1. Are we beginning to commend ourselves to you afresh -- as though we needed, like some others, to have letters of commendation either to you or from you?
2. You yourselves are our letter, written in our hearts, that everyone can read and understand;
3. and it is plain that you are a letter from Christ, entrusted to our care, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God; not on stone tablets but on the tablets of human hearts.
4. Such is the confidence we have through Christ in facing God;
5. it is not that we are so competent that we can claim any credit for ourselves; all our competence comes from God.
6. He has given us the competence to be ministers of a new covenant, a covenant which is not of written letters, but of the Spirit; for the written letters kill, but the Spirit gives life.
7. Now if the administering of death, engraved in letters on stone, occurred in such glory that the Israelites could not look Moses steadily in the face, because of its glory, transitory though this glory was,
8. how much more will the ministry of the Spirit occur in glory!
9. For if it is glorious to administer condemnation, to administer saving justice is far richer in glory.
10. Indeed, what was once considered glorious has lost all claim to glory, by contrast with the glory which transcends it.
11. For if what was transitory had any glory, how much greater is the glory of that which lasts for ever.
12. With a hope like this, we can speak with complete fearlessness;
13. not like Moses who put a veil over his face so that the Israelites should not watch the end of what was transitory.
14. But their minds were closed; indeed, until this very day, the same veil remains over the reading of the Old Testament: it is not lifted, for only in Christ is it done away with.
15. As it is, to this day, whenever Moses is read, their hearts are covered with a veil,
16. and this veil will not be taken away till they turn to the Lord.
17. Now this Lord is the Spirit and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
18. And all of us, with our unveiled faces like mirrors reflecting the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the image that we reflect in brighter and brighter glory; this is the working of the Lord who is the Spirit.