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Bible Commentaries

Charles Box's Commentaries on Selected Books of the Bible
2 Corinthians 8

 

 

Other Authors
Introduction

Give Yourself To The Lord

- Second Corinthians Eight -

Paul wrote about churches in Macedonia and their example in giving. The churches of Macedonia included Philippi, Thessalonica, and Berea. Paul was raising money to help the Christians in Jerusalem. Many of them were very poor at this time. The brethren of Macedonia gave to their ability and then they went far beyond their ability in their giving. Paul did not have to beg them to give; rather they begged him to accept their gift. These brethren saw giving as a privilege. They gave beyond what Paul had ever hoped for. "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 8:5)

Titus was to be sure that these brethren did in fact follow through on what they had promised to do earlier. It was time for the Corinthians to act on what they had promised concerning giving to help the poor. Paul spoke of giving as "a grace." By giving we prove the sincerity of our love. We should be like Jesus in our giving. He gave and we should give also. God judges our giving based on what resources we have.

Paul wanted to be sure that there was no question about honesty in handling this money. He avoided any gossip about his role in the collection by sending Titus and his companion to collect it, and accompany Paul in carrying it to Jerusalem. He also sent a third brother that had great concern for the brethren and for this work to help make sure that things were done correctly. This offering was a great proof of Christian love from many standpoints.


Verses 1-6

First gave themselves to the Lord - 2 Corinthians 8:1-6 : Paul made known to these brethren that he considered both the opportunity to give and their willingness to give to be of the grace of God. Philippi, Thessalonica, and Berea were very poor church yet they practiced great liberality. They were very poor and facing difficult times, yet they were glad to give generously. The Macedonians begged Paul for the privilege of giving. He did not beg them for money. Observe their joy at being given the privilege of giving to help the needy.

The Macedonian Christians did not have much to give, but they did have a very generous spirit. They gave far beyond what Paul was hoping for. They gave what they could afford and even more and they did this willing of themselves. Paul said they, "first gave themselves to the Lord, and then to us by the will of God." They first trusted God and also trusted Paul and his companions. The Corinthians had likewise promised to give. Now Paul urged Titus to collect the gifts they had promised.


Verses 7-12

There must be a willing mind - 2 Corinthians 8:7-12 : The Corinthian brethren seemed to have thought of themselves as abounding in faith, utterance, knowledge, diligence, and in love. Paul now encouraged them to abound in the grace of giving also. He said, "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 8:7) The ability to give and the heart to give come from God and from His grace. Grace shines in our giving more than in others aspects of Christian living. You cannot love without giving. God loved and He gave. (John 3:16) Our giving tests the sincerity of our love. Do you loved like others loved? This is proven by your giving.

Jesus gave up heaven for outward earthly poverty in order to save us from sin. We can have a share in Jesus" heavenly wealth, because He came and took a share in our earthly poverty. A year before, the Corinthians were the first ones to make a commitment to give to help the needy at Jerusalem. Now it was time to actually follow through and do it. They must finish what they had started. When we give God looks for a readiness on our part and He wants us to give with a willing mind. The size of the gift is to be based on what you have but it must also be given with a willing mind.


Verses 13-18

That there may be equality - 2 Corinthians 8:13-18 : The spiritual abundance of Jerusalem had blessed Corinth. It was only fair that Corinth share some physical blessing with Jerusalem during their poverty. The equality that Paul spoke of was neither communism nor any form of it. It was an "equality where nobody starves and nobody hordes his abundance at another"s expense." Generous giving is not when each person gives the same in dollar amounts. That kind of giving would cause the wealthy to be eased and the poorer would be burdened. Each person is to give in proportion to the blessings they have received. You share with the needy now and if you are needy later they and others will share with you. Paul taught a great lesson by referring to Exodus 16:18. Everyone gathered manna, some more and some less; but they all shared from what was gathered. None suffered lack.

Paul recommended Titus to them to collect their gifts. It was in his heart to glorify God and to do what was right. There was also another brother that was to accompany Titus in this matter. We do not know who the brother was. Possibly it was Luke, Barnabas, Silas, Timothy or someone else. It really does not matter who the brother was. He was a brother with a good reputation among the churches. This would remove any suspicion that the funds might be misused.


Verses 19-24

Providing for honest things - 2 Corinthians 8:19-24 : The churches chose this brother to help administer their gifts. It was Paul"s goal to avoid any blame in this matter. He did not want anyone to find fault with the way they handle their generous gift. Paul took the necessary steps so that no one could blame him with financial impropriety. He said that he was, "Providing for honest things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men." (2 Corinthians 8:21) Paul even sent a third brother with Titus and the other brother. This brother had shown many times that he was helpful in the Lord"s work. He wanted to help now even more than ever because he trusted the Corinthians so much. He knew they would do what they promised.

Paul said that Titus was his partner that worked with him to serve the church at Corinth. He identified Titus as his fellow helper concerning Corinth. He said the other brethren are "the messengers of the churches, and the glory of Christ." Paul wanted the church at Corinth to give in such a way that the churches would see the proof of their love and would understand why Paul had boasted about the gift to be given by the Corinthians.

 


Copyright Statement
These files are a derivative of an electronic edition available at BibleSupport.com. Public Domain.

Bibliography Information
Box, Charles. "Commentary on 2 Corinthians 8:4". "Charles Box's Commentaries on Selected books of the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/box/2-corinthians-8.html. 2014.


Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, September 18th, 2018
the Week of Proper 19 / Ordinary 24
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