2 Corinthians 9:2
For I know the forwardness of your mind, for which I boast of you to them of Macedonia, that Achaia was ready a year ago; and your zeal hath provoked very many.
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(2) For I know the forwardness of your mind.—This was the boast to which he had referred in 2Corinthians 8:24. Achaia (i.e., Corinth, and perhaps Cenchreæ also) had been ready last year. The urgency of his present appeal indicates a latent misgiving whether he had not unconsciously over-stated the fact, and had mistaken the “will” that had shown itself for an actual readiness to send off the money whenever it was called for. (See Note on 2Corinthians 9:3.) The word for “provoke,” used here in a good sense, is found in Colossians 3:21, in a bad sense, as “irritating.” This was another reason for prompt and generous action. It would be a permanent disgrace to them if, after having been held up as a pattern to others, they afterwards fell short of their excellence.

Very many.—Literally, the greater number.

9:1-5 When we would have others do good, we must act toward them prudently and tenderly, and give them time. Christians should consider what is for the credit of their profession, and endeavour to adorn the doctrine of God their Saviour in all things. The duty of ministering to the saints is so plain, that there would seem no need to exhort Christians to it; yet self-love contends so powerfully against the love of Christ, that it is often necessary to stir up their minds by way of remembrance.For I know the forwardness of your mind - I know your promptitude, or your readiness to do it; see 2 Corinthians 8:10. Probably Paul here means that he had had opportunity before of witnessing their readiness to do good, and that he had learned in particular of Titus that they had formed the plan to aid in this contribution.

For which I boast of you to them of Macedonia - To the church in Macedonia; see 2 Corinthians 8:1. So well assured was he that the church at Corinth would make the collection as it had proposed, that he boasted of it to the churches of Macedonia as if it were already done, and made use of this as an argument to stimulate them to make an effort.

That Achaia was ready a year ago - Achaia was that part of Greece of which Corinth was the capital; see the note, Acts 18:12. It is probable that there were Christians in other parts of Achaia besides Corinth, and indeed it is known that there was a church in Cenchrea (see Romans 16:1). which was one of the ports of Corinth. Though the contribution would be chiefly derived from Corinth, yet it is probable that the others also would participate in it. The phrase "was ready" means that they had been preparing themselves for this collection, and doubtless Paul had stated that the collection was already made and was waiting. He had directed them 1 Corinthians 16:1 to make it on the first day of the week, and to lay it by in store, and he did not doubt that they had complied with his request.

And your zeal - Your ardor and promptitude. The readiness with which you entered into this subject, and your desire to relieve the needs of others.

Hath provoked - Has roused, excited, impelled to give. We use the word "provoke" commonly now in the sense of to irritate, but in the Scriptures it is confined to the signification of exciting, or rousing. The ardor of the Corinthians would excite others not only by their promptitude, but because Corinth was a splendid city, and their example would be looked up to by Christians at a distance. This is one instance of the effect which will be produced by the example of a church in a city.

2. ready a year ago—to send off the money, owing to the apostle's former exhortation (1Co 16:1, 2).

your zeal—Greek, "the zeal from you," that is, on your part; propagated from you to others.

provoked—that is, stimulated.

very many—Greek, "the greater number," namely, of the Macedonians.

He gives them the reason why he judgeth it superfluous to write to them, because they had a forward mind of themselves, and needed not to be spurred on. This the apostle tells them that he knew, (he had told them of it, 2 Corinthians 8:10), he knew it either from themselves, or from some that came from them unto him; and he had boasted of them for this their forwardness in this good work to the churches of Macedonia.

And your zeal hath provoked very many; he tells them, that their warmth unto, and in, this work, had kindled a heat in many in those parts where he was. Having therefore been so forward in this good work, and so good instruments to kindle a heat in others, he would not have them now come behind others, or grow cold in it.

