Bible Commentaries
2 Corinthians 8

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Verse 1


What God’s grace. Paul points to the good example of the churches in Macedonia, but is careful to give God the glory! Macedonia would include Philippi, Berea, Thessalonica, etc. The Corinthians had at first been eager to help, and Paul had boasted about them to the churches in Macedonia (2 Corinthians 9:2). But these have completed their collection, while the Corinthians lag behind.

Verse 2


Severely tested. Compare 1 Thessalonians 1:6; 1 Thessalonians 2:14; 1 Thessalonians 3:3-9. Extremely generous. “In spite of the fact that they themselves were very poor (which could be used as an excuse to do nothing) they were extremely generous in the money they were sending to help the Christian poor.

Verse 3


And even more. “They outdid themselves in their giving, and it was of their own free will!”

Verse 4


They begged us. “This is how eager they were to have a part in this good work, and they looked at it as being a privilege!” As Jesus freely gave himself, so Christians are to share with needy brothers and sisters! [Saints: see note on 1 Corinthians 6:11.]

Verse 5


It was more! They did more than Paul could expect them to do! First . . . then. Their Christian giving grew out of the fact that they had already given themselves as living sacrifices to Christ! Compare Romans 12:1-2. If you can reach a man’s mind, you can reach his heart, and through it his pocketbook, and when you have reached his pocketbook, you have captured the whole man. You cannot buy that kind of dedication!!!

Verse 6


So we urged Titus. Titus has just come from Corinth, but Paul is sending him back there, to complete this raising of money to help the poor. Paul is careful just how he words this, calling it a special service of love. Some accused him of draining the treasury (2 Corinthians 12:17).

Verse 7


You are so rich. “You are a gifted church, rich in spiritual things (1 Corinthians 1:4-5).” Paul implies they should be the one to set the example for everyone else!

Verse 8


Any rules. “I do not command you to do this. This must be a work of love, and so voluntary.” To find out. “The example of the Macedonian churches has given me the courage to ask you to do this, and what you do will demonstrate the reality of your love!”

Verse 9


For you know. “Think of the example which Christ set for us!” Compare Philippians 2:5-11.

Verse 10


My opinion. Not a command, but advice. It is better. If they don’t finish this now, they will have lost something by neglect. What you began last year. They had started in a burst of spontaneous enthusiasm! Probably the false teachers had tried to talk them out of it.

Verse 11


On with it, then! The TEV brings out the emphatic NOW! “You volunteered and made a beginning of it. Finish it up!!!”

Verse 12


Eager. “Don’t put it off, saying that you will have more in the future from which to give! If you are eager to show your love, God will accept your gift because of what you have to give, not because of what may come to you in the future!”

Verses 13-14

13–14. By putting a burden on you. A false teacher may have said this collection was a Jewish attempt to make themselves rich from the generosity of the Gentile churches! Compare 2 Corinthians 12:16-18. Treated equally. Paul says this in a different way in Romans 15:27. This sharing was a characteristic of the early church (Acts 2:44-45; Acts 4:34-35). Paul sees it as being treated equally for Corinth (who has plenty) to share with those who are in need. If at some point in the future, it is Corinth in need, others will share with them!

Verse 15


As the scripture says. Exodus 16:18. Paul uses this to show a Bible basis for Christians to share resources. Christian love will prevent either waste or shortage.

Verse 16


How we thank God! Paul gives God the credit for Titus’ eagerness. Starting here, Paul gives the credentials of the three who were to complete the collection.

Verse 17


Not only. Paul did suggest this to Titus (2 Corinthians 8:6), but Titus volunteered to go!

Verses 18-19


With him. We do not know why Paul does not give the names of these two. Perhaps they are some of those mentioned in Acts 20:4. See 2 Corinthians 8:22 for the second unnamed brother. These will go with Paul to Jerusalem with the money.

Verse 20


Not to stir up. “I suggested to the churches that they send messengers with me to Jerusalem, so that we will not stir up any complaints about the way this generous gift of money is handled.” Paul seems sensitive about this. Compare 2 Corinthians 11:8-9.

Verse 21


Not only. “I want to do right in the Lord’s sight, and as much as possible, I want to avoid any suspicion of misconduct, which would make me less useful in the service of Christ.”

Verse 22


So we are sending. This is the second unnamed brother. See 2 Corinthians 8:18. He shares Titus’ enthusiasm!

Verse 23


He is my partner. Paul gives Titus a good recommendation! Paul certifies to Corinth that these brothers are authentic. Many false prophets were victimizing the churches.

Verse 24


Show your love to them. These men will eventually report back to the churches they represent. The conduct of the Corinthian church will be proof of all the good things Paul has said about them!

Bibliographical Information
Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on 2 Corinthians 8". "The Bible Study New Testament". College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.