2 Corinthians 8
After writing his first epistle of correction to the Corinthians, rebuking them for tolerating the sinner; Paul finds Titus in Macedonia and hears of the deep sincere repentance of the Corinthians.
Paul then sent Titus back to Corinth to ease the way before his own coming and to prepare for their contribution to the brethren at Jerusalem.
It is possible that Paul sent the second epistle by Titus so that the Corinthians would know of Paul’s forgiveness and love for them and not be afraid of Paul’s coming to them. Tolerating sin in the assemblies is a great sin itself, we are never to tolerate open sin among the assemblies; which is the spiritual aspect of the law of the clean and the unclean. See our article on “The Law of the Unclean”.
2 Corinthians 8:1 Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit [want you to know] of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia; 8:2 How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality [in their poverty the Corinthians were generous].
8:3 For to their power [willingness], I bear record, yea, and beyond their power [they were willing beyond their ability] they were willing of themselves;
8:4 Praying us [asking us to receive their gifts for Jerusalem] with much intreaty that we would receive the gift [entreating us to accept their gifts for the brethren at Jerusalem], and take upon us the fellowship of the [desiring to be fellow servants in service to the faithful] ministering to the saints.
8:5 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.
They gave themselves fully to God and to the brethren, as God’s servants.
8:6 Insomuch that we desired Titus, that as he had begun, so he would also finish [Titus was to take the gifts from the various cities including the gifts of the Corinthians to Jerusalem.] in you the same grace also.
8:7 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. Forgiving one another and accepting the grace [compassion and forgiveness] of God; being merciful to others and turning from breaking the Law.
8:8 I speak not by [out of necessity] commandment, but by occasion of the forwardness [self-willed nature] of others, and to prove the sincerity of your love.
8:9 For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes [Christ gave up his divinity to be made flesh] he became poor, that ye through his poverty [Christ changed from the glory of his God-hood into flesh and gave his life in sacrifice for humanity.] might be rich.
8:10 And herein I give my advice: for this is expedient for you, who have begun [to prepare the gifts for Jerusalem] before, not only to do, but also to be forward a year ago. 8:11 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.
Remember that it is not enough to learn; we must be doers of the Word (James 1:22).
8:12 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. 8:13 For I mean not that other men be eased, and ye burdened: 8:14 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:
Paul now asks them to supply the goods that they had willingly promised the previous year, so that as becomes saints they keep their promises and help each other; not overly burdening themselves, but giving out of their excess.
8:15 As it is written, He that had gathered much had nothing over; and he that had gathered little had no lack. 8:16 But thanks be to God, which put the same earnest care into the heart of Titus for you. 8:17 For indeed he accepted the exhortation; but being more forward, of his own accord he went unto you.
8:18 And we have sent with him the brother, whose praise is in the gospel throughout all the churches; 8:19 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:
8:20 Avoiding this, that no man should blame us [Paul sent Titus and the others so that no man would account this sharing of their blessing as a personal gift from Paul.] in this abundance which is administered by us: 8:21 Providing for honest things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men. 8:22 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.
8:23 Whether any do enquire of [if any do not know who Titus is] Titus, he is my partner and fellowhelper concerning you [the Corinthians]: or our brethren be enquired [or if any do not know Paul’s other helpers] of, they are the messengers of the churches, and the glory of Christ. 8:24 Wherefore shew ye to them, and before the churches, the proof of your love, and of our boasting on your behalf.
Paul asks the Corinthians to accept Titus and the people he has sent as his associates; and asks them to give the things they had promised a year ago, so that his boasting about them would not be in vain.
2 Corinthians 9
2 Corinthians 9:1 For as touching the ministering to the saints [the gifts for Jerusalem], it is superfluous for me to [he does not need to] write to you: 9:2 For I know the forwardness [willingness] of your mind, for which I boast of you to them of Macedonia, that [Corinth is in Achaia] Achaia was ready a year ago; and your zeal hath provoked very many [to also do good in sharing with the saints at Jerusalem].
9:3 Yet have I sent the brethren [to make sure of you], lest our boasting of you should be in vain in this behalf; [and] that, as I said, ye may be ready: 9:4 Lest haply if they of Macedonia come with me, and find you unprepared, we (that we say not, ye) should be ashamed [being not yet ready] in this same confident boasting.
9:5 Therefore I thought it necessary to exhort the brethren, that they would go [on ahead and warn them to make ready] before unto you, and make up beforehand your bounty [gifts], whereof ye had notice [warning of] before, that the same might be ready, as a matter of bounty, and not as of covetousness.
Paul gave them ample time to think about what they could afford to give so that could give according of their excess and not feeling forced to give that which was necessary for their own needs. We are never, and it is a great sin to give large offerings while neglecting our responsibilities to our creditors or our duty to provide for the families God has given to us.
Matthew 5:23 Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; 5:24 leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.
1 Timothy 5:8 But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel [an unconverted person].
2 Corinthians 9:6 But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.
In this Paul gives us a principle of Christian living; let those who have share with those in genuine need so that all may have sufficiency. This refers to the genuinely needy from circumstances beyond their control and not to those who are lazy or unwilling to support themselves.
9:7 Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. 9:8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:
If we are of a generous spirit to others, God will be of a generous spirit to us. Yet, we are to give as we are able and are not to neglect our responsibilities before God to our own families.
9:9 (As it is written, He hath dispersed abroad; he hath given to the poor: his righteousness remaineth for ever.
Paul now prays for the generous givers, that God would bless them with increase physically and spiritually.
9:10 Now he that [provides] ministereth seed to the sower both minister [provide] bread for your food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness; 9:11 Being enriched in every thing to all bountifulness, which causeth through us thanksgiving to God. 9:12 For the administration of this service not only supplieth the want [needs] of the saints, but is abundant also by many thanksgivings [causes many in need who receive the gifts, to give thanks to God] unto God;
9:13 Whiles by the experiment of this ministration they glorify God for your professed subjection into the gospel of Christ, and for your liberal distribution unto them, and unto all men;
9:14And by their prayer for you, which long after you for the exceeding grace of God in you. 9:15Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift [indescribably wonderful].
The generosity of the Corinthians caused many to pray for them and ask God to bless them more, and to praise God and thank him for their liberality and for their self- evident love and faithfulness to the gospel of Christ and the Law and Love of God the Father!