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  • ROBERTSON'S NT WORD STUDIES
    & BIBLE COMMENTARY - 2 CORINTHIANS 3

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    3:1 {To commend ourselves?} (heautous sunistanein?). Late (_Koin‚_) form of sunistemi, 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 commendation} (sustatikwn epistolwn). Late verbal adjective from sunistemi and often in the papyri and in just this sense. In the genitive case here after creizomen. 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 sunistemi); #Col 4:10 (Mark); #2Co 8:22f. (Titus and his companion).

    3:2 {Ye are our epistle} (he epistole hemwn humeis este). Bold turn. Paul was writing in their hearts. {Known and read} (ginwskomene kai anaginwskomene). Play on the word. Literally true. Professing Christians are the Bible that men read and know.

    3:3 {An epistle of Christ} (epistole cristou). 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} (liqinais). Composed of stone (liqos and ending -inos). {Of flesh} (sarkinais). "Fleshen" as in #1Co 3:1; Ro 7:14.

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

    3:5 {Of ourselves} (af' heautwn). Starting from ourselves (reflexive pronoun). {As from ourselves} (hws ex hautwn). He says it over again with preposition ex (out of). He has no originating power for such confidence. {Sufficiency} (hikanotes). Old word, only here in N.T.

    3:6 {Who also made us sufficient for such confidence} (hos kai hikanwsen hemas). 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 kaines diaqekes). Predicate accusative with hikanwsen. For diaqeke see on ¯Mt 26:28 and for diakonos on ¯Mt 20:26 and for kaines (fresh and effective) on ¯Lu 5:38. Only God can make us that.

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

    3:8 {How shall not rather?} (pws ouci 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} (tes katakrisews). 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} (tes dikaiosunes). Marked by and leading to righteousness. See #11:15. {Much more} (pollwi mallon). Instrumental case, by much more. {Exceed} (perisseuei). Overflow.

    3:10 {In this respect} (en toutwi twi merei). The glory on the face of Moses was temporary, though real, and passed away (verse #7), 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 doxazw). {By reason of the glory that surpasseth} (heineken tes huperballouses doxes). The surpassing (huper-ballw, 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 clamor for a new religion. Christianity is still alive and is not dying. Note also en doxei, in glory, in contrast with dia doxes, with glory. {Boldness} (parresiai). Instrumental case after crwmeqa. Old word, panresis=parresis, 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} (etiqei kalumma epi to proswpon autou). Imperfect active of tiqemi, used to put (#Ex 34:33). {That the children of Israel should not look steadfastly} (pros to me atenisai tous huious). Purpose expressed by pros and the articular infinitive with negative me 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 epwrwqe ta noemata autwn). Their thoughts (noemata) literally. pwrow (first aorist passive indicative here) is late verb from pwros, hard skin, to cover with thick skin (callus), to petrify. See on ¯Mr 6:52; 8:17. {Of the old covenant} (tes palaias diaqekes). The Old Testament. palaios (ancient) in contrast to kainos (fresh, verse #6). See #Mt 13:52. {The same veil} (to auto kalumma). 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} (me anakaluptomenon). Present passive participle of anakaluptw, 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} (henika an anaginwsketai mwuses). Indefinite temporal clause with henika an and the present passive subjunctive. {A veil lieth upon their heart} (epi ten kardian autwn 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} (epistreyei). The heart of Israel. {The veil is taken away} (periaireitai to kalumma). Present passive indicative of periairew, 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 perieireito 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 estin). 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} (eleuqeria). 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} (hemeis pantes). All of us Christians, not merely ministers. {With unveiled face} (anakekalummenwi proswpwi). Instrumental case of manner. Unlike and like Moses. {Reflecting as in a mirror} (katoptrizomenoi). Present middle participle of katoptrizw, 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 egkatoptrisasqai eis to hudwr, 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 transformed} (metamorfoumeqa). Present passive (are being transformed) of metamorfow, 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 metamorfoses. {Into the same image} (ten auten eikona). Accusative retained with passive verb metamorfoumeqa. 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} (kaqaper apo kuriou pneumatos). More likely, "as from the Spirit of the Lord."

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