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Do you think we are starting again to tell how good we are? Do we need letters to tell about us, as some teachers do? We do not need letters to you or from you to praise us.

You yourselves are our letter. This letter has been written in our hearts. All people can read it and understand it.

All can see that you are a letter from Christ written by us. It is not written in ink, but it is written in the Spirit of the living God. It is not written on pieces of rock, but on the hearts of people.

We can say this because we trust in God. And we trust in God because of Christ.

We are not good enough to think we can do anything ourselves. But God makes us able to do it.

God has made a new start with people. He has given us a new way back to God. It is not a written law. The Spirit gives it to us. The written law brings death, but the Spirit gives life.

The old law that brought death was written on pieces of rock. There was a very bright light when God gave it to the people. The people of Israel could not look at Moses because his face was so bright. And even as they saw it, the light on his face was going away.

Now bringing the law was bright and wonderful. Will not bringing the Spirit be far more bright and wonderful?

Bringing the law was a wonderful thing even though it brought death. So bringing the good news that people can be put right with God is much more wonderful.

10 The law was so bright and wonderful at first but has no light now. There is something else that is so much more bright and wonderful.

11 The one which does not stay alive for ever came first in a great light. Does not the one which does stay alive have a much brighter light?

12 Because we believe this, we do not fear.

13 We are not like Moses. He put a cloth over his face so that the people of Israel would not see that the light from God was dying.

14 But their minds were made dull. Even today, when the old law of God is read, it is as if a cloth still covers it. It is Christ who takes the cloth away.

15 Yes, even today, when the books of Moses are read, it is as if a cloth covers their hearts and minds.

16 But when a man turns to the Lord, the cloth is taken away.

17 Now the Lord is the Spirit. Where the Spirit of the Lord is, people are set free.

18 All of us have no cloth over our faces. People can see that we have some of the bright and wonderful light that the Lord has. And we are becoming brighter and brighter, more and more like him. It is the Lord, the Spirit, who does this.

Are we beginning to commend ourselves(A) again? Or do we need, like some people, letters of recommendation(B) to you or from you? You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everyone.(C) You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God,(D) not on tablets of stone(E) but on tablets of human hearts.(F)

Such confidence(G) we have through Christ before God. Not that we are competent in ourselves(H) to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God.(I) He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant(J)—not of the letter(K) but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.(L)

The Greater Glory of the New Covenant

Now if the ministry that brought death,(M) which was engraved in letters on stone, came with glory, so that the Israelites could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of its glory,(N) transitory though it was, will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious? If the ministry that brought condemnation(O) was glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness!(P) 10 For what was glorious has no glory now in comparison with the surpassing glory. 11 And if what was transitory came with glory, how much greater is the glory of that which lasts!

12 Therefore, since we have such a hope,(Q) we are very bold.(R) 13 We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face(S) to prevent the Israelites from seeing the end of what was passing away. 14 But their minds were made dull,(T) for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant(U) is read.(V) It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away. 15 Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. 16 But whenever anyone turns to the Lord,(W) the veil is taken away.(X) 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit,(Y) and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.(Z) 18 And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate[a](AA) the Lord’s glory,(AB) are being transformed into his image(AC) with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.


  1. 2 Corinthians 3:18 Or reflect