Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible
COLLECTION FOR THE
READINESS OF THE
PATTERN TO THE
1. we do you to wit--we make known to you.
the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia--Their
liberality was not of themselves naturally, but of God's grace bestowed
on them, and enabling them to be the instrument of God's "grace" to
(2Co 8:6, 19).
The importance given in this Epistle to the collection, arose as well
from Paul's engagement
as also chiefly from his hope to conciliate the Judaizing Christians at
Jerusalem to himself and the Gentile believers, by such an act of love
on the part of the latter towards their Jewish brethren.
2. trial of affliction--The Greek expresses, "in affliction (or,
'tribulation') which tested them"; literally, "in a great testing of
abundance of their joy--The greater was the depth of their poverty,
the greater was the abundance of their joy. A delightful contrast in
terms, and triumph, in fact, of spirit over flesh.
their deep poverty--Greek, "their poverty down to the death of
abounded unto the riches of their liberality--another beautiful
contrast in terms: their poverty had the effect, not of producing
stinted gifts, but of "abounding in the riches of liberality"
(not as Margin, "simplicity"; though the idea of singleness
of motive to God's glory and man's good, probably enters into the idea);
Margin; see on
3-5. they were willing--rather, supply from
the ellipsis thus, "According to their power . . . yea, and
beyond their power, THEY GAVE."
of themselves--not only not being besought, but themselves beseeching
4. that we would receive--omitted in the oldest manuscripts. Translate
therefore, "Beseeching of us . . . the grace and fellowship of (that is,
to grant them the favor of sharing in) the ministering unto the
saints." The Macedonian contributions must have been from Philippi,
because Philippi was the only church that contributed to Paul's support
(Php 4:10, 15, 16).
5. And this they did, not as we hoped--Translate, "And not as we
hoped (that is, far beyond our hopes), but their own selves gave they
first to the Lord." "First," not indicating priority of time, but first
of all, above all in importance. The giving of themselves takes
precedency of their other gifts, as being the motive which led them to
by the will of God--not "according to the will of God," but
"moved by the will of God, who made them willing"
It is therefore called
"the grace of God."
6. Insomuch that--As we saw the Macedonians' alacrity in giving, we
could not but exhort Titus, that as we collected in Macedonia, so he in
Corinth should complete the work of collecting which he had already
begun there, lest ye, the wealthy people of Corinth, should be outdone
in liberality by the poor Macedonians.
as he had begun--Greek, "previously begun," namely, the
collection at Corinth, before the Macedonians began to contribute,
during the visit to Corinth from which he had just returned.
finish in you the same grace--complete among you this act of grace
or beneficence on your part.
also--as well as other things which he had to do among them
7. in faith--
Not as ALFORD, "doctrine" or "word."
diligence--in everything that is good.
your love to us--literally, "love from you (that is, on your part) in
us" (that is, which has us for its object; which is felt
in the case of us).
8. not by commandment--"not by way of commandment."
but by occasion of the forwardness of others, and &c.--rather, "But
by (mention of) the forwardness of others (as an inducement to you), and
to prove (literally, 'proving') the sincerity of your love." The
Greek is "by means of," not "on account of the forwardness,"
ELLICOTT, and others translate, "By means of the
forwardness of others, proving the sincerity of your love ALSO." The
former is the simpler construction in the Greek.
9. ye know the grace--the act of gratuitous love whereby the Lord
emptied Himself of His previous heavenly glory
(Php 2:6, 7)
for your sakes.
became poor--Yet this is not demanded of you
but merely that, without impoverishing yourselves, you should relieve
others with your abundance. If the Lord did so much more, and at so
much heavier a cost, for your sakes; much more may you do an act of
love to your brethren at so little a sacrifice of self.
might be rich--in the heavenly glory which constitutes His riches,
and all other things, so far as is really good for us (compare
1Co 3:21, 22).
10. advice--Herein he does not (as some misinterpret the passage)
disclaim inspiration for the advice he gives; but under the Spirit,
states that it is his "opinion" [ALFORD] or "judgment"
others], not a command, that so their offering might be free and
this--my giving you an advice, not a command.
who have begun before--"seeing that ye have begun before"
the Macedonian churches; "a year ago" should be connected with this
not only to do, but also to be forward--There were three steps:
(1) the forwardness, more literally, "the will"; (2) the
setting about it, literally, "doing it"; (3) completion
of it [ALFORD]. In the two former, not only the
act, but the intention, the Corinthians preceded the
Macedonians. BENGEL explains, "Not only to do"
FOR THE PAST YEAR, "but also to be forward" or
willing FOR THIS YEAR. ELLICOTT translates, "already," instead of "before": "Ye
began already a year ago, not only to do, but also to be forward." It
appears hence, that something had been done in the matter a year
before; other texts, however, show the collection was not yet paid
and 2Co 9:5, 7).
