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Two Corinthians Eight

by Dr. Henry M. Morris

(taken from the Defender's Study Bible)

2 Corinthians 8:1 Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia;

do you to wit. The words “do you to wit,” a common expression in Elizabethan England, would be rendered “make you to be aware of” in modern English.

grace. The “grace” mentioned here is not in reference to salvation, but to Christian character, which should exhibit many Christian graces in word (e.g., Colossians 4:6) and deed (e.g., 2 Corinthians 9:8), as well as the Christian life as a whole (e.g., 2 Peter 3:18). In 1 Corinthians 8 and 9, Paul is especially referring to “this grace also” (2 Corinthians 8:6-7), meaning the grace of giving.

churches of Macedonia. The “churches of Macedonia” included Thessalonica and Berea, and especially the church at Philippi, from which Paul was writing and sending this second letter to the churches of Achaia, notably that at Corinth.

2 Corinthians 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.

their joy. The grace of joy accompanies the grace of giving, especially when both are refined in the furnace of affliction and poverty. This is one of the paradoxes of the genuine Christian life. Like the widow and her mite (Mark 12:41-44), the Philippians “first gave their own selves to the Lord” (2 Corinthians 8:5), and then could share generously with others, since they naturally regarded their possessions also as belonging to the Lord. Therefore, the Apostle could promise them that God would “supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19). Much of Paul's teaching in this and other epistles on the matter of Christian giving centered on a collection for the impoverished Christians in the “mother church” at Jerusalem, but the principles apply to Christian stewardship and Christian giving in general. See notes on 1 Corinthians 16:1-3.

2 Corinthians 8:3 For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves;

2 Corinthians 8:4 Praying us with much entreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints.

2 Corinthians 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.

2 Corinthians 8:6 Insomuch that we desired Titus, that as he had begun, so he would also finish in you the same grace also.

this same grace. Note that giving and sharing of one's means is called a “grace”—just as faith, love, etc. (note 2 Corinthians 6:7).

2 Corinthians 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.

2 Corinthians 8:8 I speak not by commandment, but by occasion of the forwardness of others, and to prove the sincerity of your love.

not by commandment. Giving is not commanded for a Christian by some Biblical law, either Old Testament or New Testament. It is a “grace,” and is a measure of one's love for Christ.

2 Corinthians 8:9 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.

grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. The premier example of giving, of course, is the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and it is significant that this beautiful gospel verse is given in the midst of Paul's exhortation concerning the grace of Christian giving. He was the Creator of the entire cosmos (Colossians 1:16), with all its infinite riches, yet He left it all to die a cruel death, utterly impoverished, with even His meager garments stripped away as He was spiked to the cross. See also the even more graphic testimony in Philippians 2:5-8. This great gift of grace is the standard against which our own practice of the grace of giving must always be compared.

2 Corinthians 8:10 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.

2 Corinthians 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.

2 Corinthians 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.

according to that a man hath. Although the New Testament does not specify tithing, as the Old Testament does, the principle of proportionate giving is advocated (see also 1 Corinthians 16:2). The key measure is not the proportion given, but the amount retained.

2 Corinthians 8:13 For I mean not that other men be eased, and ye burdened:

2 Corinthians 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:

2 Corinthians 8:15 As it is written, He that had gathered much had nothing over; and he that had gathered little had no lack.

As it is written. This example is cited from Exodus 16:18.

2 Corinthians 8:16 But thanks be to God, which put the same earnest care into the heart of Titus for you.

2 Corinthians 8:17 For indeed he accepted the exhortation; but being more forward, of his own accord he went unto you.

2 Corinthians 8:18 And we have sent with him the brother, whose praise is in the gospel throughout all the churches;

2 Corinthians 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:

2 Corinthians 8:20 Avoiding this, that no man should blame us in this abundance which is administered by us:

2 Corinthians 8:21 Providing for honest things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men.

sight of men. In the work of Christ, the end does not justify the use of questionable means. Our testimony before men must be credible if we expect it to be effective for the Lord. See also Proverbs 3:4 and 1 Peter 2:12.

2 Corinthians 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.

2 Corinthians 8:23 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.

2 Corinthians 8:24 Wherefore show ye to them, and before the churches, the proof of your love, and of our boasting on your behalf.