· Second Epistle to the Corinthians ·

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CHAPTER 1
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Afflictions and blessings

1Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, to the Church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints who are throughout Achaia. 2Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all consolation; 4who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, through the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 5For as the sufferings of Christ overflow to us, even so our consolation also overflows through Christ. 6But if we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation. If we are comforted, it is for your consolation which produces in you the patient enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer. 7Our hope for you is unshaken, knowing that, since you have a share in the sufferings, you also have a share in the consolation. 8For we do not desire to have you uninformed, brethren, concerning our affliction which happened to us in Asia: we were extremely oppressed, beyond our power, so much that we even despaired of life. 9Yes, we had the sentence of death within ourselves so that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead. 10He who delivered us from such a great death and continued to deliver; we hope that he will also deliver us. 11You also help by your supplication on our behalf; so that thanksgiving will be offered for the gift bestowed on us by means of many.

Paul’s relationship with the Corinthians

12Our boasting is this: the testimony of our conscience. We act in the world in holiness and sincerity of God, not in carnal wisdom but in the grace of God, and we do so more abundantly towards you. 13We only write what you can read and acknowledge: I hope that you will accept them to the end; 14as you also received us in part. I also hope that we are your boasting, even as you also are ours, in the day of our Lord Jesus. 15In this confidence, I was determined to come first to you, so that you might have a double blessing. 16I would then pass into Macedonia, and then again from Macedonia back to you to be sent on by you on my journey to Judea. 17After making this plan, did I waver in my resolve? Or do I plan things in human way? For with me, ‘Yes’ should be ‘yes’ and ‘No’, no. 18But as God is faithful, our word to you was not ‘Yes and no.’ 19Certainly, the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us, by me, Silvanus, and Timothy, was not ‘Yes and no’, but in him is ‘Yes.’ 20However many the promises of God are, in him is the ‘Yes.’ And so, through him is the ‘Amen’ to the glory of God, through us.

21Now, the one who establishes us with you in Christ and who has anointed us is God. 22He has also sealed us and given us the pledge of the Spirit in our hearts. 23I call God as a witness to my soul that I did not come to Corinth to spare you. 24It is not that we have lordship over your faith: we are fellow-workers with you for your joy, as you stand firm in faith.

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CHAPTER 2
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About the first letter and its effect

1But I resolved this for myself: that I would not return to you in sorrow. 2If I cause you distress, who will bring me joy except for you, the very ones whom I grieve? 3Indeed, I wrote as I did, so that when I came, I would not have sorrow from the ones who should be me joy; but I trust in you all, that my joy would also be shared by all. 4It was out of much affliction and anguish of heart that I wrote to you with many tears, not to cause you distress but to let you know what overflowing love I have for you. 5Still, if anyone has caused sorrow, he has caused sorrow not to only me but also, to an extent, to all of you. 6For this person, the punishment imposed by the many should be enough. 7In fact, you should rather forgive and comfort this person, for fear that he might be overwhelmed with excessive sorrow. 8Therefore, I beg you to confirm your love towards him. 9I had also written with this purpose: that I might know by a test whether you are obedient in everything. 10Now, I also forgive whoever you forgive. Indeed, if I have forgiven anything, I have forgiven for your sake in the person of Christ, 11so that Satan may not gain any ground over us; and we are not ignorant of his schemes.

Paul’s ministry

12Now, when I came to Troas for the Good News of Christ as a door was opened to me in the Lord, 13I had no relief for my spirit, because I did not find Titus, my brother. After taking my leave of them, I headed into Macedonia. 14Thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and who reveals through us the sweet fragrance of his knowledge in every place. 15Indeed, we are a sweet fragrance of Christ to God, both in those who are being saved and in those who are perishing. 16To the latter, we are a stench from death to death, but to the first, a sweet fragrance from life to life. Who is equal to such a task? 17We are not as many who ‘peddle the word of God,’ but we speak in Christ with sincerity, as from God and in the sight of God.

