There were those who were willing to go around and follow Paul; to come into the areas that Paul had plowed, where Paul had planted, and seek to uproot Paul’s ministry, drawing people to themselves; seeking to discredit Paul in the eyes of the people. Such was the case in Corinth. Those who followed Paul were putting down Paul and his message of the gospel of grace, seeking to bring the people under the law, challenging Paul’s authority as an apostle, lifting up themselves as the authorities and the authorized ones. And so it seems rather tragic that oh, blessed brother Paul was always, it seems, defending himself against those detractors, as though he needed to. And so, in chapter three we find this again the case. – Chuck Smith

Read 2 Cor. 3:1-3 – Living Epistles

1. What is the purpose of an epistle of commendation (known today as a letter of recommendation)?
In what situations might one be required?

2. From vs 2, why does Paul say he doesn’t need a letter of recommendation in Corinth?

a. (vs 2-3) Paul apparently did not believe his primary “letter of recommendation” was found in miraculous signs but found in miraculously changed lives. (Chuck Smith) We could say that the Corinthian believers were living epistles, or living letters. What would this mean?

b. Could you consider yourself a living epistle? Why or why not?

3. Compare these verses with Jer 31:31-34. What do you see?

a. What further insight do we receive from Ezekiel 36:26, 27 and how does this apply to you?

b. The promise and fulfillment of the Holy Spirit is documented in the New Testament. What verses do you know that verify this?

Read 2 Cor. 3:4-6 – Trust in Christ

1. In vs 4, Paul confirms his confidence that the things he has written in 2 Cor. 2:14-3:3 are accomplished and trusted through Christ toward God. Other translation are: “trust through Christ before God” or “trust in God through Christ”. How does Phil. 4:19 add to our understanding?

2. Vs 5-6 answers the question presented in 2 Cor. 2:16. What does sufficient mean?

a. In Genesis 17, God revealed Himself to Abraham as El Shaddai, the Almighty or All-Sufficient One. What was happening in Genesis 17 that would cause Abraham to need to know God as El Shaddai?

b. One translation of El Shaddai is “the God who is more than enough”. How should knowing God as El Shaddai give us confidence and boldness to serve Him well?

3. According to verse 6, the letter kills. This refers to trying to please God or gain salvation by keeping the law. It is not possible. What is meant by “but the Spirit gives life”?

Read 2 Cor. 3:7-17 – The New Covenant

1. When the law was given to Moses on Mount Sinai, being with God resulted in the shining of Moses’ face. (see Ex. 34:29-35) What does vs 7 tell us about the effect of this shining?

2. Explain the comparison being made in verses 8-11.

3. (vs 12-13) The phrase “boldness of speech” means “freedom of speech” or “frankness”. What caused this boldness in Paul?

4. The veil on the face of Moses reminded Paul of another veil. From verses 14-15, explain this veil.

a. How is this veil removed? (vs 16)

b. Upon this removal, there is liberty/freedom. (vs 17) Freedom from what?

Read 2 Cor. 3:18 – Transforming Power

1. Paul invites every Christian to a special, glorious intimacy with God. This is a relationship and transforming power that is not the property of just a few privileged Christians. It can belong to all, to everyone who has an unveiled face. – Guzik Consider the privilege of this intimacy!

2. We see the glory of the Lord in the scriptures, but not as clearly as we will someday. Today we see  “as in a mirror”. Consider a mirror of ancient times. What is being said?

3. As we behold the glory of God, we will be transformed. Our transformation is gradual and happens from the inside out. This is the process of sanctification. Sanctification is the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of a believer. What is the role of the believer in this process?

4. As the Christian becomes more and more like Jesus, what should be seen in his/her life?