2 Corinthians 8:18
And we have sent with him the brother, whose praise is in the gospel throughout all the churches;
I. A GREAT CHARACTER IS BETTER THAN A GREAT NAME. The brother referred to here is unnamed; a better mark than a name is put upon him. A great name may be inherited; may be won by a merely fortunate conjunction of circumstances; may be unmerited; may have no moral excellence associated with it. A great character must be earned. A great name blesses one's self; a great character, others.
II. THE APPROBATION OF HOLY MEN IS VERY PRECIOUS. The applause of a fallen world may be reckoned at a cheap rate. Mere popularity is quite in contrast with the praise of all the Churches. That men who love Christ, and who thus have corrected tastes, can see in us what is lovely should cause us to be deeply thankful to God, who has wrought this good thing in us. When the approval is widespread and general among such, it becomes correspondingly precious. The praise of God, indeed, is what we should strive after; but this may be expressed by the lips of his children.
III. REPUTATION "IN THE GOSPEL" IS MOST TO BE DESIRED. This was the reputation of the brother alluded to by Paul. It was in the sphere of the gospel that he had obtained his renown. And this is the very highest sphere. How can we make known the gospel? How can we exalt it in the estimation of men? How can we show forth its excellences in our lives? These should be supreme questions with us. Reputation in arms, art, science, - what are these compared with reputation in the gospel? What can arms do for men, or art, or science, compared with the gospel? The gospel presents the most magnificent arena for human life and achievement.
IV. OPINION IS TESTED BY TRUST. Here is a test of men's words. Will those who praise us put confidence in us? It was so with the brother in question (ver. 19). The friends who praised him trusted him with money, and this is an extreme form of trust with most men. They praised him for a piety which extended to the secularities of life. His gospel ruled the money bag. We want more pounds-shillings-and-pence religion. If our piety does not make us uncorrupt in practical life, we had better cast it to the dogs, for it is only fit for them. - H.
Parallel VersesKJV: And we have sent with him the brother, whose praise is in the gospel throughout all the churches;