Therefore, as you abound in every thing, in faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love to us, see that you abound in this grace also.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Therefore, as ye abound in every thing.—Literally, But, as ye abound, marking the transition from narrative to exhortation. He opens, as was his manner, with words of praise, and dexterously combines the gifts of “utterance and knowledge,” which he had acknowledged before (1Corinthians 1:5), with the “earnestness and love” of which he had spoken in this very Epistle (2Corinthians 7:12).
And in your love to us.—Some MSS. give the reading “our love for you,” but that in the text has abundant authority, and gives a far better meaning. The English expresses the general meaning, but there is a subtle delicacy in the Greek: “the love which, flowing from you, rests in us as its object.” The other reading would convey the sense of “the love which, flowing from us—i.e., from our teaching and influence—now dwells in you, and shows itself in act.” In any case, he is praising them for a quality which is actually theirs.1 Corinthians 1:5. Paul never hesitated to commend Christians where it could be done with truth; and the fact that they were eminent in some of the Christian duties and graces, he makes the ground of the exhortation that they would abound in all. From those who had so many eminent characteristics of true religion he had a right to expect much; and he therefore exhorts them to manifest a symmetry of Christian character.
In faith - In the full belief of the truth and obligation of the gospel.
And utterance - In the ability to instruct others; perhaps referring to their power of speaking foreign languages; 1 Corinthians 14.
And knowledge - The knowledge of God, and of his truth.
And in all diligence - Diligence or readiness in the discharge of every duty. Of this, Paul had full evidence in their readiness to comply with his commands in the case of discipline to which so frequent reference is made in this Epistle.
See that ye abound in this grace also - The idea here is, that eminence in spiritual endowments of any kind, or in any of the traits of the Christian character should lead to great benevolence, and that the character is not complete unless benevolence be manifested toward every good object that may be presented.
utterance—(See on 1Co 1:5). 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).
Faith, by which they had both steadily assented to the truth of gospel propositions, and also received Christ.
Utterance, by which they were enabled either to speak with tongues, or to God in prayer. For to men by prophecy and exhortation.
Knowledge, both of things Divine and human. And in love to the ministers of the gospel, which, if it did not appear in all, yet it did in many of them. And from hence he fetcheth an argument to press them to be complete in this habit of grace. The force of the apostle’s argument lies, in the duty of all Christians to strive after perfection, and that natural desire, which is in all ingenuous people, to be perfect in that good of which they have a taste in less perfect degrees. 1 Corinthians 1:5, that is here expressed in general, is explained by particulars following:
in faith: both in the doctrine of faith, which they had received and professed, held fast to, and abode by; yea, they abounded in the knowledge of it, zeal for it, and thankfulness to God on account of it; and in the grace of faith, not an historical one, nor the faith of miracles, but that which is peculiar to God's elect, is the gift of his grace and the work of his Spirit, which has Christ for its object, and works by love; in this they abounded, inasmuch as they had a large measure of it, grew in it, were full of it, and were much in the exercise thereof:
in utterance, or "speech": meaning either the gift of speaking with tongues, which many in this church had; or the gift; of understanding and explaining the word of God with much freedom; or a liberty of mind and speech to declare their faith in Christ, and make an ingenuous confession of it to others:
in knowledge; of God and of Christ, and of the truths of the Gospel:
and in all diligence: their ministers were diligent in preaching the Gospel, the people in hearing the word, and attending on ordinances, and both studiously careful to keep up the discipline of the church; and very industrious to discharge the several duties of religion, and to assist one another, both in things temporal and spiritual:
