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Bible Commentaries

Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges
2 Corinthians 8



Other Authors
Verse 1

1. Γνωρίζομεν δὲ ὑμῖν, ἀδελφοί, τὴν χάριν τοῦ θεοῦ. Now we make known to you, brethren, the grace of God which hath been given in the Churches of Macedonia. The δέ and the ἀδελφοί mark a transition to another topic, as in 1 Corinthians 15:1 : but δέ perhaps intimates that the Corinthians have to see to it that the Apostle’s θαρρῶ ἐν ὑμῖν is made good. Γνωρίζω ὑμῖν commonly introduces something which S. Paul regards as important (1 Corinthians 12:3; 1 Corinthians 15:1; Galatians 1:11), like our ‘I assure you.’ Comp. θέλω ὑμᾶς εἰδέναι (1 Corinthians 11:3; Colossians 2:1), and οὐ θέλομεν or οὐ θέλω ὑμᾶς ἀγνοεῖν (2 Corinthians 1:8; 1 Corinthians 10:1; 1 Corinthians 12:1; Romans 1:13; Romans 11:25; 1 Thessalonians 4:13), which is always accompanied by the address ἀδελφοί.

τὴν δεδομένην ἐν τ. ἐκκλησίαις τ. M. The χάρις is not said to be ‘bestowed on the Churches of M.’ (A.V.), but ‘given in’ them (R.V.), i.e. displayed amongst these congregations. S. Paul does not praise the Macedonians at the expense of the Corinthians. He points out that what, through God’s grace, has been done in other Churches, may, through the same, be done at Corinth also,—ἀνεπίφθονον τὸν λόγον ἐργαζόμενος (Chrys.). See on 2 Corinthians 12:13.

Verse 2

2. ὅτι ἐν πολλῇ δοκιμῇ θλίψεως. That in much proof of affliction. The ὅτι depends upon γνωρίζομεν. For δοκιμῇ see on 2 Corinthians 2:9 : but it is not clear whether it here means ‘proof’ (R.V.), or ‘trial’ (A. V.), or ‘approvedness’ (Chrysostom and some moderns). Comp. James 1:3. The sense of the whole is “that tribulation has brought out the genuine Christian qualities of the Macedonian Churches” (Lias). Neither ἐστί nor ἦν is to be supplied; that in much proof of tribulation is (was) their abundance of joy, and their deep poverty abounded &c. This spoils the balance between ἡ περισσεία τῆς χαρᾶς αὐτῶν, and ἡ κατὰ βάθους πτωχεία αὐτῶν, which are the subject of ἐπερίσσευσεν (A.V., R.V.), and to which τὸ πλοῦτος τῆς ἁπλότητος αὐτῶν is parallel, as is shown by the threefold αὐτῶν. The αὐτῶν qualifies the main subject in each case, as a parallel arrangement shows.

Their abundance of joy and

their down-to-depth poverty

abounded unto

their riches of simplicity.

ἡ κατὰ βάθους πτωχεία. A rare and rhetorical expression. It means that their indigence has reached the bottom of their fortunes: they cannot well be poorer. And there is nothing unsuitable, either in the apparent tautology of ἡ περισσεία ἐπερίσσευσεν, or in the apparent contradiction of ἡ πτωχεία ἐπερίσσευσεν. With the latter comp. the poor widow giving ἐκ τοῦ ὑστερήματος αὐτῆς (Luke 21:4). S. Paul means that ‘their wealth of singlemindedness’ had two sources from which it flowed abundantly,—‘their abundance of joy and their down-to-depth poverty.’ Comp. Hebrews 10:34.

