BOASTING is proper, but there is no advantage in it, and I prefer to relate the visions and revelations of our Lord.
I knew a man in Christ more than fourteen years ago, but whether I knew him in the body or out of the body, I do not know;
God knows;
this very one was caught up to the third heaven.
And I still know this man, but whether in the body or whether out of the body, I cannot tell;
God knows;
How that he was caught up to paradise and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.
Of such a person, I will boast;
but of myself, I will not boast, except in my weaknesses.
But even if I should desire to boast, I will not be a fool;
for I will tell the truth;
but now I refrain, lest any one should think more of me than what he sees me to be and what he hears from me.
And lest I should be exalted through the abundance of the revelations, there was delivered to me a thorn in my flesh, the angel of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted.
Three times I besought my Lord concerning this thing, that it might depart from me.
And he said to me, My grace is sufficient for you;
for my strength is made perfect in weakness.
Most gladly therefore I would rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
Therefore I am content with infirmities, insults, hardships, persecutions, and imprisonments for Christ’s sake;
for when I am physically weak, then I am spiritually strong.
Behold, I am foolish to boast but you have forced me;
for you ought to have testified concerning me;
for in no way am I less than those apostles who are highly honored, though I am nothing.
The miracles which the apostles have wrought I have wrought among you also in all patience, in signs, in wonders, and mighty deeds.
For what do you lack that other churches have, except it be that I myself was not burdensome to you?
Forgive me this fault!
Behold, this is the third time I am prepared to come to you;
and I will not burden you;
for I seek nothing from you but yourselves;
for children are not under obligation to lay up treasure for the parents, but the parents for the children.
I will gladly pay my expenses, and I will even give myself for the sake of your souls;
though the more I love you, the less you love me.
But be it so, I did not burden you;
nevertheless as a shrewd man, I caught you with guile.
Did I extort anything from you by any of the men whom I sent to you?
I requested Titus to visit you, and I sent brethren with him.
Did Titus extort anything from you?
Did we not walk in the same spirit, and did we not walk in the same steps?
Do you still think we are apologizing?
We speak before God in Christ;
and we do all these things, my beloved, for your edification.
For I fear, lest when I come to you, I shall not find you such as I wish to find you, and that you also will not find me as you wish to find me, lest there be controversies, envyings, angers, stubbornness, accusations, slanderings, boastings and disorders.
Perhaps when I come to you, my God will humble me, and I will mourn over many who have sinned and who have not repented of the impurity, immorality, and lasciviousness which they have committed.