ICC New Testament Commentary
Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia;8:1-9:15. THE COLLECTION FOR THE POOR CHRISTIANS AT JERUSALEM
This is the second of the main divisions of the Epistle, and it may be divided into five sections, which, however, are made for convenience of study, without any assumption that they were intended by the Apostle. In 8:1-7 he sets forth the Example of Liberality set by the Macedonian congregations; 8:8-15 he points to the Example of Christ and indicates the proportion to be observed in contributing; 8:16-24 he informs the Corinthians that this new Mission to them is to be entrusted to Titus with two others; 9:1-5 he exhorts them to have everything ready when he comes; and 9:6-15 he exhorts them to be liberal, for their own sakes and for the good of the Church.
The subject of this Palestine Relief Fund is mentioned in four places in N.T.; 1 Corinthians 16:1-3; these two chapters; Romans 15:26, Romans 15:27; Acts 24:17. Paley (Horae Paulinae, ii. 1) has shown how these four passages fit into one another and explain one another, and his arguments well repay study. The fact that St Paul mentions the collection of this fund in three of his four great Epistles, and that in this one he devotes so large a portion of the letter to the subject, is evidence that he took a very keen interest in the matter and was most anxious that the collection should be a success; and there was no place in which it was more important that the collection should be a generous one than at Corinth. The distress at Jerusalem was great; that was an argument that could be urged everywhere. But it was specially fitting that it should be pressed home in Gentile Churches; for seeing that the Gentiles had been admitted to share the spiritual possessions of the Jews, it was not unreasonable that the Jews should be admitted to a share of the worldly possessions of the Gentiles. If this was freely done, the union of Jew and Gentile in Christ would be shown to be a very real and practical thing, and would be made all the more binding in future. “This collection formed the one visible expression of that brotherly unity which otherwise was rooted merely in their common faith” (Harnack, Mission and Expansion, i. p. 183). It was specially desirable that Corinth should come to the front in this matter. Here Judaizing teachers had been at work, claiming to have the sanction of the Mother Church at Jerusalem, and denying that St Paul had any such sanction; they said that he had no authority from the Twelve and was disowned by them. Therefore, if he succeeded in raising a good sum in Corinth for the Jerusalem poor, it would show Christians in Palestine that his authority in Corinth was an influence for good, and show his detractors that he was on good terms with the Mother Church. But perhaps his chief aim was to strengthen the ties which bound Gentile Christians and Jewish Christians together. See notes on 1 Corinthians 16:1-4. It is there pointed out that St Paul uses seven different words in speaking of this collection. Excepting λογία, which is peculiar to 1 Corinthians 16:1, all are found in 2 Cor., viz., χάρις (1 and 2 Cor.), κοινωνία (2 Cor. and Rom.), διακονία, ἁδρότης, εὐλογία, and λειτουργία (2 Cor. only). Theodoret notes that φιλανθρωπία is not used in this sense. What is still more remarkable, St Paul does not use ἀργύριον, or ἄργυρος, or χρυσίον, or χρυσός in this connexion: he seems to avoid the mention of money.
His thus asking the Corinthians to bring to a generous and speedy conclusion the collection which they had begun to make before their recent attitude of rebellion against the Apostle, was of course strong evidence that he regarded the old happy relation between himself and them as being completely restored. He could not easily have given them a more convincing proof of his complete confidence in them. But at the same time there was risk in doing so. After restoring friendly relations with persons who have been cherishing resentment against us, we do not think it politic to begin at once to ask favours or to remind them of their duties; and yet this is just what the Apostle feels bound to do with the Corinthians, to whom he has only just become reconciled. One sees that he feels the difficulty of the situation. He desires to be, and to seem to be, confident of success; confident that his beloved converts will do all that he wishes them to do, and all that they ought to do, in this matter. And yet he does not quite feel this confidence.* It looks as if the Corinthians were not very generous givers in this or in other things (11:8, 9, 12:13; 1 Corinthians 9:11, 1 Corinthians 9:12, 1 Corinthians 9:16:4). No one from Corinth is mentioned Acts 20:4. That may be accidental; yet it may mean that what was subscribed at Corinth was so insignificant that it did not require a special delegate, but was entrusted to one of the others. Be this as it may, St Paul evidently feels his way cautiously, weighing his words and careful about his arguments. The thought of the malice of the Judaizing teachers is still in his mind, and he knows that he has to deal with excitable people. No word of his must give a handle to the former or provocation to the latter. It was probably owing to the Judaizing teachers that the collection had hung fire. They would oppose any scheme that St Paul advocated.
There is no good reason for suspecting that these two chapters are part of another letter, different from both the first seven chapters and the last four. They follow the seventh chapter quite naturally, and the change of tone is thoroughly intelligible. The tone is similar to that in the Epistle to Philemon. In both cases he makes a request with diffidence, delicacy, and courtesy, but at the same time with firmness, with the conviction that it ought to be granted, and the hope that it will be. And in both cases the favour which he asks is not a personal one; he will not be the richer, if it is granted. He pleads for others, assuring those who can grant the favour that they themselves will be the better for granting it.
8:1-7. The Example of the Macedonian Churches is Worthy of Imitation
1 Now I should like to justify this expression of the good courage which I feel respecting you all. Let me make known to you, my Brothers, the grace of God which has been and still is being exhibited very remarkably in the Churches of Macedonia. 2 In the midst of an ordeal of affliction which has served to bring out their genuine Christianity, their overflowing happiness, combined with quite desperate poverty, has issued in a rich stream of simpleminded generosity. 3 For I can testify that up to the very limits, yes, and beyond the limits of their very slender means, they have given freely, and this without one word of suggestion from me. 4 So far from my asking them to help, they begged us most urgently to be allowed the privilege of taking part in the work of ministering to the necessities of their fellow-Christians in Jerusalem. 5 I should be misleading you if I were to say that in this they acted just as we expected that they would; one does not expect much from very poor people; they did far more than we expected. It was their own selves that they gave first and foremost to the Lord and also to us, and they made the offering in both cases because it was so willed by God. 6 The result of their double self-dedication was this. I urged Titus that, as he had been the person to start the raising of a relief-fund on a former visit, so he would now go once more and complete among yourselves this gracious undertaking. 7 Well now, as in everything ye are found to be abundant,—in faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and every kind of zeal, and in the love which unites your hearts with ours,—do see to it that in this gracious undertaking also ye are found to be abundant. The possession of so many rich gifts may well bear this noble fruit, and you ought not to fall short of your endowments.
1. Γνωρίζομεν δὲ ὑμῖν, ἀδελφοί. ‘Now I proceed to make known to you, brethren.’ ‘Moreover’ (AV) is certainly wrong. As in Romans 15:14, Romans 15:16:17; 1 Corinthians 1:10, 1 Corinthians 4:6, 1 Corinthians 7:29, 1 Corinthians 12:1, etc., the δέ and the address mark a transition to something more or less different from what has preceded, and here δέ perhaps suggests some such connexion as ‘Now do not let the joy which I have just expressed prove vain,’ or ‘Now I must pass on from the happiness which you have brought me to the happiness which I had in Macedonia.’ Γνωρίζω ὑμῖν intimates that what he is about to communicate deserves attention (Galatians 1:11; 1 Corinthians 12:3, 1 Corinthians 15:1, where see note). The phrase is found only in the Epistles of this group, but the verb is freq. in N.T. See on 1:8.
τὴν χάριν τοῦ Θεοῦ τὴν δεδομένην ἐν τ. ἐκκλ. τ. Μακ. ‘The grace of God which has been given in the Churches of Macedonia.’ God’s grace has been and still is operating there, producing in the converts a marvellous degree of Christian generosity. Not ‘bestowed on the Churches’ (AV), but ‘given in’ them (RV). Contrast 1 Corinthians 1:4. It was among the Christians there that this grace was exhibited. St Paul probably means the ancient kingdom of Macedonia, in which Philippi, Thessalonica, and Beroea were situated, rather than the Roman province, which included Thessaly and Epirus. The Romans had been very hard on these Macedonians; they had taken possession of the gold and silver mines which were rich sources of revenue, and had taxed the right of smelting copper and iron; they had also reserved to themselves the importation of salt and the felling of timber for building ships. The Macedonians said that their nation was like a lacerated and disjointed animal (Livy, 45:30). On the top of this had come persecution in the case of Christian converts. But God had enabled these impoverished people to do great things for their fellow-Christians; no doubt, with the grace of God, the Corinthians would do the like.
