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2 Corinthians 2 Good News Translation (GNT)

So I made up my mind not to come to you again to make you sad. For if I were to make you sad, who would be left to cheer me up? Only the very persons I had made sad. That is why I wrote that letter to you—I did not want to come to you and be made sad by the very people who should make me glad. For I am convinced that when I am happy, then all of you are happy too. I wrote you with a greatly troubled and distressed heart and with many tears; my purpose was not to make you sad, but to make you realize how much I love you all.

Forgiveness for the Offender

Now, if anyone has made somebody sad, he has not done it to me but to all of you—in part, at least. (I say this because I do not want to be too hard on him.) It is enough that this person has been punished in this way by most of you. Now, however, you should forgive him and encourage him, in order to keep him from becoming so sad as to give up completely. And so I beg you to let him know that you really do love him. I wrote you that letter because I wanted to find out how well you had stood the test and whether you are always ready to obey my instructions. 10 When you forgive people for what they have done, I forgive them too. For when I forgive—if, indeed, I need to forgive anything—I do it in Christ's presence because of you, 11 in order to keep Satan from getting the upper hand over us; for we know what his plans are.

Paul's Anxiety in Troas

12 When I arrived in Troas to preach the Good News about Christ, I found that the Lord had opened the way for the work there. 13 But I was deeply worried, because I could not find our brother Titus. So I said good-bye to the people there and went on to Macedonia.

Victory through Christ

14 But thanks be to God! For in union with Christ we are always led by God as prisoners in Christ's victory procession. God uses us to make the knowledge about Christ spread everywhere like a sweet fragrance. 15 For we are like a sweet-smelling incense offered by Christ to God, which spreads among those who are being saved and those who are being lost. 16 For those who are being lost, it is a deadly stench that kills; but for those who are being saved, it is a fragrance that brings life. Who, then, is capable for such a task? 17 We are not like so many others, who handle God's message as if it were cheap merchandise; but because God has sent us, we speak with sincerity in his presence, as servants of Christ.

Good News Translation (GNT)

Copyright © 1992 by American Bible Society

2 Corinthians 2 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

So I made up my mind not to make you another painful visit. For if 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; for I am confident about all of you, that my joy would be the joy of all of you. For I wrote you out of much distress 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.

Forgiveness for the Offender

But if anyone has caused pain, 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; so now instead you should forgive and console him, so that he may not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. 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. 10 Anyone whom you forgive, I also forgive. 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 of Christ, a door was opened for me in the Lord; 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. 15 For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing; 16 to the one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things? 17 For we are not peddlers of God’s word like so many;[a] but in Christ we speak as persons of sincerity, as persons sent from God and standing in his presence.

Footnotes:

  1. 2 Corinthians 2:17 Other ancient authorities read like the others
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

2 Corinthians 2 Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)

So I made up my mind that I would not pay you another painful visit. For if I cause you pain, who is left to make me happy except the people I have pained? Indeed, this is why I wrote as I did — so that when I came, I would not have to be pained by those who ought to be making me happy; for I had enough confidence in all of you to believe that unless I could be happy, none of you could be happy either. I wrote to you with a greatly distressed and anguished heart, and with many tears, not in order to cause you pain, but to get you to realize how very much I love you.

Now if someone has been a cause of pain, it is not I whom he has pained, but, in some measure — I don’t want to overstate it — all of you. For such a person the punishment already imposed on him by the majority is sufficient, so that now you should do the opposite — forgive him, encourage him, comfort him. Otherwise such a person might be swallowed up in overwhelming depression. So I urge you to show that you really do love him. The reason I wrote you was to see if you would pass the test, to see if you would fully obey me. 10 Anyone you forgive, I forgive too. For indeed, whatever I have forgiven, if there has been anything to forgive, has been for your sake in the presence of the Messiah 11 so that we will not be taken advantage of by the Adversary — for we are quite aware of his schemes!

12 Now when I went to Troas to proclaim the Good News of the Messiah, since a door had been opened for me by the Lord, 13 I could not rest, because I failed to find my brother Titus. So I left the people there and went on to Macedonia.

14 But thanks be to God, who in the Messiah constantly leads us in a triumphal procession and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of what it means to know him! 15 For to God we are the aroma of the Messiah, both among those being saved and among those being lost; 16 to the latter, we are the smell of death leading only to more death; but to the former, we are the sweet smell of life leading to more life. Who is equal to such a task? 17 For we are not like a lot of folks who go about huckstering God’s message for a fee; on the contrary, we speak out of a sincere heart, as people sent by God, standing in God’s presence, living in union with the Messiah.

Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)

Copyright © 1998 by David H. Stern. All rights reserved.

2 Corinthians 2 The Message (MSG)

1-2 That’s why I decided not to make another visit that could only be painful to both of us. If by merely showing up I would put you in an embarrassingly painful position, how would you then be free to cheer and refresh me?

3-4 That was my reason for writing a letter instead of coming—so I wouldn’t have to spend a miserable time disappointing the very friends I had looked forward to cheering me up. I was convinced at the time I wrote it that what was best for me was also best for you. As it turned out, there was pain enough just in writing that letter, more tears than ink on the parchment. But I didn’t write it to cause pain; I wrote it so you would know how much I care—oh, more than care—love you!

5-8 Now, regarding the one who started all this—the person in question who caused all this pain—I want you to know that I am not the one injured in this as much as, with a few exceptions, all of you. So I don’t want to come down too hard. What the majority of you agreed to as punishment is punishment enough. Now is the time to forgive this man and help him back on his feet. If all you do is pour on the guilt, you could very well drown him in it. My counsel now is to pour on the love.

9-11 The focus of my letter wasn’t on punishing the offender but on getting you to take responsibility for the health of the church. So if you forgive him, I forgive him. Don’t think I’m carrying around a list of personal grudges. The fact is that I’m joining in with your forgiveness, as Christ is with us, guiding us. After all, we don’t want to unwittingly give Satan an opening for yet more mischief—we’re not oblivious to his sly ways!

An Open Door

12-14 When I arrived in Troas to proclaim the Message of the Messiah, I found the place wide open: God had opened the door; all I had to do was walk through it. But when I didn’t find Titus waiting for me with news of your condition, I couldn’t relax. Worried about you, I left and came on to Macedonia province looking for Titus and a reassuring word on you. And I got it, thank God!

14-16 In the Messiah, in Christ, God leads us from place to place in one perpetual victory parade. Through us, he brings knowledge of Christ. Everywhere we go, people breathe in the exquisite fragrance. Because of Christ, we give off a sweet scent rising to God, which is recognized by those on the way of salvation—an aroma redolent with life. But those on the way to destruction treat us more like the stench from a rotting corpse.

16-17 This is a terrific responsibility. Is anyone competent to take it on? No—but at least we don’t take God’s Word, water it down, and then take it to the streets to sell it cheap. We stand in Christ’s presence when we speak; God looks us in the face. We get what we say straight from God and say it as honestly as we can.

The Message (MSG)

Copyright © 1993, 2002, 2018 by Eugene H. Peterson

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