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FRAMEWORKS: Paul's SECOND letter to the Corinthians

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 FRAMEWORKS: 2 Cor 3: Qualifications & the nature of the new covenant


v.1-6 Their Competency

v.7-18 The Greater Glory of the New Covenant


[Chapter Synopsis: Paul seeking unity, perhaps in the face of criticisms, suggests their qualification is their end product – the believers in Corinth, brought through the gospel by the work of the Spirit. The work of the Spirit is contrasted with the old covenant that came through Moses and the Law and brought a glory to Moses that gradually faded. By contrast, the new covenant brings a glory that lasts and transforms.]



v.1-6 Their Competency


v.1 (we don't really want to blow our own trumpet, but…) Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, like some people, letters of recommendation to you or from you?

v.2 (the truth is you are what shows us as we are) You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everyone.

v.3 (you reveal we are from Christ) You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.

v.4 (we're sure of this before God) Such confidence we have through Christ before God.

v.5 (and our competence comes from Him) Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God.

v.6 (by His Spirit who brings life) He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.


[Passage Synopsis: The reality of our ministry is the end product – you! A work of God by His Spirit]



v.7-18 The Greater Glory of the New Covenant


v.7,8 (if Moses' ministry was accompanied by God's glory how much more will the present ministry of the Spirit be glorious) Now if the ministry that brought death, which was engraved in letters on stone, came with glory, so that the Israelites could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of its glory, transitory though it was, will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious?

v.9 (if that ministry brought death, how much more wonderful the ministry that now brings righteousness) If the ministry that brought condemnation was glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness!

v.10 (the past glory fades in comparison to the new glory) For what was glorious has no glory now in comparison with the surpassing glory.

v.11 (indeed the past glory faded, so how much more wonderful the glory that lasts) And if what was transitory came with glory, how much greater is the glory of that which lasts!

v.12 (with that hope we can be bold) Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold.

v.13 (Moses had to cover his glory because it faded) We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to prevent the Israelites from seeing the end of what was passing away.

v.14 (and a veil covers the minds of those hearing the old covenant because only believing in Christ will it be lifted) But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away.

v.15 (so when the Law is read, their hearts are covered) Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts.

v.16 (but when someone turns to Christ, that veil is removed) But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.

v.17 (the Lord as the Spirit brings freedom) Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.

v.18 (and now without veils his glory shines on us and transforms us) And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.


[Passage Synopsis: A comparison between the old and new covenants. The old, from Moses and the Law, brought a glory that faded and produces a veil that stops listeners seeing the truth. The new, through Jesus, brings a lasting glory and freedom which transforms us into Christ's likeness.]

Chapter Brief Summary/Recap:

Ch. 3: Qualifications & the nature of the new covenant

•  the Corinthians who are the fruit of their ministry are also proof of it

•  it is a wonderful ministry in that it brings the glory of the Lord to believers

•  the Law brought a fading glory but this glory of the Spirit is lasting



Continue to Chapter 4