2 Corinthians 1-3 Common English Bible (CEB)
1 From Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by God’s will, and Timothy our brother.
To God’s church that is in Corinth, along with all of God’s people throughout Achaia.
2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and from our Lord Jesus Christ.
God’s comfort in trouble
3 May the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ be blessed! He is the compassionate Father and God of all comfort. 4 He’s the one who comforts us in all our trouble so that we can comfort other people who are in every kind of trouble. We offer the same comfort that we ourselves received from God. 5 That is because we receive so much comfort through Christ in the same way that we share so many of Christ’s sufferings. 6 So if we have trouble, it is to bring you comfort and salvation. If we are comforted, it is to bring you comfort from the experience of endurance while you go through the same sufferings that we also suffer. 7 Our hope for you is certain, because we know that as you are partners in suffering, so also you are partners in comfort.
8 Brothers and sisters, we don’t want you to be unaware of the troubles that we went through in Asia. We were weighed down with a load of suffering that was so far beyond our strength that we were afraid we might not survive. 9 It certainly seemed to us as if we had gotten the death penalty. This was so that we would have confidence in God, who raises the dead, instead of ourselves. 10 God rescued us from a terrible death, and he will rescue us. We have set our hope on him that he will rescue us again, 11 since you are helping with your prayer for us. Then many people can thank God on our behalf for the gift that was given to us through the prayers of many people.
Paul explains his change of plans
12 We have conducted ourselves with godly sincerity and pure motives in the world, and especially toward you. This is why we are confident, and our conscience confirms this. We didn’t act with human wisdom but we relied on the grace of God. 13 We don’t write anything to you except what you can read and also understand. I hope that you will understand totally 14 since you have already understood us partly. Understand that in the day of our Lord Jesus, we will make you proud as you will also make us proud.
15 Because I was sure of this, I wanted to visit you first so that you could have a second opportunity to see me. 16 I wanted to visit you on my way to Macedonia, and then come to you again on my way back from Macedonia, at which point I was hoping you would help me on my way to Judea.
17 So I wasn’t unreliable when I planned to do this, was I? Or do I make decisions with a substandard human process so that I say “Yes, yes” and “No, no” at the same time? 18 But as God is faithful, our message to you isn’t both yes and no. 19 God’s Son, Jesus Christ, is the one who was preached among you by us—through me, Silvanus, and Timothy—he wasn’t yes and no. In him it is always yes. 20 All of God’s promises have their yes in him. That is why we say Amen through him to the glory of God.
21 God is the one who establishes us with you in Christ and who anointed us. 22 God also sealed us and gave the Spirit as a down payment in our hearts. 23 I call on God as my witness—I didn’t come again to Corinth because I wanted to spare you. 24 It isn’t that we are trying to control your faith, but we are working with you for your happiness, because you stand firm in your faith. 2 1 So I decided that, for my own sake, I wouldn’t visit you again while I was upset. 2 If I make you sad, who will be there to make me glad when you are sad because of me?
Paul’s former letter
3 That’s why I wrote this very thing to you, so that when I came I wouldn’t be made sad by the ones who ought to make me happy. I have confidence in you, that my happiness means your happiness. 4 I wrote to you in tears, with a very troubled and anxious heart. I didn’t write to make you sad but so you would know the overwhelming love that I have for you.
5 But if someone has made anyone sad, that person hasn’t hurt me but all of you to some degree (not to exaggerate). 6 The punishment handed out by the majority is enough for this person. 7 This is why you should try your best to forgive and to comfort this person now instead, so that this person isn’t overwhelmed by too much sorrow. 8 So I encourage you to show your love for this person.
9 This is another reason why I wrote you. I wanted to test you and see if you are obedient in everything. 10 If you forgive anyone for anything, I do too. And whatever I’ve forgiven (if I’ve forgiven anything), I did it for you in the presence of Christ. 11 This is so that we won’t be taken advantage of by Satan, because we are well aware of his schemes.
12 When I came to Troas to preach Christ’s gospel, the Lord gave me an opportunity to preach. 13 But I was worried because I couldn’t find my brother Titus there. So I said good-bye to them and went on to Macedonia.
14 But thank God, who is always leading us around through Christ as if we were in a parade. He releases the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere through us. 15 We smell like the aroma of Christ’s offering to God, both to those who are being saved and to those who are on the road to destruction. 16 We smell like a contagious dead person to those who are dying, but we smell like the fountain of life to those who are being saved.
Who is qualified for this kind of ministry? 17 We aren’t like so many people who hustle the word of God to make a profit. We are speaking through Christ in the presence of God, as those who are sincere and as those who are sent from God.
3 Are we starting to commend ourselves again? We don’t need letters of introduction to you or from you like other people, do we? 2 You are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everyone. 3 You show that you are Christ’s letter, delivered by us. You weren’t written with ink but with the Spirit of the living God. You weren’t written on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.
4 This is the confidence that we have through Christ in the presence of God. 5 It isn’t that we ourselves are qualified to claim that anything came from us. No, our qualification is from God. 6 He has qualified us as ministers of a new covenant, not based on what is written but on the Spirit, because what is written kills, but the Spirit gives life.
Ministers of the new covenant
7 The ministry that brought death was carved in letters on stone tablets. It came with such glory that the Israelites couldn’t look for long at Moses’ face because his face was shining with glory, even though it was a fading glory. 8 Won’t the ministry of the Spirit be much more glorious? 9 If the ministry that brought condemnation has glory, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness? 10 In fact, what was glorious isn’t glorious now, because of the glory that is brighter. 11 If the glory that fades away was glorious, how much more glorious is the one that lasts!
12 So, since we have such a hope, we act with great confidence. 13 We aren’t like Moses, who used to put a veil over his face so that the Israelites couldn’t watch the end of what was fading away. 14 But their minds were closed. Right up to the present day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. The veil is not removed because it is taken away by Christ. 15 Even today, whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their hearts. 16 But whenever someone turns back to the Lord, the veil is removed. 17 The Lord is the Spirit, and where the Lord’s Spirit is, there is freedom. 18 All of us are looking with unveiled faces at the glory of the Lord as if we were looking in a mirror. We are being transformed into that same image from one degree of glory to the next degree of glory. This comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.