Saturday, June 10th, 2023
the Week of Proper 4 / Ordinary 9
the Week of Proper 4 / Ordinary 9
Lange's Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal and Homiletical Lange's Commentary
These files are a derivative of an electronic edition available at BibleSupport.com. Public Domain.
These files are a derivative of an electronic edition available at BibleSupport.com. Public Domain.
Lange, Johann Peter. "Commentary on 2 Corinthians 9". "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical". https://www.studylight.org/
commentaries/ eng/ lcc/ 2-corinthians-9.html. 1857-84.
Lange, Johann Peter. "Commentary on 2 Corinthians 9". "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical". https://www.studylight.org/
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XIV.—ADMONITION TO GIVE SPEEDILY, ABUNDANTLY AND CHEERFULLY; THE DIVINE BLESSING UPON THEM AND RESULT OF THE THANKSGIVINGS WHICH WOULD FOLLOW. THANKSGIVING
2 Corinthians 9:1-15
1For [indeed, μὲν] as touching the ministering to the saints, it is superfluous for meto write to you: 2For I know the forwardness of your mind, for which I boast of you to them of Macedonia, that Achaia was ready a year ago [from last year, ἀπὸ πέρυσι]; and your zeal [the zeal which proceedeth from you, δ ἐξ ὑμῶν ζῆλος]1 hath provoked very many [the majority, τοὺς πλείονας]. 3Yet have I sent the brethren, lest our boasting of you should be in vain in this behalf; that, as I said, ye may be ready: 4Lest haply if they of Macedonia [any Macedonians, Μαχεδόνες] come with me, and find you unprepared, we (that we say 2 not, ye) should be ashamed in this same confident boasting 5[with respect to this confidence].3 Therefore I thought it necessary to exhort the brethren, that they would go before unto 4 you, and make up beforehand your bounty, whereof ye had notice before, [which I have before announced, προεπηγγελμένην]4 that the same might be ready, as a matter of bounty, and not as 5 of covetousness. 6But this I say [as to this], He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully [with blessings, ἐπ’ εὐλογίαις] shall reap also bountifully [with blessings]. 7Every man according as he purposeth [hath purposed, προῇρηται]6 in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful 8giver. And [But, δὲ] God is able 7 to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having [having always] all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work: 9(As it is written, He hath dispersed abroad; he hath given to the poor: his righteousness 10 remaineth forever. Now [But, δὲ] he that ministereth seed8 to the sower both minister bread for your food [supplieth seed to the sower and bread to the eating, will supply], and multiply your seed sown, and increase9 the fruits of your righteousness:) 11Being enriched in everything to all bountifulness [simplicity, ἁπλότητα], which 12causeth through us thanksgiving to God.10 For [Because, ὅτι] the administration of this service not only supplieth the want of the saints, but is abundant also by many 13 thanksgivings unto God; While by the experiment of this ministration they glorify God for your professed subjection [since they glorify God on account of the proof which this ministration gives of the subjection which flows from your confession] unto the gospel of Christ and for your liberal distribution [the simplicity of your communion, ἁπλότητι τῆς χοινωνίας] unto them and unto all men; 14and by their prayer for you, which long after you for [with prayer also for you, as they long after you on account 15of] the exceeding grace of God in you.11 Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift.
EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL
2 Corinthians 9:1-5. For indeed concerning the ministering to the saints, it is superfluous for me to write to you.—The use of γάρ, connecting what is here said with the preceding chapter, and περὶ μέν (instead of περὶ δέ), shows that this chapter could not have been a distinct Epistle, and that the Apostle was not here beginning as it were a new subject (in consequence of a long interruption). It is possible indeed that he had been reviewing what he had written, and now saw that something was needed to complete his thought. However this may have been, he now introduces with most refined delicacy a number of additional particulars, with the remark that he really had no need of writing to them with respect to the collection, for he was well aware of their readiness of themselves. The connection seems to be: “I have no occasion to write to you with reference to a ministration to the necessities of your brethren, but the point to which I would draw your attention is, a kind reception of the messengers from me.” If μέν should be taken as a solitarium [i.e., without a δέ following it], its design must have been to give special prominence to the idea of the ministration (διακονία), in contrast with his commendation of the persons who were to have charge of it. But we see no reason why the δέ in 2 Corinthians 9:3 should not be construed in correspondence with this μέν. This ministration, as in 2 Corinthians 8:4 (Meyer), signifies, a service of love, including the idea of something which was, a just debt, (a debitum ministerium), Romans 13:8; Hebrews 6:10; 1 Peter 4:10, in conformity to Christ’s example, Matthew 20:28, comp. Galatians 5:13. Περισσόν means superfluous, for the object I have in view. [What does the Apostle mean was superfluous ? It was either: 1. The writing on the whole subject, notwithstanding the fact that he had written on it and was about to write more; 2. The writing, in contrast with his sending the brethren (2 Corinthians 9:5); 3. The writing on the collection itself in contrast with his having written to commend the brethren, and his being about to write of the manner and spirit of the collection]. De Wette enfeebles the expression by making it mean: “I regard it as superfluous.” Τὸ γράφειν is here the subject of the sentence.—For I know your forwardness of which I am boasting concerning you to the Macedonians, that Achaia was ready from last year (2 Corinthians 9:2 a). The mention of this readiness (προθυμία) was not a mere fiction of the Apostle for present effect. The commencement of the collection the preceding year (comp. 2 Corinthians 8:10 f.) had shown that it was an actual fact, and that the Corinthians only needed encouragement to complete the work as soon as possible. The use of the present tense (καυχῶμαι) shows that the Apostle was still in Macedonia. Ἥν is an accusative with καυχῶμαι as in 2 Corinthians 11:30; Proverbs 27:1. The subject matter of his boasting was that Achaia had been ready the preceding year. The word Ἀχαΐα intimates the extent of his boast and the general prevalence of the Gospel throughout the province which was so called. It shows how confident he was that the whole province was virtually the Lord’s (comp. Osiander). The Apostle implies that they were already prepared to commit their contributions to his hands. On ἀπὸ πέρυσι, comp. 2 Corinthians 8:10. He adds—and your zeal hath provoked the majority of them. (2 Corinthians 9:2 b.)—The phrase ὁ ἐξ ὑμῶν ζῆλος properly signifies the zeal which proceeded from you, and is a kind of attraction [Winer’s Idioms, § 63]; as if he had said, the zeal which commenced with you, hath provoked, etc., comp. Matthew 24:17 et al. The majority (τοὺς πλείονας) indicates that only a small part of the Macedonians remained unaffected by it. In relation to this matter, comp. 2 Corinthians 8:3.