2 Corinthians 8:23
Whether any do inquire of Titus, he is my partner and fellowhelper concerning you: or our brethren be inquired of, they are the messengers of the churches, and the glory of Christ.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(23) Whether any do enquire of Titus.—There is no verb in the Greek, and its insertion is not required for the English. Our common phrase, As to Titus . . . as to our brethren, exactly expresses St. Paul’s meaning. In the “messengers” of the churches we find in the Greek the word “Apostles” used, as in Philippians 2:25, and possibly Romans 16:7, in a lower sense (the Greek has no article), for “delegates of the churches,” as the Twelve and Paul and Barnabas were delegates of Christ. The other epithet—“the glory of Christ”—is an unusual one. To say that they were working only to that glory, though true, seems hardly adequate, and we gain a deeper thought by connecting it with the language of 2Corinthians 3:18. “These messengers,” he says, “are like Christ in character: they reflect His glory. You may see that glory in them.”

2 Corinthians 8:23-24. Whether any inquire, &c. — As if he had said, If any be not yet satisfied, but desire to know more of those persons, and inquire concerning Titus, he is my partner — In my cares and labours; and fellow- helper concerning you — Always ready to act in concert with me in any attempt to correct what is amiss among you, and to promote your improvement in real Christianity. Or the meaning may be, He is my fellow- labourer with respect to you, having assisted me in planting the gospel among you. If it be inquired concerning our other brethren, whom I have mentioned above, and who accompany Titus, they are the messengers of the churches — Persons sent by the churches to go with me to Jerusalem; and the glory of Christ — Signal instruments of advancing his glory. “The apostle’s example in doing justice to the characters of his younger fellow- labourers, is highly worthy of the imitation of the more aged ministers of the gospel. They ought to introduce their younger brethren to the esteem and confidence of the people, by giving the praise which is due to them. For, as Doddridge observes, they will most effectually strengthen their own hands and edify the church, by being instrumental in setting forward others, who, on account of their faithfulness and diligence in the ministry, will in time merit the illustrious appellation of being the glory of Christ.” — Macknight. Wherefore show before the churches — Present by their messengers; the proof of your love to me and the saints — That is, an evidence that it is sincere; and of our boasting on your behalf — That it was not without foundation.

8:16-24 The apostle commends the brethren sent to collect their charity, that it might be known who they were, and how safely they might be trusted. It is the duty of all Christians to act prudently; to hinder, as far as we can, all unjust suspicions. It is needful, in the first place, to act uprightly in the sight of God, but things honest in the sight of men should also be attended to. A clear character, as well as a pure conscience, is requisite for usefulness. They brought glory to Christ as instruments, and had obtained honour from Christ to be counted faithful, and employed in his service. The good opinion others have of us, should be an argument with us to do well.Whether any do inquire of Titus - It is to be observed that the words "any do inquire" are not in the original; nor is it clear that these are the most proper words to be introduced here. The Greek may mean either, "if any do inquire about Titus," or it may mean "if anything is to be said about Titus." The sense of the passage may either be, that some of the faction at Corinth might be disposed to inquire about the authority of Titus to engage in this work, or that Paul having said so much in commendation of the persons who went with Titus, it seemed proper also to say something in his favor also. The idea is, "If any inquiry is made from any quarter about him, or if it is necessary from any cause to say any thing about him, I would say he is my partner," etc.

He is my partner ... - He partakes with me in preaching the gospel, and in establishing and organizing churches; compare Titus 1:5. To the Corinthians this fact would be a sufficient commendation of Titus.

Or our brethren be inquired of - That is, the brethren who accompanied Titus. If any inquiry was made about their character, or if it was necessary to say anything in regard to them.

They are the messengers of the churches - They have the entire confidence of the churches, having been selected and appointed by them to a work of labor and responsibility; compare Philippians 2:25. The words here rendered "messengers of the churches," are in the original "apostles of the churches," (ἀπόστολοι ἐκκλησιῶν apostoloi ekklēsiōn). The word "apostles" here is used evidently in its proper sense, to denote one who is sent out to transact any business for others, or as an agent or legate. These persons were not apostles in the technical sense, and this is an instance where the word is applied in the New Testament to those who had no claim to the apostolic office. It is also applied in a similar way to Apollos and Barnabas, though neither, strictly speaking, were apostles.

And the glory of Christ - That is, they have a character so well known and established for piety; they are so eminent Christians and do such honor to the Christian name and calling, that they may be called the glory of Christ. It is an honor to Christ that he has called such persons into his church, and that he has so richly endowed them. Every Christian should so live as that it would appear to all the world that it was an honor and glory to the Redeemer that he had such followers; an honor to his gospel that it had converted such and brought them into his kingdom. It is sufficient honor, moreover, to any man to say that he is "the glory of Christ." Such a character should be, and will be, as it was here, a recommendation sufficient for any to secure them the confidence of others.

