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Bible Commentaries

Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures

2 Corinthians 8

Verses 1-6

The Example of Christian Giving by the Macedonian Churches In 2 Corinthians 8:1-6 Paul provokes the Corinthians to jealousy by telling them about the sacrificial giving of the churches of Macedonia. In this passage he exhorts the church at Corinth to give as the churches of Macedonia had done. The underlying theme of 2 Corinthians is about mature sanctification. Throughout this Epistle Paul reveals his life of sufferings and perseverance as an example of spiritual maturity. Therefore, Paul calls the Corinthians into this mature walk by asking them to make similar sacrifices. He will later provide them a reason and motive for such sacrifices through God’s promises to reward those who sow financially into the Kingdom of God.

The sacrificial giving of the Macedonia Churches out of their poverty may seem far removed from our comfortable lifestyles in a developed nation, but many mission fields today could use a little Macedonian-type giving from a blessed America.

2 Corinthians 8:1 “Moreover” Comments - The English word “moreover” carries the meaning of “ Beyond what has been said.” Alfred Plummer suggests that the conjunction δε ́ with an address suggests some sort of “transition” to a new thought. He prefers “now.” [71]

[71] Alfred Plummer, The Second Epistle of St. Paul to the Corinthians, in The International Critical Commentary on the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, eds. Charles A. Briggs, Samuel R. Driver, and Alfred Plummer (Edinburg: T. & T. Clark, Ltd., c1915, 1985), 232.

2 Corinthians 8:1 Comments - Note who is the giver (God), and who is the receiver (the churches of Macedonia) in 2 Corinthians 8:1.

2 Corinthians 8:2 “How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy” Comments - We see James exhorting the Jewish converts to walk in joy while undergoing similar trials.

James 1:2, “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;”

2 Corinthians 8:2 “and their deep poverty” Scripture Reference - Note:

Proverbs 13:7, “There is that maketh himself rich, yet hath nothing: there is that maketh himself poor, yet hath great riches.”

Verses 1-24

Paul Offers Reconciliation to the Church at Corinth Having explained his ministry of reconciliation in the previous section (1-7), Paul now tests the obedience of the Corinthians after calling them to be reconciled unto God. For those who answer his call, Paul gives them an opportunity to prove their loyalty to him by participating in the collection of the saints (2 Corinthians 8:1 to 2 Corinthians 9:15). For these church members Paul’s words are a sweet savour of Christ resulting in life (2 Corinthians 2:15-16) resulting in their edification (2 Corinthians 13:10). For those who reject his call, Paul launches into an apologetic message to defend his right as an apostle over the Corinthians (2 Corinthians 10:1 to 2 Corinthians 13:10). He then warns them of his upcoming visit in which he is ready to use sharpness according to the power which the Lord had given him for edification and for destruction (2 Corinthians 13:10). So, for the rebellious, Paul’s words are “the savour of death unto death” (2 Corinthians 2:15-16).

Outline - Note the proposed outline:

