1 I urge you by the gentleness and forbearance of Christ -- this is Paul now speaking personally-I, the one who is so humble when he is facing you but full of boldness at a distance.
2 Yes, my appeal to you is that I should not have to be bold when I am actually with you, or show the same self-assurance as I reckon to use when I am challenging those who reckon that we are guided by human motives.
3 For although we are human, it is not by human methods that we do battle.
4 The weapons with which we do battle are not those of human nature, but they have the power, in God's cause, to demolish fortresses. It is ideas that we demolish,
5 every presumptuous notion that is set up against the knowledge of God, and we bring every thought into captivity and obedience to Christ;
6 once you have given your complete obedience, we are prepared to punish any disobedience.
7 Look at the evidence of your eyes. Anybody who is convinced that he belongs to Christ should go on to reflect that we belong to Christ no less than he does.
8 Maybe I have taken rather too much pride in our authority, but the Lord gave us that for building you up, not for knocking you down, and I am not going to be shamed
9 into letting you think that I can put fear into you only by letter.
10 Someone said, 'His letters are weighty enough, and full of strength, but when you see him in person, he makes no impression and his powers of speaking are negligible.'
11 I should like that sort of person to take note that our deeds when we are present will show the same qualities as our letters when we were at a distance.
12 We are not venturing to rank ourselves, or even to compare ourselves with certain people who provide their own commendations. By measuring themselves by themselves and comparing themselves to themselves, they only show their folly.
13 By contrast we do not intend to boast beyond measure, but will measure ourselves by the standard which God laid down for us, namely that of having come all the way to you.
14 We are not overreaching ourselves as we would be if we had not come all the way to you; in fact we were the first to come as far as you with the good news of Christ.
15 So we are not boasting beyond measure, about other men's work; in fact, we hope, as your faith increases, to grow greater and greater by this standard of ours,
16 by preaching the gospel to regions beyond you, rather than boasting about work already done in someone else's province.
17 Let anyone who wants to boast, boast of the Lord.
18 For it is not through self-commendation that recognition is won, but through commendation.
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