Are we starting to ·brag about [praise; commend] ourselves again? Do we need letters of ·introduction [recommendation] to you or from you, like some other people [C Paul’s opponents evidently carried letters of reference (perhaps from Jerusalem)]?
1 He desireth no other commendation, 3 than their continuing in the faith. 6 He is a minister not of the letter, but of the Spirit. 8 He showeth the difference of the Law, and the Gospel, 13 that the brightness of the Law doth rather dim the sight than lighten it: 18 But the Gospel doth make manifest God’s countenance unto us. Do we begin to praise ourselves again? or need we as some others, Epistles of recommendation unto you, or letters of recommendation from you?
Is this going to be more self-advertisement in your eyes? Do we need, as some apparently do, to exchange testimonials before we can be friends? You yourselves are our testimonial, written in our hearts and yet open for anyone to inspect and read. You are an open letter about Christ which we ourselves have written, not with pen and ink but with the Spirit of the living God. Our message has been engraved not in stone, but in living men and women.
Are we beginning to be like those false teachers of yours who must tell you all about themselves and bring long letters of recommendation with them? I think you hardly need someone’s letter to tell you about us, do you? And we don’t need a recommendation from you, either!
Does it sound like we’re patting ourselves on the back, insisting on our credentials, asserting our authority? Well, we’re not. Neither do we need letters of endorsement, either to you or from you. You yourselves are all the endorsement we need. Your very lives are a letter that anyone can read by just looking at you. Christ himself wrote it—not with ink, but with God’s living Spirit; not chiseled into stone, but carved into human lives—and we publish it.
Begin we therefore again to praise us selves? or whether we need, as some men, epistles of praising to you, or of you? [Begin we again to commend, or praise, ourselves? or whether we need, as some, praising letters to you, or of you?]
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