Living Letters
1Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, like some, letters of recommendation to you or from you?
2You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everyone.3:2 1Co 9:2
3You show that you are Christ’s letter,3:3 Phm 13 delivered3:3 Lit ministered to by us, not written with ink but with the Spirit of the living God3:3 Dt 5:26 — not on tablets of stone3:3 Ex 24:12 but on tablets of human hearts.3:3 Lit fleshly hearts3:3 Pr 3:3; 7:3; Jr 17:1; 31:33; Ezk 11:19; 36:26; Heb 8:10
Paul’s Competence
4Such is the confidence we have through Christ before God.
5It is not that we are competent in3:5 Lit from ourselves to claim anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God.3:5 1Co 15:10
6He has made us competent to be ministers of a new covenant,3:6 Lk 22:20; Heb 7:22 not of the letter,3:6 Rm 7:6 but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
New Covenant Ministry
7Now if the ministry that brought death, chiseled in letters on stones, came with glory,3:7 Ex 34:29–35; Mk 10:37; Lk 9:32; Jn 17:24; 2Co 3:18; 2Pt 3:18 so that the Israelites were not able to gaze steadily at Moses’s face because of its glory, which was set aside,
8how will the ministry of the Spirit not be more glorious?
9For if the ministry that brought condemnation had glory, the ministry that brings righteousness overflows with even more glory.
10In fact, what had been glorious is not glorious now by comparison because of the glory that surpasses it.
11For if what was set aside3:11 Heb 2:14 was glorious, what endures will be even more glorious.
12Since, then, we have such a hope,3:12 1Th 1:3 we act with great boldness.
13We are not like Moses, who used to put a veil over his face3:13 Ex 34:33 to prevent the Israelites from gazing steadily until the end3:13 Or at the outcome of the glory of what was being set aside,
14but their minds were hardened.3:14 Mk 8:17; Heb 3:13 For to this day, at the reading of the old covenant,3:14 Ac 13:15; 15:21; Heb 7:22 the same veil remains; it is not lifted, because it is set aside only in Christ.3:14 Rm 16:7; 1Pt 5:14
15Yet still today, whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their hearts,
16but whenever a person turns3:16 1Pt 2:25 to the Lord, the veil is removed.3:16 Ex 34:34
17Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
18We all, with unveiled faces, are looking as in a mirror at3:18 Or are reflecting3:18 1Co 13:12 the glory of the Lord3:18 Jn 17:24; 2Co 1:20; 4:4–6; 1Tm 1:11,17 and are being transformed3:18 Mk 9:2 into the same image3:18 Gn 1:27; 1Jn 3:2 from glory to glory; this is from the Lord who is the Spirit.3:18 Or from the Spirit of the Lord, or from the Lord, the Spirit