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What is 2 Corinthians 3 verse 6?

Firstly, it is of course the Bible reference for a sentence found in the middle of the second letter written by the apostle Paul to the young church that he had founded and continued to care for in ancient Corinth.

In the ‘authorised’ King James (1611) translation of the Bible it reads like this: Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.

The more recent New International Version (2011) similarly translates it as: He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

Hence, competence for ministry! This site aims to explore and explain something of the importance of this verse for all who seek to serve the church of Jesus Christ as ministers, in whatever position or capacity.

Enjoy exploring these pages. The prayer is that you will find them enjoyable, inspiring and empowering in your own ever more fruitful ministry. If you are able to contribute anything helpful, please get in touch.

Various Translations

2 Corinthians 3 verse 6 reads differently depending on the translation. Before delving deeply into studying the text, it is worth reflecting on whether the different versions make any substantial difference to its meaning.

He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. [NIV]

ὃς καὶ ἱκάνωσεν ἡμᾶς διακόνους καινῆς διαθήκης, οὐ γράμματος ἀλλὰ πνεύματος· τὸ γὰρ γράμμα ἀποκτέννει, τὸ δὲ πνεῦμα ζῳοποιεῖ. [Greek]

who has made us competent to be ministers of a new covenant, not of letter but of spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. [NRSV]

who has made us sufficient to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. [ESV]

He has enabled us to be ministers of his new covenant. This is a covenant not of written laws, but of the Spirit. The old written covenant ends in death; but under the new covenant, the Spirit gives life. [NLT]

His letter authorizes us to help carry out this new plan of action. The plan wasn’t written out with ink on paper, with pages and pages of legal footnotes, killing your spirit. It’s written with Spirit on spirit, his life on our lives! [The Message]

it is he who made us capable of serving the new covenant, which consists not of a written law but of the Spirit. The written law brings death, but the Spirit gives life. [GNB]

who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. [NKJV]

Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life. [KJV]

About

The author and administrator of this website is a working minister of an active Baptist church who has been fascinated by 2 Corinthians 3 verse 6 for many decades and is dedicating some time to elucidate its meaning, history and significance.

Contact

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