Christ’s Epistle(A)

Do (B)we begin again to commend ourselves? Or do we need, as some others, (C)epistles of commendation to you or letters of commendation from you? (D)You are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read by all men; clearly you are an epistle of Christ, (E)ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not (F)on tablets of stone but (G)on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart.

The Spirit, Not the Letter

And we have such trust through Christ toward God. (H)Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but (I)our sufficiency is from God, who also made us sufficient as (J)ministers of (K)the new covenant, not (L)of the letter but of the [a]Spirit; for (M)the letter kills, (N)but the Spirit gives life.

Glory of the New Covenant

But if (O)the ministry of death, (P)written and engraved on stones, was glorious, (Q)so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of the glory of his countenance, which glory was passing away, how will (R)the ministry of the Spirit not be more glorious? For if the ministry of condemnation had glory, the ministry (S)of righteousness exceeds much more in glory. 10 For even what was made glorious had no glory in this respect, because of the glory that excels. 11 For if what is passing away was glorious, what remains is much more glorious.

12 Therefore, since we have such hope, (T)we use great boldness of speech— 13 unlike Moses, (U)who put a veil over his face so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at (V)the end of what was passing away. 14 But (W)their minds were blinded. For until this day the same veil remains unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament, because the veil is taken away in Christ. 15 But even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart. 16 Nevertheless (X)when one turns to the Lord, (Y)the veil is taken away. 17 Now (Z)the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is (AA)liberty. 18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding (AB)as in a mirror (AC)the glory of the Lord, (AD)are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as [b]by the Spirit of the Lord.

The Light of Christ’s Gospel

Therefore, since we have this ministry, (AE)as we have received mercy, we (AF)do not lose heart. But we have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness nor [c]handling the word of God deceitfully, but by manifestation of the truth (AG)commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. But even if our gospel is veiled, (AH)it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds (AI)the god of this age (AJ)has blinded, who do not believe, lest (AK)the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, (AL)who is the image of God, should shine on them. (AM)For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and (AN)ourselves your bondservants for Jesus’ sake. For it is the God (AO)who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has (AP)shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

Cast Down but Unconquered

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, (AQ)that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. We are (AR)hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not (AS)forsaken; (AT)struck down, but not destroyed— 10 (AU)always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, (AV)that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. 11 For we who live (AW)are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. 12 So then death is working in us, but life in you.

13 And since we have (AX)the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, (AY)“I believed and therefore I spoke,” we also believe and therefore speak, 14 knowing that (AZ)He who raised up the Lord Jesus will also raise us up with Jesus, and will present us with you. 15 For (BA)all things are for your sakes, that (BB)grace, having spread through the many, may cause thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God.

Seeing the Invisible

16 Therefore we (BC)do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is (BD)being renewed day by day. 17 For (BE)our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, 18 (BF)while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

Footnotes

  1. 2 Corinthians 3:6 Or spirit
  2. 2 Corinthians 3:18 Or from the Lord, the Spirit
  3. 2 Corinthians 4:2 adulterating the word of God