—But I have sent the brethren, that what we have boasted concerning you might not be made vain in this respect; that as I said, ye may be ready (2 Corinthians 9:3). The Apostle intended here to say, that while he had no need to write any thing with reference to the collection itself, inasmuch as he well knew that the Corinthians were entirely willing to contribute, he had nevertheless sent the brethren (chap. 16ff.) that they might have every thing in actual readiness, and that he might not be ashamed of what he had been confidently boasting of them among the Macedonians. Neander: Paul had doubtless said in Macedonia that the Corinthians were prepared to contribute the year before; this had inflamed the zeal of the Macedonians, and he now felt that it was needful to exhort the Corinthians not to disappoint his hopes concerning them. The words τὸ καύχημα—ὑπὲρ ὑμῶν are in themselves general, and include everything of which he had boasted of them, but it is afterwards confined to the matter in hand by ἐν τῷ μέρει τούτῳ (in this respect). This limitation of the possibility of failure to that single point shows how confident he was that his general boast respecting them could not be broken down. Estius very properly calls this “acris cum tacita laude exhortatio.” That ye may be ready contains the positive, and lest our boasting should be in vain, the negative part of this sentence.—Lest perchance, if any Macedonians should come with me and should find you unprepared. (2 Corinthians 9:4 a)—Ἲνα is here used as in Romans 7:13, and twice in Galatians 3:14. The anxiety he had just intimated he here expresses more definitely, but in a very delicate manner, by the adverb μήπως, which is in this place equivalent to ne forte in 2 Corinthians 9:4. He means, if any Macedonians should come as his companions (2 Corinthians 1:16). [The persons here spoken of are evidently not those whom he had described in 2 Corinthians 7:16 and 2 Corinthians 9:3, and hence some have concluded that these last could not have been Macedonians. It was yet uncertain whether any would accompany him. But as Corinth was then a great commercial as well as religious centre, some might reasonably be expected to go]. On ἡμεῖς comp. 2 Corinthians 9:3. We, not to say you, should be put to shame in the matter of this confidence. (ver.4 b).—We are not to regard this little parenthesis (we say not ye, ἵνα μη λέγωμεν ὑμεῖς), as a mere pleasantry, but on the other hand as a delicate attempt to stimulate their feelings of self-respect; since the shame would indeed be theirs if the Apostle’s expression of confidence in them should not be borne out in fact. W. F. Besser:—“In this little sentence we may discover the extreme delicacy of Paul’s feelings, and the affectionate civility which characterized his intercourse, but which are especially prominent in this most personal of all his Epistles.” The ὑπόστασις is simply the confidence which had been expressed in the boasting. Comp. 2 Corinthians 11:17; Hebrews 11:1, and frequently in the Sept., but the word has not here precisely the sense of, business, thing. The Corinthians would be put to shame should they not come up to what the Apostle confidently expected of them. [He had stimulated the Macedonians by saying that the Corinthians had begun the collection, and then when he found that the Corinthians had not finished their contribution according to his expectation and his boast of them, he very properly stimulated the Corinthians by telling them that the Macedonians had completed their collection. He had boasted that the Corinthians were “prepared” the last year for the collection, and yet now he found it necessary to send deputies to have them “prepared” for delivering it up]. In all this there is surely no ground for suggesting that Paul was acting a cunning part, or was conforming to the shrewd policy of the world (Rückert); or that he here exhibits something of human infirmity (de Wette) Comp. Meyer, Osiander. And yet we may properly concede and maintain that he here shows most consummate art.—I therefore thought it necessary to exhort the brethren that they would go before to you, and make up beforehand the bounty I have already promised (2 Corinthians 9:5 a).—The Apostle here brings out with more particularity the business of the deputies he was sending. Οῦν, in accordance with what he had just said, signifies, in order to prevent our being ashamed. The πρὸ in προέλθωσιν signifies, before the arrival of myself and the Macedonians. Προεπηγγελμένην signifies, before promised by me (comp. 2 Corinthians 9:2 ff.) not announced to you [as in the Eng. vers.] or promised by you. [Dr. Hodge thinks it means what the Corinthians had promised. We are nowhere told of such a promise, though the confident expectations of the Apostle had some reasonable foundation. As we suppose this to have been his information respecting them, and as we are informed of the Apostle’s promise to the Macedonians respecting them, we prefer to refer προεπηγ. to what he had said in 2 Corinthians 9:2. The thrice repeated προ (in composition) shows the Apostle’s extreme forethought]. Ταὐτην ἐτοίμην εὶναι designates the result aimed at in the προκαταπτίσωσι τὴν εὐλογίαν—that the same may be ready in the manner of a blessing, and not as a covetousness. (2 Corinthians 9:5 b.)—With this designation of their gift or their benificence as a εὐλογία in the sense of an act of love produced by Divine grace, after the example of God and directed to the welfare of men, in which one gives cheerfully and with full hand, according to ability, he now connects an admonitory hint, that it should be so given as to appear a blessing, and not an act of covetousness. As εὐλογία includes essentially the idea of an abundance, so does πλεουεξία that of scantiness; but of what these consist is not necessarily implied in the words themselves. Neander takes εὐλογία as if it corresponded with the Hebrew בְּרָכָה (blessing) and signified, a communication of some good, and then a token of affection; and πλεονεξία as meaning covetousness, extortion, something extorted. W. F. Besser:—“This contribution to the common benefit of the Church may be called a blessing in two respects: first, as a gift from God, inasmuch as it was the result of His grace in the hearts of His people (2 Corinthians 8:1), and secondly, as an offering to God, but deposited in the hands of His poor.” [In the English version εὐλογία is translated “bounty,” but this fails of bringing out the idea of good will on the part of the giver. The Greek word signifies etymologically, a blessing by word, and to this was added, by Hellenistic usage, the idea of a blessing by action, by a present (Genesis 33:11; Judges 1:15; comp. Proverbs 11:25). Οὔτως is not redundant, but draws attention to the following εὐλογίαν, as if it were to be taken in its peculiar signification; with ὡς it signifies, so as, in the manner of]. The whole phrase, οό̓τως ὠς, etc., relates to the special character of the gift: i.e., it should be an act of real benevolence, liberally dispensing what it has, and not of covetousness, withholding as much as possible, from a regard to self alone. [The context shows that the givers and not those collecting the gifts are here alluded to (inasmuch as these collectors might be actuated by a covetous spirit and extort from the people). If we take the expression in its utmost strictness, it signifies the laying down of a small amount, because the giver wishes to reserve more than he needs for himself. [Theophyl:—“As if he were over-reached by some one, or cheated out of it.” Dr. Clarke thinks there is an allusion to the two kinds of chests which were set for alms in the Temple: the one for what the law required as necessary for every one, the other for the free-will offerings. To the one all men gave, because they were obliged to do so, but to the other those only gave who had pity on the poor]. But the Apostle explains his meaning more fully in vv.6, 7, where he traces the course of each giver to its proper result, and reminds his readers that even the costliest gift has no value in the sight of God, if it is not given with a benevolent and cheerful spirit.
