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the Week of Proper 2 / Ordinary 7
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Bible Commentaries
2 Corinthians 8

Garner-Howes Baptist CommentaryGarner-Howes

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Verse 1

BENEVOLENCE FOR THE POOR (Example of the Macedonians)

1) "Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit," (gnorizomen de humin adelphoi) "Now, to make known to you, brethren," the liberality of Macedonia brethren in benevolent matters. This marks transition to another subject, that of liberality in giving, from the first seven chapters, on restoration of a fallen Corinth brother.

2) "Of the grace of God," (ten charin tou theou) "the grace of God," 2 Corinthians 8:9; that redeemed them from covetousness and selfishness to unselfish liberality, to help needy saints, the poor of Judea, in whose interest Paul traveled and raised funds on both the Asian and European continents diligently; Acts 11:29-30; Galatians 2:10; 1 Corinthians 16:1; Acts 24:17.

3) "Bestowed on the churches of Macedonia," (ten dedomenen en tais ekklesiais tes Makedonias) "having existed among the churches of Macedonia," or having been doled out among the churches of Macedonia; This begins the second main topic of the letter; the first topic dealt primarily with Paul’s defence of his ministry in requiring correction and discipline for sins in the Corinth church. The churches of Macedonia were in Philippi, Thessalonica, and Berea, churches it is presumed he visited on his journey, Acts 16:1 to Acts 17:34.

Verse 2

1) "How that in a great trial of affliction," (hoti en polls dokime thlipseos) "That in much proving or testing of affliction," by their wicked neighbors, Acts 16:20; Philippians 1:28; 1 Thessalonians 1:6; 1 Thessalonians 2:14; 1 Thessalonians 3:3-9. This affliction tested and proved their Christian character.

2) "The abundance of their joy " (he perisseia tes charas auton) "The abundance of their joy," joy in the Lord and in their obedience to him, James 1:2; John 15:11; John 16:24; Nehemiah 8:10-12.

3) "And their deep poverty," (kai he kata Bathous ptocheia auton) "and their extreme poverty," "reaching deep, down," kind of poverty, physical poverty; to withhold from the needy tends toward personal poverty, physically and spiritually, Proverbs 11:24-25; Proverbs 20:13.

4) "Abounded unto the riches of their liberality," (eperissdusen eis to pioutous tes haploteros auton) "abounded toward the riches or fulness of their liberality;" They gave in a manner comparable to the giving of the widow’s mite, Mark 12:44.

Verse 3

1) "For to their power I bear record " (hoti kata dunamin martura) "That according to their power I witness," stand as a witness, to the utmost of their ability, even to sacrifice, Mark 12:42; Mark 12:44.

2) "Yea, and beyond their power," (kai para dunamin) "and beyond their power," even to self-denial, which by the Spirit of grace they were enabled to exercise. They stretched themselves, deprived themselves, to help needy brethren in Judea; as brethren in the early Gentile church in Antioch Syria had done, Acts 11:29-30; to show mercy is worthy, noble, Matthew 5:7.

3) "They were willing of themselves," (authairetoi) "of their own accord," they were willing, God accepts from a willing mind, whatever one has to share with the needy, 2 Corinthians 8:12; Luke 6:38. One willing to give a cup of cool water to a thirsting discipline shall not go unrewarded by the Master, Matthew 10:42; Mark 9:41.

Verse 4

1) "Praying us with much entreaty " (meta polles parakleseos deomenoi hemon) "requesting of us, with urgent beseeching," or appealing. The Macedonia brethren did not wait to be asked to give to their brethren in need, but asked to be allowed the privilege, Acts 20:30.

2) "That we would receive the gift," (ten charin) "The grace-gift ministry to receive;" 1 Corinthians 16:1; 1 Corinthians 16:3-4. "That we would do our share by carrying and distributing their charitable gifts to the place of their need, in the Jerusalem area.

3) "And take upon us the fellowship of the ministering " (kai ten koinonian tes diakonias tes) "And receive or take upon us the common ministry of ministering," helping solicit and secure help in the international transport of financial aid to the Jerusalem church; A primary duty of the (Gk. diakonia) was administration of alms or charitable gifts. Acts 6:1; Acts 11:29; Romans 15:25; Romans 15:21.

