2 Corinthians 3:6
Parallel Verses
New International Version
He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant--not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

New Living Translation
He has enabled us to be ministers of his new covenant. This is a covenant not of written laws, but of the Spirit. The old written covenant ends in death; but under the new covenant, the Spirit gives life.

English Standard Version
who has made us sufficient to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

New American Standard Bible
who also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

King James Bible
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.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
He has made us competent to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter, but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit produces life.

International Standard Version
who has also qualified us to be ministers of a new covenant, which is not written but spiritual, because the written text brings death, but the Spirit gives life.

NET Bible
who made us adequate to be servants of a new covenant not based on the letter but on the Spirit, for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
He who made us worthy to be Ministers of The New Covenant, not in The Scripture, but in The Spirit, for The Scripture kills, but The Spirit gives life.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
He has also qualified us to be ministers of a new promise, a spiritual promise, not a written one. Clearly, what was written brings death, but the Spirit brings life.

Jubilee Bible 2000
who also has made us able ministers of the new testament, not of the letter, but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

King James 2000 Bible
Who also has made us able ministers of the new covenant; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter kills, but the spirit gives life.

American King James Version
Who also has made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter kills, but the spirit gives life.

American Standard Version
who also made us sufficient as ministers of a new covenant; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.

Douay-Rheims Bible
Who also hath made us fit ministers of the new testament, not in the letter, but in the spirit. For the letter killeth, but the spirit quickeneth.

Darby Bible Translation
who has also made us competent, [as] ministers of [the] new covenant; not of letter, but of spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit quickens.

English Revised Version
who also made us sufficient as ministers of a new covenant; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.

Webster's Bible Translation
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.

Weymouth New Testament
It is He also who has made us competent to serve Him in connexion with a new Covenant, which is not a written code but a Spirit; for the written code inflicts death, but the Spirit gives Life.

World English Bible
who also made us sufficient as servants of a new covenant; not of the letter, but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

Young's Literal Translation
who also made us sufficient to be ministrants of a new covenant, not of letter, but of spirit; for the letter doth kill, and the spirit doth make alive.
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

3:1-11 Even the appearance of self-praise and courting human applause, is painful to the humble and spiritual mind. Nothing is more delightful to faithful ministers, or more to their praise, than the success of their ministry, as shown in the spirits and lives of those among whom they labour. The law of Christ was written in their hearts, and the love of Christ shed abroad there. Nor was it written in tables of stone, as the law of God given to Moses, but on the fleshy (not fleshly, as fleshliness denotes sensuality) tables of the heart, Eze 36:26. Their hearts were humbled and softened to receive this impression, by the new-creating power of the Holy Spirit. He ascribes all the glory to God. And remember, as our whole dependence is upon the Lord, so the whole glory belongs to him alone. The letter killeth: the letter of the law is the ministration of death; and if we rest only in the letter of the gospel, we shall not be the better for so doing: but the Holy Spirit gives life spiritual, and life eternal. The Old Testament dispensation was the ministration of death, but the New Testament of life. The law made known sin, and the wrath and curse of God; it showed us a God above us, and a God against us; but the gospel makes known grace, and Emmanuel, God with us. Therein the righteousness of God by faith is revealed; and this shows us that the just shall live by his faith; this makes known the grace and mercy of God through Jesus Christ, for obtaining the forgiveness of sins and eternal life. The gospel so much exceeds the law in glory, that it eclipses the glory of the legal dispensation. But even the New Testament will be a killing letter, if shown as a mere system or form, and without dependence on God the Holy Spirit, to give it a quickening power.

