Please bear with me as I indulge in a little foolishness. Yes, please be patient, because I’m very concerned about you all.
To be honest, I feel like someone at a wedding where the bride’s getting ready to run away with another man! I thought that I’d arranged the perfect marriage between you and Christ. But now it seems that, just as Eve was deceived by the serpent in the garden, you’ve been tricked out of your first love for Christ. I mean, if someone comes to you and preaches a different “Jesus” to the Jesus that we preach, or if you receive a different spirit to the Holy Spirit who you once received, or a different gospel to the one you first accepted, you put up with that well enough.
I don’t see myself inferior to any of these “super apostles” who’ve been teaching such things. I may not have been trained as an orator, but I do have some knowledge, as I think we’ve demonstrated to you in the past.
Now, tell me, did I do wrong in humbling myself to elevate you when I brought the gospel of God to you without any charge? I accepted funding from other churches in order to serve you. And when I was with you and didn’t have enough to live on, I wasn’t a burden to anyone, for the brothers who came from Macedonia supplied me all that I needed. No, I’ve never been a burden to you – and I never shall be. As surely as the truth of Christ is in me, nobody in all the regions of Achaia will ever stop me from boasting of this. Why? Because I don’t love you? God knows that I do.
And I will carry on doing what I’m doing in order to cut the ground from under those people who are looking for an opportunity to boast that their work is just like ours. Well, it isn’t. And those people are false apostles – deceitful workers – who masquerade as apostles of Christ. But this isn’t surprising because Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. Little wonder, then, that his servants also masquerade as servants of right living. They will, however, receive the punishment they deserve.