1 Now I Paul myself appeal to you by the humility and gentleness of Christ—I who am “humble” when face to face with you but “bold” toward you when I am absent. 2 But I plead with you that when I am present, I will not have to act boldly with the confidence that I consider to be bold enough to use against those who are of the opinion that we conduct our lives according to worldly standards.
3 For although we live in the world, we do not wage war according to worldly standards. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not worldly but weapons made powerful by God for the purpose of destroying fortresses. 5 We demolish sophistries and every arrogant obstacle that rises up in opposition to the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 6 And we are ready to punish all disobedience whenever your obedience is complete.
7 Look at what is before your eyes! If anyone is convinced in his own mind that he belongs to Christ, he should ponder again concerning himself that just as he belongs to Christ, so do we also. 8 For if I do boast a little too much concerning our authority that the Lord gave us for building you up, not for tearing you down, I will not be ashamed of it 9 so that I will not appear to be frightening you with my letters. 10 Because some say, “His letters are weighty and forceful, but when he is here in person, he appears weak and his speech is of no account”— 11 such a person should consider that just as we are in word through our letters when we are not present, so we will also be in our actions when we are present.
12 For we do not presume to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. But when they measure themselves by one another and commend themselves with one another, they lack understanding. 13 However, we will not boast beyond proper limits but according to the limits of the assigned area that God has given us to reach even to you. 14 For we are not overextending ourselves as if we did not reach to you, for we were the first to come to you with the gospel of Christ. 15 We do not boast beyond proper limits in the labors of others, but we have the hope that as your faith continues to grow that, with your help, our assigned area will be greatly enlarged 16 to preach the gospel in lands that lie beyond you without boasting about work already done in someone else’s assigned area. 17 Rather, let one who boasts, boast in the Lord, 18 for it is not the one who commends himself that is approved but the one whom the Lord commends.