2. ὅτι ἐν πολλῇ δοκιμῇ φλίψεως. ‘That in much testing of affliction.’ The ὅτι depends on γνωρίζομεν, ‘we make known to you that.’ For δοκιμή see on 2:9; here it seems to mean ‘testing’ rather than ‘proof’ (RV); cf. Romans 5:4. With the general sense comp. Jam 1:3; 1 Thessalonians 3:3. Affliction tested the Macedonians and showed what genuine Christians they were. The test was severe and prolonged (πολλῇ); οὐδὲ γὰρ ἁπλῶς ἐθλίβησαν, ἀλλʼ οὕτως ὡς καὶ δόκιμοι γένεσθαι διὰ τῆς ὑπομονῆς (Chrys.). For sufferings of the Thessalonians see 1 Thessalonians 1:6, 1 Thessalonians 2:14.
ἡ περισσεία τῆς χαρᾶς αὐτῶν. ‘The abundance of their joy’; a strange thing to be found ‘in much testing of affliction.’ But few things are more characteristic of the Christians of the Apostolic Age than their exuberant joy. Both substantive and verb are freq. in N.T., and there is plenty of evidence elsewhere. This abiding and conspicuous effect of ‘the good tidings’ was one leading cause of the Gospel’s rapid success. Its missionary power was then, and is still, where it exists, very great. Those who witness great joy in people whose lives are full of trouble are led to think that such people are in possession of something which is well worth having. Περισσεία (10:15; Romans 5:17) is a rare word in literature, but it is found in inscriptions (Deissmann, Light from the Anc. East, p. 80). The repetition of αὐτῶν in this verse has rather a heavy effect; but the Apostle desires to make quite clear that the joy and the poverty and the liberality are found in the very same people, and that it was the joy and the poverty which produced the liberality. The poverty, extreme though it was, neither extinguished the joy nor prevented the liberality.
ἡ κατὰ βάθους πτωχεία αὐτῶν. ‘Their down-to-depth poverty.’ Perhaps a phrase of St Paul’s own coining. It does not mean that their poverty was going deeper and deeper, but that it had already reached the lowest stage. Strabo’s ἄντρον κοῖλον κατὰ βάθους is quoted in illustration. Cf. κατὰ κεφαλῆς (1 Corinthians 9:4). There is an effective oxymoron in ἡ πτωχεία ἐπερίσσευσεν εἰς τὸ πλοῦτος. Cf. The widow’s two mites given out of her want (Luke 21:4), and one Christian having this world’s good while another has only need (1 John 3:17).
τὸ πλοῦτος τῆς ἁπλότητος αὐτῶν. ‘The riches of their liberality.’ The passage from ‘single-mindedness’ or ‘simplicity’ to ‘liberality’ as the meaning of ἁπλότης is not quite obvious. In LXX it means ‘innocency’ (2 Samuel 15:11; 1 Chronicles 29:17; Wisd. 1:1; 1 Macc. 2:37, 60), generally, if not quite always. In N.T. it is peculiar to Paul, and in 11:3 it seems to mean ‘innocency’ or ‘simplicity.’ But in these two chapters (9:11, 13) and in Romans 12:8 (see note there) it seems to mean that simplicity of purpose which is directed towards relieving the necessities of others, and hence to denote ‘generosity’ or ‘liberality.’* St Paul speaks of the richness, not of their gifts, which could not have been large, but of their minds. Munificence is measured, not by the amount given, but by the will of the giver. Excepting 1 Timothy 6:17, πλοῦτος is always used in the Pauline Epp. of moral and spiritual riches; and here, as in Ephesians 1:7, Ephesians 1:2:7, Ephesians 1:3:8, Ephesians 1:16; Php 4:19; Colossians 1:27, Colossians 2:2, the best texts make πλοῦτος neut. In Romans 9:23 and Ephesians 1:18 it is masc., as perhaps elsewhere in N.T.
τὸ πλοῦτος (א* B C P) rather than τὸν πλοῦτον (א3 D F G K L).
3-5. ὅτι κατὰ δύναμιν … διὰ θελήματος Θεοῦ. It will be convenient to take the whole of this long sentence first, and then examine the separate clauses; the constr. is irregular, owing to prolonged dictation. ‘For according to their power, I bear witness, and beyond their power, of their own accord, with much entreaty beseeching of us the favour and the fellowship of the ministering to the saints; and [this] not in the way that we expected, but it was their own selves that they gave first of all to the Lord and to us, through the will of God.’ Three things have been already stated with regard to the help given by the Macedonian Christians. It was rendered (1) in a time of great affliction, (2) in spite of great poverty, (3) with great joy. The Apostle now adds four more particulars. The help was rendered (4) to an extent quite beyond their small means, (5) of their own free will, (6) so much so that they begged to be permitted to take part in ministering to their fellow-Christians, (7) placing themselves at the disposal of St Paul in a way quite beyond his expectation. The long and awkward sentence requires to be broken up, and this almost necessarily involves inserting a few words. But AV is not quite consistent in putting what is inserted in italics; for ‘take upon us’ (v. 4) and ‘this’ (v. 5) should be in italics as well as ‘their,’ ‘they were,’ and ‘they did.’ Moreover, ‘that we should receive’ (v. 4) is no part of the true text (see below). In RV. ‘this grace’ (v. 4) is in excess of the Greek, which has ‘the grace.’ But, in order to make the meaning clear it is almost necessary, with RV., to have ‘they gave’ twice, although it comes only once in the Greek.
3. μαρτυρῶ. Nowhere else is the word used absolutely, as here; cf. Galatians 4:15; Romans 10:2; Colossians 4:13; Revelation 22:18. With this parenthetical insertion of a confirmatory statement comp. ὡς τέκνοις λέγω (6:13), λέγω ὑμῖν (Luke 13:24), and the classical οἶδα, οἶμαι, ὁρᾷς. Blass, § 79.7.
παρὰ δύναμιν. Somewhat stronger than ὑπὲρ δύναμιν (1:8), which K L P have here; it implies not only ‘above and beyond,’ but ‘against, contrary to’ (Hebrews 11:11). It was a sort of contradiction to their poverty to give so much. The words do not belong to αὐθαίρετοι, ‘spontaneous beyond their power,’ but to the belated ἔδωκαν.*
αὐθαίρετοι. The word occurs nowhere in Bibl. Grk., excepting here and v. 17. In Xen. Anab. v. vii. 29 we have it of selfelected commanders, but it is more often used of things which are spontaneously accepted, death, slavery, etc. (Thuc. 6:40). Cf. αὐθαιρέτως (2 Macc. 6:19; 3 Macc. 6:6), in the same sense as αὐθαίρετοι here, viz. of persons acting spontaneously. The combination ἑκουσίως καὶ αὐθαιρέτως is freq. in papyri. Of course this excludes only the Apostle’s asking; vv. 1 and 5 show that the Divine prompting is fully recognized.
4. δεόμενοι ἡμῶν τὴν χάριν καὶ τὴν κοινωνίαν τῆς διακονίας. ‘Begging of us the favour, viz. the sharing in the ministering to the saints.’ The Macedonians entreated to be allowed the privilege of fellowship in so good a work. Cf. 1 Thessalonians 2:3. St Paul had possibly been unwilling to take much from people who were so poor. οὐχ ἡμεῖς αὐτῶν ἐδεήθημεν ἀλλʼ αὐτοὶ ἡμῶν (Chrys.). AV here is much astray; τὴν χάριν is not the gift for the Apostle to receive, but the favour for him to grant, viz. allowing the Macedonians to help. Cf. Acts 24:27, Acts 25:3. They knew that it was more blessed to give than to receive. The καί probably epexegetic. An aec. of a substantive after δέομαι is unusual, although τοῦτο δέμαι ὑμῶν is common.
