2 Corinthians 3

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 our1 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.2

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 pone3 turns to the Lord, qthe veil is removed. 17 Now the Lord4 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,5 vare being transformed into the same image wfrom one degree of glory to another.6 For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.

The Light of the Gospel

Therefore, having xthis ministry yby the mercy of God,1 we do not lose heart. But we have renounced zdisgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice2 cunning or ato tamper with God's word, but bby the open statement of the truth cwe would commend ourselves to everyone's conscience in the sight of God. And even dif our gospel is veiled, eit is veiled to fthose who are perishing. In their case gthe god of this world dhas blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing hthe light of ithe gospel of the glory of Christ, jwho is the image of God. For what kwe proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with lourselves as your servants3 for Jesus' sake. For God, who said, mLet light shine out of darkness, nhas shone in our hearts to give othe light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

Treasure in Jars of Clay

But we have this treasure in pjars of clay, qto show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are rafflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but snot forsaken; tstruck down, but not destroyed; 10 ualways carrying in the body the death of Jesus, vso that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. 11 For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. 12 So wdeath is at work in us, but life in you.

13 Since we have xthe same spirit of faith according to what has been written, yI believed, and so I spoke, we also believe, and so we also speak, 14 knowing that zhe who raised the Lord Jesus awill raise us also with Jesus and bbring us with you into his presence. 15 For cit is all for your sake, so that as dgrace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, eto the glory of God.

16 So we do not lose heart. fThough our outer self4 is wasting away, gour inner self his being renewed day by day. 17 For ithis light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18 jas we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

Our Heavenly Dwelling

For we know that if kthe tent that is lour earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, ma house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this tent nwe groan, longing to oput on our heavenly dwelling, if indeed by putting it on1 we may not be found naked. For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdenednot that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal pmay be swallowed up by life. He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, qwho has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.

So we are always of good courage. We know that rwhile we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for swe walk by faith, not tby sight. Yes, we are of good courage, and we uwould rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to vplease him. 10 For wwe must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, xso that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.

The Ministry of Reconciliation

11 Therefore, knowing ythe fear of the Lord, we persuade others. But zwhat we are is known to God, and I hope it is known also to your conscience. 12 aWe are not commending ourselves to you again but bgiving you cause to boast about us, so that you may be able to answer those who boast about outward appearance and not about what is in the heart. 13 For if we care beside ourselves, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. 14 For the love of Christ dcontrols us, because we have concluded this: that eone has died for all, therefore all have died; 15 and he died for all, fthat those who live might no longer live for themselves but gfor him who for their sake died and was raised.

16 From now on, therefore, hwe regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is iin Christ, he is ja new creation.2 kThe old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 18 All this is from God, lwho through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us mthe ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling3 the world to himself, nnot counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us mthe message of reconciliation. 20 Therefore, owe are ambassadors for Christ, pGod making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 qFor our sake he made him to be sin rwho knew no sin, so that in him we might become sthe righteousness of God.