2 Corinthians 3:5 Commentary
Amplified: Not that we are fit (qualified and sufficient in ability) of ourselves to form personal judgments or to claim or count anything as coming from us, but our power and ability and sufficiency are from God. (Lockman)
ESV: Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, (ESV)
KJV: Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God;
NET: Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as if it were coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God, (NET Bible)
NIV: Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. (NIV - IBS)
NLT: It is not that we think we can do anything of lasting value by ourselves. Our only power and success come from God. (NLT - Tyndale House)
Phillips: and not because we are confident of our own powers. It is God who makes us competent administrators of the new agreement, (Phillips: Touchstone)
Wuest: Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to evaluate anything, this evaluation originating from ourselves, but our sufficiency has its source in God (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think anything, as of ourselves, but our sufficiency is of God,
NOT THAT WE ARE ADEQUATE IN OURSELVES TO CONSIDER ANYTHING AS COMING FROM OURSELVES: ouch hoti aph' heauton hikanoi esmen (1PPAI) logisasthai (AMN) ti os ex heauton: (2Co 2:16 4:7 Ex 4:10 Jn 15:5)
WHO IS ADEQUATE
These passages are in a sense the answer to Paul's earlier rhetorical question...
Not (ou) signifies absolute negation. Not even a small percent of our adequacy in the supernatural realm comes from ourselves!
William Barclay suggests that...
As the Puritan pastor Richard Baxter (1615-1691) lay on his deathbed, someone encouraged him with a reminder of the good which so many had received from his preaching and writings. Baxter who clearly understood 2Co 3:5 replied...
Andrew Bonar wrote...
John MacArthur comments...
Vance Havner was right when he said...
Oswald Chambers put it well...
Jim Elliot martyred at age 29 clearly understood the thrust of 2Cor 3:5 when he described himself and his co-workers as a "bunch of nobodies trying to exalt Somebody."
Paul Apple outlines this section...
In the first epistle, Paul explained that God does not choose to work with those who are adequate in their own strength...
Adequate (2425) (hikanos from the root hik- = “to reach [with the hand],” “to attain”, `reaching to', `attaining to'; hence, `adequate') refers to that which reaches a certain standard and in context refers to Paul who in his own strength and ability was not qualified to be an apostle or minister of God.
Hikanos has been variously used from the time of the Greek tragic dramatists in the basic sense of adequate (sufficient for a specific requirement), sufficient (enough to meet the needs of a situation or a proposed end), enough (in or to a degree or quantity that satisfies or that is sufficient or necessary for satisfaction), qualified (fitted as by training or experience for a given purpose), competent (having the capacity to function or develop in a particular way) to do a thing or large enough.
Hikanos - 39x in 39v in NAS - Matt 3:11; 8:8; 28:12; Mark 1:7; 10:46; 15:15; Luke 3:16; 7:6, 12; 8:27, 32; 20:9; 22:38; 23:8f; Acts 8:11; 9:23, 43; 11:24, 26; 12:12; 14:3, 21; 17:9; 18:18; 19:19, 26; 20:8, 11, 37; 22:6; 27:7, 9; 1 Cor 11:30; 15:9; 2 Cor 2:6, 16; 3:5; 2 Tim 2:2. Hikanos is rendered (NAS) as - able(1), adequate(2), aloud(1), considerable(4), enough(1), fit(4), good many(1), large(1), large sum(1), length*(1), long(5), long while(1), many(9), number(1), pledge(1), satisfy*(1), sizeable(1), some(1), sufficient(1), very bright(1), worthy(2).
Hikanos - 27x in 27v in the Septuagint (LXX) - Ge 30:15; 33:15; Ex 4:10; 12:4; 36:7; Lev. 5:7; 12:8; 25:26, 28; Ruth 1:20, 21; 1Ki 16:31; 2Ki. 4:8; 2Chr 30:3; Job 21:15; 31:2; 40:2; Pr. 25:16; 30:15; Is 40:16; Jer. 48:30; Ezek. 34:18; Joel 2:11; Obad. 1:5; Nah. 2:12; Hab. 2:13; Zech. 7:3. For example...
In Exodus we see the Israelites had to be restrained from bringing materials for the building of the Tabernacle...
