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Tuesday, November 28th, 2023
the Week of Christ the King / Proper 29 / Ordinary 34
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Bible Commentaries
2 Corinthians 3

Contending for the FaithContending for the Faith

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Verse 1

Anticipating Charges of Self-Commendation

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

In this chapter, Paul continues to speak of himself using only the plural pronouns, "we" (3:1), "our" (3:2) and "us" (3:3). In verse 1, Paul asks three rhetorical questions that demand an answer of "No." He wants to anticipate and prevent any charge of self- commendation. His desire is to credit all accomplishments in his life to God.

Three Rhetorical Questions

1. Am I boasting about myself to you?

2. Do I need another congregation to recommend me to you?

3. Do you need to recommend me to others?

Do we begin again to commend ourselves: The words "Do we begin again" refer to Paul’s earlier statements in which he may have been accused of bragging about his accomplishments. We are not told of the specific occasions of Paul’s alleged boasting; however, the accusation could have been made because of one or more of the following statements:

1. Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought (1 Corinthians 2:6).

2. I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all (1 Corinthians 14:18).

3. By the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me (1 Corinthians 15:10).

Paul’s enemies use statements such as these to degrade him or to cause others to question his trustworthiness, as well as to accuse him of being egotistical.

The word "commend" (sunistao) means "to recommend someone to someone" (Arndt and Gingrich 798). In this rhetorical question, Paul uses the word "commend" in a negative way, indicating he was recommending or boasting about himself. He is not admitting to boasting; but, instead, he references the false charges of boasting made against him. These charges are made because of Paul’s telling the Corinthians about the many times God blessed his work as an apostle. For example, Paul mentions his "triumph in Christ" (2:14). Knowing he is currently being falsely accused of boasting, Paul addresses the subject, anticipating that his enemies will make the charge again, as evidenced by his statements in previous letters and in this letter.

Paul possibly learns of these false accusations from Titus’ report about the Corinthians. Most of the Corinthian converts were loyal to Paul, but a few opposed him, such as those who made false accusation against him. He obviously is troubled by these personal attacks because throughout this letter he makes repeated references to the charge of boasting:

For we commend not ourselves again unto you, but give you occasion to glory on our behalf, that ye may have somewhat to answer them which glory in appearance, and not in heart (5:12).

For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise…For not he that commendeth himself is approved, but whom the Lord commendeth (10:12, 18).

Or need we, as some others, epistles of commendation to you: "Epistles of commendation" are letters given from respected leaders of one congregation to another to introduce a Christian as he travels from one place to another. Paul often recommends Christians to others who do not know them. For example, he says:

I commend unto you Phebe our sister, which is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea: That ye receive her in the Lord, as becometh saints, and that ye assist her in whatsoever business she hath need of you: for she hath been a succourer of many, and of myself also (Romans 16:1-2).

Paul recommends Priscilla and Aquila to the church in Rome, saying:

Greet Priscilla and Aquila my helpers in Christ Jesus: Who have for my life laid down their own necks: unto whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles (Romans 16:3-4).

These are just two of the many men and women Paul recommends to the church in Rome (see Romans 16:5-15).

It is clear that Paul, in posing this rhetorical question, is saying, "You know me because I established the congregation in Corinth; therefore, you do not need another congregation to give you a letter of commendation to introduce me to you." McGarvey says that Paul’s presenting a letter of commendation to the Corinthians "would be like a father seeking introduction and commendation to his own children" (182). By the words "as some others," Paul acknowledges it is a good practice to receive letters of commendation for Christians whom they do not know, such as the Judaizing leaders and others who oppose Paul, to verify their faithfulness.

Or letters of commendation from you: The word "commendation" (sustatikos) means "introductory" (Thayer 608- 1-4956). Paul’s message to the Corinthians is that he is not boasting of himself. He is just stating a fact that he is known throughout the area for preaching and for establishing the church in Corinth; therefore, there is no need for them to write him an introductory letter. Introductory letters are written for those who are unknown, not those who are known.

Verse 2

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

Ye are our epistle written in our hearts: Paul considers the effects of his preaching—the Corinthians’ conversion—to be his greatest "epistle," that is, the best evidence of his being a genuine apostle of Jesus Christ. He presents the same message in a previous letter, saying:

Am I not an apostle? am I not free? have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord? are not ye my work in the Lord? If I be not an apostle unto others, yet doubtless I am to you: for the seal of mine apostleship are ye in the Lord (1 Corinthians 9:1-2).