τὸ πλοῦτος τῆς ἁπλότητος αὐτῶν. Their riches of singlemindedness, or simplicity (2 Corinthians 11:3), or singleness (Ephesians 6:5; Colossians 3:22) of purpose. Here, and 2 Corinthians 9:11; 2 Corinthians 9:13, and Romans 12:8, ἁπλότης denotes the singleness of aim which looks only at the needs of others with a view to their relief, and hence comes almost to mean ‘liberality.’ See Sanday and Headlam on Romans 12:8. Josephus (Ant. VII. xiii. 4) uses it of Araunah’s offer to David (2 Samuel 24:22-23). In the LXX. it commonly means ‘innocency’ (2 Samuel 15:11; 1 Chronicles 29:17; Wisdom of Solomon 1:1; 1 Maccabees 2:37; 1 Maccabees 2:60). In the N.T. it is peculiar to S. Paul. The form τὸ πλοῦτος (see critical note) is found in the best texts of Ephesians 1:7; Ephesians 2:7; Ephesians 3:8; Ephesians 3:16; Philippians 4:19; Colossians 1:27; Colossians 2:2). S. Paul uses πλοῦτος fifteen times, and, excepting 1 Timothy 6:17, always of moral and spiritual wealth.

The two verses may be paraphrased thus; ‘Now I must tell you of God’s goodness manifested in the Churches of Macedonia, how that, proved as they were again and again by affliction, their overflowing joy and their deep poverty produced a rich overflow of generosity.’ And there should be a colon or full stop at the end of 2 Corinthians 8:2. The ὅτι of 2 Corinthians 8:3 is not coordinate with the ὅτι of 2 Corinthians 8:2, but = ‘because, for,’ introducing the explanation of 2 Corinthians 8:2.

Verse 3

3. μαρτυρῶ. Comp. Galatians 4:15; Romans 10:2; Colossians 4:13.

παρὰ δύναμιν. Stronger than ὑπὲρ δύναμιν (2 Corinthians 1:8). Not to be taken with αὐθαίρετοι, as if the meaning were fecerunt quod potuerunt, et magis quam facultas sineret tribuere voluerunt (Atto Vercell.).

αὐθαίρετοι. In the N.T. only here and 2 Corinthians 8:17; not in the LXX. In classical Greek it is more often used of things that are chosen than of persons that choose. Here it means that the Apostle had no need to beg them to help; they begged to be allowed to do so. Tam simpliciter et devote obtulerunt quod ultra vires eorum erat, ut cum lacrymis deprecantes offerrent, ut vel sic cogerent accipi a se quod accipiendum non videbatur, quia plus erat quam poterat eorum substantia (Herveius Burgidol.).

Verses 3-5

3–5. The main clause in this long sentence is ἑαυτοὺς ἔδωκαν τῷ κυρίῳ: totam periochae structuram sustinet (Bengel). Of this self-sacrifice four things are stated: [1] it was to the extent of their power and beyond it; [2] it was of their own free will; [3] it was accompanied by much entreaty that they might be allowed to share in the ministering to the saints; [4] it was beyond the Apostle’s experience. Both the A.V. and the R.V. break up the long sentence by inserting words which are not in the Greek. In the A.V., not only ‘they were’ and ‘they did’ should be in italics, but also ‘take upon us’ and ‘this’ before ‘they did’: all these are insertions. Moreover ‘that we would receive’ is no part of the true text. See critical note. The whole sentence runs thus; For according to their power, I bear witness, and beyond their power, of their own accord, with much entreaty (or, exhortation, as, 2 Corinthians 5:17) beseeching of us the grace and the fellowship of the ministering to the saints, and not just as we expected, but first they gave their own selves to the Lord. Comp. Luke 21:2-4.

Verse 4

4. The A.V. is here misleading. What is meant is not what the Macedonians gave to S. Paul, but what they besought him to give to them, viz. the grace of sharing in the good work.

δεόμενοι ἡμῶν τὴν χάριν καὶ τὴν κοινωνίαν. The construction τοῦτο ὑμῶν δέομαι occurs in classical Greek, but not elsewhere in Biblical Greek, excepting 1 Esdras 8:53, ἐδεήθημεν τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν πάντα ταῦτα, where A has κατὰ ταῦτα. In τ. χάριν καὶ τ. κοινωνίαν the καί is probably epexegetic; ‘the grace, viz. the fellowship.’ There are many graces; one of them is the taking part in helping others.

εἰς τοὺς ἁγίους. Comp. 1 Corinthians 16:1. This prepositional construction seems to be an Alexandrian idiom. Deissmann, Bible Studies, p. 117.

