1 I, Paul, Apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother,
To the Church of God in Corinth and to all the saints in all Achaia:
2 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ.
CONSOLATION IN AFFLICTIONS
3 Blessed be God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all consolation, 4 who consoles us in all our afflictions, and enables us to console all the afflicted with the consolation we have received from God.
5 For as the sufferings of Christ are abundant in our lives, so through Christ our consolation is also abundant. 6 Consequently, if we are afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is worked out in the patient endurance of the same sufferings which we also endure. If we are consoled, it is for your consolation and salvation. 7 So our hope for you is firm, since we know that, as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our consolation.
8 Brethren, I do not want you to be ignorant of the affliction I experienced in Asia. For I was so utterly and unendurably crushed that I actually despaired of life itself. 9 Indeed, I felt in my heart that I had been sentenced to death. Then I learned that I should not rely on myself, but on God, who can raise the dead. 10 He delivered me from that deadly peril then. He delivers me now. And I hope that he will deliver me again in the future.
11 But you must also help us with your prayers. Thus many thanks will be given on our behalf for a blessing bestowed upon us in answer to many supplications.
12 My boast is the testimony of my conscience that my relations with other men and especially with you have been marked by divine purity and sincerity, not by worldly shrewdness, but by divine grace.
13 For what I am writing to you is only what you can read and understand. I hope that you will be fully persuaded, 14 as you are already in some measure. Thus you can be proud of me, as I can be of you in the day of our Lord Jesus.
15 With this confidence in you, I intended to give you a double pleasure: 16 I was going to visit you first on my way to Macedonia, then from Macedonia to come back to you and have you see me off for Judea.
17 This was my intention, although I failed to carry it out. Did I prove to be fickle? Did I make my plan in worldly fashion, meaning at the same time “yes” as well as “no”?
18 By the good faith of God, my promise to you did not mean “yes” and “no” at the same time. 19 For Jesus Christ, the Son of God, whom Silvanus, Timothy, and I preached among you, did not waver between “yes” and “no.” He meant always “yes.” 20 For all the promises of God find their “yes” and their “Amen” in him to the glory of God through us.
21 God himself confirmed me with you in Christ. He has anointed me. 22 He has put his seal on me. He has given me the pledge of the Holy Spirit in my heart.
23 Upon my soul I call God to witness that I did not come to Corinth, because I wanted to spare you, 24 not because I domineer over your faith. Rather I am helping you to achieve happiness, for you are standing firm in your faith.
1 I made up my mind not to pay you another painful visit. 2 For if I cause you pain, then no one will be left to make me glad. 3 I wrote you as I did, so that, when I come, I would not be pained by those who should make me rejoice. I felt sure that my joy would be the joy of you all. 4 For I wrote you with much affliction, with anguish of heart, and with many tears, not to cause you pain, but to show you the abundant love I feel for you.
5 Now if anyone caused me pain, he has not caused it to me, but in some measure to you all. So I must not be too hard on you. 6 For such a man this punishment by the majority is sufficient. 7 Therefore you should rather forgive him and comfort him. Otherwise, he will be overwhelmed by his remorse. 8 So I entreat you to reaffirm your love for him.
9 This is why I wrote you, that I might test you and find out whether you are obedient in everything. 10 I am ready to forgive anyone whom you forgive. I have already forgiven him for your sake in the presence of Christ, 11 to prevent Satan from gaining the advantage over us. For we all know his designs.
12 When I went to Troas, I had a good opportunity to preach the Gospel of the Lord there. 13 But my mind could not rest, because I did not find there my brother Titus. So I took leave of them and went on to Macedonia.
14 But I am thankful to God. He always leads me to triumph in the name of Christ, and through me spreads the fragrance of his knowledge all over the earth. 15 For we are the perfume of Christ before God among those who are saved as well as those who are perishing. 16 To some it is a fragrance from death to death and to others a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficiently qualified for this work? I am. 17 For I am not a peddler of the divine message like so many others. I preach the Gospel of Christ before God in all sincerity like a man ordained by God.
LETTERS OF RECOMMENDATION
1 I am trying to recommend myself again. Yet I do not need any letters of recommendation to you or from you. 2 You yourselves are my open letter of recommendation, inscribed in our minds, known and read by all men. 3 You are manifestly my letter of recommendation from Christ which I have been commissioned to promulgate. This letter is written, not with ink, but with the Holy Spirit of the living God. This letter is engraved, not on tablets of stone, but on tablets of flesh, in our hearts.
