2 Corinthians 8
The Grace of Giving.
SUMMARY.--The Liberality of the Macedonian Brethren.
Exhortation to the Corinthians to Abound in the Same Grace.
The Example of Christ.
The Spiritual Blessing of Liberal Giving.
Titus and Another Brother Sent to Corinth to Aid and Encourage Them.
1-5. We make known to you the grace of God (Revision). Paul now
introduces the great collection of which he spoke in
1 Cor. 16:1, and Rom. 15:26.
Acts 11:29; Acts 24:17.
It had always been the custom of the Jews
in foreign lands to send up to Jerusalem contributions for the temple
treasury, but Paul urges the contributions for God's spiritual temple,
the poor saints. The mother
church was in need and the abundance of the saints elsewhere was to be
her supply. The cause of the destitution of the Jerusalem Christians is
easily found in the times. Famine
had stricken the land, this had been followed by the troubles and
unsettled state of affairs which were leading to the Jewish war. The
uneasiness of the public mind, as well as the tumults, disturbed
business and labor. The result would necessarily be close times and
destitution. The lesson of this great collection is that distance does
not diminish the claims of suffering brethren for help.
Churches of Macedonia. The Roman province of Macedonia embraced
all Grecian countries north of the province of Achaia. The churches of
Philippi, Thessalonica, and Berea, founded by Paul, and probably many
others, were in this province.
2. How that in a great trial of affliction. The language seems to
imply persecution. This might have been an excuse for not giving, if
they had sought one. See
Acts 17:6 and 1 Thess. 2:14.
But, still, their joy in the gospel and their poverty combined so that
they contributed with great liberality.
3. For to their power. It was not the greatness of their
contribution, but the fact that they gave not only up to, but even
beyond their ability, which made their liberality so rich. The widow
who gave her mite did more than the rich men who cast in out of their
Willing of themselves. Required no urging.
4. Praying us with much entreaty. They insisted on doing more
than the apostle felt that they ought to do.
5. And this . . . not as we had hoped. The thought is
that they exceeded our hope. They consecrated themselves, and hence,
held that all they had was the Lord's. When church members give
their own selves, there will be no complaint that their money is
6-9. We desired Titus, that as he had begun. This faithful
fellow laborer of Paul, when he had gone to Corinth when Paul's first
epistle was sent, had begun the collection which it commanded in
1 Cor. 16:1.
Now Paul directs that he return and complete the collection before the
arrival of Paul
Grace. The grace of giving.
7. As ye abound in everything. Instead of Macedonia setting the
example to Corinth, the latter ought to have led. Their church was rich
in gifts. See
1 Cor. 1:5.
8. I speak not by commandment. He levies no tax by command. The
giving must be free and cheerful in order to be blessed. He encourages
them by the
forwardness of others; the example of the Macedonian brethren,
and by that of Christ.
9. For ye know the grace of our Lord
Jesus Christ. This is the chiefest of motives to giving. Our
Lord gave up all for us. He became poor that we might be rich in
heavenly riches. If he gave himself for us, what shall we give for him?
Christ parted with riches and took poverty; with glory and took
humiliation; with bliss and took suffering, all for our sakes. The
passage compares Christ's pre-existent state with that he had on
10-15. Herein I give my advice. Not a "commandment"
but advice. That is, that it is expedient to complete the work begun "a
year ago," or as we would say, "last year."
11. Therefore, perform the doing of it. Finish it up. As there
was "a readiness to will," let there be "a performance" by giving out
of what "you have."
12. For if there is first a willing mind. The willing mind had
been shown in the readiness "to will." The willing mind is essential to
the acceptance of the gift. If there be this pre-requisite, then God
accepts the gift and measures it according to a man's means.
13. I mean not that other men be eased. I wish all to give
according to what they have, other churches as well as you. Nor do I
mean to burden you that the saints at Jerusalem may be at ease.
14. But by an equality. There is a lack at Jerusalem; let your
abundance supply it. So, too, if you be in want, they must supply it if
they have abundance. The church is a band of loving brethren. Where
one lacks others should supply, that all may be equally provided.
15. It is written. In
When the manna fell, whatever each individual gathered, there was found
to be, on measuring, "an omer to a man."
So brotherly love is to effect such a distribution that no saint will
be in want, and none have what is superfluous.
16-21. But thanks be to God. Because Titus is ready to return to
Corinth and help in the work.
17. For indeed he accepted the exhortation. Readily accepted the
work when Paul suggested it; nay more,
of his own accord, he desired and chose it.
18. We have sent with him the brother. Two brethren are sent
with Titus. These are not named, and we can only conjecture who they
says that he "was chosen of the churches to travel with us in this
grace," and as
says that the Macedonian brethren, Sopater, Aristarchus and Secundus
did travel with him to Jerusalem, one of these is probably meant. Many
have held that Luke was the person, nor is this improbable.
19. Chosen of the churches. Paul desired, for the reasons given
verses 20 and 21,
that the churches should send along messengers in charge of their
20. Avoiding this. There were evil-minded persons who might
charge that the apostle had used the gifts of his own advantage unless
the messengers could report just how the funds were used.
Paul was careful
to provide what was honest,
in the sight of God, for his conscience's sake, and
in the sight of men for his work's sake.
22-24. We have sent with them. With Titus and the brother named
The brother referred to here and commended so highly is nowhere
23. Whether any do inquire of Titus. The commendation given of
these three brethren is official. Titus had long been a fellow laborer,
and had recently visited Corinth. The other two were messengers of the
Macedonian churches. Not only of the churches but of the glory of
Christ, the Lord's messengers to show forth his glory in a great work
24. Therefore, shew ye to them. Since these are representative
men, delegates of the churches, and of Christ, receive them cordially.
proof of your love, and show that when we have boasted of your
excellencies that our boasting was not empty. An ill reputation would
not only reflect upon the churches, but upon Paul himself.