Paul’s Sufferings as an Apostle
16 I repeat, rlet no one think me foolish. But even if you do, accept me as a fool, so that I too may boast a little.
17 What I am saying swith this boastful confidence, tI say not as the Lord would1 but as a fool. 18 Since umany boast according to the flesh, I too will boast. 19 For you gladly bear with fools, vbeing wise yourselves! 20 For you bear it if someone wmakes slaves of you, or xdevours you, or takes advantage of you, or puts on airs, or ystrikes you in the face. 21 To my shame, I must say, zwe were too weak for that!
But whatever anyone else dares to boast of—I am speaking as a fool—I also dare to boast of that. 22 Are they Hebrews? aSo am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they offspring of Abraham? So am I. 23 Are they bservants of Christ? cI am a better one—I am talking like a madman—with far greater labors, dfar more imprisonments, ewith countless beatings, and foften near death. 24 Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the gforty lashes less one. 25 Three times I was hbeaten with rods. iOnce I was stoned. Three times I jwas shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; 26 on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, kdanger from my own people, ldanger from Gentiles, mdanger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; 27 nin toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, oin hunger and thirst, often without food,2 in cold and exposure. 28 And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for pall the churches. 29 qWho is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to fall, and I am not indignant?
30 rIf I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness. 31 sThe God and Father of the Lord Jesus, the who is blessed forever, uknows that I am not lying. 32 At Damascus, the governor under King Aretas vwas guarding the city of Damascus in order to seize me, 33 wbut I was let down in a basket through a window in the wall and escaped his hands.
Paul’s Visions and His Thorn
12 I must go on boasting. Though there is nothing to be gained by it, I will go on to visions and xrevelations of the Lord. 2 I know a man yin Christ who fourteen years ago was zcaught up to athe third heaven—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, bGod knows. 3 And I know that this man was caught up into cparadise—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, bGod knows— 4 and he heard things that cannot be told, which man may not utter. 5 On behalf of this man I will boast, but on my own behalf I will not boast, dexcept of my weaknesses— 6 though if I should wish to boast, eI would not be a fool, for I would be speaking the truth; but I refrain from it, so that no one may think more of me than he sees in me or hears from me. 7 So fto keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations,3 ga thorn was given me in the flesh, ha messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. 8 iThree times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. 9 But he said to me, j“My grace is sufficient for you, for kmy power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that lthe power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 mFor the sake of Christ, then, nI am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For owhen I am weak, then I am strong.