2 Corinthians 3:12-18
12. Seeing then that we have such hope, we use great plainness of speech:
12. Habentes igitur hanc spem, multa fiducia (vel, libertate) utimur.
13. And not as Moses, which put a vail over his face, that the children of Israel could not steadfastly look to the end of that which is abolished:
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.
15. But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart.
15. Sed usque in hodiernum diem, quum legitur Moses, velamen eorum cordibus impositum est.
16. Nevertheless, when it shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away.
16. At ubi conversus fuerit ad Dominum, auferetur velamen.
17. Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
17. Dominus Spiritus est: ubi autem Spiritus Domini, illic libertas.
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.
18. Nos autem omnes retecta facie gloriam Domini in speculo conspicientes, in eandem imaginem transformamur a gloria in gloriam, tanquam a Domini Spiritu.
This veil, he adds, is not taken away, except by Christ. From this he concludes, that none are susceptible of a right apprehension, but those who direct their minds to Christ. 8 In the first place, he draws this distinction between the law and the Gospel -- that the brightness of the former rather dazzled men's eyes, than enlightened them, while in the latter, Christ's glorious face is clearly beheld. He now triumphantly exults, on the ground that the majesty of the Gospel is not terrific, but amiable 9 -- is not hid, but is manifested familiarly to all. The term
hearing they hear not, and in seeing they see not.
There is no reason, however, why we should be troubled,
as though some new thing had happened. (1 Peter 4:12.)
God has shown long ago under the type of the veil, that it would be so. Lest, however, any blame should attach to the law, he again repeats it, that
The passage is deserving of particular notice, 19 as teaching us, in what way we are to reconcile those encomiums which David pronounces upon the law -- (Psalm 19:7,8) -- "the law of the Lord converteth souls, enlighteneth the eyes, imparteth wisdom to babes," and passages of a like nature, with those statements of Paul, which at first view are at variance with them -- that it is the ministry of sin and death -- the letter that does nothing but kill. (2 Corinthians 3:6,7.) For when it is animated by Christ, 20 those things that David makes mention of are justly applicable to it. If Christ is taken away, it is altogether such as Paul describes. Hence Christ is the life of the law. 21
He makes mention, also, of the blessing that we obtain from that source. "
We have not again received the spirit of bondage, to fear, etc. (Romans 8:15.)
In that passage, the Apostle makes mention of two things -- bondage, and fear. The opposites of these are
He points out, however, at the same time, both the strength of the revelation, and our daily progress. 25 For he has employed such a similitude to denote three things: first, That we have no occasion to fear obscurity, when we approach the gospel, for God there clearly discovers to us His face; 26 secondly, That it is not befitting, that it should be a dead contemplation, but that we should be transformed by means of it into the image of God; and, thirdly, that the one and the other are not accomplished in us in one moment, but we must be constantly making progress both in the knowledge of God, and in conformity to His image, for this is the meaning of the expression --
When he adds, --
There is one question that may be proposed here. "Paul says, that we behold God's face with an unveiled face, 27 while in the former Epistle we find it stated, that we do not, for the present, know God otherwise than through a mirror, and in an obscure manner." In these statements there is an appearance of contrariety. They are, however, by no means at variance. The knowledge that we have of God for the present is obscure and slender, in comparison with the glorious view that we shall have on occasion of Christ's last coming. At the same time, He presents Himself to us at present, so as to be seen by us, and openly beheld, in so far as is for our advantage, and in so far as our capacity admits of. 28 Hence Paul makes mention of progress being made, inasmuch as there will then only be perfection.
1 "Ne regardassent à la fin de ce qui deuoit prendre fin;" ou, "ne veissent de bout de ce," etc.; ou, "ne veissent iusqu'au fons de ce qui," etc.; -- "Could not look to the end of what required to be abolished;" or, "could not see to the close of what," etc.; or, "could not see to the bottom of what," etc.
2 "Aueuglez ou endurcis;" -- "Blinded or hardened."
3 The Apostle says, (2 Corinthians 3:14,) speaking of his countrymen -- 'Until this day remaineth the veil untaken away in the reading of the Old Testament.' (
4 "Pource qu'elle est abolie, ou, laquelle est;" -- "Because it is abolished, or, which is."