A. The Collection for the Saints 2 Corinthians 8:1 to 2 Corinthians 9:15

1. The Example of Christian Giving 2 Corinthians 8:1-6

2. The Exhortation to Give 2 Corinthians 8:7-15

3. The Arrangement to Give 2 Corinthians 8:16 to 2 Corinthians 9:5

4. The Benefits of Christian Giving 2 Corinthians 9:6-15

B. Paul Exercises Apostolic Authority 2 Corinthians 10:1 to 2 Corinthians 13:10

1. Paul Declares His Authority 2 Corinthians 10:1-18

a) Paul’s Defense Against False Charges 2 Corinthians 10:1-11

b) Paul’s Claim to Apostleship 2 Corinthians 10:12-18

2. Paul Boasts of His Credentials 2 Corinthians 11:1 to 2 Corinthians 12:21

a) Mental: A Godly Lifestyle 2 Corinthians 11:1-15

b) Physical: Jewish Ancestry & Christian Suffering 2 Corinthians 11:16-33

c) Spiritual: Revelations & Miracles 2 Corinthians 12:1-13

Verses 1-24

Paul Offers Reconciliation to the Church at Corinth Having explained his ministry of reconciliation in the previous section (1-7), Paul now tests the obedience of the Corinthians after calling them to be reconciled unto God. For those who answer his call, Paul gives them an opportunity to prove their loyalty to him by participating in the collection of the saints (2 Corinthians 8:1 to 2 Corinthians 9:15). For these church members Paul’s words are a sweet savour of Christ resulting in life (2 Corinthians 2:15-16) resulting in their edification (2 Corinthians 13:10). For those who reject his call, Paul launches into an apologetic message to defend his right as an apostle over the Corinthians (2 Corinthians 10:1 to 2 Corinthians 13:10). He then warns them of his upcoming visit in which he is ready to use sharpness according to the power which the Lord had given him for edification and for destruction (2 Corinthians 13:10). So, for the rebellious, Paul’s words are “the savour of death unto death” (2 Corinthians 2:15-16).

Outline - Note the proposed outline:

A. The Collection for the Saints 2 Corinthians 8:1 to 2 Corinthians 9:15

1. The Example of Christian Giving 2 Corinthians 8:1-6

2. The Exhortation to Give 2 Corinthians 8:7-15

3. The Arrangement to Give 2 Corinthians 8:16 to 2 Corinthians 9:5

4. The Benefits of Christian Giving 2 Corinthians 9:6-15

B. Paul Exercises Apostolic Authority 2 Corinthians 10:1 to 2 Corinthians 13:10

1. Paul Declares His Authority 2 Corinthians 10:1-18

a) Paul’s Defense Against False Charges 2 Corinthians 10:1-11

b) Paul’s Claim to Apostleship 2 Corinthians 10:12-18

2. Paul Boasts of His Credentials 2 Corinthians 11:1 to 2 Corinthians 12:21

a) Mental: A Godly Lifestyle 2 Corinthians 11:1-15

b) Physical: Jewish Ancestry & Christian Suffering 2 Corinthians 11:16-33

c) Spiritual: Revelations & Miracles 2 Corinthians 12:1-13

Verses 7-15

The Exhortation to Give In 2 Corinthians 8:7-15 Paul exhorts the Corinthians to give out of a willing heart in order to prove their love for him. He explains that sacrificial giving does not mean to ease others and burden themselves, but rather, to find an equality so that everyone has enough. He uses the example of the child of Israel in the wilderness as they gathered manna for one another.

2 Corinthians 8:8 Comments - God tests our love and devotion to Him through acts of sacrifice and obedience. He tested the Corinthians through financial offerings in order to develop them into spiritual maturity.

2 Corinthians 8:9 Comments - Jesus Christ divested Himself of His riches and glory and honor which He had in Heaven and came to earth and because poor so that we might be enriched in every area of our lives, spiritually, mentally, physically and financially. He was born in a manger to identify with the poor of this world. Yet, He did not necessarily remain poor, for when He entered His public ministry He feed the five thousand, and again the four thousand; He paid taxes from the fish’s mouth; He took care of the needs of the twelve apostles; He rented the upper room for the Last Supper. In other words, His Heavenly Father continually met His daily needs, so that He was not poor in the sense of having lack. Rather, He walked in the abundance of heavenly blessings.

The purpose of Paul’s stewardship as an apostle to the Gentiles was to enrich the believers in their daily walk with Christ. Such blessings came at a great price to Paul, who will declare himself as their “spiritual father” in the next passage (2 Corinthians 4:14-18). At the one who “fathered their faith,” he had to endure much persecution and suffering for Christ’s sake. Paul will make mention of this fatherly principle of making sacrifices for his children in his second epistle to the Corinthians (2 Corinthians 6:10) as well as to the sacrifices that Christ bore for us that we might be made rich (2 Corinthians 8:9).