τῆς διακονίας τῆς εἰς τοὺς ἁγίους. ‘The charitable ministering to the Christians.’ This is a freq. meaning of διακόινα (9:1, 12, 13; Acts 6:1, Acts 11:29, Acts 12:25), a word which occurs more often in 2 Cor. and Acts than in all the rest of the N.T. He adds εἰς τοὺς ἁγίους to explain the motive of the Macedonians; it was because help was wanted for Christians that they were so urgent in asking to be allowed to contribute; sic mavult dicere quam ‘pauperes’; id facit ad impetrandum (Beng. on 1 Corinthians 16:1). Deissmann (Bib. St. p. 117) thinks that this use of εἰς instead of the dat. comm. is Alexandrian rather than Hebraistic; it is found in papyri.
δέξασθαι ἡμᾶς after ἁγίους is an unintelligent gloss found in a few cursives and other inferior authorities.
5. ὃ καὶ οὐ καθὼς ἠλπίσαμεν. ‘And they did this, not as we expected (but far beyond our expectations).’ To confine this to their giving spontaneously is probably a mistake. What follows shows what is meant. Cf. οὐ τὰ ὑμῶν ἀλλά ὑμᾶς (12:14).
ἀλλʼ ἑαυτους ἔδωκαν πρῶτον. The emphasis is ἑατούς by position. ‘On the contrary, it was their own selves that they first and foremost gave to the Lord and to us.’ Cf. Exodus 14:31. Πρῶτον here does not mean ‘before I asked them,’ and probably does not mean ‘before they gave money.’ It means ‘first in importance’; the crowning part of their generosity was their complete self-surrender. They placed themselves at the Apostle’s disposal for the service of Christ. It is possible that this means no more than a general disposition to do all that was within their power; but it may refer to “personal service in the work of spreading the Gospel, such as was given by Sopater of Beroea, Aristarchus and Secundus of Thessalonica, and Epaphroditus of Philippi” (J. H. Bernard). To these we may add Jason and Gaius, who were Macedonians, and perhaps Demas. With τῷ κυρίῳ καὶ ἡμῖν comp. τῷ πνεύματι τῷ ἁγίῳ καὶ ἡμῖν (Acts 15:28).
διὰ θελήματος Θεοῦ. Some confine this to καὶ ἡμῖν but it belongs to the whole clause; their offering of themselves was governed by the will of God; see v. 1.
B has ἠλπίκαμεν, which may be safely rejected; the aor. is quite in place.
6. εἰς τὸ παρακαλέσαι ἡμᾶς Τίτον. We are still under the influence of the rather hard-worked ἔδωκαν, which totam periochae structuram sustinet (Beng.). ‘It was their own selves that they gave … so that we entreated Titus, that, just as he started (the collection) before, so he would also complete among you this gracious work also.’ The εἰς τό implies some such connecting thought as ‘I was so encouraged by the generosity of the Macedonians that I thought I would send Titus to you.’ We hardly need καί in both places, but the pleonasm would easily be made in dictating. The second καί, however, may mean that there were other things which Titus had started. The rare verb προενήρξατο implies that Titus has been at Corinth before he took the severe letter alluded to in 7:12. This is some confirmation of the view that he, rather than Timothy, was the bearer of 1 Cor. But he may have been in Corinth before 1 Cor. to start the collection. In 1 Corinthians 16:1 the λογία is mentioned as a subject already known to the Corinthians; see note there. They may have asked about it. See on 12:18. B here has ἐνήρξατο, a verb which occurs Galatians 3:3 and Php 1:6, in both of which passages it is combined with ἐπιτελέω, and in both of them Lightfoot thinks that a sacrificial metaphor may be intended, for both verbs are sometimes used of religious ceremonials, the one of initiatory rites and the other of sacrifices and other sacred observances. See Westcott on Hebrews 9:6. * The ἵνα gives the purport rather than the purpose of the entreaty or exhortation, and ἵνα ἐπιτελέσῃ is almost equivalent to a simple infinitive; cf. 1 Corinthians 4:3, 1 Corinthians 16:12.
εἰς ὑμᾶς. ‘Among you’; lit. ‘towards you,’ ‘in reference to you.’
καὶ τὴν χάριν ταύτην. ‘This gracious work also.’ This has no reference to τὴν χάριν τοῦ Θεοῦ (v. 1): it is not ‘the grace of God’ which Titus is to make efficacious, but the gracious efforts for the poor Christians that he is to bring to a fruitful conclusion. Nor is it likely that there is any reference to the good work done by Titus in reconciling the Corinthians to the Apostle; that would hardly be spoken of as χάρις. It is remarkable how frequently ταύτην, ταύτῃ or ταύτης recurs in this connexion; vv. 7, 19, 20, 9:5, 12, 13. In 9:1. εἰς τοὺς ἁγίους takes its place for variety. The precise force of καί, ‘as well as something else,’ remains doubtful.
7.ἀλλʼ ὥσπερ ἐν παντὶ περισσεύετε. ‘But there is another and a stronger consideration. What God has enabled the Macedonians to do is one incentive; you must also remember what He has done for you. You abound in everything; do not fall short of your great powers.’
πίστει. Faith in Christ, such as every believer has. See on Romans 1:17, pp. 31f.
λόγῳ καὶ γνώσει. These were specially valued at Corinth; St Paul treats both as Divine gifts, and, except in his Epistles and 2 Pet., γνῶσις is rarely so regarded in N.T. There is probably no reference to speaking with Tongues. See on 1 Corinthians 1:5, which to a considerable extent is parallel to this.
σπουδῇ. The word combines the ideas of eagerness, earnestness, and carefulness. AV employs seven different terms in translating it; in the Epistles, ‘carefulness,’ ‘care,’ ‘diligence,’ ‘forwardness,’ ‘earnest care,’ and ‘business’; in the Gospels, ‘haste.’ Even the Revisers use four; in the Epistles, ‘earnest care,’ ‘earnestness,’ and ‘diligence’; in the Gospels, ‘haste.’ These variations show the wide compass of the word.
τῇ ἐξ ὑμῶν ἐν ἡμῖν ἀγάπῃ. The reading is doubtful, and the meaning in either case is not quite certain, whether we read ὑμῶν ἐν ἡμῖν or ἡμῶν ἐν ὑμῖν. Neither ‘the love which comes from you and dwells in us,’ nor ‘the love which comes from us and dwells in you,’ is a phrase which has a very clear meaning. The love which wins love in return may be meant, and that may be expressed by either reading; ‘your love for us which binds us to you’ seems to suit the context. The love, like the faith, etc., is in the Corinthians.
ἵνα καὶ ἐν ταύτῃ τῇ χάριτι π. This shows clearly the meaning of τὴν χάριν ταύτην in v. 6. The ἵνα is probably elliptical, and we may understand παρακαλῶ from v. 6, or a similar verb. The elliptical ἵνα is then a gentle substitute for the direct imperative, as in the letter of the Jerusalem Jews to those in Egypt, 2 Macc. 1:9; καὶ νῦν ἵνα ἄγητε τὰς ἡμέρας τῆς σκηνοπηγίας τοῦ Χασιλεὺ μηνός. Cf. also Galatians 2:10; 33; 23. This use of ἵνα is found in papyri. The ἀλλά is against making ἵνα co-ordinate with the ἵνα v. 6; and in any case this would be an awkward constr. Ἀλλά is at rather than sed; it marks, not opposition, but the transition from statement to exhortation (Matthew 9:18; Mark 9:22; Luke 7:7). Ταύτῃ is emphatic by position; ‘in this gracious work also,’ as in faith, utterance, knowledge, and love. He is anxious not to seem to be finding fault.
8:8-15. I Give No Orders. The Example of Christ Need Only Be Mentioned. Each of You Must Decide How Much He Ought to Give.
