1 1 Paul, an Apostle of Jesus Christ by the purpose of God, and Timothy the brother, to the church of God which is in Corinth, with all the saints who are in all Achaia: 2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort; 4 Who gives us comfort in all our troubles, so that we may be able to give comfort to others who are in trouble, through the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 5 For as we undergo more of the pain which Christ underwent, so through Christ does our comfort become greater. 6 But if we are troubled, it is for your comfort and salvation; or if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which takes effect through your quiet undergoing of the same troubles which we undergo:
7 And our hope for you is certain; in the knowledge that as you take part in the troubles, so you will take part in the comfort. 8 For it is our desire that you may not be without knowledge of our trouble which came on us in Asia, that the weight of it was very great, more than our power, so that it seemed that we had no hope even of life: 9 Yes, we ourselves have had the answer of death in ourselves, so that our hope might not be in ourselves, but in God who is able to give life to the dead: 10 Who gave us salvation from so great a death: on whom we have put our hope that he will still go on to give us salvation; 11 You at the same time helping together by your prayer for us; so that for what has been given to us through a number of persons, praise may go up to God for us from all of them.
The Postponement of Paul's Visit
12 For our glory is in this, in the knowledge which we have that our way of life in the world, and most of all in relation to you, has been holy and true in the eyes of God; not in the wisdom of the flesh, but in the grace of God. 13 For in our letters we say no other things to you, but those which you are reading, and to which you give agreement, and, it is my hope, will go on doing so to the end: 14 Even as you have been ready, in part, to say that we are your glory, in the same way that you are ours, in the day of the Lord Jesus.
15 And being certain of this, it was my purpose to come to you before, so that you might have a second grace; 16 And by way of Corinth to go into Macedonia, and from there to come back again to you, so that you might send me on my way to Judaea. 17 If then I had such a purpose, did I seem to be changing suddenly? or am I guided in my purposes by the flesh, saying, Yes, today, and, No, tomorrow? 18 As God is true, our word to you is not Yes and No. 19 For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, whom we were preaching among you, even I and Silvanus and Timothy, was not Yes and No, but in him is Yes. 20 For he is the Yes to all the undertakings of God: and by him all the words of God are made certain and put into effect, to the glory of God through us. 21 Now he who makes our faith strong together with you, in Christ, and has given us of his grace, is God; 22 And it is he who has put his stamp on us, even the Spirit, as the sign in our hearts of the coming glory. 23 But God is my witness that it was in pity for you that I did not come to Corinth at that time. 24 Not that we have authority over your faith, but we are helpers of your joy: for it is faith which is your support.
2 1 But it was my decision for myself, not to come again to you with sorrow. 2 For if I give you sorrow, who then will make me glad, but he who is made sad by me? 3 And I said this very thing in my letter, for fear that when I came I might have sorrow from those from whom it was right for me to have joy; being certain of this, that my joy is the joy of you all. 4 For out of much trouble and pain of heart and much weeping I sent my letter to you; not to give you sorrow, but so that you might see how great is the love which I have to you.
Forgiveness for the Offender
5 But if anyone has been a cause of sorrow, he has been so, not to me only, but in some measure to all of you (I say this that I may not be over-hard on you). 6 Let it be enough for such a man to have undergone the punishment which the church put on him; 7 So that now, on the other hand, it is right for him to have forgiveness and comfort from you, for fear that his sorrow may be over-great. 8 For which cause my desire is that you will make your love to him clear by your acts. 9 And for the same reason I sent you a letter so that I might be certain of your desire to do my orders in all things. 10 But if you give forgiveness to anyone, I do the same: for if I have given forgiveness for anything, I have done it because of you, in the person of Christ; 11 So that Satan may not get the better of us: for we are not without knowledge of his designs.
Paul's Anxiety at Troas
12 Now when I came to Troas for the good news of Christ, and there was an open door for me in the Lord, 13 I had no rest in my spirit because Titus my brother was not there: so I went away from them, and came into Macedonia.