Bloomfield says Paul means, "Ye are in fact our recommendatory epistle, one written by Christ, through our instrumentality" (213). Paul’s commendation from the Corinthians’ conversion to Christ is not written on paper but is written figuratively in the Corinthians’ hearts.

known and read of all men: The expression "known and read of all men" shows that "actions speak louder than words." Paul’s commendation is "known" of all the Corinthians and is figuratively "read of all men" in Corinth every time someone remembers that his teaching led them to believe and accept Jesus as the Messiah or when others find out how "enriched in everything" (1 Corinthians 1:4-7) the Corinthian Christians are.

Verse 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.

Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us: The words "manifestly declared" (phaneroo) mean "to be plainly recognized" (Thayer 648-2-5319). Paul pictures the Corinthians as being the epistle of Christ "ministered" by him. The word "ministered" (diakoneo) means "an epistle written, as it were, by serving as amanuenses" (Thayer 137-2-1247), that is, a person employed to write what another dictates. In other words, the final proof about the genuineness of Paul’s apostleship comes from the words of Christ, as delivered by Paul’s preaching that led to the Corinthians’ conversion. People are said to be the "epistle of Christ" when they "bear the commands of Christ on (their) heart, and transcribe them into (their) practice" (Bloomfield 213).

written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart: Paul proves his point by making two contrasts:

1. Not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God.

2. Not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart.

Both contrasts are made to illustrate the spiritual nature of the "epistle" figuratively written by the Corinthian Christians. Paul’s commendation is not written with ink on a papyrus roll as is necessary for teachers who are unknown. Neither is his commendation written in stone as was the law of Moses. The Corinthian Christians are Paul’s letter of commendation.

The two contrasts prove the superiority of the gospel over the law. As the "Spirit" is superior to "ink" and "tables of the heart" are superior to "tables of stone," so is also the gospel of Christ superior to the Mosaic law.

Verse 4

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

Paul has "trust" (pepoithesis) or "confidence" (Thayer 500-2- 4006) that the Corinthian Christians’ conversion to Christ is all the evidence he needs to establish that he is a true apostle of Jesus Christ. His confidence is not self-conceit, neither is it vain boasting. Paul’s confidence is based on the fact that through Christ he was called of God to be an apostle; therefore, all conversions must be attributed to God. Alford explains that Paul’s confidence "rests on power imparted to us through Christ in regard to God, in reference to God’s work and our own account to be given to Him" (643).

Verse 5

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

The words "Not that" mean "Not because" (Alford 643). Paul hastens to explain that the confidence he has in his own sufficiency is not from himself but from God. Robertson says, "he has no originating power for such confidence" (220). The word "sufficient" (hikanos) means "competent, qualified, (or) able with the connotation (of being) worthy" (Arndt and Gingrich 375). Paul is careful not to leave the impression that his successes at Corinth come from his own abilities, but that all personal abilities come as a gift from God. Bloomfield, explaining Paul’s meaning, says:

We are of ourselves unable to think out, find out by thinking, or adequately to comprehend, the mysteries and truths of the Gospel, much less to give them the effect by which the Holy Spirit writes and imprints them on the hearts of men; but our sufficiency is from God (214).

By the will of God, Paul became an apostle (1:1) and now his preaching God’s message is confirmed by "signs and wonders and mighty deeds" (12:12).

Verse 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.

Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament: The pronoun "Who" refers to God as mentioned in the previous verse. The word "able" (hikanoo) means "sufficient" (Thayer 300- 2-2427). Paul acknowledges that he is a sufficient minister but not sufficient of his own abilities and knowledge. He credits God for all successes because God made him a sufficient "minister" (diakonos), meaning "one who executes the commands of another" (Thayer 138-1-1249). The commands of God executed by Paul are the "New Testament" (kainosdiatheke), that is, "God’s decree or covenant directed toward the Christians" (Arndt and Gingrich 182). God gives the commands, and Paul faithfully obeys. His obedience to God qualifies him to be a sufficient minister of the New Testament.

