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2 Corinthians 3 Small Group Study Guide

2 Corinthians 3
Chapter 3 in a Nutshell—
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. (

  • Discussion: Work through the chapter together with your group.
  • Read verses 1-3. Paul had founded the church in Corinth, and now is being asked to produce letters of recommendation. Why would this be wrong? What was Paul’s response?
  • What did Paul say was his letter of recommendation?
  • 2 Corinthians 3:3 “You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.” (NIV) Think about this verse. The same is true for you, His spirit implanted in our hearts gives us new power to live for Him. What does this reality mean for you personally?
  • Read verse 4-6. Where did Paul’s confidence and competence come from?
    Where was in not placed? What is the takeaway for us?
  • When discussing verse 4-5, Terry said, “It’s not either ‘be bold and confidence in life’ or ‘be humble and trust God.’ It is be humble and trust God…in order to be bold and confident.
    What does it look like to live this out in our day to day lives?
  • Verse 6 talks about a “new covenant.” What is a covenant? What is the “new covenant” and how does it fill us with hope?
  • Read verse 7-11. Glory (or a form of the word glory) is used 10 times in this paragraph.
    What was Paul’s point?
  • When discussing this paragraph, Terry said, “This is the glory of the gospel…this is why Paul is so generous with his use of “glory” here. This is the basis of his hope…and this hope is the foundation for his boldness in life.” If this was true for Paul, the same is true for us.
    What does this mean for our hope in the gospel?
  • Read verses 12-18. What happens when a person turns to the Lord?
    What are they set free from? Why can they live with great boldness and hope?
    Where is freedom found?
  • Verse 18 says, “And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” What does this verse mean for you personally?

Verse 12 “Since we have such a hope, we are very bold.” Our hope is in the permanence of the glory of the gospel. The boldness of hope overcomes fear. The boldness of hope overcomes shame.
The boldness of hope is that Christ has forgiven me…my past sins are covered…my future sins as well for that matter. As I mess up, I must fess up, and move on…with grateful, bold hope.

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