Useful Bible Studies > 2 Corinthians Commentary > chapter 3

Temporary and permanent experiences of Godís glory

2 Corinthians 3:11

Perhaps a lesson from science can help us to understand the meaning of this verse.

The moon has no light of its own. That fact is clear because we only see the full moon for a short period each month. For the rest of the month, much (or all) of the moon is in darkness.

The explanation is that the moonís light actually comes from the sun. The moon only shines when it passes through the sunís light. Only the part of the moon that is in the sunlight can shine. It may be night on earth, but the moon is far enough away for the sun to shine on it.

So, the moonís light is temporary because the moon merely passes through the sunlight. However, as Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15:41, the sunís own light is quite different. The sun is constantly in the light, whenever we see it. That is because light comes from it, permanently.

In the same manner, Paul distinguishes between a temporary experience of Godís glory (greatness), and a permanent one. In the original language, Paul says that the temporary experience passes Ďthroughí Godís glory; but the permanent experience is Ďiní the glory.

Paulís reference to the temporary experience refers back to Mosesí experience in verse 7. Moses passed through Godís glory when he met with God. Mosesí experience is a word-picture for the laws that he received. In particular, Moses received laws that declare Godís judgement against evil deeds. The laws are permanent* and so is the judgement*. However, the present state of this world is not permanent, because peopleís evil deeds will end*.

However, Godís people are Ďiní his glory, and it is constantly changing them, to make them like him*. What God is doing in the lives of his people is permanent*.

Next part: Speak boldly! (3:12)


* See complete article for these Bible references.

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© 2016, Keith Simons.