2 Corinthians 11

Paul speaks about false teachers

1 Please be patient with me! I am speaking like a fool. I know that you are being patient with me already! 2 God wants to keep you for himself. And that is what I want too. I have brought you to Christ, like a pure bride who marries one husband. I want you to be pure and to belong only to him. 3 Remember how the snake deceived Eve. Because he was clever, she believed his lies. I am afraid that the same thing might happen to you. False teachers may make you believe wrong things. Then you will no longer love Christ in a pure and honest way. 4 You are ready to listen to any false teachers who come to you. They might tell you about a different Jesus from the Jesus that we told you about. They might want you to receive a different spirit from the Spirit that you received from us. They might tell you a different kind of good news from the message that you heard from us. You seem to accept all this!

11:3See Genesis 3.

5 Those teachers call themselves very special apostles. But I think that I am as special as they are! 6 Perhaps I do not speak as well as they speak. But I do know what I am speaking about. We have always made this very clear to you in everything that we do.

7 When I told you God's good news, 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 Believers in other churches gave money to me so that I could serve you. It is like I was robbing them so that I could help you. 9 When I was there with you, I never made you help me. Even when I needed something, I did not cause trouble to anyone. Instead, the believers who came from Macedonia gave me everything that I needed. I was very careful never to cause you to have trouble. And I will continue to be careful like that. 10 The message that I speak about Christ is true. So I will continue to be proud of how I lived among you. Nobody in the whole region of Achaia can stop me doing that. 11 You must not think that I say this because I do not love you. God himself knows that I love you.

12 Yes, I will continue to work among you in the way that I am already doing. I will not take any pay from you. Then there will be no chance for those other teachers to be proud about themselves. They will not be able to say that they work in the same way that we do. 13 Those people are false apostles. They do not work in an honest way. They try to make people think that Christ has sent them as his apostles. 14 That should not surprise you! Even Satan can change himself to look like an angel who belongs to the light. 15 So do not be surprised when Satan's servants do the same thing. They can also seem to be serving God. They may seem to be doing good things, but really what they do is bad. So God will punish them in the end.

Paul speaks about his own work

16 I say this again: nobody should think that I am a fool. But even if you do think that, still listen to me. Give me a chance to praise myself a little, as a fool would do. 17 When I say good things about myself like this, it is not how the Lord would talk. No, these are the words of a fool. 18 But many other people are using human ideas to praise themselves. So I will also do that.

19 You think that you are very wise! So you are happy to listen to fools. 20 You accept people who make you like their slaves. You accept people who cheat you, or take things from you. You accept people who are proud of themselves. Even if someone hits you in your face, you still accept him. 21 But we were not brave enough to do things like that to you. Should I be ashamed of that?

But other people are brave enough to praise themselves. So I will also be proud of the same things. (Now I am talking like a fool!) 22 Are they proud that they are Hebrew people? So am I. Do they belong to Israel's people? So do I. Are they descendants of Abraham's family? So am I. 23 Are they Christ's servants? I serve him even better than they do! (Now I am speaking like a crazy person.) I work much more than they have worked. I have been in prison more often than they have. People have hit me with whips very many times. I have nearly died many times.

11:22The Jews were also called Hebrews. At this time, most Jews spoke the Aramaic language. If they could also speak the Hebrew language, they were very proud.

24 At five different times, the Jewish leaders punished me with whips. Each time they hit me 39 times. 25 Three times the Romans punished me with sticks. 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 on many journeys. I have been in danger from rivers and also from robbers. I have been in danger from my own people and also from Gentiles. I have been in danger in cities and also in the wilderness. I have been in danger on the sea. I have been in danger from false believers. 27 I have worked very hard, and I have been in pain. Many times I have not slept. I have often been hungry and thirsty. Many times I have had no food. I have often been cold and without enough clothes.

28 All these troubles have happened to me. But also, every day I have trouble in my mind. I worry about the believers in all the churches. 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 upset.

30 If I must be proud about myself, I will only be proud of things that show my weakness. 31 I am not telling lies. God, the Father of the Lord Jesus, knows that. He is the one that we should praise for ever. 32 When I was in Damascus, the ruler of that city sent soldiers to catch me. He was under the authority of King Aretas. The soldiers were watching carefully outside the city. 33 But my friends put me in a basket on the end of a rope. They sent me out through a window in the city wall and they let me drop to the ground. That is how I got away from the ruler of the city.

11:33See Acts 9:23-25.