What Is So New About The New Covenant? Exploring The Contours Of Paul’s New Covenant Theology In 2 Corinthians 3 -- By: Matthew Barrett
Journal: Southern Baptist Journal of Theology
Volume: SBJT 19:3 (Fall 2015)
Article: What Is So New About The New Covenant? Exploring The Contours Of Paul’s New Covenant Theology In 2 Corinthians 3
Author: Matthew Barrett
SBJT 19:3 (Fall 2015) p. 61
What Is So New About The New Covenant? Exploring The Contours Of Paul’s New Covenant Theology In 2 Corinthians 3
Matthew Barrett is Tutor of Systematic Theology and Church History at Oak Hill Theological College in London, England. He earned his Ph.D. from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Systematic Theology. Dr. Barrett is the executive editor of Credo Magazine, as well as the author and editor of several books, including Salvation by Grace (P&R, 2013), Four Views on the Historical Adam (Zondervan, 2013 with A. B. Caneday), Owen on the Christian Life (Crossway, 2015 with Michael Haykin), and editor of the The 5 Solas Series (Zondervan, 2015-2017).
Second Corinthians 3 is a hotly debated and difficult text. For example, Thomas Schreiner says 2 Corinthians 3 is “one of the most controverted texts in the Pauline corpus,”1 and is “full of exegetical difficulties and knotty problems.”2 David Garland believes the passage is “notoriously obscure”3 and Anthony Hanson says it is the “mount Everest of Pauline texts as far as difficulty is concerned—or should we rather call it the sphinx among texts, since its difficulty lies in its enigmatic quality rather than its complexity?”4 The result has been a hermeneutical maze of literature almost impossible to navigate.5
Nevertheless, the complexity and difficulty in translating and interpreting 2 Corinthians 3 is matched by its biblical-theological depth and insight.6 As the growing literature demonstrates, this one chapter leaves readers with a host of themes central to developing a Pauline theology (e.g., law, ministry,
SBJT 19:3 (Fall 2015) p. 62
Spirit, glory, covenant). However, our task is not to enter into the myriad of grammatical and interpretive debates (though we will engage some), nor is it to focus on each of the Pauline themes present (see other articles in this issue). Instead, our purpose is to analyze 2 Corinthians 3 with a particular eye on the theme of “covenant.” More precisely, our aim is to better understand the relationship between the “old covenant” and the “new covenant” through the lens of 2 Corinthia...
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