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2 Corinthians 9

Gann's Commentary on the BibleGann on the Bible

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Verse 1

9:1–15 Having endorsed Titus and two other men (2 Corinthians 8:16-24), Paul returns to the subject of the collection for the church in Jerusalem. Paul explains that he is sending Titus and the others so that the Corinthians’ contribution can be ready when he visits. He points out that he has boasted about their willingness to help, and that he, along with the Corinthians themselves, would be embarrassed if he arrived with the Macedonians and found them unprepared (2 Corinthians 9:1-5).

superfluous -- Because the subject had been already fully brought to their notice by himself and by Titus.

it is superfluous -- The term G4053 perissos, is used here in the sense of “over and above.” It and its related forms are used often in II Corinthians. Paul uses emotional, over-the-top language. Cf. note at 2 Corinthians 2:7.

ministry to the saints -- Refers to the collection of financial relief Paul is gathering for the poor believers in Jerusalem. Since the Corinthians already knew about this project (1 Corinthians 16:1-4), Paul did not need to explain it to them again. See note on 2 Corinthians 8:4.

Verse 2

your readines -- Paul was simply calling the Corinthians back to their original eagerness and readiness to participate in the offering project.

This shows that he is still in Macedonia. - CBSC

readiness -- As in 2 Corinthians 8:11; 2 Corinthians 8:12; 2 Corinthians 8:19.

Macedonia - The churches in the province of Macedonia, which was the northern part of Greece. For full identification see note at 2 Corinthians 8:1.

In 2 Corinthians 8:1-5 Paul uses the Macedonians to encourage the Corinthians; now, in chapter 9, Paul states that he has used the Achaians to encourage the Macedonians.

Achaia -- A province in southern Greece, where Corinth was located. (This province would include the church at Cencherea, Romans 16:1, and possibly Athens.)

This is in agreement with 2 Corinthians 1:1, where the letter is written for all of God’s people in Achaia. That shows that the letter was read in several churches of the area or that the church in Corinth, the capital of the province, had a wide geographical influence.

ready to help since last year -- Paul advised the Corinthians to set aside money for this collection last year (1 Corinthians 16:1-3). Their enthusiasm for this project inspired other churches to participate, even though the Corinthians had not yet contributed. - FSB

last year -- In 2 Corinthians 8:10 (cf. 2 Corinthians 8:6) Paul dated the beginning of the collection at Corinth as “last year.” (1 Corinthians 16:1-2)

... we must draw a careful distinction between the Corinthians’ ready desire to give and the actual fact of having completed the collection. - EBCNT

Verse 3

2 Corinthians 9:3

sending the brothers -- The brethren referred to in 2 Corinthians 8:18, 2 Corinthians 8:22-23. The team that would collect the offering the Corinthian Christians would set aside for this project (1 Corinthians 16:1-3; 2 Corinthians 8:16-24).

our boasting about you -- That you were disposed to contribute, and that you were already prepared, and that the contribution was ready.

not prove vain -- Lest anything should have occurred to prevent the collection. I have sent them that they may facilitate it, and that it may be secure and certain.

in this matter -- In this respect. That is, lest our boasting of you, in regard to your readiness to contribute to relieve the needs of others, should be found to have been ill-grounded.

you you may be ready [prepared] -- The tense and voice match v. 2, but the SUBJUNCTIVE MOOD shows there is an element of contingency based on the Corinthians believers’ volition related to the collection (lit. “this matter”). - Utley

Verse 4

2 Corinthians 9:3-4 Paul was sending a personal reminder in the form of the “brothers” (cf. 2 Corinthians 8:16-24). Paul wanted to avoid two situations.

(1) One was that his repeated and confident boast to the Macedonians about the Corinthians’ “eagerness” and readiness (v.2) would turn out to be without foundation upon his arrival.