Verse 5

5. οὐ καθὼς ἠλπίσαμεν. Not just as we expected (2 Corinthians 13:6), but far exceeding our expectations.

ἀλλʼ ἑαυτοὺς ἔδωκαν πρῶτον τ. κ. Perhaps ἑαυτούς should keep its emphatic position; but themselves they gave first to the Lord and to us. They gave more money than they could afford; but, first and foremost, they surrendered their own persons. Both their lives and their possessions were at the disposal of Christ and His Apostle. There should be no comma at ‘Lord,’ as if διὰ θελήματος θεοῦ belonged only to καὶ ἡμῖν. The whole of their surrender was διὰ θελ. θεοῦ, for it is ἡ χάρις τ. θεοῦ (2 Corinthians 8:1) when any one has the will and the power to do what is right.

This passage about the Macedonian converts helps to bridge the ten years between the Epistles to the Thessalonians and that to the Philippians, which are so similar in tone. The fidelity to the Gospel and loyalty to the Apostle, on the part of those addressed, are conspicuous in all three letters. This passage also is written in a similar tone of affectionate and thankful praise.

Verse 6

6. εἰς τὸ παρακαλέσαι ἡμᾶς Τίτον. This depends upon ἔδωκαν, and there should be at most a semicolon at the end of 2 Corinthians 8:5 : They gave their own selves … so that we exhorted (or, entreated) Titus, that, just as he made a beginning before, so he would also complete towards you this grace also. Here εἰς τό means ‘so that,’ rather than ‘in order that’: Blass, Gr. N.T. § 71. 5. It is frequent in the Pauline Epistles.

προενήρξατο. A rare compound. In Galatians 3:3 and Philippians 1:6 we have ἐνάρχομαι, which B reads here. This ‘making a beginning before’ points to an early mission of Titus to Corinth, previous both to the one mentioned here and to that alluded to in 2 Corinthians 7:6; 2 Corinthians 7:13. See on 2 Corinthians 12:18. Titus had given them a start in other things; it was fitting that he should bring to completion among them this good thing also. There is no reason for bringing in here the notion of beginning and completing sacrificial rites, although ἐνάρχεσθαι is sometimes used of the one and ἐπιτελεῖν of the other.

Verse 7

7. ἀλλʼ ὥσπερ ἐν παντὶ περισσεύετε. Nay, as ye abound in everything. There is no parenthesis. The ἀλλά indicates that there is something further to be said. ‘All this is true, but, what is more, as ye abound in everything.’ Comp. 2 Corinthians 7:11, and see notes.

σπουδῇ. Earnestness. Comp. 1 Corinthians 1:5, where much the same gifts are mentioned, and Ephesians 1:8; Ephesians 5:9. See Ellicott on Ephesians 1:8.

τῇ ἐξ ἡμῶν ἐν ὑμῖν. The reading is doubtful: see critical note. Our choice lies between ‘the love which was inspired by us and finds a home in you,’ and ‘the love which proceeds from you and finds a home in us.’ ‘The love which unites your hearts with ours’ is meant. For the ἐκ comp. 2 Corinthians 7:9.

ἴνα καὶ ἐν ταύτῃ τῇ χάριτι περισσεύητε. The construction of ἴνα is ambiguous. It may be coordinate with ἴνα in 2 Corinthians 8:6. The Apostle exhorted Titus for two ends; [1] that as Titus had begun, so he should complete; [2] that as you abound in everything, so you may abound in Christian charity. Or we may suppose the ellipse of some such verb as βλέπετε, or θέλω, or παρακαλῶ. Comp. Ephesians 5:33. Winer, p. 396. There is emphasis on ταύτῃ: ‘in this grace also.’ Comp. 2 Peter 1:5-7. Were the Corinthians stingy? Comp. 2 Corinthians 11:8-9, 2 Corinthians 12:13; 1 Corinthians 9:11-12.

Verse 8

8. Οὐ κατʼ ἐπιταγὴν λέγω. Not by way of command am I speaking (comp. 1 Corinthians 7:6 : the phrase is used somewhat differently Romans 16:26; 1 Timothy 1:1; Titus 1:3). In a similar spirit the Apostle makes clear to Philemon that he gives no commands; he wishes to leave Philemon quite free (8, 9, 14); and S. Peter warns presbyters against lording it over the estates, the congregations committed to them (1 Peter 5:3).