3 Do not think that I am issuing commands. I am not dictating to you. Not at all. I am merely calling your attention to the enthusiasm of the Macedonians in order to prove how genuine is your love also. (9 There is no need to give orders to you. You know how gracious the Lord Jesus Christ was. He was so rich in the glory of the Godhead; yet all for your sake He became so poor, in order that you, yes you, might become spiritually rich.) 10 I say I am not giving orders; it is just a view of the matter that I am offering you in what I write. This surely is the proper way in dealing with people like you, who were first in the field, not merely in doing something but in cherishing a desire to help, and that was as far back as last year. 11 But now do carry the doing also through, so that your readiness in desiring to help may be equalled by your way of carrying it through, so far, of course, as your means allow. 12 For if the readiness to give is forthcoming, and to give in proportion to one’s possessions, this is very acceptable: no one is expected to give in proportion to what he does not possess. 13 I do not mean that other people should be relieved at the cost of bringing distress on you, but that there should be equality of burdens. At the present crisis your surplus goes to meet their deficit, 14 in order that some day their surplus may come to meet your deficit, so that there may be equality. 15 This is just what stands written in Scripture;—
‘He who gathered his much had not too much,
And he who gathered his little had not too little.
8. Οὐ κατʼ ἐπιταγὴν λέγω. ‘Not by way of command am I speaking.’ Κατʼ ἐπιταγήν is a Pauline phrase, and it is used in two different senses. With a negative, as here and 1 Corinthians 7:6 (see note), it means ‘not by way of command’; there is nothing dictatorial in what he says; he is not issuing orders or laying down rules. Without a negative and with a following gen., e.g. Θεοῦ, as Romans 16:26; 1 Timothy 1:1; Titus 1:3, it means ‘in accordance with God’s command,’ equivalent to διὰ θελήματος Θεοῦ (1:1, 8:5; 1 Corinthians 1:1; Ephesians 1:1; Colossians 1:1; 2 Timothy 1:1). Vulg. is capricious; here, non quasi imperans; 1 Corinthians 7:6, non secundum imperium; Romans 16:26, secundum praeceptum; so also 1 Timothy 1:1 and Titus 1:1. Cf. Philemon 1:8, Philemon 1:9.
ἀλλὰ … δοκιμάζων. ‘But as proving (13:5), by means of the earnestness of others, the sincerity of your love also.’ No verb has to be supplied; λέγω continues. The mention of the zeal of the Macedonians will show that the Corinthians’ love is as real as theirs. Excepting Luke 12:56, Luke 12:14:19; 1 Peter 1:7; 1 John 4:1, δουκιμάζω is a Pauline word, and it is found in all four groups, 17 times in all. Whereas πειράζω is sometimes neutral, but generally means testing with the sinister object of producing failure, δοκιμάζω is sometimes neutral (as in Lk.), is never used in the sense of ‘tempt,’ and often as here, means ‘prove’ with the hope of a favourable result, or with the implied idea that the testing has had such a result. Hence it acquires the sense of ‘approve’ (Romans 2:18, Romans 14:22), and is never used of the attempts of Satan to make men fail. AV in translating uses ‘examine,’ ‘try,’ ‘discern,’ ‘prove,’ ‘approve,’ ‘allow,’ ‘like’; RV. uses some of these and adds ‘interpret’ (Luke 12:56). Vulg. has comprobo here, but everywhere else in N.T. probo or temto. The meaning here is that St Paul is quite sure that the good example of the Macedonians will be followed at Corinth. See Trench, Syn. § lxxiv.; Cremer, Lex. s.v.
καὶ τὸ τῆς ὑμετέρας ἀγάπης γνήσιον. ‘Whatever is genuine in your love also.’ St Paul is fond of the substantival adj. followed by a gen.; τὸ μωρὸν τοῦ Θεοῦ, τὸ ὑπερέχον τῆς γνώσεως, τὸ χρηστὸν τοῦ Θεοῦ. Cf. 4:17. We have a similar expression Jam 1:3, τὸ δοκίμιον ὑμῶν τῆς πίστεως, and still more similar in 1 Peter 1:7, if τὸ δόκιμον be the right reading. Deissmann (Bib. St. pp. 250, 259) cites an inscription of Sestos which has πρὸ πλείστου θέμενος τὸ πρὸς τὴν πατρίδα γνήσιον. See Blass, § 47. 1. Ινήσιος means ‘not supposititious,’ ‘legitimate,’ ‘genuine,’ and ὑμετέρας answers to ἐτέρων. both being emphatic.*
9. γινώσκετε γάρ. The γάρ introduces the reason why he issues no orders; there is no need. The Corinthians have their own loyal affection; they have the example of the Macedonians; and, if that were absent, they have the far more constraining example of Christ. The γάρ in itself is almost proof that γινώσκετε is indicative, which is probable on other grounds. Scitis enim gratiam (Vulg.).
τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ [Χριστοῦ]. B omits Χριστοῦ, but it is probably original. The full title adds to the impressiveness of the appeal; Domini nostri Jesu Christi (Vulg.); ‘the free gift of our Lord Jesus Christ.’
διʼ ὑμᾶς. Placed first with great emphasis. There is not only the example of a self-sacrificing life, but of a sacrifice made on behalf of the Corinthians. Christ not only claimed obedience by declaring Himself to be the Legislator of a new Church and the Supreme judge of all mankind, He also inspired intense affection and devotion by laying men under an immense obligation. He was One whom it was impossible for men to benefit by conferring on Him earthly advantages, and yet, being so great and rich, He sacrificed for over thirty years more than men can at all comprehend, in order to do them good; Ecce Homo, ch. v. sub fin. The pre-existence of Christ is plainly taught here, as in Galatians 4:4 (see Lightfoot). See on Romans 8:3, Romans 8:4 and Colossians 2:9 f.; also on 1 Corinthians 10:4.
ἐπτώχευσεν πλούσιος ὤν. Egenus factus est, cum esset dives (Vulg.). The ὤν is imperf. part., and the aor. points to the moment of the Incarnation. Previous to that He was rich (John 17:5); at that crisis He became poor. That was the immeasurable impoverishment (Php 2:6-8). That for years He lived the life of a carpenter, and that when He left His Mother’s house He had not where to lay His head, is of small account, and would be a very inadequate interpretation of ἐπτώχενσεν. He was not like Moses, who renounced the luxury of the palace in order to serve his brethren; He never had any earthly riches to renounce. “His riches were prior to His earthly life in a pre-existent life with God. He became poor when He entered the world, with a definite purpose to enrich His disciples, not in earthly goods, but in the same riches He Himself originally possessed in the heavenly world” (Briggs, The Messiah of the Apostles, p. 121). * Here is the supreme incentive to benevolence; to being willing, nay, eager, to give up a great deal in order to help others. ‘This ineffable surrender was made for you.’
ἵνα ὑμεῖς τῇ ἐκείνου πτωχείᾳ πλουτήσητε. Both pronouns are emphatic; ‘that you, through His poverty, might become rich,’ viz. with the heavenly riches of union with God in Christ and the assurance of eternal life. Meum ergo paupertas illa patrimonium est, et infirmitas Domini mea est virtus; maluit sibi indigere, ut omnibus abundaret (Ambrose on Luke 2:41). Perhaps the main lesson of the verse is that Christ gave Himself, and in all genuine liberality something of self must be given. Cf. John 17:22, John 17:24; Romans 8:30; 2 Timothy 2:11, 2 Timothy 2:12.
This motive for liberality is remarkable as being made so incidentally, as if there was no need to do more than mention it. It was so well known, and it was so unanswerable. Perhaps we ought hardly to call it a parenthesis; but such a description is only a slight exaggeration. The Apostle at once returns to the point about which he is nervously anxious. He is not giving commands as an authority who must be obeyed; that would spoil everything. He is laying his own views before them, and they must act of their own free will.
