ST. PAULíS Second Epistle to the CORINTHIANS
Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ, by the will of God, and Timotheus our brother, to the Church of God that is a Corinth, with all the saints that are in all Achaia: Grace and peace be to you from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and God of all comfort, who comforteth us in all our affliction, that we may be able to comfort them who are in any affliction, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted by God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our comfort also aboundeth through Christ. And whether we are afflicted it is for your comfort and salvation; or whether we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which is effectual in the patient enduring the same sufferings which we also suffer. And our hope concerning you is steadfast, knowing that as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so also of the comfort. For we would not have you ignorant, brethren, of the trouble which befell us in Asia, that we were exceedingly pressed above our strength, so that we despaired even of life. Yea, we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we might not trust in ourselves, but in God, who raiseth the dead: Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: In whom we trust that he will still deliver: You likewise helping together with us by prayer for us, that for the gift bestowed upon us, by means of many persons, thanks may be given by many on your behalf.
For this is our rejoicing, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with carnal wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly toward you. For we write no other things to you but what ye know and acknowledge, and I trust will acknowledge even to the end. As also ye have acknowledged us in part, that we are your rejoicing, as ye also are ours in the day of the Lord Jesus. And in this confidence I was minded to come to you before, that ye might have had a second benefit. And to pass by you into Macedonia, and to come to you again from Macedonia, and to be brought forward by you in my way toward Judea. Now when I was thus minded, did I use levity? or the things which I purpose, do I purpose according to the flesh, so that there should be with me yea and nay? As God is faithful, our word to you hath not been yea and nay. For Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who was preached among you by us, by me, and Sylvanus, and Timotheus, was not yea and nay; but was yea in him. For all the promises of God are yea in him, and amen in him, to the glory of God by us. For he that establisheth us with you in Christ and that hath anointed us is God: Who hath also sealed us, and given us the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.
But I call God for a record on my soul, that to spare you I came not as yet to Corinth. Not that we have dominion over your faith, but are helpers of your joy; for by faith ye have stood.
But I determined this with myself, not to come to you again in grief. For if I grieve you, who is he that cheereth me, but he that is grieved by me? And I wrote thus to you, that I might not when I come have grief from those for whom I ought to rejoice; being persuaded concerning you all, that my joy is the joy of you all. For from much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote to you with many tears, not that ye might be grieved, but that ye might know the abundant love which I have toward you.
And if any have caused grief, he hath grieved me but in part, that I may not overburden you all. Sufficient for such a one is this punishment inflicted by many. So that on the contrary ye should rather forgive and comfort him, lest such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow. I beseech you therefore to confirm your love toward him. For to this end also did I write, that I might know the proof of you, whether ye were obedient in all things. To whom ye forgive any thing, I forgive also; and what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven any thing, it is for your sakes, in the person of Christ: Lest Satan get an advantage over us: For we are not ignorant of his devices.
Now when I came to Troas, to preach the Gospel of Christ, and a door was opened to me by the Lord, I had no rest in my spirit, because I did not find Titus my brother; so taking leave of them I went forth into Macedonia.
Now thanks be to God, who causeth us always to triumph through Christ, and manifesteth by us in every place the odor of his knowledge. For we are to God a sweet odor of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish: To these an odor of death unto death, but to those an odor of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things? For we are not as many who adulterate the word of God, but as of sincerity, but as from God in the sight of God, speak we in Christ.
Do we again begin to recommend ourselves? Unless we need as some do, recommendatory letters to you, or recommendatory letters from you? Ye are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by all men: Manifestly declared to be the letter of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God, not in tables of stone, but in the fleshly tables of the heart. Such trust have we in God through Christ. Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think anything as from ourselves; but our sufficiency is from God: Who also hath made us able ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter, but of the Spirit; for the letter killeth, but the Spirit giveth life. And if the ministration of death engraven in letters of stones was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not look steadfastly on the face of Moses, because of the glory of his face, which is abolished: Shall not rather the ministration of the Spirit be glorious? For if the ministration of condemnation was glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness abound in glory. For even that which was made glorious had no glory in this respect, because of the glory that excelleth. For if that which is abolished was glorious, much more that which remaineth is glorious. Having therefore such hope, we use great plainness of speech. And not as Moses, who put a veil over his face, so that the children of Israel could not look steadfastly to the end of that which is abolished. But their understandings were blinded; and until this day the same veil remaineth unremoved on the reading of the Old Testament, which is taken away in Christ. But the veil lieth on their heart when Moses is read until this day. Nevertheless, when it shall turn to the Lord, the veil shall be taken away. Now the Lord is that Spirit: And where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. And we all with unveiled face, beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are transformed into the same image, from glory to glory, as by the Spirit of the Lord.