ἀλλὰ διὰδοκιμάζων. But as proving by means of the earnestness of others the sincerity of your love also. ‘I am not laying a command on you, but I am using the zeal of the Macedonians as a test of your reality’: δοκιμάζων (see on 2 Corinthians 13:5) balances κατʼ ἐπιταγήν, and λέγω belongs to both; ‘I speak, not as commanding, but as proving.’

τὸ τῆς ὑμετέρας ἀγάπης γνήσιον. Whatever is genuine in your love. Comp. τὸ δοκίμιον ὑμῶν τῆς πίστεως, ‘whatever is genuine in your faith’ (James 1:3; 1 Peter 1:7). Γνήσιος is ‘legitimate in birth, not supposititious, genuine’ (1 Timothy 1:2; Titus 1:4): δοκίμιος is ‘proved, not spurious, genuine.’ In an inscription of Sestos we have πρὸ πλείστου θέμενος τὸ πρὸς τὴν πατρίδα γνήσιον. Deissmann, Bible Studies, pp. 250, 259. The substantival adjective followed by a genitive is very common in S. Paul; τὸ χρηστὸν τοῦ θεοῦ, τὸ μωρὸν τοῦ θεοῦ, τὸ ὑπερέχον τῆς γνώσεως. Comp. τὸ παραυτίκα ἐλαφρὸν τῆς θλίψεως ἡμῶν (2 Corinthians 4:17). Blass, Gr. N.T. § 47. 1. Is ingenium (Vulg.) a corruption of ingenuum?

Verses 8-15


He is a sensitive man dealing with sensitive people; and he points out that he is not giving orders, which are not needed and would mar the beauty of their liberality: he is giving his judgment as to what is fitting and just.

Verse 9

9. The reason why he does not command. There is no need; they know why they ought to give. There is a higher example than that of the Macedonians.

γινώσκετε. Almost certainly indic., although Chrysostom and Theodoret take it as imperat.

τοῦ κυρίου ἡμιδν Ἰησοῦ [χριστοῦ]. See critical note. The full title has point and solemnity. Such an example makes a strong appeal.

διʼ ὑμᾶς. Another point, and a further inducement.

ἐπτώχευσεν. The aorist refers to the crisis of the Incarnation. Previous to that He was rich in the glory of the Godhead. After it He was poor in the humiliation of His Manhood. At the moment of the Incarnation He ‘became poor’; egenus factus est, cum esset dives (Vulg.). Paupertatem enim assumpsit, et divitias non amisit. Intus dives, foris pauper. Latens Deus in divitiis, apparens homo in paupertate (Herveius Burgidol.). See Ambrose on Luke 2:41; also Briggs, The Messiah of the Apostles, p. 121.

πλουτήσητε. Might become rich. Comp. Ephesians 1:7-8.

Verse 10

10. καὶ γνώμην ἐν τούτῳ δίδωμι. And it is an opinion that I am giving in this; γνώμη in contrast to ἐπιταγή (2 Corinthians 8:8). See the same contrast 1 Corinthians 7:25; and for the value of his γνώμη, 1 Corinthians 7:40.

τοῦτο γὰρ ὑμῖν συμφέρει. ‘To offer one’s judgment, and not give commands, is the right course in dealing with people like you, who (οἵτινες) made a beginning a year before the Macedonians, not only in doing, but also in willing.’ The Corinthians were willing to collect, and began to collect, a year before the Macedonians did either (see on 2 Corinthians 9:2). It remains for them to complete the work, and about that the Apostle’s judgment will suffice. It is people who as yet have done nothing, and are not even willing to do anything, who need commands. Note the change from aor. infin. to pres. infin.

