2 Corinthians 3:7 Commentary
2 Corinthians 3:7 But if the ministry of death, in letters engraved on stones, came with glory, so that the sons of Israel could not look intently at the face of Moses because of the glory of his face, fading as it was, (NASB: Lockman)
Greek : Ei de e diakonia tou thanatou en grammasin entetupomene (RPPFSN) lithois egenethe (3SAPI) en doxe, oste me dunasthai (PPN) atenisai (AAN) tous huious Israel eis to prosopon Mouseos dia ten doxan docan tou prosopou autou ten katargoumenen (PPPFSA),
Amplified: Now if the dispensation of death engraved in letters on stone [the ministration of the Law], was inaugurated with such glory and splendor that the Israelites were not able to look steadily at the face of Moses because of its brilliance, [a glory] that was to fade and pass away, [Exod. 34:29-35.] (Lockman)
ESV: Now if the ministry of death, carved in letters on stone, came with such glory that the Israelites could not gaze at Moses' face because of its glory, which was being brought to an end, (ESV)
KJV: 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:
NET: But if the ministry that produced death – carved in letters on stone tablets – came with glory, so that the Israelites could not keep their eyes fixed on the face of Moses because of the glory of his face (a glory which was made ineffective), (NET Bible)
NIV: Now if the ministry that brought death, which was engraved in letters on stone, came with glory, so that the Israelites could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of its glory, fading though it was, (NIV - IBS)
NLT: The old way, with laws etched in stone, led to death, though it began with such glory that the people of Israel could not bear to look at Moses’ face. For his face shone with the glory of God, even though the brightness was already fading away.(NLT - Tyndale House)
Phillips: The administration of the Law which was engraved in stone (and which led in fact to spiritual death) was so magnificent that the Israelites were unable to look unflinchingly at Moses' face, for it was alight with heavenly splendour. Now if the old administration held such heavenly, even though transitory, splendour, (Phillips: Touchstone)
Wuest: Now, since the ministration of death which has been engraved by means of letters on stones was surrounded with glory so that the sons of Israel were not able to fix their gaze upon the face of Moses because of the glory of his face, which glory was of a transient nature, (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: and if the ministration of the death, in letters, engraved in stones, came in glory, so that the sons of Israel were not able to look stedfastly to the face of Moses, because of the glory of his face -- which was being made useless,
|BUT IF THE MINISTRY OF DEATH, IN LETTERS ENGRAVED ON STONES, CAME WITH GLORY: Ei de e diakonia tou thanatou en grammasin entetupomene (RPPFSN) lithois egenethe (3SAPI) en doxe): (Ministry: 2Co 3:6,9 Ro 7:10) (engraved: 2Co 3:3 Ex 24:12 31:18 32:15,16,19 34:1,28 Dt 4:13 5:22 9:9-11,15 Dt 10:1-4 Heb 9:4) (Came with glory: Dt 4:8 Ne 9:13 Ps 19:7,8 119:97,127,128,174 Ro 7:12, 13, 14,22 Ge 3:21)
A note of clarification - As you read and study 2Corinthians 3, especially the passages in which Paul contrasts the Old Covenant with the New Covenant, you must understand that the New Covenant is the heart of the Gospel and is based solely on grace not law. To preach the Gospel is in essence to preach the New Covenant. It therefore behooves us to understand the glorious good news of the New Covenant, so that we can experience the life and freedom that it offers and avoid the subtle trap of succumbing to various forms of legalism which in one way or another are simply permutations of the Old Covenant of Law and which invariably produce a stagnant, frustrating, "dead" Christian experience accompanied by a sense of condemnation rather than a realization of true freedom that is found in Christ, our New Covenant Messenger (Malachi 3:1) Who "cut the New Covenant" in His body and blood on the Cross (Lk 22:20, 1Co 11:24, 25). As an aside, remember that Old Testament saints were saved by grace through faith and not by keeping the Law, which is an all too common misconception even among evangelical believers! Clearly those individuals do not understand 2 Corinthians 3 in which Paul describes the Old Covenant as a ministry of death and a ministry of condemnation!