This agrees with one, and only one supposition, namely, that every man
had laid by in store the fund from which he was afterwards to
contribute, the very case which is shown by
to have existed [PALEY, Horæ
11. perform--"complete the doing also" (see on
a readiness to will--Greek, "the readiness
of will"; referring to
where the Greek for "to be forward," ought to be translated as
here, "to will."
performance--"completion" [ALFORD], The
godly should show the same zeal to finish, as well as to begin well,
which the worldly exhibit in their undertakings
12. For--Following up the rule "out of that which ye have"
and no more.
a willing mind--rather, as Greek, "the readiness," namely, to
will, referring to
accepted--Greek "favorably accepted."
according to that a man hath--The oldest manuscripts omit "a
man." Translate, "According to whatsoever it have"; the willing
mind, or "readiness" to will, is personified [ALFORD]. Or better, as BENGEL,
"He is accepted according to whatsoever he have"; so
The Lord loveth a cheerful giver." Compare as to David,
God accepts the will for the deed. He judges not according to what a
man has the opportunity to do, but according to what he would do if he
had the opportunity (compare
and the widow's mite,
Lu 21:3, 4).
13. For--Supply from
"I speak." My aim is not that others (namely, the saints at Jerusalem)
may be relieved at the cost of your being "distressed" (so the
Greek for "burdened"). The golden rule is, "Love thy neighbour
as thyself," not more than thyself.
14. by an equality--"by the rule of equality"
[ALFORD]: literally, "Out of equality."
now at this time--Greek, "at the present juncture" or season.
that their abundance also--The Greek being distinct from
the previous "that," translate, "in order that," namely, at another
season, when your relative circumstances may be reversed. The
reference is solely to temporal wants and supplies. Those, as
BENGEL, who quote
for interpreting it of spiritual supplies from the Jews to the
Gentiles, forget that
refers to the past benefit spiritually, which the Jews have
conferred on the Gentiles, as a motive to gratitude on the part
of the latter, not to a prospective benefit to be looked for
from the former, which the text refers to.
Septuagint). As God gave an equal portion of manna to all the
Israelites, whether they could gather much or little; so Christians
should promote by liberality an equality, so that none should need the
necessaries of life while others have superfluities. "Our luxuries
should yield to our neighbor's comforts; and our comforts to his
necessities" [J. HOWARD].
16, 17. Returning to the subject of
for you--Translate, "Which put the same earnest care for you into the
heart of Titus," as was in myself. My care for you led me to "desire"
(2Co 8:6, 17,
"exhortation," the same Greek); but Titus had of himself
the same care, whence he "accepted (gladly) my exhortation"
to go to you
17. being more forward--more earnest than to need such exhortation.
he went--Greek, "went forth." We should say, he is going forth; but the ancients put the past tense in letter writing, as the
things will have been past by the time that the correspondent, receives
the letter. "Of his own accord," that is, it is true he has been
exhorted by me to go, but he shows that he has anticipated my desires,
and already, "of his own accord," has desired to go.
18. the brother, whose praise is in the gospel--whose praise is known
in connection with the Gospel: Luke may be meant; not that "the
Gospel" here refers to his written Gospel; but the language implies
some one well known throughout the churches, and at that time with Paul,
as Luke then was
Not a Macedonian, as appears from
Of all Paul's "companions in travel"
Luke was the most prominent, having been his companion in preaching the
Gospel at his first entrance into Europe
The fact that the person here referred to was "chosen of the churches"
as their trustee to travel with Paul in conveying the contribution to
Jerusalem, implies that he had resided among them some time before:
this is true of Luke, who after parting from Paul at Philippi (as he
marks by the change from "we" to "they,"
six years before, is now again found in his company in Macedonia. In
the interim he had probably become so well known that "his praise was
throughout all the churches." Compare
He who is faithful in the Gospel will be faithful also in matters of
inferior importance [BENGEL].
19. not that only--not only praised in all the churches.
chosen--by vote: so the Greek.
of the churches--therefore these companions of Paul are called
"messengers of the churches"
to travel--to Jerusalem.
with this grace--Greek, "in the case of this grace," or
to the glory of the same Lord--The oldest manuscripts omit "same."
declaration of your ready mind--The oldest manuscripts read,
"our," not your. This and the previous clause, "to the glory of
the same Lord," do not follow "administered by us," but "chosen of the
churches to travel," &c. The union of the brother with Paul in this
affair of the collection was done to guard against suspicions injurious
"to the glory" of the Lord. It was also done in order to produce a
"readiness" on the part of Paul and the brother to undertake the office
which each, by himself, would have been less ready to undertake, for
fear of suspicions arising
as to their appropriation of any of the money.
20. Avoiding--taking precautions against this.
in this abundance--in the case of this abundance.
21. The Septuagint
The oldest manuscripts read, "For we provide."
honest things--"things honorable."
22. This second brother, BIRKS
supposes to be Trophimus: for a Macedonian is not meant
probably the same as was sent before with Titus
and therefore sent from Ephesus, and probably an Ephesian: all this is
true of Trophimus.
oftentimes . . . in many things--Join and translate as in the
Greek, "many times in many things."
upon the great confidence which I have in you--"through the great
confidence WHICH HE HAS towards you"
BENGEL better supports
English Version, "We have sent . . . through the confidence
WHICH WE FEEL in regard to your liberality."
23. fellow helper concerning you--Greek, "fellow worker towards
our brethren--the two mentioned in
2Co 8:18, 22.
messengers--rather, as the Greek, "apostles": in the less
of the churches--sent by the churches, as we are by the Lord
There was in the synagogue an ecclesiastical officer, called "the angel
of the Church," whence the title seems derived (compare
24. The oldest manuscripts read "[continue] manifesting to them
in the face of the churches the manifestation of your love, and of our
boasting on your behalf."