2 Corinthians 9:6-7. But as to this, He that sows sparingly shall reap sparingly, and he that sows with blessings shall reap with blessings.—The τοῦτο has sometimes been referred to ὁ σπείρων, as if it designated this kind of seed [he who sows this sparingly, Meyer]; but this would require an inappropriate emphasis upon τοῦτο. Others, therefore, [as our English version does] supply λέγω, or φημί; but every where else the Apostle in similar cases gives us the verb itself (1Co 7:29; 1 Corinthians 15:50; Galatians 3:17). Others supply ἐστιν in the sense of this is as if, (σὕτως έ̓χει). But to avoid a feeble construction, it seems better to take it (with Meyer) as an accus. absol. “as to this, viz., that it ought to be ὠς εὐλογία and not ὠς πλεονεξία, he which,” etc. He connects φειδομένως in sense with καὶ μὴ ὡς πλεονεξίαν, and places it at the beginning of the sentence. On σπείρειν—θερίζειν, comp. 1 Corinthians 9:11; Galatians 6:7 ff.; Proverbs 19:17. [In almost all recent copies of the English authorized version, the word also has twice crept into this verse as a gloss]. He who does good sparingly shall have a corresponding recompense, a participation but sparingly in the blessings of salvation, i.e., an inferior (it is not said, no) reward of grace. In contrast with this stands ἐπ̓ εὐλογίαις σπείρειν and θερίζειν, where the second ἐπ̓ εὐλογίαις, for the sake of emphasis, follows immediately after the first. Ἐπ̓ εὐλογίαις has the sense of, abundantly [though this misses the idea of its being a gift of love, Alford], either: with blessings (the relation being in the thing itself), the blessings which he gives and receives; or: for blessings, with a view to blessings, and the blessings which he shall receive, [Alford: “this will not suit the second ἐπ̓ ευλογ”] Neander (on the ground that εὐλογία involves the collateral idea of a voluntary gift of affection), paraphrases it, “he who sows in such a way, that it is seen to be a gift of love.” [Stanley: Ἐπ’, on the condition, these are the terms on which we give, as in Luke 6:38, comp. 1 Corinthians 9:10]. The plural gives increased force to the idea of abundance. A similar contrast may be noticed in Prov. 9:24. [Beza notices a triple Hebraism in the phrase ἐπ̓ εὐλογίαις: 1, in the use of ἐπὶ with a noun when the whole has an adverbial signification, as “in justitia,” for justly; 2, in calling the act of charity εὐλογία, with reference to the Heb, נְדָבָה free-will offerings; 3, in using the plural for emphasis. We may also notice the variety of euphemisms by which the contribution is designated in this whole section according to the side from which it is viewed. With reference to its source, it is χάρις; in its relation to the church’s life, it is κοινωνία; in its relation to public servants, it is διακονία; in its beneficial purposes, it is εὐλογία; and as a public act of piety it is a λειτουργία]. The Romish doctrine of merit is one entirely foreign to our text, and totally inconsistent with Paul’s spirit.—Let each one give as he hath before purposed in his heart, not grudgingly, nor of necessity, for God loveth a cheerful giver. (2 Corinthians 9:7.)—The verb δότω must be supplied from ὁ σπείρων and δότην as the predicate of έ̓καστος. Καθὼς προαιρεῖται, as his heart freely prompts him. The definite purpose with respect to the amount each one would give, the Apostle supposes to be already formed when he comes to give, though in 2 Corinthians 9:6 he had spoken of it as in the future (Meyer). In contrast with this cheerful, free self-determination, he places another which springs ἐκ λύπη, ἐξ�.indicates the source from which the gift proceeds: a morose, gloomy frame of mind, properly a sadness at parting with what it gives; or, from compulsion, as when a man gives from necessity, because he cannot avoid it (comp. Philem, 2 Corinthians 9:14). W. F. Besser: It is one of the secondary results of the factions which prevailed at Corinth, that Paul was thus induced to warn us against all undue compulsion in charitable collections, and to admonish us in such matters to give with sincere pleasure; for nothing more completely poisons an act of charity than a manifest spirit of rivalry or a mere love of distinction.” To encourage them in this cheerful contribution, he reminds them of a Scriptural expression which, however, is not fully quoted. By way of emphasis, and for a more striking contrast with λύπη and ἀνάγκη, the ἱλαρόν of the concluding sentence is placed at the commencement (comp. ἐν ἱλαρότητι in Romans 12:8). The passage here thus freely quoted, is an addition to the original by the Septuagint in Proverbs 22:8 : Ἄνδρα ἱλαρὸν καὶ δότην εὐλογεῖ (var. ἀγαπᾷ) ὁ θεός. Comp. ἀγαπᾷ with εὐπρόσδεκτος in 2 Corinthians 8:12.
2 Corinthians 9:8-11.—And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that ye having always all sufficiency in everything, may have an abundance for every good work. (2 Corinthians 9:8).—Having admonished them to be bountiful and cheerful in their contribution he here assures them, that God could and would amply bless them in it, and that they had abundant reason to be of good cheer and confide in Him. It was 2 Corinthians 9:8 which induced Francke to build the Orphan’s House at Halle.12 Δυνατός is emphatic at the commencement of 2 Corinthians 9:8 : He can, and of course he will do it. Δέ introduces another element in the matter viz: the power of Him who takes pleasure in a joyful giver, to provide for him abundantly. It is a question whether χάρις includes merely bodily or only spiritual benefits, or whether it may not embrace both. Πᾶσαν is in favor of the latter view, and the detailed statements which are given seem to demand some reference to bodily things. Besser: “God can bestow upon us abundantly, not only the grace which makes us rejoice in the Lord and so prepares us to give with joyful hearts (2 Corinthians 8:2), but the grace which bestows on us that abundance of earthly blessings and that prosperity which enables us to give so liberally.” ΙΙερισσεῦσαι as in 2 Corinthians 4:15 must be taken in a transitive sense. The accumulation of such words as ἐν παντὶ, πάντοτε and πᾶσαν in this sentence is very emphatic, and is similar to another in Philippians 1:3 ff. Αὐτάρκεια must here be construed in an objective sense as meaning a sufficiency. ΙΙᾶσα αὐτάπκεια signifies a condition which warrants us in being perfectly contented, a sufficient subsistence even for corporeal comfort. Meyer makes it have reference to a subjective habit of the mind, i.e., the ethical condition which prepared them to abound unto every good work; such a satisfaction with their condition as would make them always contented, comp. 1 Timothy 6:6, Philippians 4:11. The more particular definitions, however, which he proceeds to give (ἐν παντὶ—πᾶσιν, as well as έ̓χουτες) seem more agreeable to the objective explanation; and the “abounding to every good work,” (which cannot mean, in an ethical sense, merely a growth in benevolence, but beneficence in an abundant degree), is that to which the full sufficiency could and should lead; indeed it was precisely that state in which notwithstanding its deep poverty a περισσεύειν was said to take place (2 Corinthians 8:2). The correct way seems to be, to take all these expressions, grace, sufficiency and good work, in a general sense, so as to include even the corporeal or earthly condition. Every good work would therefore mean any act which tends to accomplish the divine purposes, and to promote the kingdom of God; and which dispenses benefits of a corporeal nature to brethren in distress. This ought to be the outflowing of that complete sufficiency, which is secured by divine grace in every department of life, even in respect to corporeal affairs.—In 2 Corinthians 9:9 he illustrates what he had thus said by another Scriptural passage from Psalms 112:9.—As it is written, He scattered abroad, he gave to the poor, his righteousness abides forever.