Pulpit Commentary

Verse 6. - Who also. Either, "And he it is who;" or, "Who besides this power, has made us adequate ministers." Hath made us able ministers; rather, made us sufficient ministers. Of the new testament; rather, of a fresh covenant (Jeremiah 31:31). The "new testament" has not the remotest connection with what we call "The New Testament," meaning thereby the book - which, indeed, had at this time no existence. The word "testament" means a will, and in this sense implies neither the Hebrew berith nor the Greek diatheke, both of which mean "covenant." In one passage only of the New Testament (Hebrews 9:16, 17) does diatheke mean a "testament" or "will." For the thought, see Ephesians 3:7; Colossians 1:25; 1 Timothy 1:11, 12. Not of the letter, but of the spirit. In other words, "not of the Law, but of the gospel;" not of that which is dead, but of that which is living; not of that which is deathful, but of that which is life-giving; not of bondage, but of freedom; not of mutilation, but of self-control; not of the outward, but of the inward; not of works, but of grace; not of menace, but of promise; not of curse, but of blessing; not of wrath, but of love; not of Moses, but of Christ. This is the theme which St. Paul develops especially in the Epistles to the Romans and the Galatians (see Romans 2:29; Romans 3:20; Romans 7:6, 10, 11; Romans 8:2; Galatians 3:10; Galatians 5:4, etc.). Not of the letter. Not, that is, of the Mosaic Law regarded as a yoke of externalism; a hard and unhelpful "thou shalt" and "thou shalt not;" a system that possessed no life of its own and inspired no life into others; a "categoric imperative," majestic, indeed, but unsympathetic and pitiless. Both the Law and the gospel were committed to writing; each covenant had its own book; but in the case of the Mosaic Law there was the book and nothing more; in the case of the gospel the book was nothing compared to the spirit, and nothing without the spirit. Out of the spirit. That is, of the gospel which found its pledge and consummation in the gift of the Spirit. The Law, too, was in one sense "spiritual" (Romans 7:14), for it was given by God, who is a Spirit, and it was a holy Law; but though such in itself (in se) it was relatively (per aceidens) a cause of sin and death, because it was addressed to a fallen nature, and inspired no spirit by which that nature could be delivered (see Romans 7:7-25). But in the gospel the spirit is everything; the mere letter is as nothing (John 6:63). For the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life. This is one of the very numerous "texts" which have been first misinterpreted and have then been made, for whole centuries, the bases of erroneous systems. On this text more than any other, Origen, followed by the exegetes of a thousand years, built his dogma that the Scripture must be interpreted allegorically, not literally, because "the letter" of the Bible kills. The misinterpretation is extravagantly inexcusable, and, like many others, arose solely from rending words away from their context and so reading new senses into them. The contrast is not between "the outward" and the inward sense of Scripture at all. "The letter" refers exclusively to "the Law," and therefore has so little reference to "the Bible" that it was written before most of the New Testament existed, and only touches on a small portion of the Old Testament. Killeth. Two questions arise.

(1) What and whom does it kill? and

(2) how does it kill?

The answers seem to be that

(1) the letter - the Law regarded as an outward letter - passes the sentence of death on those who disobey it. It says, "He who doeth these things shall live in them;" and therefore implies, as well as often says, that he who disobeys them shall be cut off. It is, therefore, a deathful menace. For none can obey this Law with perfect obedience. And

(2) the sting of death being sin, the Law kills by directly leading to sin, in that it stirs into existence the principle of concupiscence (Romans 7:7-11; 1 Corinthians 15:56; Galatians 3:10, 21). But the spirit giveth life. This contrast between a dead and a living covenant is fundamental, and especially in the writings of St. Paul (Romans 2:27-29; Romans 7:6; Romans 8:11; Galatians 5:8; 1 Corinthians 15:45). The Law stones the adulteress; the gospel says to her, "Go, and sin no more."

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

Who also hath made us able ministers,.... This is an answer to the question in 2 Corinthians 2:16 who is sufficient for these things? no man is of himself; we are indeed sufficient for them, but not of ourselves; our sufficiency is of God, he hath made us able, or sufficient ministers: such ministers as are not of men's, but God's making, are sufficient ones; and none are sufficient but whom God makes so; and those he makes able and sufficient, by giving them spiritual gifts, fitting them for the ministry: and these are ministers

of the New Testament, or "covenant"; the covenant of grace, of which Christ is the Mediator and surety; called "new", not because newly made, for it was made with Christ from everlasting; nor newly revealed, for it was made known to Adam after his fall, and to all the Old Testament patriarchs, and was exhibited under the legal dispensation, though but darkly, in types, shadows, sacrifices, &c. which therefore waxing old is vanished away; and the covenant of grace is now more clearly revealed under the Gospel dispensation, free from all the obscurity it before laboured under; and therefore is called "new", as well as because it will always continue so, and never give way to another covenant: now the Gospel, and the ministry of it, is nothing else but an exhibition of the covenant of grace, its blessings and promises; and the work and business of those who are ministers of it is not to insist upon the covenant of works, the terms, conditions, obligations, promises, and threatenings of that covenant; but to open and explain the nature, promises, and blessings of the covenant of grace: for such who are fit and proper ministers, are ministers