23. fellow helper concerning you—Greek, "fellow worker towards you."

our brethren—the two mentioned in 2Co 8:18, 22.

messengers—rather, as the Greek, "apostles": in the less strict sense (Ac 14:14).

of the churches—sent by the churches, as we are by the Lord (Php 2:25). There was in the synagogue an ecclesiastical officer, called "the angel of the Church," whence the title seems derived (compare Re 2:1).

This verse contains the apostle’s credential letters, given to Titus, and the other two persons, sent about the business of making this collection in the church of Corinth. Many, in matters where the drawing of their purses is solicited and concerned, are very scrupulous and inquisitive, seeking all advantages to excuse themselves; one while pleading their own poverty, another while objecting against the state, or want, or quality of those for whom they are solicited; again, questioning whether their charity shall ever come to those persons for whom it is desired, objecting against the persons intrusted with the conveyance or distribution of it. The apostle having, therefore, before obviated some objections, he here obviateth the last mentioned, letting them know, that the persons intrusted with this service were unexceptionable persons. He calleth Titus his

partner and fellow-helper concerning them, that is, in the business of the gospel, and promoting the salvation of their souls. For the others, he tells them they were such as

the churches had thought fit to make their

messengers; so had the credit of the churches, whose messengers they were, who would not have intrusted them if they had not judged them faithful. He calleth either the churches, or them,

the glory of Christ. If the words be to be understood of the messengers. (which seemeth the fairest application of them), the meaning is, that they were instruments of the glory of Christ: or persons who, by their grace, did bring much glory to Christ. Every one that excelleth in the habits or exercise of grace, is the glory of Christ, because without Christ he can do nothing of that nature: I live; yet not I but Christ liveth in me, Galatians 2:20. The acts and exercises of grace are indeed our acts, but the power by which we do them is from Christ: we glory in Christ, and by our holy conversations glorify Christ; and Christ glorieth in every pious and holy person, as God did concerning Job, Job 1:8 2:3.

Whether any do inquire of Titus,.... The apostle here sums up the characters of each of the above persons; as for Titus, he says,

he is my partner; he had been his companion in his travels, a partner with him in preaching the Gospel, as well as in the troubles and persecutions he had met with; and was one with whom he had had sweet communion and fellowship:

and fellow helper; or worker,

concerning you; he had been a joint instrument with him, either in their conversion, or consolation, and correction; or for their edification and instruction, and setting things right, which had been out of order among them:

or our brethren be inquired of; if their characters are asked after, as well as Titus's; by whom are meant not his fellow apostles, but the two brethren who were sent along with Titus; what may be truly said of them is,

they are the messengers of the churches; they were chosen and sent forth by the churches, not only to preach the Gospel, but particularly to take care of the ministration to the poor saints. They were messengers appointed by the churches for this service, and were also appointed to the service of the churches; respect seems to be had to the public minister in the synagogues, who was called "the messenger of the congregation", or "church" (z); whose business was to take care about the reading of the law and the prophets, to pray in public, and also to preach if there was no other; so we read (a) also of , "the messengers of the sanhedrim"; who were sent at the proper time to reap the sheaf of the first fruits, and of others who swore the high priest before the day of atonement (b); and of , "the messengers of the commandment" (c); who went to hear the exposition (of the traditions) and visit the head of the captivity:

and the glory of Christ: meaning either that the churches were the glory of Christ, in whom he is glorified, where his glory is seen, and his presence enjoyed; or rather the messengers of them, on whom the image of Christ was stamped, who faithfully performed the work of Christ, in all things sought his glory and not their own; and in and by whom his glory was displayed, and held forth to others.

(z) T. Bab. Sota, fol. 37. 2. Tosephot Beracot, fol. 34. 1. Misn. Beracot, c. 5. sect. 5. (a) Misn. Menachot, c. 10. 3.((b) Misn. Yoma, c. 1. 5. (c) T. Bab. Succa, fol. 26. 1.

Whether any do enquire of Titus, he is my partner and fellowhelper concerning you: or our {m} brethren be enquired of, they are the messengers of the churches, and the {n} glory of Christ.

(m) The two companions of Titus.

(n) By whom the glory of Christ is set forth.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
2 Corinthians 8:23 f. Summary closing recommendation of all the three delegate.

εἴτε ὑπὲρ Τίτου] sc. λέγω or γράφω. Be it that I speak on behalf of Titus, he is my associate and (especially) in regard to you my fellow-worker, and my intercession is thus made with good reaso.

εἴτε ἀδελφοὶ ἡμῶν] be it that they are brothers of ours, namely, for whom I speak, they are delegates of churches,[283] an honour to Christ, people, whose personal character and working redound to Christ’s honour. The words to be supplied with εἴτε in both cases would occur of themselves to the reader of the incomplete passage. Comp. Fritzsche, ad Rom. III. p. 47 f. Observe, however, that ἀδελφοὶ ἡμῶν is predicative, and therewith qualitative; hence the absence of the article appears to be strictly regular,[284] denoting the category to which the subjects meant in this second half of the verse belong, and therefore neither unsuitable (Rückert) nor yet erroneous (Buttmann, neut. Gr. p. 76 [E. T. 87]; comp. Hofmann).

