2 Corinthians 9:13
Whiles by the experiment of this ministration they glorify God for your professed subjection to the gospel of Christ, and for your liberal distribution to them, and to all men;
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(13) Whiles by the experiment of this ministration they glorify God.—The construction of the Greek sentence is again that of a participle which has no direct grammatical connection with what precedes, but the English version sufficiently expresses the meaning. Test would, perhaps, be a better word than “experiment.” The word is the same as that rendered, with a needless variation, “experience” in Romans 5:4, “trial” in 2Corinthians 8:2, “proof” in 2Corinthians 13:3.

Your professed subjection.—The English version makes the not unfrequent mistake of merging the genitive in a somewhat weak adjective. Literally, in your obedience to the confession of faith. The latter noun is used in this sense in 1Timothy 6:12-13; Hebrews 3:1; Hebrews 4:14. The word seems to have acquired a half-technical significance, like that which attaches to “faith” and “religion” used objectively.

For your liberal distribution.—The construction is the same as in the previous clause: for the liberality of your contribution.

9:6-15 Money bestowed in charity, may to the carnal mind seem thrown away, but when given from proper principles, it is seed sown, from which a valuable increase may be expected. It should be given carefully. Works of charity, like other good works, should be done with thought and design. Due thought, as to our circumstances, and those we are about to relieve, will direct our gifts for charitable uses. Help should be given freely, be it more or less; not grudgingly, but cheerfully. While some scatter, and yet increase; others withhold more than is meet, and it tends to poverty. If we had more faith and love, we should waste less on ourselves, and sow more in hope of a plentiful increase. Can a man lose by doing that with which God is pleased? He is able to make all grace abound towards us, and to abound in us; to give a large increase of spiritual and of temporal good things. He can make us to have enough in all things; and to be content with what we have. God gives not only enough for ourselves, but that also wherewith we may supply the wants of others, and this should be as seed to be sown. We must show the reality of our subjection to the gospel, by works of charity. This will be for the credit of our profession, and to the praise and glory of God. Let us endeavour to copy the example of Christ, being unwearied in doing good, and deeming it more blessed to give than to receive. Blessed be God for the unspeakable gift of his grace, whereby he enables and inclines some of his people to bestow upon others, and others to be grateful for it; and blessed be his glorious name to all eternity, for Jesus Christ, that inestimable gift of his love, through whom this and every other good thing, pertaining to life and godliness, are freely given unto us, beyond all expression, measure, or bounds.Whiles by the experiment ... - Or rather, by the experience of this ministration; the proof (δοκιμῆς dokimēs), the evidence here furnished of your liberality. They shall in this ministration have experience or proof of your Christian principle.

They glorify God - They will praise God as the source of your liberality, as having given you the means of being liberal, and having inclined your hearts to it.

For your professed subjection ... - Literally, "For the obedience of your profession of the gospel." It does not imply merely that there was a profession of religion, but that there was a real subjection to the gospel which they professed. This is not clearly expressed in our translation. Tyndale has expressed it better, "Which praise God for your obedience in acknowledging the gospel of Christ." There was a real and sincere submission to the gospel of Christ, and that was manifested by their giving liberally to supply the needs of others. The doctrine is, that one evidence of true subjection to the gospel; one proof that our profession is sincere and genuine, is a willingness to contribute to relieve the needs of the poor and afflicted friends of the Redeemer. And unto all people. That is, all others whom you may have the opportunity of relieving.

13. by—through occasion of.

experiment—Translate, "the experience" [Ellicott and others]. Or, "the experimental proof" of your Christian character, afforded by "this ministration."

they—the recipients.

for your professed subjection—Greek, "for the subjection of your profession"; that is, your subjection in accordance with your profession, in relation to the Gospel. Ye yield yourselves in willing subjection to the Gospel precepts, evinced in acts, as well as in profession.

your liberal distribution—Greek, "the liberality of your contribution in relation to them," &c.

Whiles by the experiment of this ministration, upon their receiving of what you sent them,

they glorify God for your professed subjection unto the gospel of Christ; they will see how ready you are to obey the gospel of Christ, (which hath in so many places called you to this duty), and this will give them occasion of blessing God, who in the day of his power hath made such a willing people, willing at God’s command, and in consideration of the love of Christ, to strip themselves to clothe his naked members, to restrain their own appetites to feed them. The grace of God bestowed on others, is matter of great thanksgiving to every gracious heart.

