2 Corinthians 1-4 World English Bible

Salutation

1 1  Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus through the will of God, and Timothy our brother, to the assembly of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints who are in the whole of Achaia: 2  Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Paul's Affliction

3  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort; 4  who comforts us in all our affliction, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, through the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 5  For as the sufferings of Christ abound to us, even so our comfort also abounds through Christ. 6  But if we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation. If we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you the patient enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer.

7  Our hope for you is steadfast, knowing that, since you are partakers of the sufferings, so also are you of the comfort. 8  For we don’t desire to have you uninformed, brothers, [1] concerning our affliction which happened to us in Asia, that we were weighed down exceedingly, beyond our power, so much that we despaired even of life. 9  Yes, we ourselves have had the sentence of death within ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead, 10  who delivered us out of so great a death, and does deliver; on whom we have set our hope that he will also still deliver us; 11  you also helping together on our behalf by your supplication; that, for the gift bestowed on us by means of many, thanks may be given by many persons on your behalf.

The Postponement of Paul's Visit

12  For our boasting is this: the testimony of our conscience, that in holiness and sincerity of God, not in fleshly wisdom but in the grace of God we behaved ourselves in the world, and more abundantly toward you. 13  For we write no other things to you, than what you read or even acknowledge, and I hope you will acknowledge to the end; 14  as also you acknowledged us in part, that we are your boasting, even as you also are ours, in the day of our Lord Jesus.

15  In this confidence, I was determined to come first to you, that you might have a second benefit; 16  and by you to pass into Macedonia, and again from Macedonia to come to you, and to be sent forward by you on my journey to Judea. 17  When I therefore was thus determined, did I show fickleness? Or the things that I purpose, do I purpose according to the flesh, that with me there should be the “Yes, yes” and the “No, no?” 18  But as God is faithful, our word toward you was not “Yes and no.” 19  For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us, by me, Silvanus, and Timothy, was not “Yes and no,” but in him is “Yes.” 20  For however many are the promises of God, in him is the “Yes.” Therefore also through him is the “Amen,” to the glory of God through us. 21  Now he who establishes us with you in Christ, and anointed us, is God; 22  who also sealed us, and gave us the down payment of the Spirit in our hearts. 23  But I call God for a witness to my soul, that I didn’t come to Corinth to spare you. 24  Not that we have lordship over your faith, but are fellow workers with you for your joy. For you stand firm in faith.

2 1  But I determined this for myself, that I would not come to you again in sorrow. 2  For if I make you sorry, then who will make me glad but he who is made sorry by me? 3  And I wrote this very thing to you, so that, when I came, I wouldn’t have sorrow from them of whom I ought to rejoice; having confidence in you all, that my joy would be shared by all of you. 4  For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote to you with many tears, not that you should be made sorry, but that you might know the love that I have so abundantly for you.

Forgiveness for the Offender

5  But if any has caused sorrow, he has caused sorrow, not to me, but in part (that I not press too heavily) to you all. 6  Sufficient to such a one is this punishment which was inflicted by the many; 7  so that on the contrary you should rather forgive him and comfort him, lest by any means such a one should be swallowed up with his excessive sorrow. 8  Therefore I beg you to confirm your love toward him. 9  For to this end I also wrote, that I might know the proof of you, whether you are obedient in all things. 10  Now I also forgive whomever you forgive anything. For if indeed I have forgiven anything, I have forgiven that one for your sakes in the presence of Christ, 11  that no advantage may be gained over us by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his schemes.

Paul's Anxiety at Troas

12  Now when I came to Troas for the Good News of Christ, and when a door was opened to me in the Lord, 13  I had no relief for my spirit, because I didn’t find Titus, my brother, but taking my leave of them, I went out into Macedonia.

Triumphant in Christ

14  Now thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and reveals through us the sweet aroma of his knowledge in every place. 15  For we are a sweet aroma of Christ to God, in those who are saved, and in those who perish; 16  to the one a stench from death to death; to the other a sweet aroma from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things? 17  For we are not as so many, peddling the word of God. But as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God, we speak in Christ.

Ministers of the New Covenant

3 1  Are we beginning again to commend ourselves? Or do we need, as do some, letters of commendation to you or from you? 2  You are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read by all men; 3  being revealed that you are a letter of Christ, served by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tablets of stone, but in tablets that are hearts of flesh. 4  Such confidence we have through Christ toward God; 5  not that we are sufficient of ourselves, to account anything as from ourselves; but our sufficiency is from God;

6  who also made us sufficient as servants of a new covenant; not of the letter, but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. 7  But if the service of death, written engraved on stones, came with glory, so that the children of Israel could not look steadfastly on the face of Moses for the glory of his face; which was passing away: 8  won’t service of the Spirit be with much more glory? 9  For if the service of condemnation has glory, the service of righteousness exceeds much more in glory. 10  For most certainly that which has been made glorious has not been made glorious in this respect, by reason of the glory that surpasses. 11  For if that which passes away was with glory, much more that which remains is in glory.

12  Having therefore such a hope, we use great boldness of speech, 13  and not as Moses, who put a veil on his face, that the children of Israel wouldn’t look steadfastly on the end of that which was passing away. 14  But their minds were hardened, for until this very day at the reading of the old covenant the same veil remains, because in Christ it passes away. 15  But to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart. 16  But whenever one turns 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. 18  But we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are transformed into the same image from glory to glory, even as from the Lord, the Spirit.

4 1  Therefore seeing we have this ministry, even as we obtained mercy, we don’t faint. 2  But we have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by the manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. 3  Even if our Good News is veiled, it is veiled in those who perish; 4  in whom the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving, that the light of the Good News of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should not dawn on them. 5  For we don’t preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake; 6  seeing it is God who said, “Light will shine out of darkness,” [2] who has shone in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

Living by Faith

7  But we have this treasure in clay vessels, that the exceeding greatness of the power may be of God, and not from ourselves.

8  We are pressed on every side, yet not crushed; perplexed, yet not to despair; 9  pursued, yet not forsaken; struck down, yet not destroyed; 10  always carrying in the body the putting to death of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11  For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus may be revealed in our mortal flesh. 12  So then death works in us, but life in you. 13  But having the same spirit of faith, according to that which is written, “I believed, and therefore I spoke.” [3] We also believe, and therefore also we speak; 14  knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus, and will present us with you. 15  For all things are for your sakes, that the grace, being multiplied through the many, may cause the thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God. 16  Therefore we don’t faint, but though our outward man is decaying, yet our inward man is renewed day by day. 17  For our light affliction, which is for the moment, works for us more and more exceedingly an eternal weight of glory; 18  while we don’t look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.


Footnotes

[1] 1:8 The word for “brothers” here and where context allows may also be correctly translated “brothers and sisters” or “siblings.”

[2] 4:6 Genesis 1:3

[3] 4:13 Psalm 116:10

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