Triumphant in Christ
14 But praise be to God who makes us strong to overcome in Christ, and makes clear through us in every place the value of the knowledge of him. 15 For we are a sweet perfume of Christ to God in those who are getting salvation and in those who are going to destruction; 16 To the one it is a perfume of death to death; to the other a perfume of life to life. And who is enough for such things? 17 For we are not like the great number who make use of the word of God for profit: but our words are true, as from God, being said as before God in Christ.
Ministers of the New Covenant
3 1 Do we seem to be again attempting to put ourselves in the right? or have we need, as some have, of letters of approval to you or from you? 2 You yourselves are our letter, whose writing is in our heart, open for every man's reading and knowledge; 3 For you are clearly a letter of Christ, the fruit of our work, recorded not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in stone, but in hearts of flesh. 4 And this is the certain faith which we have in God through Christ: 5 Not as if we were able by ourselves to do anything for which we might take the credit; but our power comes from God;
6 Who has made us able to be servants of a new agreement; not of the letter, but of the Spirit: for the letter gives death, but the Spirit gives life. 7 For if the operation of the law, giving death, recorded in letters on stone, came with glory, so that the eyes of the children of Israel had to be turned away from the face of Moses because of its glory, a glory which was only for a time: 8 Will not the operation of the Spirit have a much greater glory? 9 For if the operation of the law, producing punishment, had its glory, how much greater will be the operation of the Spirit causing righteousness? 10 For the glory of the first no longer seems to be glory, because of the greater glory of that which comes after. 11 For if the order which was for a time had its glory, much more will the eternal order have its glory.
12 Having then such a hope, we keep nothing back, 13 And are not like Moses, who put a veil on his face, so that the children of Israel might not see clearly to the end of the present order of things: 14 But their minds were made hard: for to this very day at the reading of the old agreement the same veil is still unlifted; though it is taken away in Christ. 15 But to this day, at the reading of the law of Moses, a veil is over their heart. 16 But when it is turned to the Lord, the veil will be taken away. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there the heart is free. 18 But we all, with unveiled face giving back as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as from the Lord who is the Spirit.
4 1 For this reason, because we have been made servants of this new order, through the mercy given to us, we are strong: 2 And we have given up the secret things of shame, not walking in false ways, and not making use of the word of God with deceit; but by the revelation of what is true, as before God, we have the approval of every man's sense of right and wrong. 3 But if our good news is veiled, it is veiled from those who are on the way to destruction: 4 Because the god of this world has made blind the minds of those who have not faith, so that the light of the good news of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, might not be shining on them. 5 For our preaching is not about ourselves, but about Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your servants through Jesus. 6 Seeing that it is God who said, Let light be shining out of the dark, who has put in our hearts the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
Living by Faith
7 But we have this wealth in vessels of earth, so that it may be seen that the power comes not from us but from God;
8 Troubles are round us on every side, but we are not shut in; things are hard for us, but we see a way out of them; 9 We are cruelly attacked, but not without hope; we are made low, but we are not without help; 10 In our bodies there is ever the mark of the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may be seen in our bodies. 11 For, while living, we are still being given up to death because of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may be seen in our flesh, though it is under the power of death. 12 So then, death is working in us, but life in you. 13 But having the same spirit of faith, as it is said in the Writings, The words of my mouth came from the faith in my heart; in the same way, our words are the outcome of our faith; 14 Because we are certain that he who made the Lord Jesus come back from the dead, will do the same for us, and will give us a place in his glory with you. 15 For we go through all things on account of you, because the greater the number to whom the grace is given, the greater is the praise to the glory of God. 16 For which cause we do not give way to weariness; but though our outer man is getting feebler, our inner man is made new day by day. 17 For our present trouble, which is only for a short time, is working out for us a much greater weight of glory; 18 While our minds are not on the things which are seen, but on the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are for a time; but the things which are not seen are eternal.