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2 Corinthians 11

Paul explains how dangerous false teachers are

1 Even if I seem to speak like a fool, please be patient with me. But you are being patient already! 2 I want you very much to continue being Christ's, as God himself wants that, too. I have brought you to one husband, who is Christ. And I want you to belong only to Christ, like a good woman who has never had sex with any man. 3 But I am afraid that you might become like Eve. The snake told her things that were not true. And, because he was so clever, she believed him. And I am afraid that you might start to believe wrong ideas too. So then, as a result, you might stop believing and loving only Christ. 4 You are happy to listen to any other teachers who come to you. They might tell you about a different Jesus from the Jesus that we told you about. And you are happy to listen to them. You are happy to receive a different spirit from the one that you received by us. You are happy to believe a different ‘good news’ from the one that you first believed.

11:3See Genesis, chapter 3.

5 But I think that I am quite as good as those special teachers. I am not less able than those teachers that you enjoy listening to so much. 6 Perhaps I do not speak as well as they speak. But certainly, I do know what I am speaking about. We have made this very clear to you in every way and in all things.

7 When I told you the good news from God, I never asked you to pay me anything. I made myself less important so that you could be more important. I do not think that I was wrong to do that. 8 Other groups of believers gave money to me so that I could work among you. Perhaps I could say that I was robbing them. I was robbing them so that I could help you. 9 When I was present with you, I never asked anyone to give anything to me. Even when I needed something, I still did not ask you to give anything to me. Instead, the believers who came from Macedonia helped me. They supplied everything that I needed. I was very careful never to ask you for anything that I needed. And I will continue to be careful like that, so that I will never be any trouble to you. 10 As certainly as Christ's true message is in me, nothing will stop me saying these true things about myself. Nothing anywhere, in all of Achaia, will stop me. 11 I love you. That is the reason that nothing will stop me. And God knows that I love you.

12 I will continue to do the things that I am doing now. Then there will be no chance for those other teachers to say great things about themselves. They want a chance to say that they do the same work as us. They want everyone to think that they themselves are quite like us. 13 But those people are false teachers. They say things about their work that are not true. They want people to believe that they are really Christ's special workers and teachers. 14 And that should not surprise you! Even Satan can make himself seem like an angel who belongs to the light. 15 So, it should not surprise you if Satan's servants make themselves seem good also. They can make themselves seem to be good and right, like God's servants. But God will punish them in the end as a result of the bad things that they do.

Paul describes all the troubles and pain that he has had as Christ's servant

16 I say again: nobody should think that I am a fool. But even if you do think that, still listen to me. Listen to me as you would listen to a fool. So then I may say a few good things about myself. 17 I am not saying what the Lord has told me to say. Instead, I am talking like a fool when I say these good things certainly about myself. 18 There are so many people who say good things about themselves. They speak about the reasons why they themselves are so important as human people. So, I will say things like that about myself too.

19 You think that you yourselves are so very clever! You think that you understand so very much! So, you are happy to listen to fools. 20 You listen to anyone who wants to make you like slaves. You listen to anyone who uses you for his own wrong purposes. You listen to anyone who makes you believe wrong things. You listen to anyone who makes himself seem much more important than you. You listen to anyone who hits you in your face. 21 I am ashamed to say that I was too weak to do things like that to you.

But if anyone else is brave enough to say good things about himself, I will be brave enough also. But now I am talking like a fool! 22 Those other teachers may say that they are Jews. And I am a Jew also. They may say that they belong to Israel's people. And I belong to Israel's people also. They may say that they belong to Abraham's family. And I belong to Abraham's family also. 23 They may say that they are Christ's servants. (Now I am speaking like a fool.) But I am a better servant than they are. I have worked much more than they have worked. I have been in prisons more often than they have been in prisons. I could not begin to count how many times people have hit me. I have nearly died many times.

24 At five different times, the Jews hit me with a stick 39 times. 25 Other people hit me with sticks three times. People threw stones at me to kill me once. Three times I have been on ships that broke in the sea. Once I was in the sea for a night and a day. 26 I have travelled very much. I have been in danger from rivers and from people who rob. I have been in danger from my own people and from other people, who do not know God. I have been in danger in cities and in country places. I have been in danger on the sea. And I have been in danger from people who said that they were Christ's. But those people were not really Christ's.

27 I have worked very much, so that I have been very, very tired. Many times I have not slept. Many times I have been hungry and I have had nothing to drink. Many times I have had no food and I have been cold and without clothes. 28 All these troubles have happened to me. But also, every day I think about all the groups of believers, because they matter so much to me. 29 When one of these believers is weak, then I feel weak too. When something causes one of them to do something wrong, then I am very sad and angry about it.

30 If I must say good things about myself, I will speak only about my own weakness. I will speak only about things that show my weakness. 31 I am saying only true things. And the God and Father of the Lord Jesus, whom everyone should thank always, knows that. 32 When I was in Damascus, the ruler of that city sent soldiers to look for me. The soldiers were round the city and they were trying to catch me. The ruler of the city was under the authority of Aretas, who was king. 33 But my friends put me in a basket and they sent me out through a window in the city wall. They let the basket go slowly down to the ground outside the city. That is how I got away from the ruler of the city.

11:33See Acts 9:23-25.