Therefore having this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not: But have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness, nor deceitfully corrupting the word of God, but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every manís conscience in the sight of God. But if our gospel also is veiled, it is veiled to them that perish; whose unbelieving minds the god of this world hath blinded, lest the illumination of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine upon them. For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your servants for Jesusí sake. For God, who commanded light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to enlighten us with the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
But we have this treasure in earthen vessels that the excellence of the power may be of God, and not of us. We are troubled on every side, yet not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; thrown down, but not destroyed; always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus may be manifested in our body. We who live are always delivered unto death for the sake of Jesus, that the life also of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal body. So then death worketh in us, but life in you. Yet having the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken, we also believe, and therefore speak: Knowing that he who raised up the Lord Jesus, will also raise us up by Jesus, and present us with you. For all things are for your sakes, that the overflowing grace might through the thanksgiving of many abound to the glory of God. Therefore we faint not, but even though the outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh out for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory: While we aim not at the things that are seen, but at the things that are not seen; for the things that are seen are temporal, but the things that are not seen are eternal.
For we know that if our earthly house of the tabernacle be dissolved, we have a building from God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: If being clothed, we shall not be found naked. For we who are in this tabernacle groan, being burdened: Not that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that what is mortal may be swallowed up of life. Now he that hath wrought us to this very thing is God, who hath also given us the earnest of the Spirit. Therefore we always behave undauntedly; knowing that while we are sojourning in the body, we are absent from the Lord: (For we walk by faith, not by sight.) We behave undauntedly, I say, and are willing rather to be absent from the body, and present with the Lord.
Therefore we are ambitious, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that every one may receive according to what he hath done in the body, whether good or evil. Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men: But we are made manifest to God, and I trust we are made manifest in your consciences also. We do not again recommend ourselves to you; but we give you an occasion of glorying on our behalf, that ye may have something to answer them who glory in appearance, and not in heart. For if we are transported beyond ourselves, it is to God; if we are sober, it is for your sakes. For the love of Christ constraineth us, while we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: And that he died for all, that they who live should not henceforth live to themselves, but to him who died for them, and rose again. So that we from this time know no one after the flesh; yea, if we have known even Christ after the flesh, yet now we know him so no more. Therefore if any one be in Christ, there is a new creation: The old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new: And all things are from God, who hath reconciled us to himself through Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation: Namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and hath committed to us the word of reconciliation. Therefore we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were entreating by us; we beseech you, in Christís stead, be ye reconciled to God. For he hath made him, who knew no sin, a sin offering for us, that we might be made the righteous people of God through him.
We then, as fellow laborers, do also exhort you, not to receive the grace of God in vain. (For he saith, I have heard thee in an acceptable time, and in a day of salvation have I succored thee; behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.) Giving no offense in any thing, that the ministry be not blamed: But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in watchings, in fastings; by purity, by prudence, by long-suffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned, by the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armor of righteousness on the right hand and the left: Through honor and dishonor, through evil report and good report; as deceivers, yet true; bs unknown, yet well known; as dying, yet behold we live; as chastened, yet not killed; bs sorrowing, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing all things.
O ye Corinthians, our mouth is open toward you; our heart is enlarged. Ye are not straitened in us; but ye are straitened in your own bowels. Now for a recompense of the same, (I speak as to my children,) be ye also enlarged. Be not unequally yoked with unbelievers; for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? or what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? Or what part hath a believer with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? Now ye are the temple of the living God, as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them, and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people. Therefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, and touch not the unclean person, saith the Lord, and I will receive you, and will be to you a Father, and ye shall be to me sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.
