2 Corinthians 2
He does not wish to reiterate censure
1So I would not and could not come to you again in sorrow and reproof. 2Why should I inflict pain on that which is my joy? And why should that bring me pain which was to be my joy? 3-4And indeed I wrote that letter with only one intention in my mind. It was that after I had said what I had to say by letter I might then be able to come to you with all that put behind us, and receive that joy from our meeting and association together which I know you share abundantly with me. 5If anyone in particular has caused pain, that was no pain to me, for in the singling out of that one who was to blame and the cause of trouble, I thereby no longer impute it to all of you. It was a relief rather than a sorrow that his guilt should become clear, and now that this is so, his rebuke is sufficient. 6Your own knowledge of his wrong-doing is quite enough punishment for him; 7-9therefore remember him kindly, be gracious and forgiving towards him; for excessive mortification and punishment only completes a man's downfall. And remember that in doing so, you represent my feelings also. 10I forgive where you do so; for remember that that forgiveness was for your sake; in the Christ and with your own love set before me I forgave that sin, 11lest by its means Satan might wrestle me a fall. I know his readiness to lay hold of anything in that nature and to get my mind captive thereby.
12I reached Troas then on this intended journey, 13but arrived there I found no help, no one to work with me, for Titus my brother alone could have helped me. A great door was opened for me there, and I had come to proclaim the Christ, yet I could not stay, I was not able to endure without Titus, so I bade them farewell and crossed into Europe. 14Yet in my weakness God himself continually causes me to triumph. It is in the Christ that this happens.
The fragrance of Christian truth
15Through me the fragrance of the knowledge of God is filling the world, like the sweet savour of incense and sacrifice. It is the divine freshness of life in the Christ which forms this fragrance and which makes men whole, and continually points onward to an ever increasing measure of life, and all its infinite possibilities, when released from fate and death. 16But this same fragrance of the new life, alas, to those who know it not and who continue in the power of the flesh and its inevitable doom, this very fragrance shows up the stench of their corruption, so that I become to them the thing of all others that they hate, the index and characteristic sign of their own approaching dissolution. Now who is sufficient for these things? That one should be through the Christ that is present in me, both the life and the death of this material world. 17For that is my position; it is a necessity to me to be all this, it is in utter sincerity that I stand before the world and speak the truth of the Christ as from God in the presence of God. I am not, and you know it, one of those so-called teachers who run round with the Gospel, dispensing it to people for a consideration.

This digitised version of St Paul from the Trenches 1916 © British and Foreign Bible Society 2014

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