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CHAPTER 3
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The ministry of the Spirit

1Are we again trying to obtain your approval? Or do we need, as some do, letters of recommendation to you or from you? 2You are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read by all. 3It is being revealed that you are a letter of Christ, served by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, and not in tablets of stone but in tablets that are hearts of flesh. 4We have such confidence through Christ towards God; 5not that we are competent on our own to claim anything for ourselves; but our competence is from God 6who has made us competent as servants of a new covenant; not of the letter, but of the Spirit. Indeed, the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. 7However, if the ministry of death, written in stones, came with glory, so much that the children of Israel could not gaze at the face of Moses because of the glory of his face, and this glory was passing away: 8will not the ministry of the Spirit be with much more glory? 9For if the ministry of condemnation has glory, the ministry of righteousness exceeds all the more in glory. 10It is certain that what used to be glorious has not been made glorious in such a manner, that is by such an overwhelming glory. 11For if what passes away was glorious, how much more glorious is that which remains.

12Since we have such a hope, we use great boldness of speech, 13not as Moses, who put a veil on his face so that the children of Israel would not see the end of what was passing away. 14In this case, their minds were hardened, because to this very day, at the reading of the old covenant, the same veil remains since only in Christ does it pass away. 15Even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart. 16But whenever someone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17Now, the Lord is the Spirit and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18With unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, we are all being transformed a into the same image, from glory to glory, and this is from the Lord, the Spirit.

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CHAPTER 4
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A difficult ministry

1Therefore, seeing that we have this ministry, even as we have obtained mercy, we do not waver. 2We have renounced the hidden things of shame: we no longer walk in clever lies and we do not handle the word of God deceitfully. Instead, by the manifestation of the truth, we seek the approval of everyone who has a conscience in the sight of God. 3Even if our Good News is veiled, it is veiled in those who perish, 4as the god of this world has blinded the minds of those who do not believe, so that the light of the Good News of the glory of Christ who is the image of God should not dawn on them. 5For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for the sake of Jesus, 6seeing that it is God who said, ‘Light will shine out of darkness’ and he has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

7However, we have this treasure in vessels of clay, so that the amazing power may be from God and not from ourselves. 8We are pressed on every side, yet not crushed. We are perplexed, but not to despair. 9We are persecuted yet not forsaken; struck down, yet not destroyed; 10and we always carry in our bodies the death of the Lord Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11Indeed, we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus may be revealed in our mortal flesh. 12And so, death is at work in us, but life in you. 13Still, we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, ‘I believed, and therefore I spoke.’ (Psalms 115[116]:10) We believe, and therefore we also speak; 14knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will also raise us with Jesus, and bring us with you into his presence. 15All these things are for your benefit, so that as grace is extended to many, this may also cause thanksgiving to be multiplied to the glory of God. 16Therefore, we do not lose heart, but even if outwardly we are decaying, yet our inner self is being renewed day by day. 17Indeed, the result is that our light affliction, which is temporary, is producing for us an ever-increasing standing in eternal glory. 18This is because we do not look at visible things but at invisible things, and the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

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CHAPTER 5
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1We know that if our earthly tent is dissolved, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2It is certain that we groan in this, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling; 3so that being clothed we will not be found naked. 4We who are in this tent are truly groaning as we are burdened; but it is not that we desire to be unclothed; rather, we desire to be clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. 5Now, the one who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also gave us the pledge of the Spirit.

6Therefore, we are always confident and know that while we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord; 7for we walk by faith, not by sight. 8I dare say that we are courageous and that we would rather be absent from the body and at home with the Lord. 9And so, we make this our aim: that whether at home or absent, we would be well-pleasing to him. 10For we must all be revealed before the judgement seat of Christ, so that each one may receive according to what was done in the body; good or evil.

A new creation – The ministry of reconciliation

11But since we know the fear of the Lord, let us try to persuade others. What we are is revealed to God, and I hope that we are also revealed to your consciences. 12Certainly, we are not trying to obtain your approval once again, but we say this to give you an occasion to be proud of us, so that you may have something to answer to those who boast in appearances – not in the heart. 13If we are unreasonable, it is for God, and if we are reasonable, it is for you. 14Indeed, the love of Christ overwhelms us, because we consider this: that one died for all, therefore all have died. 15He died for all, so that those who live should no longer live to themselves but to him who died and rose again for them. 16Therefore, we do not think of anyone according to the flesh any more. Even though we used to think of Christ according to the flesh, we no longer think of him this way. 17Therefore, anyone who is in Christ is a new creation. The old things have passed away. Behold, everything has become new. 18But everything is of God, who reconciled us to himself through Jesus Christ and who gave to us the ministry of reconciliation. 19What I mean is that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not imputing sins, but having entrusted us with the word of reconciliation. 20Therefore, we are ambassadors of Christ: it is as if God was making supplication through us: we beg you, on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21God made him who knew no sin to become sin for our sake; so that in him, we might become the righteousness of God.