(2) The other was that when delegates from the Macedonian churches arrived at Corinth with Paul on his forthcoming visit ( 2 Corinthians 13:1-2), the Corinthians would be still unprepared and this would lead to his (and their own) embarrassment. - EBC-NT

would be humiliated -- Paul risked his reputation by commending the Corinthians’ eagerness and generosity to the Macedonians. He presents their example as motivation to have their gift ready when Titus and the others arrive.

None from Corinth are list in Acts 20:4, where the representatives to Jerusalem with this offering are mentioned. Some have asserted that it was possible that Titus, who went earlier, was their representative, but there is no mention of him in Acts. [Titus is not mentioned anywhere in Acts, prompting some to think that since he was an important worker with Paul, that Luke omits his name because he was related; either a physical brother of Luke, or even Luke’s son. - WG]

[Did the church at Corinth get their collection made in time for it to be sent to Jerusalem with the other offerings? It makes one to wonder! - WG]

Verse 5

2 Corinthians 9:5

9:5 There are three words in this verse which begin with pro (before).

1. Paul sent the church representatives in advance (proerchomai, cf. Acts 20:5, 13)

2. Paul wanted them to prepare in advance (prokatartizō, cf. Acts Acts 3:18, Acts 3:24; Acts 7:52)

3. Paul wanted them to fulfill their previous promise (proepēngellomai, cf. Romans 1:2)

generous gift -- In the first century, the city of Corinth was renowned for its prosperity. Although some believers were not wealthy (1 Corinthians 1:26-29), the church as a whole possessed more than other churches. Paul wants to ensure that they give their generous gift with the right attitude and motivation; he sends some believers to help organize the gift to remove any sense of compulsion.

On first hearing of the need, the Corinthians had undoubtedly promised Paul that they would raise a large amount.

willing gift, not exaction [bounty - covetousness; bounty - extortion; genroug gift-grudging obligation;] -- Literally “thus as a blessing and not as greediness.”

bountiful gift -- This is literally eulogia (blessing). This term is also used in 2 Corinthians 9:6 in the sense of “bountiful” or “abundant.”

grudging obligation -- More clearly translated “covetousness,” or “greed,” it denotes a grasping to get more and keep it at the expense of others. This attitude emphasizes selfishness and pride, which can have a very detrimental effect on giving, and is natural for unbelievers but should not be for professed believers (cf. Psalms 10:3; Ecclesiastes 5:10; Micah 2:2; Mark 7:22; Romans 1:29; 1 Corinthians 5:11; 1 Corinthians 6:9, 10; Ephesians 5:3-5; 1 Timothy 6:10; 2 Peter 2:14). - MSB

Verse 6

2cor 9.6

Paul encourages the Corinthians to give generously by arguing that God loves a cheerful giver (2 Corinthians 9:6-11).

He who sows sparingly -- This expression seems to be proverbial. Probably an allusion to Proverbs 11:24-25; Proverbs 19:17; Proverbs 22:9. Paul compares giving to argiculture.

The agricultural metaphor of sowing is often used in the Bible, sometimes in an eschatological, judicial sense (cf. Galatians 6:7), but also as a way of referring to supernatural actions like the resurrection (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:35-37). In this context it speaks of one seed producing many seeds as a way of referring to abundance. - Utley

will also reap sparingly, -- The farmer reaps in porportion to what he sows. Everyone knows this is true in regard to grain that is sowed.

To emphasize the rewards of generous giving (v.5), Paul cites what appears to be a proverb (v.6): “scanty sowing, scanty harvest; plentiful sowing, plentiful harvest.” = EBCNT

bountifully -- This is derived from the Gr. word which gives us the word “eulogy” (“blessing”). When a generous believer gives by faith and trust in God, with a desire to produce the greatest possible blessing, that person will receive that kind of a harvest of blessing (cf. Proverbs 3:9-10; Proverbs 28:27; Malachi 3:10). God gives a return on the amount one invests with Him. Invest a little, receive a little, and vice versa (cf. Luke 6:38).

