Please donate to the Jerusalem church, for I have been bragging about your eagerness to the Macedonians, and we would both be humiliated if we come and find you unready.
If you are confident that you belong to Christ, so are we. Even if I boast too much of my own authority, it is for building you up and not tearing you down. I do not want to compare myself to “those who commend themselves by one another”, but for the sake of argument, let me do so. Those super-apostles say they have a superior gospel, and they are taking your financial support. I don’t accept your money, but is there anything wrong with that? Why are you upset by that? Is it because I do not love you that I refrain from burdening you, and was supported by my friends instead? These super-apostles say they are Hebrews; so am I! They say they’re Israelites, descendents of Abraham, and ministers of Christ. So am I! I am a better minister, with far greater labors, far more imprisonments, and far more afflictions. Fourteen years ago, I had an out-of-body experience and was taken up to third heaven to hear things that I cannot repeat.
I am coming to you a third time. I hope to find you as I wish–no quarreling, no jealousy, no anger, and no sexual immorality. I am writing this letter so that when I come, I will not have to be severe in exerting my authority.
Chapter 9 begins as if it were talking about the collection for Jerusalem for the first time, even though chapter 8 is about precisely the same topic. Many scholars think chapters 8 and 9 were originally separate letters, which an editor combined into 2 Corinthians.
In chapters 10-13, Paul’s tone is mocking and sarcastic. Other ministers, which Paul mockingly calls “super-apostles”, have come to the Corinthian church. They are apparently preaching a more Jewish version of the gospel, hence Paul’s claim to be just as Jewish as they are. Paul claims to be even better than they are. For example, just as they had visions and revelations from the Lord, Paul was taken up to “third heaven” 14 years ago. In mystical Judaism, “third heaven” is a paradise where one is granted a vision of the blessed.