But wait! You want more, Corinthians? You got it. Let's talk visions. Paul's had those, too.
One time, about fourteen years ago, Paul was "caught up to the third heaven." Yeah, that's right. Paul's had a vision that he was transported to Paradise. Boo-ya.
He saw all kinds of crazy things. Things he can't even tell people about (God is pretty secretive about what's going on in Heaven).
Every Paul Has His Thorn
Look, Paul hates all this bragging. He absolutely despises doing it. But he's been backed into a corner. The Corinthians are asking him to prove himself, so what else can he do?
He hates talking about himself—he only wants to brag about the things God has done.
Even God doesn't want Paul to get all high and mighty.
After he had this amazing vision of Heaven, Paul had some medical problems. He says, "a thorn was given to me in the flesh." That doesn't sound good.
Whatever happened (it seems like some kind of illness), Paul prayed three times for the misery to just end already.
Finally, God told him to knock it off: "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness." Wow, God really has a way with words.
So this is how Paul knows that God is cool with weakness. And Paul basks in the glow of his super powerlessness. His weakness actually makes him strong. Put that in your pipe and smoke it, false apostles.
Honesty, Thy Name Is Paul
Yes, Paul is acting really stupid now by doing all this bragging, but he's been forced into by the Corinthians. They should have been defending him, and instead, they were cozying up to these false apostles. For shame!
After all, what did he really do wrong? He doesn't talk about how awesome he is day and night. That's terrible! He doesn't take money from them. Awful!
When Paul comes for his third visit to Corinth (which is happening soon), their money is still no good to him. After all, parents support their children, not the other way around. Paul is one proud papa.
So even though Paul swears up and down that hasn't taken any money from them, there's still some suspicion around that he's somehow trying to scam the Corinthians.
There are rumors floating around that Paul may be keeping a little bit of the money from the collection in Jerusalem for himself. Paul mentions Titus and the other guy he sent (remember them from chapter 9?) to defend himself. None of them have been dishonest at all.
The Rumor Mill at Work
Look, everything Paul says is for their own good. Typical dad stuff.
Paul is pretty worried that when he visits this next time things are not going to go well.
The Corinthians aren't going like him and he won't be real happy with them either.
He's heard rumors about all kinds of bad stuff: fights, jealousy, anger, selfishness, gossip, arrogance, sexual immorality. Things sound pretty juicy in Corinth.