1 To boast indeed does not become me: but I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord. 2 I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago (whether in the body, or out of the body, I know not, God knoweth) such a one caught up to the third heaven. 3 And I know such a man (whether then in the body, or out of the body, 4 I know not, God knoweth) that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unutterable words, which it is not permitted unto man to speak. 5 Of such a one I will boast; but of myself I will not boast, unless in my infirmities. 6 For though I should incline to boast, I shall not be a fool; for I should speak truth. But I forbear least any one should think of me above what he seeth me to be, or heareth from me. 7 And least I should be too much lifted up with the abundance of the revelations, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, least I should be too much elevated. 8 For this I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. 9 And He said unto me, "My grace is sufficient for thee: for my power is manifested in thy weakness." With the greatest pleasure therefore will I glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 And therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, and in straits for the sake of Christ: for when I am thus weak, then am I made strong.
11 Am I become vain in boasting? ye have forced me to it: for I ought to have been recommended by you, as I have in nothing fallen short of the very chiefest of the apostles, though in myself I am nothing. 12 The marks indeed of an apostle have been shewn among you with all patience, by signs, and wonders, and miracles. 13 For what is it that ye were inferior in to the rest of the churches, unless it be that I myself was not burdensome to you?--- Forgive me this injury.
14 Behold, the third time I am ready to come to you, and I will not be burdensome to you: for I seek not your substance, but your selves. For children are not expected to lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children. 15 And I will with the greatest pleasure spend and be spent for your souls; even though the more I love you, the less I should be loved. 16 Be it so, that I did not burden you myself, yet, may some say, being crafty I over-reached you by subtilty. 17 But did I make a gain of you by any of those whom I sent to you? 18 I desired Titus to come to you, and with him I sent a brother: did Titus make a gain of you? did we not walk in the same spirit? did we not tread in the same steps?
19 Do ye then think that we are making apologies to you? No, we speak before God in Christ: and all, my beloved, for your edification. 20 For I am afraid least when I come, I should not find you such as I could wish, and I should be found to you such as ye would not: least there should be contentions, emulations, animosities, strifes, thwartings, whisperings, swellings, tumults: and least, 21 when I come again, my God should humble me among you, and I should be grieved for many of those who have sinned heretofore, and have not repented of the impurity, and fornication, and lewdness which they have practised.