F A 3:1-6:10. Paul's services. B 6:11,12. His interest in the Corinthians. A 6:13-7:3. Paul's recompense. B 7:4. His joy in the Corinthians.
A C 3:1-3. Commendation. D 3:4,5. Trust in, and sufficiency, of God. E 3:6-18. Ministry of the New Covenant. F 4:1-5:11. Support under affliction. C 5:12,13. Commendation. Negation. D 5:14-18-. Love of Christ. All things of God. E 5:-18-6:2. Ministry of Reconciliation. F 6:3-10. Approval under affliction.
2 Corinthians 3)
1 Are we to begin again to commend ourselves? or need we, as some others, commendatory letters to you (cp. Acts 18:27), or letters of commendation from you?
2 You are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read by all men:
3 Forasmuch as you are manifested to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in stone tables, but in fleshy tables (refers to substance and material and carries no moral significance) of the heart.
4 And such confidence have we through the Christ toward God:
5 Not that we are sufficient from ourselves to reckon any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God;
E G 6. Spirit necessary for life. H 7-16. Spirit changes the Old Covenant. G 17. Spirit necessary for liberty. H 18. Spirit changes us.
6 Who has enabled us to ministers also of a new covenant (see Matt. 26:28. This is the covenant of Jer. 31:31. Cp. Heb. 8:6-13); not of letter, but of spirit: for the letter kills (this is the Sinaitic covenant, called "the ministration of death" in v.7), but the spirit quickens. (See Rom. 8:11 and 1 Cor. 15:45. The old covenant could not give life. It was a dead body, for the lack of spirit [James 2:26]. Cp. John 6:63. Christ is the Spirit of the new covenant. See v.17)
H J1 3:7-11. Spirit gives life. J2 3:12-16. Spirit brings into liberty.
J¹ K¹ 7. The Old Covenant came with glory, but Israel could not look upon it. L¹ 8. The New Covenant also comes with glory. K² 9- The Old Covenant, which brought condemnation, came with glory L² -9. The New Covenant, which minister righteousness, exceeds in its glory. K³ 10-. The Old Covenant had no glory in inflicting death. L³ -10. The New Covenant has surpassed glory in giving life. K4 11-. The Old Covenant, which is annulled, was with glory. L4 -11. The New Covenant, which abides, will abide in glory.
7 But if the ministration of death, in letters and engraved in stones, came to be in glory, so that the sons of Israel could not gaze upon the face of Moses on account of the glory of his countenance; which glory was being 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 does the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory.
10 For even that which was glorified was not glorified in this respect,
by reason of the glory that excels.
11 For if that which is done away was through glory,
much more that which remains in glory.
J¹ M¹ 12. We speak plainly. N¹ 13,14-. Moses was veiled. M² -14. Veil. N² 15. Veil on the heart of Israel. M³ 16. Veil taken away.
12 Having then such hope, we use much outspokeness:
13 And not as Moses, which put a veil upon his face, with a view to the children of Israels not gazing to the end of that which is being done away with:
14 But their thoughts were hardened: for until today remains the same veil not revealed in the reading of the old covenant;
that it is done away in Christ.
15 But even to this day, when Moses is read, the veil lies upon their heart.
16 Nevertheless when it (i.e. the heart of Israel) shall turn to the Lord, the veil shall be taken away. (See Acts 27:20.)
17 Now the Lord is the Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
18 But we all, with unveiled face as in reflecting the glory of the Lord (here is the contrast. Moses alone beheld and reflected the Shekinah glory, we all behold and reflect the Lord's glory), are transformed (see Mark 9:2) into the same image (cp. Rom. 8:29. Col. 3:10) from glory to glory, even as from the Lord the Spirit..