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¶ I WISH you to be patient with me for a while, so that I may speak plainly, and I am sure you will be.
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For I am zealous for you with the zealousness of God, for I have espoused you to a husband, that I may present you as a pure virgin to Christ.
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But I am afraid that just as the serpent through his deceitfulness misled Eve, so your minds should be corrupted from the sincerity that is in Christ.
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For if he who has come to you preaches another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if you have received another spirit, which you had not received, or another gospel, which you had not accepted, you might have listened to him.
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¶ For I think that I am not in the least inferior to the most distinguished apostles.
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But though I am a poor speaker, I am not poor in knowledge;
but we have been thoroughly made manifest among you in all things.
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Probably I have acted foolishly in humbling myself, that you might be exalted, because I preached to you the gospel of God freely.
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I deprived other churches, taking supplies from them, in order to minister to you.
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And when I came to you and was in need, I did not burden any of you for my wants were supplied by the brethren who came from Macedonia;
I have taken care of myself in every way and I will so continue to keep myself that I will not be a burden to you.
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As the truth of Christ is in me, no man shall stop me of this boasting in the regions of Achaia.
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Why?
Because I do not love you?
God knows I do love you.
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But what I do, I will continue to do, so as to give no occasion to those who seek an occasion;
and that, in whatever they boast, they may not be found equal to us;
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For they are false apostles and deceitful workers, posing as apostles of Christ.
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There is no marvel in this;
for if Satan disguises himself as the angel of light,
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It is no great thing if his ministers also pose as the ministers of righteousness, whose end shall be according to their works.
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¶ I say again, let no man think me a fool;
if otherwise, yet as a fool receive me, that I may boast myself a little.
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What I now say, I speak not after our Lord, but as it were foolishly, on this occasion of boasting.
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Because many boast on the things of the flesh, I boast also.
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For you endure fools readily, knowing that you yourselves are wise.
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For you endure the man who dominates you and the man who lives at your expense and the man who takes from you and the man who exalts himself over you and the man who smites you on the face.
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I speak this as a reproach, as though we were weak.
Now I speak foolishly;
in whatsoever other men are bold, I venture also.
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¶ Now if they are Hebrews, so am I.
If they are Israelites, so am I.
If they are descendants of Abraham, so am I.
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If they are ministers of Christ (I speak as a fool), I am greater than they;
in labor more than they, in wounds more than they, in imprison, Bents more frequent than they, and in danger of death many times.
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By the Jews I was scourged five times, each time forty stripes less one.
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Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was in shipwreck, a day and a night I have been adrift in the sea in shipwreck.
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On many journeys I have been in perils from rivers, in perils of robbers, in perils from my own kinsmen, in perils from the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils from false brethren;
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In toil and weariness, in sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, through much fasting, in cold and nakedness.
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Besides other things and the many calling on me everyday, I have also the care of all the churches.
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Who is sick that I do not feel the pain?
Who stumbles that does not have my heartfelt sympathy?
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If I must needs boast, I will boast of my sufferings.
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The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is blessed forever and ever, knows that I do not lie.
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At Damascus the general of the army of King Aretas placed the city of the Damascenes under guard in order to seize me;
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And I was lowered in a basket from a window over the city wall, and thus I escaped from his hands.