2 Corinthians 1; 2 Corinthians 2; 2 Corinthians 3; 2 Corinthians 4

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2 Corinthians 1

1 From Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus. I am an apostle because that is what God wanted. Also from Timothy our brother in Christ. To the church of God in Corinth, and to all of God's people everywhere in Southern Greece:
2 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is the Father who is full of mercy and all comfort.
4 He comforts us every time we have trouble, so when others have trouble, we can comfort them with the same comfort God gives us.
5 We share in the many sufferings of Christ. In the same way, much comfort comes to us through Christ.
6 If we have troubles, it is for your comfort and salvation, and if we have comfort, you also have comfort. This helps you to accept patiently the same sufferings we have.
7 Our hope for you is strong, knowing that you share in our sufferings and also in the comfort we receive.
8 Brothers and sisters, we want you to know about the trouble we suffered in Asia. We had great burdens there that were beyond our own strength. We even gave up hope of living.
9 Truly, in our own hearts we believed we would die. But this happened so we would not trust in ourselves but in God, who raises people from the dead.
10 God saved us from these great dangers of death, and he will continue to save us. We have put our hope in him, and he will save us again.
11 And you can help us with your prayers. Then many people will give thanks for us -- that God blessed us because of their many prayers.
12 This is what we are proud of, and I can say it with a clear conscience: In everything we have done in the world, and especially with you, we have had an honest and sincere heart from God. We did this by God's grace, not by the kind of wisdom the world has.
14 We write to you only what you can read and understand. And I hope that as you have understood some things about us, you may come to know everything about us. Then you can be proud of us, as we will be proud of you on the day our Lord Jesus Christ comes again.
15 I was so sure of all this that I made plans to visit you first so you could be blessed twice.
16 I planned to visit you on my way to Macedonia and again on my way back. I wanted to get help from you for my trip to Judea.
17 Do you think that I made these plans without really meaning it? Or maybe you think I make plans as the world does, so that I say yes, yes and at the same time no, no.
18 But if you can believe God, you can believe that what we tell you is never both yes and no.
19 The Son of God, Jesus Christ, that Silas and Timothy and I preached to you, was not yes and no. In Christ it has always been yes.
20 The yes to all of God's promises is in Christ, and through Christ we say yes to the glory of God.
21 Remember, God is the One who makes you and us strong in Christ. God made us his chosen people.
22 He put his mark on us to show that we are his, and he put his Spirit in our hearts to be a guarantee for all he has promised.
23 I tell you this, and I ask God to be my witness that this is true: The reason I did not come back to Corinth was to keep you from being punished or hurt.
24 We are not trying to control your faith. You are strong in faith. But we are workers with you for your own joy.
Scripture taken from the New Century Version. Copyright © 1987, 1988, 1991 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

2 Corinthians 2

1 So I decided that my next visit to you would not be another one to make you sad.
2 If I make you sad, who will make me glad? Only you can make me glad -- particularly the person whom I made sad.
3 I wrote you a letter for this reason: that when I came to you I would not be made sad by the people who should make me happy. I felt sure of all of you, that you would share my joy.
4 When I wrote to you before, I was very troubled and unhappy in my heart, and I wrote with many tears. I did not write to make you sad, but to let you know how much I love you.
5 Someone there among you has caused sadness, not to me, but to all of you. I mean he caused sadness to all in some way. (I do not want to make it sound worse than it really is.)
6 The punishment that most of you gave him is enough for him.
7 But now you should forgive him and comfort him to keep him from having too much sadness and giving up completely.
8 So I beg you to show that you love him.
9 I wrote you to test you and to see if you obey in everything.
10 If you forgive someone, I also forgive him. And what I have forgiven -- if I had anything to forgive -- I forgave it for you, as if Christ were with me.
11 I did this so that Satan would not win anything from us, because we know very well what Satan's plans are.
12 When I came to Troas to preach the Good News of Christ, the Lord gave me a good opportunity there.
13 But I had no peace, because I did not find my brother Titus. So I said good-bye to them at Troas and went to Macedonia.
14 But thanks be to God, who always leads us in victory through Christ. God uses us to spread his knowledge everywhere like a sweet-smelling perfume.
15 Our offering to God is this: We are the sweet smell of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are being lost.
16 To those who are lost, we are the smell of death that brings death, but to those who are being saved, we are the smell of life that brings life. So who is able to do this work?
17 We do not sell the word of God for a profit as many other people do. But in Christ we speak the truth before God, as messengers of God.
Scripture taken from the New Century Version. Copyright © 1987, 1988, 1991 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