John the Baptist alluded to his inadequacy when he declared that...
Likewise the Roman centurion, a Gentile, understood his inadequacy declaring to Jesus...
In ourselves (aph' heauton)...from ourselves (ex heauton) - A T Robertson explains that the idea of these two prepositional phrases is...
Pulpit Commentary adds that Paul...
Consider (3049) (logizomai [word study] from lógos = reason, word, account) means to reason, to reckon, to calculate, to take into account, to deliberate, to weigh. Logizomai refers to a process of careful study or reasoning which finally arrives at a conclusion. Logizomai was a term frequently used in the business community of Paul's day meaning to impute (put to one's account) or credit to one's account (the classic example being Abraham's faith "reckoned" or imputed as righteousness - logizomai used 11x in one chapter! = Ro 4:3-note, Ro 4:9-note, Ro 4:10, 11-note, Ro 4:22, 23, 24-note cp Ro 4:4, 5, 6, 8).
Logizomai is related to our English term logic which deals with the methods of valid thinking, reveals how to draw proper conclusions from premises and is a prerequisite of all thought. Paul says that his "logic" tells him that apart from God's supply of wisdom and power, he did not trust in anything coming from himself but recognized that his own adequacy was totally inadequate! Are we imitators of Paul in God's ministry to and through us? Do we understand that any "fruit for eternity" (Jn 4:36, 15:16) is His fruit borne by His Spirit through us?
Paul has a similar thought using a "clay pot" metaphor in chapter 4...
Wiersbe wisely reminds all of us who would seek to serve the Living God that...
Anything as coming from ourselves ("to take credit for anything as coming from ourselves" NAB; "It is not that we think we can do anything of lasting value by ourselves" - Original edition of NLT) - "Coming" is not in the original Greek but is added by the translators. Paul is saying in essence that apart from God's adequacy, His Spirit's empowerment and His sufficient grace, a believer can do nothing of lasting, eternal value in the his or her own strength.
A W Pink paraphrases it as
Jesus stated the same principle declaring...
BUT OUR ADEQUACY IS FROM GOD: all' e hikanotes hemon ek tou theou: (2Co 12:9 Ex 4:11-16 Jer 1:6-10 Mt 10:19,20 Lk 21:15 24:49 1Co 3:6,10 15:10 Php 2:13 4:13 Jas 1:17)
In defending His calling as an apostle Paul wants the Corinthians to understand that he is not sufficient in himself to fulfill his calling as a preacher, a teacher (2Ti 1:11-note), an apostle of Christ Jesus (2Ti 1:1-note) and a minister of Christ Jesus (Ro 15:16-note)! And beloved neither are we! Paul is saying that in his ministry anything and everything (without exception) of eternal value is from God and through God which recalls his great doxology (expression of praise) in Romans...
But (alla) introduces a distinct contrast (see discussion regarding the value of recognizing contrasts). The antithesis of man's inadequacy for spiritual work is God's supernatural sufficiency. Dearly beloved, do you have flaws, imperfections, blind spots, weaknesses, etc? Do not let these thoughts discourage or deter you from joining Him in His work! We do well to recall that if God had to depend on perfect people to accomplish His work, He would never ever get anything done. On the other hand, our limitations and imperfections should motivate us to depend all the more on the always sufficient supply of God's grace. Later in this same epistle Paul prayed to have the "thorn" in his side removed which prompted Jesus to explain the paradoxical spiritual principle of the exchange of His strength for our weakness...
Adequacy (2426) (hikanotes from hikanos = able, sufficient) is used only here in Scripture and means sufficiency, competency, ability, capacity, fitness. In short, it describes a state of being qualified for ministry. Possessing enough to meet the needs of ministry.
From God - Literally "out of" God.
In first Corinthians Paul emphasizes his dependence on God declaring that
Paul amplifies this idea of "fellow workers" with God writing that...
In Romans 8 Paul reminds his readers that "If God is for us (cp His adequacy for our inadequacy), who is against us?" (Ro 8:31) so that "in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him (cp through His adequacy) Who loved us." (Ro 8:37).
Warren Wiersbe rightly said that...
Pastor Rob Salvato has an discussion of several Biblical characters that illustrate the provision of God's adequacy for their inadequacy...
