Living Letters

1 Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, like some, letters of recommendation to you or from you? 2 You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, recognized and read by everyone.(A) 3 It is clear that you are Christ’s letter,(B) produced(a) by us, not written with ink but with the Spirit of the living God(C)—not on stone tablets(D) but on tablets that are hearts of flesh.(E)

Pauls Competence

4 We have this kind of confidence toward God through Christ. 5 It is not that we are competent in(b) ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our competence is from God.(F) 6 He has made us competent to be ministers of a new covenant,(G) not of the letter,(H) but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit produces life.

New Covenant Ministry

7 Now if the ministry of death, chiseled in letters on stones, came with glory,(I) so that the Israelites were not able to look directly at Moses’ face because of the glory from his face—a fading glory— 8 how will the ministry of the Spirit not be more glorious? 9 For if the ministry of condemnation had glory, the ministry of righteousness overflows with even more glory. 10 In fact, what had been glorious is not glorious now by comparison because of the glory that surpasses it. 11 For if what was fading away(J) was glorious, what endures will be even more glorious.
12 Therefore, having such a hope,(K) we use great boldness. 13 We are not like Moses, who used to put a veil over his face(L) so that the Israelites could not stare at the end of what was fading away, 14 but their minds were closed.(c)(M) For to this day, at the reading of the old covenant,(N) the same veil remains; it is not lifted, because it is set aside only in Christ.(O) 15 Even to this day, whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their hearts, 16 but whenever a person turns(P) to the Lord, the veil is removed.(Q) 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 We all, with unveiled faces, are looking as in a mirror at(d)(R) the glory of the Lord(S) and are being transformed(T) into the same image(U) from glory to glory;(e) this is from the Lord who is the Spirit.(f)


a. 2 Corinthians 3:3: Lit ministered to
b. 2 Corinthians 3:5: Lit from
c. 2 Corinthians 3:14: Lit their thoughts were hardened
d. 2 Corinthians 3:18: Or are reflecting
e. 2 Corinthians 3:18: Progressive glorification or sanctification
f. 2 Corinthians 3:18: Or from the Spirit of the Lord, or from the Lord, the Spirit

Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers.