We, on the other hand, will not boast beyond our proper limit, but [will keep] within the limits of our commission (territory, authority) which God has granted to us as a measure, which reaches and includes even you.
We, on the other hand, will not boast beyond our legitimate province and proper limit, but will keep within the limits [of our commission which] God has allotted us as our measuring line and which reaches and includes even you.
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].
Of course we shouldn’t dare include ourselves in the same class as those who write their own testimonials, or even to compare ourselves with them! All they are doing, of course, is to measure themselves by their own standards or by comparisons within their own circle, and that doesn’t make for accurate estimation, you may be sure. No, we shall not make any wild claims, but simply judge ourselves by that line of duty which God has marked out for us, and that line includes our work on your behalf. We do not exceed our duty when we embrace your interests, for it was our preaching of the Gospel which brought us into contact with you. Our pride is not in matters beyond our proper sphere nor in the labours of other men. No, our hope is that your growing faith will mean the expansion of our sphere of action, so that before long we shall be preaching the Gospel in districts beyond you, instead of being proud of work that has already been done in someone else’s province.
We aren’t making outrageous claims here. We’re sticking to the limits of what God has set for us. But there can be no question that those limits reach to and include you. We’re not moving into someone else’s “territory.” We were already there with you, weren’t we? We were the first ones to get there with the Message of Christ, right? So how can there be any question of overstepping our bounds by writing or visiting you?
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