6 Not Like Moses? (2 Cor 3:12–18)

in Moses in Corinth
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Paul begins the last section of 2 Corinthians 3 (vv. 12-18) by again alluding to Exod 34:29-35. Here, however, he focuses on Moses’ veil. Curiously, the apostle depicts Moses in three different ways in this section, and in each case, the veil is involved. First, in 3:12-13, he concentrates on Moses, the veiled διάκονος. Then in 3:14-15, he speaks of “Moses” (i. e., the Torah) as a veiled text. Finally, in 3:16-18, Paul displays the unveiled Moses as a paradigm for the Corinthian believers. Besides Moses, however, Paul also introduces Israel in this section. Israel here serves as a negative model for the Corinthian community. Ultimately, Paul argues that the Corinthians are not like Israel (either past or present). Israel was incapable of correctly perceiving/reading Moses (due to the veil over their hearts) but the unveiled Corinthians perceive in themselves (i. e., “as in a mirror”) “the glory of the Lord.” Paul’s implicit point is that the Corinthians should thereby also be able to recognize “the glory of the Lord” in his ministry as well. Indeed, a few verses later (4:3-4), the apostle insists that those who are incapable of perceiving his gospel have had their thinking impeded by Satan, “the god of this age.”

Moses in Corinth

The Apologetic Context of 2 Corinthians 3