1I hope you can put up with a little more foolishness from me—well you already do put up with me!
2I agonize over you with a divine kind of jealousy, for I promised you to a single husband—Christ—so that I could present you as a pure virgin to him.
3I worry that in some way, just as the serpent deceived Eve with his devious cunning, that you might be led astray in your thinking from your sincere and pure commitment to Christ.
4If anyone comes and tells you about a different Jesus to the one we shared with you, you easily go along with them, accepting a different spirit to the one you received, and a different kind of good news to the one you believed.
5I don't believe I'm inferior to these “super-apostles.”
6Even though I may not be skilled in giving speeches, I do know what I'm talking about. We have made this absolutely clear to you in every way.
7Was it wrong of me to humble myself so you could be elevated, since I shared the good news with you at no charge?
8I robbed as it were other churches, taking pay from them so I could work for you.
9When I was there with you and needed something, I wasn't a burden to anyone because the believers who came from Macedonia took care of my needs. I was determined never to be a burden to you and I never shall.
10This is as certain as the truth of Christ that is in me: nobody in all Achaia will stop me boasting about this!
11And why? Because I don't love you? God knows that I do!
12I'll continue to do what I've always done, so as to remove any opportunity for those who want to boast that their work is the same as ours.
13These people are false apostles, dishonest workers, who pretend to be apostles of Christ.
14Don't be surprised at this for even Satan himself pretends to be an angel of light.
15So it's no wonder then if those who serve him pretend to be agents of good. But their final end will be in accordance with what they've done.
16Let me say it again: please don't think I'm being foolish. However, even if you do, accept me as someone who is foolish, and let me also boast a little.
17What I'm saying is not as the Lord would say it—all this foolish boasting.
18But since many others are boasting in the way the world does, let me boast too.
19(You're happy to put up with fools, since you are so wise!)
20You put up with people who make you slaves, who take what you have, who exploit you, who arrogantly put you down, who hit you in the face.
21I'm so sorry that we were too weak to do anything like that! But whatever people dare to boast about, I dare to do too. (Here I'm talking like a fool again.)
22Are they Hebrews? Me too. Are they Israelites? Me too. Are they descendants of Abraham? Me too.
23Are they servants of Christ? (I know I'll sound like I'm crazy, talking like this.) But I have done so much more. I've worked harder, been imprisoned more often, whipped more times than I can count, faced death time and again.
24Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes less one.
25Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked. Once I spent twenty-four hours adrift on the ocean.
26During my many journeys I have faced the dangers of crossing rivers, robber gangs, attacks from my own countrymen, as well as from foreigners. I have faced danger in cities, in the deserts, and on the sea. I have faced the danger of people who pretend to be Christians.
27I have faced hard labor and struggles, many sleepless nights, hungry and thirsty, often going without food, cold, without enough clothing to keep warm.
28Besides all this, I face the daily concerns of dealing with all the churches.
29Who is weak, and I don't feel weak too? Who is led into sin, and I don't burn up?
30If I have to boast, I will boast about how weak I am.
31The God and Father of the Lord Jesus—may he be praised forever—knows I am not lying.
32While I was in Damascus, the governor under King Aretas had the city guarded in order to capture me.
33But I was lowered in a basket from a window in the city wall, and so I escaped from him.