And for your liberal distribution unto them, and unto all men: another cause of thanksgiving will be God’s moving your hearts towards them; they will see reason to bless God, who hath raised them up such friends in their great straits; so as they will both bless God on your behalf, for his grace bestowed on you, that out of the Gentiles he hath picked out a people so subject to the law of his gospel; and also on their own behalf, that God hath stirred up a people to compassionate them in their deep distresses. Whiles by the experiment of this ministration,.... That is, the poor saints at Jerusalem having a specimen, a proof, an experience of the liberality of the Gentile churches ministered to them by the apostles, first,

they glorify God; by giving thanks unto him, acknowledging him to be the author of all the grace and goodness which they, and others, were partakers of; particularly

for your professed subjection to the Gospel of Christ. The Gospel of Christ is the doctrine of grace, life, and salvation by Christ, of which he is the author, as God, the subject matter, as Mediator, and the preacher, as man: subjection to it lies in a hearty receiving of the doctrines of it, and a cheerful submission to his ordinances; and this subjection was professed, declared, and made known to the churches in Judea, by their sending so largely to their relief, which they would never have done, if they had not cordially embraced the Gospel of Christ; for true faith in the doctrine of grace, and a sincere obedience to it, are best declared and known by love to the saints; for faith works by love, both to Christ, and to his people: next they glorified God by giving thanks to him,

for your liberal distribution unto them, and unto all men; which shows, that though they were truly grateful, and heartily thankful for the favours they themselves received, yet not for these only, but for what other poor saints, in other places, were also partakers of; yea, that in the first place they were more sensibly affected with, and more especially thankful for the grace of God bestowed on the Gentiles, in sending the Gospel among them, and bringing them to a subjection to it, than for the temporal good they received from them.

Whiles by the {k} experiment of this ministration they glorify God for your {l} professed subjection unto the gospel of Christ, and for your liberal distribution unto them, and unto all men;

(k) By this proof of your liberality in this helping of them.

(l) In showing with one consent that you acknowledge that Gospel alone which you have willingly submitted yourselves to, declaring by this that you agree with the church of Jerusalem.

2 Corinthians 9:13 is not to be placed in a parenthesis; see on 2 Corinthians 9:14. The participle is again anacoluthic (comp. on 2 Corinthians 9:11). As if he had said before: by the fact that many give thanks to God, Paul now continues: inasmuch as they, induced by the tried character of this service, praise God on account of the submission, etc.[292] Hofmann considers 2 Corinthians 9:13 as co-ordinated with 2 Corinthians 9:11, so that the ΔΟΞΆΖΟΝΤΕς Τ. Θ would be the subjects themselves performing the service, who by this service prove themselves to be Christians. If so, (1) we should have to leap over 2 Corinthians 9:12 as a merely relative appendage of 2 Corinthians 9:11, and to eliminate it from the continuity of the chain of thought; but it does not lend itself to be so dealt with either in virtue of the position assigned to it by ὍΤΙ, or in virtue of the important contents of its two clauses; (2) we should have to shut our eyes to the fact, that ΔΟΞΆΖΟΝΤΕς Τ. Θ is obviously correlative to the previous ΔΙᾺ ΠΟΛΛ. ΕὐΧΑΡΙΣΤΙῶΝ Τῷ ΘΕῷ; finally, we should have to make the participial clause afterwards begin, in a very involved fashion, with ἘΠῚ Τῇ ὙΠΟΤΑΓῇ Κ.Τ.Λ., in spite of the fact that this ἘΠΊ could not but at once present itself to, and obtrude itself upon, every reader, as the specification of the ground of the ΔΟΞΆΖΟΝΤΕς Τ. ΘΕΌΝ (comp. 2 Corinthians 9:15; Luke 2:20; Acts 4:21; Sir 3:2).