5 "D'vn abus accidental, et qui estoit venu d'ailleurs;" -- "Of an abuse that was accidental, and that had come from another quarter."
6 "De ce qu'ils reiettoyent Iesus Christ d'vne malice endurcie;" -- "Inasmuch as they rejected Christ with a hardened malice."
7 "Veu que le peuple esleu ne le recognoissoit point pour Sauueur;" -- "Inasmuch as the chosen people did not acknowledge him as a Savior."
8 "Ceux qui appliquent leur entendement à cognoistre Christ;" -- "Those who apply their understandings to the knowledge of Christ."
9 "Aimable, et attrayante;" -- "Amiable, and attractive."
10 "We speak not only with all confidence, but with all imaginable plainness; keeping back nothing; disguising nothing; concealing nothing; and here we differ greatly from Jewish doctors, and from the Gentile philosophers, who affect obscurity, and endeavor, by figures, metaphors, and allegories, to hide everything from the vulgar. But we wish that all may hear; and we speak so that all may understand." -- Dr. Adam Clarke. -- Ed.
11 "Figures et ombres;" -- "Figures and shadows."
12 "The clause rendered in our authorized version -- making wise the simple, is rendered by Calvin, instructing the babe in wisdom. In Tyndale's Bible the reading is, 'And giveth wisdom even unto babes.' Babes is the word used in most of the versions." -- Calvin on the Psalms, vol. 1. p. 317, n. 2. -- Ed.
13 "La fin et l'accomplissement d'icelle;" -- "The end and accomplishment of it."
14 "En lisant la Loy;" -- "In reading the Law."
15 "Ils y trouuerout clairement la pure verité de Dieu;" -- "They will clearly discover in it the pure truth of God."
16 "C'est la destourner hops de son droit sens et du tout la peruertir;" -- "This is to turn it away from its right meaning, and altogether to pervert it."
17 "L'esprit de la Loy;" -- "The spirit of the law."
18 "Tous mouuemens et operations de la vie;" -- "All the movements and operations of life."
19 "Voici vn beau passage, et bien digne d'estre noté;" -- "Here is a beautiful passage, and well deserving to be carefully noticed."
20 "Quand l'ame luy est inspiree par Christ;" -- "When a soul is breathed into by Christ."
21 "La vie et l'esprit de la Loy;" -- "The life and spirit of the Law."
22 "Par l'efficace et viue vertu de son Sainct Esprit;" -- "By the efficacy and living influence of his Holy Spirit."
23 "It is made use of in the former sense by Plutarch, (2. 894. D.) It is more frequently employed in the latter signification. Thus Plato says,
24 Wiclif (1380) following, as he is wont to do, the Vulgate, renders as follows: "And alle we that with open face seen the glorie of the Lord." Calvin's rendering, it will be observed, is -- "In speculo conspicientes;" -- "beholding in a mirror." -- Ed.
25 "Le proufit ou auancement que nous sentons en cela tous les iours;" -- "The profit or advancement, which we experience in it every day."
26 "Car là Dieu se descouure à nous face à face;" -- "For God there discovers Himself to us face to face."
27 Granville Penn renders the verse as follows: "And we all, looking, as in a glass, at the glory of the Lord with his face unveiled," and adds the following note: "St. Paul contrasts the condition of the Jews, when they could not fix their eyes on the glory of the unveiled face of Moses, with the privilege of Christians, who are empowered to look, as in a mirror, on the open and unveiled face of Christ; and in that gazing, to be transformed into the same glorious image: The 'unveiled face,' therefore, is that of our Lord, not that of the beholder." -- Ed.
28 "Tis not a change only into the image of God with slight colors, an image drawn as with charcoal; but a glorious image even in the rough draught, which grows up into greater beauty by the addition of brighter colors: Changed (saith the Apostle, 2 Corinthians 3:18) into the same image from glory to glory: glory in the first lineaments as well as glory in the last lines." -- Charnock's Works, volume 2:p. 209. -- Ed.