Paul’s Many Trials
Again I say, don’t think that I am a fool to talk like this. But even if you do, listen to me, as you would to a foolish
person, while I also boast a little. Such boasting is not from the Lord, but I am acting like a fool. And since others
boast about their human achievements, I will, too. After all, you think you are so wise, but you enjoy putting up with
fools! You put up with it when someone enslaves you, takes everything you have, takes advantage of you, takes control
of everything, and slaps you in the face. I’m ashamed to say that we’ve been too “weak” to do that!
But whatever they dare to boast about—I’m talking like a fool again—I dare to boast about it, too. Are they Hebrews?
So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they descendants of Abraham? So am I. Are they servants of Christ? I know I
sound like a madman, but I have served him far more! I have worked harder, been put in prison more often, been whipped
times without number, and faced death again and again. Five different times the Jewish leaders gave me thirty-nine lashes.
Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked. Once I spent a whole night and a day
adrift at sea. I have traveled on many long journeys. I have faced danger from rivers and from robbers. I have faced danger
from my own people, the Jews, as well as from the Gentiles. I have faced danger in the cities, in the deserts, and on the
seas. And I have faced danger from men who claim to be believers but are not. I have worked hard and long, enduring many
sleepless nights. I have been hungry and thirsty and have often gone without food. I have shivered in the cold, without
enough clothing to keep me warm.
Then, besides all this, I have the daily burden of my concern for all the churches. Who is weak without my feeling that
weakness? Who is led astray, and I do not burn with anger?
If I must boast, I would rather boast about the things that show how weak I am. God, the Father of our Lord Jesus, who is
worthy of eternal praise, knows I am not lying. When I was in Damascus, the governor under King Aretas kept guards at the
city gates to catch me. I had to be lowered in a basket through a window in the city wall to escape from him.