Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible
back to: 2 Corinthians
Book: 2 Corinthians
Chapter: 3

The preference of the Gospel to the Law given By Moses. (1-11)
The preaching of the Apostle was suitable to the excellency and
evidence of the Gospel, through the power of the Holy Ghost.

1-11 Even the appearance of self-praise and courting human
applause, is painful to the humble and spiritual mind. Nothing
is more delightful to Faithful ministers, or more to their
praise, than the success of their ministry, as shown in the
spirits and lives of those among whom they labour. The Law of
Christ was written in their hearts, and the Love of Christ shed
abroad there. Nor was it written in Tables of Stone, as the Law
of God given to Moses, but On the fleshy (not fleshly, as
fleshliness denotes sensuality)
Tables of the Heart, Eze
36:26. Their hearts were humbled and softened to receive this
impression, By the new-creating power of the Holy Spirit. He
ascribes all the Glory to God. And remember, as our whole
dependence is upon the Lord, So the whole Glory belongs to him
alone. The Letter killeth: the Letter of the Law is the
ministration of Death; and if we Rest only in the Letter of the
Gospel, we shall not be the better for So doing: but the Holy
Spirit gives Life spiritual, and Life eternal. The Old Testament
Dispensation was the ministration of Death, but the New
Testament of Life. The Law made known Sin, and the wrath and
Curse of God; it showed us a God above us, and a God against us;
but the Gospel makes known Grace, and Emmanuel, God with us.
Therein the Righteousness of God By Faith is revealed; and this
shows us that the just shall live By his Faith; this makes known
the Grace and Mercy of God through Jesus Christ, for obtaining
the forgiveness of sins and eternal Life. The Gospel So much
exceeds the Law in Glory, that it eclipses the Glory of the
legal Dispensation. But even the New Testament will be a killing
Letter, if shown as a mere system or form, and without
dependence On God the Holy Spirit, to give it a quickening

12-18 It is the duty of the ministers of the Gospel to use
great plainness, or clearness, of speech. The Old Testament
believers had only cloudy and passing glimpses of that glorious
Saviour, and unbelievers looked No further than to the outward
institution. But the great precepts of the Gospel, believe,
Love, obey, are truths stated as clearly as possible. And the
whole doctrine of Christ crucified, is made as Plain as human
language can make it. Those who lived under the Law, had a Veil
upon their hearts. This Veil is taken away By the doctrines of
the Bible about Christ. When any person is converted to God,
then the Veil of ignorance is taken away. The condition of those
who enjoy and believe the Gospel is happy, for the Heart is set
at liberty to run the ways of God's Commandments. They have
Light, and with open Face they behold the Glory of the Lord.
Christians should prize and improve these privileges. We should
not Rest contented without knowing the transforming power of the
Gospel, By the working of the Spirit, bringing us to seek to be
like the temper and tendency of the glorious Gospel of our Lord
and Saviour Jesus Christ, and into union with Him. We behold
Christ, as in the Glass of his Word; and as the reflection from
a mirror causes the Face to shine, the faces of Christians shine