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Bible Commentaries
2 Corinthians 9

McGarvey's Commentaries on Selected BooksMcGarvey'S Commentaries

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Verse 1

For as touching the ministering to the saints, it is superfluous for me to write to you:

Verse 2

for I know your readiness, of which I glory on your behalf to them of Macedonia, that Achaia hath been prepared for a year past; and your zeal hath stirred up very many of them. [It is needless for me to urge upon you the fact that it is a becoming thing in you to minister to the poor in the churches, for you have long since acknowledged the becomingness of the deed by pledging yourself to do it. And this readiness on your part I have used with great effect in Macedonia, for I told them how last year you consented to take this collection, so that many of them, feeling their tardiness in comparison with you, have been stirred to great activity and zeal in this matter.]

Verse 3

But I have sent the brethren [Titus and the other two], that our glorying on your behalf may not be made void in this respect; that, even as I said, ye may be prepared:

Verse 4

lest by any means, if there come with me any of Macedonia and find you unprepared, we (that we say not, ye) should be put to shame in this confidence. [I have gloried or boasted concerning you in many respects, and have hitherto had to retract nothing which I said. That my glorying concerning your liberality may not prove an exception and require a retraction, I have sent these messengers that they might gather together the collection which you pledged, and perhaps began to take up last year. For if any Macedonians should come with me to Corinth and find the collection ungathered, I would be ashamed for having represented you as better than you were, and you would be ashamed of having been held up as a model for the emulation of those who were, in fact, better than you.]

Verse 5

I thought it necessary therefore to entreat the brethren, that they would go before unto you, and make up beforehand [i. e., before my coming] your afore-promised bounty, that the same might be ready as a matter of bounty, and not of extortion. [I sent these messengers on before me that they might stir you up to gather the collection before I came, that the offering might be seen to be your own free gift and not a veritable tax extorted from you by the fear of my displeasure and your shame at being exposed in your selfishness.]

Verse 6

But this I say, He that soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he that soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. [The same law which pertains to the physical world pertains with equal effect in the moral and spiritual realm, so that those who are stingy and niggardly in giving to others, shall receive scantily of the blessings bestowed by God.]

Verse 7

Let each man do according as he hath purposed in his heart: not grudgingly [literally, of sorrow], or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. [Let each man give as his own heart prompts him and not as improperly influenced by others. Let no one give as if half crying to part with his money, and let no one feel constrained to give from any motives of necessity, such as popular applause, or to keep up with his neighbors, or to be rid of the solicitations of some urgent collector. Such giving is valueless in the sight of God, who values gifts only as they are really and truly such, and in no way extortions. The spirit of extortion is sorrow, but that of giving is cheerfulness.]

Verse 8

And God is able to make all grace abound unto you; that ye, having always all sufficiency in everything, may abound unto every good work:

Verse 9

as it is written, He hath scattered abroad, he hath given to the poor; His righteousness abideth for ever. [Psalms 112:9 . God is able to bestow every blessing, both temporal and spiritual, and so he can give blessings to those who dispense them, and thus enable them to abound in good works which they are performing. That this is true is shown by the Psalmist’s description of the man who fears the Lord. Such a man is profuse in his liberality and his remembrance of the poor, and he is able to keep up his right-doing in giving, for the lord continually supplies him with means to that end. We should, however, note that Paul’s words here, like those at Psalms 91:11-12; which Satan quoted to the Lord in his temptation (Matthew 4:6), are not to be so interpreted and applied as to tempt the Lord.]

Verse 10

And he that supplieth seed to the sower and bread for food, shall supply and multiply your seed for sowing, and increase the fruits of your righteousness [and he that, in the economy of nature, makes returns to the sower, so that he not only has his seed again, but bread for food, shall in like manner in the domain of grace, supply and multiply the seeds of charity which you sow, so that you will not only be able to do again the deed of charity which you have done, but he will also bless all your other acts of righteousness by making them fruitful]:

Verse 11

ye being enriched in everything unto all liberality, which worketh through us thanksgiving to God. [Thus, your liberality multiplies your means of liberality, and also works, through the agents which dispense it, thanksgiving to God from the poor in Jerusalem who receive it.]

Verse 12

For the ministration of this service not only filleth up the measure of the wants of the saints, but aboundeth also through many thanksgivings unto God;

Verse 13

seeing that through the proving of you by this ministration they glorify God for the obedience of your confession unto the gospel of Christ, and for the liberality of your contribution unto them, and unto all;

Verse 14

while they themselves also, with supplication on your behalf, long after you by reason of the exceeding grace of God in you. [This ministry of yours, in giving to the poor at Jerusalem, not only fills up the measure of the wants of these people of God, but overflows that measure, for it results in many thanksgivings to God. And these results are evident, for by thus showing your liberality to the Jewish church at Jerusalem, you prove to it that you are indeed true and obedient to your confession of your faith in the gospel of Christ, and thus cause them to glorify God, as they also do for the liberality of your contribution unto them and (potentially) unto all. You cause them also to pray for you and long to see you face to face, that they may know those in whom God’s grace abounds to so full a measure. It will be remembered that the church in Jerusalem, influenced by the prejudices of the Jews which surrounded it, and also by the sentiments and feelings which it inherited from its previous life, looked upon the church as planted by Paul, with eyes full of suspicion. They regarded these churches as lawless bodies, inimical to all that the Jews held as ancient or sacred. They were ready to believe any wild rumor which might start with regard to the unchristian character of the apostle’s converts, and the reckless lawlessness of the apostle himself. The riot which arose soon after when Paul was found in the temple at Jerusalem aptly illustrates the attitude of the Jewish mind toward him and his work. Now the apostle felt confident that a liberal gift from his Gentile churches would bring about a better understanding, and would work wonderful changes in the thoughts of Jewish Christians. He felt that it would persuade the latter that his Gentile converts were truly obedient to the religion which they confessed, and that it would persuade them also that those who had overcome their prejudices sufficiently to give liberally to Jews would have no prejudices which would prevent them from giving liberally to other people. He was likewise confident that the Jewish Christians, seeing these things, would be fully persuaded of the genuine Christian grace of his converts, and therefore would not only pray for them, but even long for personal acquaintance and fellowship with them. How far the apostle was correct in this judgment we can not say; but he certainly seems to have been well received by the Christians at Jerusalem when he came as the representative of these Gentile churches. If the attitude of the unchristian Jewish mind toward him was still relentlessly bitter, it must be borne in mind that he took no collection for them, and that they were in no manner in his thought in this connection.]

Verse 15

Thanks be to God for his unspeakable gift. [Of course, the Christ himself is God’s great gift to man, but the personality of Christ is not in the trend of Paul’s argument. The thought that fills his mind is that the Corinthians, by their liberality, are showing themselves truly changed and converted by the gospel of Christ, and that this gospel, modifying and softening the Jewish mind, is preparing it to step over the middle wall of partition, and receive the Gentiles as part of the family of God. For the unspeakable gift, therefore, of a gospel which works such blessed changes in the bigoted, stubborn and selfish hearts of men, Paul gives thanks. The thanksgiving, therefore, is proximately for the gospel and ultimately for Christ, the author of the gospel.]

Bibliographical Information
McGarvey, J. W. "Commentary on 2 Corinthians 9". "J. W. McGarvey's Original Commentary on Acts". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/oca/2-corinthians-9.html. Transylvania Printing and Publishing Co. Lexington, KY. 1872.
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