4) "To the saints," (eis tous hagious) "to the saints," or holy ones, in impoverishing circumstances in the Jerusalem church, Acts 24:17.


"Proportion thy charity to the strength of thy estate, lest God proportion thy estate to the weakness of thy charity. Let the lips of the poor be the trumpet of thy gift, lest in seeking applause thou lose thy reward. Nothing is more pleasing to God than an open hand and a closed mouth."


Verse 5

1) "And this they did not as we hoped," (kai ou kathos elpisamen) "and (they did this) not just as we hoped," Their giving was far beyond our expectation, 2 Corinthians 8:12.

2) "But first gave their own selves to the Lord," (alla heautous edokan proton to kurio) "But gave themselves firstly (in priority) to the Lord;" This was the real secret to their liberality in giving to the alms needs of saints in Judea, Matthew 6:33; Titus 2:14; Romans 12:1.

3) "And unto us by the will of God," (kai hemin dia thelematos theou) "and to us (secondarily) through the will of God;" as true converts to Christ and His church, they acknowledged by their alms gifts, their gratitude for earlier testimony and labors of the Jerusalem church who had sent their missionaries to them. Others had labored and they had entered their labors, John 4:36-39.

Verse 6

1) "Insomuch that we desired Titus," (eis to parakalesai hemas Titon) "That we should beseech or (appeal to) Titus," his fund-raising, alms minister associate who helped raise funds for the impoverished saints in Judea.

2) "That as he had begun," (hina kathos pronerksato) "in order that just as he previously began," the collection for the needy saints in Jerusalem, while he labored with the Corinth brethren in Paul’s absence, Galatians 6:9; 1 Corinthians 15:58.

3) "So he would also finish in you" (houtos kai epitelese eis humas) "Thus also he should finish or complete in you all," a work already begun, while he should finish or complete in you all," a work already begun, while he was formerly with them. They needed to make the alms gifts they had pledged; Ecclesiastes 5:4.

4) "The same grace also," (kai ten charin tauten) "This grace also," this grace of liberal giving, for benevolent, as well as missionary purposes, a means by which one may show that he is a disciple of the Lord indeed, John 13:34-35; 1 John 3:16-17; James 2:15-17; Matthew 25:34-40.

Verse 7


1) "Therefore, as Ye abound in everything," (all’ hosper en panti perisseuete) "But as you all abound in everything;" every kind of thing: 1 Corinthians 1:5, continue to make progress, Ephesians 2:10.

a) "In faith" (pistei!) "In faith," the gift of faith, 1 Corinthians 12:9; 1 Corinthians 13:13; and the system of Christian faith, Judges 1:3.

b) "And utterance," (kai logo) "and in speech," which is to be always "seasoned with salt," Colossians 4:6; Matthew 12:36; Matthew 12:39. Give him your: 1) eyes, 2) ears, 3) hands, 4) feet, 5) lips, 6) heart, and you are wholly His.

c) "And knowledge," (kai gnose) "and in knowledge," knowledge of Divine things, 1 Corinthians 12:8; 1 Corinthians 2:10-16.

d) "And in all diligence," (kai pase spoude) "and in all (manner of) diligence," 2 Corinthians 7:11; Proverbs 4:23; Judges 1:3.

e ) "And in your love to us," (kai te eks hemon en humin agape) "even in the love from you to us," by which all men might recognize they were disciples indeed, John 13:34-35; 1 John 4:7.

2) "See that ye abound in this grace also," (hina kai en taute te chariti perisseuete) "in order that ye see that ye abound or enlarge in this grace gift also," like the Macedonians had, 2 Corinthians 9:8; 1 Corinthians 15:58. The "others first," spirit of Macedonians was one that Paul would have the Corinthian brethren emulate, accept as an honorable basis of motivation in giving.

Verse 8

1) "I speak not by commandment," (ou kat’ epitagen lego) "I speak not by way of command," that is based on any Old Testament commandment, but he was inspired by the Lord to write this council, 2 Corinthians 9:7.