You are probably thinking something like "This section of Scripture doesn't strike me as that significant." Let me encourage you that to the contrary, this section of Scripture is an integral component of the riches Paul under the inspiration of the Spirit has laid away for us to discover. May the excellent devotional writer J C Philpot's comments encourage you to do more than just quickly read through this great chapter...
C H Spurgeon wrote that...
More of C H Spurgeon on the New Covenant...
See these related resources:
John MacArthur comments that...
John MacArthur makes the point that in 2Corinthians 3 Paul teaches truths that will help his readers...
The UBS Handbook notes that...
But if - Paul now develops the contrast he introduced in 2Co 3:7 and in a sense even alluded to in 2Co 3:3 comparing the external writing on stone (Old Covenant) versus the Spirit's writing on the hearts of the saints at Corinth (New Covenant).
Here are the 3 sets of "which utilize the rabbinical exegetical middah of 'the light and the heavy'" (R. Martin)...
But if (2Co 3:7)...even more (2Co 3:8)
Expositor's Bible Commentary writes that Paul's allusion to the NT...
Ministry of death - The Greek is subjective genitive meaning "marked by death in its outcome" (A T Robertson) and was a graphic description of the ministry of Moses (and the Old Covenant of Law), because as Paul had just stated, the letter kills (2Co 3:6-see explanation of why the letter killed).
THE GREATEST MASS
MacArthur explains ministry of death bluntly stating that the...
John Trapp has an interesting comment on ministry of death writing that...
Vincent comments that ministry of death...
Ministry (1248)(diakonia) means the rendering or assistance or help by performing certain duties, often of a humble or menial nature serve, including such mundane activities as waiting on tables or caring for household needs. In this section of Corinthians, diakonia, is used somewhat figuratively to speak of the service rendered by the two covenants Paul is contrasting.
Paul had just explained that the Old Covenant of the Law "kills" (2Co 3:6) for as Romans 7:10
Letters engraved on stones (2Co 3:3) - Literally "engraved on stones by means of letters"
The Tablets God wrote on Mt Sinai...
Engraved (1795) (entupoo from en = in + tupos = form, stamp) means to stamp in or on and so to engrave. Used only here in Scripture describing the forming of letters by carving or incising in this case on stones.
Stones (plural) (3037) (lithos) a piece of rock, a a concretion of earthy or mineral matter of indeterminate size or shape. Stones are of various degrees of hardness and weight; they are brittle and fusible, but not malleable, ductile, or soluble in water. Lithos is used figuratively to refer to Christ as "the stone which the builders (Israel) rejected", the chief corner stone of the God's spiritual temple. Peter uses lithos figuratively to describe believers as living stones "who are being built up as a spiritual house" (1Pe 2:5-note). Here Paul is clearly referring to the two stone "tablets of the testimony, tablets of stone, written by the finger of God." (Ex 31:18).
The first tablets of stone which Moses broke in anger were engraved by God as recorded in Exodus 32...
The second set of two tablets of the "Ten Commandments" were written not by the finger of God but by Moses...
Came with glory - was made glorious (literally "in glory"). The Old Covenant (Law) had a degree of supernatural glory, brightness and splendor which Paul explains below was evident on the face of Moses (not on the tablets per se), not to mention the glory on the mountain manifest by "lightning flashes and a thick cloud upon the mountain and a very loud trumpet sound...in smoke because the LORD descended upon it in fire; and its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked violently, so that all the people who were in the camp trembled." (Ex 19:16, 18) Paul did not despise the Law of God as his enemies suggested, for "It came with glory" and "is holy and the commandment is holy and righteous and good." (Ro 7:12) What Paul did despise was the misuse of the Law by the false teachers. So Paul does not argue that the Old Covenant lacked glory but clearly states it had glory. But as he goes on to add, this glory was a fading glory, a temporary glory, a glory that was now replaced by the glory of the New Covenant which in place of death and condemnation brings life and righteousness. And so in this section we are studying, Paul illustrates the fading glory of the Old Covenant by referring to the time when Moses encountered God and had his face transformed so that it reflected God's glory. Even as the glory on Moses' face faded, so too the glory of the Old Covenant had "faded" away and was now replaced by the permanent glory of the New Covenant.
Glory (1391)(doxa) which in this context describes splendor or that which emanates great brightness or luster, brilliance, effulgence, radiance, resplendence. Doxa is a key word in this chapter where it is used 11x - three times in 2Co 3:18, twice in 2Co 3:7, 3:9, 3:11, once in 2Co 3:8, 10.
Vincent comments that the KJV's translation of was glorious is...
Matthew Poole contrasts the coming of the glory of the Law with that of the Gospel writing that...
SO THAT THE SONS OF ISRAEL COULD NOT LOOK INTENTLY AT THE FACE OF MOSES BECAUSE OF THE GLORY OF HIS FACE, FADING AS IT WAS: hoste me dunasthai (PPN) atenisai (AAN) tous huious Israel eis to prosopon Mouseos dia ten doxan tou prosopou autou ten katargoumenen (PPPFSA): (So that: Ex 34:29-35 Lk 9:29, 30, 31 Ac 6:15) (2Co 3:10,11,14 Ro 10:4 1Co 13:10)
The proof of that the glory is borne out by the fact that the children of Israel could not look at the the face of Moses because of the glory.
The sons of Israel - This phrase appears some 645 times in Scripture as a generic (characteristic of a whole group) name for the entire nation of Israel, both male and female (first OT use Ge 32:32, first NT use Mt 27:9, Lk 1:16).
Could (1410) (dunamai [word study\) conveys the basic meaning of that which has the inherent ability to do something or accomplish some end. Thus dunamai means to be able to, to be capable of, to be strong enough to do or to have power to do something. The present tense indicates that they continually were not able to look intently on Moses' face.
Could not look intently - The sons of Israel could not keep their eyes fixed on Moses because of the splendor and radiance of his face which was a reflection of the glory of the Lord.
Look intently (816) (atenizo from from atenes = strained, intent which in turn is from a = intensifies + teino = to stretch, to extend or to strain all of which help to paint a picture of the meaning of atenizo) means to look intently, to fix one's gaze on something, to stare at something, to gaze earnestly, to look straight at something, to fasten one's eyes upon. 2 Cor. 3:13 speaks of God's people being denied the opportunity to "see" the fading glory on the face of Moses after his descent from Sinai.
Gilbrant on atenizo -
This same verb describes the Jews in the synagogue able to look on the glory of Him Who was full of grace and truth (Jn 1:14), Luke recording...
Atenizo - 14x in 14v in NAS: fixed(1), fixed...gaze(4), fixing...gaze(2), gaze(1), gazed intently(1), gazing intently(1), look intently(2), looking intently(2). Not in the Septuagint.
The glory of his face - Moses the mediator of the Old Covenant manifested a degree of glory, but it was a glory that was fading while verse 8 indicates the glory of the New Covenant was greater.
Fading - In 2Cor 3:7,11, 13 the verb the NAS translates "fade" is katargeo which means to render inoperative or ineffective. The glory of Moses’ face was "rendered ineffective" in the sense that its brightness was diminishing and relatively speaking lasted only a short time.
Fading (2673)(katargeo [word study] from kata = intensifies meaning + argeo = to be idle or inactive from argos = ineffective, idle, inactive from a = without + érgon = work) literally means to reduce to inactivity. To cause something to come to an end. The idea is to make the power or force of something ineffective and NET Bible picks up on this sense rendering it as "a glory which was made ineffective." Young's Literal renders the glory as "being made useless." The present tense signifies the glory was continually fading which points to the temporary nature of the Old Covenant.
Katargeo [word study] is a key verb in this chapter (5 uses) and in the Corinthian epistles, accounting for almost one half of the 27 NT uses - Lk 13:7; Ro 3:3, 31; 4:14; 6:6; 7:2, 6; 1Co 1:28; 2:6; 6:13; 13:8 (2x), 1Co 13:10, 11; 15:24, 26; 2Co 3:7, 11, 13, 14; Ga 3:17; 5:4, 11; Ep 2:15; 2Th 2:8; 2Ti 1:10; He 2:14. NAS translates it - abolished(4), abolishing(1), bring to an end(1), did away(1), do away(1), done away(4), fades away(1), fading(1), fading away(1), nullified(1), nullify(4), passing away(1), released(2), removed(1), render powerless(1), severed(1), use(1).
Paul will pick continue his discussion of the fading glory of the Old Covenant in 2Co 3:11.
Joseph Beet comments...
Warren Wiersbe emphasizes that the legalistic teachers would...
2 Corinthians 3:8 Commentary
Amplified: Why should not the dispensation of the Spirit [this spiritual ministry whose task it is to cause men to obtain and be governed by the Holy Spirit] be attended with much greater and more splendid glory? (Lockman)
ESV: will not the ministry of the Spirit have even more glory?. (ESV)
KJV: How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious?
NET: how much more glorious will the ministry of the Spirit be? (NET Bible)
NIV: will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious? (NIV - IBS)
NLT: Shouldn’t we expect far greater glory under the new way, now that the Holy Spirit is giving life? (NLT - Tyndale House)
Phillips: can we not see what a much more glorious thing is the new administration of the Spirit of life? (Phillips: Touchstone)
Wuest: how shall not rather the ministration of the Spirit be surrounded with glory? (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: how shall the ministration of the Spirit not be more in glory?
HOW WILL THE MINISTRY OF THE SPIRIT FAIL TO BE EVEN MORE WITH GLORY?: pos ouchi mallon e diakonia tou pneumatos estai (3SFMI) en doxe?: (2Co 3:6,17 11:4 Isa 11:2 44:3 59:21 Joel 2:28,29 Jn 1:17 7:39 Ac 2:17,18,32,33 Ro 8:9-16 1Co 3:16 12:4-11 Ga 3:2-5,14 Ga 5:5,22,23 Eph 2:18 2Th 2:13 1Pe 1:2 Jude 1:19,20)
As is Paul's frequent practice in his epistles, he asks his readers a rhetorical question, that is, a question asked merely for effect with no answer expected. In this passage Paul is completing the comparison he began in 2Co 3:7. In other words, if the Law of Moses came with such splendor, how much greater is the splendor of the ministry of the Spirit. The question assumes an affirmative answer for clearly the ministry of the Spirit brings more glory than the ministry of Moses and the Old Covenant.
The ministry of the Spirit - This is another "synonym" for the New Covenant (which also equates with "the ministry of the Gospel" according to Joseph Beet), the "centerpiece" of the New Covenant being the permanently indwelling Spirit in all who enter the New Covenant. In other words, the New Covenant is aptly called the ministry of the Spirit because it results in the giving of the Holy Spirit to all who enter it by grace through faith (cp Ro 8:9-note, 1Co 6:19-note)
Puritan writer Thomas Watson says that...
Ministry (1248)(diakonia) means the rendering or assistance or help by performing certain duties, often of a humble or menial nature serve, including such mundane activities as waiting on tables or caring for household needs—activities without apparent dignity
Be even more with glory - Literally the future tense is used ("will be...with glory") for when the Law of Moses was given, the New Covenant was clearly a future event. Obviously at the time Paul wrote the new covenant was a present reality. The Law written on stone could only condemn. The Law written on the heart by the Holy Spirit brought salvation. Clearly the New Covenant has even more glory than the Old.
John MacArthur notes that...
Ray Stedman comments that Paul calls the Old Covenant...
Steve Zeisler explains the ministry of the Spirit and the New Covenant as...
Joseph Beet has an interesting thought on the "future tense glory"...
Wiersbe commenting on even more with glory writes...
Here is a translation of verses 7-8 in one African language...
J C Philpot on the Ministry of the Spirit...
The ministry of the Spirit includes causing us to be born again and then causing us to grow in grace and the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Christ Jesus. Bradford Mullen summarizes the Holy Spirit's role in sanctification (Note: I've also included some of his additional thoughts from his excellent article on sanctification) ...
2 Corinthians 3:9 Commentary
Amplified: For if the service that condemns [the ministration of doom] had glory, how infinitely more abounding in splendor and glory must be the service that makes righteous [the ministry that produces and fosters righteous living and right standing with God]! (Lockman)
ESV: For if there was glory in the ministry of condemnation, the ministry of righteousness must far exceed it in glory. (ESV)
KJV: For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory.
NET: For if there was glory in the ministry that produced condemnation, how much more does the ministry that produces righteousness excel in glory! (NET Bible)
NIV: If the ministry that condemns men is glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness! (NIV - IBS)
NLT: If the old way, which brings condemnation, was glorious, how much more glorious is the new way, which makes us right with God! (NLT - Tyndale House)
Phillips: Now if the old administration held such heavenly, even though transitory, splendour, can we not see what a much more glorious thing is the new administration of the Spirit of life? (Phillips: Touchstone)
Wuest: For in view of the fact that the ministration of condemnation was glorious, by so much more will the ministration of righteousness superabound in the sphere of the glorious. (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: for if the ministration of the condemnation is glory, much more doth the ministration of the righteousness abound in glory;
|FOR IF THE MINISTRY OF CONDEMNATION HAS GLORY: ei gar te diakonia tes katakriseos doxa: (Condemnation: 2Co 3:6,7 Ex 19:12-19 20:18,19 Ro 1:18 8:3,4 Ga 3:10 Heb 12:18-21)
Paul continues his argument from lesser (Old Covenant) to greater (New Covenant).
For (gar) explains or continues Paul's argument (it restates it using slightly different wording) that the glory of the New Covenant surpasses the fading glory of the Old Covenant.
If (ei) does not express doubt and the Wuest translation conveys the sense of this conjunction "for in view of the fact that".
Ministry of condemnation - MacArthur calls it "the ministry of judgment, the ministry of doom, the ministry of damnation". Why? Because no one can obey the law perfectly (Jas 2:10). This description amplifies Paul's previous statement that the letter kills (2Co 3:6).
Moses declared the OT equivalent of James 2:10, writing...
Condemnation (2633) (katakrisis from kata = against + krino = judge) refers to a judicial verdict involving a penalty. It refers to the judicial act of declaring one guilty, and dooming him to punishment. This was the effect of the Old Covenant.
Ray Stedman explains the ministry of condemnation this way...
Expositor's Bible Commentary...
MUCH MORE DOES THE MINISTRY OF RIGHTEOUSNESS ABOUND IN GLORY: pollo mallon perisseuei (3SPAI) e diakonia tes dikaiosunes doxe: (Righteousness: 2Co 5:21 Isa 46:13 Jer 23:6 Ro 1:17 3:21,22 4:11 5:15-21 10:3-10 1Co 1:30 Ga 5:4,5 Php 3:9 2Pe 1:1) (Abound: 2Co 3:10,11 1Co 15:41 Heb 3:5,6)
Much more - Going from the lesser, fading glory of the Law to the continually superabounding glory of the Gospel.
The ministry of righteousness - Another synonym for the New Covenant which is proclaimed in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Charles Simeon explains that...
Adam Clarke explains the much more glory noting that...
Paul was as enslaved in the practice of the Old Covenant Law as any man (Php 3:4, 5, 6-note) but when he met Jesus, the Covenant Messenger (Mal 3:1), he began to experience a quality of life and liberty so much more glorious that under the Old Covenant that it led him to exclaim...
Clarke interprets the ministry of righteousness as
Ministry of righteousness - ("the ministry that produces and fosters righteous living and right standing with God" Amplified) As discussed in the preceding comment, the New Covenant is marked by and leads to a righteous lifestyle for those who enter into it by grace through faith. As a corollary - if one says they have entered the New Covenant and yet they fail to exhibit any change in lifestyle and/or no tendency toward righteousness or "right living" (as their direction not perfection! cp 1Jn 1:8), they may well be professors of Christ, rather than possessors of His holy life and His Holy Spirit. The Spirit of holiness indwelling a believer urges and impels the believer toward righteousness and holiness and godliness, not toward unrighteousness, unholiness and ungodliness (cp the instructing, "child rearing" effect of the "grace of God" in Titus 2:12-note).
Paul exhorted the Corinthians...
Righteousness (1343)(dikaiosune from dikaios [word study] = being proper or right in the sense of being fully justified being or in accordance with what God requires) is the quality of being upright. In its simplest sense dikaiosune conveys the idea of conformity to a standard or norm and in Biblical terms the "standard" is God and His perfect, holy character. In this sense righteousness is the opposite of hamartia (sin), which is defined as missing of the mark set by God.
Dikaiosune is rightness of character before God and rightness of actions before men. Righteousness of God could be succinctly stated as all that God is, all that He commands, all that He demands, all that He approves, all that He provides through Christ (Click to read Pastor Ray Pritchard's interesting analysis of righteousness in the Gospel of Matthew).
The Gospel manifests the righteousness of God to all who believe...
Ray Stedman has a slightly different explanation of righteousness writing that...
Beet explains that...
Jesus Thy Blood and righteousness
Abound (surpass, overflow) (4052) (perisseuo from perissos = abundant, exceeding some number, measure, rank or need, over and above) means to cause to superabound, to be superfluous, to overflow, to be in affluence, to excel or to be in abundance with the implication of being considerably more than what would be expected. Perisseuo conveys the idea of exceeding the requirements, which in a sense is what the New Covenant did. God's requirement was perfect obedience in order to attain righteousness or be justified.
William Plummer (1867) writes that...
2 Corinthians 3:10 Commentary
Amplified: Indeed, in view of this fact, what once had splendor [the glory of the Law in the face of Moses] has come to have no splendor at all, because of the overwhelming glory that exceeds and excels it [the glory of the Gospel in the face of Jesus Christ]. (Lockman)
ESV: Indeed, in this case, what once had glory has come to have no glory at all, because of the glory that surpasses it. (ESV)
KJV: For even that which was made glorious had no glory in this respect, by reason of the glory that excelleth.
NET: For indeed, what had been glorious now has no glory because of the tremendously greater glory of what replaced it. (NET Bible)
NIV: For what was glorious has no glory now in comparison with the surpassing glory. (NIV - IBS)
NLT: In fact, that first glory was not glorious at all compared with the overwhelming glory of the new way.(NLT - Tyndale House)
Phillips: And while it is true that the former temporary glory has been completely eclipsed by the latter, we do well to remember that is eclipsed simply because the present permanent plan is such a very much more glorious thing than the old. (Phillips: Touchstone)
Wuest: For even that which has been made glorious [the ministration of death] has not [really] been made glorious in this respect, namely, on account of the glory [of the ministration of righteousness], which glory superabounds. (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: for also even that which hath been glorious, hath not been glorious -- in this respect, because of the superior glory;
|FOR INDEED WHAT HAD GLORY, IN THIS CASE HAS NO GLORY BECAUSE OF THE GLORY THAT SURPASSES IT: kai gar ou dedocastai (3SRPI) to dedoxasmenon (RPPNSN) en touto to merei eineken tes huperballouses (PAPFSG) doxes: (Job 25:5 Isa 24:23 Hag 2:3,7, 8, 9 Ac 26:13 Php 3:7, 8 2Pe 1:17 Rev 21:23,24 22:5 )
For (gar) explains and supports Paul's argument from lesser glory (Old Covenant) to greater glory (New Covenant) mentioned in 2Co 3:9.
For indeed what had glory - The Old Covenant had glory. The glory on the face of Moses, although temporary, was real glory. Not only did Moses' face reflect glory, the Tabernacle (established in concordance with the Old Covenant regulations) was the site of God's Shekinah glory which ceased with the destruction of the Solomon's temple.
Both verbs are in the perfect tense and the latter (has no glory) indicates that this loss of splendor of the Old Covenant is a permanent condition.
In this case - In the case of the comparison of the Old to the New Covenant.
