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10 I, Paul, appeal to you in the same gentle and loving spirit of the Anointed—yes, I who am humble when I’m face-to-face with you but audacious to you in these letters when I’m away (I know what they say). If it were up to me, I’d rather not have to be so bold when I’m with you, especially with the kind of forceful confidence I can work up when I confront those who have accused us of walking in a worldly way. For though we walk in the world, we do not fight according to this world’s rules of warfare. The weapons of the war we’re fighting are not of this world but are powered by God and effective at tearing down the strongholds erected against His truth. We are demolishing arguments and ideas, every high-and-mighty philosophy that pits itself against the knowledge of the one true God. We are taking prisoners of every thought, every emotion, and subduing them into obedience to the Anointed One. As soon as you choose obedience, we stand ready to punish every act of disobedience.

Look at what is going on right in front of you. If anyone is convinced that he belongs to the Anointed, then he should think again; even if he belongs to Him, so do we. I’m not embarrassed, even if it seems to others I have gone overboard in speaking about the power the Lord has given us to edify and encourage you and not to destroy anyone who strays. I don’t want it to seem as if I’m simply trying to scare you with my letters; they are not hollow. 10 For some people are saying, “Paul’s letters sound authoritative and strong, but in person he just doesn’t measure up—even his speeches don’t deliver.” 11 They need to understand this: whatever we say through our letters when we are away, that is exactly what we will do when we are looking you in the eye.

12 For we would never dare to compare ourselves with people who have based their worth on self-commendation. They check themselves against and compare themselves with one another. It just shows that they don’t have any sense! 13 So we will carefully limit our boasting to the extent only of what God has done in and through us, a reach that extends as far as you. 14 For it wasn’t as if we were overreaching into someone else’s territory by reaching out to you. Weren’t we the first ones to bring you the good news of the Anointed One? 15 We carefully put limits on our boasting and avoid taking credit for what others do. But we do hope to see your faith grow so that we can watch our mission really expand all the way to the limits God has set for us. 16 The plan includes taking the good news to people and lands beyond you. We’ve no interest in or intention of staking claim to other people’s accomplishments in their arenas. As the Scripture says, 17 “The one who boasts must boast in the Lord.”[a] 18 Now let’s be clear: it’s not the one who commends himself who is approved; it’s the one whom the Lord commends.


  1. 10:17 Jeremiah 9:24

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