Dangerous Calling
STEVE McKENZIE

Paul’s Sufferings as an Apostle

I repeat, let no one think me foolish. But even if you do, accept me as a fool, so that I toomay boast a little. What I am saying with this boastful confidence, I say not as the Lordwould but as a fool. Since many boast according to the flesh, I too will boast. For yougladly bear with fools, being wise yourselves! For you bear it if someone makes slaves ofyou, or devours you, or takes advantage of you, or puts on airs, or strikes you in the face. Tomy shame, I must say, we were too weak for that!

But whatever anyone else dares to boast of—I am speaking as a fool—I also dare toboast of that. Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they offspringof Abraham? So am I. Are they servants of Christ? I am a better one—I am talking like amadman—with far greater labors, far more imprisonments, with countless beatings, andoften near death. Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one.Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; anight and a day I was adrift at sea; on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, dangerfrom robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city,danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; in toil and hardship,through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold andexposure. And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety forall the churches. Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to fall, and I am notindignant?

If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness. The God and Father ofthe Lord Jesus, he who is blessed forever, knows that I am not lying. At Damascus, thegovernor under King Aretas was guarding the city of Damascus in order to seize me, but Iwas let down in a basket through a window in the wall and escaped his hands.