Having therefore, beloved, these promises, let us cleanse ourselves from all pollution of the flesh and of the spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. Receive us. We have hurt no man, we have corrupted no man, we have defrauded no man. I speak not to condemn you; for I have said before, that ye are in our hearts, to live and to die with you. Great is my freedom of speech toward you; great is my glorying over you: I am filled with comfort, I exceedingly abound with joy over all our affliction. For when we were come into Macedonia, our flesh had no rest, but we were troubled on every side: From without were fightings, from within were fears. But God, who comforteth them that are brought low, comforted us by the coming of Titus. And not only by his coming, but also by the comfort wherewith he was comforted over you, when he told us your earnest desire, your grief, your zeal for me, so that I rejoiced the more. For I do not repent that I grieved you by the letter, though I did repent: (for I see that letter grieved you, though but for a season.) Now I rejoice, not that ye were grieved, but that ye grieved to repentance; for ye grieved in a godly manner, so that ye received damage by us in nothing. For godly sorrow worketh repentance unto salvation not to be repented of, whereas the sorrow of the world worketh death. For behold, this very thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly manner, how great diligence it wrought in you, yea, clearing of yourselves, yea, indignation, yea, fear, yea, vehement desire, yea, zeal, yea, revenge? In all things ye have approved yourselves to be pure in this matter. And though I wrote to you, it was not for his sake who had done the wrong, nor for his sake who had suffered it, but for the sake of manifesting to you in the sight of God our diligent care over you. Therefore we were comforted in your comfort, and we rejoiced the more exceedingly in the joy of Titus, because his spirit was refreshed by you all. So that if I had boasted any thing of you to him, I am not ashamed; but as we speak all things to you in truth, so also our boasting to Titus is found a truth. And his tender affection is more abundant toward you, calling to mind the obedience of you all, how ye received him with fear and trembling. I rejoice, therefore, that I have confidence in you in all things.
Moreover, brethren, we declare to you the grace of God, bestowed on the churches in Macedonia, that in a great trial of affliction, their overflowing joy and their deep poverty abounded to the riches of their liberality: That to their power, I testify, and beyond their power, they were willing of themselves, praying us with much entreaty, to receive the gift and take a part in ministering it to the saints. And this they did not as we hoped; but first gave themselves to the Lord, and to us by the will of God: So that we desired Titus, that as he had begun before, so he would also complete this gift among you. Therefore as ye abound in every thing, in faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and all diligence, and in your love to us, see that ye abound in this grace also. I speak not by way of command, but that by the diligence of others, I may prove the sincerity of your love. For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich. And herein I give my advice: For this is expedient for you, who have begun a year ago, not only to do, but also to do it willingly. Now therefore complete the work, that as there was a ready will, so there may be also a performance, in proportion to what ye have. For if there be first a ready mind, a man is accepted according to what he hath, not according to what he hath not. For I do not mean, that others should be eased, and you burdened; but by an equality, let your abundance be at this time a supply to their want: That their abundance also may be a supply to your want, that there may be an equality, as it is written, He that had gathered the most, had nothing over; and he that had gathered the least, did not lack.
But thanks be to God, who putteth the same diligent care for you into the heart of Titus. For he accepted indeed the exhortation, but being more forward, he went to you of his own accord. And we have sent with him the brother, whose praise in the gospel is through all the churches: (And not only so, but he was also appointed by the churches to be a fellow traveler with us, with this gift, which is administered by us, to the glory of the Lord himself, and for the declaration of our ready mind.) Avoiding this, lest any one should blame us in this abundance, which is administered by us. For we provide things honest, not only before the Lord, but also before men. And we have sent with them our brother, whom we have often proved diligent in many things, but now much more diligent, through his great confidence in you. If any inquire concerning Titus, he is my partner, and fellow laborer with respect to you; or concerning our brethren, they are the messengers of the churches, the glory of Christ. Show therefore to them before the churches, the proof of your love and of our boasting on your behalf.