2) "But by occasion of the forwardness of others," (alla dia tes heteron spoudes kai) "But through the diligence of others also," others not of our immediate coworkers, but by example of the Macedonians, 2 Corinthians 8:3; 2 Corinthians 8:12.

3) "And to prove the sincerity of your love." (to tes humeteras agapes gnesion dokimazon) "To prove or demonstrate the reality of your love," by grace gift help to others, as the Macedonians had done. Love can be seen only through giving and doing for others. And love needs to be seen by both our Christian and lost friends, Matthew 7:16-20; James 2:14-17; 1 John 3:16-19. It is the "show me," as shown love, that the world understands, John 3:16; Galatians 4:4-5.

Verse 9

1) "For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ," (gineskete gar ten charin tou kuriou hemon lesou Christou) "you all comprehend (have a grasp on) the grace (from out of) our Savior, even Christ," 1 John 3:14; 1 John 4:7; 1 John 5:13; 1 John 4:13.

2) "That though he was rich " (hoti plousioson). "that being rich," existing rich, in his pre-incarnate, pre-existence state or condition, of heavenly glory or splendor, John 16:17.

3) "Yet, for your sakes he became poor," (di’ humas eptocheusen) "on account of you all he impoverished himself," of his own accord or will, became poor: 1) in a human nature birth in a stable, 2) as a fugitive in Egypt, 3) as a carpenter in Nazareth, 4) having no place to lay his head, 5) in His death on the cross, 6) in His burial in a borrowed tomb. Philippians 2:5-9; 1 Timothy 3:15-16; Luke 9:58.

4) "That ye through him might be rich," (hina humeis te ekeinou ptocheia ploutesete) "in order that you all by that (kind of) poverty might become rich, the provision of heaven’s riches! 1) the salvation that he provided, 2) the church (bride) that he purchased, 3) the Holy Spirit that he sent, 4) the promise of His return, 5) the home he is preparing for his intimate own. These are riches he made available to you and to me today and forever. These we are to bear and to share with others, Romans 8:31; Ephesians 3:8; 1 Corinthians 1:21-23. "We’re children of the King," whose coffers are full-Hallelujah! He comes!

Verse 10

1) "And herein I give my advice " (kai gnomen en touto didomi) "and I give a considered opinion in this matter," not commandment -- but inspired council, Proverbs 11:14; Proverbs 13:22.

2) "For this is expedient for you," (touto gar humin sumpherei) "For this is expedient for you all," befitting or becoming to you, is morally profitable to you, to your influence, to do what you have announced you intended to do, Matthew 5:15-16; James 1:22.

3) "Who have begun before, not only to do," (oitines ou monon to poiesai) "who not only began to do," they began to make collection for the saints, even before the Macedonian brethren, 1 Corinthians 16:1-3; 2 Corinthians 9:2.

4) "But also to be forward a year ago," (alla kai to thelein preenerksasathe apo perusi) "But also ye previously began to will a year ago," from last ’year; perhaps not meaning a full year, but before the year in which he wrote began. Ephesians 5:14; Ephesians 5:17; Ecclesiastes 5:4-5.

Verse 11

1) "Now therefore perform the doing of it," (nuni de kai to poiesai epitelesate) "But now and hereafter complete ye or finish doing it," the collection, make up of a gift of charitable kind to send to the Jerusalem church in her hour of dire poverty, drought; carry through with your pledge, faith promise to make this charitable gift, Matthew 10:42; Proverbs 19:17.

2) "That as there was a readiness to will," (hopos kathaper he prothumia tou thelein) "Just as (there was) an eagerness of the will (to will)," a year ago; John 7:17; Ephesians 5:17.

3) "So there may be a performance also," (houtos kai to epitelesai) "Thus also there may be a completion;" Luke 6:38.

4) "Out of which ye have," (ek tou echein) "out of what you have or hold," - This is the real giving anyone can give - that which they have or hold, according to ability, according to their wealth. 2 Corinthians 9:7.

Verse 12

1) "For if there be first a willing mind," (ei gar he prothumia prokeitai) "For if there already exists a eagerness," of mind or will, and there had been on the part of the Macedonians who made and fulfilled an alms promise, and the Corinth church that only made it, 2 Corinthians 9:2.