For I know the forwardness of your mind,.... How that they were willing of themselves to engage in this good work; how readily they came into it; what a cheerful disposition of mind they showed towards it; and how forward they were to begin the collection:

for which I boast of you to them of Macedonia; he had one it before, which had put them upon the like service, and he still continued to boast of them,

that Achaia was ready a year ago: not that their collection was ready made so long ago; but they had shown a readiness of mind, as to every good work, so to this of communicating to the saints a year ago, when they made a beginning, though as yet had not finished. By Achaia is meant, the inhabitants of Achaia. The Arabic version renders it, the citizens of Achaia; of this country; see Gill on Acts 18:12. It is sometimes taken in a large sense, and designs Greece, and includes the countries of Doris, Hellas, Aetolia, Locri, Phocis, Boeotia, Attica, and Megaris; and had its name, as some say, from the frequent inundation of waters; and others, from one of the three generals of the Pelasgi, who were of this name; and sometimes it is taken strictly and properly for the country of the Peloponnesus, or the Morea. And so Drusius, out of Hesychius, has observed, that the Achaeans were Greeks; but properly they were they that inhabited that part of Peloponnesus, called Achaia; and these seem to be intended here. The Gospel was preached in these parts with success; Epaenetus, whom the Apostle Paul salutes, Romans 16:5 and the house of Stephanas he mentions, 1 Corinthians 16:15 were the firstfruits of it; and in process of time several churches were here gathered, and which continued for several ages. In the "second" century there was a synod in Achaia, concerning the time of keeping Easter, in which Bacchylus, bishop of Corinth, presided; in the beginning of the "fourth" century, the bishops of Achaia were present at the council of Nice, and in the same century bishops out of this country assisted at the synod in Sardica; in the "fifth" century there were many churches in Achaia, and the bishops of them were present in the Chalcedon synod; out of this country went several bishops, in the "seventh" century, to Constantinople, and were in the sixth synod there; and in the "eighth" century there were bishops of Achaia in the Nicene synod (d): here by Achaia are designed the churches of Christ, which were in that part of Greece in which Corinth stood, and of which that was the metropolis; so that when the apostle says Achaia was ready, his meaning is more particularly, that the Corinthians were ready:

and, adds he,

your zeal hath provoked very many: or "the zeal which is of you"; which sprung from, and was occasioned by them; for not the zeal of the Corinthians is here intended, as seems at first view, but that emulation which was stirred up in some of the leading persons among the Macedonians, upon hearing how ready they at Corinth were to minister to the necessitous brethren; and the zeal which appeared in these principal men, which was very warm, and yet prudent and seasonable, wrought very much on the minds of others, who, led by their example, contributed in a very generous and unexpected manner. In the Greek text it is, "the zeal out of you"; or, as the Arabic version renders it, "the zeal that arose from you", which was occasioned by them.

(d) Hist. Eccles. Magdeburg. cent. 2. c. 9. p. 125. cent. 4. c. 2. p. 5. c. 9. p. 425. cent. 5. c. 2. p. 6. cent. 7. c. 10. p. 258. cent. 9. c. 2. p. 7.

For I know the forwardness of your mind, for which I boast of you to them of Macedonia, that Achaia was ready a year ago; and your zeal hath provoked very many.
2 Corinthians 9:2. Τὴν προθυμ. ὑμῶν] Rückert infers from the whole contents of the two chapters that the inclination is only assumed as still existing, and no longer existed in reality; but his inference is unjust, and at variance with the apostle’s character. Already, ἀπὸ πέρυσι (2 Corinthians 8:10) have the readers begun to collect, and the work of love, in fact, needed only the carrying out, which Paul intends by chap. 8 and 9 to procur.

ἣν ὑπὲρ ὑμ. καυχ. Μακεδ.] of which I make my boast in your favour (in your recommendation) to the Macedonians; for the Corinthians were made by Paul to favour the collection. On καυχάομαι, with the accusative of the object, comp. 2 Corinthians 7:14, 2 Corinthians 10:8, 2 Corinthians 11:30; LXX. Proverbs 27:1; Lucian, Ocyp. 120; Athen. xiv. p. 627 C. On the present Bengel rightly remarks: “Adhuc erat P. in Macedonia.”

ὅτι Ἀχαΐα παρεσκ. ἀπὸ πέρυσι] so ran the καυχῶμαι: that Achaia has been in readiness (to give pecuniary aid to promote it) since the previous year. Paul says Ἀχαΐα, not ὑμεῖς (comp. 2 Corinthians 9:3), because he repeats words actually used by him. These concerned not only Corinth, but the whole Province, in which, however, the Corinthian was the central church. Comp. on 2 Corinthians 1:1.

καὶ ὁ ἐξ ὑμῶν ζῆλος[286] Κ.Τ.Λ.] is, by way of attraction, an expression of the thought: your zeal wrought forth from you as stimulating to them. Comp. from the N. T. Matthew 24:17; Luke 11:13. See on Matt. l.c., and Hermann, ad Viger. p. 893; Kühner, ad Xen. Anab. i. 1. 5.

] the majority of the Macedonians, so that only the minority remained uninfluenced.

