Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, as some do, letters of recommendation to you, or from you?
You yourselves are our letter of recommendation, written on your hearts, to be known and read by all men;
and you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.
Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God.
Not that we are competent of ourselves to claim anything as coming from us; our competence is from God,
who has made us competent to be ministers of a new covenant, not in a written code but in the Spirit; for the written code kills, but the Spirit gives life.
Now if the dispensation of death, carved in letters on stone, came with such splendor that the Israelites could not look at Moses' face because of its brightness, fading as this was,
will not the dispensation of the Spirit be attended with greater splendor?
For if there was splendor in the dispensation of condemnation, the dispensation of righteousness must far exceed it in splendor.
Indeed, in this case, what once had splendor has come to have no splendor at all, because of the splendor that surpasses it.
For if what faded away came with splendor, what is permanent must have much more splendor.
Since we have such a hope, we are very bold,
not like Moses, who put a veil over his face so that the Israelites might not see the end of the fading splendor.
But their minds were hardened; for to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away.
Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their minds;
but when a man turns to the Lord the veil is removed.
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being changed into his likeness from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.
Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright 1952 [2nd edition, 1971] by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. (Revised Standard Version - Holy Bible)