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CHAPTER 6
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Tribulations in the ministry

1Since we are God’s fellow-workers, we also entreat you not to receive his grace in vain, 2for he says,

At a favourable time I listened to you;
In a day of salvation I helped you. (Isaiah 49:8)

Behold, now is the acceptable time. Behold, now is the day of salvation. 3We give no occasion for stumbling in anything, so that our ministry may not be blamed. 4Instead, we seek to be approved as servants of God in everything, in great endurance, in afflictions, in hardships, in distresses, 5in beatings, in imprisonments, in riots, in labours, in vigils, in fastings; 6in purity, in knowledge, in patience, in kindness, in a holy spirit, in sincere love, 7in the word of truth, and in the power of God. There is also the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, 8glory and dishonour, evil report and good report; being thought to be deceivers, and yet true; 9unknown, and yet well-known; dying, and behold, we live; punished, and yet not killed; 10sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; thought to have nothing even though we possess everything.

11We have spoken freely to you, O Corinthians, and our heart is open wide. 12We are not withholding our affection from you, but you are withholding yours from us. 13In return, I speak to you as to my children: be open.

A holy people

14Do not be mismatched with unbelievers: what association is there between righteousness and wickedness? Or what fellowship is there between light and darkness? 15What agreement does Christ have with Belial? What sharing is there between a believer and an unbeliever? 16What agreement can there be between God’s sanctuary and idols? For you are a sanctuary of the living God. Even as God said, “I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they will be my people.” (Leviticus 26:12; Jeremiah 32:38; Ezekiel 37:27) 17Therefore,

“Come out from among them and be separate,” says the Lord.
“Touch no unclean thing. I will receive you. (Isaiah 52:11; Ezekiel 20:34,41)
18I will be a Father to you.
You will be to me sons and daughters,” says the Lord Almighty. (2 Kingdoms[2 Samuel] 7:14; 7:8)

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CHAPTER 7
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1Since we have these promises, beloved, let us purify ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, so that we may bring holiness to completion in the fear of God. 2Open your hearts to us. We wronged no one, we corrupted no one, and we took advantage of no one. 3I say this not to condemn you, for as I have said before, you are in our hearts to die together and to live together. 4Great is my boldness of speech towards you, great is my boasting on your behalf. I am filled with consolation, I overflow with joy in all our afflictions.

Paul’s joy concerning the Corinthians

5Indeed, even after arriving in Macedonia, our flesh had no relief; we were afflicted on every side. There was struggle on the outside and fear inside. 6Nevertheless, he who comforts the lowly, God, comforted us with the arrival of Titus; 7and not just by his arrival but also by the encouragement he had received from you. He told us of your longing, your mourning, and your zeal for me; and I rejoiced even more.

8Although I made you feel bad with my letter, I do not regret it, though I did regret it for a while. I can see that my letter made you sorry, at least for a while. 9But now, I rejoice, not that you experienced distress, but that you were made sorry to repentance. Indeed, you experienced godly distress and thus you did not experience a loss because of us. 10Indeed, godly sorrow works repentance that leads to salvation, it does not bring regret. On the other hand, the sorrow of the world is deadly. 11Consider what happened in this case: you experienced distress in a godly way and what serious reaction it worked in you. Yes, what apology, anger, fear, longing, zeal, and vengeance. In everything you have shown yourselves blameless in this matter. 12And so, although I wrote to you, it was neither for the sake of the offender nor for the one offended, but so that your devotion to us might be revealed in the sight of God. 13Therefore, we have been comforted. In our comfort, we rejoiced all the more on account of Titus’s joy, because you had refreshed his spirit. 14I had boasted to him about you, and I was not disappointed. And just as we spoke everything to you in truth, likewise the boasting to Titus was found to be the truth. 15His deep affection for you is even stronger as he remembers your obedience, how with fear and trembling you received him. 16I rejoice that concerning you, I can be confident in everything.