2 Corinthians 3

1 Are we starting to brag about ourselves again? Do we need letters of introduction to you or from you, like some other people?
2 You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everyone.
3 You show that you are a letter from Christ sent through us. This letter is not written with ink but with the Spirit of the living God. It is not written on stone tabletsn but on human hearts.
4 We can say this, because through Christ we feel certain before God.
5 We are not saying that we can do this work ourselves. It is God who makes us able to do all that we do.
6 He made us able to be servants of a new agreement from himself to his people. This new agreement is not a written law, but it is of the Spirit. The written law brings death, but the Spirit gives life.
7 The law that brought death was written in words on stone. It came with God's glory, which made Moses' face so bright that the Israelites could not continue to look at it. But that glory later disappeared.
8 So surely the new way that brings the Spirit has even more glory.
9 If the law that judged people guilty of sin had glory, surely the new way that makes people right with God has much greater glory.
10 That old law had glory, but it really loses its glory when it is compared to the much greater glory of this new way.
11 If that law which disappeared came with glory, then this new way which continues forever has much greater glory.
12 We have this hope, so we are very bold.
13 We are not like Moses, who put a covering over his face so the Israelites would not see it. The glory was disappearing, and Moses did not want them to see it end.
14 But their minds were closed, and even today that same covering hides the meaning when they read the old agreement. That covering is taken away only through Christ.
15 Even today, when they read the law of Moses, there is a covering over their minds.
16 But when a person changes and follows the Lord, that covering is taken away.
17 The Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
18 Our faces, then, are not covered. We all show the Lord's glory, and we are being changed to be like him. This change in us brings ever greater glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
Scripture taken from the New Century Version. Copyright © 1987, 1988, 1991 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

2 Corinthians 4

1 God, with his mercy, gave us this work to do, so we don't give up.
2 But we have turned away from secret and shameful ways. We use no trickery, and we do not change the teaching of God. We teach the truth plainly, showing everyone who we are. Then they can know in their hearts what kind of people we are in God's sight.
3 If the Good News that we preach is hidden, it is hidden only to those who are lost.
4 The devil who rules this world has blinded the minds of those who do not believe. They cannot see the light of the Good News -- the Good News about the glory of Christ, who is exactly like God.
5 We do not preach about ourselves, but we preach that Jesus Christ is Lord and that we are your servants for Jesus.
6 God once said, "Let the light shine out of the darkness!" This is the same God who made his light shine in our hearts by letting us know the glory of God that is in the face of Christ.
7 We have this treasure from God, but we are like clay jars that hold the treasure. This shows that the great power is from God, not from us.
8 We have troubles all around us, but we are not defeated. We do not know what to do, but we do not give up the hope of living.
9 We are persecuted, but God does not leave us. We are hurt sometimes, but we are not destroyed.
10 We carry the death of Jesus in our own bodies so that the life of Jesus can also be seen in our bodies.
11 We are alive, but for Jesus we are always in danger of death so that the life of Jesus can be seen in our bodies that die.
12 So death is working in us, but life is working in you.
13 It is written in the Scriptures, "I believed, so I spoke." Our faith is like this, too. We believe, and so we speak.
14 God raised the Lord Jesus from the dead, and we know that God will also raise us with Jesus. God will bring us together with you, and we will stand before him.
15 All these things are for you. And so the grace of God that is being given to more and more people will bring increasing thanks to God for his glory.
16 So we do not give up. Our physical body is becoming older and weaker, but our spirit inside us is made new every day.
17 We have small troubles for a while now, but they are helping us gain an eternal glory that is much greater than the troubles.
18 We set our eyes not on what we see but on what we cannot see. What we see will last only a short time, but what we cannot see will last forever.
Scripture taken from the New Century Version. Copyright © 1987, 1988, 1991 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.