1 IT is not expedient doubtless for me to boast. I will yet come to visions and revelations of the Lord. 2 I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body I know not, or whether out of the body I know not: God knoweth;) such a one was caught up unto the third heavens. 3 And I knew such a man, (whether in the body or out of the body I know not: God knoweth,) 4 that he was caught up into paradise, and heard ineffable words, which it is not permitted to man to speak. 5 Of such a one will I boast; but in myself will I not boast, save in my infirmities. 6 For though I should be disposed to boast, I shall not be a fool; for I shall speak truth: but I desist, lest any man think of me above what he seeth me to be, or what he heareth of me. 7 And that I might not be lifted up above measure by the transcendent greatness of the revelations, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, the angel Satan, to buffet me, that I might not be lifted up above measure. 8 For this thrice I besought the Lord, that he might depart from me. 9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee; for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may fix its residence in me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then am I strong.
11 Have I become a fool in boasting? ye have compelled me; for I ought to have been commended of you: for in nothing have I been inferior to the very chief apostles, though I be nothing. 12 The signs indeed of an apostle have been wrought among you in all patience, in miracles, and wonders, and mighty deeds. 13 For what is there wherein ye have been inferior to the other churches, except that I have not been burdensome to you? Forgive me this wrong.
14 Lo! I hold myself ready the third time to come unto you, and I will not burden you; for I seek not yours but you: for the children ought not to lay up treasure for their parents, but the parents for the children. 15 And I will most cheerfully spend and be spent for your souls, though the more abundantly I love you, the less I am loved. 16 But admit it, I was not burdensome to you: but being crafty, I caught you with guile. 17 Did I make a gain of you by any one individual whom I sent unto you? 18 I entreated Titus [to go to you], and with him I sent a brother. Did Titus make any advantage of you? walked we not in the same spirit? walked we not in the same steps?
19 Think ye that we are again making an apology to you? In the sight of God speak we in Christ: but all things, beloved, for your edification. 20 For I am afraid that when I come I shall not find you such as I wish, and that I shall be found of you such as ye would not: lest haply there be contentions, jealousies, animosities, quarrels, backbitings, whisperings, swellings, tumults: 21 and lest when I come to you again, my God should bow me down, and I should lament over many who have sinned before, and have not repented of the impurities, and whoredom, and lasciviousness which they have committed.