What does 2 Corinthians 3:8 mean?
ESV: will not the ministry of the Spirit have even more glory?
NIV: will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious?
NASB: how will the ministry of the Spirit fail to be even more with glory?
CSB: how will the ministry of the Spirit not be more glorious?
NLT: Shouldn’t we expect far greater glory under the new way, now that the Holy Spirit is giving life?
KJV: How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious?
NKJV: how will the ministry of the Spirit not be more glorious?
Verse Commentary:
God's work in the world is always glorious. Paul is describing the differences between the ministry of God's Old Covenant with Israel and the ministry of God's new covenant of grace through faith in Christ for all who believe. In the previous verse, he called the ministry of the Old Covenant the "ministry of death." Through the law, carved in letters on stone, the Israelites became aware of their inability to obey God. They understood their sinfulness deserved death (Romans 7:10–11). The required death often took place through the sacrifice of animals to atone for their sin.

Still, the Old Covenant brought glory, reflected on Moses' face after he had talked with God. Paul now uses a rhetorical question to declare that the ministry of the new covenant, the "ministry of the Spirit," will have even more glory. He shows in the following verses that the glory of the ministry of the Spirit will far surpass the former glory revealed under the ministry of death.
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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