2) "It is accepted according to that a man hath," (katho ean eche euprosdechtos) "it is acceptable according to whatever one has;" The motive of will gives virtue to the acceptable deed of performance. So both the will and the deed are accepted of the Lord, whether he has much or little. 1 Timothy 6:17-19; Hebrews 13:16.

3) "And not according to that he hath not," (ou katho ouk echei) "not according to what one has or holds not;" if he happens to be poor, having more liberality of heart (a bigger heart) than of means, 2 Corinthians 9:7; Luke 21:3; Mark 12:43-44.

Verse 13

1) "For I mean not that other men be eased," (ou gar hina allois anesis) "For not I mean) in order that there may be relief to others;" to the Judean brethren, merely for the sake of relief, but both to help them in a time of need and afford you all a blessing in giving. Acts 20:33-35.

2) "And ye burdened," (humin thlipsis) "and you all to be brought to distress," to the point of putting you in distress, or under pressure, by giving more than your share, to minister to the needs of the poor saints at Jerusalem, Romans 15:25-26.

3) "But by an equality," (all’ eks isotetos) "But by means of equality," a distribution of duty in alms giving in this particular, Romans 15:27-28.

Verse 14

1) "At the present time," (en tou nun kairo) "at the present and hereafter time," when you all are prosperous and they are in need, Acts 4:35.

2) "Your abundance may be a supply for their want," (to humon perisseuma eis to ekeinon husterema) "that the abundance of you all may be for the lack of those who are impoverished saints, in Jerusalem. When it is possible one day you may be in need and they in plenty, Joshua 1:8.

3) "That their abundance also," (hina kai to ekeinon perisseuma) "in order that their abundance also," at such time as they may be prospered in the future, 1 John 3:17.

4) "May be a supply for your want," (genetai eis to humon husterema) "may be (a supply) for your lack," your possible condition of need, Philippians 4:19.

5) "That there may be equality," (hopos genetai isotes) "So that there may be equality," or a harmonious balance of supply for every need, Romans 15:25-28.

Verse 15

1 ) "As it is written," (kathos gegraptai) "as it has been written," in the Scriptures Paul thus certifies his belief in both the philosophic and absolute truth of the Scriptures.

2) "He that had gathered much," (ho to polu ouk epleonasen) "He that held on to everything; the much, did not abound," prosper or do well. Covetous, selfish stealing of tithes for self impoverishes, Exodus 16:18-21.

3) "Had nothing over," (ouk epleonasen) "Not a thing had left over," withholding from the needy tends toward poverty, as well as disobedience to God, Exodus 16:21. This refers to God’s supplying manna to impoverished Israel in the wilderness.

4) "And he that had gathered little," (kai ho to holigon) "and he that had to himself, for himself gathered little;" but a little, enough for one day at a time, except on the sixth day, Matthew 6:11.

5) "Had no lack," (ouk elattonesen) "held no less or had no lack or need," because others who were able gathered the omer for the afflicted, Exodus 16:19-20.

Verse 16


1) "But thanks be to God," (charis de to theo) "But thanks (be) to God," from whom good thoughts and all good things come, James 1:17.

2) "Which put the same earnest care," (to didonti ten auten spouden) "The one continually giving the same diligence;" the same kind of care that Paul had for them, for their sanctification, growth, and usefulness in service to Christ. He cared for their lives and souls, as Isaiah did after his vision, Isaiah 6:8; Acts 9:5; 2 Corinthians 11:28.

3) "Into the heart of Titus for you " (huper humon en te kardia Titou) "in the heart of Titus on behalf of you all;" God gave to Titus a vision and a burden for the Corinth brethren, even as he had to Paul. Every Christian needs this oft renewed vision and burden for others, Psalms 126:5-6; Ecclesiastes 11:1-6; Romans 9:1-3; Romans 10:1-4. Our Lord was moved (emotionally) when he saw the masses as sheep without a shepherd as baby chickens without a mother to brood them, Matthew 9:36; Matthew 23:37-39.

