11 1I WISH you would bear with me while I indulge in a little [so-called] foolishness. Do bear with me! 2For I am [E]zealous for you with a godly eagerness and a divine jealousy, for I have betrothed you to one Husband, to present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. 3But [now] I am fearful, lest that even as the serpent beguiled Eve by his cunning, so your minds may be corrupted and seduced from wholehearted and sincere and pure devotion to Christ. 4For [you seem readily to endure it] if a man comes and preaches another Jesus than the One we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the [Spirit] you [once] received or a different gospel from the one you [then] received and welcomed; you tolerate [all that] well enough! 5Yet I consider myself as in no way inferior to these [precious] [F]extra-super [false] apostles. 6But even if [I am] unskilled in speaking, yet [I am] not [unskilled] in knowledge [I know what I am talking about]; we have made this evident to you in all things. 7But did I perhaps make a mistake and do you a wrong in debasing and cheapening myself so that you might be exalted and enriched in dignity and honor and happiness by preaching God’s Gospel without expense to you? 8Other churches I have robbed by accepting [more than their share of] support for my ministry [from them in order] to serve you. 9And when I was with you and ran short financially, I did not burden any [of you], for what I lacked was abundantly made up by the brethren who came from Macedonia. So I kept myself from being burdensome to you in any way, and will continue to keep [myself from being so]. 10As the truth of Christ is in me, this my boast [of independence] shall not be debarred (silenced or checked) in the regions of Achaia (most of Greece). 11And why? Because I do not love you [do not have a preference for you, wish you well, and regard your welfare]? God perceives and knows that I do! 12But what I do, I will continue to do, [for I am determined to maintain this independence] in order to cut off the claim of those who would like [to find an occasion and incentive] to claim that in their boasted [mission] they work on the same terms that we do. 13For such men are false apostles [spurious, counterfeits], deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles (special messengers) of Christ (the Messiah). 14And it is no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light; 15So it is not surprising if his servants also masquerade as ministers of righteousness. [But] their end will correspond with their deeds. 16I repeat then, let no one think I have lost my wits; but even if you do, then bear with a witless man, so that I too may boast a little. 17What I say by way of this confident boasting, I say not with the Lord’s authority [by inspiration] but, as it were, in pure witlessness. 18[For] since many boast of worldly things and according to the flesh, I will glory (boast) also. 19For you readily and gladly bear with the foolish, since you are so smart and wise yourselves! 20For you endure it if a man assumes control of your souls and makes slaves of you, or devours [your substance, spends your money] and preys upon you, or deceives and takes advantage of you, or is arrogant and puts on airs, or strikes you in the face. 21To my discredit, I must say, we have shown ourselves too weak [for you to show such tolerance of us and for us to do strong, courageous things like that to you]! But in whatever any person is bold and dares [to boast]--mind you, I am speaking in this foolish (witless) way--I also am bold and dare [to boast]. 22They are Hebrews? So am I! They are Israelites? So am I! They are descendants of Abraham? So am I! 23Are they [ministering] servants of Christ (the Messiah)? I am talking like one beside himself, [but] I am more, with far more extensive and abundant labors, with far more imprisonments, [beaten] with countless stripes, and frequently [at the point of] death. 24Five times I received from [the hands of] the Jews forty [lashes all] but one; 25Three times I have been beaten with rods; once I was stoned. Three times I have been aboard a ship wrecked at sea; a [whole] night and a day I have spent [adrift] on the deep; 26Many times on journeys, [exposed to] perils from rivers, perils from bandits, perils from [my own] nation, perils from the Gentiles, perils in the city, perils in the desert places, perils in the sea, perils from those posing as believers [but destitute of Christian knowledge and piety]; 27In toil and hardship, watching often [through sleepless nights], in hunger and thirst, frequently driven to fasting by want, in cold and exposure and lack of clothing. 28And besides those things that are without, there is the daily [inescapable pressure] of my care and anxiety for all the churches! 29Who is weak, and I do not feel [his] weakness? Who is made to stumble and fall and have his faith hurt, and I am not on fire [with sorrow or indignation]? 30If I must boast, I will boast of the things that [show] my infirmity [of the things by which I am made weak and contemptible in the eyes of my opponents]. 31The God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ knows, He Who is blessed and to be praised forevermore, that I do not lie. 32In Damascus, the city governor acting under King Aretas guarded the city of Damascus [on purpose] to arrest me, 33And I was [actually] let down in a [rope] basket or hamper through a window (a small door) in the wall, and I escaped through his fingers.
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