ἀπὸ πέρυσι. Lit. ‘from last year,’ i.e. a year ago. These combinations of prepositions with adverbs of time and place are late Greek. This one, for which προπέρυσι and ἐκπέρυσι were used, occurs in papyri of c. 200 A.D. Deissmann, Bible Studies, p. 221. This seems to imply that 1 Corinthians 16:2 was written more than a year before this. In that case, can 1 Corinthians have been written in the spring, and 2 Corinthians in the autumn, of the same year, as is often supposed? Granted that S. Paul, following the reckoning by Olympiads, began his years at midsummer, would he in the autumn speak of the previous spring as ἀπὸ πέρυσι? A decisive example is a desideratum. The Macedonian year, like the Jewish civil year (Tisri), seems to have begun in the autumn; and S. Paul might reckon by either of these.

Verse 11

11. νυνὶ δὲ καὶ τὸ ποιῆσαι ἐπιτελέσατε. But now complete the doing also, that as there was the readiness to will, so there may be the completion also according to your means. Νυνί is more precise than νῦν, and here is in emphatic contrast to ἀπὸ πέρυσι: in the N.T. twice in Acts, twice in Hebrews, and 18 times in the Pauline Epistles. That ἐκ τοῦ ἔχειν does not mean ‘out of that which ye have,’ but in proportion to what ye have,’ is shown by 2 Corinthians 8:12. Comp. οὐ γὰρ ἐκ μέτρου δίδωσι (John 3:34). He does not say, Give παρὰ δύναμιν (2 Corinthians 8:3).

Verse 12

12. εἰ γὰρ ἡ προθυμία πρόκειται. For if the readiness is there, it is acceptable according to what it may have, not according to what it hath not. The strong compound εὐπρόσδεκτος means ‘very welcome.’ S. Paul uses it four times; here and 2 Corinthians 6:2; Romans 15:16; Romans 15:31; in Romans 15:16 of this very collection by Gentiles for the Palestinian Jews considered as an oblation (προσφορά): elsewhere only 1 Peter 2:5, where see Hort’s note; not in the LXX. The τις inserted in some texts (see critical note), and adopted in the A.V., is not genuine, and need not be inserted, as in the R.V. The subject of ἔχῃ may be ἡ προθυμία personified. On the change from the indefinite ἐὰν ἕχῃ to the definite οὐκ ἔχει see Winer, p. 385. ‘If there be first’ (A.V.) misinterprets εἰ πρόκειται, which means ‘if it lies before us, if it ‘is there’ (R.V.).

Verse 13

13. The δέ after ὑμῖν (א3DFGKLP, Vulg. Arm.) is probably an insertion for smoothness: אBC, 17, 33, d e Aeth. omit.

Verse 13-14

13, 14. The construction of the first ἵνα and of ἐξ ἰσότητος is uncertain. Probably ἵνα depends upon something to be understood, as ‘You must complete the ποιῆσαιʼ (2 Corinthians 8:11), or ‘I mean’ (A.V.), or ‘I say this’ (R.V.), or, as ἵνα itself suggests, ‘The object is’ (Waite). And ἀλλʼ ἐξ ἰσότητος looks both ways, but is more closely connected with what follows. For the object is not, that others may have relief, you distress (see critical note); but according to equality, at the present season your abundance to meet their want, that their abundance also may meet your want, that there may be equality. With ἐξ ἰσότητος comp. ἐκ τοῦ ἔχειν (2 Corinthians 8:11). It is not necessary to supply a verb for τὸ ὑμῶν περίσσευμα εἰς τὸ ἐκείνων ὑστέρημα. These words explain ἐξ ἰσότητος: on a principle of equalityyour abundance to meet their want. With γένηται εἰς = ‘may be extended to’ comp. Galatians 3:14. The Apostle reminds the Corinthians that a day may come when they may need help and the Palestinian Christians may be able to supply it, ὅπως γένηται ἱσότης, that there may be brought about equality. The help from Palestine to Corinth is a contingency in the future, and can hardly refer to the spiritual benefits which the heathen had received and were receiving from the Jews. For ὑμῶν see last note on 2 Corinthians 12:19.

Verse 15

15. In the LXX. the words run; οὐκ ἐπλεόνασεν ὁ τολύ, and ὁ τὸ ἔλαττον οὐκ ἠλαττόνησεν (Exodus 16:18). This seems to mean that those who had tried to get more than their due measure of manna, and those who had not tried to get their full measure, found that each had neither more nor less than was right. Christian charity, S. Paul says, should aim at equality of this kind, superfluities being given to supply needs. What was in the wilderness a miracle of justice,—he who gathered his much had not the more, and he who gathered his little had not the less,—is in the Church a miracle of love.