In a Forbes article about Harry Quadracci and the Quad/Graphics printing company, Phyllis Berman writes about the kind of employees the company hires.
Like this businessman, God delights in calling workers who look at their shoes when they apply for the job. God gives great responsibility to people whom the world thinks little of. (Contemporary illustrations for preachers, teachers, and writers: Baker Books, 1996)
Imperfect Leaders - God’s ways are not our ways. We tend to equate leadership with lordship; He equates leadership with servant hood. We want strength so we can help God with His work; He makes us weak so He can demonstrate His power. We advertise our credentials so others can be more sure of us; He lets us fail so they can see that apart from God we’re not much at all.
We are inclined to focus on personalities, to be impressed by the intellect, education, and strength of a leader’s will. Followers begin to believe that a particular leader can do no wrong. Such adulation, however, is nothing more than humanism—making a human being the measure of all things. What’s worse, it’s idolatry—centering our devotion on someone other than God.
So God lets leaders fall off their pedestal. Failure, indecision, and underachievement bring them to a humbling realization of their own inadequacy—and can cause followers to lose their illusions and overdependence on those leaders. This is a good reminder that all of us—leaders and followers alike—walk through life on “feet of clay.” Ultimately, the only good thing about any one of us is the goodness of God. That’s why we need to recognize that “our sufficiency is from God” (2 Corinthians 3:5). — by David H. Roper (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
If you rely upon God's strength
A Deep Dependence - Five for Fighting is the stage name of a recording artist who soared to popularity after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. He sings the song “Superman (It’s Not Easy),” a ballad that imagines what it must be like to be a superhero. Yet he struggles with the inadequacy of his strength to cope with the world’s complexities.
People seemed to identify with the song’s theme. Real life proves we are insufficient to battle the overwhelming burdens that confront us. Even those who want to be self-sufficient can’t manage life in their own strength.
As followers of Christ, we have a resource that even Superman could never claim. In our relationship with God, we find a sufficiency for life that can overwhelm our inadequacies and enable us to live victoriously. This was Paul’s encouragement to our hearts when he wrote to the believers at Corinth. He said, “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God” (2Co 3:5). That makes all the difference in the world.
Left to ourselves, we will be forced to live with the reality that we can never be adequate to grapple with life. But in God’s strength we find all we need to navigate the storms of life in this turbulent world.— by Bill Crowder (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
All that I need He will always be,
Doing the Work of God - When I was a pastor I used to have a recurring nightmare. I would rise to preach on Sunday morning, look out at my congregation—and see no one in the pews!
It doesn’t take a Daniel (Da 2:1,19) or a dream therapist to interpret the vision. It grew out of my belief that everything depended on me. I mistakenly believed that if I did not preach with power and persuasion, the congregation would fade away and the church would fold. I thought I was responsible for the results of God’s work.
In the Gospels, we read that some people asked Jesus, “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?” (John 6:28). What audacity! Only God can do the works of God!
Jesus’ answer instructs us all: “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent” (v.29). Whatever we have to do, then, whether teaching a Sunday school class, leading a small group, telling the gospel story to our neighbor, or preaching to thousands, it must be done by faith. There is no other way to “work the works of God.”
Our responsibility is to serve God faithfully, wherever He has placed us. Then we’re to leave the results to Him. As Jesus reminded His disciples in John 15:5, “Without Me you can do nothing.”— by David H. Roper (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
The work of the Lord for us has been done—
|FOCUS IS ON
|FOCUS IS ON
|LIVING UNDER THE LAW
BEARS FRUIT FOR DEATH
E.G., STEALS JOY
|LIVING BY THE SPIRIT
BEARS FRUIT FOR LIFE
E.G., PRODUCES JOY
WORKS OF THE FLESH
|FULFILS DEMAND IN FINISHED
WORK OF CHRIST
|PRACTICAL EFFECT ON LIVING...
|PRACTICAL EFFECT ON LIVING...