not of the letter, but of the spirit; which is to be understood, not of any difference between the books of the Old and the New Testament, for a faithful minister of the word may and will bring forth things new and old, out of the one as well as the other; nor of the literal and allegorical, or mystical sense of the Scriptures, as if the latter and not the former was only to be attended to; nor of the difference of communicating the Gospel by letters, and preaching it by word of mouth; since both methods may be used for the spread of it, as were by the apostles themselves; but of the difference there is between the law and the Gospel. The law is "the letter", not merely because written in letters, for so likewise is the Gospel; but because it is a mere letter, hereby showing what is to be done or avoided, without any efficacy in it, or communicating any to enable persons to obey its commands, to give life to its observers, or either to sanctify or justify any who are under it, or of the works of it; it is a mere letter, as observed by an unregenerate man, who only regards the externals of it, being unacquainted with its spirituality. The Gospel is "the spirit"; see John 6:63 it contains spiritual things, and not things merely natural, moral, and civil, as does the law, but spiritual blessings and promises; it penetrates into the spirit and soul of man, and comes from, and is attended with the Spirit of God. The law is

the letter that

killeth, by irritating and provoking to sin, the cause of death, which though not the design and natural tendency of the law, and therefore not to be blamed, yet so it is, through the corruption of human nature; and by convincing of sin when the sinner is killed, and it dead in his own apprehension; and by not only threatening with death, but by cursing, condemning, and punishing with it:

but the Gospel is

the spirit, which

giveth life; it is a means in the hand of the Spirit of God, of quickening dead sinners, of healing the deadly wounds of sin, of showing the way of life by Christ, and of working faith in the soul, to look to him, and live upon him; it affords food for the support of the spiritual life, and revives souls under the most drooping circumstances. The apostle may allude to a distinction among the Jews, between the body and soul of the law; the words, they say, are , "the body of the law"; and the book of the law is the clothing; and besides these, there is , "the soul of the law"; which wise men look into (w).

(w) Zohar in Numb. fol. 63. 2.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

6. able—rather, as the Greek is the same, corresponding to 2Co 3:5, translate, "sufficient as ministers" (Eph 3:7; Col 1:23).

the new testament—"the new covenant" as contrasted with the Old Testament or covenant (1Co 11:25; Ga 4:24). He reverts here again to the contrast between the law on "tables of stone," and that "written by the Spirit on fleshly tables of the heart" (2Co 3:3).

not of the letter—joined with "ministers"; ministers not of the mere literal precept, in which the old law, as then understood, consisted; "but of the Spirit," that is, the spiritual holiness which lay under the old law, and which the new covenant brings to light (Mt 5:17-48) with new motives added, and a new power of obedience imparted, namely, the Holy Spirit (Ro 7:6). Even in writing the letter of the New Testament, Paul and the other sacred writers were ministers not of the letter, but of the spirit. No piety of spirit could exempt a man from the yoke of the letter of each legal ordinance under the Old Testament; for God had appointed this as the way in which He chose a devout Jew to express his state of mind towards God. Christianity, on the other hand, makes the spirit of our outward observances everything, and the letter a secondary consideration (Joh 4:24). Still the moral law of the ten commandments, being written by the finger of God, is as obligatory now as ever; but put more on the Gospel spirit of "love," than on the letter of a servile obedience, and in a deeper and fuller spirituality (Mt 5:17-48; Ro 13:9). No literal precepts could fully comprehend the wide range of holiness which LOVE, the work of the Holy Spirit, under the Gospel, suggests to the believer's heart instinctively from the word understood in its deep spirituality.

letter killeth—by bringing home the knowledge of guilt and its punishment, death; 2Co 3:7, "ministration of death" (Ro 7:9).

spirit giveth life—The spirit of the Gospel when brought home to the heart by the Holy Spirit, gives new spiritual life to a man (Ro 6:4, 11). This "spirit of life" is for us in Christ Jesus (Ro 8:2, 10), who dwells in the believer as a "quickening" or "life-giving Spirit" (1Co 15:45). Note, the spiritualism of rationalists is very different. It would admit no "stereotyped revelation," except so much as man's own inner instrument of revelation, the conscience and reason, can approve of: thus making the conscience judge of the written word, whereas the apostles make the written word the judge of the conscience (Ac 17:11; 1Pe 4:1). True spirituality rests on the whole written word, applied to the soul by the Holy Spirit as the only infallible interpreter of its far-reaching spirituality. The letter is nothing without the spirit, in a subject essentially spiritual. The spirit is nothing without the letter, in a record substantially historical.

