2 Corinthians 2:14-6:10 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)
B. Paul’s Ministry[a]
Ministers of a New Covenant. 14 [b]But thanks be to God,[c] who always leads us in triumph in Christ[d] and manifests through us the odor of the knowledge of him[e] in every place. 15 For we are the aroma of Christ for God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, 16 to the latter an odor of death that leads to death, to the former an odor of life that leads to life. Who is qualified[f] for this? 17 For we are not like the many who trade on the word of God; but as out of sincerity, indeed as from God and in the presence of God, we speak in Christ.
1 [g]Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, as some do, letters of recommendation to you or from you? 2 You are our letter,[h] written on our hearts, known and read by all, 3 [i]shown to be a letter of Christ administered by us, written not in ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets that are hearts of flesh.
4 [j]Such confidence we have through Christ toward God. 5 Not that of ourselves we are qualified to take credit for anything as coming from us; rather, our qualification comes from God, 6 who has indeed qualified us as ministers of a new covenant, not of letter but of spirit; for the letter brings death, but the Spirit gives life.[k]
Contrast with the Old Covenant. 7 [l]Now if the ministry of death,[m] carved in letters on stone, was so glorious that the Israelites could not look intently at the face of Moses because of its glory that was going to fade, 8 how much more[n] will the ministry of the Spirit be glorious? 9 For if the ministry of condemnation was glorious, the ministry of righteousness will abound much more in glory. 10 Indeed, what was endowed with glory has come to have no glory in this respect because of the glory that surpasses it. 11 For if what was going to fade was glorious, how much more will what endures be glorious.
12 Therefore, since we have such hope,[o] we act very boldly 13 and not like Moses,[p] who put a veil over his face so that the Israelites could not look intently at the cessation of what was fading. 14 Rather, their thoughts were rendered dull, for to this present day[q] the same veil remains unlifted when they read the old covenant, because through Christ it is taken away. 15 To this day, in fact, whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their hearts, 16 but whenever a person turns to the Lord the veil is removed. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit,[r] and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 [s]All of us, gazing with unveiled face on the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, as from the Lord who is the Spirit.
Integrity in the Ministry. 1 [t]Therefore, since we have this ministry through the mercy shown us, we are not discouraged. 2 Rather, we have renounced shameful, hidden things; not acting deceitfully or falsifying the word of God, but by the open declaration of the truth we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. 3 And even though our gospel is veiled,[u] it is veiled for those who are perishing, 4 in whose case the god of this age has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, so that they may not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 5 For we do not preach ourselves[v] but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your slaves for the sake of Jesus. 6 [w]For God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to bring to light the knowledge of the glory of God on the face of [Jesus] Christ.
The Paradox of the Ministry. 7 [x]But we hold this treasure[y] in earthen vessels, that the surpassing power may be of God and not from us. 8 [z]We are afflicted in every way, but not constrained; perplexed, but not driven to despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed; 10 [aa]always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our body. 11 For we who live are constantly being given up to death for the sake of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal flesh.
12 [ab]So death is at work in us, but life in you. 13 [ac]Since, then, we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, “I believed, therefore I spoke,” we too believe and therefore speak, 14 knowing that the one who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and place us with you in his presence. 15 Everything indeed is for you, so that the grace bestowed in abundance on more and more people may cause the thanksgiving to overflow for the glory of God.
16 [ad]Therefore, we are not discouraged;[ae] rather, although our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. 17 For this momentary light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18 as we look not to what is seen but to what is unseen; for what is seen is transitory, but what is unseen is eternal.
Our Future Destiny. 1 For we know that if our earthly dwelling,[af] a tent, should be destroyed, we have a building from God, a dwelling not made with hands, eternal in heaven. 2 [ag]For in this tent we groan, longing to be further clothed with our heavenly habitation 3 if indeed, when we have taken it off,[ah] we shall not be found naked. 4 For while we are in this tent we groan and are weighed down, because we do not wish to be unclothed[ai] but to be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. 5 Now the one who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a first installment.[aj]
6 [ak]So we are always courageous, although we know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, 7 for we walk by faith, not by sight. 8 Yet we are courageous, and we would rather leave the body and go home to the Lord. 9 Therefore, we aspire to please him, whether we are at home or away. 10 For we must all appear[al] before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive recompense, according to what he did in the body, whether good or evil.
The Ministry of Reconciliation. 11 [am]Therefore, since we know the fear of the Lord, we try to persuade others; but we are clearly apparent to God, and I hope we are also apparent to your consciousness. 12 We are not commending ourselves to you again but giving you an opportunity to boast of us, so that you may have something to say to those who boast of external appearance rather than of the heart. 13 For if we are out of our minds,[an] it is for God; if we are rational, it is for you. 14 [ao]For the love of Christ impels us, once we have come to the conviction that one died for all; therefore, all have died. 15 He indeed died for all, so that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.
16 Consequently,[ap] from now on we regard no one according to the flesh; even if we once knew Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know him so no longer. 17 So whoever is in Christ is a new creation: the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come. 18 [aq]And all this is from God, who has reconciled us to himself through Christ and given us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 namely, God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting their trespasses against them and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 20 So we are ambassadors for Christ, as if God were appealing through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 [ar]For our sake he made him to be sin who did not know sin, so that we might become the righteousness of God in him.
“In an acceptable time[au] I heard you,
Behold, now is a very acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation. 3 We cause no one to stumble[av] in anything, in order that no fault may be found with our ministry; 4 [aw]on the contrary, in everything we commend ourselves as ministers of God, through much endurance,[ax] in afflictions, hardships, constraints, 5 beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, vigils, fasts; 6 [ay]by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, in a holy spirit, in unfeigned love, 7 in truthful speech, in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness at the right and at the left; 8 through glory and dishonor, insult and praise. We are treated as deceivers and yet are truthful;[az] 9 as unrecognized and yet acknowledged; as dying and behold we live; as chastised and yet not put to death; 10 as sorrowful yet always rejoicing; as poor yet enriching many; as having nothing and yet possessing all things.