Their Ministry Commended

And (A)working together with Him, (B)we also urge you not to receive (C)the grace of God in vain— for He says,

(D)At a favorable time I listened to you,
And on a day of salvation I helped you.”

Behold, now is “a favorable time,” behold, now is “a day of salvation”— (E)giving no reason for taking offense in anything, so that the ministry will not be discredited, but in everything (F)commending ourselves as [a](G)servants of God, (H)in much endurance, in afflictions, in hardships, in difficulties, in (I)beatings, in imprisonments, in (J)[b]mob attacks, in labors, in sleeplessness, in (K)hunger, in purity, in (L)knowledge, in (M)patience, in kindness, in the (N)Holy Spirit, in (O)genuine love, in (P)the word of truth, and in (Q)the power of God; by (R)the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and the left, by glory and (S)dishonor, by (T)evil report and good report; regarded as (U)deceivers and yet (V)true; as unknown and yet well known, as (W)dying and yet behold, (X)we are alive; as [c]punished and yet not put to death, 10 as (Y)sorrowful yet always (Z)rejoicing, as (AA)poor yet making many rich, as (AB)having nothing and yet possessing (AC)all things.

11 (AD)Our mouth [d]has spoken freely to you, you Corinthians, our (AE)heart is opened wide. 12 You are not restrained [e]by us, but (AF)you are restrained in your own [f]affections. 13 Now in the same way in (AG)exchange—I am speaking as to (AH)children—open wide your hearts to us, you as well.

14 (AI)Do not be [g]mismatched with (AJ)unbelievers; for what do righteousness and lawlessness (AK)share together, or what does light have in common with darkness? 15 Or what (AL)harmony does Christ have with [h]Belial, or [i]what does a (AM)believer share with an (AN)unbeliever? 16 Or (AO)what agreement does [j]the temple of God have with idols? For we are [k](AP)the temple of (AQ)the living God; just as God said,

(AR)I will (AS)dwell among them and (AT)walk among them;
And I will be their God, and they shall be My people.
17 (AU)Therefore, (AV)come out from their midst and be separate,” says the Lord.
And do not touch what is unclean;
And I will welcome you.
18 (AW)And I will be a father to you,
And you shall be (AX)sons and daughters to Me,”
Says the Lord Almighty.

Paul Reveals His Heart

Therefore, having these promises, (AY)beloved, (AZ)let’s cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

(BA)Make room for us in your hearts; we have wronged no one, we corrupted no one, we have taken advantage of no one. I do not speak to condemn you, for I have said (BB)before that you are (BC)in our hearts, to die together and to live together. My (BD)confidence [l]in you is great; my (BE)boasting in your behalf is great. I am filled with (BF)comfort; I am overflowing with (BG)joy in all our affliction.

For even when we came into (BH)Macedonia our flesh had no rest, but we were (BI)afflicted on every side: (BJ)conflicts on the outside, fears inside. But (BK)God, who comforts the [m]discouraged, (BL)comforted us by the arrival of (BM)Titus; and not only by his arrival, but also by the comfort with which he was comforted among you, as he reported to us your longing, your mourning, your zeal for me; so that I rejoiced even more. For though I (BN)caused you sorrow by my letter, I do not regret it; though I did regret it—for I see that that letter caused you sorrow, though only for a while— I now rejoice, not that you were made sorrowful, but that you were made sorrowful to the point of repentance; for you were made sorrowful according to the will of God, so that you might not suffer loss in anything [n]through us. 10 For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a (BO)repentance [o]without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death. 11 For behold what earnestness this very thing, this [p]godly sorrow, has produced in you: what vindication of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what (BP)longing, what zeal, what (BQ)punishment of wrong! In everything you (BR)demonstrated yourselves to be innocent in the matter. 12 So although (BS)I wrote to you, it was not for the sake of (BT)the offender nor for the sake of the one offended, but that your earnestness in our behalf might be made known to you in the sight of God. 13 Because of this, we have been (BU)comforted.

