1 Do we begin again to commend ourselves? Or do we need, as some others, epistles of commendation to you, or letters of commendation from you. 2 You are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read by all men, 3 Because you are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone, but on fleshly tablets of the heart.
4 And such trust we have through Christ toward God, 5 Not that we are sufficient by ourselves to think anything as from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God, 6 Who also has made us able ministers of the new testament, not of the letter, but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
7 But if the ministration of death written and engraved on stones came with glory so that the children of Israel could not steadfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance—which glory was to be done away— 8 How shall the ministration of the Spirit not be even more glorious? 9 For if the ministration of condemnation was glory, much more does the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory. 10 For even that which was made glorious had no glory in this respect because of the glory that excels it. 11 For if that which was done away was glorious, much more that which remains is glorious.
12 Seeing then that we have such hope, we use great plainness of speech, 13 And not as Moses who put a veil over his face so that the children of Israel could not steadfastly look to the end of that which is abolished. 14 But their minds were blinded, for until this day, the same veil remains untaken away in the reading of the old testament—which veil is done away in Christ. 15 But even to this day, when Moses is read, the veil is upon their heart. 16 Nevertheless, when it turns to the Lord, "the veil shall be taken away." 17 Now the Lord is that Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 18 But we all, with open face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.
[v.5] - "our sufficiency is from God" - Reference, 2nd Corinthians 12:9.
[v.7a] - "written and engraved on stones" - Reference, Exodus 24:12, 31:18, 32:15.
[v.7b] - "for the glory of his countenance" - Reference, Exodus 34:29-30.
[v.13-16] - Reference, Exodus 34:33-35.
[v.16a] - "when it turns" - That is, "when the heart of Israel turns." Implied from verse 15.
[v.16b] - Quoting Exodus 34:34 (LXX). Reference, Isaiah 25:7.
[v.18a] - "with open face" - That is, with unveiled face (verses 14-16).
[v.18b] - "changed" - Or, transformed.
[v.18c] - "the same image" - That is, the image of God or Christ, or the image of the glory of the Lord.
[v.18d] - "from glory to glory" - That is, by ascending or progressing degrees of glory from a lesser degree to a greater degree.