I do not speak to condemn you, for I have said before that you are in our hearts to die together and to live together.
Our mouth has spoken freely to you, O Corinthians, our heart is opened wide.
But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or turn back from following you; for where you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God.
I do not write these things to shame you, but to admonish you as my beloved children.
For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote to you with many tears; not so that you would be made sorrowful, but that you might know the love which I have especially for you.
You are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read by all men;
So although I wrote to you, it was not for the sake of the offender nor for the sake of the one offended, but that your earnestness on our behalf might be made known to you in the sight of God.
Why? Because I do not love you? God knows I do!
I will most gladly spend and be expended for your souls. If I love you more, am I to be loved less?
For this reason I am writing these things while absent, so that when present I need not use severity, in accordance with the authority which the Lord gave me for building up and not for tearing down.
For God is my witness, how I long for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus.
Having so fond an affection for you, we were well-pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives, because you had become very dear to us.