Verse 17

1) "For indeed he accepted the exhortation," (hoti ten men paraklesin edeksato) "Because indeed he received the beseeching," or exhortation, Paul’s plea, appeal for him to consider going to the aid of the Corinth brethren, 2 Corinthians 8:6; 2 Corinthians 12:18.

2) "But being more forward," (spoudaioteros de huparchon) "But being more diligent," forward, straight-forward in conviction, understanding and obedient to the will of God for his life, Ephesians 5:17.

3) "Of his own accord," (autharetos) "of his own accord," or choosing, 2 Corinthians 8:12.

4) "He went unto you," (ekselthen pros humas) "He went forth (on his journey) to you all, regarding this matter of hospitable and charitable help for needy saints, showing both his confidence in them and his love for Paul; He considered this need and call to be from God, John 20:21; Ecclesiastes 9:10.

Verse 18

1) "And we sent with him," (sunepempsamen de met’ autou) "and we sent with (along with) him, as he was willing to go; 2 Corinthians 10:14; 2 Corinthians 12:18.

2) "The brother, whose praise is in the gospel," (ton adelphon hou ho epainos en to evangellie) "The brother, one whose praise (is) in the gospel," a true brother, of good repute as a laborer in the cause of the gospel, Philippians 4:3; Romans 1:9.

3) "Throughout all the churches," (dia pason ton ekklesion) "Throughout all the churches," a well known person in all the churches where Paul had visited and had been chosen or elected by those churches to help Titus and Paul in the goal of fund-raising for the poor saints of Judea. It was perhaps Luke, Paul’s personal physician, though he is not specifically named, 2 Corinthians 8:23.

Verse 19

1) "And not that only," (ou monon de) "and not only (that)," or "not only so," but he also had wide reputation a good name, of endorsement among the churches; Proverbs 22:1.

2) "But who also was chosen of the churches," (alla kai cheirotonetheis hupo ton ekklesion) "But (who) also is having been elected by the churches;" the term elected indicates a "stretching forth" of the hand," or a visible show of the hand-vote, or approval, by the churches of the association or fellowship. The congregations voted.

3) "To travel with us," (sunekdemos hemon en) "A traveling companion with us," in the fund-raising and gospel bearing labors.

4) "With this grace," (to chariti taute) "with this grace ministry," grace of distributing to the needy, Romans 12:13; Hebrews 6:10.

5) ’Which is administered by us," (te diakonoumene huph’ hemon) "which is being administered by us," Romans 16:1-3; Hebrews 13:16. Note Paul was an administrator of alms gifts, 1 Corinthians 16:1-4.

6) "To the glory of the same Lord," (pros ten autou tou kuriou doksan) "to the glory of the Lord himself," whose glory, not personal aim, men should aim to advance, Ephesians 3:21; Galatians 6:14.

7) "And declaration of your ready mind," (kai prothumian hemon) "and eagerness of us," Galatians 2:10; Acts 11:30.

Verse 20

1) "Avoiding this," (stellomenoi touto) "avoiding this," this kind of situation; He shunned even the appearance of evil in his administering the gifts of the churches for the purpose for which they were both solicited and contributed, 1 Thessalonians 5:22.

2) "That no one should blame us," (me tis hemas momesetai) "Lest anyone should blame us or accuse us," as regards ulterior motive; Paul "leaned over backward," as it were, to see that no one could bring any just accusations or charges against him or his helpers regarding their integrity in handling the alms gifts.

3) "In this abundance," (en te hadroteti taute) "In this bounty," liberal, full or "fat" contribution, 2 Corinthians 12:18.

4) "Which is administered by us," (te diakonoumene huph’ hemon) "which is being administered by us;" This concerns solicitation, collection, transportation, and accompanying the grace gift of bounty across national and international boundaries to the Jerusalem saints who were in dire need, 2 Corinthians 5:12; It appears that when any church made a meaningful, very liberal gift, Paul welcomed the church’s sending a personal guard and watchman to help see that the gift or properties reach their proper destination, 1 Corinthians 16:3-4.

Verse 21

1) "Providing for honest things," (pronooumen gar kala) "For we provide good (honest) things," by inquiry and consideration; In our opportunities for enriching ourselves, we must never lose sight of honesty and integrity, Proverbs 3:3-4; 1 Peter 2:12; 2 Corinthians 13:9.

