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.
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.
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.
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.
2 Corinthians 3:6 Parallel
CommentaryClarke's Commentary on the Bible
Who hath made us able ministers - This is a more formal answer to the question, Who is sufficient for these things? προς ταυτα τις ἱκανος; 1 Corinthians 2:16. God, says the apostle, has made us able ministers; ἱκανωσεν ἡμας διακονους, he has made us sufficient for these things; for the reader will observe that he uses the same word in both places. We apostles execute, under the Divine influence, what God himself has devised. We are ministers of the new covenant; of this new dispensation of truth, light, and life, by Christ Jesus; a system which not only proves itself to have come from God, but necessarily implies that God himself by his own Spirit is a continual agent in it, ever bringing its mighty purposes to pass. On the words καινη διαθηκη, new covenant, see the Preface to the gospel of St. Matthew.
Not of the letter, but of the Spirit - The apostle does not mean here, as some have imagined, that he states himself to be a minister of the New Testament, in opposition to the Old; and that it is the Old Testament that kills, and the New that gives life; but that the New Testament gives the proper meaning of the Old; for the old covenant had its letter and its spirit, its literal and its spiritual meaning. The law was founded on the very supposition of the Gospel; and all its sacrifices, types, and ceremonies refer to the Gospel. The Jews rested in the letter, which not only afforded no means of life, but killed, by condemning every transgressor to death. They did not look at the spirit; did not endeavor to find out the spiritual meaning; and therefore they rejected Christ, who was the end of the law for justification; and so for redemption from death to every one that believes. The new covenant set all these spiritual things at once before their eyes, and showed them the end, object, and design of the law; and thus the apostles who preached it were ministers of that Spirit which gives life.
Every institution has its letter as well as its spirit, as every word must refer to something of which it is the sign or significator. The Gospel has both its letter and its spirit; and multitudes of professing Christians, by resting in the Letter, receive not the life which it is calculated to impart. Water, in baptism, is the letter that points out the purification of the soul; they who rest in this letter are without this purification; and dying in that state they die eternally. Bread and wine in the sacrament of the Lord's Supper, are the letter; the atoning efficacy of the death of Jesus, and the grace communicated by this to the soul of a believer, are the spirit. Multitudes rest in this letter, simply receiving these symbols, without reference to the atonement, or to their guilt; and thus lose the benefit of the atonement and the salvation of their souls. The whole Christian life is comprehended by our Lord under the letter, Follow me. Does not any one see that a man, taking up this letter only, and following Christ through Judea, Galilee, Samaria, etc., to the city, temple, villages, seacoast, mountains, etc., fulfilled no part of the spirit; and might, with all this following, lose his soul? Whereas the Spirit, viz. receive my doctrine, believe my sayings, look by faith for the fulfillment of my promises, imitate my example, would necessarily lead him to life eternal. It may be safely asserted that the Jews, in no period of their history, ever rested more in the letter of their law than the vast majority of Christians are doing in the letter of the Gospel. Unto multitudes of Christians Christ may truly say: Ye will not come unto me that ye may have life.
Treasury of Scripture Knowledge
giveth life. or, quickeneth.
LibraryTwelfth Sunday after Trinity Gospel Transcends Law.
Text: 2 Corinthians 3, 4-11. 4 And such confidence have we through Christ to God-ward: 5 not that we are sufficient of ourselves, to account anything as from ourselves; but our sufficiency is from God; 6 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. 7 But if the ministration of death, written, and engraven on stones, came with glory, so that the children of Israel could not look stedfastly upon …
Martin Luther—Epistle Sermons, Vol. III
The Letter and the Spirit
Note F. Note from Bengel on Rom. I. 4.
The Authority and Utility of the Scriptures
"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.
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.
The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you--they are full of the Spirit and life.
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.
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."
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