(Law condemns the sinner)
(Grace redeems the sinner)
|A PALE SHADOW
|THE EXACT IMAGE
|CONSUMMATED (RATIFIED) AT
|SEPARATE & DISTINCT FROM
|EXTENSION & AMPLIFICATION OF
(Yom Kippur once a year)
(Sent away forever)
CAN NEVER TAKE AWAY SINS
(Blood of animals)
TAKES AWAY SINS FOR ALL TIME
(Body and blood of Christ)
|CANNOT CONVEY A
|GOAL OF LAW
REMINDER OF SIN
TUTOR LEADS TO SAVIOR
|GOAL OF NEW COVENANT
REMISSION OF SIN
TUTOR NO LONGER NECESSARY
|LAW WRITTEN ON STONE
"I WILL DO"
|LAW WRITTEN ON HEART
"I WILL DO BY HIS SPIRIT"
|DESIRE TO OBEY
BUT NO INTERNAL POWER
|DESIRE TO OBEY
RESURRECTION POWER WITHIN
TO HOLD US
|A SURE HOPE TO
HOLD FAST TO & TO HOLD US FAST
2 Corinthians 3:6 Commentary
Amplified: [It is He] Who has qualified us [making us to be fit and worthy and sufficient] as ministers and dispensers of a new covenant [of salvation through Christ], not [ministers] of the letter (of legally written code) but of the Spirit; for the code [of the Law] kills, but the [Holy] Spirit makes alive. [Jer. 31:31.] (Lockman)
ESV: who has made us competent to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. (ESV)
KJV: 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.
NET: who made us adequate to be servants of a new covenant not based on the letter but on the Spirit, for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.(NET Bible)
NIV: He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant--not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. (NIV - IBS)
NLT: He has enabled us to be ministers of his new covenant. This is a covenant not of written laws, but of the Spirit. The old written covenant ends in death; but under the new covenant, the Spirit gives life. (NLT - Tyndale House)
Phillips: It is God who makes us competent administrators of the new agreement, and we deal not in the letter but in the Spirit. The letter of the Law leads to the death of the soul; the spirit of God alone can give life to the soul. (Phillips: Touchstone)
Wuest: who also made us sufficient as those who minister a testament, new in quality, not of the letter [of the law] but of the Spirit, for the letter [of the law] kills, but the Spirit makes alive.. (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: who also made us sufficient to be ministrants of a new covenant, not of letter, but of spirit; for the letter doth kill, and the spirit doth make alive.
WHO ALSO MADE US ADEQUATE AS SERVANTS: os kai hikanosen (3SAAI) hemas diakonous: (Made: 2Co 5:18-20 Mt 13:52 Ro 1:5 1Co 3:5,10 12:28 Eph 3:7 4:11,12 Col 1:25-29 1Ti 1:11,12 4:6 2Ti 1:11)
THE ALL SUFFICIENCY
Who - the omnipotent God, the "Sufficient One", which in fact is a Name of God in the Greek translation (Septuagint) of the Hebrew OT books of Job and Ruth where the Greek word for adequate, hikanos, is used to translate His Name Shaddai (see study) or Almighty. For example in chapter one of Ruth Naomi has suffered the loss of her husband and two sons and is making her way back to her home in Bethlehem. In her great grief and loss she declares to her two Moabite daughters-in-law...
Made us adequate - Rendered us fit; made us sufficient, made us competent; qualified us making us to be fit and worthy and sufficient.
In Colossians Paul praises God...
Before Christ made Paul adequate to be His instrument (Acts 9:4, 5, 6, 15, 16), Paul sought to make himself "adequate", writing in his letter to the Philippians...
Made...adequate (2427)(hikanoo = see study of related word hikanos = sufficient, enough) means to make or render fit, to make adequate, to make capable, to make sufficient (as fulfilling a specific requirement) or to render competent or worthy. Hikanoo is in the aorist (past completed action) tense, indicative mood (mood of reality). God really rendered Paul fit for ministry. Similarly He made (not "is going to make") us adequate. Do you believe this?
THE SECRET OF JOY IN
John the Baptist is the prototype of the man or woman God uses greatly (see our Lord's own assessment of John = Mt 11:11) and so we should not be surprised that he had an strong sense of His insufficiency in the presence of His Sufficient Savior declaring...
Indeed, if we would desire to be sufficient as servants of Shaddai, we would do well to learn and practice the "secret" of John the Baptist who declared...
