9 For it is not necessary 1 for me to write you about this service 2 to the saints, 2 because I know your eagerness to help. 3 I keep boasting to the Macedonians about this eagerness of yours, 4 that Achaia has been ready to give 5 since last year, and your zeal to participate 6 has stirred up most of them. 7 3 But I am sending 8 these brothers so that our boasting about you may not be empty in this case, so that you may be ready 9 just as I kept telling them. 4 For if any of the Macedonians should come with me and find that you are not ready to give, we would be humiliated 10 (not to mention you) by this confidence we had in you. 11 5 Therefore I thought it necessary to urge these brothers to go to you in advance and to arrange ahead of time the generous contribution 12 you had promised, so this may be ready as a generous gift 13 and not as something you feel forced to do. 14 6 My point is this: The person who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the person who sows generously 15 will also reap generously. 7 Each one of you should give 16 just as he has decided in his heart, 17 not reluctantly 18 or under compulsion, 19 because God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to make all grace overflow 20 to you so that because you have enough 21 of everything in every way at all times, you will overflow 22 in every good work. 9 Just as it is written, “He 23 has scattered widely, he has given to the poor; his righteousness remains forever.” 24 10 Now God 25 who provides seed for the sower and bread for food will provide and multiply your supply of seed and will cause the harvest of your righteousness to grow. 11 You will be enriched in every way so that you may be generous on every occasion, 26 which is producing through us thanksgiving to God, 12 because the service of this ministry is not only providing for 27 the needs of the saints but is also overflowing with many thanks to God. 13 Through the evidence 28 of this service 29 they will glorify God because of your obedience to your confession in the gospel of Christ and the generosity of your sharing 30 with them and with everyone. 14 And in their prayers on your behalf they long for you because of the extraordinary grace God has shown to you. 31 15 Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift! 32
10 Now I, Paul, appeal to you 1 personally 2 by the meekness and gentleness 3 of Christ (I who am meek 4 when present among 5 you, but am full of courage 6 toward you when away!) – 2 now I ask that when I am present I may not have to be bold with the confidence that (I expect) I will dare to use against some who consider us to be behaving 7 according to human standards. 8 3 For though we live 9 as human beings, 10 we do not wage war according to human standards, 11 4 for the weapons of our warfare are not human weapons, 12 but are made powerful by God 13 for tearing down strongholds. 14 We tear down arguments 15 5 and every arrogant obstacle 16 that is raised up against the knowledge of God, and we take every thought captive to make it obey 17 Christ. 6 We are also ready to punish every act of disobedience, 18 whenever your obedience is complete. 7 You are looking at outward appearances. 19 If anyone is confident that he belongs to Christ, he should reflect on this again: Just as he himself belongs to Christ, so too do we. 8 For if I boast somewhat more about our authority that the Lord gave us 20 for building you up and not for tearing you down, I will not be ashamed of doing so. 21 9 I do not want to seem as though I am trying to terrify you with my letters, 10 because some say, “His letters are weighty and forceful, but his physical presence is weak 22 and his speech is of no account.” 23 11 Let such a person consider this: What we say 24 by letters when we are absent, we also are in actions when we are present.
12 For we would not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some of those who recommend themselves. But when they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are without understanding. 25 13 But we will not boast beyond certain limits, 26 but will confine our boasting 27 according to the limits of the work to which God has appointed us, 28 that reaches even as far as you. 14 For we were not overextending ourselves, as though we did not reach as far as you, because we were the first to reach as far as you with the gospel about Christ. 29 15 Nor do we boast beyond certain limits 30 in the work 31 done by others, but we hope 32 that as your faith continues to grow, our work may be greatly expanded 33 among you according to our limits, 34 16 so that we may preach the gospel in the regions that lie beyond you, and not boast of work already done in another person’s area. 17 But the one who boasts must boast in the Lord. 35 18 For it is not the person who commends himself who is approved, but the person the Lord commends.
11 I wish that you would be patient with me in a little foolishness, but indeed you are being patient with me! 2 For I am jealous for you with godly jealousy, because I promised you in marriage to one husband, 1 to present you as a pure 2 virgin to Christ. 3 But I am afraid that 3 just as the serpent 4 deceived Eve by his treachery, 5 your minds may be led astray 6 from a sincere and pure 7 devotion to Christ. 4 For if someone comes and proclaims 8 another Jesus different from the one we proclaimed, 9 or if you receive a different spirit than the one you received, 10 or a different gospel than the one you accepted, 11 you put up with it well enough! 12 5 For I consider myself not at all inferior to those “super-apostles.” 13 6 And even if I am unskilled 14 in speaking, yet I am certainly not so in knowledge. Indeed, we have made this plain to you in everything in every way. 7 Or did I commit a sin by humbling myself 15 so that you could be exalted, because I proclaimed 16 the gospel of God to you free of charge? 8 I robbed other churches by receiving support from them so that I could serve you! 17 9 When 18 I was with you and was in need, I was not a burden to anyone, for the brothers who came from Macedonia fully supplied my needs. 19 I 20 kept myself from being a burden to you in any way, and will continue to do so. 10 As the truth of Christ is in me, this boasting of mine 21 will not be stopped 22 in the regions of Achaia. 11 Why? Because I do not love you? God knows I do! 23 12 And what I am doing I will continue to do, so that I may eliminate any opportunity for those who want a chance to be regarded as our equals 24 in the things they boast about. 13 For such people are false apostles, deceitful 25 workers, disguising themselves 26 as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself 27 as an angel of light. 15 Therefore it is not surprising his servants also disguise themselves 28 as servants of righteousness, whose end will correspond to their actions. 29
16 I say again, let no one think that I am a fool. 30 But if you do, then at least accept me as a fool, so that I too may boast a little. 17 What I am saying with this boastful confidence 31 I do not say the way the Lord would. 32 Instead it is, as it were, foolishness. 18 Since many 33 are boasting according to human standards, 34 I too will boast. 19 For since you are so wise, you put up with 35 fools gladly. 20 For you put up with 36 it if someone makes slaves of you, if someone exploits you, if someone takes advantage of you, if someone behaves arrogantly 37 toward you, if someone strikes you in the face. 21 (To my disgrace 38 I must say that we were too weak for that!) 39 But whatever anyone else dares to boast about 40 (I am speaking foolishly), I also dare to boast about the same thing. 41 22 Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they descendants of Abraham? So am I. 23 Are they servants of Christ? (I am talking like I am out of my mind!) I am even more so: with much greater labors, with far more imprisonments, with more severe beatings, facing death many times. 24 Five times I received from the Jews forty lashes less one. 42 25 Three times I was beaten with a rod. 43 Once I received a stoning. 44 Three times I suffered shipwreck. A night and a day I spent adrift in the open sea. 26 I have been on journeys many times, in dangers from rivers, in dangers from robbers, 45 in dangers from my own countrymen, in dangers from Gentiles, in dangers in the city, in dangers in the wilderness, 46 in dangers at sea, in dangers from false brothers, 27 in hard work and toil, 47 through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, many times without food, in cold and without enough clothing. 48 28 Apart from other things, 49 there is the daily pressure on me of my anxious concern 50 for all the churches. 29 Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is led into sin, 51 and I do not burn with indignation? 30 If I must boast, 52 I will boast about the things that show my weakness. 53 31 The God and Father of the Lord Jesus, who is blessed forever, knows I am not lying. 32 In Damascus, the governor 54 under King Aretas was guarding the city of Damascus 55 in order to arrest 56 me, 33 but I was let down in a rope-basket 57 through a window in the city wall, and escaped his hands.