The ΔΟΚΙΜῊ Τῆς ΔΙΑΚΟΝ. Τ. is the indoles spectata (see on 2 Corinthians 8:2) of this work of giving, according to which it has shown itself such as might have been expected in keeping with the Christian standard (especially of love). So Theophylact: διὰ τῆς δοκίμου ταύτης καὶ μεμαρτυρημένης ἐπὶ φιλανθρωπίᾳ διακονίας. Others take the relation of the genitive as: the attestedness, in which this bounty has exhibited you. So Calvin (“erat enim specimen idoneum probandae Corinthiorum caritatis, quod erga fratres procul remotos tam liberales erant”), Estius, Rosenmüller, Flatt, Rückert, Olshausen, de Wette, Ewald, Osiander; comp. also Hofman, who takes τῆς διακονίας as epexegetical genitive. But it is only in what follows that the ground of the praise is introduced as subsisting in the Corinthians, and that by a different preposition (ἐπί), and, besides, it is most natural to understand Τῆς ΔΙΑΚΟΝΊΑς Τ. of that which is attested, so that the attested character of the collecting work appears as the occasion (διά, see Winer, p. 357 [E. T. 476]; Bernhardy, p. 235) of God’s being praised on account of the obedience of the Corinthians, etc. Observe, withal, how the actual occasion which primarily brings about the δοξάζειν τ. θ … (ΔΙΆ), and the deeper ground of this δοξάζειν (ἘΠΊ), are distinguished. We may add that Rückert arbitrarily finds here an evidence that Paul in the collection had it as his aim to break down the repugnance of the Jewish-Christians towards the Gentile-Christians by this proof of the latter’s love. Comp. on 1 Corinthians 16:1. The work of collection may have furthered this reconciliation, but this was not its aim.

ἐπὶ τῇ ὑποταγῇπάντας] contains two reasons for their praising God. The first refers to the gospel of Christ (concerning Christ, 2 Corinthians 2:12): on account of the compliance with your confession (because you are so obedient in fact to your Christian confession of faith), they praise God in reference to the gospel of Christ, which, in fact, produces such compliance of its confessors. The second reason refers to the persons, namely, to them, the receivers themselves, and all Christians in general: and on account of the simplicity of the fellowship (because you held the Christian fellowship in such a sincere and pure manner) they praise God in reference to themselves and to all, as those whom this ἁπλότης τ. κοινωνίας goes to benefit. Paul rightly adds Κ. ΕἸς ΠΆΝΤΑς; for by the beneficence towards the Jews the Corinthians showed, in point of fact, that they excluded no Christians from the sincere fellowship of love. The expositors connect εἰς το εὐαγγ. τ. Χ. either with Τῆς ὉΜΟΛΟΓ. ὙΜῶΝ, so that ὉΜΟΛΟΓ. ΕἸς is said, like ΠΊΣΤΙς ΕἸς (Erasmus Schmid, Wolf, Flatt, Rückert, Ewald, Osiander, and others, including Billroth), or with Τῇ ὙΠΟΤΑΓῇ (Chrysostom, Erasmus, Calvin, Beza, Grotius, and many others), and then ΕἸς ΑὐΤΟῪς Κ. ΕἸς ΠΆΝΤΑς with Τῆς ΚΟΙΝΩΝΊΑς.[293] But this view would require the connecting link of the article both before εἰς τὸ εὐαγγ. and also before ΕἸς ΑὐΤΟΎς, since neither ὙΠΟΤΆΣΣΕΣΘΑΙ nor ὉΜΟΛΟΓΕῖΝ nor ΚΟΙΝΩΝΕῖΝ is construed with ΕἸς, the last not even in Php 1:5 (in opposition to de Wette). The suggestion to which Hofmann has recourse, that the twice used ΕἸς expresses the direction in which both—the ὑποταγὴ τῆς ὁμολογίας and the ἉΠΛΌΤΗς Τῆς ΚΟΙΝΩΝΊΑς—take place, has against it the non-insertion of the connecting article, which only may be rightly omitted when ΕἸς in both cases belongs to the verb (ΔΟΞΆΖΟΝΤΕς Τ. Θ.).[294] Rückert’s appeal to the inexactness of the language in this chapter is unfounded and the more to be rejected, that no fault can be found with the meaning—by no means tame (Osiander), but rich in significant reference—which arises from the strictly grammatical construction. Observe especially the quite Pauline way of exhausting, by different prepositions, the different characteristic aspects of the subject-matter (here the ΔΟΞΆΖΕΙΝ ΤῸΝ ΘΕΌΝ), which he does according to the categories of the occasion (ΔΙΆ), the ground (ἘΠΊ), and the point of reference (ΕἸς: with a view to). Comp. 2 Corinthians 1:11, Romans 3:25, and many other passages.