4 I have complete confidence in God through Christ. 5 I do not mean that I am qualified of myself to claim anything as originating with me. My qualification comes from God. 6 He has qualified me as an Apostle of the New Testament, not in the letter, but in the Spirit. For the letter kills, while the Spirit gives life.
THE NEW RELIGION
7 Now the old religion of death was written in letters and carved in stone. It was ushered in with such splendor that the sons of Israel could not look at the face of Moses because of its ephemeral brightness. 8 But the religion of the Spirit will be attended with much greater splendor.
9 Certainly, the religion of righteousness will surpass in splendor the religion of condemnation. 10 Indeed, the splendor of the old religion faded away before the extraordinary splendor of the new religion. 11 Of course, the permanent religion must have more splendor than the temporary one.
THE GLORY OF THE LORD
12 Since we have such a hope, we speak with great frankness, 13 not like Moses, who put a veil over his face. He did it to prevent the Israelites from seeing the end of the old order which was passing away. 14 But their minds were blinded. For to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted. It will be taken away only through Christ. 15 Yes, to this day, when the Law of Moses is read, a veil hangs over their minds. 16 But whenever they return to the Lord, the veil will be removed.
17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and there is freedom wherever the Spirit of the Lord is dwelling. 18 With unveiled faces we all behold the glory of the Lord. We are transfigured into his likeness from one degree of glory to another, as the Spirit of the Lord enables us.
1 Since I have this ministry, I never lose heart. 2 I repudiate disgraceful and underhanded ways. I do not act deceitfully. I do not adulterate the divine message, but I proclaim the truth and commend myself to every human conscience in the sight of God.
3 My Gospel may sound obscure to those who are perishing. 4 The minds of unbelievers have been blinded by the god whom this world is worshiping. Therefore the glorious Gospel of Christ who is the image of the invisible God cannot reach them and illuminate them.
5 After all, I do not proclaim myself, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and myself as your servant in Jesus. 6 For God who commanded light to shine out of darkness illuminated my heart and revealed to me the divine glory in the face of Jesus Christ.
7 I have this treasure in an earthen vessel, to show that the sovereign power belongs to God and not to me. 8 I am always afflicted, but never crushed. I am perplexed, but not disheartened. 9 I am persecuted, but not forsaken. I am struck down, but not annihilated.
10 I am always carrying in my body the death of Jesus. Therefore the life of Jesus will be manifested in my body also. 11 For while I live, I am given up to death for the sake of Jesus. Thus the life of Jesus will be manifested in my body also. 12 So death is operating in me, and life in you.
13 I have the same spirit of faith as he who says in the Scripture: “I believed, and so I spoke.” I also believe, and so I speak. 14 I know that God who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will raise me also through Jesus and bring me with you into his presence.
15 It is all for your benefit. Thus, as divine grace reaches more and more people, more and more thanksgiving is offered to the glory of God.
16 I never lose heart. For though my outer flesh is wasting away, my inner spirit is renewed every day.
17 Thus this slight and momentary affliction is building up for me an eternal glory beyond all comparison. 18 I am not looking for the visible, but for the invisible. Because the visible is temporary, whereas the invisible is eternal.
OUR ETERNAL HOME
1 When our earthly tent home is torn down, we know that an eternal home, built by God and not by man, is waiting for us in heaven. 2 We groan in our present home, because we long to move to our heavenly home, 3 which will give shelter to the unsheltered.
4 Yes, we tent-dwellers are now moaning and heavy-hearted, because we do not wish to be further stripped. On the contrary, we wish to be better clothed. Then our mortal flesh will be imbued with life. 5 God has been preparing us for this transformation when he gave us the Holy Spirit as a guarantee.
6 Therefore we must always keep up our courage. We must know that while we live in the flesh, we are exiled from the presence of the Lord. 7 So we have to guide our steps, not by physical sight, but by spiritual faith.
8 Yes, we must always keep up our courage. We must prefer to be exiled from the flesh and live in heaven with the Lord. 9 For this reason, whether on earth or in heaven, we are eager to please him. 10 For we must all appear before the tribunal of Christ, from whom each one will receive the reward or the punishment for the good or evil he has done in his life.
11 Therefore, with the fear of the Lord in my mind, I try to convert men by persuasion. I am well known to God, and I hope that I am also well known to your better judgment.
12 I am not recommending myself to you again. I am only giving you an opportunity to be proud of me before those who pride themselves on outward appearance and not on sincerity of heart.
