2 Corinthians 3: The New Agreement

What kind of teaching credential did Paul have?

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Acts 22:3 I am a Jew born in Tarsus in Cilicia, brought up under the teaching of Gamaliel, taught in the perfect ways of the Law received from our fathers. I had a zeal for God such as you have expressed today.
1 Corinthians 1:1 From Paul, called to be a messenger of the Lord Jesus Christ by the will of God, writing to you with the help of our friend Sosthenes.
2 Corinthians 3:1 Do we need seminary credentials to validate our message? Or do you require endorsement letters before you will allow us to speak?
3:2 No, you are our letters of recommendation, which are known and read by everyone.
King James
Acts 22:3 I am verily a man which am a Jew, born in Tarsus, a city in Cilicia, yet brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, and taught according to the perfect manner of the law of the fathers, and was zealous toward God, as ye all are this day.
1 Corinthians 1:1 Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother.
2 Corinthians 3:1 Do we begin again to commend ourselves? or need we, as some others, epistles of commendation to you, or letters of commendation from you?
3:2 Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men.

By what authority did Jesus preach?

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Matthew 21:23 The chief priests and Jewish leaders came to Jesus when he was teaching in the Temple. “What right do you have to do these things? Who gave you the authority?”
John 5:30 I can do nothing by my own initiative. I listen and judge rightly because I seek to please the Father, who sent me, not myself.
2 Corinthians 3:1 Do we need seminary credentials to validate our message? Or do you require endorsement letters before you will allow us to speak?
King James
Matthew 21:23 And when he was come into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came unto him as he was teaching, and said, By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority?
John 5:30 I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.
2 Corinthians 3:1 Do we begin again to commend ourselves? or need we, as some others, epistles of commendation to you, or letters of commendation from you?

Does a credential guarantee that a person knows the truth and speaks it? Why or why not?

Author’s Thoughts
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2 Corinthians 3:1 Do we need seminary credentials to validate our message? Or do you require endorsement letters before you will allow us to speak?
King James
2 Corinthians 3:1 Do we begin again to commend ourselves? or need we, as some others, epistles of commendation to you, or letters of commendation from you?

In what ways do our lives send a message to those who don’t know God?

Author’s Thoughts
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2 Corinthians 3:3 You are expressly purposed through our ministry to be Jesus’ letter to the world—not written with pen and ink but by the Spirit of our living God. His message will not be read from stone tablets but from your changed hearts.
King James
2 Corinthians 3:3 Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart.

What qualifies people for ministry?

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2 Corinthians 3:4 We have the utmost confidence that God’s purpose will be worked in you through Jesus Christ,
3:5 but not that we are ever qualified to do the work on our own. In all we say and do, we are always dependent upon the Lord.
3:6 He has made us capable of explaining the new contract between us and God, an agreement that is not according to the letter of the Law, which kills. No, this agreement calls for our following the direction of the Holy Spirit, which is life-giving.
King James
2 Corinthians 3:4 And such trust have we through Christ to God-ward:
3:5 Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God;
3:6 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.

Why do you think the Law was ineffective?

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2 Corinthians 3:7 The old contract with its rules chiseled in stone offered death as the consequence of wrongdoing. It came with such glory that people couldn’t look upon Moses’ shining face, but it was destined to be ineffective.
King James
2 Corinthians 3:7 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.

In what way is following the Lord under Grace different from obedience of the Law?

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2 Corinthians 3:8 The work of the Holy Spirit in our lives is much more glorious,
3:9 for if the effort to avoid wrongdoing was glorious, how much more glorious the effort to always do right must be.
King James
2 Corinthians 3:8 How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious?
3:9 For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory.

What makes Grace so much better than the Law?

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2 Corinthians 3:10 The difference is so great that the brightness of the new glory makes the old look like it had no light at all.
3:11 The fact that the old agreement was replaced is evidence that the new way is better and will continue forever.
King James
2 Corinthians 3:10 For even that which was made glorious had no glory in this respect, by reason of the glory that excelleth.
3:11 For if that which is done away was glorious, much more that which remaineth is glorious.

Why can it be dangerous to speak the truth?

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2 Corinthians 3:12 With this great hope in what God has planned for us, we openly speak the truth,
3:13 not like Moses, who had to wear a veil to conceal from the children of Israel the glory that would be abolished.
King James
2 Corinthians 3:12 Seeing then that we have such hope, we use great plainness of speech:
3:13 And not as Moses, which put a vail over his face, that the children of Israel could not stedfastly look to the end of that which is abolished.

What was offensive about Moses’ appearance that required his wearing a veil?

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Exodus 34:35 When the Israelites saw Moses, his face shone. So he wore a veil to cover his face until he went in to speak with the Lord.
2 Corinthians 3:12 With this great hope in what God has planned for us, we openly speak the truth,
3:13 not like Moses, who had to wear a veil to conceal from the children of Israel the glory that would be abolished.
King James
Exodus 34:35 And the children of Israel saw the face of Moses, that the skin of Moses’ face shone: and Moses put the vail upon his face again, until he went in to speak with him.
2 Corinthians 3:12 Seeing then that we have such hope, we use great plainness of speech:
3:13 And not as Moses, which put a vail over his face, that the children of Israel could not stedfastly look to the end of that which is abolished.

How might the ripping of the veil be significant for us today?

Author’s Thoughts
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Matthew 27:51 The earth shook. Rocky cliffs broke apart. The Temple veil ripped in two, from top to bottom.
2 Corinthians 3:14 For as long as the old contract was in effect, still to be read and followed, the veil has remained to cloud the vision of the people. The veil was ripped away with the revelation of Christ,
3:15 but with the reading of the Law of Moses, the veil remains.
King James
Matthew 27:51 And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent;
2 Corinthians 3:14 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.
3:15 But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart.

What can we do to see more clearly?

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2 Corinthians 3:16 When people surrender their lives to the Lord Jesus Christ and the direction of the Holy Spirit, the veil is taken away.
King James
2 Corinthians 3:16 Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away.

If we are not under the Law, how can we know if we are doing right?

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2 Corinthians 3:17 Now, the Lord of our lives is the Holy Spirit, and when he is leading us, we are set free from any concern about wrongdoing. We have a single focus on what he shows us is right.
King James
2 Corinthians 3:17 Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.

If our lives are not immediately transformed, what can we do to expedite the process?

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2 Corinthians 3:18 Like someone looking into a mirror, when we see the Lord in the glory of the new contract, we become more like him, being changed from glory to greater glory by the work of his Spirit.
King James
2 Corinthians 3:18 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.