached to you, or if you should receive a spirit other than the one you've already received, or if [you should hear] good news other than what you've [already] accepted, you would likely tolerate it too well.

5 Now, I don't think that I've done anything to prove myself inferior to your super-fine 'apostles.' 6 And even if I am an unskilled speaker, I'm certainly not [inferior] when it comes to knowledge, for I've shown this to you in everything and in every way!

7 Did I commit some sin by humbling myself so as to make you greater when I gladly preached the good news of God to you free of charge? 8 If so, then I must have robbed other congregations by accepting their provisions in order to serve you! 9 For when I was with you and I needed something, I didn't make myself a burden to anyone╔ and then the brothers who came from Macedonia supplied what I needed more than adequately.

Yes, I've kept myself from being a burden to you in every way, and I will keep on doing so! 10 By the Anointed One; it's a fact that I won't allow anyone to end to this reason for my boasting in the area of Achaia. 11 Why not? Is it because I don't love you? God knows [that I do].

12 So, what I'm doing is what I will continue to do in order to cut off the attacks from those who wish to attack [me]╔ those who want to be proclaimed our equals in this thing about which they're bragging. 13 For they are false apostles╔ deceivers who are trying to turn themselves into the Apostles of the Anointed One. 14 And this shouldn't come as [a great] surprise to you. For since the Opposer keeps turning himself into a messenger of light, 15 it should be expected that those who serve him would also turn themselves into servants of righteousness. However, their end will show up what they're doing.

16 Allow me to tell you this once again: Don't allow anyone to think that I'm foolish! But even if you should choose to accept me while you believe that I'm foolish, that gives me a bit more reason to boast.

17 Now, I'm not saying this to follow the Lord's example, but foolishly as a braggart╔ 18 yes, since many [of you] are bragging as humans do, I'll boast also. 19 It seems that you're just too happy to put up with foolish people, because you're all so reasonable. 20 In fact, you put up with anyone who enslaves, or eats, or takes, or who elevates himself, or slaps you on the face! 21 Therefore in dishonor, I will speak as though we had all been weak╔ and if anyone is daring, I'll foolishly say that I'm daring also!

22 Are they Hebrews? I'm one also! Are they IsraElites? Me too! Are they AbraHam's seed? So am I! 23 Are they servants of the Anointed One? I reply like a crazy man╔ I'm even more so! For [I've] worked harder, been in prison more times, been beaten more that anyone else, and have often been near death! 24 Why, five times I received forty strokes less one from the Judeans, 25 I was beaten with rods three times, I was stoned once, I've been shipwrecked three times, and I've spent a night and a day in the sea!

26 In my travels, I've often been in danger from rivers, from robbers, from those of [my own] race, and from gentiles. [I've been] in danger in cities, in deserts, at sea╔ and I've been in danger from false brothers! 27 [Yet through all of this, I've continued to] work and labor hard. I've often been sleepless, hungry, thirsty, and starving╔ and many times [I've even been] cold and naked! 28 Then in addition to all these external things, there are the anxieties [that I feel] for the congregations that flood over me each day. 29 For who is weak that doesn't make me weak, and who stumbles into a trap that doesn't set me on fire? 30 So if there has to be bragging; then I'll boast about the things that show how weak I am!

31 Before the God and Father of the Lord Jesus (the One who is to be praised through the ages), [I can swear that] I'm not lying about these things. 32 For in Damascus, the governor under King Aretas posted guards around the city to arrest me; 33 and as the result, [the brothers] had to lower me on a wicker basket through a window in the [city] wall to help me escape from his hands!

Chapter 12

1 Yes, although it isn't good, I have to brag╔ please allow me to pass along some supernatural visions and revelations from [the] Lord:

2 I know a man in the Anointed One who was caught away some fourteen years ago (whether [it happened] in the body or out of the body – only God knows) into the third heaven. 3 Yes, I know such a man (whether [it happened] in the body or apart from the body – only God knows) 4 who was caught away into a paradise where he heard unspeakable things that are illegal for a man to discuss. 5 Yes, I will boast about a man like that, but I won't boast about myself, other than about my own weaknesses. 6 Also as I am boasting, I won't do it foolishly╔ I'll just tell the truth. I'll hold back lest anyone should give me more credit than what they see in me or what they hear anyone say about me 7 when it comes to the surpassing types of revelations that I've shown to you.