HUMILITY: NOT A PRODUCT
A W Pink comments on John's humility in Jn 3:30 (in Christ Magnified by His Forerunner)...
James Boice alluding to John 3:30 describes the sufficiency of God in the life of a man who was wholly insufficient in himself...
DOES GOD NEED
Obviously, God does not need our ability (adequacy) but He does desire our availability.
Are you available? Do you possess a humble sense of inadequacy regarding your natural ability to carry out His supernatural work? Do you believe that what God calls you to accomplish, He will enable you to complete? Then you are in a good position to be used by God in His Kingdom work.
Oh, to be nothing, nothing,
Pastor Brian Bell speaks transparently when he says...
Servants (ministers) (1249)(diakonos [word study] see related words diakoneo, diakonia) is of uncertain origin. Some say it is from dia (through) + konis (dust) which denotes one who hurries through the dust to carry out his service. (Thayer and others doubt this derivation for technical reasons).
Vine says that diakonos is probably from diako which means to hasten after, to pursue and so to run on errands. "Then the root idea is one who reaches out with diligence and persistence to render a service on behalf of others. This would imply that the deacon reaches out to render love-prompted service to others energetically and persistently." (Hiebert)
Diakonos - 29x in 27v - Mt 20:26; 22:13; 23:11; Mark 9:35; 10:43; John 2:5, 9; 12:26; Rom 13:4; 15:8; 16:1; 1Cor 3:5; 2 Cor 3:6; 6:4; 11:15, 23; Gal 2:17; Eph 3:7; 6:21; Phil 1:1; Col 1:7, 23, 25; 4:7; 1Ti 3:8, 12; 4:6. NAS = deacons(3), minister(7), servant(10), servants(9).
This word group (diakonos, diakoneo, diakonia) focuses on the rendering or assistance or help by performing certain duties, often of a humble or menial nature, and including such mundane activities as waiting on tables or caring for household needs, activities that to many would seem to be without dignity (not true of course in God's eyes, Pr 15:3, Rev 22:12-note). In summary, the basic idea of this word group is that of humble, submissive, personal service, with less emphasis on a specific office or a particular function.
As Matthew Henry once said...
A Presbyterian pastor in Melbourne, Australia introduced J. Hudson Taylor by using many superlatives, especially the word great. Taylor stepped to the pulpit and quietly said, “Dear friends, I am the little servant of an illustrious Master.”
John MacArthur adds that...
Richards observes that...
This call for every believer (note "each one" below) to be a minister is especially emphasized by Peter in his summation of spiritual gifts...
As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving (diakoneo) one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. Whoever speaks, let him speak, as it were, the utterances of God; whoever serves (diakoneo), let him do so as by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. (1Pe 4:10,11-note)
A good picture of the meaning of this word group is found in the use of diakoneo to describe Peter's mother-in-law who was healed by Jesus
Bridges rightly observes that...
Were it not for Paul’s letter, we would never know that Onesiphorus had served Paul and the church (see 2Ti 1:16, 18-note). But the Lord knew and will reward him and He will reward you for your faithful service “on that day”
Hiebert writes that diakonos...
Since service associated with the diakoneo word group (diakonos, diakoneo, diakonia) necessarily involved dependence, submission, and constraints of time and freedom, the Greeks regarded a diakonos, et al as a degrading and dishonorable occupation. Service for the public good was honored, but
That last sentence is strikingly contemporary, and is mindful of the fact that a culture that is largely focused on SELF (cp 2Ti 3:1,2-note) will find little value in menial, mundane servant hood.
To the Greeks, diakonia service was not dignified. Thus they lauded ruling and not service as the proper goal of man. The formula of the sophist ("wise man") expressed the basic Greek attitude
“How can a man be happy when he has to serve someone?”
Judaism had no philosophy of ministry involving the mundane, menial sense of a diakonos, instead adopting a philosophy of service similar to the Greeks. If service was rendered, it was done as an act of social obligation or as an act to those more worthy (this too sounds very "modern"). In short, a superior would not stoop to become a servant! Such an attitude, which conforms so closely to man’s natural prejudices, causes the Lord’s Servant attitude and actions to stand out even more (cp Jn 13:3, 4, 5). Clearly, Jesus' examples teach us that the word group diakonos, diakoneo, diakonia does not describe the activity of a lesser to a greater, but in fact is to be the lifestyle one privileged to be called a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The word group (diakonos, diakoneo, diakonia) differs the other Greek word group, douleuo (doulos) which also means to serve, in that the former word group connotes “service” on behalf of someone while the latter speaks of “service” as a slave under or subordinate to someone (as a bondservant or bondslave to the “lord” or “master”). As Richards says...