13 If I am extravagant, it is for God. If I am rational, it is for you. 14 But the love of Christ controls me. For I am convinced that if he has died for all, then we all have died for him also. 15 He died for all to enable men to live no longer for themselves, but for Christ who died and rose from the dead for their sake.
16 Therefore from now on I consider no one of you as a mere man of the old flesh. True, I once considered Christ as a man of that type. But I consider him no longer in that fashion. 17 For everyone who is united with Christ has become a new man. His old flesh has passed away. Now everything about him is new.
18 This total transformation comes from God, who reconciled me to himself through Christ, and conferred on me the mission of this reconciliation. 19 Yes, God reconciled all mankind to himself through Christ overlooking their trespasses, and entrusted me with the Gospel of this reconciliation.
AMBASSADOR OF CHRIST
20 I am now an ambassador of Christ. Now God himself appeals to you through me. I beseech you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 For our sake he made Christ who knew no sin appear in the form of a sinful man. Thus we have been enabled to be justified before God through Christ.
UPS AND DOWNS
1 As a fellow worker of God, I entreat you not to receive the grace of God in vain. 2 For he says in the Scripture: “I have listened to you at the proper time, and helped you on the day of salvation.” Now this is the proper time. This is the day of salvation.
3 I put no obstacle in anyone’s path. Thus my Apostleship will be blameless. 4 I show myself as an Apostle of God in every respect; in great endurance; in afflictions; in disturbances; in distress; 5 in stripes; in prisons; in riots; in labors; in vigils; in fastings; 6 in charity; in knowledge; in long-suffering; in gentleness; in the Holy Spirit; in unfeigned love. 7 I am preaching the true doctrine through the power of God; through the armor of righteousness on the right hand and on the left; 8 through honor and disgrace; through defamation and glorification. I am called an impostor, though I tell the truth. 9 I am ignored, though I am well known. I am dying, though I am alive. I am tortured, though I am not yet killed. 10 I am sorrowful, though I am always rejoicing. I am poor, though I enrich many. I am possessing nothing, though I possess everything.
BELIEVERS AND UNBELIEVERS
11 Brother Corinthians, I have spoken freely to you. I have opened my heart to you. 12 You are not restricted by me, but you are restricted by your own sentiments. 13 Open your hearts to me my children, as I open my heart to you.
14 Do not associate with unbelievers. There is no affiliation between righteousness and iniquity. There is no fellowship between light and darkness. 15 There is no agreement between Christ and Belial. There is no partnership between a believer and an unbeliever. 16 There is no intercommunion between the temple of the living God and the house of idols. You are the temple of the living God, as God himself proclaimed in the Scripture: “I will dwell in them, I will move among them, I will be their God, and they will be my people. 17 Therefore come away from them, and separate yourselves from them, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will welcome you. 18 I will be your father, and you will be my sons and my daughters,” says the Almighty Lord.
1 Therefore, since we have these promises, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of the flesh and of the spirit, in order to achieve sanctification in the fear of God.
2 Be patient with me. I have wronged no one, I have corrupted no one, I have despoiled no one.
3 I am not criticizing you. For as I told you before, I love you so much that I want to die with you and live with you.
4 I have full confidence in you. I take the greatest pride in you. I am so deeply comforted by you that I am overflowing with happiness in the midst of all my tribulations.
5 For since I came to Macedonia, my poor human nature could find no rest at all. I had trouble on every side, wrangling without and anxiety within. 6 But God who consoles the humble comforted me with the arrival of Titus, 7 and not only by his arrival, but also by the encouragement he derived from you. He told me how you longed for me, how you grieved over me, and how eagerly you took my part that I have rejoiced more than ever.
8 I know that I have grieved you with my letter. But I do not regret it now, though I did regret it before. For I see that my letter grieved you only for a while. 9 As it is, I am glad that your grief resulted in repentance. You felt a divine grief. So you suffered no loss whatever through me.
10 Divine grief produces salvation and brings no regret. But worldly grief produces death. 11 As you have seen, your divine grief has produced earnestness, justification, indignation, reverence, longing, zeal, and vindication. You have proved yourselves innocent in the matter at every point.
12 So although I did write to you, it was not on account of the offender, nor of the injured man, but for the revelation of your zeal for me in the sight of God.
13 This is why I am so comforted. I was still more overjoyed at the gladness of Titus. His mind has been set at rest by you all. 14 So if I did express to him some pride in you, I have had no reason to be ashamed of it. But as all I said to you was true, so the pride I expressed to Titus proved to be true also. 15 His affection for you is all the more unbounded. He remembers how you all received him with obedience, reverence, and respect. 16 I rejoice that I can trust you in every respect.
