Paul Defends His Ministry
1I, Paul, myself entreat you, by the meekness and gentleness of Christ-I who am humble when face to face with you, but bold to you when I am away!-2I beg of you that when I am present I may not have to show boldness with such confidence as I count on showing against some who suspect us of acting in worldly fashion. 3For though we live in the world we are not carrying on a worldly war, 4for the weapons of our warfare are not worldly but have divine power to destroy strongholds. 5We destroy arguments and every proud obstacle to the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, 6being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.
7Look at what is before your eyes. If any one is confident that he is Christ's, let him remind himself that as he is Christ's, so are we. 8For even if I boast a little too much of our authority, which the Lord gave for building you up and not for destroying you, I shall not be put to shame. 9I would not seem to be frightening you with letters. 10For they say, "His letters are weighty and strong, but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech of no account." 11Let such people understand that what we say by letter when absent, we do when present. 12Not that we venture to class or compare ourselves with some of those who commend themselves. But when they measure themselves by one another, and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding.
13But we will not boast beyond limit, but will keep to the limits God has apportioned us, to reach even to you. 14For we are not overextending ourselves, as though we did not reach you; we were the first to come all the way to you with the gospel of Christ. 15We do not boast beyond limit, in other men's labors; but our hope is that as your faith increases, our field among you may be greatly enlarged, 16so that we may preach the gospel in lands beyond you, without boasting of work already done in another's field. 17"Let him who boasts, boast of the Lord." 18For it is not the man who commends himself that is accepted, but the man whom the Lord commends.