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Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother,

To the church of God that is in Corinth, together with all the saints throughout Achaia:(A)

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.(B)

Paul’s Thanksgiving after Affliction

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all consolation,(C) who consoles us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to console those who are in any affliction with the consolation with which we ourselves are consoled by God. For just as the sufferings of Christ are abundant for us, so also our consolation is abundant through Christ.(D) If we are being afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation; if we are being consoled, it is for your consolation, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we are also suffering. Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our consolation.

We do not want you to be ignorant, brothers and sisters, of the affliction we experienced in Asia, for we were so utterly, unbearably crushed that we despaired of life itself.(E) Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death so that we would rely not on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. 10 He who rescued us from so deadly a peril will continue to rescue us;[a] on him we have set our hope that he will rescue us again,(F) 11 as you also join in helping us by your prayers, so that many may give thanks on our[b] behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many.(G)

The Postponement of Paul’s Visit

12 Indeed, this is our boast, the testimony of our conscience: we have behaved in the world with holiness[c] and godly sincerity, not by earthly wisdom but by the grace of God—and all the more toward you.(H) 13 For we write you nothing other than what you can read and also understand; I hope you will understand until the end— 14 as you have already understood us in part—that on the day of the Lord Jesus we are your boast even as you are our boast.(I)

15 Since I was sure of this, I wanted to come to you first, so that you might have a double favor;[d](J) 16 I wanted to visit you on my way to Macedonia and to come back to you from Macedonia and have you send me on to Judea.(K) 17 Was I vacillating when I wanted to do this? Do I make my plans according to ordinary human standards,[e] ready to say “Yes, yes” and “No, no” at the same time? 18 As surely as God is faithful, our word to you is not[f] “Yes and No.” 19 For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, whom we proclaimed among you, Silvanus and Timothy and I, was not “Yes and No,” but in him it has always been “Yes.”(L) 20 For in him every one of God’s promises is a “Yes.” For this reason it is through him that we say the “Amen,” to the glory of God.(M) 21 But it is God who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us,(N) 22 who has put his seal on us and given[g] us his Spirit in our hearts as a down payment.(O)

23 But I call on God as witness against me: it was to spare you that I did not come again to Corinth.(P) 24 I do not mean to imply that we lord it over your faith; rather, we are workers with you for your joy because you stand firm in faith.(Q) So I made up my mind not to make another visit that causes you grief.(R) For if I cause you grief, who is there to make me glad but the one whom I have grieved? And I wrote as I did, so that when I came, I might not suffer grief from those who should have made me rejoice, for I am confident about all of you, that my joy would be the joy of all of you.(S) For I wrote you out of much distress and anguish of heart and with many tears, not to cause you grief but to let you know the abundant love that I have for you.

Forgiveness for the Offender

But if anyone has caused grief, he has caused it not to me but to some extent—not to exaggerate it—to all of you. This punishment by the majority is enough for such a person;(T) so now instead you should forgive and console him, so that he may not be overwhelmed by even worse grief. So I urge you to reaffirm your love for him. I wrote for this reason: to test you and to know whether you are obedient in everything.(U) 10 Anyone whom you forgive, I also forgive. In fact, what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, has been for your sake in the presence of Christ. 11 And we do this so that we may not be outwitted by Satan, for we are not ignorant of his designs.

Paul’s Anxiety in Troas

12 When I came to Troas to proclaim the good news[h] of Christ, a door was opened for me in the Lord,(V) 13 but my mind could not rest because I did not find my brother Titus there. So I said farewell to them and went on to Macedonia.

14 But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession and through us spreads in every place the fragrance that comes from knowing him.[i] 15 For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing:(W) 16 to the one group a fragrance from death[j] to death, to the other a fragrance from life[k] to life. Who is qualified for these things?(X) 17 For we are not peddlers of God’s word like so many,[l] but as persons of sincerity, as persons sent from God, we are speaking in Christ before God.(Y)

Ministers of the New Covenant

Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Surely we do not need, as some do, letters of recommendation to you or from you, do we?(Z) You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by all, and you show that you are a letter of Christ, prepared by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets that are human hearts.[m](AA)

Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are qualified of ourselves to claim anything as coming from us; our qualification is from God,(AB) who has made us qualified to be ministers of a new covenant, not of letter but of spirit, for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.(AC)

Now if the ministry of death, chiseled in letters on stone tablets,[n] came in glory so that the people of Israel could not gaze at Moses’s face because of the glory of his face, a glory now set aside,(AD) how much more will the ministry of the Spirit come in glory? For if there was glory in the ministry of condemnation,[o] much more does the ministry of justification abound in glory!(AE) 10 Indeed, what once had glory has in this respect lost its glory because of the greater glory, 11 for if what was set aside came through glory, much more has the permanent come in glory!

