2 Corinthians 1–3; Psalm 103

2 Corinthians Illustration

2 Corinthians

Greeting

Paul, aan apostle of Christ Jesus bby the will of God, and cTimothy our brother,

To the church of God that is at Corinth, dwith all the saints who are in the whole of Achaia:

eGrace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

God of All Comfort

fBlessed be the gGod and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and hGod of all comfort, iwho comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in jChrist’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.1 kIf we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you lshare in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort.

For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers,2 of mthe affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us nrely not on ourselves obut on God pwho raises the dead. 10 qHe delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. rOn him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again. 11 sYou also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf tfor the blessing granted us through the prayers of many.

Paul’s Change of Plans

12 For our boast is this, uthe testimony of our conscience, that we behaved in the world with simplicity3 and vgodly sincerity, wnot by earthly wisdom but by the grace of God, and supremely so toward you. 13 For we are not writing to you anything other than what you read and understand and I hope you will fully understand 14 just as you did xpartially understand usthat yon the day of our Lord Jesus zyou will boast of us as awe will boast of you.

15 Because I was sure of this, bI wanted to come to you first, so that you might have ca second dexperience of grace. 16 I wanted to visit you eon my way to Macedonia, and to come back to you from Macedonia and have you send me on my way to Judea. 17 Was I vacillating when I wanted to do this? Do I make my plans faccording to the flesh, ready to say Yes, yes and No, no at the same time? 18 As surely as gGod is faithful, hour word to you has not been Yes and No. 19 For ithe Son of God, Jesus Christ, whom we proclaimed among you, jSilvanus and Timothy and I, was not Yes and No, but kin him it is always Yes. 20 For lall the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our mAmen to God for his glory. 21 And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and nhas anointed us, 22 and who has also oput his seal on us and pgiven us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.4

23 But qI call God to witness against meit was rto spare you that I refrained from coming again to Corinth. 24 Not that we slord it over your faith, but we work with you for your joy, for you stand firm tin your faith.

For I made up my mind unot to make another painful visit to you. For vif I cause you pain, who is there to make me glad but the one whom I have pained? And I wrote as I did, so that when I came I might not suffer pain from those who should have made me rejoice, wfor I felt sure of all of you, that my joy would be the joy of you all. For xI wrote to you out of much affliction and anguish of heart and with many tears, not to cause you pain but to let you know the abundant love that I have for you.

Forgive the Sinner

Now yif anyone has caused pain, zhe has caused it not to me, but ain some measurenot to put it too severelyto all of you. For such a one, bthis punishment by the majority is enough, so cyou should rather turn to forgive and comfort him, or he may be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. So I beg you to reaffirm your love for him. For this is why I wrote, that I might dtest you and know ewhether you are obedient in everything. 10 Anyone whom you forgive, I also forgive. Indeed, what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, has been for your sake in the presence of Christ, 11 so that we would not be outwitted by Satan; for fwe are not ignorant of his designs.

Triumph in Christ

12 When gI came to Troas to preach the gospel of Christ, even though ha door was opened for me in the Lord, 13 my spirit iwas not at rest because I did not find my brother Titus there. So I took leave of them and went on to Macedonia.

14 But jthanks be to God, who in Christ always kleads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads lthe fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. 15 For we are the aroma of Christ to God among mthose who are being saved and among nthose who are perishing, 16 oto one a fragrance from death to death, oto the other a fragrance from life to life. pWho is sufficient for these things? 17 For we are not, like so many, peddlers of God’s word, but as men of sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ.

Ministers of the New Covenant

qAre we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, ras some do, sletters of recommendation to you, or from you? tYou yourselves are our letter of recommendation, written on our5 hearts, to be known and read by all. And you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of uthe living God, not on vtablets of stone but on wtablets of xhuman hearts.6

ySuch is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. zNot that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but aour sufficiency is from God, who has made us sufficient to be bministers of ca new covenant, not of dthe letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but ethe Spirit gives life.

Now if fthe ministry of death, carved in letters on stone, came with such glory gthat the Israelites could not gaze at Moses’ face because of its glory, which was being brought to an end, will not the ministry of the Spirit have even more glory? For if there was glory in hthe ministry of condemnation, ithe ministry of righteousness must far exceed it in glory. 10 Indeed, in this case, what once had glory has come to have no glory at all, because of the glory that surpasses it. 11 For if what was being brought to an end came with glory, much more will what is permanent have glory.

12 Since we have such a hope, jwe are very bold, 13 not like Moses, kwho would put a veil over his face so that the Israelites might not gaze at the outcome of what was being brought to an end. 14 But ltheir minds were mhardened. For to this day, nwhen they read othe old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away. 15 Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts. 16 But when pone7 turns to the Lord, qthe veil is removed. 17 Now the Lord8 is the Spirit, and where rthe Spirit of the Lord is, there is sfreedom. 18 And we all, with unveiled face, tbeholding uthe glory of the Lord,9 vare being transformed into the same image wfrom one degree of glory to another.10 For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.


Bless the Lord, O My Soul

Of David.

103  yBless the Lord, O my soul,

and all that is within me,

bless his holy name!

yBless the Lord, O my soul,

and zforget not all his benefits,

who aforgives all your iniquity,

who bheals all your diseases,

who credeems your life from the pit,

who dcrowns you with steadfast love and mercy,

who esatisfies you with good

so that your youth is renewed like fthe eagle’s.

The Lord works grighteousness

and justice for all who are oppressed.

He made known his hways to Moses,

his iacts to the people of Israel.

The Lord is jmerciful and gracious,

slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.

kHe will not always chide,

nor will he lkeep his anger forever.

10  He does not deal with us maccording to our sins,

nor repay us according to our iniquities.

11  For nas high as the heavens are above the earth,

so great is his osteadfast love toward pthose who fear him;

12  as far as the east is from the west,

so far does he qremove our transgressions from us.

13  As ra father shows compassion to his children,

so the Lord shows compassion pto those who fear him.

14  For he knows our frame;1

he sremembers that we are dust.

15  As for man, his days are like tgrass;

he flourishes like ua flower of the field;

16  for vthe wind passes over it, and wit is gone,

and xits place knows it no more.

17  But ythe steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on pthose who fear him,

and his righteousness to zchildren’s children,

18  to those who akeep his covenant

and bremember to do his commandments.

19  The Lord has cestablished his throne in the heavens,

and his dkingdom rules over all.

20  Bless the Lord, O you ehis angels,

you fmighty ones who gdo his word,

obeying the voice of his word!

21  Bless the Lord, all his hhosts,

his iministers, who do his will!

22  jBless the Lord, all his works,

in all places of his dominion.

kBless the Lord, O my soul!