And besides our comfort, we rejoiced even much more for the joy of (BV)Titus, because his (BW)spirit has been refreshed by you all. 14 For if I have (BX)boasted to him about you regarding anything, I was not put to shame. But as we spoke all things to you in truth, so also our boasting before (BY)Titus proved to be the truth. 15 His [q]affection abounds all the more toward you, as he remembers the (BZ)obedience of you all, how you received him with (CA)fear and trembling. 16 I rejoice that in everything (CB)I have confidence in you.

Great Generosity

Now, brothers and sisters, we make known to you the grace of God which has been (CC)given in the churches of (CD)Macedonia, that in a [r]great ordeal of affliction their abundance of joy and their deep poverty overflowed in the (CE)wealth of their liberality. For I testify that (CF)according to their ability, and beyond their ability, they gave voluntarily, begging us with much urging for the (CG)favor [s]of participation in the [t](CH)support of the [u]saints, and this, not as we had [v]expected, but they first (CI)gave themselves to the Lord and to us by (CJ)the will of God. So we (CK)urged (CL)Titus that as he had previously (CM)made a beginning, so he would also complete in you (CN)this gracious work as well.

But just as you (CO)excel (CP)in everything, in faith, speaking, knowledge, and in all earnestness and in the [w]love we inspired in you, see that you also (CQ)excel in this gracious work. I (CR)am not saying this as a command, but as proving, through the earnestness of others, the sincerity of your love as well. For you know (CS)the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that (CT)though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich. 10 I (CU)give my opinion in this matter, for this is to your advantage, who were the first to begin (CV)a year ago not only to do this, but also to desire to do it. 11 But now finish [x]doing it also, so that just as there was the (CW)willingness to desire it, so there may be also the completion of it by your ability. 12 For if the willingness is present, it is acceptable (CX)according to what a person has, not according to what he does not have. 13 For this is not for the relief of others and for your hardship, but by way of equality— 14 at this present time your abundance will serve as assistance for (CY)their need, so that their abundance also may [y]serve as assistance for (CZ)your need, so that there may be equality; 15 as it is written: “(DA)The one who had gathered much did not have too much, and the one who had gathered little did not have too little.”

16 But (DB)thanks be to God who (DC)puts the same earnestness in your behalf in the heart of (DD)Titus. 17 For he not only accepted our (DE)appeal, but being himself very earnest, he has gone to you of his own accord. 18 We have sent along with him (DF)the brother whose fame in the things of the (DG)gospel has spread through (DH)all the churches; 19 (DI)and not only that, but he has also been (DJ)appointed by the churches to travel with us in (DK)this gracious work, which is being administered by us for the glory of the Lord Himself, and to show our (DL)readiness, 20 [z]taking precaution so that no one will discredit us in our administration of this generous gift; 21 for we (DM)have regard for what is honorable, not only in (DN)the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of other people. 22 We have sent with them our brother, whom we have often tested and found diligent in many things, but now even more diligent because of his great confidence in you. 23 As for (DO)Titus, he is my (DP)partner and fellow worker [aa]among you; as for our (DQ)brothers, they are [ab](DR)messengers of the churches, (DS)a glory to Christ. 24 Therefore, [ac]openly before the churches, [ad]show them the proof of your love and of our (DT)reason for boasting about you.

God Gives Most

For (DU)it is superfluous for me to write to you about this (DV)ministry to the [ae]saints; for I know your willingness, of which I (DW)boast about you to the (DX)Macedonians, namely, that (DY)Achaia has been prepared since (DZ)last year, and your zeal has stirred up most of them. But I have sent the brothers, in order that our (EA)boasting about you may not prove empty in this case, so that, (EB)as I was saying, you will be prepared; otherwise, if any (EC)Macedonians come with me and find you unprepared, we—not to mention you—would be put to shame by this confidence. So I considered it necessary to urge the (ED)brothers that they go on ahead to you and arrange in advance your previously promised [af](EE)generous gift, that the same would be ready as a [ag](EF)generous gift, and not as one grudgingly given due to greediness.

