People's New Testament
Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia;
8:1 The Grace of Giving
SUMMARY OF II CORINTHIANS 8:
The Liberality of the Macedonian Brethren. Exhortation to the Corinthians to Abound in the Same Grace. The Example of Christ. The Spiritual Blessing of Liberal Giving. Titus and Another Brother Sent to Corinth to Aid and Encourage. Them.
We do you to wit of the grace of God. We make known to you the grace of God (Revised Version). Paul now introduces the great collection of which he spoke in 1Co 16:1 Ro 15:26. See also Ac 11:29 24:17:00 It had always been the custom of the Jews in foreign lands to send up to Jerusalem contributions for the temple treasury, but Paul urges the contributions for God's spiritual temple, the poor saints. The mother church was in need and the abundance of the saints elsewhere was to be her supply. The cause of the destitution of the Jerusalem Christians is easily found in the times. Famine had stricken the land, this had been followed by the troubles and unsettled state of affairs which were leading to the Jewish war. The uneasiness of the public mind, as well as the tumults, disturbed business and labor. The result would necessarily be close times and destitution. The lessons of this great collection is that distance does not diminish the claims of suffering brethren for help.
Churches of Macedonia. The Roman province of Macedonia embraced all Grecian countries north of the province of Achaia. The churches of Philippi, Thessalonians, and Berea, founded by Paul, and probably many others, were in this province.
How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality.
8:2 That in a great trial of affliction. The language seems to imply persecution. This might have been an excuse for not giving, if they had sought one. See Ac 17:6 1Th 2:14.
The abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded. But, still, their joy in the gospel and their poverty combined so that they contributed with great liberality.
For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves;
8:3 For to their power... and beyond their power. It was not the greatness of their contribution, but the fact that they gave not only up to, but even beyond their ability, which made their liberality so rich. The widow who gave her mite did more than the rich men who cast in out of their abundance. Compare Mr 12:41-44 Lu 21:1-4.
They were willing of themselves. Required no urging.
Praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints.
8:4 Praying us with much intreaty. They insisted on doing more than the apostle felt that they ought to do.
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.
8:5 And this they did, not as we had hoped. The thought is that they exceeded our hope. They consecrated themselves, and hence, held that all they had was the Lord's. When church members give
their own selves to the Lord, there will be no complaint that their money is withheld.
Insomuch that we desired Titus, that as he had begun, so he would also finish in you the same grace also.
8:6 We desired Titus, that as he had begun. This faithful fellow laborer of Paul, when he had gone to Corinth when Paul's first epistle was sent, had begun the collection which it commanded in 1Co 16:1.
So he would also finish in you. Now Paul directs that Titus return and complete the collection before the arrival of Paul (Ac 20:1-3).
The same grace also. The grace of giving.
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.
8:7 As ye abound in every thing. Instead of Macedonia setting the example to Corinth, the latter ought to have led. The church was rich in gifts. See 1Co 1:5.
I speak not by commandment, but by occasion of the forwardness of others, and to prove the sincerity of your love.
8:8 I speak not by commandment. He levies no tax by command. The giving must be free and cheerful in order to be blessed. He encourages them
by occasion of the forwardness of others, the example of the Macedonian brethren, and by that of Christ.
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.
8:9 For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. This is the chiefest of motives to giving.
Though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor. Our Lord gave up all for us. He became poor that we might be rich in heavenly riches. If he gave himself for us, what shall we give for him? Compare Php 2:7. Christ parted with riches and took poverty; with glory and took humiliation; with bliss and took suffering, all for our sakes. The passage compares Christ's pre-existent state with that he had on earth.
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.
8:10 Herein I give my advice. Not a commandment (2Co 8:8), but advice.
For this is expedient for you. That is, that it is expedient to complete the work begun a year ago, or as we would say, last year.
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.
8:11 Therefore, finish the doing of it. Finish it up. As there was a readiness to will, let there be a performance by giving out of what you 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.
8:12 For if there is first a willing mind. The willing mind had been shown in the readiness to will. The willing mind is essential to the acceptance of the gift. If there be this pre-requisite, then God accepts the gift and measures it according to a man's means.
For I mean not that other men be eased, and ye burdened:
8:13 I mean not that other men should be eased. I wish all to give according to what they have, other churches as well as you.
And ye burdened. Nor do I mean to burden you that the saints at Jerusalem may be at ease.
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:
8:14 But by an equality. There is a lack at Jerusalem; let your abundance supply it. So, too, if you be in want, they must supply it if they have abundance.
That there may be equality. The church is a band of loving brethren. Where one lacks, others should supply, that all may be equally provided.
As it is written, He that had gathered much had nothing over; and he that had gathered little had no lack.
8:15 As it is written. In Ex 16:18.
He that had gathered much had nothing over, etc. When the manna fell, whatever each individual gathered, there was found to be, on measuring, an omer to a man (Ex 16:16). So brotherly love is to effect such a distribution that no saint will be in want, and none have what is superfluous.
But thanks be to God, which put the same earnest care into the heart of Titus for you.
8:16 But thanks be to God. Because Titus is ready to return to Corinth and help in the work.
For indeed he accepted the exhortation; but being more forward, of his own accord he went unto you.
8:17 For indeed he accepted the exhortation. Readily accepted the work when Paul suggested it; nay more,
of his own accord he went unto you, he desired and chose it.
And we have sent with him the brother, whose praise is in the gospel throughout all the churches;
8:18 We have sent with him the brother. Two brethren are sent with Titus. These are not named, and we can only conjecture who they were. As 2Co 8:19 says that he was chosen of the churches to travel with us in this grace, and as Ac 20:4 says that the Macedonian brethren, Sopater, Aristarchus and Secundus did travel with him to Jerusalem, one of these is probably meant. Many have held that Luke was the person, nor is this improbable.
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:
8:19 Chosen of the churches to travel with us. Paul desired, for the reasons given in 2Co 8:20,21, that the churches should send along messengers in charge of their gifts.
Avoiding this, that no man should blame us in this abundance which is administered by us:
8:20 That no man should blame us in this abundance which is administered by us. There were evil-minded persons who might charge that the apostle had used the gifts of his own advantage unless the messengers could report just how the funds were used.
Providing for honest things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men.
8:21 Providing for honest things. Paul was careful to provide what was honest,
in the sight of the Lord, for his conscience' sake, and
in the sight of men for his work's sake.
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.
8:22 We have sent with them our brother. With Titus and the brother named in 2Co 8:18. The brother referred to here and commended so highly is nowhere named.
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.
8:23 If any do enquire of Titus... or our brethren. The commendation given of these three brethren is official.
My partner and fellow-helper. Titus had long been a fellow laborer, and had recently visited Corinth.
The messengers of the churches, and the glory of Christ. The other two were messengers of the Macedonian churches. Not only of the churches, but of the glory of Christ, the Lord's messengers to show forth his glory in a great work of mercy.
Wherefore shew ye to them, and before the churches, the proof of your love, and of our boasting on your behalf.
8:24 Wherefore shew ye to them, and before the churches. Since these are representative men, delegates of the churches, and of Christ, receive them cordially. Give
proof of your love, and show that when we have boasted of your excellencies that our boasting was not empty. An ill reputation would not only reflect upon the churches, but upon Paul himself.