[286] The form τὸ ζῆλος is found here in B א (Lachm. ed. min.); it has much stronger attestation in Php 3:6. Running counter to the usage of the whole N. T., it must be considered as an error of the copyists, though it really occurs in Clem. Cor. i. 4 (thrice) and 6, and Ignatius, Trall. 4 (Dressel), and hence was doubtless known to the copyists.


Paul might with perfect truth stimulate (1) the Macedonians by the zeal of the Corinthians, because the latter had begun the work earlier than the former, and were already ἀπὸ πέρυσι in readiness; and then (2) the Corinthians, again, by the example of the Macedonians (2 Corinthians 8:1 ff.), since the latter, after having followed the Corinthians in the prosecution of the work, had shown such extraordinary activity as in turn to serve the Corinthians a model and a stimulus to further beneficence. Is it not possible that in the very same affair first A should be held up as a model to B, and then, according to the measure of the success, conversely B to A? Hence Theodoret and many (comp. also Chrysostom) have rightly remarked on the wisdom in the apostle’s conduct; whereas Rückert declares this conduct of his to be unwise (of its morality he prefers to be silent), unjustly taking it for granted that his καυχᾶσθαι regarding the Corinthians was untrue. See 2 Corinthians 7:14. De Wette also thinks that the apostle is not free from human error here.

That in αὐθαίρετοι, at 2 Corinthians 8:3, there is no contradiction with 2 Corinthians 9:2, see on 2 Corinthians 8:3.

2 Corinthians 9:2. οἷδα γὰρ τὴν προθ. κ.τ.λ.: for I know your readiness, of which I glory (for constr. cf. 2 Corinthians 11:30, Proverbs 27:1) on your behalf (cf. 2 Corinthians 7:14) to the Macedonians, that Achaia (not ὑμεῖς, he reports the actual words in which he made his boast; for “Achaia” see on 2 Corinthians 1:1) has been prepared since last year (see on 2 Corinthians 8:10 above), i.e., to make its contribution. It would seem that the Apostle feared that he had somewhat overstated the case, as he is evidently anxious about the Corinthian collection. The use of the present tense, καυχῶμαι Μακεδόσιν, shows that he is writing from Macedonia (see Introd., p. 12).—καὶ τὸ ὑμῶν ζῆλος κ.τ.λ.: and your zeal (see on 2 Corinthians 7:7) has provoked the majority of them (see on 2 Corinthians 2:6), sc., to contribute (cf. 2 Corinthians 8:10).

2. for I know the forwardness of your mind] Rather, readiness (your redynesse of minde. Tyndale). See note on ch. 2 Corinthians 8:12. And therefore I need not write about the collection.

I boast] The Apostle, then, says Bengel, was already in Macedonia.

Achaia] See note on ch. 2 Corinthians 1:1.

a year ago] Rather, last year. See ch. 2 Corinthians 8:10. The Vulgate renders here by ab anno praeterito.

and your zeal hath provoked very many] “We did not advise, we did not exhort; we only praised you, we only boasted of you; and this was enough for exhortation of them.” Chrysostom. For zeal, see notes on ch. 2 Corinthians 7:7; 2 Corinthians 7:11. Perhaps the Apostle means to say here the emulation arising from your conduct, since the word rendered ‘your’ is literally, arising from you. The word here translated ‘provoke’ is used in a bad sense in Colossians 3:21. The English word provoke, from the Latin provoco, to call forth, is usually in these days used in a bad sense. But it was not so at the time when the A. V. was made. Cf. Hebrews 10:24. The meaning here is stirred up. For very many, the original has the majority.

2 Corinthians 9:2. Καυχῶμαι, I boast) The present tense. Paul was still in Macedonia.—[54] ὁ ἐξ ὑμῶν ζῆλος) the zeal, which was propagated from you to the Macedonians.—τοὺς πλείονας) most [not merely very many, as Engl. V.] of the Macedonians.

[54] Ἀπὸ πέρυσι, since last year) owing to the former exhortation of Paul, 1 Corinthians 16:1.—V. g.

Verse 2. - I boast of you; literally, I am boasting. The tense shows that he is writing from Macedonia, probably from Philippi (2 Corinthians 8:24). Achaia (see 2 Corinthians 1:1). Was ready a year ago; has been prepared since last year. Your zeal hath provoked very many; literally, zeal from you hath stimulated the majority. "Zeal from you" means zeal which emanated from the Corinthians and aroused emulation in others. 2 Corinthians 9:2
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