Now I say this: (EG)the one who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the one who sows [ah]generously will also reap [ai]generously. Each one must do just as he has decided in his heart, not (EH)reluctantly or under compulsion, for (EI)God loves a cheerful giver. And (EJ)God is able to make all grace overflow to you, so that, always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed; as it is written:

(EK)He scattered abroad, he gave to the poor,
His righteousness [aj]endures forever.”

10 Now He who supplies (EL)seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and (EM)increase the harvest of your righteousness; 11 you will be (EN)enriched in everything for all liberality, which through us is producing (EO)thanksgiving to God. 12 For the ministry of this service is not only fully supplying (EP)the needs of the [ak]saints, but is also overflowing (EQ)through many thanksgivings to God. 13 Because of the proof given by this (ER)ministry, they will (ES)glorify God for your obedience to your (ET)confession of the (EU)gospel of Christ and for the liberality of your [al]contribution to them and to all, 14 while they also, by prayer on your behalf, yearn for you because of the surpassing grace of God in you. 15 (EV)Thanks be to God for His indescribable (EW)gift!

Paul Confronts the Corinthians

10 Now (EX)I, Paul, myself (EY)urge you by the (EZ)meekness and gentleness of Christ—I who (FA)am [am]meek when face to face with you, but bold toward you when absent! I ask that (FB)when I am present I need not be bold with the confidence with which I intend to be courageous against (FC)some, who regard us as if we walked (FD)according to the flesh. For though we walk in the flesh, we do not wage battle (FE)according to the flesh, for the (FF)weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but [an]divinely powerful (FG)for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying arguments and all (FH)arrogance raised against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the (FI)obedience of Christ, and we are ready to punish all disobedience, whenever (FJ)your obedience is complete.

[ao](FK)You are looking at [ap]things as they are outwardly. (FL)If anyone is confident in himself that he is Christ’s, have him consider this again within himself, that just as he is Christ’s, (FM)so too are we. For if (FN)I boast somewhat [aq]more about our (FO)authority, which the Lord gave for building you up and not for destroying you, I will not be put to shame, [ar]for I do not want to seem as if I would terrify you by my letters. 10 For they say, “His letters are weighty and strong, but his [as]personal presence is (FP)unimpressive and (FQ)his speech contemptible.” 11 Have such a person consider this, that what we are in word by letters when absent, such persons we are also in deed when present.

12 For we do not presume to rank or compare ourselves with [at]some of those who (FR)commend themselves; but when they [au]measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they have no understanding. 13 But we will not boast (FS)beyond our measure, but [av](FT)within the measure of the [aw]domain which God assigned to us as a measure, to reach even as far as you. 14 For we are not overextending ourselves, as if we did not reach to you, for (FU)we were the first to come even as far as you in the (FV)gospel of Christ; 15 not boasting (FW)beyond our measure, that is, in (FX)other people’s labors, but with the hope that as (FY)your faith grows, we will be, [ax]within our [ay]domain, (FZ)enlarged even more by you, 16 so as to (GA)preach the gospel even to (GB)the regions beyond you, and not to boast [az](GC)in what has been accomplished in the domain of another. 17 But (GD)the one who boasts is to boast in the Lord. 18 For it is not the one who (GE)commends himself that is approved, but the one (GF)whom the Lord commends.

Paul Defends His Apostleship

11 I wish that you would (GG)bear with me in a little (GH)foolishness; but [ba]indeed you are bearing with me. For I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy; for I (GI)betrothed you to one husband, to (GJ)present you as a pure virgin to Christ. But I am afraid that, as the (GK)serpent deceived Eve by his trickery, your minds will be led astray from sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if [bb]one comes and preaches (GL)another Jesus whom we have not preached, or you receive a (GM)different spirit which you have not received, or a (GN)different gospel which you have not accepted, this you (GO)tolerate (GP)very well! For I consider myself (GQ)not in the least inferior to the [bc]most eminent apostles. But even if I am (GR)unskilled in speech, yet I am not so in (GS)knowledge; in fact, in every way we have (GT)made this evident to you in all things.

Or (GU)did I commit a sin by humbling myself so that you might be exalted, because I preached the (GV)gospel of God to you (GW)without charge? I robbed other churches by (GX)taking wages from them to serve you; and when I was present with you and was in need, I was (GY)not a burden to anyone; for when (GZ)the brothers came from (HA)Macedonia they fully supplied my need, and in everything I kept myself from (HB)being a burden to you, [bd]and will continue to do so. 10 (HC)As the truth of Christ is in me, (HD)this boasting of mine will not be stopped in the regions of (HE)Achaia. 11 Why? (HF)Because I do not love you? (HG)God knows that I do!

12 But what I am doing I will also continue to do, (HH)so that I may eliminate the opportunity from those who want an opportunity to be [be]regarded just as we are in the matter about which they are boasting. 13 For such men are (HI)false apostles, (HJ)deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. 14 No wonder, for even (HK)Satan disguises himself as an (HL)angel of light. 15 Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, (HM)whose end will be according to their deeds.

16 (HN)Again I say, let no one think me foolish; but if you do, receive me even as foolish, so that I also may boast a little. 17 What I am saying, I am not saying [bf](HO)as the Lord would, but as (HP)in foolishness, in this confidence of boasting. 18 Since (HQ)many boast (HR)according to the flesh, I will boast also. 19 For you, (HS)being so wise, tolerate the foolish gladly. 20 For you tolerate it if anyone (HT)enslaves you, if anyone (HU)devours you, if anyone (HV)takes advantage of you, if anyone (HW)exalts himself, if anyone (HX)hits you in the face. 21 To my (HY)shame I must say that we have been (HZ)weak by comparison.

But in whatever respect anyone else (IA)is bold—I am (IB)speaking in foolishness—I too am bold. 22 Are they (IC)Hebrews? (ID)So am I. Are they (IE)Israelites? (IF)So am I. Are they [bg](IG)descendants of Abraham? (IH)So am I. 23 Are they (II)servants of Christ?—I am speaking as if insane—I more so; in (IJ)far more labors, in (IK)far more imprisonments, [bh](IL)beaten times without number, often in danger of (IM)death. 24 Five times I received from the Jews (IN)thirty-nine lashes. 25 Three times I was (IO)beaten with rods, once I was (IP)stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent adrift at sea. 26 I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my (IQ)countrymen, dangers from the (IR)Gentiles, dangers in the (IS)city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers at sea, dangers among (IT)false brothers; 27 I have been in (IU)labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in (IV)hunger and thirst, often (IW)without food, in cold and [bi](IX)exposure. 28 Apart from such [bj]external things, there is the daily pressure on me of concern for (IY)all the churches. 29 Who is (IZ)weak without my being weak? Who is [bk]led into sin [bl]without my intense concern?

30 If I have to boast, I will boast of what pertains to my (JA)weakness. 31 The God and Father of the Lord Jesus, (JB)He who is blessed forever, (JC)knows that I am not lying. 32 In (JD)Damascus the ethnarch under Aretas the king was (JE)guarding the city of the Damascenes in order to seize me, 33 and I was let down in a basket (JF)through a window [bm]in the wall, and so escaped his hands.

