Printer-friendly version

[2 Corinthians:3:1-18]; [2 Corinthians:4:1-16].

Lesson No.: 
Memory Verse: 

“What hast thou that thou didst not receive?  now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?” (I Corinthians 4:7)

Cross References: 

I Living Epistles
1. The Apostle has no need of letters of commendation, [2 Corinthians:3:1-3]; [Acts:18:27].
2. God gives the wisdom and strength to declare the Gospel, [2 Corinthians:3:4-6]; [1 Corinthians:3:10]; [1 Corinthians:15:10].

II Spiritual Ministry
1. The ministry of the Law was glorious, but the New Dispensation is completely superior, [2 Corinthians:3:7-11].
2. Plainness of speech is the order of the Gospel, [2 Corinthians:3:12-14]; [Galatians:4:16].
3. The veil of the old dispensation is removed in Christ, [2 Corinthians:3:15-16].
4.Spiritual vision in Christ produces a change, [2 Corinthians:3:17-18]; [Proverbs:4:18]; [James:1:25].

III Preaching Christ
1. Truthfulness is the watchword of Christ’s true ministers, [2 Corinthians:4:1-2]; [John:4:23]; [Ephesians:6:14].
2. Not all men are saved, but all have an equal opportunity, [2 Corinthians:4:3-4]; [Matthew:7:13-14]; [Acts:10:34-35].
3. Jesus Christ is the theme of Gospel preaching, [2 Corinthians:4:5-7].
4. Preaching Christ brings persecution, but not destruction, [2 Corinthians:4:8-10].
5. The early Christian ministers laboured, never knowing when martyrdom might be their lot, [2 Corinthians:4:11-12].
6. Resurrection faith in Christ always brings triumph, [2 Corinthians:4:13-16]; [2 Corinthians:2:14].


Several of the New Testament ministers had been sent out with letters recommending their integrity to the people to whom they were sent. As can be seen in this lesson, the convenience soon became a necessity, to a few, at least, in the Corinthian church. It seems they chided the Apostle for his lack of these letters; but the truth is beautifully brought forth that a man’s consistent Christian life means more than anything else. A true minister’s preaching of Christ will result in transformation of lives through Christ that will produce more eloquent testimony than most written epistles. “Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men.”

Today’s Ministers
The ministers of the old dispensation had to have lineal proof of their belonging to the family of Aaron or Levi before they could minister in the things of the Tabernacle. God’s ministers today are called from the rank and file of Christianity. One need not come from a special family or group, but one needs to answer the call of God and have God’s Spirit in the greatest possible measure in his heart and life. God will help such a one to go forth, bearing the precious seed of the Word, and Gospel results will be produced in the lives of men. All the letters of commendation in the world will not avail to save a soul, and no souls will be saved if God does not supply the grace and help.

The Apostle well knew this truth. “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God.” The blessings of the Gospel provide this sufficiency for each saved member of Christ’s Church. Becoming living epistles, each member can allow himself to be used of Christ to the salvation of other souls. Being faithful in little things brings greater duties and responsibilities until there is no limit to what the faithful man or woman may do for Christ.

Old and New
Many of the Israelites could not tolerate the thought of departing from the Law; however, in this lesson the Spirit brings forth many reasons why the old dispensation gave way to the new dispensation. Though the old was glorious, yet it was the ministration of death. “Do or die” became the edict; and without faith in God it was impossible to live up to the Law. Under the Gospel the edict is, “Look and live.” Faith in God is still exercised, but the fear of death is removed because the sting of death, sin, is taken out of the heart through salvation. The Gospel plants the lively hope of the resurrection in the heart. Men who all their lifetime have been in bondage to the fear of death, suddenly find themselves liberated. Why should the saved man fear death, when death is the chariot by which he travels to Heaven?

God’s Writing
The Law was written by the finger of God on tables of stone. The Gospel is written by the Lord in the fleshy tables of the heart. There must be a desire on man’s part to have the Lord write His Word in the heart, and how surely the Lord does it. Many newly converted people have testified that in time of need the Lord gave them a Scripture passage, then later they found the passage in the Bible. However, as time and opportunity afford, we should take every advantage to study God’s Word. The blessed (or happy) man is the one whose “delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doeth he meditate day and night” [Psalms:1:2]).