2 Corinthians 3:6 Additional Commentaries
Context
Ministers of a New Covenant
5Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God, 6who also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
Cross References
Jeremiah 31:31
"The days are coming," declares the LORD, "when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah.

Luke 22:20
In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.

John 6:63
The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you--they are full of the Spirit and life.

Romans 2:29
No, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a person's praise is not from other people, but from God.

Romans 7:6
But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code.

1 Corinthians 3:5
What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe--as the Lord has assigned to each his task.

1 Corinthians 11:25
In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me."

2 Corinthians 3:3
You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.

2 Corinthians 3:14
But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away.

2 Corinthians 11:23
Are they servants of Christ? (I am out of my mind to talk like this.) I am more. I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again.

Hebrews 8:8
But God found fault with the people and said: "The days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah.

Hebrews 8:13
By calling this covenant "new," he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and outdated will soon disappear.
Treasury of Scripture

Who also has made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter kills, but the spirit gives life.

hath.

2 Corinthians 5:18-20 And all things are of God, who has reconciled us to himself by Jesus …

Matthew 13:52 Then said he to them, Therefore every scribe which is instructed …

Romans 1:5 By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to …

1 Corinthians 3:5,10 Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom you believed, …

1 Corinthians 12:28 And God has set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, …

Ephesians 3:7 Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace …

Ephesians 4:11,12 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; …

Colossians 1:25-29 Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God …

1 Timothy 1:11,12 According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed …

1 Timothy 4:6 If you put the brothers in remembrance of these things, you shall …

2 Timothy 1:11 Whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher …

the new.

2 Corinthians 3:14 But their minds were blinded: for until this day remains the same …

Jeremiah 31:31 Behold, the days come, said the LORD, that I will make a new covenant …

Matthew 26:28 For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many …

Mark 14:24 And he said to them, This is my blood of the new testament, which …

Luke 22:20 Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament …

1 Corinthians 11:25 After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, …

Hebrews 7:22 By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament.

Hebrews 8:6-10 But now has he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also …

Hebrews 9:15-20 And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that …

Hebrews 12:24 And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of …

Hebrews 13:20 Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, …

not.

Romans 2:27-29 And shall not uncircumcision which is by nature, if it fulfill the …

Romans 7:6 But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we …

for.

2 Corinthians 3:7,9 But if the ministration of death, written and engraved in stones, …

Deuteronomy 27:26 Cursed be he that confirms not all the words of this law to do them. …

Romans 3:20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified …

Romans 4:15 Because the law works wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression.

Romans 7:9-11 For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, …

Galatians 3:10-12,21 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for …

but the.

John 6:63 It is the spirit that vivifies; the flesh profits nothing: the words …

Romans 8:2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free …

1 John 1:1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we …

giveth life. or, quickeneth.

John 5:21 For as the Father raises up the dead, and vivifies them; even so …

Romans 4:17 (As it is written, I have made you a father of many nations,) before …

1 Corinthians 15:45 And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; …

Ephesians 2:1,5 And you has he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins…

1 Peter 3:18 For Christ also has once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, …

Jump to Previous
Able Adequate Agreement Alive Code Competent Connexion Covenant Death Gives Inflicts Kill Killeth Kills Letter Ministers New Quickens Servants Serve Spirit Sufficient Testament Written
Jump to Next
Able Adequate Agreement Alive Code Competent Connexion Covenant Death Gives Inflicts Kill Killeth Kills Letter Ministers New Quickens Servants Serve Spirit Sufficient Testament Written
Links
2 Corinthians 3:6 NIV
2 Corinthians 3:6 NLT
2 Corinthians 3:6 ESV
2 Corinthians 3:6 NASB
2 Corinthians 3:6 KJV

2 Corinthians 3:6 Bible Apps
2 Corinthians 3:6 Bible Suite
2 Corinthians 3:6 Biblia Paralela
2 Corinthians 3:6 Chinese Bible
2 Corinthians 3:6 French Bible
2 Corinthians 3:6 German Bible

Alphabetical: a adequate also as but competent covenant for gives has He kills letter life made ministers new not of servants Spirit the us who

NT Letters: 2 Corinthians 3:6 Who also made us sufficient as servants (2 Cor. 2C iiC 2Cor ii cor iicor) Christian Bible Study Resources, Dictionary, Concordance and Search Tools

Bible Hub
2 Corinthians 3:5
Top of Page
Top of Page