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主就是那灵。主的灵在哪里,哪里就得以自由(林后3:17)
送交者: 谨守 2021年01月20日07:15:50 于 [彩虹之约] 发送悄悄话

17. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.

a. “Now the Lord is the Spirit.” The clauses are short and the words are uncomplicated, but the meaning of this relatively short verse is profound. Identifying the Lord with the Holy Spirit touches the doctrine of the Trinity. Is Paul referring to God the Father or to Christ? The answers to this question are numerous and varied. Nearly all the studies on verse 17a can be placed in two categories: those that present God as the Lord, and those that understand Christ to be the Lord. The close link that this verse has with the preceding one (v. 16) and its interpretation determines to a large extent the choice for the exegete. That is, one’s interpretation of verse 16 has an unavoidable bearing on verse 17.

If we interpret verse 16 to suggest strictly its Old Testament setting at the time of Moses, the word Lord means God. Whenever Moses turned to the Lord God, he removed the veil (Exod. 34:34). One translation explains verse 17 in a paraphrase, “Now the Lord of whom this passage speaks is the Spirit” (REB). God, then, is the Spirit and the word Lord in verse 18, as an expansion of verse 16, points to God.

If we take the term Lord in verses 16–18 as a reference to Christ (see v. 14), we interpret the passage to mean that Paul was addressing his Jewish contemporaries. As Moses approached God, so the Jew of Paul’s day is invited to turn to Christ. If the Jew responds affirmatively to this invitation, the veil that covers his heart is removed. Throughout this passage (vv. 16–18), Paul does not use the word God in connection with “the Lord.” Next, the purpose of verse 18a appears to focus attention on Christ: “And all of us with uncovered face are reflecting the glory of the Lord” (compare 4:4, 6). It is Paul’s intention to point his readers to Jesus Christ. And last, the flow of verses 16–18 calls for the identification of Christ with the Lord.

Let us briefly retrace some of Paul’s emphases in chapter 3. One of these is the work of the Holy Spirit. Paul mentioned the life-giving Spirit who works in people’s hearts in a ministry of glory that surpassed that of Moses (vv. 3, 6, 8). Next, in a following section he considered the difference between the old and the new covenants. Third, he does so in terms of a veil that either remained or was removed in Christ (vv. 13–15). Whenever Paul’s fellow Jews turn to Christ, the veil is lifted and they are able to accept the new covenant. Now Paul has to complete his earlier discussion on the Holy Spirit. He accentuates the nuance of the Spirit who in Christ takes away the veil from the reading of the old covenant.

The Holy Spirit works in the heart of all believers who are in Christ, for only in Christ is the veil removed (v. 14b). Without identifying the Lord and the Spirit, Paul sees the Holy Spirit at work in all the people who are in Christ. The Spirit is breathing life into the words of the new covenant. Without the veil that covered the old covenant, believers meet the Christ of the Scriptures. Paul views the Lord to be the Spirit at work in giving the believers the correct understanding of God’s revelation. Through the Word, the Spirit changes a person’s heart, fosters life, and leads a believer to freedom in Christ. In slightly different wording Paul utters the same thought at another place:

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. [Rom. 8:1–2]

b. “And where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” With the second clause in verse 17, Paul makes it plain that he does not identify the Lord with the Spirit. This second clause clarifies the first, for the phrases Spirit of the Lord, of Jesus, of Christ, and of Jesus Christ occur many times in the New Testament. Paul notes a close correlation between Christ and the Holy Spirit when he writes, “where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”

Some scholars attempt to revise this part of the text, but their emendations are unconvincing. Conjectures are considered viable only when a reading makes no sense at all. This is not the case here. Nevertheless, some scholars wish to change the reading of the text. For example, Jean Héring seeks perfect parallelism and with conjectures contrives the following lines:

There where the Lord is, is the Spirit.

There where the Spirit is, is the liberty of the Lord.

He admits that for the reading of the first line, textual support is entirely lacking. Without this evidence, we must reject his emendation. And we question his proposed reading of the second line for its lack of textual witnesses. Early and old Latin versions, Syriac and Coptic translations, and manuscripts of the Western text stress the word there in the reading: “However, where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” With respect to Héring’s second line, the evidence is wanting. His proposal is speculative, and we do well to stay with the biblical formula the Spirit of the Lord.

What is the meaning of “freedom”? The context suggests that Jews bound to the old covenant cannot fully understand God’s revelation. The hardness of their heart is a veil that prevents them from understanding the Scriptures. But when they turn to the Lord, the Spirit removes that veil. Through the Spirit of the Lord believers enjoy freedom within the setting of the new covenant, because God has written his law on their hearts and minds (Jer. 31:33). In Christ, they have been set free from the bondage to the law (Rom. 7:3–6; 8:3; Gal. 5:1), from the enslavement of sin that leads to death (Rom. 6:18–23), and from their old nature (Rom. 6:6: Eph. 4:22; Col. 3:9). Believers are able to lead a joyful life, for the Spirit of God lives within them (1 Cor. 3:16).


 Kistemaker, S. J., & Hendriksen, W. (1953–2001). Exposition of the Second Epistle to the Corinthians (Vol. 19, pp. 124–127). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.


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