The skin of Moses’ face was shining when he returned from God after receiving the tables of stone. Mighty men of God appeared from time to time under the old dispensation, but too often godliness in the hearts of many of the people was at a low ebb. Under the Gospel dispensation the Lord has designed that each Christian should be a bright and shining light. Jesus is the Light of the world, the true Light, “which lighteth every man that cometh into the world” [John:1:9]). Jesus said of His disciples: “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid” [Matthew:5:14]). Gospel blessings provide sufficient grace for the whosoever will; “That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world” [Philippians:2:15]).

The Children of Israel were afraid to come near Moses when the skin of his face was shining. That the people might come near and listen to the commandments of God, Moses put a veil over his face; but the Scriptures tell us that the veil was not done away with the death of Moses. The reading of the Old Testament became veiled; the minds of the people were blinded. Jesus Christ has removed that veil for all who believe the Gospel. The experiences of men have proved this truth. Many have tried to read and understand the Old Testament and Law before they were saved, but they found it was a closed Book to them. When Jesus comes and brings salvation, men find that the Spirit opens their hearts and gives them an understanding of the Old Testament as well as of the New Testament. Why is this? Jesus is the fulfilment of the types and shadows of the Old Testament. The promises of the Old became the realities of the New.

As the light of the moon and stars is not needed during the full light of the sun, so the light of the Law, however glorious and needed in its time, is not very noticeable under the brilliant light of the Gospel. The Law was the schoolmaster to bring men to Christ, and Jesus is the great Teacher who shows the way to eternal life. Jesus gives enabling grace to follow Him, “the way, the truth, and the life.” All may be “more than conquerors through him that loved us” [Romans:8:37]).

“Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage” [Galatians:5:1]). Bondage? Yes, for it is written: “Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them” [Galatians:3:10]). Under the old dispensation men were bound to the Law, but they longed for deliverance. (See [Romans:7:22-24].) The Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ has brought this deliverance. Deliverance from Judaistic bondage, deliverance from the bondage of sin, deliverance from the fear of death by the removal of sin, all are made possible by the liberty that comes through Christ. When men believe, obey, and love the Saviour, immediately they are made partakers of the great Gospel blessings. It is not difficult to determine that the Gospel is much better than the Law and all its ceremonies.

The Christian life should not be a shallow life. Ample provision is made in the Lord’s Gospel for the deep spiritual life. As with open face (unveiled heart) one earnestly views the glory of the Lord, he is changed into the same image of the Lord, from glory to glory. This is what the Lord does for His people, making them more and more like Him.

Hidden Gospel?
In spite of the diligent, unfainting efforts of God’s true ministers of the Gospel, in spite of the faithfulness of God and His unwillingness that any should perish, not all people will be saved. How can this be true? God enlightens every man who comes into the world. The true Light has come into the world, but men love darkness rather than light, because their deeds are evil. Living in darkness and filled with evil deeds, men are easy prey to the devil who blinds the minds of them who believe not, lest the light of the glorious Gospel should shine unto them. “If our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost.”

Aluminium is the most abundant metallic element found in the earth, yet one must mine it and process it to gain the benefit of it. So with the Gospel: if one desires to possess it he must seek for it, then live by its precepts in order to gain the full blessings of the Gospel. No, the Gospel is not hidden to anyone who really desires to find it.

God’s people are not always travelling the smoothest road, but travelling with Christ always produces blessings. The Apostle admitted suffering, yet he was able always to end with a triumphant note. One great confidence of utmost value dwells in the heart of the true Christian: the hope of the resurrection. Regardless of what might happen to these mortal bodies, all will be well in the resurrection when mortality gives place to immortality. “For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.”


1. Why did not the Apostle need letter of commendation?
2. Upon what substance were the Ten Commandments written?
3. Upon what substance is the Gospel written?
4. Why did Moses put a veil on his face? How is this similitude used to describe the reading of the Law of Moses?
5. In what way is it possible for the Old Testament to become an open Book?
6. If the Gospel be hid, to whom is it hid? Why?
7. What should be the theme of Christian preaching?
8. What place does the hope of the resurrection have in a Christian’s heart?