and in your love to us: the apostles and ministers of the word, whom they loved, esteemed, and honoured for their works' sake: and since they were so eminent for these graces, and the exercise of them, the apostle exhorts them to liberality to the poor saints;
see that ye abound in this grace also; for as faith, utterance, knowledge, diligence, and love to Christ's ministers are graces; so also is kindness shown to Christ's poor members, it is a gift of God's grace, cannot be rightly exercised without the assistance of his grace, has for its objects men who have received the grace of God, and will be rewarded with a reward of grace; persons eminent for the several graces of the Spirit of God, and the exercise of them, it may be not only desired, but expected from them, that they should abound in the exercise of beneficence to the poor. This is another argument exciting to that good work.Therefore, as ye abound in every thing, in faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love to us, see that ye abound in this grace also.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)2 Corinthians 8:7. Ἀλλʼ] is not equivalent to οὖν (Beza and others, also Flatt), nor to agedum (Emmerling), but is the Latin at, breaking off the preceding statement, like the German doch. Hermann, ad Viger. p. 812, aptly says: “Saepe indicat, satis argumentorum allatum esse.” Comp. Baeumlein, Partik. p. 15. Olshausen has a more far-fetched idea, that it is corrective: yea rather. And Billroth imports quite arbitrarily: “When I entreated Titus, I knew beforehand that this time also you would not deceive me, but that, as you are distinguished in all that is good, so also you would zealously further this collection;” and Rückert also (similarly Calvin): “I have entreated Titus, etc.; yet let it not happen that he should need first to encourage you (?), yea rather, etc.” According to Hofmann, ἀλλά forms the transition to the οὐ κατʼ ἐπιταγὴν λέγω which follows in 2 Corinthians 8:8; but this supposes a very involved construction (comp. afterwards on ἵνα κ.τ.λ.).
ὥσπερ ἐν παντὶ κ.τ.λ.] as you in every relation are abundant (excellitis) through faith (strength, fervour, and efficacy of faith), and discourse (aptitude in speaking), and knowledge (see regarding both on 1 Corinthians 1:5), and every diligence (“studium ad agendas res bonas,” Grotius), and your love to us, so should you abound in showing this kindness. If πίστει κ.τ.λ. be taken as a specification of ἐν παντί (Luther, Grotius, and most), the meaning is more uncertain, since ἐν is not repeated. Comp. 2 Corinthians 6:4; 1 Corinthians 1:5; it comes in again only before ταύτῃ τ. χάρ. Grotius aptly remarks: “non ignoravit P. artem rhetorum, movere laudando.” Amidst the general praise, however, he wisely here also leaves the distingue personas to the feeling of the reader.
τῇ ἐξ ὑμῶν ἐν ὑμῖν ἀγάπῃ] Paul here conceives the active love as something issuing from the disposition of the person loving, and adhering to the person loved. Thus he felt the love of the Corinthians to him in his heart; comp. 2 Corinthians 7:3. This view alone suits the context, inasmuch as the other points mentioned are points purely subjective, belonging to the readers, and serving to recommend them; hence we are not to understand it as the love dwelling in the apostle, but owing its origin to the readers (Hofmann). Calvin aptly remarks: “Caritatem erga se commemorat, ut personae quoque suae respectu illis addat animos.” On the form of the expression, comp. Winer, p. 181 f. [E. T. 241].
ἵνα καὶ ἐν ταύτῃ τῇ χάριτι περισσ.] A periphrasis for the imperative, to be explained by supplying a verb of summoning, on which ἵνα depends in the conception of the speakers. See Buttmann, p. 208 [E. T. 241]; Fritzsche, ad Matth. p. 840, ad Marc. p. 179. In the old Greek ὅπως is used in the very same way (ἵνα late and seldom, as in Epictetus, Dissert, iv. 1. 142). See Matthiae, p. 1187; Viger. ed. Herm. pp. 435, 791 f.; Hartung, Partikell. II. p. 148. According to Grotius and Bengel, whom Hofmann follows, the connecting of ἵνα κ.τ.λ. with the following οὐ κατʼ ἐπιταγὴν λέγω would yield no unsuitable sense (in opposition to Rückert); but the construction of the passage in 2 Corinthians 8:7-8, so as to form one period, would be a construction assumed without sufficient ground, ill-arranged and ambiguous, and would not accord with the apostle’s way of beginning a new sentence by οὐ … λέγω in order to guard against an incorrect judgment of the previous one (2 Corinthians 7:3; 1 Corinthians 4:14. Comp. 2 Corinthians 5:12).
In καὶ ἐν ταύτῃ τῇ χάριτι, ταύτῃ has the emphasis (it was otherwise in 2 Corinthians 8:6); also in this showing of kindness, as in other works of beneficence,—which was embraced in ἐν παντί.
