Most people are probably familiar with the analogy of the letter of the law vs. the spirit of the law. The former refers to what the law says, while the latter refers to how it was intended to be interpreted.
However, what is the meaning of the letter of the law as it is used in the Bible? Is it used the same way?
2 Corinthians 3:6 (KJV) 3:6 Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.
The words used by the translators when the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible was translated (in 1611) are not as meaningful to us today, because in that day their vocabulary was more limited. This part of Paul’s letter to the Corinthians is more easily understood by replacing “letter” and “spirit” with “literal” and “spiritual”. In other words, Paul is saying, “For the LITERAL kills, but the SPIRITUAL gives life.” He is saying that literal interpretation of the Scriptures (of the “law”) produces some kind of DEATH.
This Bible study shows us the danger of focusing on the literal and the importance of focusing on the spiritual, especially as it ties in with the old covenant (old testament) rituals. Those rituals are illustrations for us to learn from today.
Many people, without realizing, seek after what the Bible calls “shadows” rather than the reality.