2Co 3:1-4 What does Paul’s sensitivity to being perceived as commending himself (2Co 3:1, see also 2Co 5:12, 10:12) or being overly bold and confident (2Co 3:4, 12; see also 2Co 1:12,15) teach us about the nature of the accusations charged against him by those opposing him in Corinth? It was common practice in the early church to be introduced to another body of believers with a letter of commendation from some known and trusted source (see Acts 15:25, 18:27, Rom 16:1, 1 Cor 16:3,10, 2 Cor 8:22-23, Col 4:10, 3 Jn 1:5-12). What does this teach us about the importance placed upon sound doctrine by the early church? See 2 Jn 1:7-11. Why does Paul say he did not need such a letter of commendation to the Corinthians?
2Co 3:5-11 Recall that following Paul’s first missionary journey to Galatia some Judaizers moved in accusing Paul to the new believers that he had not been sent out by the Jerusalem church and had no authority to teach them that they didn’t have to keep the law of Moses. How do these verses reveal that a similar thing was happening in Corinth? How is the New Covenant ministry of the Spirit superior to the Old Covenant ministry of the law? How does Paul describe the ten commandments in these verses? See 2Co 3:7 & 9. For one who had never seen the light of the sun, would not a full moon appear great and glorious? See Is 42:21. But what happens to the light of that same moon as the sun rises, and how is this a fitting picture of how the light of the law fades in comparison to the light of the gospel?
2Co 3:12-17 Why does Paul say he is so bold/open/frank in proclaiming the glory of the new covenant? In what way was Moses not open/frank about the glory of the old covenant? In Exodus 34:29-35 we read how Moses’ face shone from being in the presence of the Lord to receive the law, but after speaking with the sons of Israel he would veil his face. Why does Paul say he did so? If the veil was lifted what would they see? How does the spiritual veil over the hearts of the unbelieving Jews and Judaizers prevent them from seeing a similar thing? How is that veil taken away? See 2Co 3:16. What is the significance of 2Co 3:17 to Paul’s argument? See 2Co 3:3,6,8.
2Co 3:18 How does Paul liken us Christians to Moses in this verse? What does he mean “beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord”? Note: the Greek word used occurs only here, and is translated by some (see NIV) as “reflecting as a mirror”. Consider that Jesus is the image of God (2Co 4:4, Col 1:15), a mirror image, the exact representation of His nature (Heb 1:3). As we behold the glory of the Lord in the mirror image of His Son, we are transformed into the same image from glory to glory by means of the Holy Spirit of Christ (see 2Co 4:6). How is such glory that makes the face of the Christian to shine different from the glory that illuminated Moses’ face? See 2Co 3:11.