2 Corinthians 8:7-15. Encouragement to associate with their other Christian excellences distinction also in this work of love, which he says not in the form of a command, but to test their love—for they knew indeed the pattern of love in Christ—and by way of advice (w. 7–9). For this is serviceable for them, inasmuch as they had already made the beginning. Now, however, they were not to fail of completing their work, namely, according to their means; for it was not intended that others should be at ease while they were in want, but that a relation of equality should be established (2 Corinthians 8:10-15).as ye abound] Cf. 1 Corinthians 1:5.
in all diligence] See note on ch. 2 Corinthians 7:11.
your love to us] Some copies read our love to you.
this grace also] The word here, as in the last verse, seems to bear more the signification known to us in the phrase ‘Christian graces’ than in most places in which it occurs. The passage should perhaps run see that ye also abound (literally exceed, see note on ch. 2 Corinthians 7:4) in this grace, i.e. act of favour or kindness (see last verse). We may observe that faith and utterance and the like were of little avail without love. See 1 Corinthians 8:1; 1 Corinthians 8:13; 2 Peter 1:5-7.2 Corinthians 8:7. Ἀλλʼ ὥσπερ, but as) He says, but. The things which Paul had formerly done with the Corinthians by means of Titus, had the force of an injunction, ἐπιταγὴ, 2 Corinthians 7:15. Comp. 1 Corinthians 5:7. He now acts differently: therefore the word that presently after depends on, I speak, in the following verse.—ὥσπερ, as) The Spirit leads to abundance in all respects.—γνώσει, in knowledge) This is mentioned appositely: comp. ch. 2 Corinthians 6:6, note. Its conjugate γνώμην occurs presently at 2 Corinthians 8:10 : comp. 1 Corinthians 7:25, note.—καὶ πάσῃ σπουδῇ) and in all diligence. σπουδῇ here comprehends ‘faith,’ and ‘utterance’ (of the heart and of the mouth), ‘knowledge,’ etc. And the genus or whole is often subjoined to the species or one or more parts, by introducing the connecting link, and all; ch. 2 Corinthians 10:5; Matthew 3:5; Matthew 23:27; Mark 7:3; Luke 11:42; Luke 13:28; Luke 21:29; Acts 7:14; Acts 15:17; Acts 22:5; Ephesians 1:21; Ephesians 4:31; Ephesians 5:3; Hebrews 13:24, Jam 3:16; Revelation 7:16; Revelation 21:8; Revelation 22:15.—καὶ τῇ—ἀγάπῃ, and in love) He subjoins to the genus [σπουδὴ] the species [ἀγάπη] which is most connected with the matter in hand [viz. that they should contribute to their brethren in need].—ἐξ, from) He does not say, in your love toward us, but he says, in love from you in us [in the love which is on your part, and is treasured up in us], because the Corinthians were in the heart of Paul, ch. 2 Corinthians 7:3. He pleads their love as an argument: he does not add, that they should give the more on account of Paul, who had preached to them the Gospel gratuitously.—ἵνα, that) This word depends on λέγω, I speak, elegantly subjoined [2 Corinthians 8:8].Verse 7. - Therefore; rather, but. In the following verses to ver. 15 he tells them his wishes about this collection. He desires them to show generosity among their other graces (ver. 7), not by way of command, but that they may emulate others and show their love (ver. 8) by following the example of Christ (ver. 9). And by acting thus they would prove the sincerity of their former promises (vers. 10, 11), especially as he did not wish them to give more than they could justly spare by way of reciprocity (vers. 12-15). As ye abound in every thing, in faith, etc. Perhaps "by faith," etc., "St. Paul," says Grotius, "knew the art of the orators to move by praising." This method of conciliating attention is technically called proparaitesis. The praise was, of course, sincere, though, no doubt, it was expressed with the generosity of love (see 1 Corinthians 1:5). And in your love to us. The Greek is more emphatic," and by the love from you in us;" i.e. by the love which streams from you, and which I feel in myself. In this grace also; namely, the grace of Christian liberality.
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