2 Corinthians 3:5 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

2 Corinthians 3:5, NIV: Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God.

2 Corinthians 3:5, ESV: Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God,

2 Corinthians 3:5, KJV: Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God;

2 Corinthians 3:5, NASB: Not that we are adequate in ourselves so as to consider anything as having come from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God,

2 Corinthians 3:5, NLT: It is not that we think we are qualified to do anything on our own. Our qualification comes from God.

2 Corinthians 3:5, CSB: It is not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God.

What does 2 Corinthians 3:5 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

In the previous verse, Paul referred to the absolute confidence he has that his ministry of representing Christ is from God. Now he makes clear that his is not a confidence built on belief in himself or his own skills, abilities, and knowledge.

At one time, Paul would likely have placed great confidence in himself based on those things. He wrote this in Philippians 3:4–6, "If anyone else thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless."

But when he came to Christ, Paul lost all that earthly, religious confidence, "But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ" (Philippians 3:7). Now he writes that any selfish version of self-confidence is gone. He does not believe he and his co-workers are sufficient in themselves to take any credit. They are not ultimately responsible for delivering anything of value to the Corinthians. Instead, their sufficiency comes from God. It is by God's power they deliver God's message to the people God wants to reach.