—The person respecting whom this had been said was the pious man. Σκορπίζειν, which occurs also in John 10:12; John 16:32, signifies to scatter, here to scatter abroad (as in sowing), and it has the sense of abundantly distributing on every side. Bengel: “Without anxious thought in what direction every grain may fall.” ΙΙένης signifies one who works for his daily bread (πέυομαι) [one not so poor as πτωχός, who lives on alms, but one who has nothing superfluous, Webster p. 227] therefore one who is poor and needy. It occurs no where else in the New Testament. Δικαιοσύνη is not the merit which is gained as the result or the reward of well doing, but the righteousness or good conduct itself. It signifies here especially that which is seen when one does good (not immediately, beneficence, at least not in the sense of that which is the cause of justification, since it is rather the result of justification; comp. Galatians 5:6; Galatians 5:22, Colossians 3:12 ff.). Beneficence is called δικαιοσύνη (comp. 2 Corinthians 9:10 and Matthew 6:1), “because it is an act of justice, not to retain for our own exclusive use, what God has given to all in common” (Ambros.). Ewald: “To the extent in which our free alms is the fruit of a higher feeling of love and righteousness, it is no doubt called צְדָקָח in Proverbs 10:2; Proverbs 11:4.” To remain forever implies not merely a permanent reputation among men, but the everlasting continuance of righteousness, blessing us with its loving spirit not only in the present life, but glorifying us and blessing us with the same spirit as a gracious reward through eternal ages (comp. 1 John 2:17). [On εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα, consult Trench, Synn. 2d Ser. pp. 35–41.]—What Paul had described in 2 Corinthians 9:8 as only a possible thing on God’s part, he speaks of in 2 Corinthians 9:10 as though it were surely to be expected.—But he who supplies seed for the sower, and bread for the eating, will supply and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness;—In these words of Isaiah (in which only ἐπιχορηγεῖν, to furnish, to grant, is substituted for the διδόναι of the Sept.) he describes God as the source from which these things were to be expected. He leads us to expect in the economy of grace and in the government of the church something analogous to what God is continually doing in the economy of nature. [Wordsworth: χορηγέω was properly said of a wealthy person supplying the requisite funds for the equipment and training of a tragic χορὸς. Hence with the accus. and the dat., it came to mean to supply anything for a purpose. Ἐπὶ sometimes implies a supply of one thing after another. Comp. 2 Peter 1:5. Dr. Clarke thinks the verb here has some allusion to its early meaning: to lead a chorus, and that God is represented as leading up the grand chorus of causes and effects, and providing for the whole host of benevolent workers in His kingdom.] The participal sentence extends not merely to τῷ σπείροντι but to βρῶσιν, for not only does the symmetry of our sentence demand this, but the passage in Isaiah requires it. [Our English translators have generally followed the received Greek text, which reads χορηγήσαι, πληθὐναι and αὐξήσαι in the optative instead of the futures χορηγήσει, πληθυνεῖ and αὐξήσει. They have also followed the Vulgate and joined καὶ ἄρτον εἰς βρῶσιν with the subsequent verb. In this way the whole becomes a prayer of the Apostle for his Corinthian brethren: “May he who ministers seed to the sower both minister bread for your food, and multiply your seed sown.” This seems unsupported not only by external but by internal evidence; for Paul was aiming to supply reasons and motives to liberality, on the ground that no one would lose or be straitened on account of large contributions. Not a prayer, but a promise was needful for this.] Corresponding with the supply of the seed to the sower is the assurance that the same Being would bestow upon them and multiply for them that which would be necessary to their sowing, i.e. to their work of beneficence. This has reference not merely to their future doings as a consequence of; or as a Divine blessing upon; their present liberality (Rückert); but, as the context and aim of the writer evidently require, to the benefaction then in progress (comp. δἰ ἡμῶν in 2 Corinthians 9:11). It is not till we come to the second member of the sentence, that we find the blessing upon the future action exclusively referred to: and will increase the fruits of your righteousness. This corresponds to the bread for eating, and the whole signifies: As God makes the scattered seed grow until it brings forth fruit and so gives bread for the eating (βπῶσις signifies the act of eating), so will He bless your sowing, your work of beneficence, and cause the fruits of your good conduct to increase. The fruits of righteousness correspond to the bread before spoken of, in the enjoyment of which the reward of diligence in sowing is acquired. The expression (in the sense of καρπὸς δικ.) occurs also in Hosea 10:12. But are we here to regard it as applicable to spiritual or worldly blessings? In the latter sense it would correspond with the interpretation we have given above to 2 Corinthians 9:8. With great propriety the ancient church selected vv.6–10 for being read on the day appointed for the commemoration of St. Laurentius (Aug. 10).13—Being enriched in everything unto all simplicity which works out through us thanksgiving to God.—In this verse the Apostle gives some additional particulars which may assist in determining his meaning. We have an anacoluthon, in which the participle stands as a nominative, like εἰδότες in 2 Corinthians 1:7, as if ὐμεῖς had been expressed in 2 Corinthians 9:10. A similar construction may be seen in Colossians 3:16.—There is no need of supplying ἐστέ [so that the sentence shall read: ye shall be enriched, etc.] for the connection with 2 Corinthians 9:8 would not be suitable. As vv.9 and 10 have an obvious connection with 2 Corinthians 9:8, they cannot be taken as a parenthesis. [Our English A. V. regards 2 Corinthians 9:9 f. as a parenthesis, but in serts no ἐστέ, for it regards πλουτιζ. as an independent nominative. It is better to connect it (not with 2 Corinthians 9:8 but) with the verse immediately before it: “God will increase the fruits of your righteousness (i.e. your resources), being enriched” (i.e. so that ye shall be enriched) etc. Hodge.] Ἐν παντί shows that their being enriched was in the most comprehensive sense of the word, and it is implied that πᾶσα ἁπλότης, in the sense of perfect simplicity (2 Corinthians 8:2) was to be the result (though not precisely the designed object) of the enrichment. The Divine blessing upon those who sincerely loved their brethren and cheerfully assisted them in time of trouble, would be seen in their becoming rich in all spiritual and temporal blessings. The final result would be such a perfect simplicity or singleness of heart, and such a pure benevolence as knows nothing of selfish interests or painful forebodings, and manifests itself in a free and ample supply of others wants. [The word “bountifulness” in our version hardly expresses this.] Such a simplicity is not only the fruit of an abundant spiritual life, but is an actual experience which blesses even with temporal benefits those who kindly endeavor to alleviate the distresses of their brethren. In the relative sentence which works through us, etc., the Apostle comes back to the collection which had its origin and support in this ἁπλότης, and he gives prominence to one result of this simplicity which admirably corresponded to its origin, (2 Corinthians 8:1), inasmuch as it produced a spirit of thanksgiving to God. Ἥτις is here probably not causal, in the sense of quippe quæ, but equivalent to ἥ. It is thus like ὅστις, as commonly used in the later prose; or it is equivalent to: something which was working. In δἰ ἡμῶν Paul refers to himself and his assistants in the work of collection, since it was through their hands that the gift would be communicated and the receivers would thus be induced to give God thanks. Τῶ θεῷ is by some made dependent upon κατεργάζεται (for, or in behalf of God), but it is better to make it dependent upon εὐχαριστίαν, inasmuch as the construction of the verb will then be preserved (Meyer: a dative of appropriation).—The reason for this thanksgiving he finds (2 Corinthians 9:12) in the collection then in progress.
