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Bible Commentaries

Brian Bell Commentary on the Bible

2 Corinthians 8

Verses 1-24

  1. Intro:
    1. Chapter 8&9 both deal w/the offering Paul was taking for the needy believers in Judea.
      1. Why Judea? Remember the 1st believers were in that region & were Jews. They would have been victims of social & economic ostracism, religions excommunication, and national disinheritance. Any business ventures would have, collapsed. Family ties, severed.
        1. Same reason we have such a heart for the downtrodden. (IDP’s in Burma; widows & orphans in Ukraine w/Mercy Projects; young Vietnamese trafficking victims in Svay Pak, Cambodia)
      2. The Corinthian church said they would share in the collection, but had been negligent in doing so.
        1. Paul reminds them of their promise & teaches them a couple great principles on giving.
    2. Title: Put your money where your mouth WAS!
      1. Outline: Give it Liberally; Finish it Thoroughly; Administrate it Honorably.
  2. GIVE IT LIBERALLY! (1-9)
    1. ​​​​​​​Jesus has a lot to say about Stewardship.
      1. 1/3 of Jesus parables deal w/stewardship! [Time, Talents, & Treasures]
    2. Mac & Cheese (1)
    3. Macedonia was not a city but a region that basically covered all of Greece.
      1. Some cities that are included then in this region are: Philippi, Thessalonica, & Berea to name a few.
      2. I think God was smiling on this area of “Mac”...thus Mac & Cheese :)
    4. The Poor Model (2)
    5. You’d think the money would come in from the wealthy churches, that could easily afford to give, but that was not the case w/Macedonia!
      1. They were physically afflicted & financially washed-out!
      2. Historical Background: “The Romans had taken all there silver & gold mines, taxed the copper & iron smelting, canceled the right to cut trees for ship & home building, & had fought several wars on Macedonian soil.” (Chuck Swindoll, Pg.3,4.)
      3. Through their great trials they still gave w/an abundance of joy!
      4. With their deep poverty they still abounded in the riches of their liberality!
    6. Free Willy (3)
    7. So did Paul have to tell them “if you don’t give, my ministry was going to go off the air?” - No, no prompt or pressure came from Paul to them? The were freely willing!
      1. This (GK) word is only used here & in vs.17 (translated of his own accord)
      2. Not only did they not have to beg the churches in Macedonia to give, the opposite was true…check out vs.4!
    8. Please take my Wallet (4)
    9. The churches in Macedonia begged (imploring) Paul to take their money!
      1. George Sweeting said, “For the Macedonian Christians, giving was not a chore but a challenge, not a burden but a blessing. Giving was not something to be avoided but a privilege to be desired.”
    10. It all starts here! (5)
      1. When you give yourself totally over to the Lord, you’re offering your “time, talents, & treasures” [lock, stock, & barrel; the whole 9 yards; the whole enchilada!]
        1. After a great gathering of Christian youth, the offering was being counted. At the bottom of the offering, the counters found a picture of a teenage girl. They all made the same immediate assumption. Some boy had taken a girl's wallet, taken out the picture and thrown it in the offering basket as a practical joke. Then someone turned the picture over. There was something written on the back. "I have nothing to give, but I give myself."
      2. May it be said in the end of “CM” (Calvary Murrieta) that, “They were like the 1st century CM (Churches o Macedonia)!
      3. If you have an open heart, you’ll have an open hand!
      4. Be assured…If you have a problem giving with a tight fist…your problem is deeper then your wallet!
    11. Starting strong, but fizzling fast! (6)
    12. Paul now touches on the issue he has w/the Corinthian church...that they had started strong, but fizzled fast.
      1. ​​​​​​​They needed to complete what they started!
      2. Unlike the Macedonian churches that were in deep poverty, the Corinthian church was flourishing. They had the ability.
    13. Thrive! (7)
    14. Paul says you guys abound/thrive in so many things!
      1. Yet, you’re out of balance! (Like the churches in Revelation)
        1. See, one loose spoke can throw a whole wheel off!
      2. Not one of these is a substitute for the grace of giving!
      3. Their “abounding” didn’t carry over to their “giving”!
      4. How balanced is your giving?
        1. Are you as committed to giving as you are to bible study, prayer, worship?
      5. Would it be fair to say that where your checkbook(treasure) is, there your heart will be also?
        1. Our checkbook, or ATM bank statement, does seem to reveal our true walk w/God. Because our checkbook announces what our treasures are.
        2. What if we did a little checkup? What if I asked you right now to pull out your check books. Then pass it to your neighbor next to you (someone that doesn’t know you). Then have them scan down just the months of Oct/Nov. What would they glean from your life?
          1. Anything you’d be embarrassed by?
          2. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
    15. Don’t be misunderstanding! (8)
    16. Don’t misunderstand what I’m saying!
      1. I’m not demandin, just remindin!
      2. So he reminds them of one who was far richer then them, that was truly a giver.
        1. Yet be cautious how you test someone’s sincerity!