2 Corinthians 8:16 to 2 Corinthians 9:5. DIRECTIONS FOR THE MANAGEMENT OF THE COLLECTION

In this section, 2 Corinthians 8:16-24 treats of the officials, 2 Corinthians 9:1-5 of the assistance to be rendered to them. The officials are Titus and two other delegates, whom the Apostle has commissioned to complete the collection. He commends them to the goodwill of the Corinthians. See an article on “St Paul as a Man of Business” by E. H. Plumptre in the Expositor, 1st Series I. p. 264.

Verse 16

16. Χάρις δὲ τῷ θεῷ τῷ διδόντι. But thanks be to God, who giveth the same earnest care in the heart of Titus. Pres. part. of what is continually going on. By God’s gift Titus is ever inspired with the same zeal as that which the Apostle himself has. The ἐν τῇ καρδίᾳ after τῷ διδόντι is probably parallel to ἐν τ. ἐκκλησίαις after δεδομένης in 2 Corinthians 8:1; the earnestness is manifested in his heart. But the meaning may be that it is put into the heart and remains there.

Verse 17

17. ὅτι. The proof of his earnestness: For indeed he accepts our exhortation, but being all along very much In earnest, of his own accord (2 Corinthians 8:3) he is going forth to you. The verbs are epistolary aorists, from the point of view of the recipients of the letter: see on 2 Corinthians 2:3 and comp. 2 Corinthians 9:3; Colossians 4:8; Ephesians 6:22.

Verse 18

18. συνεπέμψαμεν δέ. And we are sending together with him the brother whose praise in the Gospel is through all the Churches. Certainly τὸν ἀδελφόν means the fellow-Christian, not the actual brother of Titus. He was someone known to the Corinthians, but quite unknown to us. Barnabas, Silas, Mark, Trophimus, Sopater, Aristarchus, Secundus, and Luke are conjectures, of which Luke is perhaps the best. See on 2 Corinthians 9:4. Origen (Homilies on S. Luke) treats Luke as certainly meant. But ἐν τῷ εὐαγγελίῳ does not mean ‘in his Gospel,’ the one which he wrote; rather, in spreading the Gospel, in mission work. Nowhere in the N.T. is there mention of a written Gospel.

Verse 19

19. This verse is rather parenthetical, so that in construction 2 Corinthians 8:20 fits on to 2 Corinthians 8:18; and there should be at most a semicolon at the end of 2 Corinthians 8:18 and of 2 Corinthians 8:19.

οὐ μόνον δέ. See critical note. And not only so (i.e. his praise was in all the Churches), but who was also appointed by the Churches to travel with us in this work of grace which is being ministered by us, to show the glory of the Lord and our readiness.

χειροτονηθείς. The verb has a long history: [1] ‘to elect by show of hands’; [2] ‘to. elect’ in any way; [3] ‘to appoint,’ whether by election or not: elsewhere in the N.T. Acts 14:23 only. See Smith’s D. of Chr. Ant. II. p. 1501.

συνέκδημος. ‘As our fellow-traveller’ (Acts 19:29): φίλους τε καὶ συνεκδήμους ἐποιησάμην (Joseph. Vita 14). Comp. ἐκδημεῖν (2 Corinthians 8 :2 Corinthians 5:6-8).

Verse 20

20. στελλόμενοι τοῦτο. This fits on to συνεπέμψαμεν (2 Corinthians 8:18): taking care of this, that no man blame (2 Corinthians 6:3) us in the matter of this bounty which is being ministered by us. The Apostle desires to avoid all possibility of an accusation of having ‘kept back’ (Acts 5:2) part of the money collected. In the Iliad (xvi. 857, xxii. 363, xxiv. 6) ἁδροτής is ‘solidity, strength’ especially of body, and here refers to the ‘plentifulness’ of the collection. It is perhaps an indirect suggestion that the Corinthians are sure to give plentifully.