2 Corinthians 9:12-15.—Because the ministration of this service supplieth not only the wants of the saints, but also abounds through many thanksgivings unto God.—Neander: “The Apostle here brings forward another motive for their cheerful contribution, in the material and moral benefits which the saints at Jerusalem would derive from it.” The ministration spoken of was not the service which Paul and his associates performed when they took charge of the collection, but as in 2 Corinthians 9:13, the service of those who took part in the contribution itself, Τῆς λειτουργίας ταύτης shows more particularly that it was something done for the Christian community (comp. Romans 15:27; Philippians 2:25). The ministration, therefore, which consists in such a service must be of the same nature (Meyer: the work of distributing the alms). Whether such a word implies that this friendly service was an act of worship, or such a sacred performance as to deserve the name of an oblation (comp. Philippians 4:18; Hebrews 13:16), may be left in doubt.14 In this inference the Apostle intended to say that the ministration of which he was speaking would not only supply a want of the saints (προσαναπληροῦσα being strictly equivalent to: supplying by addition, 2 Corinthians 11:9), but would overflow through many thanksgivings toward God, or would cause such thanksgiving to ascend in great abundance. Here also τψ͂ θεψ͂ is governed, not by περισσεν́ουσα, but by εὐχαριστιῶν. [See T. Lewis’ explanation and illustration of this text in The Divine and Human in the Scriptures, p. 339.—As they glorify God on account of the proof which this ministration gives of the subjection which flows from your confession of the Gospel Of Christ (2 Corinthians 9:13 a). The Apostle here does nothing more than to define with more particularity what he had just said, but with a connection of the participle similar to that which we have seen in 2 Corinthians 9:11; as if he had written in 2 Corinthians 9:12 : in consequence of the fact that many give thanks, etc. Διά points out the external medium (i.e., the occasion) of a thing; in this place of the δοξάζειν, etc. [They (the thankful recipients) glorifying God when the proof which this ministration gives, etc.]. The attempt to bring this word into immediate connection with 2 Corinthians 9:12 is arbitrary and unnatural (comp. Osiander and Meyer). By δοκιμῆς (2 Corinthians 8:2) we must understand either the evidence which this service would give that the Corinthians were approved, or the evidence which this service would give that the distribution itself was right and just, i.e., that it was such as might be expected from the Christian standard οf benevolence (Meyer after Theophylact: δοὰ τῆς δοκίμου ταύτης καὶ μεμαρτνρημένης ἐπὶ φιλανθρωπία διακονίας). In behalf of the latter view may be alleged the most natural signification of the words, and the fact that with ἐπί is introduced a reason for thanksgiving which related to the Corinthians. It may be added that the δοκιμή must have been also a test of the Corinthians. That which was the object of their thanksgiving is said to be the ὑποταγὴ τῆς ὁμολογίας ὑμῶν. In Hellenistic Greek, ὁμολογίαsignifies: confession (not: agreement, comp. 1 Timothy 6:12; Hebrews 3:1; Hebrews 4:14; Hebrews 10:23), and it is the word for the way in which faith is outwardly expressed or made known (comp. Romans 10:9 f.). Εὶς τὸ εὐαγγέλιον may therefore be joined with it, analogously with πὶστις εἰς χριστὸν, πιστεύειυ—εἰς τὸ φῶς, and similar phrases. We should indeed have expected the article (τῆς) before εἰς τὸ εὐαγ. to give it more definiteness, but we ought not to regard this as indispensable, inasmuch as we find every where great liberty in the use of it. Comp. Winer, § 19, 2. The same is true with respect to τῆς κοινωυίς εὶς αὐτούς, where the article is in like manner absent, and the same would still be true if we were to join εἰς τὸ ευαγγ. with ὐπακοῇ, so that the phrase should mean a complying or obedient disposition toward the Gospel; in which case τῆς ὀμολογίας would appear to be the source of the ὐπακοή: on account of the obedience which results from your confession. On the other hand, by joining ὁμολογίας with εἰς τὸ εὐαγγ., the ὀμολογία may be regarded also as the object of the ὐπακοή, so that the idea shall be: since ye are obedient to your confession. [Beza, whom our A. V. follows, gives to the genitive the force of a participle, and renders τῇ ὑποτ.τῆς ὁμολ.ὑμῶν: “your professed subjection.” Doddridge, however, well remarks, that “the words express not merely a professed, but a real subjection to the Gospel which was professed”]. But the confession towards, or with reference to, the Gospe1 (=the confession directed to the Gospel), is the confession of a faith in which love completely sacrifices itself for another’s good (comp. 2 Corinthians 8:9), and it therefore essentially requires that those who make it should cherish and put forth a similar love (comp. 1 John 3:6). Correspondent with this confession is the ὑπακοή of which the Apostle here speaks. Another reason for this thanksgiving is given in the words—And for the simplicity of your communion with them and with all. (2 Corinthians 9:13 b.)—Κοιςωυία, as in 2 Corinthians 8:4, means the practical communion which is shown in the communication of aid. Εἰς shows the direction in which this proceeds. The addition of ἐις πάντας was probably intended to suggest that it was well known generally and possibly among the Christians at Jerusalem, that the Corinthians were in the habit of sympathizing, in a practical way, and especially by a hospitable reception in their city, with Christians of every country. That those Jewish Christians should have concluded that the Corinthians were equally liberal to all simply because they were liberal to such distant brethren, does not seem equally probable. The connection of εἰς το Ìεὐαγγέλιον and εἰς αὐτοὺς, etc., with δσξαζοντεζ in the sense of: they glorify God, with reference to the Gospel, to themselves and to all (Meyer), has something very feeble and forced about it. Such a connection is required neither by the want of the article (see above) nor by the εἰς, inasmuch as this preposition fits very well here as expressive of tendency or direction; and might, according to the analogy of other words, be very properly substituted for the dative after ὁμολογίας and κοινωνίας. [The sense of the whole would then be: “they who receive such a proof as this ministration gives, will give glory to God for your obedience to the confession you have made with respect to the Gospel of Christ, and for the common fellowship with them and with all Christians which your single-hearted liberality displays.”]—Since they also, with prayer for you, long after you on account of the exceeding grace of God toward [among] you (2 Corinthians 9:14). It is somewhat difficult to decide with which of the previous sentences this verse ought to be connected. Against its connection with 2 Corinthians 9:12, it may be objected, 1, the extreme length of the intervening 2 Corinthians 9:13; 2 Corinthians 2:0, that διά does not stand before δεήσεως as it does before εὐχαριστιῶν, etc.; 3, that αὐτῶν stands emphatically at the head of the sentence, but on this construction has no special emphasis. If we connect it with 2 Corinthians 9:13, supplying ἐπί before δεήσει as previously before ἀπλότητι, it seems strange that they should be said to give glory to God for their own prayers; and to obviate this the language can hardly be made to signify the hearing of their prayers. We should prefer to connect it with δοξάζοντες in such a way as to point out the manner in which they give glory to God: not only by their thanksgiving (vv.12, 13) but by their intercessions. It must be conceded, however, that such a construction is somewhat harsh. The best way, therefore, probably is to take αὐτῶν ἐπιποθούντων together as a genitive absolute, (for we find this common enough with classical writers, where there is no distinction of subject), so that the meaning should be: “they, also, with prayers (i.e., in the midst of prayers) for you, longing after you, etc. There is nothing really forced or impertinent in this definition of ἐπιποθεῖν by δεήσει; it is rather a delicate way of hinting at the pious spirit which prompted this longing. There is an apparent inappropriateness in this word ἐπιποθεῖς, inasmuch as the churches could never be expected to come personally together. Some have, therefore, given it the meaning, cordially to love; but no example of such a meaning has been adduced. Nowhere else in the Scriptures is a meeting together of Christians in the future world (αἰὼν μέλλων) spoken of in this way as an object of Christian yearning. Neander takes ἐπιποθεῖν to be the ardent longing which is prompted by Christian love to have a better personal acquaintance with other Christians, and hence the final aim of this benevolent contribution may have been, to bring these Jewish Christians to acknowledge the Gentile Christians as their brethren in the kingdom of God. We must, however, remember that in the present case the more complete fellowship and the more animated enjoyment of common spiritual blessings in the church were actually brought about by means of personal intercourse through deputies. This is hinted at in the reason which is immediately subjoined: διὰ τὴν ὑπερβάλλουσαν χάριν ἐφ ὑμῖν. ̓Επί here designates them as the persons among whom Divine grace was active, and it is to be connected with ὑπερβάλλουσαν. The idea then would be: on account of the grace of God which superabounds towards you, i.e., because the grace of God is superabundant among or upon you. The charitable contribution was only one out of many streams flowing from this riches of grace (Osiander). As the Apostle contemplated this abundant result of Divine grace in the Corinthian Church, there arose from his deepest soul an outburst of holy thankfulness, to which he now gives expression.—Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift (2 Corinthians 9:15).—in this exclamation we need not suppose that he was endeavoring to repress some feeling of self-gratulation which he apprehended might spring up in the hearts of the. Corithians on account of what he had just said. The “unspeakable gift of God” was not strictly or exclusively the fortunate result which God had brought about by means of the collection, for the expression is rather too strong for such an application. The Apostle’s mind was evidently upon the great gift of redemption with all its rich results; (especially) in the church where was found that simple spirit of benevolence, on which depended all the good results of which he had been speaking. But the entire spiritual blessing which he expected from God’s grace included the particular effect of Divine grace or the especial blessing which God’s love had conferred on them. (The difference between Meyer’s and Osiander’s exposition on this point is not essential).