not of the letter, but of the spirit: The word "letter" (gramma) means "sacred writings" (Thayer 120-2-1121). Paul makes an obvious reference to the ten commandments and makes a distinction between the Mosaic law and the New Testament ("the spirit."). Paul is not a minister of the Old Testament law but of the "spirit." The "spirit" (pneuma) is used in contrast to gramma ("the letter"), which is "the characteristic quality of God’s older declaration of His will in the law" (Arndt and Gingrich 683). Paul does not teach the Mosaic law written on tables of stone; instead, he teaches the "spirit," the New Testament, the gospel of Jesus Christ. Paul presents the same message to Christians in Rome:

But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter (Romans 7:6).

for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life: The word "killeth" (apokteino) means "to deprive of spiritual life and procure eternal misery" (Thayer 64-1-615). The old law deprives a person of spiritual life because it warns and reminds one of sin, but it does not provide forgiveness of sins; the new law ("the spirit"), however, "giveth life" (zoopoieo), meaning "to make alive" (Thayer 274-2-2227). Forgiveness of sins comes through Jesus Christ, rather than through the old law. Jesus says, "It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life" (John 6:63).

Verses 7-8

The Superiority of the Gospel Over the Mosaic Law

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

Verses 7 and 8 form one long complex sentence.

But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious: The word "ministration" (diakonia) means "service, office" (Arndt and Gingrich 183) or "ministry" (Bloomfield 214) and refers to Moses’ work and responsibility to reveal the Old Covenant that "threatens and brings death" (Thayer 137-2-1248). The punishment for violating some points in the law of Moses was physical death. A few examples are:

The man that committeth adultery with another man’s wife, even he that committeth adultery with his neighbour’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death (Leviticus 20:10).

If a man lie with a beast, he shall surely be put to death: and ye shall slay the beast (Leviticus 20:15).

He that sacrificeth unto any god, save unto the LORD only, he shall be utterly destroyed (Exodus 22:20).

While the children of Israel were in the wilderness, they found a man that gathered sticks upon the sabbath day…And the LORD said unto Moses, The man shall be surely put to death: all the congregation shall stone him with stones without the camp (Numbers 15:32; Numbers 15:35).

If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and that, when they have chastened him, will not hearken unto them: Then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city, and unto the gate of his place; And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard. And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die: so shalt thou put evil away from among you; and all Israel shall hear, and fear (Deuteronomy 21:18-21).

Physical death for violating certain laws of the Old Covenant was, in fact, commanded; however, contextually the "death" mentioned by Paul has reference to spiritual death or sin. The Old Covenant is called "the ministration of death" because it taught the necessity of obedience to God but did not provide a way to make a person perfect nor did it make available a way to gain forgiveness of sins once a person disobeyed God. The Old Covenant’s animal sacrifices were only a type of the one-time sacrifice of Jesus Christ, who is the author of "eternal salvation to all who obey Him" (Hebrews 5:9). These animal sacrifices could not provide forgiveness of sins (Hebrews 10:4); therefore, they could not provide life. As a result, the Old Covenant given by Moses resulted in spiritual death. The ministration of death is what is "written" (gramma); in other words, the Ten Commandments are "the sacred writings" (Thayer 120-2-1121) of the Old Covenant. These laws were "engraven" (entupoo) or "imprint(ed)" (Thayer 219-2-1795) on "two tables of stone, written with the finger of God" (Exodus 31:18; Exodus 32:16).

Paul says the Old Covenant "was glorious" (doxa), meaning "splendor (or) brightness" (Thayer 156-1-1391), referring to Moses’ face brightly shining when he came down from Mount Sinai because he had been in the presence of God (Exodus 34:29-35). Paul refers to the Old Covenant’s brightness to begin a comparison between the glory of that covenant and the glory of the New Covenant.

so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance: The words "steadfastly behold" (atenizo) mean that the children of Israel could not "look intently at" (Arndt and Gingrich 119) the face of Moses because of the "glory" or brilliance of his "countenance" (prospon) or his "face" (Thayer 551-1-4383).

which glory was to be done away: The "glory" was not permanent; it would fade away or as Paul says, "be done away" (katargeo), that is, it was to "cease" (Thayer 336-1-2673) or be "abolish(ed)" (Arndt and Gingrich 418). As the brilliance of Moses’ face was temporary, so also was the Old Covenant temporary, for it was to give way to the gospel of Jesus Christ.