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CHAPTER 8
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About giving

1Moreover, brethren, we want you to know about the grace that God has given in the Churches of Macedonia: 2in spite of extreme tribulations, the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty has resulted in generous giving. 3I can testify that within their means and even beyond, they gave freely, 4begging us to receive the grace to have such a participation in the ministry to the saints. 5We had not hoped for so much, but first they gave themselves to the Lord and to us, by the will of God. 6As a result, we urged Titus to bring this same grace to completion in you. 7Yes, as you overflow in everything: faith, speech, knowledge, devotion, and in your love for us, try to overflow even in this grace. 8I am not saying this as an order, but as testing your love by mentioning the devotion of others. 9For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ: even though he was rich, yet he became poor for your sake, so that by his poverty you might become rich. 10I give my opinion in this matter: it would be the right thing to do for you, since a year ago you were the first to do something, and this was also your will, 11to complete what you were doing. Just as there was the readiness to be willing, may there be completion according to your means. 12If you are ready, the gift is acceptable according to what one has – not according to what one does not have. 13The goal is not that others may have it easy and that you would be in distress; 14this is about a balancing out. In this present time, let your abundance make up for what others lack, so that their abundance also may become a supply for what you lack; and may there be equality. 15As it is written, ‘The one who gathered much had nothing left over, and he who gathered little had no lack.’ (Exodus 16:8)

About Titus

16But thanks be to God who puts into Titus’ heart the same devotion for you. 17He has accepted our exhortation, but since he was very eager, he went out to you of his own accord. 18We have sent along with him the brother whose praise in the Good News is known in all the Churches. 19In fact, he was also appointed by the Churches to accompany us in this grace, which we administer to the glory of the Lord himself, and to show our zeal. 20There is one thing that we want to avoid: that anyone should blame us about this general gift which we administer. 21We endeavour to act honourably, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men. 22We have sent with them our brother who has proven his eagerness in many ways, but now he is even more eager because of his great confidence in you. 23Regarding Titus: he is my partner and fellow- worker for your sake. As for our brothers, they are the apostles of the Churches, the glory of Christ. 24Therefore, demonstrate your love to them before the Churches; show that we were right to boast about you to them.

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CHAPTER 9
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The ministry to the saints

1It is not needed that I should write to you about the ministry to the saints. 2Indeed, I know that you are ready and I boast about you to the Macedonians, that you in Achaia have been ready since last year. Your zeal has encouraged very many of them. 3But I have sent the brothers, so that our boasting about you may not be in vain in this respect: as I have said, be prepared. 4Otherwise, if anyone from Macedonia comes with us and finds you unprepared, we, to say nothing of you, would be disappointed in this confident boasting. 5Therefore, I thought it necessary to ask the brothers to reach you first in order to arrange ahead of time the generous gift which you promised before. Thus, may the gift be ready as a matter of generosity, not greediness. 6Remember this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly. Whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 7Let everyone give according to what he has determined in his heart; not grudgingly or under compulsion; for God loves a cheerful giver. 8And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that by having what is needed in everything, you may overflow in every good work. 9As it is written,

He has scattered abroad, he has given to the poor.
His righteousness remains forever. (Psalms 111[112]:9)

10Now, may he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food also supply and multiply your seed for sowing, and increase the fruits of your righteousness. 11Thus, may you be enriched in everything, so that you may be generous in everything, and through us, this brings thanksgiving to God. 12This ministry of giving which you perform does not only make up for what the saints are lacking; it also overflows into thanksgiving to God. 13Seeing that you prove yourselves by this service, the saints glorify God for the obedience of your confession to the Good News of Christ, and also for the generosity of your contribution to them and to all. 14As for them, with supplication on your behalf, they are devoted to you by reason of the exceeding grace of God in you. 15Thanks be to God for his unspeakable gift.

