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Word Pictures in the New Testament
(2 Corinthians: Chapter 3)

3:1 {To commend ourselves?} (\heautous sunistanein?\). Late
(_Koinē_) form of \sunistēmi\, to place one with another, to
introduce, to commend. Paul is sensitive over praising himself,
though his enemies compelled him to do it. {Epistles of
(\sustatikōn epistolōn\). Late verbal adjective
from \sunistēmi\ and often in the papyri and in just this sense.
In the genitive case here after \chrēizomen\. Such letters were
common as seen in the papyri (Deissmann, _Light from the Ancient
East_, p. 226)
. N.T. examples of commending individuals by
letters occur in Ac 15:25f.; 18:27 (Apollos), 1Co 16:10f.
(Timothy); Ro 16:1 (Phoebe with the verb \sunistēmi\); Col
4:10 (Mark); 2Co 8:22f. (Titus and his companion).

3:2 {Ye are our epistle} (\hē epistolē hēmōn humeis este\). Bold
turn. Paul was writing in their hearts. {Known and read}
(\ginōskomenē kai anaginōskomenē\). Play on the word. Literally
true. Professing Christians are the Bible that men read and know.

3:3 {An epistle of Christ} (\epistolē Christou\). He turns the
metaphor round and round. They are Christ's letter to men as well
as Paul's. {Not with ink} (\ou melani\). Instrumental case of
\melas\, black. Plato uses \to melan\ for ink as here. See also
2Jo 1:12; 3Jo 1:13. {Of stone} (\lithinais\). Composed of stone
(\lithos\ and ending \-inos\). {Of flesh} (\sarkinais\).
"Fleshen" as in 1Co 3:1; Ro 7:14.

3:4 {Through Christ} (\dia tou Christou\). It is not self-conceit
on Paul's part, but through Christ.

3:5 {Of ourselves} (\aph' heautōn\). Starting from ourselves
(reflexive pronoun). {As from ourselves} (\hōs ex hautōn\). He
says it over again with preposition \ex\ (out of). He has no
originating power for such confidence. {Sufficiency}
(\hikanotēs\). Old word, only here in N.T.

3:6 {Who also made us sufficient for such confidence} (\hos kai
hikanōsen hēmas\)
. Late causative verb from \hikanos\ (verse 5)
first aorist active indicative, "who (God) rendered us fit." In
N.T. only here and Col 1:12. {As ministers of a new covenant}
(\diakonous kainēs diathēkēs\). Predicate accusative with
\hikanōsen\. For \diathēkē\ see on ¯Mt 26:28 and for \diakonos\
on ¯Mt 20:26 and for \kainēs\ (fresh and effective) on ¯Lu
5:38. Only God can make us that.

3:7 {Of death} (\tou thanatou\). Subjective genitive, marked by
death in its outcome (cf. 1Co 15:56; Ga 3:10). The letter
kills. {Engraven on stones} (\entetupōmenē lithois\). Perfect
passive participle of \entupoō\, late verb, to imprint a figure
(\tupos\). Used by Aristias (67) of the "inlaid" work on the
table sent by Ptolemy Philadelphus to Jerusalem. \Lithois\ in
locative case. {Came with glory} (\egenēthē en doxēi\). In glory.
As it did, condition of first class, assumed as true. See Ex
34:29,35. {Look steadfastly} (\atenisai\). Late verb from
\atenēs\ (stretched, intent, \teinō\ and \a\ intensive) as in Lu
4:20; Ac 3:4. {Was passing away} (\katargoumenēn\). Late verb,
to render of no effect, and present passive participle here as in
1Co 2:6.

3:8 {How shall not rather?} (\pōs ouchi mallon?\). _Argumentum a
minore ad majus_ (from the less to the greater). {Of the spirit}
(\tou pneumatos\). Marked by the spirit. Picture of the Christian
ministry now.

3:9 {Of condemnation} (\tēs katakriseōs\). Genitive, that brings
condemnation because unable to obey the law. {Is glory} (\doxa\).
No copula, but makes the figure bolder. Paul freely admits the
glory for the old dispensation. {Of righteousness} (\tēs
. Marked by and leading to righteousness. See
11:15. {Much more} (\pollōi mallon\). Instrumental case, by
much more. {Exceed} (\perisseuei\). Overflow.

3:10 {In this respect} (\en toutōi tōi merei\). The glory on the
face of Moses was temporary, though real, and passed away (verse
, a type of the dimming of the glory of the old dispensation
by the brightness of the new. The moon makes a dim light after
the sun rises, "is not glorified" (\ou dedoxastai\, perfect
passive indicative of \doxazō\)
. {By reason of the glory that
(\heineken tēs huperballousēs doxēs\). The surpassing
(\huper-ballō\, throwing beyond) glory. Christ as the Sun of
Righteousness has thrown Moses in the shade. Cf. the claims of
superiority by Christ in Mt 5-7.

3:11 {Passeth away} (\katargoumenon\). In process of disappearing
before the gospel of Christ. {Remaineth} (\menon\). The new
ministry is permanent. This claim may be recommended to those who
clamour for a new religion. Christianity is still alive and is
not dying. Note also \en doxēi\, in glory, in contrast with \dia
doxēs\, with glory. {Boldness} (\parrēsiāi\). Instrumental case
after \chrōmetha\. Old word, \panrēsis=parrēsis\, telling it all,
absolute unreservedness. Surely Paul has kept nothing back here,
no mental reservations, in this triumphant claim of superiority.