12 Since, then, we have such a hope, we act with complete frankness,(AF) 13 not like Moses, who put a veil over his face to keep the people of Israel from gazing at the end of the glory that[p] was being set aside.(AG) 14 But their minds were hardened. Indeed, to this very day, when they hear the reading of the old covenant, the same veil is still there; it is not unveiled since in Christ it is set aside.(AH) 15 Indeed, to this very day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their minds,[q] 16 but when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed.(AI) 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.(AJ) 18 And all of us, with unveiled faces, seeing the glory of the Lord as though reflected in a mirror, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another, for this comes from the Lord, the Spirit.(AK)

Treasure in Clay Jars

Therefore, since it is by God’s mercy that we are engaged in this ministry, we do not lose heart.(AL) We have renounced the shameful, underhanded ways; we refuse to practice cunning or to falsify God’s word, but by the open statement of the truth we commend ourselves to the conscience of everyone in the sight of God.(AM) And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing.(AN) In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing clearly the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.(AO) For we do not proclaim ourselves; we proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord and ourselves as your slaves for Jesus’s sake.(AP) For it is the God who said, “Light will shine out of darkness,” who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.(AQ)

But we have this treasure in clay jars, so that it may be made clear that this extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from us.(AR) We are afflicted in every way but not crushed, perplexed but not driven to despair, persecuted but not forsaken, struck down but not destroyed, 10 always carrying around in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be made visible in our bodies.(AS) 11 For we who are living are always being handed over to death for Jesus’s sake, so that the life of Jesus may also be made visible in our mortal flesh. 12 So death is at work in us but life in you.

13 But just as we have the same spirit of faith that is in accordance with scripture—“I believed, and so I spoke”—we also believe, and therefore we also speak,(AT) 14 because we know that the one who raised Jesus[r] will also raise us with Jesus and will present us with you in his presence.(AU) 15 Indeed, everything is for your sake, so that grace, when it has extended to more and more people, may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.

Living by Faith

16 So we do not lose heart. Even though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day.(AV) 17 For our slight, momentary affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all measure,(AW) 18 because we look not at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen, for what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal.(AX)

For we know that, if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.(AY) For in this tent we groan, longing to be further clothed with our heavenly dwelling, for surely when we have been clothed in it[s] we will not be found naked. For while we are in this tent, we groan under our burden because we wish not to be unclothed but to be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.(AZ) The one who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a down payment.(BA)

So we are always confident, even though we know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord— for we walk by faith, not by sight.(BB) Yes, we do have confidence, and we would 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 be pleasing to him. 10 For all of us must appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each may receive due recompense for actions done in the body, whether good or evil.(BC)

The Ministry of Reconciliation

11 Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we try to persuade people, but we ourselves are well known to God, and I hope that we are also well known to your consciences.(BD) 12 We are not commending ourselves to you again but giving you an opportunity to boast about us, so that you may be able to answer those who boast in outward appearance and not in the heart.(BE) 13 For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you.(BF) 14 For the love of Christ urges us on, because we are convinced that one has died for all; therefore all have died.(BG) 15 And he died for all, so that those who live might live no longer for themselves but for the one who for their sake died and was raised.

16 From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view;[t] even though we once knew Christ from a human point of view,[u] we no longer know him in that way.(BH) 17 So if anyone is in Christ, there[v] is a new creation: everything old has passed away; look, new things have come into being![w](BI) 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and has given us the ministry of reconciliation;(BJ) 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself,[x] not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us.(BK) 20 So we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us; we entreat you on behalf of Christ: be reconciled to God.(BL) 21 For our sake God made the one who knew no sin to be sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.(BM)


  1. 1.10 Other ancient authorities read is rescuing us or lack the phrase
  2. 1.11 Other ancient authorities read your
  3. 1.12 Other ancient authorities read simplicity
  4. 1.15 Other ancient authorities read joy
  5. 1.17 Gk according to the flesh
  6. 1.18 Other ancient authorities read was not
  7. 1.22 Other ancient authorities read by putting . . . and giving
  8. 2.12 Or the gospel
  9. 2.14 Gk the fragrance of the knowledge of him
  10. 2.16 Other ancient authorities read fragrance of death that leads
  11. 2.16 Other ancient authorities read fragrance of life that leads
  12. 2.17 Other ancient authorities read like the rest
  13. 3.3 Gk hearts of flesh
  14. 3.7 Gk on stones
  15. 3.9 Other ancient authorities read If the ministry of condemnation constituted glory
  16. 3.13 Gk of what
  17. 3.15 Gk their heart
  18. 4.14 Other ancient authorities read Lord Jesus
  19. 5.3 Other ancient authorities read taken it off
  20. 5.16 Gk according to the flesh
  21. 5.16 Gk according to the flesh
  22. 5.17 Or that person
  23. 5.17 Other ancient authorities read everything has become new
  24. 5.19 Or God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself