World Wide Study Bible
a Bible passage
3and you show that you are a letter of Christ, prepared by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.
3. declared—The letter is written so legibly that it can be "read by all men" (2Co 3:2). Translate, "Being manifestly shown to be an Epistle of Christ"; a letter coming manifestly from Christ, and "ministered by us," that is, carried about and presented by us as its (ministering) bearers to those (the world) for whom it is intended: Christ is the Writer and the Recommender, ye are the letter recommending us.
written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God—Paul was the ministering pen or other instrument of writing, as well as the ministering bearer and presenter of the letter. "Not with ink" stands in contrast to the letters of commendation which "some" at Corinth (2Co 3:1) used. "Ink" is also used here to include all outward materials for writing, such as the Sinaitic tables of stone were. These, however, were not written with ink, but "graven" by "the finger of God" (Ex 31:18; 32:16). Christ's Epistle (His believing members converted by Paul) is better still: it is written not merely with the finger, but with the "Spirit of the living God"; it is not the "ministration of death" as the law, but of the "living Spirit" that "giveth life" (2Co 3:6-8).
not in—not on tables (tablets) of stone, as the ten commandments were written (2Co 3:7).
in fleshy tables of the heart—ALL the best manuscripts read, "On [your] hearts [which are] tables of flesh." Once your hearts were spiritually what the tables of the law were physically, tables of stone, but God has "taken away the stony heart out of your flesh, given you a heart of flesh" (fleshy, not fleshly, that is, carnal; hence it is written, "out of your flesh" that is, your carnal nature), Eze 11:19; 36:26. Compare 2Co 3:2, "As ye are our Epistle written in our hearts," so Christ has in the first instance made you "His Epistle written with the Spirit in (on) your hearts." I bear on my heart, as a testimony to all men, that which Christ has by His Spirit written in your heart [Alford]. (Compare Pr 3:3; 7:3; Jer 31:31-34). This passage is quoted by Paley [Horæ Paulinæ] as illustrating one peculiarity of Paul's style, namely, his going off at a word into a parenthetic reflection: here it is on the word "Epistle." So "savor," 2Co 2:14-17.