Verse 21

21. προνοοῦμεν γὰρ καλά. For we take forethought for things honourable. See critical note. For the remainder of the verse comp. Romans 12:17, where the same quotation from Proverbs 3:4 is found.

ἀλλὰ καὶ ἐνώπιον ἀνθρ. But also in the sight of men. He must not only be honest, but be seen to be honest. This is quoted by Polycarp [6]; comp. 2 Corinthians 3:2, 2 Corinthians 4:14.

Verse 22

22. Commendation of the third delegate, who is to accompany Titus and ‘the brother’ of 2 Corinthians 8:18. And we are sending (see on 2 Corinthians 8:17) together with them our brother whom we have proved to be in earnest many times in many things. The characteristic alliteration here and 2 Corinthians 9:8 is worth preserving in translation. Comp. διὰ γὰρ τὸ πολλάκις καὶ πολλοὺς νενικηκέναι θαρροῦσιν (Arist. Eth. Nic. III. viii. 3). The suggestion that τὸν ἀδελφὸν ἡμῶν means the Apostle’s own brother, is extraordinary exegesis. Even if he had one to employ, to appoint him to such work would have aroused just those suspicions which S. Paul was so anxious to allay. This ‘brother’ was no doubt some one in whom the Corinthians had confidence; some conjecture Tychicus.

πολὺ σπουδαιότερον πεποιθήσει πολλῇ τῆ εἰς ὑμᾶς. Much more in earnest by reason of much confidence to you-ward. To change the second ‘much’ into ‘great’ (A.V., R.V.) spoils the repetition, which may be intentional. Neither ‘I have’ (A.V.) nor ‘he hath’ (R.V.) need be inserted, but ‘he hath’ is what is meant. “This brother had no doubt been at Corinth, and was quite certain that the Corinthians, in spite of all shortcomings, would in the end come up to St Paul’s highest anticipations” (Lias). It is possible that here and in 2 Corinthians 1:15 the Apostle purposely uses in a sense that is favourable to the Corinthians the term πεποίθησις, which in 2 Corinthians 10:2 he uses in an unfavourable sense. He wishes to remove the threatening tone of 2 Corinthians 10:2. If so, this is another item in favour of the view that 10–13 is part of the second lost letter. With the alliteration comp. 2 Corinthians 7:4, 2 Corinthians 9:8; 2 Corinthians 9:10.

Verse 23

23. εἴτε ὑπὲρ Τίτου, … εἴτε ἀδελφοὶ ἡμῶν. Broken construction, the ellipse in each half being different: ‘whether (anyone asks) about Titus … or our brethren (be asked about).’ Comp. Romans 12:7. As to Titus, he is my partner and fellow-worker to you-ward (2 Corinthians 8:22); or as to our brethren, they are apostles of Churches, a glory to Christ. It is more accurate to retain the usual translation of ἀπόστολος and leave the context to show that here, as in Philippians 2:25, ἀπόστολος is not used in the same sense as when it is applied to the Twelve and to S. Paul. He and the Twelve were messengers or delegates of Christ, whereas these brethren were only messengers or delegates of Churches, as Epaphroditus was the messenger of the Philippian Church. See Lightfoot, Philippians p. 194, Galatians p. 95. εἴτε is common in the Pauline Epp., esp. in 1 and 2 Cor. See on 2 Corinthians 1:6. Elsewhere in the N.T. in 1 Peter 2:13-14 only.

Verse 23-24

23, 24. Summary, briefly commending all three of the delegates

Verse 24

24. τὴν οὖν ἔνδειξινἐνδείξασθε. Ostensionemostendite (Vulgate). See critical note. Manifest therefore to them the manifestation of your love and of our glorying on your behalf to the face of the Churches. ‘These brethren are delegates of Churches. Respect shown to them is respect shown to the Churches and will be reported to the Churches.’ In Aesch. in Ctes. 220 ἔνδειξις is ‘a display of goodwill.’ The word is not found in the LXX. and in the N.T. is peculiar to S. Paul (Romans 3:25-26; Philippians 1:28).


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Bibliography Information
"Commentary on 2 Corinthians 8:4". "Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges". 1896.

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Friday, December 4th, 2020
the First Week of Advent
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