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3:1 Do we begin again to commend ourselves? or need we, as some others, epistles of commendation to you, or letters of commendation from you?

3:2 Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men:

3:3 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.

3:4 And such trust have we through Christ to God-ward:

3:5 Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God;

3:6 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.

3:7 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:

3:8 How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious?

3:9 For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory.

3:10 For even that which was made glorious had no glory in this respect, by reason of the glory that excelleth.

3:11 For if that which is done away was glorious, much more that which remaineth is glorious.

3:12 Seeing then that we have such hope, we use great plainness of speech:

3:13 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:

3:14 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.

3:15 But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart.

3:16 Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away.

3:17 Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.

3:18 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.

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Authorized King James Version:2 Corinthians

Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible
back to: 2 Corinthians
Book: 2 Corinthians
Chapter: 3

Overview:
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.

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