Troublesome Topic: The Written Summary of the New Covenant

Lesson 2 of 15

The summary of the New Covenant was written down as they always were, but this time not on stone tablets as was customary. This time God chose to detour from the normal pattern of covenant-making and write His covenant summary on a more unique material.

Jeremiah 31:33


But this is the covenant I will cut with the house of ISRAEL after those days,

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says YHVH (read Adonai), I will put my Torah in their minds and write it on their hearts

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and I will be their ELOHIM and they will be my people.


Rather this is the covenant I will establish with THOSE WHO REFUSE TO LET GO OF GOD after I have planted them back in this land, says THE ETERNAL AND PERSONAL GOD, I will put my instructions in their minds and write them on their hearts instead of on stones and parchment, and I will have a special relationship with them in which they will look to me and follow me as their CREATOR AND RULER and I will care for them and guide them.

The Apostle Paul picked up on that idea when he wrote:

2 Corinthians 3:3


It is being revealed that you are a letter from Christ, cared for and delivered

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by us, which was not engraved

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with ink, but with the Spirit of the living THEOS, nor on tablets

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of stone but on the tablets of human hearts.


It is evident that you are like a letter from Christ to others, (carefully guarded and delivered by me and my companions) but this is not a normal letter written with ink on paper, rather this is a letter that was engraved by the Spirit of THE CREATOR AND OWNER OF ALL THINGS who is alive and active; neither is it engraved on tablets of stone like the Former Covenant summary, rather it has been engraved on the surface of human hearts.

Previously the covenant summaries were written on stone to make them physically durable; in this case God wrote on human hearts to make it spiritually durable by making it spiritually effective. Having God’s instructions engraved on our hearts and embedded in our minds provides a higher level of motivation than anything outside of us telling us what we must do. To many of those under the Former Covenant, it felt forced, the New Covenant should feel genuine and natural as long as we have allowed God to truly change us from the inside out.

This point focuses only on the location where the summary is written. I will discuss later the content of that summary.

The next lesson in all three series on Covenants is: The Identity and Accomplishments of Our Covenant Lord



“After those days” does not seem to make sense unless you look at the context. In this section He was communicating through the prophet that He would bring them back from captivity to their own land. Verse 27 says that He will “plant them,” reminiscent of one who planted a vineyard, which was a sign of prosperity and joy. Hence the paraphrase column includes the part about planting them in the land, which is drawn from the context of the passage.


When someone talked about writing the law on something, the hearer immediately thought about stone or parchment. Who ever heard of writing something on someone’s heart? It sounds painful! But God can do what no one else can do. And if His instructions are written on the heart they will never be lost or forgotten, they be lived out in every action of every day. Also they would not need anyone else to teach it to them or explain it to them, for they would already know it because it would be inside them. The original audience would have immediately seen some benefits of having it written on their hearts.


The verb I have rendered as “cared for and delivered” comes from the same root as the word “deacon” which means “servant.” Since it refers to a letter the idea of delivering the letter is fitting, but I wanted to bring in the other aspects of service as well, hence the use of the words “cared for.” The reason they were a letter from Christ to others was the ministry of Paul and his companions to them.


The word which I have rendered the first time as “written” is the Greek word from which we get our word “engrave;” they even sound similar. Besides “engrave”, it could also mean “to write or to inscribe.” In Greek it is used once in this sentence, but it is assumed two other times. English flows better if it is written out each time.


What I have rendered as “tablets” means “any flat, broad, smooth, level surface.” Here this word is perfect for this setting because it can refer to more than one thing. i.e. the material the Former Covenant summary was written on, which we know was stone, or whatever is inside us that is receptive to God’s instructions (called the heart, the soul, or the inner man).