1 I must brag, although it does not do any good. I will go on to visions and revelations from the Lord. 2 I know a man in Christ, fourteen years ago (whether in the body, I do not know; or whether out of the body, I do not know; God knows), such a one caught up even to the third heaven. 3 And I know such a man (whether in the body, or apart from the body, I do not know; God knows), 4 how he was caught up into Paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to speak. 5 I will brag about this person, but I will not brag about myself unless it is about my weaknesses. 6 If I ever wanted to brag, I would not be a fool. Instead, I would be telling the truth. But I am going to spare you so that no one may think more of me than what he sees or hears about me. 7 I was given a painful physical ailment that will keep me from being puffed up with pride because of the many wonderful things I saw. It acts as Satan's messenger to beat me and keep me from being proud. 8 Three times I prayed to God about this and asked him to take it away. 9 He told me: My grace is sufficient for you for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore, I would rather glory in my infirmities (frailities), that the power of Christ may rest upon me (cover me like a tent) (descend upon me) (abide with me). (Isaiah 40:29-31) 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 I am strong.
11 I have become a fool in boasting. You have compelled me: for I ought to have been commended about you: for in nothing am I inferior to the most prominent apostles, though I am nothing. 12 Truly the signs of an apostle were accomplished among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds. 13 What is it in which you were inferior to other congregations, except that I was not burdensome to you? Forgive me this wrong.
14 Behold, the third time I am ready to come to you. I will not be burdensome to you: for I seek not yours, but you. The children should not provide for the parents, but the parents for the children. 15 I will gladly spend and be spent for you. When I love you more abundantly should I be loved less. 16 Just the same, I did not burden you: nevertheless, being crafty, I caught you by cunning. 17 Did I gain you by any of them whom I sent to you? 18 I desired Titus, and with him I sent a brother. Did Titus gain you? Did we not conduct ourselves in the same mental disposition? Did we not walk in the same steps?
19 Do you think that we excuse ourselves to you? We speak before God in Christ: but we do all things, dearly beloved, for you're up building. 20 I am afraid that I may come and find you different from what I want you to be, and that you may find me different from what you want me to be. I fear that there may be rivalry, jealousy, hot tempers, selfish ambition, slander, gossip, arrogance, and disorderly conduct. 21 I am afraid that the next time I come my God will humiliate me in your presence, and I shall weep over many who sinned in the past and have not repented of the uncleanness, fornication and loose conduct that they have practiced.