For concerning the ministering to the saints, it is superfluous for me to write to you. For I know your readiness, which I boast concerning you to the Macedonians, that Achaia was ready a year ago, and your zeal had provoked very many. Yet I have sent the brethren, lest our boasting of you on this head should be made vain, that, as I said, ye may be ready; lest if any of the Macedonians come up with me, and find you unprepared, we (not to say you) be ashamed of this confident boasting. Therefore I thought it necessary to desire the brethren to go before to you, and complete this your bounty, which had been spoken of before, that it may be ready as a bounty, and not as a matter of covetousness. And this I say, He that soweth sparingly, shall reap also sparingly, and he that soweth bountifully, shall reap also bountifully. Let every man do as he chooseth in his heart, not grudgingly, or of necessity: For God loveth a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that having always all sufficiency in all things, ye may abound to every good work: (As it is written, He hath scattered abroad, he hath given to the poor: His righteousness remaineth forever. And he who supplieth seed to the sower and bread for your food, will supply and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness:) Being enriched in every thing to all bountifulness, which worketh by us thanksgiving to God. For the administration of this service doth not only supply the necessities of the saints, but likewise aboundeth by many thanksgivings to God: (Who, by experiment of this administration, glorify God, for your avowed subjection to the Gospel of Christ, and for your liberal communication to them and to all men:) And by their prayer for you, who long after you, for the exceeding grace of God which is in you. Thanks be to God for his unspeakable gift.
Now I Paul myself, who when present am base among you, but being absent, am bold toward you, entreat you, by the meekness and gentleness of Christ, I beseech, that I may not when I am present be bold with that confidence wherewith I think to be bold toward some, who think of us as walking after the flesh: For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the throwing down of strong holds.) Destroying reasonings, and every high thing which exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being in readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.
Do ye look at the outward appearance of things? If any man be confident that he is Christís, let him again think this of himself, that as he is Christís, so are we also. Yea, if I should boast something more also of the authority which the Lord hath given us for edification, and not for your destruction, I should not be ashamed. That may not seem as it were to terrify you by letters. For his letters indeed, say they, are weighty and strong; but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible. Let such a one think this, that such as we are in word by letters, when we are absent, such are we also in deed, when we are present.
For we presume not to equal or to compare ourselves with some of those who recommend themselves: But they among themselves limiting themselves, and comparing themselves with themselves, are not wise. But we will not boastingly extend ourselves beyond our measure; but according to the measure of the province which God hath allotted us, a measure to reach even unto you. For we do not extend ourselves excessively, as not reaching to you; for we are come even to you, in the gospel of Christ: Not boastingly extending ourselves beyond our measure, in the labors of others; but having hope, now your faith is increased, to be enlarged by you, yet still within our province, abundantly. So as to preach the gospel in the regions beyond you, not to boast in anotherís province of things made ready to our hand. But he that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord. For not he that commendeth himself is approved, but whom the Lord commendeth.
I wish ye would bear a little with my folly; yea, bear with me. For I am jealous over you with a godly jealousy; for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. But I fear lest as the serpent deceived Eve, through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. If indeed he that cometh preach another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received or another gospel which ye have not accepted, ye well bear with him. But I suppose that I fall nothing short of the very chief apostles. For if I am unskillful in speech, yet not in knowledge: But we have been thoroughly made manifest to you in all things. Have I committed an offense in humbling myself, that ye might be exalted, because I have preached the gospel of God to you at free cost? I spoiled other churches, taking wages of them to serve you: And when I was present with you and wanted, I was chargeable to no man. For the brethren who came from Macedonia supplied my want; and I have in all things kept myself from being burdensome, and will keep myself. As the truth of Christ is in me, this my boasting shall not be stopped in the regions of Achaia. Wherefore? Because I love you not? God knoweth. But what I do, I will do, that I may cut off the occasion from them who desire occasion, that wherein they boast, they may be found even as we. For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing, if his ministers also he transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works. I say again, Let no man think me a fool; but if otherwise, yet as a fool receive me that I also may boast a little. What I speak, I speak not after the Lord, but as it were foolishly, in this confidence of boasting. Seeing many glory after the flesh, I will glory also. For ye, being wise, suffer fools willingly. For ye suffer, if a man enslave you, if he devour you, if he take from you, if he exalt himself, if he smite you on the face. I speak with regard to reproach, as though we had been weak; whereas in whatever any is confident, (I speak as a fool) I am confident also. Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? so am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? so am I. Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak foolishly) I am more: In labors more abundant, in stripes more exceeding, in prisons more abundant, in deaths often. Five times I received from the Jews forty stripes save one. Thrice I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, thrice I have been shipwrecked, a day and a night I passed in the deep: In journeyings often, in dangers from rivers, in dangers from robbers, in dangers from my own countrymen, in danger from the heathen, in dangers in the city, in dangers in the wilderness, in dangers in the sea, in danger among false brethren; in labor and toil, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fasting often, in cold and nakedness. Beside the things which are from without. that which rusheth upon me daily, the care of all the churches. Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is offended, and I burn not? Since I must glory, I will glory of things that concern my infirmities. The God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ, who is blessed for ever, knoweth that I lie not. In Damascus the governor under King Aretas kept the city of the Damascenes with a guard, being determined to apprehend me. But I was let down through a window in a basket by the wall, and escaped from his hands.
