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Paul Defends His Ministry

10 I, Paul, ·am begging [urge; appeal to] you with the gentleness and the kindness of Christ. ·Some people say that I am [L …—I who am; C Paul is answering an accusation; see v. 10] ·easy on you [lenient; or timid] when I am with you and bold when I am away [C Paul here confronts those still resisting his authority]. I ·beg [ask] you that when I ·come [am present] I will not need to use that same boldness with you that I expect to use with those who ·think [or claim] we ·live [walk] ·in a worldly way [by the world’s standards; L according to the flesh]. [L For] Although we ·live in the world [L walk in the flesh], we do not ·fight [wage war] ·in the same way the world fights [L according to the flesh]. We fight with weapons that are ·different from those the world uses [not merely human weapons; L not of the flesh]. Our weapons have power from God that can destroy ·the enemy’s strong places [L strongholds; fortresses]. We destroy ·people’s arguments [human reasoning; sophistries] and every ·proud thing [pretension; exalted opinion; L high thing] that raises itself against the knowledge of God. We capture every thought and make it obey Christ. We are ready to ·punish [avenge] ·anyone there who does not obey [L every disobedience], ·but first we want you to obey fully [L once/after your obedience is fulfilled; C once the church as a whole repents, Paul will discipline those who refuse].

You ·must look at the facts before you [or are looking only at outward appearances]. If you ·feel sure [are confident] that you belong to Christ, you must ·remember [consider again] that we belong to Christ just as you do. ·It is true that we brag freely [L If I boast too much…] about the authority the Lord gave us. But this authority is to build you up, not to tear you down. So I will not be ashamed. I do not want you to think I am trying to scare you with my letters. 10 Some people say [v. 1], “Paul’s letters are ·powerful [forceful] and ·sound important [weighty; or demanding], but ·when he is with us, he [his physical presence] is weak. And his ·speaking is nothing [speaking skills are deplorable; or speeches are worthless; C Greek culture highly valued rhetorical skill].” 11 They should ·know [consider] this: ·The authority we show by letter [L What we are in word] while we are ·away [absent], we will ·demonstrate in our actions [L be in deed] when we ·come to you [L are present].

12 [L For] We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with those who ·think they are very important [commend/promote themselves; 3:1]. They use themselves to measure themselves, and they judge themselves by what they themselves are. ·This shows that they know nothing [or What ignorance!; or What fools!]. 13 But we will not ·brag [boast] ·about things outside the work that was given us to do [L beyond the limits]. We will limit our ·bragging [boasting] to the ·work [sphere of ministry] that God gave us, ·and this includes our work with you [L which reaches even to you]. 14 [L For] We are not ·bragging too much [or going beyond our commission; L overreaching/overextending ourselves], as we would be if we had not already come to you. But we have come to you with the Good News of Christ [C Paul’s opponents claimed the Corinthians were their sphere of ministry; Paul counters that he first brought the Gospel to Corinth (Acts 18)]. 15 We limit our ·bragging [boasting] to the work that is ours, not what others have done. We hope that as your faith continues to grow, ·the scope of our work among you will greatly increase [or our work among you will greatly increase within the sphere/limits God has given us]. 16 ·We want to [L …so that we may] ·tell the Good News [preach the Gospel] in the areas beyond ·your city [L you]. We do not want to ·brag [boast] about work that has already been done in another person’s area. 17 But, “·If people want to brag, they should brag only [L Let the one who boasts, boast] about the Lord [Jer. 9:24; 1 Cor. 1:31].” 18 [L For] It is not those who ·say they are good [L commend/promote themselves; v. 12] who are ·accepted [approved] but those the Lord ·thinks are good [commends].