1I, Paul, am writing this letter. I am an apostle of Christ Jesus just as God planned. Timothy our brother joins me in writing. We are sending this letter to you, the members of God's church in Corinth. It is also for all of God's people everywhere in Achaia.2May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.3Give praise to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! He is the Father who gives tender love. All comfort comes from him.4He comforts us in all our troubles. Now we can comfort others when they are in trouble. We ourselves have received comfort from God.5We share the sufferings of Christ. We also share his comfort.6If we are having trouble, it is so that you will be comforted and renewed. If we are comforted, it is so that you will be comforted. Then you will be able to put up with the same suffering we have gone through.7Our hope for you remains firm. We know that you suffer just as we do. In the same way, God comforts you just as he comforts us.8Brothers and sisters, we want you to know about the hard times we suffered in Asia Minor. We were having a lot of trouble. It was far more than we could stand. We even thought we were going to die.9In fact, in our hearts we felt as if we were under the sentence of death. But that happened so that we would not depend on ourselves but on God. He raises the dead to life.10God has saved us from deadly dangers. And he will continue to do it. We have put our hope in him. He will continue to save us.11You must help us by praying for us. Then many people will give thanks because of what will happen to us. They will thank God for his kindness to us in answer to the prayers of many.12Here is what we take pride in. Our sense of what is right and wrong gives witness that we have acted in God's holy and honest ways. That is how we live in the world. We live that way most of all when we are dealing with you. Our way of living is not wise in the eyes of the world. But it is in keeping with God's grace.13We are writing only what you can read and understand. And here is what I hope.14Up to this point you have understood some of the things we have said. But now I hope that someday you will be able to take pride in us, just as we will take pride in you on the day the Lord Jesus returns. When you are able to do that, you will understand us completely.15I was sure of those things. So I planned to visit you first. Here is how I thought you would be helped twice.16I planned to visit you on my way to Macedonia. I would have come back to you from there. Then you would have sent me on my way to Judea.17When I planned all of that, did I do it without much thought? No. I don't make my plans the way the world makes theirs. In the same breath the world says, "Yes! Yes!" and "No! No!"18But just as sure as God is faithful, our message to you is not "Yes" and "No."19Silas, Timothy and I preached to you about the Son of God, Jesus Christ. Our message did not say "Yes" and "No" at the same time. The message of Christ has always been "Yes."20God has made a great many promises. They are all "Yes" because of what Christ has done. So through Christ we say "Amen." We want God to receive glory.21He makes both us and you stand firm because we belong to Christ. He anointed us.22He put his Spirit in our hearts and marked us as his own. We can now be sure that he will give us everything he promised us.23I call God as my witness. I wanted to spare you. So I didn't return to Corinth.24Your faith is not under our control. You stand firm in your own faith. But we work together with you for your joy.
1So I made up my mind that I would not make another painful visit to you.2If I make you sad, who is going to make me glad? Only you, the one I made sad.3I wrote what I did for a special reason. When I came, I didn't want to be troubled by those who should make me glad. I was sure that all of you would share my joy.4I was very troubled when I wrote to you. My heart was sad. My eyes were full of tears. I didn't want to make you sad. I wanted to let you know that I love you very deeply.5Suppose someone has made us sad. In some ways, he hasn't made me sad so much as he has made all of you sad. But I don't want to put this too strongly.6He has been punished because most of you decided he should be. That is enough for him.7Now you should forgive him and comfort him. Then he won't be sad more than he can stand.8So I'm asking you to tell him again that you still love him.9I wrote to you for a special reason. I wanted to see if you could stand the test. I wanted to see if you could obey everything that was asked of you.10Anyone you forgive I also forgive. Was there anything to forgive? If so, I have forgiven it for your benefit, knowing that Christ is watching.11We don't want Satan to outsmart us. We know how he does his evil work.12I went to Troas to preach the good news about Christ. There I found that the Lord had opened a door of opportunity for me.13But I still had no peace of mind. I couldn't find my brother Titus there. So I said good-by to the believers at Troas and went on to Macedonia.14Give thanks to God! He always leads us in the winners' parade because we belong to Christ. Through us, God spreads the knowledge of Christ everywhere like perfume.15God considers us to be the sweet smell that Christ is spreading among people who are being saved and people who are dying.16To the one, we are the smell of death. To the other, we are the perfume of life. Who is able to do that work?17Unlike many people, we aren't selling God's word to make money. In fact, it is just the opposite. Because of Christ we speak honestly before God. We speak like people God has sent.