How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious: As the ministration of death refers to the Old Covenant, the "ministration of the spirit" refers to the New Covenant, which expresses God’s will, given by the Holy Spirit to Paul, other apostles, and inspired men of God. Even though the Old Covenant was glorious, the New Covenant is "more glorious" (NKJV) or is of "greater splendor" (RSV) because, through Jesus’ death, forgiveness of sins became possible.

Verse 9

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

Paul changes his contrast of the Old Covenant (the law) being the ministration of death and the New Covenant (the gospel) being the ministration of life to the law being the "ministration of condemnation" and the gospel being the "ministration of righteousness." If the law were all that God had given, it would have brought only "condemnation" (katakrisis) to people; however, the law was a shadow of something better, that is, the gospel of Jesus Christ. As the "ministration of righteousness," it is more glorious than the law because it provides salvation. The word "righteousness" (dikaiosune) means:

The state acceptable to God which becomes a sinner’s possession through that faith by which he embraces the grace of God offered him in the expiatory death of Jesus Christ (Thayer 149-2-1343).

Paul’s emphasis is that even though the Old Covenant presented a law of condemnation with no means of forgiveness of sins, the New Covenant brought justification, that is, reconciliation and "salvation" (Arndt and Gingrich 196). Writing to Christians in Rome, Paul says:

Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come. But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification. For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) (Romans 5:12-17).

Verse 10

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

Paul confirms his contrast of the splendor of the Old Covenant to the grandeur of the New Covenant. The glory of the Old Covenant was taken away as if it did not exist when compared to the glory of the New Covenant. The word "respect" (meros) means "in regard to" (Thayer 401-1-3313).

The glory of the New Covenant "excelleth" (huperballo) or "exceed(s)" (Thayer 640-2-5235) the Old Covenant. By these words, Paul does not suggest the Old Covenant was not important but that the New Covenant was superior. David Lipscomb says:

While glory was the accompaniment of the law, it is the permanent element of the gospel. The law was of God; it had a very important function in the economy of God; it was a preparation for the gospel, and shut up men to the acceptance of God’s mercy, in Christ as the only hope, and then its work was done (53).

The radiance of the Old Covenant can be compared to a lit candle. The candle gives light in a dark area; however, the candlelight becomes dim in the sunlight. Likewise, originally, before the New Covenant was ratified, the glory (the brightness) of the Old Covenant could be seen; however, when the New Covenant came into effect, the lit candle (the Old Covenant) faded away and appeared to be giving off no light at all.

Verse 11

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

"That which is done away" is the Mosaic dispensation (Old Covenant) and "that which remaineth" is the gospel dispensation (New Covenant). Paul emphasizes the superiority of the New Covenant again by contrasting the temporary nature of the Old Covenant to the permanence of the New Covenant. The Old Covenant was indispensable when it was in effect because it led to Jesus Christ; however, the eternal New Covenant given by Jesus is more important and is essential today because of the salvation it provides. The older inferior covenant fulfilled its purpose and was replaced by the more glorious New Covenant. Paul speaks of Jesus and the two covenants in his letter to the churches in Galatia, saying:

Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator. Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one. Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law. But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe. But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster (Galatians 3:19-25).

Verse 12

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

Seeing then that we have such hope: Because of the New Covenant, Paul expresses the Christians’ "hope" (elpis), that is, the Christians’ "confident expectation of eternal salvation" (Thayer 205-2-1680). Paul says, "The law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God (Hebrews 7:19). Salvation is the result accomplished by the Holy Spirit through the gospel of Jesus Christ.

we use great plainness of speech: By the expression the "plainness of speech" (parrhesia), Paul emphasizes that because of his confidence in the supremacy of the New Covenant, ratified by the blood of Jesus Christ, he can speak with "frankness" (Arndt and Gingrich 635) or "unreservedness in speech" (Thayer 491-2- 3954) about salvation. He can boldly declare that salvation is available to Christians.

