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2 Corinthians 3:3 [study!]

American Standard Version (ASV 1901) [2]
— being made manifest that ye are an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in tables [that are] hearts of flesh.
King James Version (KJV 1769)
— [Forasmuch as ye are] manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart.
New American Standard Bible (NASB ©1995)
— being manifested that you are a letter of Christ, cared for by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.
Webster's Revision of the KJB (WEB 1833)
— [Forasmuch as ye are] manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not on tables of stone, but on fleshly tables of the heart.
Darby's Translation (DBY 1890)
— being manifested to be Christ's epistle ministered by us, written, not with ink, but [the] Spirit of [the] living God; not on stone tables, but on fleshy tables of [the] heart.
Rotherham's Emphasized Bible (EBR 1902)
— Manifesting yourselves that ye are a letter of Christ, ministered by us,—inscribed—not with ink, but with [the] Spirit of a Living God, not in tablets of stone, but in tablets [which are] hearts of flesh.
Young's Literal Translation (YLT 1898)
— manifested that ye are a letter of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God, not in the tablets of stone, but in fleshy tablets of the heart,
Douay-Rheims Challoner Revision (DR 1750)
— Being manifested, that you are the epistle of Christ, ministered by us, and written: not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God: not in tables of stone but in the fleshly tables of the heart.
Original King James Bible (AV 1611) [2]
— [Forasmuch as] yee are manifestly declared to be the Epistle of Christ ministred by vs, written not with inke, but with the spirit of the liuing God, not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart.
John Etheridge Peshitta-Aramaic NT (1849)
— For you know that you are an epistle of the Meshiha, who hath been ministered by us; written, not with ink but by the Spirit of Aloha the Living; not on tablets of stone, but on the fleshly tablets of the heart.
James Murdock Peshitta-Aramaic NT (1852)
— For ye know that ye are an epistle of the Messiah, ministered by us; not written with ink, but by the Spirit of the living God; not on tables of stone, but on the tablets of the heart of flesh.

Strong's Numbers & Red-LettersGreek New TestamentColor-Code/Key Word Studies
[Forasmuch as ye are] manifestly declared 5319
{5319} Prime
φανερόω
phaneroo
{fan-er-o'-o}
From G5318; to render apparent (literally or figuratively).
z5746
<5746> Grammar
Tense - Present (See G5774)
Voice - Passive (See G5786)
Mood - Participle (See G5796)
Count - 360
to 3754
{3754} Prime
ὅτι
hoti
{hot'-ee}
Neuter of G3748 as conjugation; demonstrative that (sometimes redundant); causatively because.
be 2075
{2075} Prime
ἐστέ
este
{es-teh'}
Second person plural present indicative of G1510; ye are.
z5748
<5748> Grammar
Tense - Present (See G5774)
Voice - No Voice Stated (See G5799)
Mood - Indicative (See G5791)
Count - 1612
the epistle 1992
{1992} Prime
ἐπιστολή
epistole
{ep-is-tol-ay'}
From G1989; a written message.
of Christ 5547
{5547} Prime
Χριστός
Christos
{khris-tos'}
From G5548; anointed, that is, the Messiah, an epithet of Jesus.
ministered 1247
{1247} Prime
διακονέω
diakoneo
{dee-ak-on-eh'-o}
From G1249; to be an attendant, that is, wait upon (menially or as a host, friend or [figuratively] teacher); technically to act as a Christian deacon.
z5685
<5685> Grammar
Tense - Aorist (See G5777)
Voice - Passive (See G5786)
Mood - Participle (See G5796)
Count - 215
by 5259
{5259} Prime
ὑπό
hupo
{hoop-o'}
A primary preposition; under, that is, (with the genitive) of place (beneath), or with verbs (the agency or means, through); (with the accusative) of place (whither [underneath] or where [below]) or time (when [at]).
us, 2257
{2257} Prime
ἡμῶν
hemon
{hay-mone'}
Genitive plural of G1473; of (or from) us.
written 1449
{1449} Prime
ἐγγράφω
eggrapho
{eng-graf'-o}
From G1722 and G1125; to 'engrave', that is, inscribe.
z5772
<5772> Grammar
Tense - Perfect (See G5778)
Voice - Passive (See G5786)
Mood - Participle (See G5796)
Count - 463
not 3756
{3756} Prime
οὐ
ou
{oo}
A primary word; the absolutely negative (compare G3361) adverb; no or not.
with ink, 3188
{3188} Prime
μέλαν
melan
{mel'-an}
Neuter of G3189 as noun; ink.
but 235
{0235} Prime
ἀλλά
alla
{al-lah'}
Neuter plural of G0243; properly other things, that is, (adverbially) contrariwise (in many relations).
with the Spirit 4151
{4151} Prime
πνεῦμα
pneuma
{pnyoo'-mah}
From G4154; a current of air, that is, breath (blast) or a breeze; by analogy or figuratively a spirit, that is, (human) the rational soul, (by implication) vital principle, mental disposition, etc., or (superhuman) an angel, daemon, or (divine) God, Christ's spirit, the Holy spirit.
of the living 2198
{2198} Prime
ζάω
zao
{dzah'-o}
A primary verb; to live (literally or figuratively).
z5723
<5723> Grammar
Tense - Present (See G5774)
Voice - Active (See G5784)
Mood - Participle (See G5796)
Count - 2549
God; 2316
{2316} Prime
θεός
theos
{theh'-os}
Of uncertain affinity; a deity, especially (with G3588) the supreme Divinity; figuratively a magistrate; by Hebraism very.
not 3756
{3756} Prime
οὐ
ou
{oo}
A primary word; the absolutely negative (compare G3361) adverb; no or not.
in 1722
{1722} Prime
ἐν
en
{en}
A primary preposition denoting (fixed) position (in place, time or state), and (by implication) instrumentality (medially or constructively), that is, a relation of rest (intermediate between G1519 and G1537); 'in', at, (up-) on, by, etc.
tables 4109
{4109} Prime
πλάξ
plax
{plax}
From G4111; a moulding board, that is, flat surface ('plate', or tablet, literally or figuratively).
of stone, 3035
{3035} Prime
λίθινος
lithinos
{lith-ee'-nos}
From G3037; stony, that is, made of stone.
but 235
{0235} Prime
ἀλλά
alla
{al-lah'}
Neuter plural of G0243; properly other things, that is, (adverbially) contrariwise (in many relations).
in 1722
{1722} Prime
ἐν
en
{en}
A primary preposition denoting (fixed) position (in place, time or state), and (by implication) instrumentality (medially or constructively), that is, a relation of rest (intermediate between G1519 and G1537); 'in', at, (up-) on, by, etc.
fleshy 4560
{4560} Prime
σάρκινος
sarkinos
{sar'-kee-nos}
From G4561; similar to flesh, that is, (by analogy) soft.
tables 4109
{4109} Prime
πλάξ
plax
{plax}
From G4111; a moulding board, that is, flat surface ('plate', or tablet, literally or figuratively).
of the heart. 2588
{2588} Prime
καρδία
kardia
{kar-dee'-ah}
Prolonged from a primary κάρ [[kar]] (Latin cor, 'heart'); the heart, that is, (figuratively) the thoughts or feelings (mind); also (by analogy) the middle.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Commentary

2 Corinthians 3:3

_ _ declared — The letter is written so legibly that it can be “read by all men” (2 Corinthians 3:2). Translate, “Being manifestly shown to be an Epistle of Christ”; a letter coming manifestly from Christ, and “ministered by us,” that is, carried about and presented by us as its (ministering) bearers to those (the world) for whom it is intended: Christ is the Writer and the Recommender, ye are the letter recommending us.

_ _ written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God — Paul was the ministering pen or other instrument of writing, as well as the ministering bearer and presenter of the letter. “Not with ink” stands in contrast to the letters of commendation which “some” at Corinth (2 Corinthians 3:1) used. “Ink” is also used here to include all outward materials for writing, such as the Sinaitic tables of stone were. These, however, were not written with ink, but “graven” by “the finger of God” (Exodus 31:18; Exodus 32:16). Christ’s Epistle (His believing members converted by Paul) is better still: it is written not merely with the finger, but with the “Spirit of the living God”; it is not the “ministration of death” as the law, but of the “living Spirit” that “giveth life” (2 Corinthians 3:6-8).

_ _ not in — not on tables (tablets) of stone, as the ten commandments were written (2 Corinthians 3:7).

_ _ in fleshy tables of the heart — ALL the best manuscripts read, “On [your] hearts [which are] tables of flesh.” Once your hearts were spiritually what the tables of the law were physically, tables of stone, but God has “taken away the stony heart out of your flesh, given you a heart of flesh” (fleshy, not fleshly, that is, carnal; hence it is written, “out of your flesh” that is, your carnal nature), Ezekiel 11:19; Ezekiel 36:26. Compare 2 Corinthians 3:2, “As ye are our Epistle written in our hearts,” so Christ has in the first instance made you “His Epistle written with the Spirit in (on) your hearts.” I bear on my heart, as a testimony to all men, that which Christ has by His Spirit written in your heart [Alford]. (Compare Proverbs 3:3; Proverbs 7:3; Jeremiah 31:31-34). This passage is quoted by Paley [Horae Paulinae] as illustrating one peculiarity of Paul’s style, namely, his going off at a word into a parenthetic reflection: here it is on the word “Epistle.” So “savor,” 2 Corinthians 2:14-17.

Matthew Henry's Commentary

See commentary on 2 Corinthians 3:1-5.

John Wesley's Explanatory Notes

2 Corinthians 3:3

Manifestly declared to be the letter of Christ — Which he has formed and published to the world. Ministered by us — Whom he has used herein as his instruments, therefore ye are our letter also. Written not in tables of stone — Like the ten commandments. But in the tender, living tables of their hearts — God having taken away the hearts of stone and given them hearts of flesh.

Geneva Bible Translation Notes

2 Corinthians 3:3

[Forasmuch as ye are] (a) manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ (b) ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the (c) living God; (1) not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart.

(a) The apostle says this wisely, that by little and little he may come from the commendation of the person to the matter itself.

(b) Which I took pains to write as it were.

(c) Along the way he sets the power of God against the ink with which epistles are commonly written, to show that it was accomplished by God. (1) He alludes along the way to the comparison of the outward ministry of the priesthood of Levi with the ministry of the Gospel, and the apostolical ministry, which he handles afterward more fully.

Cross-Reference Topical ResearchStrong's Concordance
the epistle:

Exodus 31:18 And he gave unto Moses, when he had made an end of communing with him upon mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God.
Revelation 2:1 Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks;
Revelation 2:8 And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive;
Revelation 2:12 And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges;
Revelation 2:18 And unto the angel of the church in Thyatira write; These things saith the Son of God, who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet [are] like fine brass;
Revelation 3:1 And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead.
Revelation 3:7 And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth;
Revelation 3:14 And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;
Revelation 3:22 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

ministered:

1 Corinthians 8:5-10 For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,) ... For if any man see thee which hast knowledge sit at meat in the idol's temple, shall not the conscience of him which is weak be emboldened to eat those things which are offered to idols;

the living:

2 Corinthians 6:16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in [them]; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
Joshua 3:10 And Joshua said, Hereby ye shall know that the living God [is] among you, and [that] he will without fail drive out from before you the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Hivites, and the Perizzites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Jebusites.
1 Samuel 17:26 And David spake to the men that stood by him, saying, What shall be done to the man that killeth this Philistine, and taketh away the reproach from Israel? for who [is] this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?
Psalms 42:2 My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?
Psalms 84:2 My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the LORD: my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God.
Jeremiah 10:10 But the LORD [is] the true God, he [is] the living God, and an everlasting king: at his wrath the earth shall tremble, and the nations shall not be able to abide his indignation.
Daniel 6:26 I make a decree, That in every dominion of my kingdom men tremble and fear before the God of Daniel: for he [is] the living God, and stedfast for ever, and his kingdom [that] which shall not be destroyed, and his dominion [shall be even] unto the end.
Matthew 16:16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.
1 Thessalonians 1:9 For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God;
Hebrews 9:14 How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

not:

Exodus 24:12 And the LORD said unto Moses, Come up to me into the mount, and be there: and I will give thee tables of stone, and a law, and commandments which I have written; that thou mayest teach them.
Exodus 34:1 And the LORD said unto Moses, Hew thee two tables of stone like unto the first: and I will write upon [these] tables the words that were in the first tables, which thou brakest.

but:

Psalms 40:8 I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law [is] within my heart.
Jeremiah 31:33 But this [shall be] the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.
Ezekiel 11:19 And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh:
Ezekiel 36:25-27 Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. ... And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do [them].
Hebrews 8:10 For this [is] the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:
Hebrews 10:16 This [is] the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them;
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Ex 24:12; 31:18; 34:1. Jsh 3:10. 1S 17:26. Ps 40:8; 42:2; 84:2. Jr 10:10; 31:33. Ezk 11:19; 36:25. Dn 6:26. Mt 16:16. 1Co 8:5. 2Co 6:16. 1Th 1:9. He 8:10; 9:14; 10:16. Rv 2:1, 8, 12, 18; 3:1, 7, 14, 22.

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