What does 2 Corinthians 3:11 mean?
ESV: For if what was being brought to an end came with glory, much more will what is permanent have glory.
NIV: And if what was transitory came with glory, how much greater is the glory of that which lasts!
NASB: For if that which fades away was with glory, much more that which remains is in glory.
CSB: For if what was set aside was glorious, what endures will be even more glorious.
NLT: So if the old way, which has been replaced, was glorious, how much more glorious is the new, which remains forever!
KJV: For if that which is done away was glorious, much more that which remaineth is glorious.
Verse Commentary:
Paul has been comparing the old and new covenants between God and His people. The old covenant was God's agreement to bless Israel to the degree they kept the law of Moses. What it revealed, though, was that human beings cannot keep God's law because of our inescapable sin. The old covenant did reveal the glory of God, but it also showed that people cannot reach God's glory (Romans 3:23). That covenant is fading away, Paul has written, in the same way that God's reflected glory faded from Moses' face after he spent time with God.

The new covenant offers God's glory to people for free through faith in Christ's perfect life and death for their sins. The glory of this agreement between God and humanity is permanent because it is given by God out of His grace and mercy and is not based on human performance. The glory of this covenant far outshines the glory of the old covenant.
Verse Context:
Second Corinthians 3:7–18 contains Paul's comparison of the glory of God revealed in two covenants. The first is the Old Covenant with Israel, second is the far greater glory revealed in the new covenant of God's grace through faith in Christ. The glory of the Old Covenant is fading just as it did on Moses' face after he had been with God. Those who come to God through faith in Christ are forgiven for their sins and able to look on God's glory. The veil of unbelief must be removed by the Spirit through Christ. Those who see Him begin to become like Him.
Chapter Summary:
Second Corinthians 3 begins with Paul's insistence that Christ's presence in the hearts of the Corinthians should be all the evidence they need that his ministry is true. He compares the limited glory revealed by the Old Covenant between God and Israel with the far greater glory revealed by Christ to all who come to Him by faith. That glory is revealed only when the veil of unbelief is removed through Christ by the Holy Spirit's power. Those who see God's glory in Christ begin to be changed to become like Him.
Chapter Context:
Earlier chapters described the Corinthians' response to Paul's earlier instructions. Here, Paul once again defends the legitimacy of his role as an apostle of Christ. He then compares the old covenant of the law of Moses with the new covenant of faith in Christ. The old covenant revealed human sinfulness, God's condemnation, and the death required to pay for sin. The new covenant brings God's forgiveness for sin to all who trust in Christ, making it possible to look on His glory and to begin to be changed by it into the image of Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit. This launches Paul into a description of the value of the gospel, in contrast to the struggles of earthly life.
Book Summary:
Second Corinthians returns to similar themes as those Paul mentioned in his first letter to this church. Paul is glad to hear that the church in Corinth has heeded his advice. At the same time, it is necessary for Paul to counter criticisms about his personality and legitimacy. Most of this text involves that subject. The fifth chapter, in contrast, contains comforting words which Christians have quoted often in times of hardship. Paul also details his expectations that the church in Corinth will make good on their promise to contribute to the needs of suffering believers in Jerusalem.
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