2 Corinthians 3:6-9
New American Bible (Revised Edition)
Contrast with the Old Covenant. 7 [b]Now if the ministry of death,[c] carved in letters on stone, was so glorious that the Israelites could not look intently at the face of Moses because of its glory that was going to fade,(B) 8 how much more[d] will the ministry of the Spirit be glorious? 9 For if the ministry of condemnation was glorious, the ministry of righteousness will abound much more in glory.Read full chapter
- 3:6 This verse serves as a topic sentence for 2 Cor 3:7–6:10. For the contrast between letter and spirit, cf. Rom 2:29; 7:5–6.
- 3:7–4:6 Paul now develops the contrast enunciated in 2 Cor 3:6b in terms of the relative glory of the two covenants, insisting on the greater glory of the new. His polemic seems directed against individuals who appeal to the glorious Moses and fail to perceive any comparable glory either in Paul’s life as an apostle or in the gospel he preaches. He asserts in response that Christians have a glory of their own that far surpasses that of Moses.
- 3:7 The ministry of death: from his very first words, Paul describes the Mosaic covenant and ministry from the viewpoint of their limitations. They lead to death rather than life (2 Cor 3:6–7; cf. 2 Cor 4:7–5:10), to condemnation rather than reconciliation (2 Cor 3:9; cf. 2 Cor 5:11–6:10). Was so glorious: the basic text to which Paul alludes is Ex 34:29–35 to which his opponents have undoubtedly laid claim. Going to fade: Paul concedes the glory of Moses’ covenant and ministry, but grants them only temporary significance.
- 3:8–11 How much more: the argument “from the less to the greater” is repeated three times (2 Cor 3:8, 9, 11). 2 Cor 3:10 expresses another point of view: the difference in glory is so great that only the new covenant and ministry can properly be called “glorious” at all.