Paul’s Visions and His Thorn
1 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,1 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.
Concern for the Corinthian Church
11 pI have been a fool! You forced me to it, for I ought to have been commended by you. For I was qnot at all inferior to these super-apostles, reven though I am nothing. 12 sThe signs of a true apostle were performed among you twith utmost patience, with signs and wonders and mighty works. 13 For in what were you less favored than the rest of the churches, except that uI myself did not burden you? Forgive me this wrong!
14 Here vfor the third time I am ready to come to you. And I will not be a burden, for wI seek not what is yours but you. For xchildren are not obligated to save up for their parents, but yparents for their children. 15 zI will most gladly spend and be spent for your souls. If aI love you more, am I to be loved less? 16 But granting that bI myself did not burden you, I was crafty, you say, and got the better of you by deceit. 17 Did I take advantage of you cthrough any of those whom I sent to you? 18 dI urged Titus to go, and sent ethe brother with him. Did Titus take advantage of you? Did we not act in the same spirit? Did we not take the same steps?
19 Have you been thinking all along that we have been defending ourselves to you? It is fin the sight of God that we have been speaking in Christ, and gall for your upbuilding, beloved. 20 For I fear that perhaps hwhen I come I may find you not as I wish, and that you may find me not as you wish—that perhaps there may be quarreling, jealousy, anger, hostility, slander, gossip, conceit, and disorder. 21 I fear that when I come again my God may humble me before you, and I may have to mourn over many of those iwho sinned earlier and have not repented of the impurity, jsexual immorality, and sensuality that they have practiced.
1 kThis is the third time I am coming to you. Every charge must be established lby the evidence of two or three witnesses. 2 mI warned nthose who sinned before and all the others, and I warn them now while absent, as I did when present on my second visit, that oif I come again I will not spare them— 3 since you seek proof that Christ pis speaking in me. He is not weak in dealing with you, but qis powerful among you. 4 For rhe was crucified in weakness, but slives by the power of God. For twe also are weak in him, but in dealing with you uwe will live with him by the power of God.
5 Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. vTest yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that wJesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test! 6 I hope you will find out that we have not failed the test. 7 But we pray to God that you may not do wrong—not that we may appear to have met the test, but that you may do what is right, though we may seem to have failed. 8 For we cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth. 9 For we are glad when xwe are weak and you are strong. Your yrestoration is what we pray for. 10 For this reason I write these things while I am away from you, that when I come zI may not have to be asevere in my use of bthe authority that the Lord has given me for building up and not for tearing down.
11 Finally, brothers,2 rejoice. cAim for restoration, comfort one another,3 dagree with one another, elive in peace; and the God of love and fpeace will be with you. 12 gGreet one another with a holy kiss. 13 hAll the saints greet you.
To fthe churches of Galatia:
3 gGrace to you and peace hfrom God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, 4 iwho gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present jevil age, according to the will of kour God and Father, 5 to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.
No Other Gospel
6 I am astonished that you are lso quickly deserting mhim who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to na different gospel— 7 onot that there is another one, but pthere are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or qan angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, rlet him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, rlet him be accursed.
Paul Called by God
11 For uI would have you know, brothers, that vthe gospel that was preached by me is not man’s gospel.3 12 wFor I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it, but I received it xthrough a revelation of Jesus Christ. 13 For you have heard of ymy former life in Judaism, how zI persecuted the church of God violently and tried to destroy it. 14 And I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people, so extremely azealous was I for bthe traditions of my fathers. 15 But when he cwho had set me apart dbefore I was born,4 and who ecalled me by his grace, 16 was pleased to reveal his Son to5 me, in order fthat I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with anyone;6 17 nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me, but I went away into Arabia, and returned again to Damascus.
18 Then gafter three years I went up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas and remained with him fifteen days. 19 But I saw none of the other apostles except James hthe Lord’s brother. 20 (In what I am writing to you, ibefore God, I do not lie!) 21 jThen I went into the regions of Syria and Cilicia. 22 And I was still unknown in person to kthe churches of Judea that are in Christ. 23 They only were hearing it said, “He who used to persecute us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.” 24 And they glorified God because of me.
Paul Accepted by the Apostles
1 Then after fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking Titus along with me. 2 I went up because of a revelation and set before them (though privately before those lwho seemed influential) the gospel that mI proclaim among the Gentiles, nin order to make sure I was not running or had not orun in vain. 3 But even Titus, who was with me, pwas not forced to be circumcised, though he was a Greek. 4 qYet because of false brothers secretly brought in—who rslipped in to spy out sour freedom that we have in Christ Jesus, tso that they might bring us into slavery— 5 to them we did not yield in submission even for a moment, so that uthe truth of the gospel might be preserved for you. 6 And from those vwho seemed to be influential (what they were makes no difference to me; wGod shows no partiality)—those, I say, who seemed influential xadded nothing to me. 7 On the contrary, when they saw that I had been yentrusted with zthe gospel to the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been entrusted with the gospel to the circumcised 8 (for he who worked through Peter for his apostolic ministry to the circumcised worked also through me for mine to the Gentiles), 9 and when James and Cephas and John, vwho seemed to be apillars, perceived the bgrace that was given to me, they cgave the right hand of fellowship to Barnabas and me, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised. 10 Only, they asked us to remember the poor, dthe very thing I was eager to do.
Paul Opposes Peter
11 But ewhen Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him fto his face, because he stood condemned. 12 For before certain men came from James, ghe was eating with the Gentiles; but when they came he drew back and separated himself, fearing hthe circumcision party.7 13 And the rest of the Jews acted hypocritically along with him, so that even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy. 14 But when I saw that their iconduct was not in step with jthe truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas kbefore them all, “If you, though a Jew, llive like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you force the Gentiles to live like Jews?”
Justified by Faith
15 We ourselves are Jews by birth and not mGentile sinners; 16 yet we know that na person is not justified8 by works of the law obut through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, pbecause by works of the law no one will be justified.
17 But if, in our endeavor to be justified in Christ, we too were found qto be sinners, is Christ then a servant of sin? Certainly not! 18 For if I rebuild what I tore down, I prove myself to be a transgressor. 19 For through the law I rdied to the law, so that I might slive to God. 20 I have been tcrucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives uin me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, vwho loved me and wgave himself for me. 21 I do not nullify the grace of God, for xif righteousness9 were through the law, ythen Christ died for no purpose.