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CHAPTER 10
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Paul defends his person and ministry

1I, Paul, entreat you by the humility and gentleness of Christ, as one who is humble among you in your presence but bold in my absence. 2Yes, I beg that I should not have to be bold when I am actually with you by daring to oppose those who think we are acting according to human standards. 3Even though we walk in the flesh, we do not wage war according to the flesh. 4The weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but mighty before God to overthrow strongholds, 5to cast down fantasies and every lofty thing that is exalted against the knowledge of God, and to bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. 6Once you have given your complete obedience, we are prepared to chastise any disobedience. 7Do you look at things only as they appear in your presence? If anyone trusts that he belongs to Christ, let such a person reconsider this, that, we belong to Christ as much as he does. 8Even though I should boast some more about our authority, which the Lord gave for building you up, and not for casting you down, would that not be a shame? 9May I not appear to desire to terrify you by my letters. 10Some people say, “His letters are profound and strong, but his physical presence is weak and his speech is worthless.” 11Let such people consider this: that what we are in word by letters when we are absent, we are exactly the same in actions when we are present. 12We are not venturing to rank or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves. But as they measure themselves by their own standards and compare themselves with themselves, they are without understanding. 13However, we will not boast beyond proper limits, only within the boundaries which God has appointed to us, which reach even to you. 14In fact, we do not stretch ourselves too much, as though we did not reach to you. For we even reached as far as to you with the Good News of Christ, 15not boasting beyond proper limits in the work of others, but having hope that as your faith grows, our field [of mission] among you will be greatly enlarged. 16This way, we will be able to preach the Good News even to those areas that are beyond you, in order not to boast in what others have already accomplished. 17But ‘whoever boasts, let him boast in the Lord.’ 18Truly, it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but it is the Lord who gives approval.

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CHAPTER 11
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False apostles

1I wish that you would be patient with me in a little foolishness, and indeed, you are. 2Certainly, I am jealous over you with a godly jealousy: I betrothed you to one husband, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to Christ. 3But I am afraid that somehow, just as the serpent deceived Eve in his shrewd deceit, your minds might likewise be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. 4Somehow, if someone comes along preaching another Jesus, not the one we preached, or if you receive a different spirit, not the one you received, or a different Good News, which is not the one you accepted, you put up with it well enough. 5However, I do not consider myself inferior to the superlative apostles: 6although I am unskilled in speech, I am not unskilled in knowledge. No, in every way, what we are has been revealed to you in everything. 7Or did I commit a sin in humbling myself so that you might be exalted, because I preached God’s Good News to you free of charge? 8I ‘robbed’ other Churches, taking wages from them, so that I might serve you. 9When I was present with you and found myself in need, I was not a burden on anyone because when the brothers came from Macedonia, they provided according to my need. In everything, I have refrained from being a burden to you, and I will continue to do so.

10As the truth of Christ is in me, no one will stop me from this boasting in the regions of Achaia. 11Why do I say this? Because I do not love you? God knows that I do. 12But what I do, I will keep doing, in order that those who wish to boast as we do may have no such occasion. 13As it is, such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, trying to pass themselves off as Christ’s apostles. 14And this is no wonder: even Satan presents himself as an angel of light. 15It is no great thing, then, if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, and their end will be according to their works.

Paul’s ‘boasting’

16I say it again: may you not think that I am fool. But if you do, receive me still as foolish, so that I also may boast a little. 17What I speak, I do not speak according to the Lord, but in foolishness, in this confidence of boasting. 18And since I see that many boast as humans do, I will also boast. 19Yes, since you are wise, you bear with the foolish gladly. 20In fact, you put up with someone who brings you into slavery, devours you, takes you captive, exalts himself, or strikes you on the face. 21I say this to our shame: we were too weak for that. However, if anyone is bold, I speak in foolishness, I am bold as well. 22Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they Abraham’s seed? So am I. 23Are they Christ’s servants? I am even more so. I speak as a fool. I was in more labours, more in prisons, beaten countless times, often close to death. 24Five times, I was beaten with stripes, forty times minus one, from the Jews. 25Three times, I was beaten with rods. Once, I received a stoning. Three times, I suffered shipwreck and was for a night and a day in the open sea. 26I have been in travels often, in danger from rivers, robbers, from my countrymen, from the Gentiles; in danger in the city, in the wilderness, at sea, among false brothers; 27in toil and hardship, in vigils often, in hunger and thirst, often fasting, and in cold and nakedness.