Verse 7

1) Readiness -- Willing mind, 2 Corinthians 8:11-12.

2) As Purposeth

3) Cheerfully

Once the amount to be given has been determined, says Paul, the gift should be given cheerfully, since a cheerful giver always receives God’s approval (cf. Proverbs 22:8-9 in LXX).

as he purposes -- The term translated “purposes” occurs only here in the NT and indicates a premeditated, predetermined plan of action that is done from the heart voluntarily, but not impulsively. This is an age-old biblical principle of giving (cf 2 Corinthians 8:3; cf. Exodus 25:2).

The word, as used in Aristotle, denotes deliberate choice, without any constraint of any kind, as well as free from the impulse of the passions

grudingly -- .Literally, from sorrow, i.e. out of a sorrowful or unwilling heart. Cf. Exodus 25:2; Deuteronomy 15:10. CBSC

grudgingly -- Literally “with grief,” “sorrow,” or “sadness,” which indicates an attitude of depression, regret, and reluctance that accompanies something done strictly out of a sense of duty and obligation, but not joy. - MSB

of necessity -- Or “compulsion.” This refers to external pressure and coercion, quite possibly accompanied by legalism. Believers are not to give based on the demands of others, or according to any arbitrary standards or set amounts.

cheerful giver -- Paul echoes Proverbs 22:9 and other ot passages to emphasize God’s delight in those who give with the right attitude (compare Exodus 25:2; Exodus 35:5; Deuteronomy 15:10; Romans 12:8).

Proverbs encourages generous giving several times (Proverbs 11:24; Proverbs 22:9; Proverbs 28:27) and equates generosity to the poor with generosity to God (Proverbs 19:17). It does this because the impoverished—like the rich—are likewise created by God (Proverbs 22:2).

Verse 8

God is able -- The Corinthians may have felt concerned about giving money because of the uncertainty of life. Paul does not want this to be reason for them to withhold their generosity. Paul affirms that God can provide everything they need, just as He is doing for the church in Jerusalem.

God is able -- cf. Romans 16:25; Ephesians 3:20; Judges 1:24

make all grace -- The meaning here is ‘God is able to make every gift of His loving-kindness to abound to you, that you, being thus enriched, may impart of His bounty to others.’ -CBSC

Here “grace” does not refer to spiritual graces, but to money and material needs. When the believer generously—and wisely— gives of his material resources, God graciously replenishes them so he always has plenty and will not be in need (cf. 2 Chronicles 31:10). - MSB

abound -- God gives back lavishly to generous, cheerful givers, not so they may satisfy selfish, nonessential desires, but so they may meet the variety of needs others have (cf. Deuteronomy 15:10-11).

all sufficiency -- In secular Greek philosophy, this was the proud contentment of self-sufficiency that supposedly led to true happiness. Paul sanctifies the secular term and says that God, not man, will supply everything needed for real happiness and contentment (cf. Philippians 4:19). - MSB

all sufficiency -- The term “sufficiency” comes from two Greek terms, “self” and “contentment” (cf. 1 Timothy 6:6-10; Philippians 4:11-12, 19; Hebrews 13:15). A. T. Robertson’s Word Pictures In The New Testament, vol. 4, p. 248 and M. R. Vincent’s Word Studies, p. 831, both claim that the use of this term shows Paul was familiar with Stoic thought and terms. But he redefines them in light of the gospel. - Utley

all sufficiency -- What is God’s "all-sufficient" power? Romans 1:16

Verse 9

As it is written -- Paul marshals OT support (Psalms 112:9) [LXX] for what he has been saying about the divine principles of giving. God replenishes and rewards the righteous giver both in time and eternity.

poor -- There are two words for ‘poor’ in the N.T.; one is very common and is the stronger of the two, signifying abject poverty (2 Corinthians 6:10; Romans 15:16; Galatians 2:10, Galatians 4:9, &c.); the other occurs here only, in a quotation from the Septuagint (Psalms 111:9 LXX [Psalms 112:9] ), where it is very common. Both words are found Psalms 40:17, Psalms 41:1, Psalms 70:5, Psalms 72:13, Psalms 74:21, Psalms 86:1, Psalms 109:22; Ezekiel 16:49, Ezekiel 18:12, Ezekiel 22:29. No English Version makes any distinction here, although ‘poor and needy’ is so familiar from the Psalms.

his righteousness remains forever -- Paul quotes Psalms 112:9 to suggest that giving alms and being generous are expressions of God’s righteousness.

