2 Corinthians 2:5-6:13 Amplified Bible (AMP)
5 But if [a]someone has caused [all this] sorrow, he has caused it not to me, but in some degree—not to put it too severely—[he has distressed and grieved] all of you. 6 For such a one this punishment by the majority is sufficient, 7 so instead [of further rebuke, now] you should rather [graciously] forgive and comfort and encourage him, to keep him from being overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. 8 Therefore I urge you to reinstate him in your affections and reaffirm your [b]love for him. 9 For this was my purpose in writing, to see if you would stand the test, whether you are obedient and committed to following my instruction in all things. 10 If you forgive anyone anything, I too forgive [that one]; and what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, has been for your sake in the presence of [and with the approval of] Christ, 11 to keep Satan from taking advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his schemes.
12 Now when I arrived at Troas to preach the good news of Christ, even though a door [of opportunity] opened for me in the Lord, 13 my spirit could not rest because I did not find my brother Titus there; so saying goodbye to them, I left for Macedonia.
14 But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us spreads and makes evident everywhere the sweet fragrance of the knowledge of Him. 15 For we are the sweet fragrance of Christ [which ascends] to God, [discernible both] among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing; 16 to the latter one an aroma from death to death [a fatal, offensive odor], but to the other an aroma from life to life [a vital fragrance, living and fresh]. And who is adequate and sufficiently qualified for these things? 17 For we are not like many, [acting like merchants] peddling God’s word [shortchanging and adulterating God’s message]; but from pure [uncompromised] motives, as [commissioned and sent] from God, we speak [His message] in Christ in the sight of God.
Ministers of a New Covenant
3 Are we starting to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, like some [false teachers], letters of recommendation to you or from you? [No!] 2 You are our letter [of recommendation], written in our hearts, recognized and read by everyone. 3 You show that you are a letter from Christ, delivered by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.
4 Such is the confidence and steadfast reliance and absolute trust that we have through Christ toward God. 5 Not that we are sufficiently qualified in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency and qualifications come from God. 6 He has qualified us [making us sufficient] as ministers of a new covenant [of salvation through Christ], not of the letter [of a written code] but of the Spirit; for the letter [of the Law] kills [by revealing sin and demanding obedience], but the Spirit gives life.
7 Now if the ministry of death, engraved in letters on stones [the covenant of the Law which led to death because of sin], came with such glory and splendor that the Israelites were not able to look steadily at the face of Moses because of its glory, [a brilliance] that was fading, 8 how will the ministry of the Spirit [the new covenant which allows us to be Spirit-filled] fail to be even more glorious and splendid? 9 For if the ministry that brings condemnation [the old covenant, the Law] has glory, how much more does glory overflow in the ministry that brings righteousness [the new covenant which declares believers free of guilt and sets them apart for God’s special purpose]! 10 Indeed, what had glory [the Law], in this case no longer has glory because of the glory that surpasses it [the gospel]. 11 For if that [Law] which fades away came with glory, how much more must that [gospel] which remains and is permanent abide in glory and splendor!
12 Since we have such a [glorious] hope and confident expectation, we speak with great courage, 13 and we are not like Moses, who used to put a veil over his face so that the Israelites would not gaze at the end of the glory which was fading away. 14 But [in fact] their minds were hardened [for they had lost the ability to understand]; for until this very day at the reading of the old covenant the same veil remains unlifted, because it is removed [only] in Christ. 15 But to this day whenever Moses is read, a veil [of blindness] lies over their heart; 16 but whenever a person turns [in repentance and faith] to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty [emancipation from bondage, true freedom]. 18 And we all, with unveiled face, continually seeing as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are progressively being transformed into His image from [one degree of] glory to [even more] glory, which comes from the Lord, [who is] the Spirit.
Paul’s Apostolic Ministry
4 Therefore, since we have this ministry, just as we received mercy [from God, granting us salvation, opportunities, and blessings], we do not get discouraged nor lose our motivation. 2 But we have renounced the disgraceful things hidden because of shame; not walking in trickery or adulterating the word of God, but by stating the truth [openly and plainly], we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. 3 But even if our gospel is [in some sense] hidden [behind a veil], it is hidden [only] to those who are perishing; 4 among them the god of this world [Satan] has blinded the minds of the unbelieving to prevent them from seeing the illuminating light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 5 For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves [merely] as your bond-servants for Jesus’ sake. 6 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” is the One who has shone in our hearts to give us the Light of the knowledge of the glory and majesty of God [clearly revealed] in the face of Christ.
7 But we have this precious treasure [the good news about salvation] in [unworthy] earthen vessels [of human frailty], so that the grandeur and surpassing greatness of the power will be [shown to be] from God [His sufficiency] and not from ourselves. 8 We are pressured in every way [hedged in], but not crushed; perplexed [unsure of finding a way out], but not driven to despair; 9 hunted down and persecuted, but not deserted [to stand alone]; struck down, but never destroyed; 10 always carrying around in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the [resurrection] life of Jesus also may be shown in our body. 11 For we who live are constantly [experiencing the threat of] being handed over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the [resurrection] life of Jesus also may be evidenced in our mortal body [which is subject to death]. 12 So physical death is [actively] at work in us, but [spiritual] life [is actively at work] in you.
