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2 Corinthians 3:1 [study!]

American Standard Version (ASV 1901) [2]
— Are we beginning again to commend ourselves? or need we, as do some, epistles of commendation to you or from you?
King James Version (KJV 1769)
— Do we begin again to commend ourselves? or need we, as some [others], epistles of commendation to you, or [letters] of commendation from you?
New American Standard Bible (NASB ©1995)
— Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, as some, letters of commendation to you or from you?
Webster's Revision of the KJB (WEB 1833)
— Do we begin again to commend ourselves? or need we, as some [others], epistles of commendation to you, or [letters] of commendation from you.
Darby's Translation (DBY 1890)
— Do we begin again to commend ourselves? or do we need, as some, commendatory letters to you, or [commendatory] from you?
Rotherham's Emphasized Bible (EBR 1902)
— Are we to begin again, ourselves, to commend? or have we need, like some, of commendatory letters unto you, or from you?
Young's Literal Translation (YLT 1898)
— Do we begin again to recommend ourselves, except we need, as some, letters of recommendation unto you, or from you?
Douay-Rheims Challoner Revision (DR 1750)
— Do we begin again to commend ourselves? Or do we need (as some do) epistles of commendation to you, or from you?
Original King James Bible (AV 1611) [2]
— Doe wee begin againe to commend our selues? or need wee, as some [others], Epistles of commendation to you, or [letters] of commendation from you?
John Etheridge Peshitta-Aramaic NT (1849)
— Do we begin again anew to show who we are? or do we need as others to write epistles of commendation to you concerning ourselves, or that you should write to commend us?
James Murdock Peshitta-Aramaic NT (1852)
— Do we begin again to show you who we are? Or do we, like others, need that letters recommendatory of us should be written to you? Or, that ye should write recommendations of us?

Strong's Numbers & Red-LettersGreek New TestamentColor-Code/Key Word Studies
Do we begin 756
{0756} Prime
Middle voice of G0757 (through the implication of precedence); to commence (in order of time).
<5731> Grammar
Tense - Present (See G5774)
Voice - Middle (See G5785)
Mood - Indicative (See G5791)
Count - 69
again 3825
{3825} Prime
Probably from the same as G3823 (through the idea of oscillatory repetition); (adverbially) anew, that is, (of place) back, (of time) once more, or (conjugationally) furthermore or on the other hand.
to commend 4921
{4921} Prime
From G4862 and G2476 (including its collateral forms); to set together, that is, (by implication) to introduce (favorably), or (figuratively) to exhibit; intransitively to stand near, or (figuratively) to constitute.
<5721> Grammar
Tense - Present (See G5774)
Voice - Active (See G5784)
Mood - Infinitive (See G5795)
Count - 647
ourselves? 1438
{1438} Prime
(Including all the other cases); from a reflexive pronoun otherwise obsolete and the genitive (dative or accusative) of G0846; him (her, it, them, also [in conjunction with the personal pronoun of the other persons] my, thy, our, your) -self (-selves), etc.
or 1508
{1508} Prime
εἴ μή
ei me
{i may}
From G1487 and G3361; if not.
need x5535
(5535) Complement
From G5532; to make (that is, have) necessity, that is, be in want of.
we, y5535
[5535] Standard
From G5532; to make (that is, have) necessity, that is, be in want of.
<5719> Grammar
Tense - Present (See G5774)
Voice - Active (See G5784)
Mood - Indicative (See G5791)
Count - 3019
as 5613
{5613} Prime
Probably adverb of comparative from G3739; which how, that is, in that manner (very variously used as shown).
some 5100
{5100} Prime
An enclitic indefinite pronoun; some or any person or object.
[others], epistles 1992
{1992} Prime
From G1989; a written message.
of commendation 4956
{4956} Prime
From a derivative of G4921; introductory, that is, recommendatory.
to 4314
{4314} Prime
A strengthened form of G4253; a preposition of direction; forward to, that is, toward (with the genitive case the side of, that is, pertaining to; with the dative case by the side of, that is, near to; usually with the accusative case the place, time, occasion, or respect, which is the destination of the relation, that is, whither or for which it is predicated).
you, 5209
{5209} Prime
Accusative of G5210; you (as the object of a verb or preposition).
or 2228
{2228} Prime

A primary particle of distinction between two connected terms; disjunctive, or; comparative, than.
[letters] of commendation 4956
{4956} Prime
From a derivative of G4921; introductory, that is, recommendatory.
from 1537
{1537} Prime
A primary preposition denoting origin (the point whence motion or action proceeds), from, out (of place, time or cause; literally or figuratively; direct or remote).
you? 5216
{5216} Prime
Genitive case of G5210; of (from or concerning) you.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Commentary

2 Corinthians 3:1

_ _ 2 Corinthians 3:1-18. The sole commendation he needs to prove God’s sanction of his ministry he has in his Corinthian converts: His ministry excels the Mosaic, as the gospel of life and liberty excels the law of condemnation.

_ _ Are we beginning again to recommend ourselves (2 Corinthians 5:12) (as some of them might say he had done in his first Epistle; or, a reproof to “some” who had begun doing so)!

_ _ commendation — recommendation. (Compare 2 Corinthians 10:18). The “some” refers to particular persons of the “many” (2 Corinthians 2:17) teachers who opposed him, and who came to Corinth with letters of recommendation from other churches; and when leaving that city obtained similar letters from the Corinthians to other churches. The thirteenth canon of the Council of Chalcedon (a.d. 451) ordained that “clergymen coming to a city where they were unknown, should not be allowed to officiate without letters commendatory from their own bishop.” The history (Acts 18:27) confirms the existence of the custom here alluded to in the Epistle: “When Apollos was disposed to pass into Achaia [Corinth], the brethren [of Ephesus] wrote, exhorting the disciples to receive him.” This was about two years before the Epistle, and is probably one of the instances to which Paul refers, as many at Corinth boasted of their being followers of Apollos (1 Corinthians 1:12).

Matthew Henry's Commentary

2 Corinthians 3:1-5

_ _ In these verses,

_ _ I. The apostle makes an apology for seeming to commend himself. He thought it convenient to protest his sincerity to them, because there were some at Corinth who endeavoured to blast his reputation; yet he was not desirous of vain-glory. And he tells them, 1. That he neither needed nor desired any verbal commendation to them, nor letters testimonial from them, as some others did, meaning the false apostles or teachers, 2 Corinthians 3:1. His ministry among them had, without controversy, been truly great and honourable, how little soever his person was in reality, or how contemptible soever some would have him thought to be. 2. The Corinthians themselves were his real commendation, and a good testimonial for him, that God was with him of a truth, that he was sent of God: You are our epistle, 2 Corinthians 3:2. This was the testimonial he most delighted in, and what was most dear to him — they were written in his heart; and this he could appeal to upon occasion, for it was, or might be, known and read of all men. Note, There is nothing more delightful to faithful ministers, nor more to their commendation, than the success of their ministry, evidenced in the hearts and lives of those among whom they labour.

_ _ II. The apostle is careful not to assume too much to himself, but to ascribe all the praise to God. Therefore, 1. He says they were the epistle of Christ, 2 Corinthians 3:3. The apostle and others were but instruments, Christ was the author of all the good that was in them. The law of Christ was written in their hearts, and the love of Christ shed abroad in their hearts. This epistle was not written with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; nor was it written in tables of stone, as the law of God given to Moses, but on the heart; and that heart not a stony one, but a heart of flesh, upon the fleshy (not fleshly, as fleshliness denotes sensuality) tables of the heart, that is, upon hearts that are softened and renewed by divine grace, according to that gracious promise, I will take away the stony heart, and I will give you a heart of flesh, Ezekiel 36:26. This was the good hope the apostle had concerning these Corinthians (2 Corinthians 3:4) that their hearts were like the ark of the covenant, containing the tables of the law and the gospel, written with the finger, that is, by the Spirit, of the living God. 2. He utterly disclaims the taking of any praise to themselves, and ascribes all the glory to God: “We are not sufficient of ourselves, 2 Corinthians 3:5. We could never have made such good impressions on your hearts, nor upon our own. Such are our weakness and inability that we cannot of ourselves think a good thought, much less raise any good thoughts or affections in other men. All our sufficiency is of God; to him therefore are owing all the praise and glory of that good which is done, and from him we must receive grace and strength to do more.” This is true concerning ministers and all Christians; the best are no more than what the grace of God makes them. Our hands are not sufficient for us, but our sufficiency is of God; and his grace is sufficient for us, to furnish us for every good word and work.

John Wesley's Explanatory Notes

2 Corinthians 3:1

Do we begin again to recommend ourselves — Is it needful? Have I nothing but my own word to recommend me? St. Paul chiefly here intends himself; though not excluding Timotheus, Titus, and Silvanus. Unless we need — As if he had said, Do I indeed want such recommendation?

Geneva Bible Translation Notes

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Cross-Reference Topical ResearchStrong's Concordance

2 Corinthians 2:17 For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ.
2 Corinthians 5:12 For we commend not ourselves again unto you, but give you occasion to glory on our behalf, that ye may have somewhat to [answer] them which glory in appearance, and not in heart.
2 Corinthians 10:8 For though I should boast somewhat more of our authority, which the Lord hath given us for edification, and not for your destruction, I should not be ashamed:
2 Corinthians 10:12 For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.
2 Corinthians 12:11 I am become a fool in glorying; ye have compelled me: for I ought to have been commended of you: for in nothing am I behind the very chiefest apostles, though I be nothing.
2 Corinthians 12:19 Again, think ye that we excuse ourselves unto you? we speak before God in Christ: but [we do] all things, dearly beloved, for your edifying.
1 Corinthians 3:10 According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.
1 Corinthians 4:15 For though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet [have ye] not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel.
1 Corinthians 10:33 Even as I please all [men] in all [things], not seeking mine own profit, but the [profit] of many, that they may be saved.


Acts 18:27 And when he was disposed to pass into Achaia, the brethren wrote, exhorting the disciples to receive him: who, when he was come, helped them much which had believed through grace:
1 Corinthians 16:3 And when I come, whomsoever ye shall approve by [your] letters, them will I send to bring your liberality unto Jerusalem.
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Ac 18:27. 1Co 3:10; 4:15; 10:33; 16:3. 2Co 2:17; 5:12; 10:8, 12; 12:11, 19.

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