1Are we beginning to praise ourselves again? Some people need letters that speak well of them. Do we need those kinds of letters, either to you or from you?2You yourselves are our letter. You are written on our hearts. Everyone knows you and reads you.3You make it clear that you are a letter from Christ. You are the result of our work for God. You are a letter written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God. You are a letter written not on tablets made out of stone but on human hearts.4Through Christ, we can be sure of this because of our faith in God's power.5In ourselves we are not able to claim anything for ourselves. The power to do what we do comes from God.6He has given us the power to serve under a new covenant. The covenant is not based on the written Law of Moses. It comes from the Holy Spirit. The written Law kills, but the Spirit gives life.7The Law was written in letters on stone. Even though it was a way of serving God, it led to death. But even that way of serving God came with glory. And even though the glory was fading, the people of Israel couldn't look at Moses' face very long.8Since all of that is true, won't the work of the Holy Spirit be even more glorious?9The Law that sentences people to death is glorious. How much more glorious is the work of the Spirit! His work makes people right with God.10The glory of the old covenant is nothing compared with the far greater glory of the new.11The glory of the old is fading away. How much greater is the glory of the new! It will last forever.12Since we have that kind of hope, we are very bold.13We are not like Moses. He used to cover his face with a veil. That was to keep the people of Israel from looking at his face while the brightness was fading away.14But their minds were made stubborn. To this very day, the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. The veil has not been removed. Only faith in Christ can take it away.15To this very day, when the Law of Moses is read, a veil covers the minds of those who hear it.16But when anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.17Now the Lord is the Holy Spirit. And where the Spirit of the Lord is, freedom is also there.18Our faces are not covered with a veil. We all display the Lord's glory. We are being changed to become more like him so that we have more and more glory. And the glory comes from the Lord, who is the Holy Spirit.
1So because of God's mercy, we have work to do. He has given it to us. And we don't give up.2Instead, we have given up doing secret and shameful things. We don't twist God's word. In fact, we do just the opposite. We present the truth plainly. In the sight of God, we make our appeal to everyone's sense of what is right and wrong.3Suppose our good news is covered with a veil. Then it is veiled to those who are dying.4The god of this world has blinded the minds of those who don't believe. They can't see the light of the good news of Christ's glory. He is the likeness of God.5We do not preach about ourselves. We preach about Jesus Christ. We say that he is Lord. And we serve you because of him.6God said, "Let light shine out of darkness."(Genesis 1:3) He made his light shine in our hearts. It shows us the light of God's glory in the face of Christ.7Treasure is kept in clay jars. In the same way, we have the treasure of the good news in these earthly bodies of ours. That shows that the mighty power of the good news comes from God. It doesn't come from us.8We are pushed hard from all sides. But we are not beaten down. We are bewildered. But that doesn't make us lose hope.9Others make us suffer. But God does not desert us. We are knocked down. But we are not knocked out.10We always carry around the death of Jesus in our bodies. In that way, the life of Jesus can be shown in our bodies.11We who are alive are always in danger of death because we are serving Jesus. So his life can be shown in our earthly bodies.12Death is at work in us. But life is at work in you.13It is written, "I believed, and so I have spoken."(Psalm 116:10) With that same spirit of faith we also believe. And we also speak.14We know that God raised the Lord Jesus from the dead. And he will also raise us up with Jesus. He will bring us with you to God in heaven.15All of that is for your benefit. God's grace is reaching more and more people. So they will become more and more thankful. They will give glory to God.16We don't give up. Our bodies are becoming weaker and weaker. But our spirits are being renewed day by day.17Our troubles are small. They last only for a short time. But they are earning for us a glory that will last forever. It is greater than all our troubles.18So we don't spend all our time looking at what we can see. Instead, we look at what we can't see. What can be seen lasts only a short time. But what can't be seen will last forever.