[Stanley: “In these four last verses the Apostle throws himself forward into the time when at Jerusalem he should receive the thanks of the Jewish Christians for this contribution, and thereby witness the completion of the harmony between the Jewish and Gentile Churches. Hence the impassioned thanksgiving for what else seems an inadequate occasion. Compare the abrupt introduction of similar thanksgivings in Romans 9:5; Romans 11:33-36; 1 Corinthians 15:57; Galatians 1:5; Ephesians 3:20; 1 Timothy 1:17”].
DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL
1. As god looks upon the heart, the acceptableness of an act of benevolence in His sight depends upon the cheerfulness with which it is rendered, upon the degree in which those who are filled with Divine love find a real pleasure in relieving those who are in want. This inward delight will be shown in the pleasant manner with which the outward act is accompanied, and the receiver will thus be satisfied that the giver is glad to be called upon, and to be able to perform a duty which a God of goodness has committed to him. Where this spirit is wanting, and it is evident that the man gives with a painful reluctance, from a regard only to the expectations of others, from a vain ambition not to fall behind those of equal or less wealth, or from the urgent importunities of others, the gift will have no value in God’s sight, however costly it may be. But a cheerful heart will always make an open hand; whatever the man has will be freely dispensed, with no close or anxious calculations of the amount, if he can only be sure of doing good, and of relieving or removing the necessities of his fellow-men. Accordingly God has declared that everything sown in this spirit shall bring forth a corresponding harvest, that those who give from necessity, sparingly, unwillingly, or half willingly, shall have a proportionate gain, and that those who give cheerfully and liberally shall have showered upon them an abundance not only of spiritual but of temporal blessings. As the result of both these kinds of blessing, the cheerful giver will acquire that noble and perfect simplicity which more completely surrenders everything to One who never fails to supply every want, and which is more and more unwearied in works of beneficence. And not only is he himself thus prospered, but (what is far more important) many hearts which are refreshed by his bounty will overflow with thankfulness, and will give glory to God; a loving fellowship will spring up between the giver and the receiver; and the spiritual life of each will be quickened and strengthened.
[2. It has sometimes been questioned whether this promise, (vv.8–10) is fully borne out by observation and experience. Not to dwell, however, upon the fact that the Apostle is in this place only laying down what might be expected from God’s power, and leaves undecided the question whether that power will always be put forth in every specific case, we may suggest that the Apostle is merely giving the general tendency and result of righteousness (Hodge). It will be, however, time enough to show that our passage will admit of exceptions, when a case of failure has been produced.
3. The power of all active beneficence in promoting the Church’s unity and common life.—Paul’s earnestness in the matter of this collection was quite disproportionate to its importance as an isolated fact. He was evidently looking far beyond it to the kind feelings and fellowship which such a work was fitted to promote. There had been, and there still was, great danger of a rupture between the Jewish and Gentile Christians. Paul evidently anticipated much from this collection, in smoothing down any asperities which had already become apparent.
4. It is evident that a community of goods (whatever it may have been) did not preserve the Church at Jerusalem from poverty and want. Clearly it had never been compulsory nor absolutely universal, and was only for the occasion on which so many strangers were in Jerusalem. As a requirement, it seems only to have been that each one should hold all that he had subject to the call of necessity. (See on Acts 4:34-37). Probably then, and certainly ever since, the apostolic rule was, “not an absolute uniformity, but a mutual coöperation and assistance.” (Stanley).
5. The community of love laid down in this section would preserve the whole Church from want. In the great body there would be “always an all-sufficiency in all things”, and with such a spirit it would be faithfully applied.
6. The Apostle clearly distinguishes between spiritual and temporal blessings.—The Corinthians might sow the one and not reap the other. We may sow much love and self-sacrifice, and reap abundantly the reward of such a sowing in kind, i.e., in their spiritual results, but reap very little of pecuniary or temporal gain. “What Paul promised these Corinthians was: 1, the love of God (2 Corinthians 9:7); 2, a spirit abounding in every good work (2 Corinthians 9:8); thanksgiving on their behalf (vv.11–13). A noble harvest! but all spiritual.” (F. W. Robertson). God might or might not give of His infinite sufficiency and ability (2 Corinthians 9:8), for their temporal wealth.]
HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL
2 Corinthians 9:1. Confidence and admonition may very properly exist together, the one in view of an honorable and upright character, and the other because many need a preparation for their duties.
2 Corinthians 9:2. A good beginning is not always sure of a good ending; we must therefore admonish one another and pray that we may continue diligent in every good work (1 Thessalonians 3:2).—Hedinger:—Commendable solicitude to observe accuracy in all we say; and to fulfil all we engage to do; without this, our words are only vain boasting. Away with this
2 Corinthians 9:4. We should be careful to have good reasons when we praise another, otherwise both parties may only be brought to greater shame.—Ibid: Support of the poor, and support of pastors. Plead and pray for them! Oh, if all who are in comfortable circumstances would but remember how much their doing good has to do with God’s blessing! Their ability to do good is His blessing, and they ought to be the hand by which He blesses others, only that they themselves may be more blessed (2 Corinthians 9:6; 2 Corinthians 9:9). The covetous man only betrays himself by pretending to give liberally; for he gives only a little according to his ability, and this with evident reluctance and low motives.
2 Corinthians 9:6. Every thing we have is from God; the more we have, the more readily, abundantly and joyfully should we communicate for the relief of others, with no expectation of a reward. And yet it is not wrong to have an eye to those promises which are a token of God’s great love and readiness to help us in our weakness (Hebrews 10:35; Hebrews 11:26).—Ibid: Alms given merely by commandment are a kind of forced sins, transferred and deposited to our account. Gifts bestowed with curses bring no blessings or reward.
2 Corinthians 9:7. A generous love of our neighbor is like ripe clusters of grapes, whose sweet juices flow forth by their own force. It can scarcely be appealed to before its cheerful response is ready. Without such a love men must be hard pressed before they yield any thing, and the little that comes forth is soured by complaints and murmurings.
2 Corinthians 9:8. Hedinger:—Nothing bestowed upon Christ’s members is lost; and yet look well that no sighs adhere to your gifts! If it does not properly belong to you, it cannot be acceptable. To offer what rightfully belongs to another, is very fitly called, skinning your neighbor and hanging his hide up in the temple for God.—Christian virtues are joined together like the links of a chain. He is a perfect Christian who fails in no part of his duties. 2 Corinthians 9:9. Spener:—Genuine love is careful to bestow its bounty upon such persons and in such a way that goodness shall not encourage wickedness; but the hand which freely scatters must not be fettered with too many scruples, if only the worthy are not overlooked. Blessed are the merciful whose care reaches to the soul as well as to the body, to eternity as well as to time (Matthew 5:7).
2 Corinthians 9:10. Hedinger:—The sower not unfrequently scatters on the soil what little seed he has, and with painful anxiety hopes for a plentiful harvest. Such a harvest God has promised to those who sow liberally (in well doing), and are moved by love to men and a desire to serve God.