Psalms 112:9 Is speaking man’s righteousness. (cf. Psalms 112:3, but Paul here clearly is speaking of God’s righteousness, or benevolence to mankind.

The righteousness which manifests itself in beneficence, in works of love. It is not clear what is meant by the righteousness of the benevolent man abiding for ever. Ps. 112, from which the words come, should be studied as a whole. There it is twice said (vv. 3 and 9) of the good man that ‘his righteousness standeth fast for ever.’ It may mean that his good deeds ‘shall be in everlasting remembrance’ (v. 6). In Ps. 111 the same is said of God: ‘His righteousness standeth fast for ever. He hath made His wonderful works to be remembered’ (vv. 3, 4); - CBSC

forever more -- the Hebrew language has by no means the precision of the Greek. It probably means no more than this; that a good and charitable deed remains such for evermore. -

this God-fearing person freely distributes gifts to the poor (Psalms 112:9 a). As a result, such benevolent acts of piety will never be forgotten but rather will have permanent beneficial effects in this life and will gain one an eternal reward (Psalms 112:9 b). - EBC NT

Verse 10

The first part of this verse seems to be a quote from Isaiah 55:10, and the second part seems to be quoted from Hosea 10:12.

He who -- The same God who is faithful to supply all His creatures’ physical needs and is kind to all men, is uniquely gracious to His children. He always fulfills His promise to replenish their generosity.

supplies seed -- Paul alludes to Isaiah 55:10—a song of joy celebrating Israel’s promised restoration (see note on 2 Corinthians 1:3)—as further support that God provides for His creation. For this reason, the Corinthian believers should feel free to give generously to the collection, without fear that their own needs will go unmet. - FSB

supplies [ministers, provides] -- The verb used is a compound word, epichorēgein, G2023, (epi - chorego) furnish abundantly.

At Athens a choragus was one who furnished a chorus, and as this was a leitourgia (or “public service”), involving great expense, and often discharged with extreme munificence, the verb came to imply “provide abundantly.” St. Paul may (so to speak) have “picked up the word” at Athens. - PC

supply {second appearance of the word] -- must see G5524, χορηγέω, chorēgéō; from chorēgós (n.f.), the leader of the ancient chorus who supplied the chorus at his own expense, which is from chorós (G5525), the chorus, and hēgéomai (G2233), to lead. In the NT in general it means to furnish generously, lavishly (2 Corinthians 9:10; 1 Peter 4:11). - cf. WordStudy, Thayer, CBSC

fruits [harvest] of your righteousness. -- God’s temporal and eternal blessings to the cheerful giver (cf. Hosea 10:12).

Verse 11

enriched in every way -- Literally "in everything" is put in the front for emphasis. From 2 Corinthians 8:7-9, it is obvious that this does not refer to material blessings only, but also spiritual blessings (cf. 2 Corinthians 6:10; 1 Corinthians 1:5).

generosity -- Paul wants the Corinthians to understand that their abundance exists for the sake of generosity and thanksgiving. See 2 Corinthians 8:14-15.

through us will produce thanksgiving -- This could mean that:

(1) Paul and his company would be thankful to God when they saw the Corinthian brethren showing absence of selfishness and alleviating the disresses of others and prospering materially but especially spiritually. Or ...

(2) This probably means that the Jerusalems saints would be grateful recipients of this liberal gift they would be receiving from the Macedonian and Achian churches.

