2 Corinthians
Chapter 3

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1 Do we begin again to commend ourselves? or need we, as some others, epistles of commendation to you, or letters of commendation from you?

2 Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men:

3 Forasmuch as ye 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 in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart.

4 And such trust have we through Christ to God-ward:

5 Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God;

6 Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.

7 But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away:

8 How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious?

9 For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory.

10 For even that which was made glorious had no glory in this respect, by reason of the glory that excelleth.

11 For if that which is done away was glorious, much more that which remaineth is glorious.

12 Seeing then that we have such hope, we use great plainness of speech:

13 And not as Moses, which put a vail over his face, that the children of Israel could not stedfastly look to the end of that which is abolished:

14 But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which vail is done away in Christ.

15 But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart.

16 Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the vail 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 glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.

Commentary for 2 Corinthians 3

The preference of the gospel to the law given by Moses. (1-11) The preaching of the apostle was suitable to the excellency and evidence of the gospel, through the power of the Holy Ghost. (12-18)1-11 Even the appearance of self-praise and courting human applause, is painful to the humble and spiritual mind. Nothing is more delightful to faithful ministers, or more to their praise, than the success of their ministry, as shown in the spirits and lives of those among whom they labour. The law of Christ was written in their hearts, and the love of Christ shed abroad there. Nor was it written in tables of stone, as the law of God given to Moses, but on the fleshy (not fleshly, as fleshliness denotes sensuality) tables of the heart, #Eze 36:26|. Their hearts were humbled and softened to receive this impression, by the new-creating power of the Holy Spirit. He ascribes all the glory to God. And remember, as our whole dependence is upon the Lord, so the whole glory belongs to him alone. The letter killeth: the letter of the law is the ministration of death; and if we rest only in the letter of the gospel, we shall not be the better for so doing: but the Holy Spirit gives life spiritual, and life eternal. The Old Testament dispensation was the ministration of death, but the New Testament of life. The law made known sin, and the wrath and curse of God; it showed us a God above us, and a God against us; but the gospel makes known grace, and Emmanuel, God with us. Therein the righteousness of God by faith is revealed; and this shows us that the just shall live by his faith; this makes known the grace and mercy of God through Jesus Christ, for obtaining the forgiveness of sins and eternal life. The gospel so much exceeds the law in glory, that it eclipses the glory of the legal dispensation. But even the New Testament will be a killing letter, if shown as a mere system or form, and without dependence on God the Holy Spirit, to give it a quickening power.

12-18 It is the duty of the ministers of the gospel to use great plainness, or clearness, of speech. The Old Testament believers had only cloudy and passing glimpses of that glorious Saviour, and unbelievers looked no further than to the outward institution. But the great precepts of the gospel, believe, love, obey, are truths stated as clearly as possible. And the whole doctrine of Christ crucified, is made as plain as human language can make it. Those who lived under the law, had a veil upon their hearts. This veil is taken away by the doctrines of the Bible about Christ. When any person is converted to God, then the veil of ignorance is taken away. The condition of those who enjoy and believe the gospel is happy, for the heart is set at liberty to run the ways of God's commandments. They have light, and with open face they behold the glory of the Lord. Christians should prize and improve these privileges. We should not rest contented without knowing the transforming power of the gospel, by the working of the Spirit, bringing us to seek to be like the temper and tendency of the glorious gospel of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, and into union with Him. We behold Christ, as in the glass of his word; and as the reflection from a mirror causes the face to shine, the faces of Christians shine also.

Commentary by Matthew Henry, 1710.

Discussion for 2 Corinthians 3

  • Aleta on 2 Corinthians 3
    2 Corinthians 3:17 explanation please
  • Jaco Esterhuizen - in Reply on 2 Corinthians 3
    In the old testament there was the law of God and other laws. The must do to be holy and sanctified. When Christ died on the cross and rise again, we died with Him and rise with Him. When we believe in Christ, we are reborn, God planted His seed in us. The do has disappeared and we are a new Creation in Christ. We don't have to do anything we have liberty in Christ and we can live Christ. Gal 2:20. Our lives is our testimony and our words confirm that. There are several places where Paul stated that we are perfect in Christ. We don't have to do anything anymore save to build a living relationship with Christ.
  • Geoff on 2 Corinthians 3
    When I read verses 13-16, it makes me think of Moses reflecting the Old Testament, and how he wasn't able to reach Canaan. That someone else had to carry the people into the promised land. The law that was written in stone can never be perfectly followed. But, Joshus who lead the rest of the way into Canaan is in a way Jesus-like figure. Jesus is the New Testament and through him and his 11th commandment to love God, with all our hearts, body, mind and soul and to love our brethern as ourselves and with his atoning and redeeming sacrifice we are saved through Faith in Him. Not by the laws of stone, but by the laws of the heart, mercy, not sacrifice.
  • Dr Bernard Igbafen Izevbekhai on 2 Corinthians 3
    This profound chapter condenses the biblical doctrine of the glory of God with the revelation of the same glory in man through the testaments. Fundamentally, believers must refrain from reading the old testament with the same blinders that beclouded the judgement of the people of old. We should discern biblical truth from this side of the cross and not be recidivists of a legalistic framework. In John 17 at Gethsemane, Our Lord Jesus declared that he was since that time sharing that glory with us (the Church). Consequently there is a progressive accentuation of this glory with our spending time in His presence. It is a "Christo-centrically" transformative work of the Holy Spirit..
  • Sheba on 2 Corinthians 3
    This chapter has depth of meaning and takes special meditation. Importantly, the take away is "where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. Let us live in the Spirit and walk in the Spirit, and therefore have great peace. Additionally, "our sufficiency is of God". How wonderful to know through Christ we are liberated. Don't put your trust in man, but trust only in GOD.
  • Dee - in Reply on 2 Corinthians 3
    Amen and Amen. So well stated. I couldn't agree more. Thank you my sister. May God continue to bless and keep you. Hallelujah. Praise God and Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ forever and forever more.
  • Jessy Joe on 2 Corinthians 3
    If I may say " In the reading of the old testament a veil covers their face." We need to understand what the old testament is and what it entails. It is not the 39 books but a particular covenant given to the children of Israel through Moses.Every time it is read a veil covers the face of people that they cannot see past their condemnation by it or EVEN TO SEE CHRIST'S WORK ON THE CROSS.
  • Lambert George on 2 Corinthians 3
    2 cor 3:18 is wonderful verse, and states But we "all" that links the born again. again we observe" beholding as in a glass" the perfection we are progressing in is evident. The agent in perfection "the Spirit of the Lord" God has wanderful plan to: purposefuly save us, personally support us, primarily subject us to working of Holy Spirit in us" for complete change like His Son. "Amen"
  • Lilian on 2 Corinthians 3
    Thank you Holy Spirit i need you ABBA Father Shalom my Jehova thank you Jesus for the blood you shed for us i love you Lord amen
  • Shirley on 2 Corinthians 3
    GIVING" Honor To The Most High" God of Isreal. God is not Labeled or Spelled With A Lower Case G. It's Used With A Capital G" when peoeple does This To me Its Like Their Saying God" is of No Worth , which I personally Knows He's Definitely Is WORTHY". AMEN AND SHALOM


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Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is what?
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