International Standard Version
1Are we beginning to recommend ourselves again? Unlike some people, we do not need letters of recommendation to you or from you, do we? 2You are our letter, written in our hearts and known and read by everyone. 3You are demonstrating that you are the Messiah's letter, produced by our service, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.
4Such is the confidence that we have in God through the Messiah. 5By ourselves we are not qualified to claim that anything comes from us. Rather, our credentials come from God, 6who has also qualified us to be ministers of a new covenant, which is not written but spiritual, because the written text brings death, but the Spirit gives life.
7Now if the ministry of death that was inscribed in letters of stone came with such glory that the people of Israel could not gaze on Moses' face (because the glory was fading away from it), 8will not the Spirit's ministry have even more glory? 9For if the ministry of condemnation has glory, then the ministry of justification has an overwhelming glory. 10In fact, that which once had glory lost its glory, because the other glory surpassed it. 11For if that which fades away came through glory, how much more does that which is permanent have glory?
12Therefore, since we have such a hope, we speak very boldly, 13not like Moses, who kept covering his face with a veil to keep the people of Israel from gazing at the end of what was fading away. 14However, their minds were hardened, for to this day the same veil is still there when they read the old covenant. Only in union with the Messiah is that veil removed. 15Yet even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. 16But whenever a person turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. 17Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Lord's Spirit is, there is freedom. 18As all of us reflect the glory of the Lord with unveiled faces, we are becoming more like him with ever-increasing glory by the Lord's Spirit.