Verse 12

Their generosity would not only supply the needs of those in Jerusalem, it would also serve as an expression of thanksgiving to God and unite Jewish and Gentile believers (2 Corinthians 9:12-15).

administration [service] -- Administration,” which may also be translated “service,” is a priestly word from which we get “liturgy.” Paul viewed the entire collection project as a spiritual, worshipful enterprise that was primarily being offered to God to glorify Him.

service of this ministry -- Paul points out that the Corinthians’ generosity would not only benefit the church in Jerusalem, it would also be a gift of thanksgiving to God.

supplying -- The Greek word for “supplies” is a doubly intense term that could be rendered “really, fully supplying.” This indicates the Jerusalem church had an extremely great need.

needs of the saints -- Some of the Jewish member at Corinth had probably gone to Jerusalem as pilgrims to celebrate the feast of Pentecost (see Acts 2:1, Acts 2:5-11), had been converted through Peter’s message, and had then remained in the city without adequate financial support and had seen how the new Christians helped one another.

Many residents of Jerusalem had undoubtedly lost their jobs in the waves of persecution that came after the martyrdom of Stephen (Acts 8:1). However, the Corinthians were wealthy enough (they had not yet suffered persecution and deprivation like the Macedonians; 2 Corinthians 8:1-4) to help meet the huge need with a generous monetary gift (see note on 2 Corinthians 9:5).

thanksgivings -- The saints at Jerusalem, as well as other Christians who heard of the collection, would praise God because this act of Christian service had proved the reality and vigor of the Corinthians’ faith (v.13a). Praise is offered less for the gift itself than for the spiritual virtues of the donors expressed in the gift.

Verse 13

approval [test. proving, proof] -- G1382, This is the word for “test” (dokimē) used in 2 Corinthians 2:9; 2co 8:2; 2 Corinthians 13:3.

this ministry [service. ministration,] -- This refers to the contribution of Paul’s Gentile churches to the mother church in Jerusalem.

their approval of this service -- See note on 2 Corinthians 9:12. The collection also provided an important opportunity for the Corinthians to test the genuineness of their faith (cf James 1:22; 1 John 2:3-4). The Jewish believers, who already doubted the validity of Gentile salvation, were especially skeptical of the Corinthians since their church had so many problems. The Corinthians’ involvement in the collection would help to put those doubts to rest. - MSB

confession of the gospel of Christ -- Confession means “to agree with” (cf. 1 Timothy 6:12-13; 1 John 1:9). In this context their metaphorical confession is their liberal contribution, which confirmed their relationship with the other Gentile churches and with Christ.

obedience of your confession -- Obedient submission to God’s Word is always evidence of a true confession of Christ as Lord and Savior (Ephesians 2:10; James 2:14-20; cf. Romans 10:9-10). If the Corinthians had a proper response to and participation in Paul’s collection ministry, the Jewish believers would know the Gentile conversions had been real.

your confession -- , or profession, i.e. of Christianity. See 1 Timothy 6:12-13 (margin); Hebrews 3:1, Hebrews 4:14, Hebrews 10:23.

contribution -- The word here rendered distribution in the A. V. is that usually rendered by communion, or fellowship. Here it clearly has the active sense of communication. - CBSC

for them and for all others, -- See 88-Ch-Saints folder. "saints and all men"; "all men" 1 Thessalonians 3:12

and to all [for all others] -- For if the Corinthians behaved with such brotherly kindness to the once-despised Jews, who were now their Christian brethren, they would be not likely to refuse fellowship with any others. - PC

This is a difficult phrase to interpret. It must somehow refer to the Corinthian influence in encouraging other Gentile churches to participate in the collection (cf. 2 Corinthians 9:2). - Utley

- - - - - -

There seems to be several things expressed here:

(1) the occasion of the recipients’ thankfulness,

(2) the tested genuineness of the help given;

(3) and the two reasons for their thankfulness, viz.

(a) Corinthian loyalty as regards the Gospel, and

(b) Corinthian generosity in giving so liberally.

