3:3 [Forasmuch as ye are] a manifestly declared to be the
epistle of Christ b ministered by us, written not with
ink, but with the Spirit of the c living God; 1 not in
tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart.
(a) The apostle says this wisely, that by little and little
he may come from the commendation of the person to the
(b) Which I took pains to write as it were.
(c) Along the way he sets the power of God against the ink
with which epistles are commonly written, to show that
it was accomplished by God.
(1) He alludes along the way to the comparison of the outward
ministry of the priesthood of Levi with the ministry of the
Gospel, and the apostolical ministry, which he handles
afterward more fully.
3:4 And such d trust have we through Christ to God-ward:
(d) This boldness we show, and thus may we boast gloriously
of the worthiness and fruit of our ministry.
3:5 Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing
as of ourselves; but our e sufficiency [is] of God;
(e) In that we are proper and able to make other men
partakers of so great a grace.
3:62 Who also hath made us able ministers of the new
testament; not of the f letter, but of the spirit: for the
letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.
(2) He amplifies his ministry and his fellows: that is to say,
the ministry of the Gospel comparing it with the ministry
of the Law, which he considers in the person of Moses, by
whom the Law was given: against whom he sets Christ the
author of the Gospel. Now this comparison is taken from
the very substance of the ministry. The Law is as it were
a writing in itself, dead, and without efficacy: but the
Gospel, and new Covenant, as it were the very power of God
itself, in renewing, justifying, and saving men. The Law
offers death, accusing all men of unrighteousness: the
Gospel offers and gives righteousness and life. The
administration of the Law served for a time to the promise: the
Gospel remains to the end of the world. Therefore what is
the glory of the Law in comparison of the majesty of the
(f) Not of the Law but of the Gospel.
3:7 But if the ministration of death, written g [and] engraven
in stones, was h glorious, so that the children of Israel
could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory
of his countenance; which [glory] was to be done away:
(g) Imprinted and engraved: so that by this place we may
plainly perceive that the apostle speaks not of the
ceremonies of the Law, but of the ten commandments.
(h) This word "glorious" indicates a brightness, and a
majesty which was in Moses physically, but in Christ
3:8 How shall not the i ministration of the spirit be rather
(i) By which God offers, indeed, and gives the Spirit, not as a
dead thing, but a living Spirit, working life.
3:9 For if the ministration of condemnation [be] glory, much
more doth the ministration of k righteousness exceed in
(k) That is, of Christ. And since he is imputed to us as
our own, we are not condemned, and what is more we are
also crowned as righteous.
3:11 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.
3:123 Seeing then that we have such hope, we use great
plainness of speech:
(3) He shows what this glory of the preaching of the Gospel
consists in: that is, in that it sets forth plainly and
evidently that which the Law showed darkly, for it sent
those that heard it to be healed by Christ, who was to
come, after it had wounded them.
3:134 And not as Moses, [which] put a vail over his face,
that the children of Israel could not stedfastly look to
the m end of that which is abolished:
(4) He expounds along the way the allegory of Moses' covering,
which was a token of the darkness and weakness that is in
men, who were rather dulled by the bright shining of the
Law then given. And this covering was taken away by the
coming of Christ, who enlightens the hearts, and turns them
to the Lord, that we may be brought from the slavery of
this blindness, and set in the liberty of the light by the
power of Christ's Spirit.
(m) Into the very bottom of Moses' ministry.
3:17 Now the n Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of
the Lord [is], there [is] liberty.
(n) Christ is that Spirit who takes away that covering, by
working in our hearts, to which also the Law itself
called us, though in vain, because it speaks to dead
men, until the Spirit makes us alive.
3:185 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the
glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from
glory to glory, [even] as by the Spirit of the Lord.
(5) Continuing in the allegory of the covering, he compares
the Gospel to a glass, which although it is most bright and
sparkling, yet it does not dazzle their eyes who look in
it, as the Law does, but instead transforms them with its
beams, so that they also are partakers of the glory and
shining of it, to enlighten others: as Christ said unto his
own, "You are the light of the world", whereas he himself
alone is the light. We are also commanded in another place
to shine as candles before the world, because we are
partakers of God's Spirit. But Paul speaks here properly
of the ministers of the Gospel, as it appears both by that
which goes before, and that which comes after, and in that
he sets before them his own example and that of his