We have again the common confusion between ἡμεῖς and ὑμεῖς. Read δι ὐμᾶς (א B D F G L P, Latt. Syrr. Copt, Goth.) rather than δι ἡμᾶς (C K), which makes sense, but very inferior sense. To read ἡμετέρας (some cursives) in v. 8 spoils the sense.
10. καὶ γνώμην ἐν τούτῳ δίδωμι. ‘And it is an opinion that I am offering you in this,’ not a command. Here, as in 1 Corinthians 7:25, where γνωνμη is contrasted with ἐπιταγή, Vulg. has considium for the former. He has told them before (1 Corinthians 7:40) that he believes that his opinion is worth considering. Like τοῦτο in the next sentence, ἐν τούτῳ is ambiguous. It may mean either ‘in what I am saying’ or ‘in this matter of the relief fund.’
τοῦτο γὰρ ὑμῖν συμφέρει, οἵτινες κ.τ.λ. ‘For this is expedient for people like you, who, etc.’ Lit. ‘for you who are of such a character as, etc.’ Τοῦτο may mean simply ‘This giving liberally which I suggest to you’; and in that case συμφέρει means ‘is for your good morally.’ But τοῦτο may also mean (and with rather more point in connexion with the preceding sentence and v. 8), ‘To offer an opinion, and not give a command, is the method which is suitable to people like you, who were to the front, not only in doing something, but also in desiring to do something, as long ago as last year.’ People who have not even a wish to move are the kind of people to whom one issues commands. Herveius understands τοῦτο as meaning ‘To win the riches of Christ by imitating His poverty is well worth your doing.’ This is a more elaborate form of the first interpretation. The force of οἵτινες must in any case be preserved.
But why is doing placed in this position, as if it were inferior to willing? To say that in morals it is the will that is of value, and not what is accomplished, is not satisfying. It is not probable that St Paul had any such thought. Nor is it very satisfactory to suppose that in dictating he inadvertently transposed the two verbs. We get a better explanation if we suppose that he wished to say that the Corinthians were the very first in the field, not only in setting to work, but in intending to set to work. This explanation does not require us to give to the προ- in προενήρξασθε the meaning ‘before the Macedonians,’ which is perhaps too definite; but, if that is the force of the preposition, the explanation has all the more point. The change from the aor. ποιῆσαι to the pres. θέλειν is to be noted, indicating the difference between some particular action and the continual wishing to act. This may perhaps intimate that the acting has ceased, and that only the wishing remains. They had been first in both, but now others were before them in acting. There are two other explanations, ‘not only to do, but to do it willingly,’ and ‘not indeed with the doing, but at any rate with the willing.’ Both make good sense, but neither can be got out of the Greek as we have it. There must be conjectural emendation of the text in order to justify either; and if we are to make conjectures, the simplest is the transposition of the two verbs, as is done in the Peshitto Syriac.
ἀπὸ πέρυσι. ‘From last year,’ i.e. ‘as long ago as last year.’ Not ‘a year ago,’ as AV and RV., which implies twelve months ago. If, as is probable, 2 Cor. was written late in the year, and if St Paul is reckoning, either according to the Jewish civil year, or according to the Macedonian year, then ‘last year’ might mean the spring of the same year, according to our reckoning. If he is following the Olympiads, which he might do in writing to Corinthians, this way of expressing himself would be still more easy. The Macedonian year is said, like the Jewish civil year (Tisri), to have begun about October; and counting by Olympiads the year would begin in the summer. Therefore in all three cases a person writing in November might speak of the previous January—April as ‘last year.’ When 1 Cor. was written the collection of money at Corinth had hardly begun (1 Corinthians 16:1 f). On this point turns the interval between 1 Cor. and 2 Cor. Here we are told that ‘last year’ the collecting had begun. Does this imply an interval of much less than a year or of much more than a year? See Introduction; also K. Lake, Earlier Letters of St Paul. p. 140. The expression ἀπὸ πέρυσι is found in papyri, and the combination probably belongs to the language of the people; προπέρυσι and ἐκπέρυσι are also used in the like sense. Deissmann, Bib. St. p. 221.
προενήρζασθε (א B C K L P) rather than ἐνήρξασθε(D F G); cf. v. 6.
11. νυνὶ δὲ καὶ τὸ ποιῆσαι ἐπιτελέσατε. ‘But now complete the doing also, that as there [was] the readiness to will, so there may be the completion also according to your means.’ It would be a sad thing that those who were foremost in willing should be hindermost in performing; they must bring their performance into line with their willingness. There is no verb expressed with καθάπερ ἡ προθυμία τοῦ θέλειν. We may supply either ‘was’ or ‘is.’ Each Corinthian would know whether he still possessed this προθυμια. The stronger form νυνί intimates that there should be no more delay; ‘precisely now and not later.’ It is rare else where in N.T., but freq. in Paul, generally as here in the usual temporal sense, but sometimes logical, as 1 Corinthians 13:13; cf. Heb. 9:29.
ἐκ τοῦ ἔχειν. Ambiguous; it might mean ‘out of that which ye have’ (AV); which has little point: if they give, it must be out of what they possess. The next verse shows that it mean’s ‘in proportion to what you possess.’ Evidently the readiness to give had for some time not been very great, certainly not since the rupture between the Apostle and the Corinthians, and now he does not wish to alarm them. He had put before them the example of the Macedonians, who had given ‘beyond their means’ (v. 3). He assures the Corinthians that he is not suggesting that they ought to give beyond their means; but they no doubt see that they ought to give, and he urges them to do so without further delay. Excepting Acts 17:11, προθυμία is peculiar to 2 Cor. (vv. 12, 19, 9:2).
12. εἰ γὰρ ἡ προθυμία πρόκειται. ‘For if the readiness is there (lit. ‘lies before us’), it is acceptable according as [a man] may have, and not according as [he] has not.’ The τις is not original, but perhaps it ought to be supplied (RV). Otherwise ἡ προθυμία personified is the nom. to ἔχη and ἔχει. Cf. Tobit 4:8, which is one of the offertory sentences in the English Liturgy. It is not likely that πρόκειται here means ‘precedes,’ ‘be first’ (AV), prius adsit (Beza). The amount that a man may have is indefinite, ἐὰν ἔχῃ: his not having is a definite fact (οὐκ ἔξει). In Romans 15:31 εὐπρόσδεκτος is again used in reference to the Palestine relief fund. See on 6:2, and Hort on 1 Peter 2:5; also Index IV. *
ἐάν (B C D3 E K P) rather than ἄν (א D* F G L). א B C* D F G K P omit τις, which C2 L have after ἔχῃ and D F G after ἔχει.
13, 14. οὐ γὰρ ἵνα ἄλλιος ἄενσις. Something is often understood before ἵνα: ‘I mean’ (AV), or ‘I say this’ (RV), or ‘the object is’ (Waite and others), etc. But the ellipse is just as intelligible in English as in Greek, and in English no conjunction is needed; ‘Not that there is to be relief for others, pressure for you: but according to equality, etc.’ For ἄνεσις see on 2:13; also Index IV.
ἀλλʼ ἐξ ἰσότητος. These words may be taken either with what precedes or with what follows. Although ὅπως γένηται ἰσότης occurs at the end of the next sentence, it is perhaps best to take ἀλλʼ ἐξ ἰσότητος at the beginning of it. Place a colon at ‘pressure for you’ and continue; ‘but according to equality—at the present season your abundance to meet their want, that their abundance also may meet your want, so that the result may be equality.’* There is to be reciprocity, mutual give and take, so that in the end each side has rendered the same kind of service to the other. We need not bring in here the thought in Romans 15:27 of Gentiles giving material help in return for spiritual help. Here the help on both sides is material. The Apostle contemplates the possibility of Corinthian Christians being in distress, and of Jerusalem Christians sending money to relieve it, Vulg. supplies words which are not in the Greek; and something must be supplied; vestra abundantia illorum inopiam suppleat; ut et illorum abundantia vestrae inopiae sit supplementum. Beza has suppleat in both clauses. Ἐν τῷ νῦν καιρῷ as in Romans 3:26, Romans 11:5.
