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2 Corinthians 3:1-6

Context
A Living Letter

3:1 Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? We don’t need letters of recommendation to you or from you as some other people do, do we? 1  3:2 You yourselves are our letter, 2  written on our hearts, known and read by everyone, 3:3 revealing 3  that you are a letter of Christ, delivered by us, 4  written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on stone tablets 5  but on tablets of human hearts.

3:4 Now we have such confidence in God through Christ. 3:5 Not that we are adequate 6  in ourselves to consider anything as if it were coming from ourselves, but our adequacy 7  is from God, 3:6 who made us adequate 8  to be servants of a new covenant 9  not based on the letter but on the Spirit, for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

1 tn The Greek construction anticipates a negative reply (“No, we do not”) which is indicated in the translation by the ‘tag’ at the end, “do we?”

2 tn That is, “letter of recommendation.”

3 tn Or “making plain.”

4 tn Grk “cared for by us,” an expression that could refer either to the writing or the delivery of the letter (BDAG 229 s.v. διακονέω 1). Since the following phrase refers to the writing of the letter, and since the previous verse speaks of this “letter” being “written on our [Paul’s and his companions’] hearts” it is more probable that the phrase “cared for by us” refers to the delivery of the letter (in the person of Paul and his companions).

5 sn An allusion to Exod 24:12; 31:18; 34:1; Deut 9:10-11.

6 tn Or “competent.”

7 tn Or “competence.”

8 tn Or “competent.”

9 sn This new covenant is promised in Jer 31:31-34; 32:40.



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