What does 2 Corinthians 3:12 mean?
ESV: Since we have such a hope, we are very bold,
NIV: Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold.
NASB: Therefore, having such a hope, we use great boldness in our speech,
CSB: Since, then, we have such a hope, we act with great boldness.
NLT: Since this new way gives us such confidence, we can be very bold.
KJV: Seeing then that we have such hope, we use great plainness of speech:
Verse Commentary:
Paul has shown in previous verses that the new covenant—between God and those who trust in Christ for salvation—far outshines the fading glory of the old covenant. That arrangement was based on human attempts to follow the law of Moses in order to be acceptable to God. It's not that the law served no purpose. It revealed the human need for God's grace and forgiveness: exactly what is made available through faith in Christ for the forgiveness of our sin.

One result of this new agreement between God and those who come to Him through faith in Christ, Paul writes, is boldness. The old covenant, by design, caused men and women to become deeply aware of their own sinfulness and inability to do what was right before God. The result was a lack of confidence before God. The new covenant, though, removes the need for people to trust in their own ability to do right. Believers are not bold because we are confident in ourselves. A Christian places all his or her confidence in Jesus' right choices and in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Because we come to God in Christ, who is perfect and sinless, we do not need to veil our faces before Him. We have the "hope" that we are in good standing and at peace with God right now. The word "hope" as used here does not mean "wish." It means confidence that God will keep His promises.

Paul, then, is bold in how he lives and bold in what he says. This includes a boldness in rebuking the Christians in Corinth when they are wrong or sinful.
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.
Accessed 4/22/2024 3:53:00 PM
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