Useful Bible Studies > 2 Corinthians Commentary > chapter 3

The freedom that Godís Spirit gives

2 Corinthians 3:17

In these chapters, Paul develops his ideas very quickly. Often, his method is to emphasise different meanings of the same word. So, the ĎSpirití could mean the Holy Spirit, or Christ, or the true meaning of Godís word. That fact causes difficulties in verses 17 and 18 for some readers. However, there is no real problem; Paul is thinking about all these possible meanings as he writes.

The Lord is the Spirit, Paul writes. He could be referring to the fact that the Holy Spirit is God. Or, that the Lord (Jesus) is Spirit, even as God is Spirit*. Or, Paul could be saying that Jesus is the true meaning of Godís law*. Paul believed all these things.

Paul then speaks about the freedom that Godís Spirit gives. That was an important subject for the church in Corinth; Paul writes much about it in his first letter. In 1 Corinthians 11:2-16, he writes about the Christian women in Corinth who refused to cover their heads. They would not dress in the traditional manner for women because the Holy Spirit was working in their lives. They considered themselves free to do whatever they wanted.

They had not understood what freedom really is. True freedom is not the right to do whatever we want. True freedom is when we turn to Christ*. At that time the Holy Spirit frees us from our evil deeds and from the devilís power. However, that is just the beginning of Godís work in our lives*. By his Spirit, God has given his people the freedom to become his children*. Before, it was as if something covered our minds. So, we could not understand Godís word properly*. Now, Godís Spirit takes away that problem, and we are free to serve God properly.

Next part: We see the glory of the Lord, and it changes us (3:18)


* See complete article for these Bible references.

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© 2016, Keith Simons.