2) "Not only in the sight of the Lord," (ou monon enopion kuriou) "Not only before (in the face of) the Lord," because we know he is looking on; Philippians 4:18. He knows all, Acts 4:19; 1 Timothy 2:3; 1 Thessalonians 1:3.

3) "But also in the sight of men," (alla kai enopion anthropon) "but also before (in the sight) open to the examination of men." Romans 12:17; Romans 13:7-8; 1 John 3:22.

Verse 22

1) "And we have sent with them," (sunepempsamen de autois) "and we sent with them,"

2) "Our brother," (ton adelphon hemon) "our brother," He is an unnamed brother, like that one of 2 Corinthians 8:18, who though thought to be Luke, it can not be documented.

3) "Whom we have oftentimes proved," (hon edokimasamen) "whom we have proved or tested often," a trustworthy brother, a tested brother, an envoy of the churches, a personal confidant of Paul.

4) "Diligent," (spoudaion onta) "Being diligent;" Tho Luke is thought to be the first and Tychicus the second unnamed messenger of the churches it can not be definitely certified, Acts 20:4; Ephesians 6:21; Colossians 4:7; 2 Timothy 4:12; Titus 3:12.

5) "In many things," (en pollois pollakis) "in many things, many times," as he let his light shine in service, Matthew 5:15-16.

6) "But now much more diligent," (nuni depolu spoudaisteron) "now and in the future (we believe) much more diligent;" fervent in the Lord; Proverbs 22:29; 2 Peter 3:14.

7) "Upon the great confidence which I have in you," (pepoithesei polle te eis humas) "in (the) much confidence I have toward you all, and by reason of the great confidence which he (Titus) has in you all.

Verse 23

1) "Whether any do enquire of Titus," (eite huper Titou) "If any inquire concerning Titus," ask about Titus.

2) "He is my partner and fellow-helper concerning you, " (koinonos emos kai eis humas sunergos) "He is my common ministering partner and for you a fellow-worker," one in close affinity of work for God, a colleague, a confidant, 1 Timothy 3:10.

3) "Or our brethren be enquired of," (eite adelphoi hemon) "if any of our brethren (of their company) be inquired of," in proving or testing all things, 2 Corinthians 13:5; Galatians 6:4; 1 Thessalonians 5:21.

4) "They are the messengers of the churches," (apostoloi ekklesion) "They are messengers of churches," sent out from, and by authority of churches;" They are envoys of the churches - not of boards, committees, or bishops - but of the congregationally elected church servants.

5) "And the glory of Christ," (doksa Christou) "even churches, which are the glory-bearers of Christ;" Ephesians 3:21. The church as an institution, and true churches as organizations, doing the will of God, the work of God, according to the word of God, are the glory of Christ and of God, as a bride is the glory of the groom. Ephesians 5:25; 2 Corinthians 11:1-2; Revelation 19:7-9.

Verse 24

1) "Wherefore shew ye to them," (oun eis autous endeiknumenoi) "Therefore you all be showing to them;" to these unnamed colleague helpers of Paul, before the churches respect due an ambassador of Christ, 2 Corinthians 5:20.

2) "Before the churches," (eis prosopon ton ekklesion) "In the presence of the churches," before the congregations;" not before the "private committees" or "private boards;" This recognizes both church sending and church receiving authority and mutual respect among churches and toward ministers who serve the churches in mutual causes, 2 Corinthians 11:8.

3) "The proof of your love," (endeiksin tes agapes humon) "the proof (demonstration) of your love;" John 13:34-35. How different was the attitude of a "despot," shown by Diotrephes, before one of the Lord’s churches, 3 John 1:5-11.

4) "And our boasting on your behalf," (kai hemon kaucheseos huper humon) "and our boasting on behalf of you," our confidence in your testimony and profession, that you will receive them and help them in their charity and alms - receiving labors, 2 Corinthians 11:8; 2 Corinthians 11:28.

Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on 2 Corinthians 8". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/2-corinthians-8.html. 1985.
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