The Agora
Bible Commentary
2 Corinthians

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2 Corinthians 3

2Co 3:1

Vv 1-6: Paul's authority is endorsed by the effect of his teaching.

2Co 3:5

No power of ourselves to: (1) think (2Co 3:5), (2) speak (Num 22:38), or (3) do (Joh 15:5).

2Co 3:6

THE LETTER KILLS: A vigorous, figurative way of saying, 'The law of Moses results in death for those who fail to keep it.'

2Co 3:7

Vv 7-18: A refutation of the Judaizers. Paul contrasts the old covenant with the new (vv 9-11): that which brings death, and that which brings life. That which condemns, and that which saves. The glory that fades and the glory that remains.

FADING THOUGH IT WAS: The physical glory (of Moses and Law) contrasted with the moral glory (of Christ).

2Co 3:9

IF THE MINISTRY THAT CONDEMNS MEN IS GLORIOUS, HOW MUCH MORE GLORIOUS IS THE MINISTRY THAT BRINGS RIGHTEOUSNESS!: True Christian excellence is as unconscious of its beauty as Moses was; whenever it becomes self-conscious it loses its charm. Beware of the man who talks about his graces. There is such a thing as being proud of humility and making it profitable to one's self interests. The man who boasts of a "shining face" (from being in the "presence" of Christ) is a counterfeit and a cheat. The possessor of the genuine article never talks about it; never thinks about it; and would be almost overwhelmed to hear of any such thing being ascribed to him. The charm of a little child is its utter unconsciousness of self, and that is the charm in true God-likeness. It is an unaware humility.

2Co 3:10

Cp Joh 1:17.

2Co 3:12

WE ARE VERY BOLD: Moses was not "bold", or "plain of speech" (KJV): he hid the departing glory from Jews' eyes (SMk 126). Ct 2Co 4:4-6.

2Co 3:16

BUT WHENEVER ANYONE TURNS TO THE LORD, THE VEIL IS TAKEN AWAY: Cit Exo 34:34: "But whenever he [Moses] entered the LORD'S presence to speak with him, he removed the veil until he came out."

2Co 3:17

THE LORD: This seems to refer to Yahweh (as in v 16, which is citing Exo 34:34).

THE SPIRIT: Ref word of God (2Co 2:17), ministry that brings righteousness (2Co 3:9), the gospel (2Co 4:4).

FREEDOM: The Holy Spirit did not automatically change men or ecclesias (1Co 1:10,11; 3:1-4; 5:1; 6:1; 11:19). "Freedom" here = freedom of fear from seeing God's reflected glory in Moses (Exo 34:30; cp Joh 8:32; Rom 8:15).

2Co 3:18

UNVEILED: In ct with vv 13,14.

ARE BEING TRANSFORMED INTO HIS LIKENESS: In speaking about a "change" that should take place in us, Paul is showing that because we know the things he speaks of -- ie, the wonders of the gospel -- we should change our lives. This is the argument of Rom 12:1-2: a "living sacrifice" is the logical consequence of believing the doctrines of Christ laid out in Rom 1-11.

TRANSFORMED: Sw in Transfiguration: Mat 17:2; cp Rom 12:2.

EVER-INCREASING GLORY: Lit, "from glory to glory" (KJV): from the fading glory of Moses to the eternal glory of Christ (2Co 4:6).

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