1 I appeal to you myself by the gentleness and consideration of Christ ??the Paul who is 'humble enough to your face when he is with you, but outspoken enough when he gets away from you.' 2 I beg of you that when I do come I may not have to speak out and be peremptory; but my mind is made up to tackle certain people who have made up their minds that I move on the low level of the flesh. 3 I do live in the flesh, but I do not make war as the flesh does; 4 the weapons of my warfare are not weapons of the flesh, but divinely strong to demolish fortresses ??5 I demolish theories and any rampart thrown up to resist the knowledge of God, I take every project prisoner to make it obey Christ, 6 I am prepared to court-martial anyone who remains insubordinate, once your submission is complete.
7 Look at this obvious fact. So-and-so is perfectly sure he 'belongs to Christ'? Well then, let him understand, on second thoughts, that I 'belong to Christ' as much as he does. 8 Even supposing I were to boast somewhat freely of my authority (and the Lord gave it to me for building you up, not for demolishing you), I would feel quite justified. 9 But I am not going to seem as if I were 'overawing you with a letter,' so to speak. 10 My opponent says, 'Paul's letters are weighty and telling, but his personality is weak and his delivery is beneath contempt.' 11 Let him understand that I will act when I arrive, as forcibly as I express myself by letter when I am absent.
12 I do not venture to class myself or to compare myself with certain exalted individuals! They belong to the class of self-praisers; while I limit myself to my own sphere, I compare myself with my own standard, 13 and so my boasting never goes beyond the limit ??it is determined by the limits of the sphere marked out for me by God. That sphere stretches to include yourselves; 14 I am not overstepping the limit, as if you lay beyond my sphere; I was the very first to reach you with the gospel of Christ. 15 I do not boast beyond my limits in a sphere where other men have done the work; my hope rather is that the growth of your faith will allow me to enlarge the range of my appointed sphere 16 and preach the gospel in the lands that lie beyond you, instead of boasting within another's province over work that is already done. 17 However, let him who boasts boast of the Lord; 18 for it is not the self-praiser with his own recommendations who is accepted, it is the man whom the Lord recommends.