This passage begins with PaulA Christian missionary who once persecuted the church More responding to some concern of the Corinthians with letters of recommendation and extends into an announcement of a new covenantBecause Israel had broken the old covenant, the prophet Jeremiah declared that God would establish a new covenant, one that would be written on the heart. The New Testament is often referred to as the New Covenant because Jesus came to fulfill the law and... More written on human hearts.
In 2 Corinthians, Paul mentions other apostles whom he calls “super-apostles” (2 Corinthians 11:5, 12:11) and “false apostles” (2 Corinthians 11:13). These traveling missionaries have come to Corinth after Paul left. Now, impressed by these new apostles’ credentials, the Corinthians may be asking about Paul’s credentials.
In response, Paul tells the Corinthians that he and TimothyThe companion on Paul's later journeys for whom two pastoral epistles are named More do not need letters of recommendation since the Corinthians themselves are a letter recommending Paul’s ministry. Paul echoes JeremiahProphet who condemned Judah's infidelity to God, warned of Babylonian conquest, and promised a new covenant More 31:31-34 as he speaks of a new covenantA covenant is a promise or agreement. In the Bible the promises made between God and God's people are known as covenants; they state or imply a relationship of commitment and obedience. More written on human hearts. In Jeremiah, God had promised to write his law-a new covenant-on the hearts of the people. Here Paul says that the Corinthians are a letter of Christ, “written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts” (2 Corinthians 3:3).
The rest of the chapter uses more images from the Old Testament to contrast the glory surrounding God’s giving of the law to MosesProphet who led Israel out of Egypt to the Promised Land and received the law at Sinai More and the people of Israel with the even more glorious work of God in Christ. Paul’s argument runs from the lesser to the greater: if there was so much glory around the giving of the law that Moses had to veil his face to protect the Israelites, how much more will the glory of God abound in the work of God’s Spirit in “the ministry of justification” (2 Corinthians 3:8-9). Yet, this time, those who participate in the new covenant may do so “with unveiled faces” (2 Corinthians 3:18).