1 Brethren, I must tell you about the grace which God has lavished upon the Churches of Macedonia. 2 For in spite of their severe ordeal of affliction and their extreme poverty, their abundance of enthusiasm has overflowed in a wealth of liberality on their part.
3 I can assure you that they have given to the utmost of their ability, and even beyond their means. 4 What is more, of their own free will, they implored me earnestly to allow them the privilege of taking part in the relief of the saints. 5 Their gift went beyond our hopes. They even gave their services to the Lord and then to me by the will of God.
6 Their initiative led us to urge Titus to complete the charitable campaign he had started among you for the same purpose. 7 Therefore, as you excel in everything, in faith, in eloquence, in knowledge, in devotion of every kind, and in your affection for me, see that you excel in this gracious work also.
8 I do not mean to give you a command. I only want to test the genuineness of your charity by comparing it with the fervor of others. 9 You know how gracious our Lord Jesus Christ was. Though he was rich, he became poor for your sake, in order to enrich you through his poverty. 10 I am only giving you my advice. It is to your interest to go on with this enterprise which you were the first to plan and to start as early as last year.
11 It remains for you now to complete your action. Your generous intention must be fulfilled by deeds in accordance with your means. 12 For if the will is there, your donation is acceptable according to what you can afford, not according to what you cannot afford.
13 I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened. 14 No, there should be. equality. Your abundance at the present time should supply their need. Then their abundance will in turn supply your need. Thus the balance will be restored. 15 For the Scripture says: “The man who had gathered much, had nothing left over, while the man who had gathered little, had no lack.”
MISSION OF TITUS
16 I am thankful to God who inspired Titus with the same devotion to you. 17 He has accepted my appeal. But as a matter of fact, he was eager to visit you of his own choice.
18 With him I am sending the brother who has won the praise of all the Churches for his preaching of the Gospel. 19 Moreover, he has been also appointed by the Churches to be our companion in this gracious ministry of ours, to further the glory of the Lord and to show our good will.
20 We are anxious that no suspicion should be aroused against us with these great sums we are handling. 21 We intend to do what is right, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men.
22 Therefore I am sending along with the delegates our brother whom we have often tested and found eager in many ways and upon many occasions. Now he is more eager than ever because of his great confidence in you.
23 As for Titus, he is my partner and my fellow worker among you. As for the delegates, they are Apostles of the Churches, the glory of Christ. 24 Therefore give evidence to the Churches of your charity and of the good reason we have to be proud of you.
1 Now it is superfluous for me to write to you about the collection for the saints. 2 I know your eagerness of which I boast to the people of Macedonia. I always say that you from Achaia have been ready since last year, and your zeal has stimulated most of them.
3 Now I am sending the brethren. My boasting about you must not prove unfounded in this case. Therefore you must be ready, as I said you would be. 4 For if some Macedonians come with me and find you unprepared, both you and I will be humiliated for being so boastful.
5 So I thought it necessary to urge the brethren to visit you first, to arrange in advance for this offering you have promised. But it must be a free donation, not a grudging tribute.
6 Remember that everyone who has sown sparingly will also reap sparingly. And everyone who has sown generously will also reap generously. 7 Everyone must give whatever he has decided on, not reluctantly or under compulsion. For God loves a cheerful giver.
8 God has the power to supply you abundantly with every blessing. Thus you will always have enough for every situation, and you will be able to provide abundantly for every good work. 9 The Scripture says: “He scatters his gifts to the poor. His mercy endures forever.”
10 May God, who provides seed to the sower and bread or food, supply and multiply your resources and increases the harvest of your charity. 11 May he enrich you in every way for every act of generosity which will make us offer thanksgiving to God.
12 The administration of this service not only will supply the needs of the saints, but will also yield a rich harvest of thanksgiving to God.
13 This service will make men praise God for your spirit of obedience in proclaiming the Gospel of Christ, and for the generosity of your contribution for them and for all others.
14 Moreover, they will long for you and pray for you. 15 Thank God for his indescribable gift.
1 I make a personal appeal to you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ. I, Paul, who am humble when face to face with you, but bold to you when I am away, 2 I entreat you, do not force me to deal roughly with you when we meet, as I do with those who think that I am acting through worldly motives.