28Besides those things which are external, there is something that presses on me daily: anxiety for all the Churches. 29If anyone is weak, do I not feel weak too? If anyone stumbles, do I not burn with indignation? 30But if I must boast, I will boast about those things that have to do with my weakness. 31The God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ, he who is blessed unto the ages, knows that I do not lie. 32In Damascus, the governor of King Aretas guarded the city in order to arrest me. 33But I was let down in a basket along the wall through a window, and this is how I escaped from his hands.

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CHAPTER 12
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Visions and revelations – A thorn in the flesh

1Without a doubt, it is not profitable for me to boast, but I will now discuss visions and revelations from the Lord. 2I know a man in Christ, who fourteen years ago, was caught up into the third heaven, whether in the body, I do not know, or whether out of the body, I do not know; God knows. 3I know such a man, whether in the body, or outside of the body, I do not know; God knows, 4how he was caught up into Paradise, and heard ineffable words, which it is not lawful for anyone to utter. 5On behalf of such a person, I will boast, but on my own behalf I will not boast, except in my weaknesses. 6If my intention is to boast, I will not be foolish: I will speak the truth. But now, I shall stop, so that no one may think more of me than what is seen in me or heard from me. 7Because of the tremendous greatness of these revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan that torments me, so that I would not be too exalted. Yes, I should not be too exalted. 8Concerning this thing, I begged the Lord three times that it might depart from me, 9but he replied to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” And so, it is with joy that I would rather glory in my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest on me.

10Therefore, I take pleasure in weaknesses, in injuries, necessities, persecutions, distresses for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 11I have acted foolishly in this boasting, but you compelled me. I should have been commended by you, because even though I am nothing, I am not in anything inferior to the very best apostles. 12Truly, the signs of an apostle were worked among you in all patience, in signs, wonders and mighty deeds. 13Were you in any way made inferior to the rest of the Churches, except that I was not a burden to you? Forgive me this wrong.

Concerns for the Corinthians

14Here I am, ready to visit you for the third time, and I will not be a burden to you. I do not seek your possessions, I seek you. Is it not the parents who should be saving for their children, not the children for their parents? 15I will most gladly spend and be spent for your souls. If I overflow with love for you, am I loved less? 16Be that as it may, I did not place a burden on you: being crafty, I caught you with deception. 17Or did I take advantage of you by means of those I sent you? 18I gave instructions to Titus and sent the brother with him. Did Titus take any advantage of you? Did we not walk in the same spirit? Did we not walk in the same steps? 19Again, do you think that we are making an apology to you? In the sight of God, we speak in Christ. All things, beloved, are to build you up. 20Still, I am afraid that somehow, when I arrive, I might find you as I would wish, and that I might be found by you not as you would wish. I am afraid that somehow, there would be strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, factions, slander, whisperings, proud thoughts, riots, and so on, 21that when I arrive, my God may again humiliate me before you, and I would mourn for those who have sinned before and not repented of the impurity, sexual immorality and lustfulness which they have committed.

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CHAPTER 13
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1This is the third time I am coming to you. ‘At the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established.’ 2As I have said before and now repeat, as I did during my second visit; now that I am absent, I write to those who have sinned and to all the rest: if I come again, I will not spare; 3seeing that you seek a proof that Christ speaks in me. He is not weak towards you, but powerful in you. 4He was crucified in weakness, but he lives through the power of God. We too are weak in him, but we will live with him through the power of God for you. 5Test yourselves and see whether you are in the faith, yes, test your own selves. Do you not know that Jesus Christ is in you? – unless, indeed, if you are disqualified. 6But I hope that you will realize that we are not disqualified.

7I pray to God that you do not commit anything evil, not that we may appear approved, but that you may do what is honourable, even if we appear to be disapproved. 8Indeed, we can do nothing against the truth, only for the truth, 9and we rejoice when we are weak and you are strong. We also pray for this; that you would become perfect. 10And so, I write these things while absent, so that I may not have to deal harshly when I arrive, according to the authority which the Lord gave me for building up, not for tearing down.

Encouragement

11Finally, brethren, rejoice. Be perfected, be comforted, be of the same mind, live in peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you. 12Greet one another with a holy kiss. 13All the saints greet you. 14May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit, be with all of you. Amen.