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Paul’s Sufferings for Christ

16 I don’t want any of you to think that I am a fool. But if you do, then let me be a fool and brag a little. 17 When I do all this bragging, I do it as a fool and not for the Lord. 18 Yet if others want to brag about what they have done, so will I. 19 And since you are so smart, you will gladly put up with a fool. 20 In fact, you let people make slaves of you and cheat you and steal from you. Why, you even let them strut around and slap you in the face. 21 I am ashamed to say that we are too weak to behave in such a way.

If they can brag, so can I, but it is a foolish thing to do. 22 Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Jews? So am I. Are they from the family of Abraham? Well, so am I. 23 Are they servants of Christ? I am a fool to talk this way, but I serve him better than they do. I have worked harder and have been put in jail more times. I have been beaten with whips more and have been in danger of death more often.

24 Five times the Jews gave me thirty-nine lashes with a whip. 25 Three times the Romans beat me with a big stick, and once my enemies stoned me. I have been shipwrecked three times, and I even had to spend a night and a day in the sea. 26 During my many travels, I have been in danger from rivers, robbers, my own people, and foreigners. My life has been in danger in cities, in deserts, at sea, and with people who only pretended to be the Lord’s followers.

27 I have worked and struggled and spent many sleepless nights. I have gone hungry and thirsty and often had nothing to eat. I have been cold from not having enough clothes to keep me warm. 28 Besides everything else, each day I am burdened down, worrying about all the churches. 29 When others are weak, I am weak too. When others are tricked into sin, I get angry.[a]

30 If I have to brag, I will brag about how weak I am. 31 God, the Father of our Lord Jesus, knows I am not lying. And God is to be praised forever! 32 The governor of Damascus at the time of King Aretas had the city gates guarded, so that he could capture me. 33 But I escaped by being let down in a basket through a window in the city wall.

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Footnotes

  1. 11.29 When others are tricked into sin, I get angry: Or “When others stumble into sin, I hurt for them.”

Being Faithful to God

Christ suffered here on earth. Now you must be ready to suffer as he did, because suffering shows that you have stopped sinning. It means you have turned from your own desires and want to obey God for the rest of your life. You have already lived long enough like people who don’t know God. You were immoral and followed your evil desires. You went around drinking and partying and carrying on. In fact, you even worshiped disgusting idols. Now your former friends wonder why you have stopped running around with them, and they curse you for it. But they will have to answer to God, who judges the living and the dead. The good news has even been preached to the dead,[a] so that after they have been judged for what they have done in this life, their spirits will live with God.

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Footnotes

  1. 4.6 the dead: Either people who died after becoming followers of Christ or the people of Noah’s day (see 3.19).

Pray for Us

Finally, our friends, please pray for us. This will help the message about the Lord to spread quickly, and others will respect it, just as you do. Pray that we may be kept safe from worthless and evil people. After all, not everyone has faith. But the Lord can be trusted to make you strong and protect you from harm. He has made us sure that you are obeying what we taught you and that you will keep on obeying. I pray that the Lord will guide you to be as loving as God and as patient as Christ.

Warnings against Laziness

My dear friends, in the name of[a] the Lord Jesus, I beg you not to have anything to do with any of your people who loaf around and refuse to obey the instructions we gave you. You surely know that you should follow our example. We didn’t waste our time loafing, and we didn’t accept food from anyone without paying for it. We didn’t want to be a burden to any of you, so night and day we worked as hard as we could.

We had the right not to work, but we wanted to set an example for you. 10 We also gave you the rule that if you don’t work, you don’t eat. 11 Now we learn that some of you just loaf around and won’t do any work, except the work of a busybody. 12 So, for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ, we ask and beg these people to settle down and start working for a living. 13 Dear friends, you must never become tired of doing right.

14 Be on your guard against any followers who refuse to obey what we have written in this letter. Put them to shame by not having anything to do with them. 15 Don’t consider them your enemies, but speak kindly to them as you would to any other follower.

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Footnotes

  1. 3.6 in the name of: Or “as a follower of.”

In my other letter[a] I told you not to have anything to do with immoral people. 10 But I wasn’t talking about the people of this world. You would have to leave this world to get away from everyone who is immoral or greedy or who cheats or worships idols. 11 I was talking about your own people who are immoral or greedy or worship idols or curse others or get drunk or cheat. Don’t even eat with them! 12 Why should I judge outsiders? Aren’t we supposed to judge only church members?

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Footnotes

  1. 5.9 other letter: An unknown letter that Paul wrote to the Christians at Corinth before he wrote this one.