On ὉΜΟΛΟΓΊΑ,[295] confession, comp. 1 Timothy 6:12-13; Hebrews 3:1; Hebrews 4:14; Hebrews 10:23; Hebrews 3 Esr. 2 Corinthians 9:8; not so in the Greek writers. The explanation consensus (Erasmus: “quod intelligant vos tanto consensu obedire monitis evangelicis,” comp. Castalio, Vatablus, and Calvin) accords, no doubt, with the classical usage, but is at once set aside by the fact that the passage must have run: ἐπὶ τῇ ὁμολογίᾳ τῆς ὑποταγῆς.

[292] Luther and Beza connect διὰ τῆς δοκιμῆς τῆς διακονίας ταύτης with ver. 12, for which Beza adduces the reason that otherwise δοξάζοντες is connected with διά and ἐπί without copula,—a reason quite untenable, considering the diversity of the relations expressed by the two prepositions! And how very much the symmetry of the passage would be disturbed! As ver. 11 closed with εὐχαρ. τῷ θεῷ, so also the confirmatory clause closes with εὐχαρ. τῷ θεῷ, and the more precise explanation begins with the following διὰ τῆς δοκ. κ.τ.λ.

[293] Rückert and most others interpret: “on account of the sincerity of your fellowship with them and with all;” but Billroth and Neander: “on account of the liberality of communication to them and to all,”—which, however, is quite wrong, for ἁπλότης does not mean liberality, and of the communication (which, besides, is never the meaning of κοινωνία at least in the N. T.; see on Romans 15:26; Romans 12:13, Galatians 6:6) it could not be said that it had taken place to all.

[294] This, indeed, is quite impossible according to Hofmann’s mistaken construing of ἐπὶ τῇ ὑποταγή κ.τ.λ. as dependent on the participial clause καὶ αὐτῶνἐπιποθούντων.

[295] Many elder commentators quite arbitrarily took τῆς ὁμολογίας for τῇ ὁμολογουμένῃ. So Beza: “de vestra testata subjectione in evang.” But Erasmus Schmid d Wolf: “ob subjectionem vestram, contestatam in evang.” (so that εἰς τὸ εὐαγγ. is held to belong to τῆς ὁμολογ.).2 Corinthians 9:13. διὰ τῆς δοκιμῆς τῆς διακ. κ.τ.λ.: inasmuch as they, i.e., the Judæan Christians, through the proof, sc., of you, afforded by this ministration (cf. 2 Corinthians 8:2 for a similar gen. after δοκιμή), glorify God (cf. Matthew 5:16, 1 Peter 2:12) for the obedience of your confession in regard to the Gospel of Christ (cf. 2 Corinthians 2:12). The sentence is an anacoluthon; δοξάζοντες cannot be taken as in apposition with πλουτιζόμενοι of 2 Corinthians 9:11, for the persons referred to are different. It would be grammatically admissible to take δοξάζ. τὸν Θεὸν with εἰς τὸ εὐαγγ. τοῦ Χρ., but the order of words and the sense both support the connexion ὁμολογίας εἰς κ.τ.λ. Of the A.V. “by the experiment of this ministration they glorify God for your professed subjection unto the Gospel of Christ” Lightfoot truly remarks that “a concurrence of Latinisms obscures the sense and mars the English”. The contribution of money for the relief of the Christian poor is a ὁμολογία, inasmuch as it is the manifestation to the world of belief in Christ’s Gospel; ὁμολοία is a “confession” or “vow,” and so (as in Deuteronomy 12:17, Amos 4:5) = “a free will offering”.—καὶ ἁπλότητι τῆς κοινωνίας κ.τ.λ.: and for the liberality of your contribution unto them and unto all. This would suggest that the rich Corinthian Church had been liberal to other Churches besides that of Jerusalem, but we have no knowledge of anything of the sort.13. experiment] Rather, proof (probatio, Vulg.), i.e. the proof afforded by the conduct of the Corinthians that they were Christians, not in name only, but in deed. See ch. 2 Corinthians 2:9, 2 Corinthians 8:2; 2 Corinthians 8:8.

glorify] Cf. Matthew 5:16; John 15:8; 1 Peter 2:12.

your professed subjection] The translators of the A.V. have regarded this sentence as a Hebraism. Literally, it is the subjection of your confession, or profession, i.e. of Christianity. See 1 Timothy 6:12-13 (margin); Hebrews 3:1; Hebrews 4:14; Hebrews 10:23. The brethren at Jerusalem glorified God for the fact that the profession of Christianity made by the Corinthians was in strict accordance with the precepts of the Gospel. It is obvious that this cannot be predicated of every individual, or even of every Church, and cannot therefore be assumed as a matter of course. It is, however, to be observed (see Meyer’s note) that ‘to the Gospel’ should perhaps be translated ‘towards the Gospel,’ i.e. towards the work of furthering it.