In fact, in the first five NT uses of diakonos (Mt 20:26, Mt 23:11, 23:11, Mk 9:35, Mk 10:45, cp Jn 12:26), Jesus counters the wisdom of the world, by elevating the menial role of the diakonos, declaring such a one to be on the pathway to greatness in His kingdom. As discussed, it is not surprising that servant hood would be associated with kingdom greatness for this was the goal of incarnation of the King Himself, as stated in Mk 10:45 (verb diakoneo). It follows that for a man or woman to be a servant is to be walk in the steps of the Lord. The corollary is that for one to achieve true greatness, he must humble himself and serve others.
John Calvin thus rightly noted that...
John Blanchard phrases it this way
J C Ryle writes that
The the word group diakonos, diakoneo, diakonos differs the other Greek word group, douleuo (doulos) which also means to serve, in that the former word group connotes “service” on behalf of someone while the latter speaks of “service” as a slave under or subordinate to someone (as a bondservant or bondslave to the “lord” or “master”). As Richards says...
Ministry (including "mission" as shown in the reference below) is not the activity of an elite class, but the mutual caring of a band of brothers. Luke records that
Barnabas and Saul returned from Jerusalem when they had fulfilled their mission (diakonia), taking along with them John, who was also called Mark. (Acts 12:25)
Such service is personal and practical, rather than institutional. A diakonos is one who by choice and position has come to be under the authority of his Master and who therefore serves others in love and gratitude. Paul had been called and set apart to be a servant, Luke quoting Paul who testified...
I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, in order that I may finish my course, and the ministry (diakonia) which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly of the gospel of the grace of God. (Acts 20:24)
Martha is an example of service of a menial nature but without the proper attitude, Luke recording that
Martha was distracted with all her preparations; and she came up to Him, and said, "Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving (diakonia) alone? Then tell her to help me. (Lk 10:40)
The word group diakonos, diakoneo, diakonia involves compassionate love towards the needy within the Christian community. Paul and Luke in the Acts use the word to designate those who preach the gospel and have care of the churches, even as Paul instructed Timothy to...
be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry (diakonia) (2Ti 4:5-note)
What Paul said to Archippus in the closing section of Colossians applies to every believer...
Every believer is called by His Lord to the role of a servant, and one of the surest ways we can serve Christ is to serve the saints in His behalf (see Mt. 25:34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40).
OF A NEW COVENANT: kaines diathekes: (New Covenant: 2Co 3:14 Jer 31:31 Mt 26:28 Mk 14:24 Lk 22:20 1Co 11:25 Heb 7:22 Heb 8:6-10 9:15-20 12:24 13:20)
THE IMPORTANCE OF
The respected pastor Ray Stedman emphasizes that...
Andrew Murray, the gifted nineteen century writer emphasizes the importance of understanding of the New Covenant writing...:
James Denney also appeals to us to seek a greater understanding and appreciation of the New Covenant. Commenting on our present passage, Denney writes...
In Jeremiah Jehovah declared the prophetic hope of the New Covenant to the Jews who were at that time in captivity in Babylon in a seemingly hopeless state (in wrath He remembered mercy = Hab 3:2b)...
New (2537) (kainos [word study]) is an adjective which refers to that which is new in kind = "fresh", unprecedented, novel, uncommon, unheard of. Kainos describes something that was not previously present and in describing the covenant as "new" clearly implies that the "old" one has been replaced.
A T Robertson says kainos in this context conveys the sense of
Paul uses the related noun kainotes translated newness (Freiberg defines it as "depicting something not only recent and different but extraordinary"!) in Ro 6:4-note and Ro 7:6-note. Believers now have a brand new Life (Christ - Col 3:4-note) with a brand new Source of power (the Spirit) to live out that life to the full (cp Jesus' desire for all believers - Jn 10:10b)! Beloved in Christ, may His New "extraordinary" life be a genuine reality in your daily walk with Christ. Amen!