3:13 {Put a veil upon his face} (\etithei kalumma epi to prosōpon
. Imperfect active of \tithēmi\, used to put (Ex 34:33).
{That the children of Israel should not look steadfastly} (\pros
to mē atenisai tous huious\)
. Purpose expressed by \pros\ and the
articular infinitive with negative \mē\ and the accusative of
general reference. The Authorized Version had a wrong translation
here as if to hide the glory on his face.

3:14 {But their minds were hardened} (\alla epōrōthē ta noēmata
. Their thoughts (\noēmata\) literally. \Pōroō\ (first
aorist passive indicative here)
is late verb from \pōros\, hard
skin, to cover with thick skin (callus), to petrify. See on ¯Mr
6:52; 8:17. {Of the old covenant} (\tēs palaias diathēkēs\). The
Old Testament. \Palaios\ (ancient) in contrast to \kainos\
(fresh, verse 6). See Mt 13:52. {The same veil} (\to auto
. Not that identical veil, but one that has the same
effect, that blinds their eyes to the light in Christ. This is
the tragedy of modern Judaism. {Unlifted} (\mē anakaluptomenon\).
Present passive participle of \anakaluptō\, old verb, to draw
back the veil, to unveil. {Is done away} (\katargeitai\). Same
verb as in verses 7,11.

3:15 {Whensoever Moses is read} (\hēnika an anaginōskētai
. Indefinite temporal clause with \hēnika\ an and the
present passive subjunctive. {A veil lieth upon their heart}
(\epi tēn kardian autōn keitai\). Vivid and distressing picture,
a fact that caused Paul agony of heart (Ro 9:1-5). With wilful
blindness the rabbis set aside the word of God by their tradition
in the time of Jesus (Mr 7:8f.).

3:16 {It shall turn} (\epistrepsei\). The heart of Israel. {The
veil is taken away}
(\periaireitai to kalumma\). Present passive
indicative of \periaireō\, old verb, to take from around, as of
anchors (Ac 27:40), to cut loose (Ac 28:13), for hope to be
taken away (Ac 27:20). Here Paul has in mind Ex 34:34 where
we find of Moses that \periēireito to kalumma\ (the veil was
taken from around his face)
whenever he went before the Lord.
After the ceremony the veil is taken from around (\peri-\) the
face of the bride.

3:17 {Now the Lord is the Spirit} (\ho de Kurios to pneuma
. Some, like E. F. Scott (_The Spirit in the N.T._), take
\Kurios\ here to be Christ and interpret Paul as denying the
personality of the Holy Spirit, identifying Christ and the Holy
Spirit. But is not Bernard right here in taking \Kurios\ (Lord)
in the same sense here as in Ex 34:34 (\enanti Kuriou\, before
the Lord)
, the very passage that Paul is quoting? Certainly, the
Holy Spirit is interchangeably called in the N.T. the Spirit of
God and the Spirit of Christ (Ro 8:9f.). Christ dwells in us by
the Holy Spirit, but the language here in 2Co 3:17 should not
be pressed unduly (Plummer. See also P. Gardner, _The Religious
Experience of St. Paul_, p. 176f.)
. Note "the Spirit of the Lord"
here. {Liberty} (\eleutheria\). Freedom of access to God without
fear in opposition to the fear in Ex 34:30. We need no veil and
we have free access to God.

3:18 {We all} (\hēmeis pantes\). All of us Christians, not merely
ministers. {With unveiled face} (\anakekalummenōi prosōpōi\).
Instrumental case of manner. Unlike and like Moses. {Reflecting
as in a mirror}
(\katoptrizomenoi\). Present middle participle of
\katoptrizō\, late verb from \katoptron\, mirror (\kata, optron\,
a thing to see with)
. In Philo (_Legis Alleg_. iii. 33) the word
means beholding as in a mirror and that idea suits also the
figure in 1Co 13:12. There is an inscription of third century
B.C. with \egkatoptrisasthai eis to hudōr\, to look at one's
reflection in the water. Plutarch uses the active for mirroring
or reflecting and Chrysostom takes it so here. Either makes good
sense. The point that Paul is making is that we shall not lose
the glory as Moses did. But that is true if we keep on beholding
or keep on reflecting (present tense). Only here in N.T. {Are
(\metamorphoumetha\). Present passive (are being
of \metamorphoō\, late verb and in papyri. See on
¯Mt 17:2; Mr 9:2 where it is translated "transfigured." It is
the word used for heathen mythological metamorphoses. {Into the
same image}
(\tēn autēn eikona\). Accusative retained with
passive verb \metamorphoumetha\. Into the likeness of God in
Christ (1Co 15:48-53; Ro 8:17,29; Col 3:4; 1Jo 3:2). {As from
the Lord the Spirit}
(\kathaper apo Kuriou pneumatos\). More
likely, "as from the Spirit of the Lord."

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Word Pictures in the New Testament
(2 Corinthians: Chapter 3)