        2. Story - Charles Spurgeon and his wife would sell, but refused to give away, the eggs their chickens laid. Even close relatives were told, "You may have them if you pay for them." As a result some people labeled the Spurgeon’s greedy and grasping. They accepted the criticisms with out defending themselves, and only after Mrs. Spurgeon died was the full story revealed: All the profits from the sale of eggs went to support two elderly widows. Because the Spurgeon’s were unwilling to let their left hand know what the right hand was doing (Matt. 6:3), they endured the attacks in silence.
    17. Note, Paul used 2 examples for Corinth:
      1. 1st, from the deep poverty end of the scale.
      2. 2nd, from the richest of rich side, whom far exceeds any Fortune 500 guy, any Oil owning Sheik…Jesus!
    18. Jesus, Rich - Poor - Rich (9)
    19. Jesus is the wealthiest person in the entire universe, for it is all His!
      1. Job 41:11 Everything under heaven is Mine (the Fathers).
        1. I thought you said it was all Jesus? Well, Jn.3:35 says, The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into His hand.
      2. Yet He, emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
        1. The Macedonians were poor, but they gave like they were rich!
        2. Jesus was rich, but He lived like He was poor!
          1. Both provided a great example of giving.
    20. Though He was rich – It is usually the poor, who help the poor, because they know their plight.
      1. Haven’t we all seen or heard of a need someone had and you purposed to do it, but once out of sight you just shrugged it off?
        1. Helping a homeless person. (I’m going to swing in at the next light & get them something to eat & bring it back to them. Oh, darn I couldn’t get over in the turn lane…I guess God didn’t want me to help them!)
        2. I’m going to sponsor that child/family. Get home & the burden changes.
      2. I put it this way, He who was very rich, became very poor; so the spiritually poor, could become spiritually rich!
  3. FINISH IT THOROUGHLY! (10-15)
    1. ​​​​​​​Just do it! (10,11) - Complete what you’ve begun!
      1. How many don’t complete their financial commitments?
      2. I wonder if I asked Jeff Thompson of Mercy Projects, or GFA, just how many people that sign up to sponsor a child, a family, or a cause…end up sticking with it?
        1. Now, there might be a good reason for someone to stop (I’m not ruling that out) but I wonder how many make commitments w/o counting the costs, or did it out of emotions, or felt committed to it in church, but not as committed to it when it came to writing out the checks, w/the bills sitting in front of them?
    2. Willing? (12)
    3. God Judges not according to what a man has not the opportunity to do, but according to what he does when he has it, and what he would do if he had it!
      1. Widows mite. Mark 12:44(NIV) They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything--all she had to live on.
    4. Slide#17 Rob Peter to pay Paul! (13-14)
    5. He wasn’t trying to rob Peter to pay Paul!
    6. God is the great equalizer! (15)
    7. From Ex.16:18 referring to the manna in the wilderness.
      1. God is the great equalizer. Right now, the church down in Jerusalem needs help from the Corinthians, and maybe one day their sandal would be on the other foot.
  4. ADMINISTRATE IT HONORABLY! (16-24)
    1. ​​​​​​​This last section Paul deals with 2 important things when it comes to church finances! 1] Good-quality People 2] High-quality accounting practices!
      1. How many church workers have lost their testimony because of misuse of funds, or carelessness in handling the Lord’s money?
      2. They key is leave no opportunity for accusations! (we need to protect all of those working w/our finances)
    2. The church is not a business, yet we need to run it in a businesslike manner.
      1. Good-quality People!
        1. Paul appointed 3 men. Titus & 2 other unnamed brothers.
        2. Listen to their credentials!
          1. Titus had earnest care (16); a willing heart/of his own accord (17); One of the other brothers was chosen by the churches (19); diligent (22); partner & fellow worker (23); & a glory to Christ (23b).
      2. High-quality Accounting Practices!
        1. Here at CM, Mike Nielsen oversees our financial department; Bill Johnson is our CPA; Heisdy is our accounting manager; Candy Escalante takes care of our receivables; 3 to 4 men, that have been chosen by our board, collect & count the offerings (min.of 3, usually 4).
        2. And ultimately as president of the board 100% accountability rests upon me & our board! …And we don’t take that responsibility lightly.
          1. Accountability #1 - It is your money we are investing in Gods Kingdom & we better always be wise & careful stewards!
          2. Accountability #2 - God is watching how we spend His money!
    3. (24) Paul closes by saying “show your love”…“prove it”! - “Put your money where your mouth was!”
    4. End: When we come to the end of life, the question will be, ​​​​​​​"How much have you given?" Not, "How much have you gotten?"
Copyright Statement
These files are the property of Brian Bell.
Text Courtesy of Calvary Chapel of Murrieta. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Bell, Brian. "Commentary on 2 Corinthians 8". "Brian Bell Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/cbb/2-corinthians-8.html. 2017.