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2 Corinthians 3:6 [study!]

American Standard Version (ASV 1901) [2]
— who also made us sufficient as ministers of a new covenant; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.
King James Version (KJV 1769)
— 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.
New American Standard Bible (NASB ©1995)
— who also made us adequate [as] servants of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
Webster's Revision of the KJB (WEB 1833)
— 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.
Darby's Translation (DBY 1890)
— who has also made us competent, [as] ministers of [the] new covenant; not of letter, but of spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit quickens.
Rotherham's Emphasized Bible (EBR 1902)
— Who also hath made us sufficient to be ministers of a new covenant—not of letter, but of spirit, for, the letter, killeth, whereas, the Spirit, maketh alive.
Young's Literal Translation (YLT 1898)
— who also made us sufficient [to be] ministrants of a new covenant, not of letter, but of spirit; for the letter doth kill, and the spirit doth make alive.
Douay-Rheims Challoner Revision (DR 1750)
— Who also hath made us fit ministers of the new testament, not in the letter but in the spirit. For the letter killeth: but the spirit quickeneth.
Original King James Bible (AV 1611) [2]
— Who also hath made vs able ministers of the New Testament, not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giueth life.
John Etheridge Peshitta-Aramaic NT (1849)
— who hath made us fit to be ministers of the new covenant, not in the writing, but in the spirit. For the writing killeth, but the Spirit maketh alive.
James Murdock Peshitta-Aramaic NT (1852)
— who hath fitted us to be ministers of the new Testament, not in the letter, but in the Spirit; for the letter killeth, but the Spirit giveth life.

Strong's Numbers & Red-LettersGreek New TestamentColor-Code/Key Word Studies
Who 3739
{3739} Prime
ὅς
hos
{hos}
Probably a primary word (or perhaps a form of the article G3588); the relative (sometimes demonstrative) pronoun, who, which, what, that.
also 2532
{2532} Prime
καί
kai
{kahee}
Apparently a primary particle, having a copulative and sometimes also a cumulative force; and, also, even, so, then, too, etc.; often used in connection (or composition) with other particles or small words.
hath made y2427
[2427] Standard
ἱκανόω
hikanoo
{hik-an-o'-o}
From G2425; to enable, that is, qualify.
z0
<0000> Grammar
The original word in the Greek or Hebrew is translated by more than one word in the English. The English translation is separated by one or more other words from the original.
us y2248
[2248] Standard
ἡμᾶς
hemas
{hay-mas'}
Accusative plural of G1473; us.
able 2427
{2427} Prime
ἱκανόω
hikanoo
{hik-an-o'-o}
From G2425; to enable, that is, qualify.
z5656
<5656> Grammar
Tense - Aorist (See G5777)
Voice - Active (See G5784)
Mood - Indicative (See G5791)
Count - 2319
x2248
(2248) Complement
ἡμᾶς
hemas
{hay-mas'}
Accusative plural of G1473; us.
ministers 1249
{1249} Prime
διάκονος
diakonos
{dee-ak'-on-os}
Probably from διάκω [[diako]] (obsolete, to run on errands; compare G1377); an attendant, that is, (generally) a waiter (at table or in other menial duties); specifically a Christian teacher and pastor (technically a deacon or deaconess).
of the new 2537
{2537} Prime
καινός
kainos
{kahee-nos'}
Of uncertain affinity; new (especially in freshness; while G3501 is properly so with respect to age).
testament; 1242
{1242} Prime
διαθήκη
diatheke
{dee-ath-ay'-kay}
From G1303; properly a disposition, that is, (specifically) a contract (especially a devisory will).
not 3756
{3756} Prime
οὐ
ou
{oo}
A primary word; the absolutely negative (compare G3361) adverb; no or not.
of the letter, 1121
{1121} Prime
γράμμα
gramma
{gram'-mah}
From G1125; a writing, that is, a letter, note, epistle, book, etc.; plural learning.
but 235
{0235} Prime
ἀλλά
alla
{al-lah'}
Neuter plural of G0243; properly other things, that is, (adverbially) contrariwise (in many relations).
of 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.
for 1063
{1063} Prime
γάρ
gar
{gar}
A primary particle; properly assigning a reason (used in argument, explanation or intensification; often with other particles).
the x3588
(3588) Complement

ho
{ho}
The masculine, feminine (second) and neuter (third) forms, in all their inflections; the definite article; the (sometimes to be supplied, at others omitted, in English idiom).
letter 1121
{1121} Prime
γράμμα
gramma
{gram'-mah}
From G1125; a writing, that is, a letter, note, epistle, book, etc.; plural learning.
killeth, 615
{0615} Prime
ἀποκτείνω
apokteino
{ap-ok-ti'-no}
From G0575 and κτείνω [[kteino]] (to slay); to kill outright; figuratively to destroy.
z5719
<5719> Grammar
Tense - Present (See G5774)
Voice - Active (See G5784)
Mood - Indicative (See G5791)
Count - 3019
but 1161
{1161} Prime
δέ
de
{deh}
A primary particle (adversative or continuative); but, and, etc.
the x3588
(3588) Complement

ho
{ho}
The masculine, feminine (second) and neuter (third) forms, in all their inflections; the definite article; the (sometimes to be supplied, at others omitted, in English idiom).
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.
giveth life. y2227
[2227] Standard
ζῳοποιέω
zoopoieo
{dzo-op-oy-eh'-o}
From the same as G2226 and G4160; to (re-) vitalize (literally or figuratively).
z5719
<5719> Grammar
Tense - Present (See G5774)
Voice - Active (See G5784)
Mood - Indicative (See G5791)
Count - 3019
x2226
(2226) Complement
ζῷον
zoon
{dzo'-on}
Neuter of a derivative of G2198; a live thing, that is, an animal.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Commentary

2 Corinthians 3:6

_ _ able — rather, as the Greek is the same, corresponding to 2 Corinthians 3:5, translate, “sufficient as ministers” (Ephesians 3:7; Colossians 1:23).

_ _ the new testament — “the new covenant” as contrasted with the Old Testament or covenant (1 Corinthians 11:25; Galatians 4:24). He reverts here again to the contrast between the law on “tables of stone,” and that “written by the Spirit on fleshly tables of the heart” (2 Corinthians 3:3).

_ _ not of the letter — joined with “ministers”; ministers not of the mere literal precept, in which the old law, as then understood, consisted; “but of the Spirit,” that is, the spiritual holiness which lay under the old law, and which the new covenant brings to light (Matthew 5:17-48) with new motives added, and a new power of obedience imparted, namely, the Holy Spirit (Romans 7:6). Even in writing the letter of the New Testament, Paul and the other sacred writers were ministers not of the letter, but of the spirit. No piety of spirit could exempt a man from the yoke of the letter of each legal ordinance under the Old Testament; for God had appointed this as the way in which He chose a devout Jew to express his state of mind towards God. Christianity, on the other hand, makes the spirit of our outward observances everything, and the letter a secondary consideration (John 4:24). Still the moral law of the ten commandments, being written by the finger of God, is as obligatory now as ever; but put more on the Gospel spirit of “love,” than on the letter of a servile obedience, and in a deeper and fuller spirituality (Matthew 5:17-48; Romans 13:9). No literal precepts could fully comprehend the wide range of holiness which LOVE, the work of the Holy Spirit, under the Gospel, suggests to the believer’s heart instinctively from the word understood in its deep spirituality.

_ _ letter killeth — by bringing home the knowledge of guilt and its punishment, death; 2 Corinthians 3:7, “ministration of death” (Romans 7:9).

_ _ spirit giveth life — The spirit of the Gospel when brought home to the heart by the Holy Spirit, gives new spiritual life to a man (Romans 6:4, Romans 6:11). This “spirit of life” is for us in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:2, Romans 8:10), who dwells in the believer as a “quickening” or “life-giving Spirit” (1 Corinthians 15:45). Note, the spiritualism of rationalists is very different. It would admit no “stereotyped revelation,” except so much as man’s own inner instrument of revelation, the conscience and reason, can approve of: thus making the conscience judge of the written word, whereas the apostles make the written word the judge of the conscience (Acts 17:11; 1 Peter 4:1). True spirituality rests on the whole written word, applied to the soul by the Holy Spirit as the only infallible interpreter of its far-reaching spirituality. The letter is nothing without the spirit, in a subject essentially spiritual. The spirit is nothing without the letter, in a record substantially historical.

Matthew Henry's Commentary

2 Corinthians 3:6-11

_ _ Here the apostle makes a comparison between the Old Testament and the New, the law of Moses and the gospel of Jesus Christ, and values himself and his fellow-labourers by this, that they were able ministers of the New Testament, that God had made them so, 2 Corinthians 3:6. This he does in answer to the accusations of false teachers, who magnify greatly the law of Moses.

_ _ I. He distinguishes between the letter and the spirit even of the New Testament, 2 Corinthians 3:6. As able ministers of the New Testament, they were ministers not merely of the letter, to read the written word, or to preach the letter of the gospel only, but they were ministers of the Spirit also; the Spirit of God did accompany their ministrations. The letter killeth; this the letter of the law does, for that is the ministration of death; and if we rest only in the letter of the gospel we shall be never the better for so doing, for even that will be a savour of death unto death; but the Spirit of the gospel, going along with the ministry of the gospel, giveth life spiritual and life eternal.

_ _ II. He shows the difference between the Old Testament and the New, and the excellency of the gospel above the law. For, 1. The Old Testament dispensation was the ministration of death (2 Corinthians 3:7), whereas that of the New Testament is the ministration of life. The law discovered sin, and the wrath and curse of God. This showed us a God above us and a God against us; but the gospel discovers grace, and Emmanuel, God with us. Upon this account the gospel is more glorious than the law; and yet that had a glory in it, witness the shining of Moses's face (an indication thereof) when he came down from the mount with the tables in his hand, that reflected rays of brightness upon his countenance. 2. The law was the ministration of condemnation, for that condemned and cursed every one who continued not in all things written therein to do them; but the gospel is the ministration of righteousness: therein the righteousness of God by faith is revealed. This shows us that the just shall live by his faith. This reveals the grace and mercy of God through Jesus Christ, for obtaining the remission of sins and eternal life. The gospel therefore so much exceeds in glory that in a manner it eclipses the glory of the legal dispensation, 2 Corinthians 3:10. As the shining of a burning lamp is lost, or not regarded, when the sun arises and goes forth in his strength; so there was no glory in the Old Testament, in comparison with that of the New. 3. The law is done away, but the gospel does and shall remain, 2 Corinthians 3:11. Not only did the glory of Moses's face go away, but the glory of Moses's law is done away also; yea, the law of Moses itself is now abolished. That dispensation was only to continue for a time, and then to vanish away; whereas the gospel shall remain to the end of the world, and is always fresh and flourishing and remains glorious.

John Wesley's Explanatory Notes

2 Corinthians 3:6

Who also hath made us able ministers of the new covenant — Of the new, evangelical dispensation. Not of the law, fitly called the letter, from God's literally writing it on the two tables. But of the Spirit — Of the gospel dispensation, which is written on the tables of our hearts by the Spirit. For the letter — The law, the Mosaic dispensation. Killeth — Seals in death those who still cleave to it. But the Spirit — The gospel, conveying the Spirit to those who receive it. Giveth life — Both spiritual and eternal: yea, if we adhere to the literal sense even of the moral law, if we regard only the precept and the sanction as they stand in themselves, not as they lead us to Christ, they are doubtless a killing ordinance, and bind us down under the sentence of death.

Geneva Bible Translation Notes

2 Corinthians 3:6

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

(2) He amplifies his ministry and his fellows: that is to say, the ministry of the Gospel comparing it with the ministry of the Law, which he considers in the person of Moses, by whom the Law was given: against whom he sets Christ the author of the Gospel. Now this comparison is taken from the very substance of the ministry. The Law is as it were a writing in itself, dead, and without efficacy: but the Gospel, and new Covenant, as it were the very power of God itself, in renewing, justifying, and saving men. The Law offers death, accusing all men of unrighteousness: the Gospel offers and gives righteousness and life. The administration of the Law served for a time to the promise: the Gospel remains to the end of the world. Therefore what is the glory of the Law in comparison of the majesty of the Gospel?

(f) Not of the Law but of the Gospel.

Cross-Reference Topical ResearchStrong's Concordance
hath:

2 Corinthians 5:18-20 And all things [are] of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; ... Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech [you] by us: we pray [you] in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.
Matthew 13:52 Then said he unto them, Therefore every scribe [which is] instructed unto the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man [that is] an householder, which bringeth forth out of his treasure [things] new and old.
Romans 1:5 By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name:
1 Corinthians 3:5 Who then is Paul, and who [is] Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man?
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 12:28 And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.
Ephesians 3:7 Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power.
Ephesians 4:11-12 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; ... For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
Colossians 1:25-29 Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God; ... Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily.
1 Timothy 1:11-12 According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust. ... And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry;
1 Timothy 4:6 If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained.
2 Timothy 1:11 Whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles.

the new:

2 Corinthians 3:14 But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which [vail] is done away in Christ.
Jeremiah 31:31 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah:
Matthew 26:28 For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.
Mark 14:24 And he said unto them, This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many.
Luke 22:20 Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup [is] the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.
1 Corinthians 11:25 After the same manner also [he took] the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink [it], in remembrance of me.
Hebrews 7:22 By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament.
Hebrews 8:6-10 But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises. ... 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 9:15-20 And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions [that were] under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance. ... Saying, This [is] the blood of the testament which God hath enjoined unto you.
Hebrews 12:24 And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than [that of] Abel.
Hebrews 13:20 Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant,
*marg.

not:

Romans 2:27-29 And shall not uncircumcision which is by nature, if it fulfil the law, judge thee, who by the letter and circumcision dost transgress the law? ... But he [is] a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision [is that] of the heart, in the spirit, [and] not in the letter; whose praise [is] not of men, but of God.
Romans 7:6 But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not [in] the oldness of the letter.

for:

2 Corinthians 3:7 But if the ministration of death, written [and] engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which [glory] was to be done away:
2 Corinthians 3:9 For if the ministration of condemnation [be] glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory.
Deuteronomy 27:26 Cursed [be] he that confirmeth not [all] the words of this law to do them. And all the people shall say, Amen.
Romans 3:20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law [is] the knowledge of sin.
Romans 4:15 Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, [there is] no transgression.
Romans 7:9-11 For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died. ... For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew [me].
Galatians 3:10-12 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed [is] every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. ... And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them.
Galatians 3:21 [Is] the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law.

but the:

John 6:63 It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, [they] are spirit, and [they] are life.
Romans 8:2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.
1 John 1:1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life;

giveth life:
or, quickeneth,
John 5:21 For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth [them]; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will.
Romans 4:17 (As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, [even] God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were.
1 Corinthians 15:45 And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam [was made] a quickening spirit.
Ephesians 2:1 And you [hath he quickened], who were dead in trespasses and sins;
Ephesians 2:5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
1 Peter 3:18 For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:
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