τὸ ὑμῶν περίσσευμα … τὸ ὑμῶν ὑστέρημα. This use of ὑμῶν between the art. and the noun is freq. in Paul; see on 1:6 and cf. 1 Corinthians 7:35, 1 Corinthians 9:12.
The δέ after ὑμῖν (א3 D E G K L P, Vulg. Goth. Arm.) is probably an insertion for the sake of smoothness; א* B C 17, d e, Aeth. omit. Note D E and d e.
15. The quotation hardly illustrates more than the idea of equality of some sort; not the equality which is the result of mutual give and take, which is a voluntary process, but that which is the result of the same measure being imposed on all, which is not voluntary. In LXX we have οὐκ ἐπλεόνασεν ὁ τὲ πολύ and ὁ τὸ ἔλαττον οὐκ ἠλαττόνησεν (Exodus 16:18). Some Israelites were eager to gather much manna; others through modesty or indifference gathered little. When they came to measure it, they all found they had exactly the prescribed amount. St Paul perhaps suggests that the equality which had to be forced upon those Israelites ought to be joyfully anticipated in the new Israel. The Corinthian Christians ought spontaneously to secure themselves against getting more than their share of this world’s goods by giving to the Jerusalem Christians before there was any need to require help from them.
καθὼς γέγραπται. Cf. 9:9; 1 Corinthians 1:31. 1 Corinthians 1:11:9; Romans 1:17; ect. This form of citation is in Paul confined to Corinthians and Romans, and it is very freq. in Romans.
ὁ τὸ πολὺ κ.τ.λ. Qui multum, non abundavit, et qui modicum, non minoravit (Vulg.). ‘He who gathered his much had not too much, And he who gathered his little had not too little.’ In one sense this equality holds good in the other world also (Matthew 20:9, Matthew 20:10); quia omnes habebunt vitae aeternae aequalitatem (Herveius). But it does not follow from this that there will be no distinctions in that life.
In what follows we have the business arrangements respecting the collection for the fund. It is a kind of ἐπιστολὴ συστατική (3:1) for the officials.
8:16-9:5. Titus and Two Approved Colleagues Will Help You to Organize the Fund. There Shall Be No Room for Suspecting Underhand Dealing. Give a Hearty Welcome to the Three, and Have Everything Ready in Good Time
16 But thanks be to God, who is putting into the heart of Titus the same eager zeal that I myself always entertain. 17 I am not speaking at random. He not only readily responds to my appeal, but being from the first full of zealous eagerness, it is of his own unprompted choice that he is setting off to go to you. 18 And I am sending with him as a colleague that brother whose services in spreading the Gospel have won him the praise of all the Churches. 19 And, what is more, this brother has been elected by the Churches to be our fellow-traveller in this work of benevolence which is being administered by us to promote the honour of the Lord Himself and increase my own readiness. 20 I want to make quite sure that no one shall be able to criticize or suspect our conduct in the matter of this charity-fund which is being administered by us. 21 For I aim at doing what is absolutely honourable, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men. 22 And with Titus and the brother just mentioned I am sending another brother of whose eager zeal I have had many proofs in many particulars; and in the present matter his zeal is in a very special degree eager, by reason of the special confidence which he has been led to place in you. 23 If anyone wishes to know about Titus, he is my intimate colleague and my fellow-labourer in all work for you; and as to the two brethren who accompany him, they are apostles of Churches, an honour to Christ. 24 Give them therefore a conspicuous proof of your affection and of the good reason that I have to be proud of you; so that the Churches from which they come may know how well you have behaved.
9. 1 For, in the first place, with regard to the ministration to the poor Christians at Jerusalem, it is really superfluous for me to be writing to you: 2 for I know your readiness, about which I am always boasting on your behalf to the Macedonians. ‘Achaia,’ I tell them, ‘has been ready since last year.’ And your zeal has been a stimulus to most of them. 3 And, in the second place, I am sending Titus and his two colleagues to make sure that my boasting about you is not stultified in this matter of the relief-fund; that you might be quite ready, as I used to tell the Macedonians that you were. 4 For it would be disastrous if Macedonians were to come with me and find you unprepared. That would bring utter shame to me—to say nothing of you—for having expressed this great confidence in you. 5 To avoid this possible discredit I thought it absolutely necessary to entreat these three brethren to go to you before me, and get into order before I come the bounty which you promised before, so that all may be ready in good time as really a bounty and not as a grudging and niggardly contribution.
16. Χάρις δὲ τῷ Θεῷ τῷ δίδοντι κ.τ.λ. ‘But thanks be to God who is perpetually putting the same earnest care on your behalf in the heart of Titus.’ Vide quam late pateat hoc officium gratias agendi (Beng.). Cf. 2:14, 9:15; 1 Corinthians 15:57; Romans 6:17. We had διδόναι ἐν ταῖς καρδίαις in 1:22; cf. John 3:35; Joh_1 Macc. 2:7, 5:50; 3 Macc. 2:20. The ἐν implies that whatever is given remains where it is placed. The changes of meaning in this chapter with regard to χάρις should be noted (vv. 4, 6, 7, 19 of the relief-fund; but vv. 1, 9, 16 quite different). ‘The same earnest care’ probably means ‘that I have on your behalf,’ rather than ‘that you have for the relief-fund,’ or ‘that Titus had for the Thessalonians.’ There is a delicate touch in ὑπὲρ ὑμῶν. The Corinthians might think that the zeal of Titus for the relief-fund was zeal on behalf of the Jerusalem poor; but it was really on behalf of the Corinthians. They would be the chief losers if a suitable sum was not raised in Corinth.
δίδοντι (א * B C K P, g) rather than δόντι (א 3 D E G L, d e Vulg.).
17. ὅτι τὴν μὲν παράκλησιν ἐδέξατο. ‘For, to begin with, he welcomes our appeal.’ This and the next two verbs are epistolary aorists, which must be rendered as presents in English. Cf. 2:3, 9:3.
σπουδαιότερος δὲ ν̔πάρχων κ.τ.λ. ‘Secondly, in his characteristic earnestness, of his own accord he is going forth to you.’
18. συνεπέμψαμεν δὲ τὸν ἀδελφὸν μετʼ αὐτοῦ. ‘And we are sending together with him the brother, whose praise for proclaiming the Gospel rings through all the Churches’; lit. ‘whose praise in the Gospel is through all the Churches’; der das Lob hat am Evangelio durch alle Gemeinen (Luther). As in Galatians 2:12, a verb compounded with συν is followed by μετά. The point of a description of the two brethren who are to accompany Titus (vv. 18-23) is that St Paul is not sending to the Corinthians persons of no repute.* Both of them are tried men who have done good service. Lietzmann thinks that in the original letter the names must have been given, and that they were afterwards omitted, possibly because these two delegates proved to be not very acceptable at Corinth. But if the two were as yet unknown at Corinth, to mention their names would be of little use; this letter was to go with them, and Titus would introduce them. It was, however, of importance that the Corinthians should know how highly the Apostle and others thought of them.
There have been many conjectures as to the first of the two brethren; Barnabas (Chrys., Thdrt.), Luke (Origen, Hom. 1. in Luc., Ephraem), and (in modern writers) Silas, Mark, Erastus, Trophimus, Aristarchus, Secundus, and Sopater of Beroea. On the whole, Luke seems to be the best guess, and it is evidently assumed in the Collect for St Luke’s Day. Bachmann and G. H. Rendall strongly support it. If Luke was left at Philippi from the time when St Paul first visited it to the time of his return to it, a period of about six years, he might have become a favourite in Macedonia and be an obvious person to select to collect alms for Jerusalem in Gentile Churches. Rendall regards it as “hardly short of demonstrable that this was none other than S. Luke” (p. 79). Renan rejects it (p. 455 n.). But of course ἐν τῷ εὐαγγελίῳ cannot refer to St Luke’s Gospel, which was not yet written. Souter takes τὸν ἀδελφόν in the literal sense as meaning the brother of Titus (Exp. Times, 18 pp. 285, 325-336).
