1. I wish you would put up with a little foolishness from me -- not that you don't do this already.
2. The jealousy that I feel for you is, you see, God's own jealousy: I gave you all in marriage to a single husband, a virgin pure for presentation to Christ.
3. But I am afraid that, just as the snake with his cunning seduced Eve, your minds may be led astray from single-minded devotion to Christ.
4. Because any chance comer has only to preach a Jesus other than the one we preached, or you have only to receive a spirit different from the one you received, or a gospel different from the one you accepted -- and you put up with that only too willingly.
5. Now, I consider that I am not in the least inferior to the super-apostles.
6. Even if there is something lacking in my public speaking, this is not the case with my knowledge, as we have openly shown to you at all times and before everyone.
7. Have I done wrong, then, humbling myself so that you might be raised up, by preaching the gospel of God to you for nothing?
8. I was robbing other churches, taking wages from them in order to work for you.
9. When I was with you and needed money, I was no burden to anybody, for the brothers from Macedonia brought me as much as I needed when they came; I have always been careful not to let myself be a burden to you in any way, and I shall continue to be so.
10. And as Christ's truth is in me, this boast of mine is not going to be silenced in the regions of Achaia.
11. Why should it be? Because I do not love you? God knows that I do.
12. I will go on acting as I do at present, to cut the ground from under the feet of those who are looking for a chance to be proved my equals in grounds for boasting.
13. These people are counterfeit apostles, dishonest workers disguising themselves as apostles of Christ.
14. There is nothing astonishing in this; even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.
15. It is nothing extraordinary, then, when his servants disguise themselves as the servants of uprightness. They will come to the end appropriate to what they have done.
16. To repeat: let no one take me for a fool, but if you do, then treat me as a fool, so that I, too, can do a little boasting.
17. I shall not be following the Lord's way in what I say now, but will be speaking out of foolishness in the conviction that I have something to boast about.
18. So many people boast on merely human grounds that I shall too.
19. I know how happy you are to put up with fools, being so wise yourselves;
20. and how you will still go on putting up with a man who enslaves you, eats up all you possess, keeps you under his orders and sets himself above you, or even slaps you in the face.
21. I say it to your shame; perhaps we have been too weak. Whatever bold claims anyone makes -- now I am talking as a fool -- I can make them too.
22. Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they descendants of Abraham? So am I.
23. Are they servants of Christ? I speak in utter folly -- I am too, and more than they are: I have done more work, I have been in prison more, I have been flogged more severely, many times exposed to death.
24. Five times I have been given the thirty-nine lashes by the Jews;
25. three times I have been beaten with sticks; once I was stoned; three times I have been shipwrecked, and once I have been in the open sea for a night and a day;
26. continually travelling, I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from brigands, in danger from my own people and in danger from the gentiles, in danger in the towns and in danger in the open country, in danger at sea and in danger from people masquerading as brothers;
27. I have worked with unsparing energy, for many nights without sleep; I have been hungry and thirsty, and often altogether without food or drink; I have been cold and lacked clothing.
28. And, besides all the external things, there is, day in day out, the pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches.
29. If anyone weakens, I am weakened as well; and when anyone is made to fall, I burn in agony myself.
30. If I have to boast, I will boast of all the ways in which I am weak.
31. The God and Father of the Lord Jesus -- who is for ever to be blessed -- knows that I am not lying.
32. When I was in Damascus, the governor who was under King Aretas put guards round Damascus city to catch me,
33. and I was let down in a basket through a window in the wall, and that was how I escaped from his hands.