Vine adds that kainos
Covenant (1242)(diatheke from diatithemi = set out in order, dispose in a certain order <> from dia = two + tithemi = to place pictures that which is placed between two Thus, a covenant is something placed between two = thus an arrangement between two parties) literally conveys the idea of a testament, as in one's last will and testament. Most of the NT uses of diatheke refer to God's declaration of His will concerning His self-commitment, promises, and conditions by which He entered into relationship with man.
Covenant has profound implications and is the most solemn, intimate contract known in the Bible. Covenant was considered immutable and binding among the ancients, and thus was not entered into lightly. After pieces of the sacrificial animal were laid opposite one another, the individuals who were cutting covenant would walk between the flesh. This walk represented the so-called walk into death indicating their commitment to die to independent living and to ever after live for their covenant partner and to fulfill the stipulations of their covenant agreement (See this practice in Jer 34:8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17. See esp Jer 34:18,19). Furthermore, this walk into death was a testimony by each covenant partner that if either broke the covenant, God would take their life, even as had been done to the sacrificial animal. In short, we see the gravity of entering into and then breaking covenant. Thus covenant was a pledge to death, a pledge cut in blood. In covenant the shedding of blood demonstrated as nothing else could the intensity of the commitment (life is in the blood - Lev 17:11, 14). By cutting covenant the two parties were bound for life. Thus the shedding of blood in the cutting of covenant underscored the gravity and binding nature of the transaction. Both the Old and the New Covenants were inaugurated with blood (Lk 22:20, 1Co 11:25). The practice of cutting covenant is found throughout history with traces or remnants of covenant truth in every quarter of the globe. (See Introduction to Covenant and Summary of Major Biblical Covenants)
Without question the best way to truly understand covenant is to study these Biblical truths for one's self. And the best course available is the 11 week course of Covenant (click to download 20 page Pdf of Lesson 1 - the overview) produced by Precept Ministries International. This study will transform your life, your marriage, and your ministry. As one of my old medical school professors used to say "you can't not know" these truths about covenant. They are too important. Covenant is what the entire Bible is about, beloved. You can't not know!
In our modern society and even in the evangelical church, we have for the most part forgotten the profound significance of covenant in Scripture and thus we have difficulty grasping the profound, practical implications of the New Covenant. Yes, many can list the covenants but few understand the symbolism and seriousness of the concept of covenant. Today men make "covenants" but add stipulations in "fine print" which allow one to "get out" of the agreement with relative ease. Even the marriage covenant has all but lost its holy character in our post-Christian, "abiblical" society, as evidenced by the fact that many couples now live together without entering into a marriage covenant, a covenant ordained by God and one which He honors and blesses. See related resource: Covenant: As It Relates to Marriage
NOT OF THE LETTER BUT OF THE SPIRIT: ou grammatos alla pneumatos: (Ro 2:27, 28, 29 7:6)
Not (ou) signifies absolutely not servants of the letter (law).
The letter - Not the same as letter (epistle in 2Co 3:1 = epistole).
Letter (1121) (gramma from grapho = to engrave or to write)
Spirit (4151)(pneuma from pneo = to blow, to breathe) in context (cp use 2Co 3:17) refers in context to the Holy Spirit, the third Person of the Trinity, Who had caused them to be born again (Jn 3:5, 6, 7, 8)
The Holy Spirit was promised in the Old Testament as God's gift in the New Covenant...
FOR THE LETTER KILLS: to gar gramma apoktennei (3SPAI): (2Co 3:7,9 Dt 27:26 Ro 3:20 4:15 7:9, 10, 11 Ga 3:10, 11, 12,21 )
For (gar) - Introduces Paul's explanation for the superiority of the Spirit over the "letter". As an aside, whenever you see a "for", take a moment to carefully observe the text and try to determine what the author is explaining (for more discussion see inductive Bible study and term of conclusion).
The letter - Referring to the Law or the Old Covenant. Other synonyms Paul uses for the Law in this same chapter include "ministry of death" (2Co 3:6) and "ministry of condemnation" (2Co 3:9). Some commentators feel that in introducing the Law, Paul is addressing false teachers in Corinth who were teaching one much add Old Covenant Law to the New Covenant grace, an untenable mixture for spiritual life.
