8:1-6 The grace of God must be owned as the root and fountain of all the good in us, or done by us, at any time. It is great grace and favour from God, if we are made useful to others, and forward to any good work. He commends the charity of the Macedonians. So far from needing that Paul should urge them, they prayed him to receive the gift. Whatever we use or lay out for God, it is only giving him what is his own. All we give for charitable uses, will not be accepted of God, nor turn to our advantage, unless we first give ourselves to the Lord. By ascribing all really good works to the grace of God, we not only give the glory to him whose due it is, but also show men where their strength is. Abundant spiritual joy enlarges men's hearts in the work and labour of love. How different this from the conduct of those who will not join in any good work, unless urged into it!
2. trial of affliction—The Greek expresses, "in affliction (or, 'tribulation') which tested them"; literally, "in a great testing of affliction."
abundance of their joy—The greater was the depth of their poverty, the greater was the abundance of their joy. A delightful contrast in terms, and triumph, in fact, of spirit over flesh.
their deep poverty—Greek, "their poverty down to the death of it."
abounded unto the riches of their liberality—another beautiful contrast in terms: their poverty had the effect, not of producing stinted gifts, but of "abounding in the riches of liberality" (not as Margin, "simplicity"; though the idea of singleness of motive to God's glory and man's good, probably enters into the idea); (compare Ro 12:8, and Margin; 2Co 9:11, Margin; see on 2Co 9:13; Jas 1:5).