Paul’s Vision

12 (JG)Boasting is necessary, though it is not beneficial; but I will go on to visions and (JH)revelations [bn]of the Lord. I know a man (JI)in Christ, who fourteen years ago—whether in the body I do not know, or out of the body I do not know, (JJ)God knows—such a man was (JK)caught up to the (JL)third heaven. And I know how such a man—whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, (JM)God knows— was (JN)caught up into (JO)Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which a man is not permitted to speak. (JP)In behalf of such a man I will boast; but in my own behalf I will not boast, except regarding my (JQ)weaknesses. For if I do wish to boast I will not be (JR)foolish, (JS)for I will be speaking the truth; but I refrain from this, so that no one will credit me with more than he sees in me or hears from me.

A Thorn in the Flesh

Because of the extraordinary greatness of the (JT)revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given to me a (JU)thorn in the flesh, a (JV)messenger of Satan to [bo]torment me—to keep me from exalting myself! Concerning this I pleaded with the Lord (JW)three times that it might leave me. And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for (JX)power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather (JY)boast [bp]about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. 10 Therefore (JZ)I delight in weaknesses, in [bq]insults, in (KA)distresses, in (KB)persecutions, in (KC)difficulties, (KD)in behalf of Christ; for (KE)when I am weak, then I am strong.

11 I have become (KF)foolish; you yourselves compelled me. Actually I should have been commended by you, since I was (KG)in no respect inferior to the [br]most eminent apostles, even though (KH)I am a nobody. 12 The (KI)distinguishing marks [bs]of a true apostle were performed among you with all perseverance, by [bt]signs, wonders, and [bu]miracles. 13 For in what respect were you treated as inferior to the rest of the churches, except that (KJ)I myself did not become a burden to you? Forgive me (KK)this wrong!

14 Here (KL)for this third time I am ready to come to you, and I (KM)will not be a burden to you; for I (KN)do not seek what is yours, but (KO)you; for (KP)children are not responsible to save up for their parents, but (KQ)parents for their children. 15 I will (KR)most gladly spend and be expended for your souls. If (KS)I love you more, am I to be loved less? 16 But be that as it may, I (KT)did not burden you myself; nevertheless, devious person that I am, I (KU)took you in by deceit. 17 (KV)Certainly I have not taken advantage of you through any of those whom I have sent to you, have I? 18 I (KW)urged (KX)Titus to go, and I sent (KY)the brother with him. Titus did not take any advantage of you, did he? Did we not [bv]conduct ourselves [bw]in the same (KZ)spirit and walk (LA)in the same steps?

19 All this time [bx]you have been thinking that we are defending ourselves to you. Actually, (LB)it is in the sight of God that we have been speaking in Christ; and (LC)all for building you up, (LD)beloved. 20 For I am afraid that perhaps (LE)when I come I may find you to be not what I wish, and may be found by you to be not what you wish; that perhaps there will be (LF)strife, jealousy, (LG)angry tempers, (LH)selfishness, (LI)slanders, (LJ)gossip, (LK)arrogance, (LL)disturbances; 21 I am afraid that when I come again my God may humiliate me before you, and I may mourn over many of those who have (LM)sinned in the past and not repented of the (LN)impurity, sexual immorality, and indecent behavior which they have practiced.

