"And you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts" (2 Corinthians 3:3).

So much confusion is caused by twisting Bible words within passages around by taking them out of context. Peter wrote that even in the first century there was plenty of that going on (2 Peter 3:16). Paul who is an apostle (2 Corinthians 1:1) is not saying "do not listen to the words which are written in ink, hence, letters, but listen to your heart." This is not what the Spirit is saying here through Paul.

The Corinthian Christians were compared to a letter or book written by the Spirit of God and their lives are been read by the immediate world. But in what way did the Spirit write on their hearts? Was Paul involved or not? He said that he was: "you are a letter from Christ delivered by us" (text).

The Ten Commandments were written by the finger of God on tables of stones. It is called the covenant of God. "And he declared to you his covenant, which he commanded you to perform, that is, the Ten Commandments, and he wrote them on two tablets of stone" (Deuteronomy 4:13). In Deuteronomy 5 Moses rehearses the covenant with Israel and names the Ten Commandments (see verse 22). He declares that the covenant was not given to the ancients that lived before but strictly with Israel (verses 2 & 3). The additional commands of the Law were given orally to Moses to deliver to the people (requested by the people; verse 31). All delivered via tablets and orally was the covenant of God; hence, the reference to the Ten Commandments as "the covenant" was a figure of speech (metonomy). That is, "a part is given for the whole"; an example in the New Testament is "to drink the cup of the Lord's Supper"; the "cup" is a reference to its contents.

The third chapter of 2 Corinthians uses the same figure of speech: the tablets of stone represent the whole Old Covenant (Testament). The Old Testament was in a figure written on stone tablets. In contrast the New Testament is written on the hearts of men.

Jeremiah 31:31-33 prophesies of the demise of the Old Covenant made with Israel. A new covenant is foretold. Hebrews 8:10, "For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts." God had said that He would put His laws in their mind and write them in their hearts.

2 Corinthians 3 is a commentary on what this means. It does not mean that God will miraculously put laws or His will (Ephesians 1:5) in a person's mind separate from the apostles. The Corinthians received Christ's laws from Paul, an apostle "born out of due time" (1 Corinthians 15:8). A person vainly waits for God's will if he thinks God will illuminate his soul without contact with the apostles' Word (John 17:17-21). Jesus promised His Spirit to directly inspire His chosen apostles (John 16:13). The promised Spirit miraculously immersed the obedient and waiting apostles (Acts 2:1-4). The revelation through the apostles is called the "apostles doctrine" (Acts 2:42) which is the foundation of the baptized believers.

Paul, an apostle (1 Corinthians 1:1), said that in contrast to false preachers, they had "this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us" (2 Corinthians 4:7). In the previous verse he said that God "hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ" (4:6b). Hence, Paul and the others were imparting this knowledge to the Corinthians' minds by preaching (verse 4:5).

Jesus prayed that we might believe the apostles' "word": "Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word" (John 17:20).

"For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation" (Romans 10:10).

The Holy Spirit wrote on the Corinthians' hearts from hearing Paul preach. The Holy Spirit writes on our hearts when we hear the Scriptures. The Holy Spirit speaks in the Scriptures. "And the Holy Spirit also bears witness to us; for after saying, ...I will put my laws on their hearts, and write them on their minds” (Hebrews 10:15,16b).

"All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work" (2 Timothy 3:16,17; ESV2011). Note: God's breath is His Spirit (John 3:8).

Dear heart, my written comments are from me, but the words written in the New Testament are from the Holy Spirit. Is the Holy Spirit writing on your heart?

- Gaylon West

"Throw Out the Lifeline"