Surely it is not expedient for me to boast, yet I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord. I knew a man in Christ, above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body I know not, or out of the body I know not; God knoweth,) such a one caught up to the third heaven. Yea, I knew such a man, (whether in the body or out of the body I know not, God knoweth.) that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable things, which it is not possible for man to utter. Of such a one I will glory; but I will not glory of myself, unless in my infirmities. Yet if I should resolve to boast, I should not be a fool; for I speak the truth: But I forbear, lest any one should think of me above what he seeth me, or heareth from me.
And lest I should he lifted up with the abundance of the revelations, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan, to buffet me, lest I should be lifted up. Concerning this I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. But he said to me, My grace is sufficient for thee; for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my weaknesses, that the strength of Christ may rest, upon me. Therefore I am well pleased in weaknesses, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christís sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong. I am become a fool in boasting; but ye have compelled me: For I ought to have been commended by you: For in nothing have I fallen short of the very chief apostles, though I am nothing.
Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you, in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds. For wherein were ye inferior to the other churches, unless that I myself was not burdensome to you? Forgive me this wrong. Behold, the third time I am ready to come to you: Yet I will not he burdensome to you for I seek not yours, but you; for the children ought not to lay up treasure for the parents, but the parents for the children. And I will most gladly spend, and be spent for your souls, though the more abundantly I love you, the less I am loved. But be it so; I did not burden you: But being crafty, I caught you with guile. Did I make a gain of you by any of them whom I sent to you? I desired Titus, and with him I sent a brother. Did Titus make a gain of you? Did we not walk in the same spirit? In the same steps?
Think ye that we again excuse ourselves to you? We speak before God in Christ, and all things, beloved, for your edification. For I fear lest when I come, I should not find you such as I would, and lest I should be found by you such as ye would not: Lest there should be contentions, envyings, wraths, strifes, backbitings, whisperings, swellings, tumults: Lest my God should humble me when I come to you again, and I should mourn over many of them who had sinned before, and have not repented of the uncleanness, and fornication, and lasciviousness, which they have committed.
I am coming to you this third time: Every word shall be established by the mouth of two or three witnesses. I told you before, and do tell you beforehand, (though now absent, as if I were present the second time,) those who had sinned before, and all the rest, that if I come again, I will not spare: Since ye seek a proof of Christ speaking in me, who is not weak toward you, but powerful among you. For though he was crucified through weakness, yet he liveth by the power of God; and we also are weak with him; but we shall live with him, by the power of God in you. Examine yourselves whether ye are in the faith: Prove yourselves. Do ye not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you, unless ye are reprobates? And I trust, ye shall know that we are not reprobates. Now I pray God, that ye may do no evil: Not that we may appear approved, but that ye may do that which is good, though we should be as reprobates. For we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth. For we rejoice, when we are weak and ye are strong: And this also we wish, even your perfection. Therefore I write these things being absent, lest being present I should use severity, according to the power which the Lord hath given me for edification, and not for destruction.
Finally, brethren, farewell: Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace, and the God of love and peace shall be with you. Salute one another with a holy kiss. All the saints salute you. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen.