2 Corinthians 3

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2 Corinthians 3
A folio of Papyrus 46 (written ca. AD 200), containing 2 Corinthians 11:33–12:9. This manuscript contains almost complete parts of the whole Pauline epistles.
BookSecond Epistle to the Corinthians
CategoryPauline epistles
Christian Bible partNew Testament
Order in the Christian part8

2 Corinthians 3 is the third chapter of the Second Epistle to the Corinthians in the New Testament of the Christian Bible. It is authored by Paul the Apostle and Timothy (2 Corinthians 1:1) in Macedonia in 55–56 CE.[1] Biblical commentator Heinrich Meyer emphasises that the use of the plural 'we' in 2 Corinthians 3:2 ("in our hearts") and 3:6 ([we are] "ministers of the new covenant") includes Timothy in the writing of the letter.[2]


The original text is written in Koine Greek. This chapter is divided into 18 verses. Some most ancient manuscripts containing this chapter are:

Verse 3[edit]

New King James Version

Clearly you are an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart.[3]

King James Version

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.[4]
  • "The epistle of Christ ministered by us": The apostles and ministers of the Word were only "amanuenses", whereas Christ was the "author and dictator" (i.e., who dictates the Word).[5]
  • "Written... with the Spirit of the living God": the believers become the "living epistles of Christ" as a "living disposition of the soul in likeness to Him."[5]
  • "Tables of stone": on Mount Sinai the primary (Mosaic) law was written on tables of stone. They were made twice: the first by God Himself, the latter were hewed by Moses, at the command of God, Exodus 32:16; Exodus 34:1). The former are said to be "miraculously made, and not by the means and artifice of men", [6] which, the Jewish writers say, were made of sapphire,[7] but they were broken by Moses when he came down from the mount. Both the former and the latter were of two stones of an equal size,[8] in the form of small tables, such as for children to learn to write,[9] each with the dimensions of six hands long, six hands broad and three hands thick,[10] weighing forty "seahs" (a miracle that Moses should be able to carry them).[11] On these stones were written the "Ten Commandments", that five were written on one table, and five on the other, as noted by Josephus,[12] Philo,[13] and the Talmudic writers,[14] and were written on both sides (Exodus 32:15).[5]
  • "Fleshly tables of the heart" alluding to Ezekiel 36:26, not "carnal hearts", but the one "made soft and tender by the Spirit of God". The phrase "table of the heart" is found in the books of the Old Testament (Proverbs 3:3; Proverbs 7:3; Jeremiah 17:1) and very frequently in the writings of the Jews.[5][15]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ MacDonald 2007, p. 1134.
  2. ^ Heinrich August Wilhelm Meyer (1880). Commentary on the New Testament. Translation by Peter Christie from Meyer's sixth edition. At 2 Corinthians 3.
  3. ^ 2 Corinthians 3:3 NKJV
  4. ^ 2 Corinthians 3:3 KJV
  5. ^ a b c d John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible, 2 Corinthians 3:3
  6. ^ R. Levi ben Gersom in Pentateuch, fol. 113. 2. Even said that "they were made before the creation of the world" in "Zohar in Exod". fol. 35. 1.
  7. ^ See Gill on 2 Corinthians 3:7
  8. ^ Jarchi. Perush in Exod. xxxi. 18.
  9. ^ Abarbinel, in Pentateuch, fol. 209. 2. & 211. 3.
  10. ^ T. Hieres Shekalim, fol. 49. 4. Shemot Rabba, c. 47. fol. 143. 2. Bartenora in Misn. Pirke Abot, c. 5. sect. 6.
  11. ^ Targum Jon. in Exod. xxxi. 18. & in Deut. xxxiv. 12.
  12. ^ Josephus. Antiquitates. l. 3. c. 5. sect. 8.
  13. ^ Philo. De Decalogo, p. 761, 768.
  14. ^ T. Hieros. Shekalim, fol. 49. 4. Shemot Rabba, sect. 47. fol. 143. 2. Zohar in Exod. fol. 35. 1.
  15. ^ Vid. Targum Jon. in Dent. vi. 5, & in Cant. iv. 9.


  • MacDonald, Margaret (2007). "66. 2 Corinthians". In Barton, John; Muddiman, John (eds.). The Oxford Bible Commentary (first (paperback) ed.). Oxford University Press. pp. 1134–1151. ISBN 978-0199277186. Retrieved February 6, 2019.

External links[edit]