Brian Bell explains that...
Kills (615) (apokteino from apo = intensifies meaning + kteíno = slay) means to put to death or to kill outright.
In Romans 6 Paul previews the new relationship (for those who have entered the New Covenant by grace through faith) believers have with the Law explaining...
Then in Romans 7 Paul went to explain...
James Denney is likely correct when he writes that...
John MacArthur writes that the letter kills because...
A W Pink comments that beginning in 2Co 3:6 Paul presents...
In the first place,The Bad News of the Law versus the Good News of grace
Run, John, Run! The Law commands
Ray Stedman asks...
The Pulpit Commentary has an interesting note that 2Co 3:6...
Warren Wiersbe has a similar comment noting that...
BUT THE SPIRIT GIVES LIFE: to de pneuma zoopoiei (3SPAI): (But the Spirit: Jn 6:63 Ro 8:2 1Jn 1:1) (Gives life: Jn 5:21 Ro 4:17 1Co 15:45 Eph 2:1,5 1Pe 3:18)
Jesus emphasized the same truth that...
Paul contrasts the letter and the Spirit in Romans 2 explaining the need for "spiritual circumcision" (See Excursus on Circumcision)...
In Romans 7 Paul again contrasts the letter (law) and the Spirit...
James Denney explains the phrase the Spirit gives life writing that...
Most of the NT uses refer to God's ability to give life to men, either by resurrecting them from physical death or by regenerating them from spiritual death. In 1Co 15:36 Paul uses zoopoieo figuratively to picture the sprouting of a seed in his defense of the doctrine of the resurrection.
Beloved, note that Paul uses the present tense which is profoundly practical for in so doing he is saying that the Spirit continually vivifies and revitalizes our lives! Do we really understand what this means and how great is our daily need for the Spirit's sufficient provision? I think not (speaking for myself at least)!
In John 6:63 Jesus taught that...
Alford on Spirit gives life...
Zoopoieo - 11x in 10v in the NAS - come to life(1), give life(1), gives...life(1), gives life(4), impart life(1), life-giving(1), made alive(2).
Zoopoieo - 6x in 6v in the non-apocryphal Septuagint - Jdg 21:14; 2Ki 5:7; Neh 9:6; Ps 70:20; Eccl 7:12; Job 36:6
IS YOUR SERVICE "WANT TO" OR "HAVE TO"? - A group of ministers attending an evangelistic conference gave testimonies as to how they came to know Christ. Most spoke of dramatic conversions. One pastor, however, had been born into a Christian home and had grown up in the church. "It seems from my earliest years I have always known and loved the Lord," he said. The other clergymen couldn't identify with this, since most of them remembered a definite time and place when they trusted in Jesus. The first minister quickly added, "But I do remember when `have to' became `want to.'"
Yes, that's the key to knowing that our faith is real. The Holy Spirit fills us with a love for God that creates a desire to keep His commands for Christian living, not from force but from the impulse of a renewed heart. That's what Paul meant when he said that "the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life."
If our service for the Lord is all "have to" but no "want to," we have probably become legalistic, having substituted adherence to man-made rules for loving obedience to God's commands. We need to ponder again the great price Jesus paid for our redemption. God exposed His heart of love for us. He inflicted on His beloved Son the punishment we deserve so that we could be forgiven. As we confess our sins and ask the Holy Spirit to fill us, we'll experience afresh His marvelous love. And this will bring us back to the place where "want to" replaces "have to." —D. J. De Haan
Legalism weighs us down.
Filled With The Spirit - Bible scholar C. I. Scofield once visited a psychiatric hospital in Staunton, Virginia. The superintendent, who was giving him a tour, pointed out a powerfully built young man who seemed to be the picture of health.
Scofield later commented,
There are many splendid goals we could reach if we would cease our timid excuse-making and just let the Holy Spirit fill and control our lives. Because of our relationship to Christ and the indwelling Spirit, we have all the strength we need to do His will (2Cor 3:5). — by Henry G. Bosch (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
Lord, fill us with Thy Spirit’s might