19. οὐ μόνον δὲ ἀλλὰ κ.τ.λ. ‘And not only [is he praised through all the Churches], but he was also appointed by the Churches to be our fellow-traveller in this work of grace which is being administered by us to promote the glory of the Lord Himself and our readiness.’ There are some doubtful points here. (1) To which word does πρὸς τὴν κ.τ.λ. belong? To χειροτονηθείς or to διακονουμένῃ? Was this brother appointed to promote the glory, etc.? Or is the fund being administered for this purpose? The latter seems more suitable, and is adopted in Vulg. (2) Has πρός the same sense in reference to προθυμἱαν ἡμῶν as to τήν … δόξαν? Both AV and RV make a change of meaning, which is somewhat violent, but not impossible in a dictated letter. Yet no change is necessary. We may render πρός either ‘to show’ or ‘to promote’ in both cases. ‘To show the glory and our readiness’ is simple enough; but ‘to promote the glory and our readiness’ makes good sense and may be right, if the clause be taken with χειρονηθείς. The appointment of this efficient colleague tended to increase the glory of God and the Apostle’s readiness. His enthusiasm was made still greater when the prospects of success were increased by giving Titus such a helper. The constr. of χειροτονηθείς. is irregular; we want ἐχειροτονήθη. Cf. θλιβόμενοι (7:5), and στελλόμενοι (v. 20). Blass, § 79. 10. Χειροτονέω is an interesting verb exhibiting three marked stages in its history; (1) ‘elect by show of hands’; (2) ‘elect’ in any way; (3) ‘appoint,’ whether by election or not. Elsewhere in N.T. Acts 14:23 only. It is certain that the verb is used by contemporary writers for appointment without election; and the substantive also. Josephus has the verb of God’s appointing David to be king (Ant. vi. xiii.9) and of Jonathan being appointed high priest by Alexander (Ant. xiii. ii. 2). Philo uses χειροτονία of Pharaoh’s appointment of Joseph to be governor of Egypt. (De Josepho, § 21, Mang. p. 58). Similar usage is found in inscriptions. Neither here nor in Acts does it mean the imposition of hands in ordination, ἐπἰθεσις τῶν χειρῶν, or the stretching out of the hands previous to imposition, which is a much later use. In Acts 14:23 the ordination of the presbyters is implied in προσευξάμενοι, not in χειστονή σαντες. In Acts Vulg. has constituo, here ordino; AV has ‘ordain’ in Acts and ‘choose’ here; RV has ‘appoint’ in both.
συνέκδημος. ‘To go abroad with us,’ ‘to be our companion in travel,’ a subordinate, not a colleague, like Barnabas. Here and Acts 19:20 only. Vulg. has comes perigrinationis here and comites without perigrinationis in Acts, where συνεκδήμους is used of Aristarchus and Gaius. Hence some think that it refers to Aristarchus here (Redlich, S. Paul and his Companions, p. 217).
ἐν τῇ χάριτι (B C P, f Vulg. Copt. Arm. Aeth.) rather than σὺν τῇ κ. (א D F G K L, d e g, Syrr.). B C D * G L, Latt. Copt. omit αὐτοῦ before τοῦ κυρὶαν. F and a few cursives, followed by T. R., have ὑμῶν after προθυμίαν, an obvious correction, to agree with v. 11 and 9:2, where the προθυμία is in the Corinthians. Baljon conjectures κατὰ προθ. ἡμῶν.
20. στελλόμενοι τοῦτο, μή τις ἡμᾶς μωμήοηται. ‘Taking precautions about this, that no man blame (6:3) us in the matter of this bounty which is being administered by us.’ The participle explains why this colleague has been given to Titus, and in construction it belongs to συνεπέμψαμεν: δίδοντες (v. 12) is some what similar in constr. Cf. Wisd. 14:1; 2 Macc. 5:1; also 2 Thessalonians 3:6, the only other passage in N.T. in which στέλλομαι occurs. From meaning ‘tighten,’ στέλλω comes to mean ‘hold back,’ ‘check,’ and στέλλομαι means ‘draw back from’; cf. ὑποστἐλλω (Galatians 2:13), and see Westcott on Hebrews 10:38. Here Vulg. has devitantes and in 2 Thessalonians 3:6 subtrahatis vos: Τὸ στέλλεσθαι ἀντὶ τοῦ χωρίζεσθαι τέθεικε (Thdrt.).
τῇ ἁδρότητι. Plenitudine (Vulg.). From ‘fulness and firmness’ in the human body and speech it comes to mean any kind of ‘abundance.’ Wetstein says it occurs four times in Zosimus of ‘munificent giving,’ which is the meaning here. The Apostle assumes that the amount raised will be large, and he must secure himself against all possibility of suspicion that he administered it dishonestly.* He might have repeated ἐν τῇ χάριτι ταύτῃ (vv. 7, 19), but he prefers an unusual word (nowhere else in Bibl. Grk.) to show that he feels sure that the Corinthians will be bountiful.
21. προνοοῦμεν γὰρ καλά. He is quoting LXX of Proverbs 3:4, καὶ προνοοῦ καλὰ ἐνώπιον Κυρίου καὶ ἀνθρώπων, where the Heb. gives, ‘And thou shalt find favour and good understanding in the sight, etc.’ See Toye, ad loc. St Paul quotes the text again Romans 12:17, προνοούμενοι καλὰ ἐνώπιον πάντων ἀνθρώπων, as a reason for not being revengeful, in both cases following LXX rather than the Heb. ‘For we aim at things honourable’; lit. ‘we take forethought for’; cf. Wisd. 6:8. Caput autem est in omni procuratione negotii et muneris publici, ut avaritiae pellatur minima suspitio (Cic. De Off. 11. 21:75). Coram Deo sufficit bona conscientia, sed coram hominibus necessaria est bona fama (Herveius). Not to care what others think of us may be unfair to them. It would have been disastrous to his converts for them to be able to suspect the Apostle of dishonesty. Qui fidens conscientiae suae negligit famam suam crudelis est, says Augustine (Serm. 355). That St Paul was merely establishing a precedent, to protect future bearers of charitable funds from suspicion, is not probable. He knew that his critics would suspect him. Cf. Ep. of Polycarp, vi. 1.
προνοοῦμεν γὰρ καλά (א B D F G P, Latt. Syrr.) rather than προνοούμενοι καλά (K L) co-ordinate with στελλόμενος, or than προνοούμενοι γὰρ καλά (C, Copt. Goth.).
22. συνπέμψαμεν δὲ αὐτοῖς. ‘And we are sending (epistolary aor.) together with them our brother whom we have proved to be in earnest many times in many things.’ ‘Our brother’ of course does not mean the brother of St Paul,† any more than ‘the brother’ in v. 18 means the brother of Titus. In both cases ‘brother’ means ‘fellow-Christians.’ Giving him a name is pure guesswork; some conjecture Tychicus, others Apollos. The freq. alliteration with π is conspicuous in this verse. Cf. 1:5, 7:4, 8:2, 9:8, 11, etc.
νυνὶ δὲ πολὺ σπουδαιότερον. ‘But now much more in earnest by reason of much confidence to you-ward.’ In this way it is easy to continue the alliteration. See on 1:15 for the Pauline word πεποίθησις, which no doubt means the envoy’s confidence (RV) rather than the Apostle’s (AV). The latter would require a pronoun to make it clear. But this mention of the envoy’s confidence respecting them does not prove that he had been in Corinth. What he had heard about them might make him eager to come. See Index IV.