3 For though I live in this world, I do not carry on a worldly war. 4 The weapons of my warfare are not worldly. But they are so divinely powerful that they can destroy strongholds. 5 Yes, I can pull down the conceits of men and every barrier rising against the true knowledge of God. I can capture all minds to the obedience of Christ. 6 I am prepared to punish every disobedience, until your submission has become complete.
7 Look at what is before your eyes. Whoever boasts of being a follower of Christ, let him understand once and for all that I am also a follower of Christ, just as he is. 8 For even if I boast a little more about my authority, which the Lord gave me to build you up, not to pull you down, I shall not be put to shame.
9 Do not imagine that I am trying to scare you with my letters. 10 For some people say that my letters are weighty and powerful, while my physical appearance is insignificant, and my speech is worthless. 11 Let those people understand that what I say by letter, when absent, I do by deed when present.
12 I do not dare to class or compare myself with some of those who advertise themselves. But when they measure themselves by one another, and when they compare themselves with one another, they do not show good sense.
13 I will not boast extravagantly. I will boast only within the limits of the jurisdiction which God has assigned to me and which reaches all the way to you. 14 Nobody can claim that I am overstepping and that I have never extended my activities to your province. For it is a fact that I am the first to come all the way to you with the Gospel of Christ.
15 I am not unfairly boasting of other men’s labors. Moreover, as your faith increases, I hope that our field of activity among you within my jurisdiction will be enlarged. 16 Then I will preach the Gospel in regions beyond yours, without boasting of ready-made conquests in a jurisdiction that belongs to another. 17 Whoever wants to boast, let him boast in the Lord. 18 It is not the self-commended man that becomes successful, but the man who is commended by the Lord.
1 I hope you will put up with my vanity for a little while. Do be patient with me. 2 I feel a divine jealousy on your behalf. I betrothed your Church as a chaste maiden to your one Bridegroom, our Lord Jesus Christ.
3 But I am afraid that your minds may be seduced and weaned away from a loyal devotion to him by the same subtle means which the serpent used with Eve. 4 For I understand that you have welcomed a newcomer who is preaching dissident doctrines about Jesus, about the Holy Spirit, and about the Gospel. These new doctrines are entirely different from the original doctrines which I have preached to you and which you have accepted from me.
5 Now let me tell you that I am in no way inferior to the twelve great Apostles. 6 Perhaps I am unskilled in preaching. But I am not wanting in knowledge. I have proved it to you on many occasions.
7 I hope I have not committed a sin when I humbled myself in order to uplift you and when I preached to you the Gospel of God without any compensation. 8 I impoverished other Churches which paid me in order to work for you. 9 I was penniless when I visited you. Yet I did not burden anyone of you. The brethren who came from Macedonia supplied my needs. So I always refrained, and will refrain from being a burden to you in any way.
10 By the truth of Christ which is in me, this boast of mine will not be checked in the regions of Achala. 11 Why? Not because I do not love you. God knows that I do.
12 Indeed, I will go on doing what I do, in order to silence those who claim that in their boasted apostleship they work on the same terms that I do. 13 Such men are false and deceitful apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder, for even Satan himself masquerades as a shining angel. 15 So it is nothing strange that his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. But they will be punished at the end according to their wicked works.
16 I repeat, no one should think I am vain. But if you do, receive me in spite of my vanity, and let me boast a little in my turn. 17 When I assume this role of a boaster, I am not proclaiming the message of the Lord. I am only talking in a fit of vanity. 18 If so many others boast of their worldly advantages, I must be allowed to boast of them also.
19 You tolerate vain persons complacently in spite of your good sense. 20 You tolerate those who tyrannize over you, or prey upon you, or take advantage of you, or vaunt their power over you, or give you a slap in the face.
LABOR AND ORDEALS
21 I am sorry to say that I did not have the heart to take advantage of you. But if I were vain enough to brag, I could claim every title that they boast of. 22 If they are Hebrews, so am I. If they are Israelites, so am I. If they are descendants of Abraham, so am I. 23 If they are Apostles of Christ, well, I will let my vain glory run wild and tell you that so am I in a superlative degree. I have labored more arduously, I have been flogged more savagely, I have been imprisoned more frequently, I have faced death more constantly.
24 Five times I have been beaten by the Jews the prescribed thirty-nine stripes. 25 Three times I have been flogged by the Romans with rods. Once I have been stoned. Three times I have been shipwrecked. A night and a day I have been adrift on the sea.