Footnotes

  1. 2 Corinthians 6:4 Or ministers
  2. 2 Corinthians 6:5 Lit tumults
  3. 2 Corinthians 6:9 Or disciplined
  4. 2 Corinthians 6:11 Lit is open to you
  5. 2 Corinthians 6:12 Or in us
  6. 2 Corinthians 6:12 Lit inward parts
  7. 2 Corinthians 6:14 Lit unevenly yoked
  8. 2 Corinthians 6:15 Gr Beliar; a name of the devil and the antichrist
  9. 2 Corinthians 6:15 Lit what part has a believer with an unbeliever
  10. 2 Corinthians 6:16 Or a temple
  11. 2 Corinthians 6:16 Or a temple
  12. 2 Corinthians 7:4 Lit toward
  13. 2 Corinthians 7:6 Or lowly
  14. 2 Corinthians 7:9 Lit from
  15. 2 Corinthians 7:10 Or leading to a salvation without regret
  16. 2 Corinthians 7:11 Lit sorrow according to God
  17. 2 Corinthians 7:15 Lit inward parts
  18. 2 Corinthians 8:2 Or severe test of
  19. 2 Corinthians 8:4 Lit and
  20. 2 Corinthians 8:4 Lit service to the saints
  21. 2 Corinthians 8:4 Lit holy ones; i.e., God’s people
  22. 2 Corinthians 8:5 Lit hoped
  23. 2 Corinthians 8:7 Lit love from us in you; one early ms love from you in us
  24. 2 Corinthians 8:11 Lit the doing
  25. 2 Corinthians 8:14 Lit become
  26. 2 Corinthians 8:20 Lit avoiding this
  27. 2 Corinthians 8:23 Lit for you
  28. 2 Corinthians 8:23 Lit apostles
  29. 2 Corinthians 8:24 Lit in the face of the churches
  30. 2 Corinthians 8:24 Or show the proof...for boasting about you to them
  31. 2 Corinthians 9:1 Lit holy ones; i.e., God’s people
  32. 2 Corinthians 9:5 Lit blessing
  33. 2 Corinthians 9:5 Lit blessing
  34. 2 Corinthians 9:6 Lit with blessings
  35. 2 Corinthians 9:6 Lit with blessings
  36. 2 Corinthians 9:9 Lit remains
  37. 2 Corinthians 9:12 Lit holy ones; i.e., God’s people
  38. 2 Corinthians 9:13 Or sharing with them
  39. 2 Corinthians 10:1 Lit lowly
  40. 2 Corinthians 10:4 Or mighty before God
  41. 2 Corinthians 10:7 Or Look at... or Do you look at...?
  42. 2 Corinthians 10:7 Lit what is before your face
  43. 2 Corinthians 10:8 Or more abundantly
  44. 2 Corinthians 10:9 Lit so that I may not seem
  45. 2 Corinthians 10:10 Lit bodily presence is weak
  46. 2 Corinthians 10:12 Or any
  47. 2 Corinthians 10:12 I.e., evaluate
  48. 2 Corinthians 10:13 Lit according to the measure
  49. 2 Corinthians 10:13 Or assignment; lit standard
  50. 2 Corinthians 10:15 Lit according to our
  51. 2 Corinthians 10:15 See note 2 v 13
  52. 2 Corinthians 10:16 Lit to the things prepared in the
  53. 2 Corinthians 11:1 Or do indeed bear with me
  54. 2 Corinthians 11:4 Lit the one who comes preaches
  55. 2 Corinthians 11:5 Or super-apostles
  56. 2 Corinthians 11:9 Lit and I will keep
  57. 2 Corinthians 11:12 Lit found
  58. 2 Corinthians 11:17 Lit in accordance with the Lord
  59. 2 Corinthians 11:22 Lit seed
  60. 2 Corinthians 11:23 Lit exceedingly in blows
  61. 2 Corinthians 11:27 Lit nakedness; i.e., lack of clothing
  62. 2 Corinthians 11:28 Or the things unmentioned
  63. 2 Corinthians 11:29 Lit made to stumble
  64. 2 Corinthians 11:29 Lit and I do not burn
  65. 2 Corinthians 11:33 Lit through
  66. 2 Corinthians 12:1 Or from
  67. 2 Corinthians 12:7 Lit beat
  68. 2 Corinthians 12:9 Lit in
  69. 2 Corinthians 12:10 Or mistreatment
  70. 2 Corinthians 12:11 Or super-apostles
  71. 2 Corinthians 12:12 Lit of the apostle
  72. 2 Corinthians 12:12 Or confirming miracles
  73. 2 Corinthians 12:12 Or works of power
  74. 2 Corinthians 12:18 Lit walk
  75. 2 Corinthians 12:18 Or by the same Spirit
  76. 2 Corinthians 12:19 Or have you been thinking...?