2 Corinthians 3:11
For if that which is done away was glorious, much more that which remains is glorious.
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(11) For if that which is done away . . .—The Greek participle is in the present tense, “being done away,” or “failing,” expressing the same thought as the “decaying and waxing old” of Hebrews 8:13. The contrast between the transient and the permanent is expressed by the same Greek words as in 1Corinthians 13:8-11.

Glorious.—Literally, through glory, seen, as it were, through a medium of glory which surrounded it. The second “in glory” is meant, probably, to express a state of greater permanence.

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.For if that which is done away ... - The splendor that attended the giving of the Law; the bright shining of the face of Moses; and the ritual institutions of his religion. It was to be done away. It was never designed to be permanent. Everything in it had a transient existence, and was so designed. Yet it was attended, Paul admits, with much that was magnificent, and splendid. He had, in the previous verses, stated several important differences between the Law and the gospel. He here states another. The Law he calls τὸ καταργόυμενον to katargoumenon the thing which was to be made to cease; to be put an end to; to be done away with; to be abolished. It had no permanency; and it was designed to have none. Its glory, therefore, great as in many respects it might be, could not be compared with that which was to be permanent - as the light of the stars fades away at the rising sun. It is implied here, that it was originally designed that the Mosaic institutions should not be permanent; that they should be mere shadows and types of better things; and that when the things which they adumbrated should appear, the shadows would vanish of course. This idea is one which prevails everywhere in the New Testament, and which the sacred writers are often at great pains to demonstrate.

Was glorious - Greek "By glory" (διὰ δόξης dia doxēs. That is, it was attended by glory; it was introduced by glory, it was encompassed with glory when it was established The idea here is, not that it was glorious in itself, but that it was accompanied with splendor and majesty.

That which remaineth - The gospel τὸ μένον to menon. The thing that is to remain; that is permanent, abiding, perpetual; that has no principle of decay, and whose characteristic it is, that it is everlasting. The gospel is permanent, or abiding:

(1) Because it is designed to remain immutable through the remotest ages. It is not to be superseded by any new economy, or institution. It is the dispensation under which the affairs of the world are to be wound up, and under which the world is to close; see the note, 1 Corinthians 15:51.

(2) its effects on the heart are permanent. It is complete in itself. It is not to be succeeded by any other system, and it looks to no other system in order to complete or perfect its operations on the soul.

(3) its effects are to abide forever. They will exist in heaven. They are to be seen in the soul that shall be recovered from sin, and that shall be glorious in the bosom of God forever and ever. The Mosaic system - glorious as it was - shall be remembered as introducing the gospel; the gospel shall be remembered as directly fitting for heaven. Its most great and glorious results shall be seen in the permanent and eternal joys of heaven. The gospel contemplates a great, permanent, and eternal good, adapted to all ages, all climes, all people, and all worlds. It is, therefore, so much more glorious than the limited, temporary, and partial good of the Mosaic system, that that may be said in comparison to have had no glory.

11. was glorious—literally, "was with glory"; or "marked by glory."

that which remaineth—abideth (Re 14:6). Not "the ministry," but the Spirit, and His accompaniments, life and righteousness.

is glorious—literally, "is in glory." The Greek "with" or "by" is appropriately applied to that of which the glory was transient. "In" to that of which the glory is permanent. The contrast of the Old and New Testaments proves that Paul's chief opponents at Corinth were Judaizers.

The apostle, by another argument, proveth the ministration of the gospel to be much more glorious than the ministration of the law, because it is more durable and abiding. The strength of the argument dependeth upon this principle, that any durable good is more excellent and glorious than that which is but transitory, and for a time. The ministration of the law is done away; the law, contained in ordinances, is itself done away, and therefore the ministration of it must needs cease. There are now no priests and Levites, no worldly sanctuary, nor any ministrations in it, or relating to it. But our Saviour hath told us, that the gospel shall be preached to the end of the world; so as that ministration must (according to all principles of reason) be more glorious, as that which is eternal is more glorious than that which is fluid and vanishing. For if that which is done away,.... Here another difference is pointed out, which subsists between the law and the Gospel, and proves that the one is more excellent and glorious than the other. The law is "that which is done away"; not merely the ceremonial law, or the judicial law, but the whole ministry of Moses, and particularly the law of the Decalogue: for the better understanding of this, distinguish between the matter and ministry of it; the ministry of it by Moses is done away, the matter of it so far as of a moral nature abides: distinguish between the law, as in the hands of Moses and of Christ; as in the hands of Moses it is broken to pieces and abolished, as in the hands of Christ, as King in his church, it remains: distinguish between precepts and precepts; some are mixed, being partly moral, and partly ceremonial, as the fourth and fifth commands, and others are not; what is ceremonial, or purely related to the Jews whilst in their civil policy, and in the land of Canaan, is done away; but what is purely moral, is, as to the matter of it, still obliging: distinguish between the law as a covenant of works, and as a rule of walk and conversation; as a covenant of works it is done away, as a rule of walk and conversation it still continues: distinguish between persons and persons; to them that are redeemed from it, it is done away; to them that are under it, it remains; and lastly, distinguish between a right and a wrong use of it; as to any use of it to justify us before God, by our obedience to it, it is done away; but as it may be of use to convince sinners of sin, and to direct saints in a course of righteousness, so it abides. The Gospel is "that which remaineth"; which denotes the continued efficacy, the incorruptibleness, the inexpugnableness, and duration of it; notwithstanding all the opposition of men and devils to it, still its blessings, promises, doctrines, ordinances, and effects continue; it remains in the Scriptures, in the church, in the hearts of believers, and in the world too, until all the elect of God are gathered in: now as things that remain are much more glorious than those which are done away, so the Gospel must be much more glorious than the law. For if that which is {l} done away was glorious, much more that which remaineth is glorious.

