and we all, with unvailed face, the glory of the Lord beholding in a mirror, to the same image are being transformed, from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.
2 Corinthians 3:18 Additional TranslationsClarke's Commentary on the Bible
But we all, with open face - The Jews were not able to look on the face of Moses, the mediator of the old covenant, and therefore he was obliged to veil it; but all we Christians, with face uncovered, behold, as clearly as we can see our own natural face in a mirror, the glorious promises and privileges of the Gospel of Christ; and while we contemplate, we anticipate them by desire and hope, and apprehend them by faith, and are changed from the glory there represented to the enjoyment of the thing which is represented, even the glorious image - righteousness and true holiness - of the God of glory.
As by the Spirit of the Lord - By the energy of that Spirit of Christ which gives life and being to all the promises of the Gospel; and thus we are made partakers of the Divine nature and escape all the corruptions that are in the world. This appears to me to be the general sense of this verse: its peculiar terms may be more particularly explained.
The word κατοπτριζομενοι, catoptrizomenoi, acting on the doctrine of catoptries, which we translate beholding in a glass, comes from κατα, against, and οπτομαι, I look; and properly conveys the sense of looking into a mirror, or discerning by reflected light. Now as mirrors, among the Jews, Greeks, and Romans, were made of highly polished metal, (see the note on 1 Corinthians 13:12), it would often happen, especially in strong light, that the face would be greatly illuminated by this strongly reflected light; and to this circumstance the apostle seems here to allude. So, by earnestly contemplating the Gospel of Jesus, and believing on him who is its Author, the soul becomes illuminated with his Divine splendor, for this sacred mirror reflects back on the believing soul the image of Him whose perfections it exhibits; and thus we see the glorious form after which our minds are to be fashioned; and by believing and receiving the influence of his Spirit, μεταμορφουμεθα, our form is changed, την αυτην εικονα, into the same image, which we behold there; and this is the image of God, lost by our fall, and now recovered and restored by Jesus Christ: for the shining of the face of God upon us, i.e. approbation, through Christ, is the cause of our transformation into the Divine image.
Dr. Whitby, in his notes on this chapters produces six instances in which the apostle shows the Gospel to be superior to the law; I shall transcribe them without farther illustration: -
1. The glory appearing on mount Sinai made the people afraid of death, saying: Let not God speak to us any more, lest we die; Exodus 20:19; Deuteronomy 18:16; and thus they received the spirit of bondage to fear, Romans 8:15. Whilst we have given to us the spirit of power, and love, and of a sound mind, 2 Timothy 1:7; and the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father! and to this difference the Epistle to the Hebrews alludes, Hebrews 12:18-24.
2. Moses, with all his glory, was only the minister of the law, written on tables of stone; the apostles are ministers of the Gospel, written on the hearts of believers. Moses gave the Jews only the letter that killeth; the apostles gave the Gospel, which is accompanied with the spirit that gives life.
3. The glory which Moses received at the giving of the law did more and more diminish, because his law was to vanish away; but the glory which is received from Christ is an increasing glory; the doctrine and the Divine influence remaining for ever.
4. The law was veiled under types and shadows; but the Gospel has scarcely any ceremonies; baptism and the Lord's Supper being all that can be properly called such: and Believe, Love, Obey, the great precepts of the Gospel, are delivered with the utmost perspicuity. And indeed the whole doctrine of Christ crucified is made as plain as human language can make it.
5. The Jews only saw the shining of the face of Moses through a veil; but we behold the glory of the Gospel of Christ, in the person of Christ our Lawgiver, with open face.
6. They saw it through a veil, which prevented the reflection or shining of it upon them; and so this glory shone only on the face of Moses, but not at all upon the people. Whereas the glory of God, in the face of Jesus Christ, shines as in a mirror which reflects the image upon Christian believers, so that they are transformed into the same image, deriving the glorious gifts and graces of the Spirit, with the Gospel, from Christ the Lord and Distributor of them, 1 Corinthians 12:5; and so, the glory which he had from the Father he has given to his genuine followers, John 17:22. It is, therefore, rather with true Christians as it was with Moses himself, concerning whom God speaks thus: With him will I speak mouth to mouth, even apparently, and not in dark speeches; and the similitude of the Lord (την δοξαν Κυριου, the glory of the Lord) shall he behold; Numbers 12:8. For as he saw the glory of God apparently, so we with open face behold the glory of the Lord: as he, by seeing of this glory, was changed into the same likeness, and his face shone, or was δεδοξασμενη, made glorious; so we, beholding the glory of the Lord in the face of Jesus Christ, 2 Corinthians 4:6, are changed into the same glory.
Thus we find that in every thing the Gospel has a decided superiority over the law and its institutions.
Treasury of Scripture Knowledge
2 Corinthians 3:13 And not as Moses, which put a veil over his face...
1 Corinthians 13:12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
James 1:23 For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like to a man beholding his natural face in a glass:
2 Corinthians 4:4,6 In whom the god of this world has blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ...
John 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelled among us, (and we beheld his glory...
John 12:41 These things said Esaias, when he saw his glory, and spoke of him.
1 Timothy 1:11 According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.
2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
Romans 8:29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son...
Romans 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be you transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good...
Romans 13:14 But put you on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof.
1 Corinthians 15:49 And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.
Galatians 6:15 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision avails any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.
Ephesians 4:22-24 That you put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts...
Colossians 3:10 And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:
Titus 3:5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration...
2 Peter 1:5-9 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge...
Romans 8:4,7 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit...
by the Spirit of the Lord. or, of the Lord the Spirit.
2 Corinthians 3:17 Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
2 Corinthians 3:18 Parallel CommentariesBeholding Bright Changed Degree Face Faces Glass Glory Holiness Image Likeness Mirror Mirrors Open Radiant Reflect Reflecting Spirit Transformed UnveiledBeholding Bright Changed Degree Face Faces Glass Glory Holiness Image Likeness Mirror Mirrors Open Radiant Reflect Reflecting Spirit Transformed UnveiledTHE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica®.
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