Hath made us able ministers (ἱκάνωσεν ἡμᾶς διακόνους)
An unfortunate translation, especially in view of the conventional sense of able. The verb ἱκανόω from ἱκανός sufficient (see on Rom 15:23), means to make sufficient or fit. It occurs only here and Col 1:12. The correct sense is given by Rev., hath made us sufficient as ministers. Compare enabled (ἐνδυναμώσαντι), 1Ti 1:12.
Of the new testament (καινῆς διαθήκης)
See on Mat 26:28, Mat 26:29. There is no article. Render, as Rev., of a new covenant, in contrast with the Mosaic. See on Heb 9:15. Of course the term is never applied in the gospels or epistles to the collection of New-Testament writings.
Of the letter (γράμματος)
Depending on ministers, not on covenant. For letter, see on writings, Joh 5:47. Here used of the mere formal, written ordinance as contrasted with the Gospel, which is “spirit and life.” Compare Rom 2:29; Rom 7:6.
See on Rom 5:12, Rom 5:13; see on Rom 7:9; see on Rom 8:2. Compare 1Co 15:56. “The living testimony borne to his authority in the Corinthian Church suggests strongly the contrast of the dreary, death-like atmosphere which surrounded the old, graven characters on which his opponents rested their claims” (Stanley).