2 Corinthians 6:10, “As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.”

2 Corinthians 8:9, “For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.”

What does it mean to become a “father” of a people’s faith? We see Abraham being called “the father of all them that believe” (Romans 4:11). We look at Abraham’s historic steps in the Promised Land, obeying the Lord in order to demonstrate to us that it is possible to live in right standing with God. Thus, he serves as a “father of faith” for all who were to believe afterwards. There were many sacrifices that Abraham made, and much suffering and persecutions he endured for the sake of the Lord. One good example of how a “father of faith” must make great sacrifices is seen in the accomplishment of Charles Lindburgh, the first man to fly across the Atlantic Ocean compared to some of the historic flights made today with some of the world’s biggest passenger jets. One of these took place on November 10, 2005 when a Boeing 777 commercial airline flew from Hong Kong to London, a distance of 18,662 kilometers (11,664 miles) on a flight that took 22 hours and 43 minutes in the air, breaking the record for the longest nonstop flight by a commercial jet. Those on board enjoyed the luxuries of a lounge, beds, sofas and meals. Yet, such events did not begin that way. The first man make such a flight across the oceans was Lindburgh, who fathered flights across the Atlantic. On May 20, 1927 he roared down the muddy runway of Roosevelt Field, Long Island and lifted his small aircraft, the “Spirit of St. Louis,” into the air. Thirty-three and one half-hours and 3,500 miles later he landed in Paris, France. This was a dangerous journey that had already seen a number of men lost at sea in their failed attempts to be the first to cross the Atlantic. Lindburgh had no parachute, but only took with him with four sandwiches, two canteens of water and 451 gallons of fuel in order to keep his load light. His spirit and will to succeed captivated the world and made many believe that it could be done. From that point men worked hard in faith knowing that they could follow in the steps of Lindburgh. [72]

[72] “Lindbergh Flies the Atlantic, 1927,” (EyeWitness to History, www.eyewitnesstohistory.com , 1999) [on-line]; accessed 18 April 2010; available from http://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com/lindbergh.htm; Internet.

So, when Paul tells the Corinthians that they are rich and reign as kings while he suffers as a spectacle to the world in 2 Corinthians 4:6-13, he is explaining the principle of fatherhood that Abraham (Romans 4:11-12) and Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 8:9) walked in. They made tremendous sacrifices themselves so that their “children” could walk in blessings.

2 Corinthians 8:14 Comments - This was not equal giving, but rather, equal sacrificing. [73]

[73] Arthur Nsamba, “Sermon,” Miracle Center Cathedral, Kampala, Uganda, June 24, 2007.

Verses 16-24

The Arrangement to Give In 2 Corinthians 8:16 to 2 Corinthians 9:5 Paul explains to the Corinthians how he has made arrangements to collect their offering. He is going to send Titus along with another brother whom they knew well, perhaps Timothy or Erasmus or another close companion of Paul (2 Corinthians 8:16-23). He asks them to give in order to prove their love and Paul’s boasting of them (2 Corinthians 8:24). Paul then reminds them of their willingness a year ago to give when this project was first presented to them (2 Corinthians 9:1-2). He will send the brethren ahead of his coming in order to prepare the offering for his arrival (2 Corinthians 9:3-5).

2 Corinthians 8:16 But thanks be to God, which put the same earnest care into the heart of Titus for you.

2 Corinthians 8:16 Word Study on “thanks be to God” The Greek construction χάριν ἔχω τῷ Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ or χάρις τῷ θεῷ [74] or some variation of this phrase is found no less than thirteen times in the Greek New Testament (Luke 17:9, Romans 6:17; Romans 7:25, 1 Corinthians 10:30; 1Co 15:57 , 2 Corinthians 2:14; 2 Corinthians 8:16; 2 Corinthians 9:15, Colossians 3:16, 1 Timothy 1:12, 2 Timothy 1:3, Philemon 1:7 [t.r.], Hebrews 12:28). It is properly translated in a variety of ways; “I am grateful to God,” or “I thank God,” “Let’s give thanks,” or “with thanks to the Lord.”

[74] Kurt Aland, Matthew Black, Carlo M. Martini, Bruce M. Metzger, M. Robinson, and Allen Wikgren, The Greek New Testament, Fourth Revised Edition (with Morphology) (Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 1993, 2006), in Libronix Digital Library System, v. 2.1c [CD-ROM] (Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp., 2000-2004), 2 Corinthians 8:16.

2 Corinthians 8:23 Comments - Paul uses the words “fellowprisoners,” “fellowlabourers,” and “fellowhelpers” in a number of his epistles. These words go deeper in meaning than just describing their personal relationships with Paul. It also describes their spiritual relationship with him in the sense that they were partners and partakers of Paul’s sufferings as well as his heavenly rewards. In other words, these words describe people would receive the same rewards in heaven that Paul would receive because they stood with him during these difficult times.

2 Corinthians 9:5 Comments - Paul asked for a missions pledge from this congregation.

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Bibliographical Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on 2 Corinthians 8". Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghe/2-corinthians-8.html. 2013.