Useful Bible Studies > 2 Corinthians Commentary > chapter 3

Godís new covenant

2 Corinthians 3:6

Paul says that God has appointed him to be a Ďminister of the new covenantí.

A minister means a servant or a worker. Paul has chosen a word that refers particularly to the servantís relationship to his work. Paulís work was to bring Godís new covenant to people, so that they could receive a right relationship with God.

The Ďcovenantí means Godís promises to his people. The Ďnew covenantí is a reference to Jeremiah 31:31-34. Paul also referred to that passage in 2 Corinthians 3:3; clearly, he was thinking about that passage as he wrote these words. Hebrews chapter 8 repeats the passage from Jeremiah. Godís new covenant is what God did by means of the death of Christ *. That was the message that Paul taught at Corinth*. Because of Christís death, people can have a right relationship with God and receive the benefit of his promises.

ĎThe letter kills, but the Spirit gives lifeí. It is by the Holy Spirit that God gives life to people*. By the Holy Spirit, people can understand the promises of God*. Christians should live by the Holy Spirit, and they should allow the Holy Spirit to guide their lives*.

There is another way to understand Godís words, but the result is death. We can refuse to allow Godís Holy Spirit to work in our lives. Instead, we can just look at the letters and words on the page. Many people were trying to do that with Godís law. However, Godís law declared his judgement against them, because they could not completely obey it*.

For that reason, people need the new covenant. They need God to write his law in their hearts*. They need Christís death, so that God can forgive their evil deeds*. They need Godís Holy Spirit to give them life that never ends.

Next part: The words that brought death, and the Spirit that brings life (3:7-10)


* See complete article for these Bible references.

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© 2016, Keith Simons.