2 Corinthians 9:11. God is the true centre from which all lines of blessing diverge, and in which all benevolent actions again converge in grateful thanksgivings.
2 Corinthians 9:12. How much good springs from love! It preserves the life of Christ’s members, and turns their hearts into altars of incense where God is adored.
2 Corinthians 9:13. The confession of a true faith and the overflowing of a genuine love are beautiful things, for which we have reason to rejoice and to praise the Lord.
2 Corinthians 9:14. Those who receive kindness should heartily thank God for the spirit bestowed upon the giver, and pray that he may receive an abundant blessing.
2 Corinthians 9:15. Let us never see or hear of a charitable work without rejoicing in it and praising God for it.
2 Corinthians 9:2. Whoever leaves what he must do to the last hour, will find himself confused and his good work put to shame (the foolish virgins).
2 Corinthians 9:3 f. Satan endeavors to strangle our good purposes at the birth, and we should take care faithfully to finish what we have begun well. Every one is in danger during his religious course of becoming cold in heart; it is always well, therefore, when God sends some one to stimulate our zeal.
2 Corinthians 9:5. If nothing in the heart is pleasing to God, we may be sure that the outward act will have no blessing.
2 Corinthians 9:6. God delights in what flows liberally from a loving heart.
2 Corinthians 9:7. The Christian knows no joy without faith, or which proceeds not from grace. It is by the delight which the liberal man finds in giving, that God steals his heart and forces upon him a grace far richer than what he-gave.
2 Corinthians 9:8. In proportion as we apply to the poor those gifts with which Divine love has favored us will be the grace which we shall receive in their stead; only the returning stream will be the most abundant, that goodness and faithfulness may meet together.
2 Corinthians 9:9. In scattering his blessings, the Christian must recollect that though his heart should be open and unreserved, he should also proceed as carefully as possible, for the work of love should be wise. Even righteousness demands this. But it will be like a regular growth, in which there is no decay; for as it is in harmony with the Divine nature, it must be eternal.
2 Corinthians 9:10. God gives the seed, and He must give the harvest, but not immediately, for then we could not distinguish His several footsteps. When we open our hearts to God (by our alms) the blessings always return upon us in a thirty, sixty or an hundred fold increase of Christian graces.
2 Corinthians 9:12. It is said that, “Love is the fulfilling of the law;” and we here see that obedience to the second table reacts upon the better fulfilment of the first, inasmuch as it awakens a spirit of praise.
2 Corinthians 9:15. Whoever recognizes and accepts of Christ as a gift, will be thankful and strive to live to the Divine glory. Each attribute of God has a tendency to produce in us something like itself; and as He freely gives to us, we also are led freely to give.
2 Corinthians 9:8. God gives us what we have, not so much that we may have it, but that we may do good. Every thing in life, even the best earned rewards, are seeds sown for a future harvest.
2 Corinthians 9:5. A gift will be a blessing, for the supply it affords, for the cheerful kindness it displays, and for the thanksgiving of which it is the occasion.—When it is a matter of covetousness, it will be done penuriously and unpleasantly, and Will be received without pleasure or satisfaction.
2 Corinthians 9:6. The figure of sowing and reaping is very appropriate to the work of charity. That which is scattered, is something which we look upon as needful for our support, but which will not be as profitable if it is hoarded up. We must not be anxious about wind and weather, but trust rather to God’s providence than to our own prudence. Much seed will doubtless fall by the wayside, but that on the good soil will abundantly reward us for all we sowed. 2 Corinthians 9:8. God can turn to our advantage not only the increase of our worldly wealth, but every blessing of His daily providence. In this way He may give us health, peace, pious husbands and wives, pious children and faithful domestics, and make them an advantage to us. We often see those who are reluctant to do kind acts for their neighbors lose more by extravagant children and unfaithful servants, than would have formed a handsome contribution for the poor.
2 Corinthians 9:11 ff. Where we have true simplicity of character, we are not particular in the enjoyment of what God gives us, but we are satisfied and hopeful, even where we seem to be in want.
2 Corinthians 9:15. Christ is indeed an unspeakable gift, but in Him is included the gospel, with all its power in the heart, and those works of charity to which it prompts us, a supply for every want, an overcoming faith, a thankful spirit, the common fellowship of prayer which He creates, and the prospect of a harvest of blessings through all eternity.
2 Corinthians 9:1. An enlightened Christian needs no long exposition of his duties.
2 Corinthians 9:2. Even for the sake of a good example, it may be a duty to give liberally.
2 Corinthians 9:4. If a minister has done all within his power, and his people are without benevolence, theirs must be the reproach. 2 Corinthians 9:5. God’s blessing depends not upon the amount, but upon the spirit with which we give. 2 Corinthians 9:8. The principles on which we shall be blessed are: the more active we are in doing good, the greater will be our blessing; the more we are emptied of earthly things, the more we are filled with God, and vice versa. Worldly prudence says: Do not make yourself a beggar! but Christian prudence says: Give all that thou hast! 2 Corinthians 9:7. The value of our charities depends upon their being given from a pure heart. God’s great grace in the heart makes a glad heart.
2 Corinthians 9:9. God can give abundantly, not only in earthly, but in spiritual things
2 Corinthians 9:12. The giving of alms is of an advantage even in the spiritual life; for it awakens and strengthens our faith in the reality of a Christian spirit in the church, and of course in the presence of God Himself, to help the poor through His children. When the heart of God’s professed people are unmerciful and severe toward others, it becomes hard and bitter, inclined to unbelief, and a dishonor to our religion.
2 Corinthians 9:14. A spirit of prayer is no slight recompense for doing good. Even those whom we never knew become interesting to us when we hear that Divine grace abounds in them.
W. F. Besser:
2 Corinthians 9:5. It is better to give today than to-morrow, for no one knows how long he will be able to give. Reason, indeed, always gives reluctantly, from fear of some possible misfortune in the future; but the Bible says: “Give a portion to seven, and even to eight, for thou knowest not what evil shall be upon the earth” (Ecclesiastes 11:2, comp. Proverbs 3:27-28). God always gives with a liberal hand; and if it is a blessing for us to give, let us not measure our alms with a penurious and covetous spirit. God also cheerfully lets us have the best He has; and if our alms are a sacrifice of praise, let us not corrupt it with the leaven of covetousness, but accompany it with the sweet incense of a complete dedication of our own selves to God (2 Corinthians 8:5, Malachi 1:14).
2 Corinthians 9:6. The giving of alms is itself a blessing, and of course the giver must be blessed. As the sun draws the water, and as the clouds give back in showers what they before received, (Ecclesiastes 11:3) so will God graciously return what we bestow (in His name and in His hand) although it sometimes may seem like casting our bread upon the waters. A poor man gives only an insignificant mite, but it is a blessing, and he will have a harvest of blessings; blessings from God’s children, and blessings from our heavenly Father in this world and in the next. He who sows in blessings (giving in the Lord and to the Lord), shall reap also in blessings: He will hear many exclaim, “God reward you!” and “Thank God!” and these shall rise up before God with his alms, and spring up in many full ears to form his harvest wreath in another, and even in the present world. If those who receive our gifts should be unthankful, and should have no share in our blessing, God is faithful to remember every seed sown, and to make it fruitful in blessings. Only see to it, therefore, that everything you sow is a bounty and not a covetousness, and then give over all care about the harvest, to the Lord who will not fail to make it exceedingly abundant!
