The Superior Covenant -- By: Stephen Kring

Journal: Reformation and Revival
Volume: RAR 06:3 (Summer 1997)
Article: The Superior Covenant
Author: Stephen Kring


The Superior Covenant

Stephen Kring

It would be an understatement to acknowledge that Paul’s Second Epistle to the Corinthians is not the easiest of his epistles to understand. And the third chapter is surely not the easiest chapter in the letter. Commentator/scholar Carol Stockhausen quotes the famous A. T. Hanson as saying that 2 Corinthians 3:18 is “the Mount Everest of Pauline texts as far as difficulty is concerned.”1 She later adds that “Paul is not in a mess in 2 Corinthians 3, although an exegete easily might be.”2 But, although cautioned and humbled by these reminders, it is with glad anticipation that we approach a passage that our God, with good reason, has graciously given to us, His children.

Context

Second Corinthians reveals to us the heart of the apostle Paul.3 His Christian character,4 his apostleship5 and his weaknesses6 have been the subjects of attack by satanically inspired “super-apostles” in ancient Corinth. Paul’s children there have begun to listen to these opponents. His aim is to regain their lost love and esteem in the Lord.7

It is crucial for the church that this be accomplished, not simply because Paul would feel hurt otherwise, but because of the apostolic ministry Paul was called by God to exercise in the church of Christ. His ministry was one of foundation-laying. The church is “built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the corner stone” (Eph. 2:20). In the early church “they [i.e., the growing believers] were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching” (Acts 2:42). Paul writes elsewhere that “According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I laid a foundation” (1 Cor. 3:10a).

If the Corinthian believers turned their backs on Paul, they would be departing from the only solid foundation that a true church can have. Paul had the “mind of Christ.”

He spoke “God’s wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom, which God predestined before the ages to our glory” (

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