Noting how the context of this explanation of Paul is firmly and immediately rooted in the story of the Israelites and that Kyrios (LORD) lacks the article in 4 out of 5 occurrences, I proposed the following translation:
But whenever anyone turns to LORD, the veil is taken away. 17 Now LORD is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of LORD is, there is freedom. 18 And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate LORD's glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from LORD's Spirit.
I showed through comparison with some other passages that the lack of the article before the first LORD is very suggestive, as we have elsewhere in the undisputed Pauline corpus (e.g. 1 Thes 1:9) the same verb and same suffix with the article for Theos.
This is pretty standard practice for stacks of Old Testament declarations about Israel's God. "Yahweh, the God of Israel". Or "Yahweh, the God of us", and so on.
In Greek, of course, this goes: Kyrios (LORD), the God of Israel".
Today I stumbled over even more evidence in favour of my hypothesis that Kyrios is deliberately anarthrous, and therefore referring back to the God of Israel and not specifically to Jesus.
I tried running this search: πρὸς κύριον (to LORD). In the New Testament, this occurs once. However you will see below the exact hit there are also the indirect hits, for πρὸς τὸν κύριον (to the Lord).
A second piece of evidence in favour of capitalisation of LORD in this passage (or even applying Yahweh), is that a similar Greek word behaves the same way and with the same case (accusative): ἐπὶ κύριον. This also means "to LORD" or, at the very least "to the LORD". The context of the only hit (Luke 1:16) here makes it staggeringly plane that capitalisation would be a clearer rendering if the article is kept (which it isn't in the Greek):
He will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God.
In my view, this should probably read at the very least:
He will bring back many of the people of Israel to the LORD their God.
The challenge of course is being consistent in the more ambiguous instances.
Please note that in line with Larry Hurtado, I am not suggesting that there is an ultra-neat match of
ARTICLE + KYRIOS = Lord Jesus
KYRIOS (NO ARTICLE) = Yahweh
However, as Hurtado recognises in God or Jesus? Textual Ambiguity and Textual Variants in Acts of the Apostles, there is correlation ("In the majority of their 70 (or so) uses in Acts, the arthrous-singular forms of κύριος are applied unambiguously to Jesus", p. 2, you can read it for yourself here). This ambiguity he traces in Acts is fascinating and I will at some point review it on this blog when I have finished processing it all.