The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The Second Epistle of the Blessed Apostle Paul to the Corinthians
If we are to boast (although boasting is out of place), I will go on to the visions and revelations the Lord has granted me.
There is a man I know who was carried out of himself in Christ, fourteen years since; was his spirit in his body? I cannot tell. Was it apart from his body? I cannot tell; God knows. This man, at least, was carried up into the third heaven.✻
I can only tell you that this man, with his spirit in his body, or with his spirit apart from his body, God knows which, not I,
was carried up into Paradise, and heard mysteries which man is not allowed to utter.
That is the man about whom I will boast; I will not boast about myself, except to tell you of my humiliations.
It would not be vanity, if I had a mind to boast about such a man as that; I should only be telling the truth. But I will spare you the telling of it; I have no mind that anybody should think of me except as he sees me, as he hears me talking to him.
And indeed, for fear that these surpassing revelations should make me proud, I was given a sting to distress my outward nature, an angel of Satan sent to rebuff me.
Three times it made me entreat the Lord to rid me of it;✻
but he told me, My grace is enough for thee; my strength finds its full scope in thy weakness. More than ever, then, I delight to boast of the weaknesses that humiliate me, so that the strength of Christ may enshrine itself in me.
I am well content with these humiliations of mine, with the insults, the hardships, the persecutions, the times of difficulty I undergo for Christ; when I am weakest, then I am strongest of all.
I have given way to vanity; it was you that drove me to it; you ought to have given me credentials, instead of asking for them. No, I have done no less than the very greatest of the apostles, worthless as I am;
I have earned the character of apostleship among you, by all the trials I have undergone, by signs and wonders and deeds of miracle.
What injustice did I do you, as compared with the other churches, except that to you, of my own choice, I refused to make myself a burden? Forgive me, if I wronged you there.
This is the third time I have made preparations for visiting you,✻ and I do not intend to cripple you with expenses: what I claim is yourselves, not anything you can give; it is the parents that should save for their children, not the children for their parents.
For my own part, I will gladly spend and be spent on your souls’ behalf, though you should love me too little for loving you too well.
Ah, you say, that may be; I did not lay any charge on you myself, but I preyed upon you by roundabout means, like the knave I am.
What, those envoys I sent you, did I take advantage of you through any of them?
I asked Titus to visit you, and there was the brother I sent with him; did Titus take any advantage of you? Did we not all follow the same course, and in the same spirit?
You have been telling one another, all this while, that we are defending our conduct to you. Rather, we have been uttering our thoughts as in God’s presence, in Christ; yet always, beloved, so as to build up your faith.
I have the fear that perhaps, when I reach you, I shall find in you unwelcome hosts, and you in me an unwelcome visitor; that there will be dissension, rivalry, ill humour, factiousness, backbiting, gossip, self-conceit, disharmony.
I have the fear that on this new visit God has humiliation in store for me when we meet; that I shall have tears to shed over many of you, sinners of old and still unrepentant, with a tale of impure, adulterous, and wanton living.
The Holy Bible