1. I am boasting because I have to. Not that it does any good, but I will move on to visions and revelations from the Lord.
2. I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago -- still in the body? I do not know; or out of the body? I do not know: God knows -- was caught up right into the third heaven.
3. And I know that this man -- still in the body? or outside the body? I do not know, God knows-
4. was caught up into Paradise and heard words said that cannot and may not be spoken by any human being.
5. On behalf of someone like that I am willing to boast, but I am not going to boast on my own behalf except of my weaknesses;
6. and then, if I do choose to boast I shall not be talking like a fool because I shall be speaking the truth. But I will not go on in case anybody should rate me higher than he sees and hears me to be, because of the exceptional greatness of the revelations.
7. Wherefore, so that I should not get above myself, I was given a thorn in the flesh, a messenger from Satan to batter me and prevent me from getting above myself.
8. About this, I have three times pleaded with the Lord that it might leave me;
9. but he has answered me, 'My grace is enough for you: for power is at full stretch in weakness.' It is, then, about my weaknesses that I am happiest of all to boast, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me;
10. and that is why I am glad of weaknesses, insults, constraints, persecutions and distress for Christ's sake. For it is when I am weak that I am strong.
11. I have turned into a fool, but you forced me to it. It is you that should have been commending me; those super-apostles had no advantage over me, even if I am nothing at all.
12. All the marks characteristic of a true apostle have been at work among you: complete perseverance, signs, marvels, demonstrations of power.
13. Is there any way in which you have been given less than the rest of the churches, except that I did not make myself a burden to you? Forgive me for this unfairness!
14. Here I am, ready to come to you for the third time and I am not going to be a burden on you: it is not your possessions that I want, but yourselves. Children are not expected to save up for their parents, but parents for their children,
15. and I am more than glad to spend what I have and to be spent for the sake of your souls. Is it because I love you so much more, that I am loved the less?
16. All right, then; I did not make myself a burden to you, but, trickster that I am, I caught you by trickery.
17. Have I taken advantage of you through any of the people I have sent to you?
18. Titus came at my urging, and I sent his companion with him. Did Titus take advantage of you? Can you deny that he and I were following the guidance of the same Spirit and were on the same tracks?
19. All this time you have been thinking that we have been pleading our own cause before you; no, we have been speaking in Christ and in the presence of God -- and all, dear friends, to build you up.
20. I am afraid that in one way or another, when I come, I may find you different from what I should like you to be, and you may find me what you would not like me to be; so that in one way or the other there will be rivalry, jealousy, bad temper, quarrels, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorders;
21. and when I come again, my God may humiliate me in front of you and I shall be grieved by all those who sinned in the past and have still not repented of the impurities and sexual immorality and debauchery that they have committed.