26 In my journeys I have been in constant danger from rivers; danger from robbers; danger from my own nation; danger from the Gentiles; danger in the city; danger in the desert; danger on the sea; danger among false brethren.
27 I have been often in toil, in hardship, in sleeplessness, in famine, in thirst, in fasting, in exposure, and in destitution.
28 Over and above these physical tortures, I have to carry the burden and responsibility for all the Churches. 29 If one of them suffers, I suffer. If one of them falls away, I am burning.
30 So if I must boast, let me boast of my ordeals. 31 God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, whose name is blessed forever, knows that I am telling the simple truth. 32 When I was at Damascus, the governor of King Aretas guarded the city gates in order to arrest me. 33 But I was lowered in a basket through a window in the wall, and escaped from his hands.
1 Well, I have to boast, though there is nothing to be gained from it. So I must tell you of my visions and revelations of the Lord. 2 I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was carried up into the third heaven. 3 Whether in the spirit or in the body, I do not know, God knows. 4 I only know that this man was carried into Paradise, and heard ineffable mysteries which man is not allowed to utter.
5 I am ready to boast of this man. But as for myself, I will boast only of my ordeals. 6 It would not be vanity if I chose to boast. For I would only be telling the simple truth. But I refrain from it, because I do not want anyone to think that I am more than he sees in me or hears from me.
7 And to keep me from being too proud of this wealth of revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given me to torture me like a henchman of Satan. 8 Three times I have prayed to the Lord to liberate me from this ordeal. 9 But he answered me: “My grace is sufficient for you. For my power is perfected through suffering.” So more than ever I am glad to boast of my sufferings. For I am sure that Christ will give me the power to endure them.
10 Therefore I take pleasure in the sufferings, insults, hardships, persecutions, and ordeals I am enduring for the sake of Christ. For when I am suffering, then I am strong. 11 I am boasting like a vain man. But you forced me to do it. You should have commended me. For I have been in no way inferior to the leading Apostles, though I am worthless.
12 I have earned the marks of my apostleship among you with miracles, wonders, and mighty deeds. 13 You have been in no way inferior to the rest of the Churches, except that I myself did not burden you with my maintenance. Forgive me this wrong.
14 Now for the third time I am ready to visit you. And I will not be a burden to you. I am not looking for your property but for yourselves. As you know, it is the parents who should save their children, not the children for their parents. 15 For my part, I will gladly spend all I have and all I can for the sake of your souls. For the more I love you, the more I will be loved.
16 True, I did not burden you. Still some of you claim that I was crafty and that I captured you by guile. 17 But you know that I have not taken advantage of you through any of those whom I sent to you. 18 I requested Titus to visit you, and sent our brother with him. They did not take advantage of you. We all acted in the same spirit. We all followed the same course.
19 You may think that I am defending myself. I am only speaking in the sight of God and in the name of Christ, my dear friends. For I have done everything for the sake of your edification.
20 I am afraid that on my arrival I may not find you to be such as I wish, and that you may not find me to be such as you wish. There may be quarrels, jealousy, anger, selfishness, slander, gossip, conceit, and disorder among you. 21 When I come again, my God may humiliate me before you. I may have to mourn over many of the former sinners who have not repented of the impurity, fornication, and licentiousness which they have practiced.
1 This is the third time that I will visit you. Any charge must be sustained by two or three witnesses. 2 I warned the former sinners and all the others. Now I warn them again while absent, as I did when present on my second visit. When I come again, I will not spare them.
3 Now you demand proof that Christ really speaks through me. He is not weak, but powerful among you. 4 True, he was crucified and suffered in his human flesh. But he lives by the power of God. Likewise, we are suffering for him. But we shall live again with him by the power of God within us.
5 Examine yourselves to see whether you are still holding to your faith. Test yourselves. You must realize that Jesus Christ is within you, unless indeed you fail to meet the test. 6 I hope you will find out that I have not failed to meet mine.
7 I pray to God to keep you from doing wrong, not because I wish to prove successful. I desire that you should do what is right, even though I may seem to have failed. 8 I cannot oppose the truth, I can only work for the truth.
9 I am glad when I am weak and you are strong. I always pray for your improvement. 10 Therefore I am warning you while absent. So when I come, I will not have to deal severely with you in the exercise of the authority which the Lord has given me for building up and not for tearing down.
11 Now, brethren, farewell. Mend your ways, listen to my appeal, agree with one another, live in peace. Then the God of love and peace will be with you. 12 Greet one another with a sacred kiss. 13 All the saints send you their greetings.
14 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God the Father, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.