2Co 3:17 - what is meant? context ?

Any insight on the true meaning as can be ascertained from the text meaning on the statement in 2Co 3:17?

2Kor 3,17 (AV)   Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord [is], there [is] liberty.

What help would come from the context of the passage, such as what is stated in 2Co 3:6?

2Kor 3,6 (AV) Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.

What does the text and context itself provide in terms of helping to arrive at a correct understanding of the statement made there?

I am not interested in theological ideas and theories being read into the text.


  • WolfgangWolfgang Posts: 3,393
    edited August 2019

    Hello everyone

    I am a little surprised at the total lack of replies and assistance to gain an understanding of the above mentioned verses and passages in 2Co 3 as I had hoped some would have very helpful observations from the text etc ...

  • C McC Mc Posts: 3,985

    Paul is concerned with Christ as the Kavod [of Ezek 1:26] whose visible human form manifests the invisible God both before the incarnation and after the resurrection. In fact, in speaking of the glory that shone on Moses' face Paul may presume that it was Christ himself whose form appeared to Moses on Sinai.

    In context, 2 Cor 3:7 - 4:6 is noteworthy for several reasons: 

    • First, it shows that Paul was aware of the tradition which portrayed Moses as a second Adam. 
    • Second, he was aware in particular of such a tradition which viewed Moses' glorious countenance at Sinai as a restoration of Adam's pristine splendor.
    • Third, the 2 Corinthians passage illustrates how Paul could adjust existing midrashic traditions portraying Moses as a second Adam (with Ex 34 and Deut 34 as the base texts) so that they instead undergirded his view of Jesus as fulfilling this role. [It is true that in 2 Cor 3:7-4:6. Paul primarily contrasts Moses with himself and with Christians in general. Still, the contrast between Moses and Jesus is also present, as is clear from 4:6. He and other early Christians may have done the same with exegetical traditions concerning Ps 8.
    • Fourth, this passage demonstrates that Paul at times conceived of the "glory of Christ" as a facial radiance similar to that possessed, according to many contemporary streams of Jewish thought, by Adam and Moses.
    • Finally, 2 Cor 3-4 implies that Paul saw the Messiah not only as a new Adam, but also as the pre-existent image of God, the Kavod, who served both as the model for the first Adam's creation and also as the manifestation of the divine glory to Moses.

    In sum, the apostle does not conceive of Christ simply as another exalted man, like the glorious pre-fall Adam. Christ shares in the divine nature, and is called by the divine name. He is not "created in the image of God," he is the image of God (2 Cor 4:4; see Col 1:15, Phil 2:6). He is an appropriate object of prayer and worship (Rom 10:13, 2 Cor 12:8, Phil 2:6-11).

    I hope you appreciate this? Truth found truth shared. CM


    A. T. Hanson, "The Midrash in II Corinthians 3: A Reconsideration,JSNT 9 (1980) 2-28].

    PS. What do you think of this Bill?

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