and for your liberal distribution] Literally, and for the liberality of your contribution. The word here rendered distribution in the A. V. is that usually rendered by communion, or fellowship. Here it clearly has the active sense of communication. The Vulgate renders simplicitate communicationis. See notes on 1 Corinthians 1:9; 1 Corinthians 10:20. For liberality see 2 Corinthians 9:11.

and unto all men] Because the principle thus admitted by the Corinthians was equally applicable to all.2 Corinthians 9:13. Δοκιμῆς) [the experiment] the proof afforded by this ministration.—δοξάζοντες, glorifying) This depends on thanksgivings, 2 Corinthians 9:12. Again the nominative case, on the same principle as 2 Corinthians 8:23, note, [Τίτου, κοινωνὸςἀδελφοί.]—πι τῇ ὑποταγῇ τῆς ὁμολογίας ὑμῶν, for the subjection of your profession) They were about to profess by their very acts, that they acknowledged the divine bounty shown to themselves in the Gospel, [and had yielded [victas dedisse sc. manus) to the word of grace.—V. g.]—καὶ εἰς πάντας, and to all) He, who benefits some of the saints, by that very act benefits all; for he shows, that he is favourable to all.Verse 13. - By the experiment of this ministration; rather, by the test (of your love) furnished by this ministration (2 Corinthians 8:2). For your professed subjection; literally, for the submission of your confession to the gospel of Christ. And for your liberal distribution unto them; rather, and for the simplicity of your fellowship towards them. A large contribution would prove two things; namely,

(1) that the Corinthians showed due subjection to the truths and duties which they theoretically accepted as resulting from the gospel; and

(2) that they were united to their Jewish-Christian brethren and to all others in single-hearted fellowship. It is very doubtful whether haplotes ever means "liberality," and koinonia is here better understood of "communion" than of "communication." Unto all men. For if the Corinthians behaved with such brotherly kindness to the once-despised Jews, who were now their Christian brethren, they would be not likely to refuse fellowship with any others. Experiment of this ministration (δοκιμῆς τῆς διακονίας ταύτης).

Commentators differ as to the interpretation; the difference hinging on the question whether the trial (experiment) applies to the service itself, or to those who render it: hence either "the proving of you by this ministration," as Rev., or the tried character of this ministration. Δοκιμή may mean, either the process of proving or the state of being approved, approvedness. The difference is immaterial.

Your professed subjection (ὑποταγῇ τῆς ὁμολογίας ὑμῶν)

A vicious hendiadys. Lit., as Rev., the obedience of your confession; that is, the obedience which results from your christian confession. Ὁμολογία is once rendered in A.V. confession, 1 Timothy 6:13; and elsewhere profession. Both renderings occur in 1 Timothy 6:12, 1 Timothy 6:13. Rev., in every case, confession. A similar variation occurs in the rendering of ὁμολογέω, though in all but five of the twenty-three instances confess is used. Rev. retains profess in Matthew 7:23; Titus 1:16, and changes to confess in 1 Timothy 6:12. In Matthew 14:7, promised (A.V. and Rev., see note), and in Hebrews 13:15, giving thanks; Rev., which make confession. Etymologically, confession is the literal rendering of ὁμολογία, which is from ὁμόν together, λέγω to say; con together, fateor to say. The fundamental idea is that of saying the same thing as another; while profess (pro forth, fateor to say) is to declare openly. Hence, to profess Christ is to declare Him publicly as our Lord: to confess Christ is to declare agreement with all that He says. When Christ confesses His followers before the world, He makes a declaration in agreement with what is in His heart concerning them. Similarly, when He declares to the wicked "I never knew you" ("then will I profess, ὁμολογήσω"), a similar agreement between His thought and His declaration is implied. The two ideas run into each other, and the Rev. is right in the few cases in which it retains profess, since confess would be ambiguous. See, for example, Titus 1:16.

Liberal distribution (ἁπλότητι τῆς κοινωνίας)

Rev., correctly, liberality of your contribution. Κοινωνία communion includes the idea of communication of material things, and hence sometimes means that which is communicated. See on Acts 2:42; so Romans 15:26; Hebrews 13:16. Compare the similar use of κοινωνέω, Romans 12:13, distributing; Philippians 4:15, communicated.

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