1I wish you would be patient with me even when I am a little foolish. But you are already patient with me. 2I feel jealousy for you. And this jealousy is a jealousy that comes from God. I promised to give you to Christ. Christ must be your only husband. I want to give you to Christ to be his pure bride. 3But I am afraid that your minds will be led away from your true and pure following of Christ. This might happen the same as Eve was tricked ˻(fooled)˼ by the snake ˻(the devil)˼ with his evil ways. 4You are very patient with any person who comes to you and tells you things about Jesus that are different from the things we told you. You are very willing to accept a spirit or a gospel that is different from the Spirit and gospel that you received from us. ˻So you should be patient with me.˼ 5I don’t think that those “great apostles” are any better than I am. 6It is true that I am not a trained speaker. But I do have knowledge. We have shown this to you clearly in every way. 7I did the work of telling God’s Good News to you without pay. I humbled myself to make you important. Do you think that was wrong? 8I accepted pay from other churches. I took their money so that I could serve you. 9If I needed something when I was with you, I did not trouble any of you. The brothers who came from Macedonia gave me all that I needed. I did not allow myself to be a burden to you in any way. And I will never be a burden to you. 10No person in Achaia will stop me from boasting about that. I say this with the truth of Christ in me. 11And why ˻do I not burden you˼? Do you think it is because I don’t love you? No. God knows that I love you. 12And I will continue doing what I am doing now. I will continue this because I want to stop those people from having a reason to boast. They would like to say that the work they boast about is the same as ours. 13These people are not true apostles. They are workers who lie. And they change themselves to ˻make people think they are˼ apostles of Christ. 14That does not surprise us. Why? Even Satan ˻(the devil)˼ changes himself to ˻make people think he is˼ an angel of light. 15So it does not surprise us if Satan’s servants make themselves look like servants who work for what is right. But in the end those people will be paid ˻(punished)˼ for the things they do. 16I tell you again: No person should think that I am a fool. But if you think that I am a fool, then accept me like you accept a fool. Then I can boast a little too. 17I boast because I feel sure of myself. But I am not talking like the Lord would talk. I am boasting like a fool. 18Many people are boasting about their lives in the world. So I will boast too. 19You are wise, so you will gladly be patient with fools! 20˻I know you will be patient,˼ because you are even patient with a person who forces you to do things and uses you! You are patient with people that trick you, or think they are better than you, or hit you in the face! 21It is shameful to me to say this, but we were too “weak” ˻to do those things to you˼! But if any person is brave enough ˻to boast˼, then I also will be brave and boast. (I am talking like a fool.) 22Are those people Hebrews? I am too. Are they Israelites? I am too. Are they from Abraham’s family? I am too. 23Are those people serving Christ? I am serving him more. (I am crazy to talk like this.) I have worked much harder than those people. I have been in prison more often. I have been hurt more in beatings. I have been near death many times. 24Five times the Jews have given me their punishment of 39 hits with a whip. 25Three different times I was beaten with rods. One time I was almost killed with rocks. Three times I was in ships that were wrecked, and one of those times I spent the night and the next day in the sea. 26I have traveled many, many times. And I have been in danger from rivers, from thieves, from my own people ˻(the Jews)˼, and from people who are not Jews. I have been in danger in cities, in places where no people live, and on the sea. And I have been in danger with people who say they are brothers, but are really not brothers. 27I have done hard and tiring work, and many times I did not sleep. I have been hungry and thirsty. Many times I have been without food. I have been cold and without clothes. 28And there are many other problems. One of these is the care I have for all the churches. I worry about them every day. 29I feel weak every time another person is weak. I feel upset inside myself every time another person is led into sin. 30If I must boast, then I will boast about the things that show that I am weak. 31God knows that I am not lying. He is the God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ, and he is to be praised forever. 32When I was in Damascus, the governor under King Aretas wanted to arrest me. So he put guards around the city. 33But ˻some friends˼ put me in a basket. Then they put the basket through a hole in the wall and lowered me down. So I escaped from the governor.
2 Corinthians 11