(4) As regards the Palestinian Christians had had misgivings:

(a) it had looked as if Gentile converts were advocates for extreme license.

(b)Now they would see the loyalty manifested in Corinthian adhesion to the Gospel. (CBSC)

Verse 14

they long for you [with deep affection] -- The construction is not easy; but apparently the thought is that while the Corinthians exhibit their goodwill by their bounty, the recipients exhibit theirs by affectionate intercession for the Corinthians.

Another benefit of this gift that Paul foresaw was that those who received it and heard about it would reciprocate by interceding for the Corinthians. Moreover they would long to see and be with the Corinthians because of the grace that God had given them/ - Constable

they ... pray for you -- This verse illustrates the truth that mutual prayer is at the heart of authentic Christian unity. When the Jerusalem believers recognized God was at work in the Corinthian church as a result of its outreach through the collection (see notes on v. 13), they would have become friends in Christ and prayed for the Corinthians, thanking God for their loving generosity. - MSB

grace of God -- Paul’s use of charis refers to the kindness expressed in generosity, but it may also include knowledge of God for salvation (also see note on 2 Corinthians 8:1).

surpassing grace [exceeding grace; overflowing] -- Referring to the liberality with which God had blessed the Corinthians.

Some understand this surpassing grace God has given you to refer to the fact that God had included the Corinthians (gentiles) to share in the blessings of the Gospel, the blessings found in Christ. And thus (v.15) Christ is the indescribable gift. [see EBSNT, NIVBTSB] While I lean toward taking v. 14 and 15 in the context of the entire chapter. - WG [See notes on 2 Corinthians 9:15].

Verse 15

His inexpressible [unspeakable; too wonderful; indescribable;] -- While we may be prone to think of "Christ" as God’s greatest and most wonderful gift to man (which is true), yet the context seems to be saying that God’s great liberal material blessings upon the Corinthians enabling them to most liberally share God’s grace on them, is a gift for which the Jewish Christians are exceedingly thankful. - WG

Jewish people believed that God heard the cries of the poor (Deuteronomy 15:9-10); Paul’s readers would understand his point that their aid to the poor brought direct glory to God in praise (2 Corinthians 9:11-12; cf. 2 Corinthians 1:11) and would also benefit the Corinthians through the prayers of the poor in Jerusalem (2 Corinthians 9:14). (God’s “gift”—v. 15—may thus be his strategic provision to the Corinthians by which they can benefit the poor of Jerusalem.) - IVPBBCNT

indescribable gift -- This may refer to “the surpassing grace” (v. 14) that God imparts, but the primary reference is to the Father’s gift (Greek charis) of his Son (cf. Romans 8:32). -- NIVBTSB

indescribable [ unspeakable] -- Since the gift here is said to be given by God and is beyond adequate human description, it can hardly refer to the Corinthian contribution or even the boon of Jewish-Gentile reconciliation in Christ alluded to in v.14a; rather, it must refer to the surpassing grace that God imparts (v.14b), especially the Father’s gift of the Son (cf. Romans 8:32). - EBCNT

His unspeakable gift -- The word used here ἀνεκδιηγήτῳ anekdiēgētō means, what cannot be related, unutterable. It occurs nowhere else in the New Testament. The idea is, that no words can properly express the greatness of the gift thus bestowed on man. It is higher than the mind can conceive; higher than language can express. On this verse we may observe:

1) That the Saviour is a gift to mankind. So he is uniformly represented; see John 3:16; Galatians 1:4; Galatians 2:20; 1 Timothy 2:6; Titus 2:14.

2) This is a gift unspeakably great, whose value no language can express, no heart fully conceive.

3) Thanks should be rendered to God for this. We owe him our highest praises for this. (BN)

Bibliographical Information
Gann, Windell. "Commentary on 2 Corinthians 9". Gann's Commentary on the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/gbc/2-corinthians-9.html. 2021.
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