ἡμῶν] as in 2 Corinthians 8:22. The distinguishing of the two others from Titus, who holds a higher position, by the qualitative ἀδελφοὶ ἡμῶν, shows that ἀδελφοί are not official associates. Such a one Titus was; the two others, however, were only distinguished church-members—as it were, lay-brothers commissioned ad hoc, the one by the churches, the other by Paul.

[283] In so far as they did not come as private persons, but as agents in the business of the church, as which they were appointed partly by destination of the apostle (namely, the second of the brethren), partly by the choice of the Macedonian churches (the first of the brethren, ver. 18 f.).

[284] This absence of the article has led Hofmann wrongly to take all the nominatives in ver. 23 as subjects, but ὑπὲρ Τίτου as a parenthesis (“which holds true of Titus”), and then οὖν in ver. 24 as the οὖν of the apodosis. A groundless artificial construction, in which the awkward and unprecedented parenthesis (Paul would have said something like Τίτον δὲ λέγω, and that after συνεργός, comp. 1 Corinthians 10:29; John 6:71) would be simply superfluous in the highest degree, since, if κοινωνὸς κ.τ.λ. is the subject, the person thereby indicated would be self-evident. Just as uncalled for here after the short alleged protasis would be the epanaleptic οὖν of the apodosis. Comp. on Romans 2:17-24.

2 Corinthians 8:23. εἴτε ὑπὲρ Τίτου κ.τ.λ.: whether you ask about Titus (cf. on 2 Corinthians 1:8 for this use of ὑπέρ), he is my colleague and my fellow worker to you ward (for him St. Paul will be personally responsible), or our brethren, they are the envoys of Churches, i.e., they were duly χειροτονηθέντες (2 Corinthians 8:19). The term ἀπόστολος is generally used by St. Paul as a technical term; but occasionally, as here, and at Php 2:25 (of Epaphroditus) and (possibly) at Romans 16:7, he uses it in its primitive etymological meaning of “envoy” or “emissary” (cf. 1 Kings 14:6). These men are further described as δόξα Χριστοῦ, the glory of Christ, perhaps because their work is so specially ad majorem Dei gloriam (see 2 Corinthians 8:19 and 2 Corinthians 9:13).

23. he is my partner] Literally, sharer. See notes on the words communion and fellowship in the first Epistle. ‘The sharer of my labours and cares.

and fellow-helper concerning you] Better, and as regards you, my fellow-worker.

the messengers of the churches, and the glory of Christ] The word ‘and’ is not in the original, and detracts from the force of the sentence. The word here translated ‘messengers’ is Apostles in the original. But here, as in Php 2:25, it does not signify the official rank in the Church of the persons referred to, but simply the fact that they were sent. For ‘the glory of Christ’ see 2 Corinthians 8:19 and 1 Corinthians 11:7. A man is the glory of Christ when he manifests Christ’s glory, which is done either by displaying His power, or the holiness which comes from Him. Cf. John 1:14; John 2:11; John 11:40; Galatians 1:24, and Acts 21:19-20; also ch. 2 Corinthians 3:18. Both the brethren would seem from this passage to have been ‘chosen of the Churches.’

2 Corinthians 8:23. Ὑπὲρ, [pro] in behalf of, for) This gives the motive of the confidence.[52]—Τίτου, κοινωνὸς, in behalf of Titus, a partner) These words are in apposition; comp. [ch. 2 Corinthians 11:28] Luke 22:20 [διαθηκὴ ἐν τῷ αἳματί μου, τὸ ὑπὲρ ὑμῶν ἐκχυνόμενον], note.—ἀδελφοὶ, brethren) It might have been said for, or in behalf of our brethren, but the word κοινωνὸς, partner, coming in between as the nominative case, brethren is also put in the nominative, and the verb are is supplied, i.e., whether they are and are regarded as our brethren for the sake of whom we are confident you will be liberal].—ἀπόστολοι) deputies, messengers; persons who on the public account execute a pious office. Again supply are.

[52] i.e. We feel confident you will be liberal for the sake of Titus.—ED.

Verse 23. - Whether any do inquire of Titus; literally, whether about Titus, or, as to Titus; i.e. "if I speak about Titus." (For the phrase, comp. ch. 1:6, 8; 2 Thessalonians 2:1.) Titus, long afterwards, was delegated on a similar mission to Crete (Titus 1:1-5; Titus 2:15). My partner and fellow helper concerning you; rather, my associate (Philemon 1:17) and, as regards you, my fellow worker. Messengers; literally, apostles. The word is used in its original and untechnical sense of delegates (Philippians 2:25; Romans 16:7). The glory of Christ. Men whose work and worth redound to Christ's honour (Galatians 1:24). 2 Corinthians 8:23
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