What had glory has no glory - Clearly the Old Covenant had glory (2Co 3:7 and the next verse 2Co 3:11) but that glory is as if it is no glory in comparison the surpassing glory of the New Covenant. The analogy in nature is the glory of the sun compared to the glory of the moon, for when the sun rises, the moon begins to fade and eventually disappear. The writer of Hebrews states that...
Rob Salvato illustrates the "no glory" of the Old Covenant...
Glory that surpasses it - More literally "the surpassing glory", the "throwing beyond" glory.
Surpasses (5235) (huperballo from huper = above + ballo = cast, put) literally means throw beyond the usual mark which came to describe a degree which exceeds extraordinary. Synonyms include exceeding, extraordinary, extreme, supreme, far more, much greater, to a far greater degree. The present tense signifies the continually surpassing glory of the New Covenant (alluding to its never ending character) in comparison to the Old Covenant.
Beet comments that...
2 Corinthians 3:11 Commentary
Amplified: For if that which was but passing and fading away came with splendor, how much more must that which remains and is permanent abide in glory and splendor! (Lockman)
ESV: For if what was being brought to an end came with glory, much more will what is permanent have glory. (ESV)
KJV: For if that which is done away was glorious, much more that which remaineth is glorious.
NET: For if what was made ineffective came with glory, how much more has what remains come in glory! (NET Bible)
NIV: And if what was fading away came with glory, how much greater is the glory of that which lasts! (NIV - IBS)
NLT: So if the old way, which has been replaced, was glorious, how much more glorious is the new, which remains forever! (NLT - Tyndale House)
Phillips: And while it is true that the former temporary glory has been completely eclipsed by the latter, we do well to remember that is eclipsed simply because the present permanent plan is such a very much more glorious thing than the old. (Phillips: Touchstone)
Wuest: For, since that which is passing away was with glory, by so much more that which remains is within the sphere of glory. (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: for if that which is being made useless is through glory, much more that which is remaining is in glory.
|FOR IF THAT WHICH FADES AWAY WAS WITH GLORY, MUCH MORE THAT WHICH REMAINS IS IN GLORY: ei gar to katargoumenon (PPPNSN) dia doxes, pollo mallon to menon (PAPNSN) en doxe: (If: 2Co 3:7 Ro 5:20,21 Heb 7:21, 22, 23, 24, 25 8:13 12:25, 26, 27 28 29 ) (Much more: 2Co 3:6 4:1)
THE NEW COVENANT
For if - For since it is true is the idea (the Law did have glory). Continuing his lesser-to-greater argument, Paul explains or gives a reason for the greater splendor suggested in the preceding verse.
That which fades away - Referring to the ministry of the Old Covenant of Law, the ministry of condemnation. The Old Covenant is valid (but see MacArthur's clarifying comment) only until the New Covenant comes with the liberating, life giving Gospel (Gal 3:22 - where "Scripture" in context = "Old Covenant", Ro 10:4-note, Ro 6:14-note). In 2Co 3:7 the same verb katargeo (fading away) refers to the glory of Moses’ face, whereas here fades away refers to the glory of the Old Covenant.
The fading of the glory on Moses' face was in a sense an acted out prophecy, in other words, the facial fading preceding and predicting the future fading of the Old Covenant.
Fades (2673)(katargeo from kata = intensifies meaning + argeo = to be idle or inactive from argos = ineffective, idle, inactive from a = without + érgon = work) literally means to reduce to inactivity or to cause something to come to an end, in this case the Old Covenant. The present tense signifies the glory was continually fading emphasizing the temporary nature of the Old Covenant. It is in process of disappearing.
Ryrie comments that...
John MacArthur explains that...
That which remains - This phrase refers to the New Covenant. The Good News. The Gospel of grace.
Ray Stedman has an different interpretation/application of this section explaining that...
Remains (3306) (meno) means to abide and the present tense indicates the glory of the New Covenant is permanent. The glory of the New Covenant is never ending and does not need to be replaced, amended or updated because it fully accomplishes all of God's redemptive objectives.
Adam Clarke comments that the New Covenant...
A T Robertson comments...