13 Yet we have the same spirit of faith as he had, who wrote in Scripture, “I believed, therefore I spoke.” We also believe, therefore we also speak, 14 knowing that He who raised the Lord Jesus will also raise us with Jesus and will present us [along] with you in His presence. 15 For all [these] things are for your sake, so that as [God’s remarkable, undeserved] grace reaches to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of [our great] God.
16 Therefore we do not become discouraged [spiritless, disappointed, or afraid]. Though our outer self is [progressively] wasting away, yet our inner self is being [progressively] renewed day by day. 17 For our momentary, light distress [this passing trouble] is producing for us an eternal weight of glory [a fullness] beyond all measure [surpassing all comparisons, a transcendent splendor and an endless blessedness]! 18 So we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are unseen; for the things which are visible are temporal [just brief and fleeting], but the things which are invisible are everlasting and imperishable.
The Temporal and Eternal
5 For we know that if the earthly tent [our physical body] which is our house is torn down [through death], we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2 For indeed in this house we groan, longing to be clothed with our [immortal, eternal] celestial dwelling, 3 so that by putting it on we will not be found naked. 4 For while we are in this tent, we groan, being burdened [often weighed down, oppressed], not that we want to be unclothed [separated by death from the body], but to be clothed, so that what is mortal [the body] will be swallowed up by life [after the resurrection]. 5 Now He who has made us and prepared us for this very purpose is God, who gave us the [Holy] Spirit as a pledge [a guarantee, a down payment on the fulfillment of His promise].
6 So then, being always filled with good courage and confident hope, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord— 7 for we walk by faith, not by sight [living our lives in a manner consistent with our confident belief in God’s promises]— 8 we are [as I was saying] of good courage and confident hope, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord. 9 Therefore, whether we are at home [on earth] or away from home [and with Him], it is our [constant] ambition to be pleasing to Him. 10 For we [believers will be called to account and] must all appear before the [c]judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be repaid for what has been done in the body, whether good or [d]bad [that is, each will be held responsible for his actions, purposes, goals, motives—the use or misuse of his time, opportunities and abilities].
11 Therefore, since we know the fear of the Lord [and understand the importance of obedience and worship], we persuade people [to be reconciled to Him]. But we are plainly known to God [He knows everything about us]; and I hope that we are plainly known also in your consciences [your God-given discernment]. 12 We are not commending ourselves to you again, but are giving you an occasion to be [rightfully] proud of us, so that you will have an answer for those who take pride in [outward] appearances [the virtues they pretend to have] rather than what is [actually] in heart. 13 If we are out of our mind [just unstable fanatics as some critics say], it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for your benefit. 14 For the love of Christ controls and compels us, because we have concluded this, that One died for all, therefore all died; 15 and He died for all, so that all those who live would no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and was raised for their sake.
16 So from now on we regard no one from a human point of view [according to worldly standards and values]. Though we have known Christ from a human point of view, now we no longer know Him in this way. 17 Therefore if anyone is in Christ [that is, grafted in, joined to Him by faith in Him as Savior], he is a new creature [reborn and renewed by the Holy Spirit]; the old things [the previous moral and spiritual condition] have passed away. Behold, new things have come [because spiritual awakening brings a new life]. 18 But all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ [making us acceptable to Him] and gave us the ministry of reconciliation [so that by our example we might bring others to Him], 19 that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting people’s sins against them [but canceling them]. And He has committed to us the message of reconciliation [that is, restoration to favor with God].
20 So we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making His appeal through us; we [as Christ’s representatives] plead with you on behalf of Christ to be reconciled to God. 21 He made Christ who knew no sin to [judicially] be sin on our behalf, so that in Him we would become the righteousness of God [that is, we would be made acceptable to Him and placed in a right relationship with Him by His gracious lovingkindness].
Their Ministry Commended
6 Working together with Him, we strongly urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain [by turning away from sound doctrine and His merciful kindness]. 2 For He says,
“At the acceptable time (the time of grace) I listened to you,
Behold, now is “the acceptable time,” behold, now is “the day of salvation”—
3 we put no obstruction in anyone’s path, so that the ministry will not be discredited, 4 but we commend ourselves in every way as servants of God: in great endurance, in sufferings, in hardships, in distresses, 5 in beatings, in imprisonments, in riots, in labors, in sleepless nights, in hunger, 6 in purity and sincerity, in knowledge and spiritual insight, in patience, in kindness, in the Holy Spirit, in genuine love, 7 in [speaking] the word of truth, in the power of God; by the weapons of righteousness for the right hand [like holding the sword to attack] and for the left [like holding the shield to defend], 8 amid glory and dishonor; by evil report and good report; branded as deceivers and yet [vindicated as] truthful; 9 as unknown [to the world], yet well-known [by God and His people]; as dying, yet we live; as punished, yet not killed; 10 as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet bestowing riches on many; as having nothing, yet possessing all things.
11 We are speaking freely to you, Corinthians [we are keeping nothing back], and our heart is opened wide. 12 There is no limit to our affection for you, but you are limited in your own affection [for us]. 13 Now in the same way as a fair exchange [for our love toward you]—I am speaking as [I would] to children—open wide [your hearts] to us also.
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