Wednesday 10 June 2009

Bible Book:
2 Corinthians

"How much more glorious is the activity which brings salvation!" (v.9)

2 Corinthians 3:4-11 Wednesday 10 June 2009


In this passage Paul compares the Law given through Moses withthe Spirit received through Christ. He employs a type of argumentused by religious teachers at the time that followed the pattern,'if A is true, how much more true will B be'. Paul uses this formatto great effect to emphasise the glory of the new covenant.

The Greek word he uses to write of the glory of the new covenant is'doxa'. In Greek traditions, people sought glory (doxa) in terms ofreputation, pride and status. Paul, however, does not use glory inthis sense. Implied in his references to the experience of Mosesreceiving the Law, he is actually drawing on the Hebrew sense of'kavod' meaning splendour with worth. The Spirit received in thenew covenant is substantial, weighty, and a great gift to us.

Paul's great excitement with the new covenant, and the cause of itsglory, is the way it brings salvation and life in all its fullness.With the new covenant, the Spirit comes to dwell in each of us,thereby guaranteeing God's acceptance of us and giving uslife.

Paul's contrasting of the old and new covenants doesn't mean thathe had come to despise his Jewish background. His understanding ofthe new covenant reflects all he learnt as a Jewish leader,indicated by his use of the meaning of 'kavod' and not simply'doxa'. He now, however, sees all things through the transformingexperience of meeting with Christ on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:1-22), andall that was subsequently revealed and taught to him through hisopportunities and challenges as a leader of a new movement of faith- that which was called The Way.

To Ponder

Think of a time (or times) in your life when youhave experienced an awareness God's great love for you and sensedthe glory of God's covenant love. What happened to bring about thisexperience?

At times in Christian history, reflections on theJewish faith have descended into condemnation of Jewish people andtheir covenant with God. How can Christians celebrate thedistinctiveness of the Christian faith without denigratingothers?

Are there times when Christian teaching soundslike a list of 'do's and don'ts'? How can we agree ethics and enjoythe freedom of being Spirit-filled?

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