In order that I wouldn't become too conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh╔ a messenger from the Opposer that keeps slapping me so I don't get too impressed with myself. 8 I've begged the Lord three times to remove it from me, 9 and He really answered me and said, 'My loving kindness is enough for you, for [your] strength is being perfected [by your] weaknesses!' Therefore I'll gladly boast of my weaknesses so that the power of the Anointed One will cover me like a tent! 10 Yes, I [actually] appreciate the weaknesses, the insults, the [times] that I've done without, and the persecutions and difficulties that I've experienced on behalf of the Anointed One, because when I'm weak, that's when I'm [the most] powerful!

11 So now I've become foolish╔ and you're the ones who've made me that way, because I should have been recommended by you! But even if I were nothing, I wouldn't be less than those super-fine 'apostles' in any way. 12 Indeed, it was the proofs of [my Apostleship] that produced endurance in you by means of signs, omens, and powerful works. 13 So, in what way have you received less than the rest of the congregations╔ other than the fact that I wasn't a burden to you? Kindly forgive me for this wrong!

14 {Look!} This is the third time that I've gotten ready to come to you, and [once again], I won't be coming as a burden to you, because I'm not looking for the things you have, but for you! For the children shouldn't be setting things aside for their parents; rather, parents [should be setting things aside] for their children! 15 And as for me; I will happily spend and be spent for your lives! Therefore if I love you the most, why am I the one who is loved the least? 16 May that be as it is╔ but I've never been a burden to you.

Was I sneaky and did I try to capture you through trickery, 17 or did I try to take advantage of you through any of those whom I sent to you? 18 When I urged Titus [to come to you] and I sent a brother along with him; did Titus take advantage of you in any way╔ don't we in fact both act the same way and follow in the same footsteps?

19 [I hope that] you've been thinking about all of this as we've been defending ourselves to you, for we are speaking [to you] before God [and] the Anointed One!

Loved ones; everything [we've done is] to build you up! 20 Yet I'm afraid that when I arrive, I may not find you to be as I wish╔ for then I might not prove to be something that you'd wish for either. I don't want to find divisions, jealousy, anger, arguing, backbiting, whispering, pride, or disorder; 21 for if that happens, perhaps the next time I come I'll be humiliated by my God over you and then I'll have to mourn for the many who have sinned and not repented their uncleanness, immorality, and the dirty things that they're doing.

Chapter 13

1 Now, this is the third time that I'll be coming to you. And since from the mouths of two or three witnesses everything is proven 2 (as I told you before in my second visit); though I'm not there now, I'm giving this warning once again to those of you whom [I found] sinning the last time (and to all the rest of you): When I come there next time, I won't put up with it!

3 Yet, here you are searching for the proofs that the Anointed One is speaking through me! Realize that [Jesus] isn't weak toward you╔ [in fact], he's very powerful among you! 4 For though he was hung on a pole in weakness, he's now alive through the power of God! And likewise, although we are weak in him, we are alive in him through the power of The God that's within you. 5 So, keep testing yourselves to make sure that you're really in the faith╔ yes, prove what you are! For you must understand that Jesus the Anointed One is within you╔ that is, as long as you have his approval. 6 And I truly hope you know that we haven't been disapproved!

7 Now, we keep praying to God that you don't do anything wrong. And we aren't doing this to make ourselves look like we're approved, but so that you may be doing what's better even if that makes us look disapproved. 8 For we are unable to do anything against the truth; only for the truth. 9 Therefore, we rejoice whenever we are weak and you are strong, because that's what we're praying for╔ for you to be restored! 10 This is why I'm writing these things while I'm away╔ so that when I get there, I won't have to cut anyone off. And then [I can] use the authority I've received from the Lord to build you up, not to tear you down!

11 Finally brothers; Keep on rejoicing, growing to perfection, and being courageous. Also, be of the same mind and live peaceably, so that the God of love and peace will always be with you. 12 Keep on greeting each other with a holy kiss. 13 All the Holy Ones send you their greetings.

14 May the loving care of the Lord Jesus the Anointed One, the love of God, and a sharing in the Holy Breath be with all of you.

Home Page