23. εἴτε ὑπὲρ Τίτου … εἴτε ἀδελφοὶ ἡμῶν. The constr. is broken in dictating. ‘Whether [anyone asks] about Titus, he is my partner and fellow-worker to you-ward; or our brethren [be asked about], they are apostles of Churches, a glory to Christ.’ Titus is to represent the Apostle; the two brethren are to represent the Macedonian Churches. Cf. 1 Corinthians 11:7. He does not say ‘Apostles of Christ’; that was true of himself and the Twelve, who had received their commission direct from our Lord, but it was not true of these two brethren who were merely messengers or delegates of Churches, as Epaphroditus of Philippi; legati, qui publico nomine pium exsequuntur officium (Beng.). See Harnack, Mission and Expansion, i. pp. 319, 327. Nevertheless, to be selected by their Churches was a guarantee for their characters and capacities. In these two verses he brings the commendatory section to a close. For εἴτε … εἴτε see on 1:6; cf. 1 Corinthians 3:21, 1 Corinthians 13:8. Its use without a verb is classical. Blass, § 78. 2. See Hastings, DB. and DCG. art. ‘Apostle.’
24. τὴν οὖν ἔνδειξιν … ἐνδείξασθε. See crit. note below. ‘Demonstrate therefore to them the demonstration of your love and of our glorying on your behalf to the face of the Churches.’ ‘Show the proof’ (AV, RV) does not preserve the repetition, which is probably deliberate. Vulg. has Ostensionem ergo … ostendite. It is easily preserved in English; ‘Exhibit to them the exhibition,’ ‘Manifest to them the manifestation.’ The Corinthians are urged to show that their own love is genuine and that the Apostle’s pride in them is fully justified. Ἔνδειξις in N. T. is a Pauline word (Romans 3:25, Romans 3:26 and Php 1:28 only), and it is not found in LXX. It means ‘an appeal to facts,’ demonstratio rebus gestis facta.
εἰς πρόσωπον τῶν ἐκκλησιῶν. ‘To the face of the Churches’; i.e. as if the congregations to which they belong were present. They are representative men; delegates, who will report to the Churches that elected them what they see and hear at Corinth, to which they are coming with high expectations; and the Corinthians must take care that there is no disappointment. This last clause is added with solemnity; it points to a host of witnesses, in whose presence the Corinthians will virtually be acting. The Apostle has suggested a variety of motives, from the example of Christ down to respect for their own reputation, for being generous.
It is not easy to decide between ἐνδείξασθε (א C D 2 and 3 E * * K L P, f Vulg. Syrr. Copt. Arm. Aeth.) and ἐνδεικνύμενοι (B D * E * G 17, d e g Goth.). WH. prefer the former, with the latter in marg. Tisch. prefers the latter, which would be likely to be corrected to ἐνδείξασθε. The καί before εἰς πρόσωπον τ. ἐκκλ., ‘and before the Churches’ (AV) has very little authority (only a few cursives).
* “L’habilite, la souplesse de language, la dexterite epistolaire de Paul, etaient employees tout entieres a cette oeuvre. 11 trouve pour la recommandevaux Corinthiens les tours les plus vifs et les plus tendres” (Renan, Saint Paul, p.453).
* Simplicitas malignitati opponitur (Calvin). In the Testaments the word is freq., esp. in Issachar, e.g. πάντα γὰρ πένησι καὶ θλιβομένοις παρεῖχον ἐκ τῶν ἀγαθῶν τῆς γῆς ἐν ἁπλότητι καρδίας μου. But the usual meaning is ‘simplicity,’ ‘innocence,’ rather than ‘liberality.’
אԠא (Fourth century). Codex Sinaiticus; now at Petrograd, the only uncial MS. containing the whole N.T.
* information respecting the commentator is to be found in the volume on the First Epistle, pp. lxvi f.
B B (Fourth century). Codex Vaticanus.
C C (Fifth century). Codex Ephraemi, a Palimpsest; now at Paris, very defective. Of 2 Corinthians all from 10:8 onwards is wanting.
P P (Ninth century). Codex Porfirianus Chiovensis, formerly possessed by Bishop Porfiri of Kiev, and now at Petrograd.
D D (Sixth century). Codex Claromontanus; now at Paris. A Graeco-Latin MS. The Latin (d) is akin to the Old Latin. Many subsequent hands (sixth to ninth centuries) have corrected the MS.
F F (Late ninth century). Codex Augiensis (from Reichenau); now at Trinity College, Cambridge.
G G (Late ninth century). Codex Boernerianus; at Dresden. Interlined with the Latin (in minluscules). The Greek text is almost the same as that of F, but the Latin (g) shows Old Latin elements.
K K (Ninth century). Codex Mosquensis; now at Moscow.
L L (Ninth century). Codex Angelicus; now in the Angelica Library at Rome.
* The supra viriuiem of Vulg. has led to needless discussion as to whethe it is right to give supra virtutem: παρὰ δύναμιν is rather supra vires.
* The meaning here might be that he treated the collection as a religious act, a sacrifice to God.
* Vulg. has vestrae caritatis ingenium bonum comprobans. It this is a corruption of ingenuum, the corruption must be very early, for it is found in the earliest commentators as well as in the most ancient MSS. Augustine loosely renders the words by vertrae caritatis carissimum. It is to the world at large that the genuineness of their love is to be proved; St Paul needed no proof.
* This is a natural and permissible view of the Incarnation, but it is not the deepest. See W. Temple, Foundations, pp. 319, 245.
* In his letter to Eustochium (Ep. cviii. 15) Jerome quotes thus; Non ui aliis refrigerium, vobis autem tribulatio, sed ex equalitate in hoc tempore, ut vestra abundontia sit ad illorum snopiasm abundantia sit ad westram inopiam.
E E (Ninth century). At Petrograd. A copy of D, and unimportant
* ‘At the present season’ is emphaticm and Lewin thinks that it may refer to the Sabbatic year, “during which the means of the Jews were soi stinted, that even the Romans for that year remitted the tribute (Jos. Ant. xiv. x. 6).” More probably it refers to the prolonged poverty of the Hebrew Church.
17 17. (Evan. 33, Act_13. Ninth century). Now at paris. “The queen of the cursives” and the best for the Pauline Epistles; more than any other it preserves Pre-Syrian readings and agrees with B D L.
d d The Latin companion of D
e d The Latin companion of E
g d The Latin companion of G
* St Paul often gives commendations of this kind; to Timothy and Stephanas (1 Corinthians 16:10-15), Phoebe (Romans 16:1), Tychicus, Onesimus, and Mark (Colossians 4:7-10) Zenas and Apollos (Titus 3:12-14).
f d The Latin companion of F
* Moffatt compares Byron’s remark to Moore in 1822; “I doubt the accuracy of all almoners, or remitters of benevolent cash.” Philo tells of the care that was taken to have trustworthy men to carry the temple-tribute (De Monarch. ii. § 3, Mang. 224, sub fin.). Schürer greatly enlarges Philo’s statement (Jewish People, 11. ii p. 289).
† If he had a brother, he could not have made use of him as a check on himself. We know of no brother.
How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality.
For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves;
Praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints.
And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God.
Insomuch that we desired Titus, that as he had begun, so he would also finish in you the same grace also.
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.
I speak not by commandment, but by occasion of the forwardness of others, and to prove the sincerity of your love.
For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.
And herein I give my advice: for this is expedient for you, who have begun before, not only to do, but also to be forward a year ago.
Now therefore perform the doing of it; that as there was a readiness to will, so there may be a performance also out of that which ye have.
For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not.
For I mean not that other men be eased, and ye burdened:
But by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may be a supply for their want, that their abundance also may be a supply for your want: that there may be equality:
As it is written, He that had gathered much had nothing over; and he that had gathered little had no lack.
But thanks be to God, which put the same earnest care into the heart of Titus for you.
For indeed he accepted the exhortation; but being more forward, of his own accord he went unto you.
And we have sent with him the brother, whose praise is in the gospel throughout all the churches;
And not that only, but who was also chosen of the churches to travel with us with this grace, which is administered by us to the glory of the same Lord, and declaration of your ready mind:
Avoiding this, that no man should blame us in this abundance which is administered by us:
Providing for honest things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men.
And we have sent with them our brother, whom we have oftentimes proved diligent in many things, but now much more diligent, upon the great confidence which I have in you.
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.
Wherefore shew ye to them, and before the churches, the proof of your love, and of our boasting on your behalf.