Verse 13

And not as Moses, which put a veil over his face, that the children of Israel could not stedfastly look to the end of that which is abolished: Paul is speaking of the veil that Moses put over his face (Exodus 34:29-35). This "veil" (kaluma) or "a covering" (Thayer 322-2- 2571) used to hide the radiance of Moses’ face from the children of Israel until his face was not as bright, represents the temporariness of the Old Covenant or the "end of that which is abolished." The veiling of Moses’ radiant face while it was fading represents the fact that the children of Israel did not understand the design of the ceremonies and the types of the Mosaic dispensation. Paul is speaking of the "end" (telos) or the "termination" (Thayer 619-2-5056) of the Old Covenant because it was to be "abolished" (katargeo), that is, to "be done away" (Thayer 336-1-2673) when Jesus would institute the New Covenant. In writing to the church at Rome, Paul says, "Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth (Romans 10:4).

Verse 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.

But their minds were blinded: The Israelites’ "minds" (noema), that is, their "mental perception" (Thayer 427-1-3540) was "blinded." Their minds’ being "blinded" (poroo) means their minds became "callous (that is, they lost) the power of understanding" (Thayer 559-1-4456).

for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the old testament: In the first part of this verse, Paul is speaking about the obscurity of the Mosaic law typified by the veiling of Moses’ face. This obscurity of the old law led to the Israelites’ inability to understand the way of salvation; however, Paul now describes people living among them as being in the same situation. Many of these people are pictured as being with the "vail untaken away" just as it was in the days of Moses. In other words, these Corinthians do not understand the truth about salvation in Jesus Christ.

which vail is done away in Christ: The only way a person can understand the meaning of the Old Covenant and the New Covenant is to be "in Christ." When one is "in Christ," the veil of the Old Covenant is removed. Jesus explains His purpose relating to the law of Moses, saying, "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil" (Matthew 5:17). Because of Jesus’ fulfilling the Old Covenant, the obscurities of the prophecies, types, and figures are removed.

Verses 15-16

But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart. Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away.

Verses 15 and 16 say the same thing that Paul teaches in verse 14. The expression "when Moses is read" means when the books of Moses are read, that is, when the Old Testament is read, "the vail is upon their heart." The reference to their "heart" (kardia) refers to "the understanding, the faculty and seat of (their) intelligence" (Thayer 325-2-2588). In other words, they do not have a clear understanding of God’s plan of salvation.

Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away: Paul now explains what happens when people understand God’s plan and "turn to the Lord." The word "Lord" refers to Jesus. When people turn to Jesus, when they embrace Him, "the vail shall be taken away"—they will understand the meaning and application of the Old Testament scriptures leading up to the gospel plan of salvation.

Verse 17

Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.

The word "Lord," as in verse 16, refers to the subject of these verses, that is, Jesus. Also, the word "Spirit" is not the Holy Spirit, but instead the word "Spirit" refers to the Lord, that is, Jesus, as the life-giving Spirit—the source of life. In other words, "Christ was the Spirit; i.e. the sum, the substance of the Old Testament. The figures, types, prophecies, all centered in him and he was the end of all those institutions" (Barnes 63).

Where Jesus is, "there is liberty." The word "liberty" (eleutheria) means "freedom" (Arndt and Gingrich 249). God’s people are no longer under bondage to ceremonies, for they now live in a dispensation of freedom. Those who are free in Jesus Christ are free from sin. Paul’s message here is the same as he writes to the Christians in Rome, saying:

There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit…For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God…And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together (Romans 8:1-4; Romans 8:14; Romans 8:17).

Verse 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.

But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord: By the words "we all," Paul is speaking of all Christians—those with "open face." The words "with open face" (anakaluptoprosopon) mean those "with unveiled face" (Thayer

38-2-343)—those who understand the way of salvation in Jesus Christ. They are now pictured as "beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord." In other words, they understand "the glory of Christ (which we behold in the gospel as in a mirror from which it is reflected)" (Thayer 341-2-2734).

are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord: Those who understand God’s plan of salvation and follow the instructions of Jesus Christ are made more like Jesus. They not only reflect the glory of Jesus but their lives are also "changed." Because they are "changed" (metamorphoo), they "are transformed into the same image" (Thayer 405-2-3339); they are "changed into the same form" (Arndt and Gingrich 513) like Christ. In his letter to the church in Rome, Paul teaches the same message about the transformation of a Christian:

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God (Romans 12:1-2).

Bibliographical Information
Editor Charles Baily, "Commentary on 2 Corinthians 3". "Contending for the Faith". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ctf/2-corinthians-3.html. 1993-2022.
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