2 Corinthians 1
Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, To the church of God in Corinth, together with all the saints throughout Achaia:
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort,
who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.
For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.
If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer.
And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.
We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life.
Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.
He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us,
as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.
Now this is our boast: Our conscience testifies that we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially in our relations with you, in the holiness and sincerity that are from God. We have done so not according to worldly wisdom but according to God's grace.
For we do not write you anything you cannot read or understand. And I hope that,
as you have understood us in part, you will come to understand fully that you can boast of us just as we will boast of you in the day of the Lord Jesus.
Because I was confident of this, I planned to visit you first so that you might benefit twice.
I planned to visit you on my way to Macedonia and to come back to you from Macedonia, and then to have you send me on my way to Judea.
When I planned this, did I do it lightly? Or do I make my plans in a worldly manner so that in the same breath I say, "Yes, yes" and "No, no"?
But as surely as God is faithful, our message to you is not "Yes" and "No."
For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by me and Silas and Timothy, was not "Yes" and "No," but in him it has always been "Yes."
For no matter how many promises God has made, they are "Yes" in Christ. And so through him the "Amen" is spoken by us to the glory of God.
Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us,
set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.
I call God as my witness that it was in order to spare you that I did not return to Corinth.
Not that we lord it over your faith, but we work with you for your joy, because it is by faith you stand firm.
2 Corinthians 2
So I made up my mind that I would not make another painful visit to you.
For if I grieve you, who is left to make me glad but you whom I have grieved?
I wrote as I did so that when I came I should not be distressed by those who ought to make me rejoice. I had confidence in all of you, that you would all share my joy.
For I wrote you out of great distress and anguish of heart and with many tears, not to grieve you but to let you know the depth of my love for you.
If anyone has caused grief, he has not so much grieved me as he has grieved all of you, to some extent--not to put it too severely.
The punishment inflicted on him by the majority is sufficient for him.
Now instead, you ought to forgive and comfort him, so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow.
I urge you, therefore, to reaffirm your love for him.
The reason I wrote you was to see if you would stand the test and be obedient in everything.
If you forgive anyone, I also forgive him. And what I have forgiven--if there was anything to forgive--I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for your sake,
in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.
Now when I went to Troas to preach the gospel of Christ and found that the Lord had opened a door for me,
I still had no peace of mind, because I did not find my brother Titus there. So I said good-by to them and went on to Macedonia.
But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him.
For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.
To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life. And who is equal to such a task?
Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, like men sent from God.
2 Corinthians 3
Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, like some people, letters of recommendation to you or from you?
You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everybody.
You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.
Such confidence as this is ours through Christ before God.
Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God.
He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant--not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
Now if the ministry that brought death, which was engraved in letters on stone, came with glory, so that the Israelites could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of its glory, fading though it was,
will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious?
If the ministry that condemns men is glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness!
For what was glorious has no glory now in comparison with the surpassing glory.
And if what was fading away came with glory, how much greater is the glory of that which lasts!
Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold.
We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to keep the Israelites from gazing at it while the radiance was fading away.
But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away.
Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts.
But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
2 Corinthians 4
Therefore, since through God's mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart.
Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God.
And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing.
The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake.
For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.
But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.
We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair;
persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.
We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.
For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body.
So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.
It is written: "I believed; therefore I have spoken." With that same spirit of faith we also believe and therefore speak,
because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you in his presence.
All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.
For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.
So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
2 Corinthians 5
Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.
Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling,
because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked.
For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.
Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.
Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord.
We live by faith, not by sight.
We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.
So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it.
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.
Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade men. What we are is plain to God, and I hope it is also plain to your conscience.
We are not trying to commend ourselves to you again, but are giving you an opportunity to take pride in us, so that you can answer those who take pride in what is seen rather than in what is in the heart.
If we are out of our mind, it is for the sake of God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you.
For Christ's love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died.
And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.
So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation:
that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.
We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God.
God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God
2 Corinthians 6
As God's fellow workers we urge you not to receive God's grace in vain.
For he says, "In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you." I tell you, now is the time of God's favor, now is the day of salvation.
We put no stumbling block in anyone's path, so that our ministry will not be discredited.
Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses;
in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger;
in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love;
in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left;
through glory and dishonor, bad report and good report; genuine, yet regarded as impostors;
known, yet regarded as unknown; dying, and yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed;
sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything.
We have spoken freely to you, Corinthians, and opened wide our hearts to you.
We are not withholding our affection from you, but you are withholding yours from us.
As a fair exchange--I speak as to my children--open wide your hearts also.
Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?
What harmony is there between Christ and Belial ? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever?
What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: "I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people."
"Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you."
"I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty."
2 Corinthians 7
Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.
Make room for us in your hearts. We have wronged no one, we have corrupted no one, we have exploited no one.
I do not say this to condemn you; I have said before that you have such a place in our hearts that we would live or die with you.
I have great confidence in you; I take great pride in you. I am greatly encouraged; in all our troubles my joy knows no bounds.
For when we came into Macedonia, this body of ours had no rest, but we were harassed at every turn--conflicts on the outside, fears within.
But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus,
and not only by his coming but also by the comfort you had given him. He told us about your longing for me, your deep sorrow, your ardent concern for me, so that my joy was greater than ever.
Even if I caused you sorrow by my letter, I do not regret it. Though I did regret it--I see that my letter hurt you, but only for a little while--
yet now I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance. For you became sorrowful as God intended and so were not harmed in any way by us.
Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.
See what this godly sorrow has produced in you: what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern, what readiness to see justice done. At every point you have proved yourselves to be innocent in this matter.
So even though I wrote to you, it was not on account of the one who did the wrong or of the injured party, but rather that before God you could see for yourselves how devoted to us you are.
By all this we are encouraged. In addition to our own encouragement, we were especially delighted to see how happy Titus was, because his spirit has been refreshed by all of you.
I had boasted to him about you, and you have not embarrassed me. But just as everything we said to you was true, so our boasting about you to Titus has proved to be true as well.
And his affection for you is all the greater when he remembers that you were all obedient, receiving him with fear and trembling.
I am glad I can have complete confidence in you.