2 Corinthians 9:10. We have the same God in the kingdom of grace as in the kingdom of nature. In the latter our Lord once asked his disciples, “Lacked ye anything?” and they replied, “Nothing!” (Luke 22:35). In the former also we may be sure that all cheerful givers, when asked, “Have you ever been impoverished by your scattering?” will glorify that Lord who has taken upon Himself the debts of all His poor (Proverbs 19:17), by answering: “Never; we have always had the blessing Paul promised the Corinthians.”—Just as a citizen shows his subjection to the civil law by a conscientious payment of all his legal assessments, so a Christian shows that his confession is subject to the gospel when he cheerfully assists in the collection of all church dues.
2 Corinthians 9:14. The longing which God’s people sometimes feel in every part of the general church on earth to enjoy each others’ fellowship is not extinguished even if they have no prospect of meeting in the flesh, but we instinctively yearn for a fellowship face to face in the mansions of the eternal city.
[Stanley:—The Apostle presses upon them (1) speed, vv.1–5; (2) readiness, vv.6–7; (3) bounty, vv.8–16. A Clarke: “The Apostle enumerates the good effects which would be produced by their liberal alms-giving: 1. The wants of the saints would be supplied; 2. many thanksgivings would thereby be rendered unto God; 3. the Corinthians would thereby give proof of their subjection to the Gospel; and 4. the prayers of those relieved will ascend up to God in behalf of their benefactors.” See a Sermon of Dr. Barrow on the passage from the Psalms quoted in 2 Corinthians 9:9, in which the subject of “Bounty to the Poor,” would seem to be exhausted (Works Vol. I. Ser. 31)].
2 Corinthians 9:2; 2 Corinthians 9:2.—In some good MSS. [B. C. Sin. Vulg. Syr. et al. and some Lat. fathers] ἐξ is wanting before ὑμῶν. It seemed superfluous and was not understood. [Tisch. (7th ed.) inserts it, but Lachm. and Stanley omit it, and Alford puts it in brackets.]
2 Corinthians 9:4; 2 Corinthians 9:4.—Some important but not sufficient authorities have λέγω instead of λέγωμεν.
2 Corinthians 9:4; 2 Corinthians 9:4.—Rec. after ταύτη adds τῆς καυχήσεως, but the words are an explanatory gloss and in opposition to the best MSS. [B. C. D. (1st Cor.) F. G. Sin. (3d Cor. has it), several cursives, with the Ital. Vulg. and Copt. versions. They are cancelled by Lachm., Tisch. and Alford, but Bloomfield thinks they cannot be dispensed with either here or in 2 Corinthians 11:17.]
2 Corinthians 9:5; 2 Corinthians 9:5.—The predominance of authorities are for πρὸς, though the Rec. εἰς [And yet Tisch. and Alford retain εἰς, and are sustained by C. K. L.Sin. and some Greek fathers.] Rec. also has προκατηγγελμένην instead of the much better sustained προεπγγελμένην.
2 Corinthians 9:5; 2 Corinthians 9:5.—Rec. has ὥσπερ for the second ὡς, but its evidence is feeble.
2 Corinthians 9:7; 2 Corinthians 9:7.—Lachm. after B. C. F. G. [Sin.] et al. has προήρμται instead of Rec. προαιρεῖται. It was probably a correction, because the preter. seemed more appropriate (Meyer). [It is not surprising that the subsequent addition of Cod. Sin. should have determined the more recent critics in favor of Lachmann’s reading.]
2 Corinthians 9:8; 2 Corinthians 9:8.—Lachm. has δυνατεῖ with important MSS.; but if this had been the original reading a gloss would have naturally changed it into δυνατός ἐστιν or δύναται. [Alford still prefers δυνατεῖ, and sees no force in the above suggestion. The authority of B. C. D. F. Sin. is certainly strong in its favor.]
2 Corinthians 9:12; 2 Corinthians 9:12—Lach. has σπόρον instead of σπέρμα, but it was probably occasioned by the following σπόρον. The MSS. [B. D. F. G.] are not very conclusive in its behalf.
2 Corinthians 9:10; 2 Corinthians 9:10.—Rec. has χορηγήσαι, πληθύναι and αὐξήσαι instead of -ει-εῖ-ει, but the weight of authority is against them. The future was turned into an optative because it was supposed to be a wish. Comp. Romans 16:20. Perhaps also there was a reminiscence of 1 Thessalonians 3:11 f.; 2 Thessalonians 2:17; 2 Thessalonians 3:5 (Meyer). The fut. form is sustained by B. C. D. Sin. and several Lat. fathers.]
2 Corinthians 9:12; 2 Corinthians 9:12.—Lachm. has χριστῷ. for θεῷ. He is sustained only by B. [and perhaps the Vulg.: in Domino.]
2 Corinthians 9:15; 2 Corinthians 9:15.—Rec. has δέ after χαρις, but contrary to much superior authorities.
[In order to procure means to assist the poor of Halle, Francke placed a charity-box at the door of his own house inscribed with 1 John 3:17 and 2 Corinthians 9:7. One day (about Easter 1695), on opening this box he found a sum (only 7 gulden) so much larger than he had before been able to devote at one time to works of charity that he resolved immediately to found a free school for poor children.]
[Laurentius was one of the seven deacons at Rome, and had the care of the treasury for the poor. When his master Pope Sextus II. was led forth to martyrdom, L. begged to accompany him in this as he had done in other sacrifices, but he was told that he would not have long to wait. The governor of the city demanded that he should surrender the treasures which he so liberally dispensed to the poor. At the end of three days he made his appearance, followed by a vast train of miserable, lame and crippled persons, to whom he pointed, saying, “These are our treasures.” The governor, feeling insulted, immediately had him slowly roasted upon an iron seat or gridiron until he died (Aug. 9, A. D. 285). His dying words were, “Enter not into judgment with thy servant,” etc., Psalms 143:2. The Church in after times observed Aug. 10, in his memory, and as his speech and life were looked upon as an admirable illustration of 2 Corinthians 9:6-10, that passage with profound judgment was assigned for the Scriptural reading of that day (harvest time). Whatever uncertainty rests upon the precise details of this story, Augustine has given his sanction to its general verity when he says: “As easily might yoa hide the glory of Rome itself as that of the crown of Laurentius.”]
[The word λειτουργία, by which the Apostle designates once more the contribution of the Corinthians, was derived from the old Greek, and especially the Attic language. Etymologically it was from λἐἲτος, of or belonging to the people, and ἔργον. a work, a public work in the service of the people. At Athens, it was any public service (as the conducting of the public shows, or theatres, or choirs (2 Corinthians 9:10), or the supply of food for the people on public occasions) which the wealthier citizens discharged at their own expense, and usually in rotation. The word passed over into Scriptural and ecclesiastical language, retaining principally the two ideas of a work or service, and a service of the public. In the New Testament, sometimes one and sometimes another of the historical ideas connected with the word is most prominent. It is sometimes a secular employment, though still in the service of God (Romans 13:6, comp. Eccles. 7:30), sometimes a service done to a public servant of the Church (Philippians 2:30) sometimes a ministry of instruction, but more usually it was applied to the priestly or sacrificial services (Luke 1:23; Hebrews 8:2; Hebrews 8:6; Hebrews 9:21; Hebrews 10:11). The more ethical idea is appropriate in our passage, viz.: a voluntary act of benevolence for the public good, but for God‘s service, and hence an offering to the Lord of the Church. Comp. Osiander. The Art. Liturgie in Hertzog’s Encyc. by Palmer].