(l) The Law, indeed, and the ten commandments themselves, together with Moses, are all abolished, if we consider the ministry of Moses apart by itself.

2 Corinthians 3:11. A justification of the foregoing expression τῆς ὑπερβαλλ. δόξης by a general proposition, the application of which in conformity with the connection is left to the reader, and the truth of which in this connection lies in the idea of the completion, which the facts of salvation in the O. T. have to find in the kingdom of God. “For if that which ceases is glorious, much more is that which abides glorious.”

τὸ καταργούμενον] that which is in the act of passing away. This the reader was to apply to the διακονία of Moses[164] spoken of in 2 Corinthians 3:7-10, in so far, namely, as this ministry is in the course of its abolition through the preaching of the gospel by means of the διακονία τῆς δικαιοσύνης. Moses ceases to be lawgiver, when the gospel is preached; for see Romans 10:4. That this is the application intended by Paul, is confirmed by the contrast τὸ μένον, which the reader was to apply to the teaching ministration of the N. T. (not to the Christian religion, as Emmerling and Flatt, following older commentators, think), in so far, namely, as that ministration is not abolished, but continues on to the Parousia (whereupon its glory sets in). Fritzsche is of opinion that the διακονία of Moses is τὸ καταργούμενον for the reason: “quod ejus fulgor muneris Christiani gloria superatur, et ita sane καταργεῖται, nullus redditur.” But in that case the subject of καταργεῖται would in fact be the splendour, not the διακονία itself. This applies at the same time in opposition to Billroth, who refers τὸ καταργ. to the lustre of Moses’ office on each occasion soon disappearing, which is impossible on account of διὰ δόξης.

διὰ δόξης] sc. ἐστι. διά expresses the situation, condition, and so is a circumlocution for the adjective. Stallbaum, ad Plat. Phileb. p. 192; Bernhardy, p. 235; Fritzsche, ad Rom. I. p. 138. ἐν δόξῃ (2 Corinthians 3:7) is not different in sense; but the supposition of Estius, Billroth, Olshausen, Osiander, Neander, Hofmann, that διά indicates only what is transient, and ἐν what is abiding, is mere fancy. Paul is fond of varying the prepositions in designating the same relation. Comp. Romans 3:30; Romans 5:10; Romans 15:2; Galatians 2:16; Philemon 1:5. Comp. also Kühner, II, p. 319.

[164] Not to the Mosaic religion in general, which ceases through Christ (Theodoret, Theophylact, and many others, including Emmerling and Flatt),—which is quite at variance with the context. See vv. 7–10.2 Corinthians 3:11. εἰ γὰρ τὸ καταργ. κ.τ.λ.: for if that which passes away was with glory, much more that which abideth is in glory. The difference of prepositions διὰ δόξηςἐν δόξῃ should not be overlooked; the Ministration of the Old Covenant was only with a transient flush of glory, that of the New abides in glory (cf. esp. Hebrews 12:18-27). It is true that St. Paul sometimes changes his prepositions in cases where we find difficult to assign a sufficient reason (e.g., διά and ἐκ, Romans 3:30, Galatians 2:16); but that is no reason for confusing the force of διὰ and ἐν, when the preservation of the distinction between them adds point to the passage (cf. Romans 5:10, where διὰ and ἐν are again confused in the A.V.). See further on 2 Corinthians 6:8.11. For if that which is done away] Rather, is (or was) being done away. See note on 2 Corinthians 3:7.

was glorious] Literally, was by means of, or through glory, i.e. was accompanied with, or seen through a haze of glory. See note on 2 Corinthians 3:7.

much more that which remaineth is glorious] Literally, is in glory, i.e. as a permanent attribute. Some, however, think that the Apostle often uses different prepositions (see last note) to express the same meaning. The passages, however, to which they refer, though they render this view probable, do not establish it as a fact beyond the reach of doubt.2 Corinthians 3:11. Διὰ δόξης· ἐν δοξῃ, marked by glory; in glory) The particles are properly varied [the distinction is lost in Engl. Vers., glorious—glorious]. Supply is.—τὸ μένον, that which remains) The διακονία, ministry, itself, does not remain any more than whatever is in part [as for instance, knowledge], 1 Corinthians 13:10; but the Spirit, righteousness, life remain; therefore the neuter gender is used.Verse 11. - For. An explanation of the "surpassing" glory of the later covenant founded on its eternity. That which is done away; rather, that which is evanescing; "which is being done away," as in ver. 7. Was glorious... is glorious. The expression is varied in the Greek. The brief, the evanescent covenant was "through glory," i.e. it was a transitory gleam; the abiding covenant is "in glory;" i.e. it is an eternal splendour. It is, however, a disputed point whether St. Paul intended such rigid meanings to be attached to his varying prepositions (Romans 3:30, ἐκ πίστες... διὰ τῆς πίστεως: 5:10, διὰ τοῦ θανάτου ἐν τῇ ζωῇ: Galatians 2:16, ἐξ ἔργων... διὰ πίστεως: Philemon 1:5, πρός τὸν Κύριον... εἰς τοὺς ἁγιους). That which remaineth. The final, eternal, unshakable gospel (Hebrews 12:27). Is glorious; literally, is in glory. Christ is eternally the Light of the world (John 1:9; John 9:5); and Moses and Elias derived all their permanence of glory by reflection from this transfiguring light. That which is done away (τὸ καταργούμενον)

Lit., which is being done away; in course of abolition through the preaching of the Gospel. Both the A.V., and Rev. passeth fail to bring, out the idea of process.

Was glorious (διὰ δόξης)

Lit., through glory. Rev., with glory.

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