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Bible Commentaries

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

2 Corinthians 8

Verse 1

The grace (την χαριν). As manifested in the collection in the churches, poor as they were. The Romans had lacerated Macedonia (Livy, XLV. 30).

Verse 2

Proof (δοκιμη). Tests as of metals as in 2 Corinthians 2:9.

Abundance (περισσεια). Late word from περισσευω, to overflow.

Their deep poverty (η κατα βαθους πτωχεια αυτων). Πτωχεια is old word from πτωχευω, to be a beggar, as of Jesus in 2 Corinthians 8:9 (from πτωχος, cowering in fear and poverty, as in Luke 14:13, but ennobled by Christ as in Matthew 5:3; 2 Corinthians 8:9). Poverty down deep. Strabo (LX 419) has κατα βαθους, down to the bottom.

Liberality (απλοτητος). From απλους, single, simple (Matthew 6:22). "The passage from single-mindedness or simplicity to liberality is not quite obvious" (Plummer). Perhaps "heartiness" supplies the connecting link. See also 2 Corinthians 9:11-13.

Verse 3

Beyond their power (παρα δυναμιν). "Alongside" with accusative like υπερ δυναμιν in 2 Corinthians 1:8. Field (Ot. Nov.) quotes Josephus (Ant. iii. 6, 1) for κατα δυναμιν and παρα δυναμιν as here. Few give κατα δυναμιν (according to actual ability). Paul commends this high pressure collection because of the emergency.

Of their own accord (αυθαιρετο). Old verbal adjective (αυτοσ, αιρετος from αιρεομα, to choose), of their own initiative, voluntary. Only here and verse 2 Corinthians 8:17 in N.T. Papyri often have εκουσιως κα αυθαιρετως (willingly and voluntarily).

Verse 4

Beseeching us with much intreaty in regard of this grace (μετα πολλης παρακλησεως δεομενο ημων την χαριν). Literally, "with much intreaty begging of us the favour and the partnership in the ministry to the saints." The accusative (χαριν) after δεομα is unusual. By χαρις Paul means the privilege of giving (cf. Acts 24:27). Apparently Paul had been reluctant to press the Macedonians because of their manifest poverty. They demanded the right to have a share in it.

Verse 5

We had hoped (ηλπισαμεν). First aorist active indicative of ελπιζω. "Expected," he means. They went beyond his hopes about them.

First they gave their own selves (εαυτους εδωκαν πρωτον). First aorist active indicative of διδωμ (k aorist). "Themselves they gave first." That is the explanation of the generous giving.

Verse 6

Insomuch that we exhorted Titus (εις το παρακαλεσα ημας Τιτον). Use of εις το and the infinitive for result with accusative of general reference (ημας). See Robertson, Grammar, p. 1003.

He had made a beginning before (προενηρξατο). First aorist active indicative of the double compound verb προ εν αρχομα, still found only here and verse 2 Corinthians 8:10, to make a start before others.

Complete (επιτελεσε) First aorist (effective) active subjunctive of επιτελεω, to finish, with perfective use of επ in composition.

Verse 7

In this grace also (κα εν ταυτη τη χαριτ). This gifted church (2 Corinthians 8:1) had fallen behind in the grace of giving. Kindly irony in this allusion.

Verse 8

Proving (δοκιμαζων). Testing and so proving.

The sincerity also of your love (κα το της υμετερας αγαπης γνησιον). Old adjective, contraction of γενεσιος (γινομα), legitimately born, not spurious. A collection is a test of one's love for Christ, not the only test, but a real one.

Verse 9

Though he was rich (πλουσιος ων). Concessive present participle ων from ειμ, to be.

Be became poor (επτωχευσεν). Ingressive aorist active indicative of πτωχευω (see verse 2 Corinthians 8:2 on πτωχεια).

Through his poverty (τη εκεινου πτωχεια). Instrumental case, by means of.

Might become rich (πλουτησητε). Ingressive first aorist active subjunctive of πλουτεω, to be rich with ινα (that). See on Luke 1:53; 1 Corinthians 4:8.

Verse 10

Judgment (γνωμην). Deliberate opinion, but not a "command" (επιταγη verse 2 Corinthians 8:8). Cf. 1 Corinthians 7:25.

A year ago (απο περυσ) From last year.

Not only to do, but also to will (ου μονον το ποιησαι, αλλα κα το θελειν). Articular infinitives the objects of προενηρξασθε on which verb see verse 2 Corinthians 8:6). That is to say, the Corinthians promised before any others.

Verse 11

The readiness to will (η προθυμια του θελειν). Old word from προθυμος (προ, θυμος), forwardness, eagerness (Acts 17:11). They were quick to pledge.

The completion also (κα το επιτελεσα). The finishing also (articular first aorist active infinitive).

Out of your ability (εκ του εχειν). "Out of the having," literally, and so, "out of what you can give" (verse 2 Corinthians 8:12).

Verse 12

Is there (προκειτα). Lies before one. Old word.

Acceptable (ευπροσδεκτος). See on 2 Corinthians 6:2.

According as a man hath (καθο εαν εχη). Indefinite comparative clause with εαν and present subjunctive εχε. Clearly God does not expect us to give what we do not have.

Not according as he hath not (ου καθο ουκ εχε). Note present indicative rather than subjunctive because a specific case is presented. See 2 Corinthians 9:7; Mark 12:43.

Verse 13

Others may be eased (αλλοις ανεσις). "Release to others."

Ye distressed (υμιν θλιψις). "To you tribulation." The verb η (present subjunctive) with ινα is not expressed.

Verse 14

By equality (εξ ισοτητος). Old word from ισος, fair, equal. In N.T. only here and Colossians 4:1.

Abundancy (περισσευμα). Late word from περισσευω like περισσεια (verse 2 Corinthians 8:2) Cf. Matthew 12:34.

Want (υστερημα). Late word from υστερεω, to be in want. See also 2 Corinthians 9:12; Luke 21:4 (cf. υστερησις in Mark 12:44).

Verse 16

Which putteth (τω διδοντ). Present active articular participle, "who is continually giving." Hence Titus is full of zealous care for you.

Verse 17

Very earnest (σπουδαιοτερος). "More earnest than ordinarily," comparative adjective.

Verse 18

We have sent with him (συνεπεμψαμεν μετ' αυτου). Epistolary aorist.

The brother (τον αδελφον). This may be, probably is, Luke who may also be the brother of Titus (see also 2 Corinthians 12:18) according to a common Greek idiom where the article is used as "his." But this idiom is not necessary. As a matter of fact, we do not know who this brother is.

Is spread through all the churches (δια πασων των εκκλησιων). No verb in the Greek (ellipsis).

Verse 19

But who was also appointed (αλλα κα χειροτονηθεις). Anacoluthon. The first aorist passive participle χειροτονηθεις is from χειροτονεω, old verb to stretch out the hands (χειρ τεινω) and so to vote in public. The idea is that this brother was chosen by the churches, not by Paul. Only here in N.T. save Acts 14:23 where it means to appoint without notion of raising the hands. In Acts 10:41 we have προχειροτονεω.

To travel with us (συνεκδημος). Late word for travelling companion. So in the inscriptions (συν, together with, εκδημος, away from home).

Verse 20

Avoiding this (στελλομενο τουτο). Present middle participle of στελλω, old verb, to set, to arrange. So "arranging for ourselves this."

That any man should blame us (μη τις ημας μωμησητα). Literally, "lest any one blame us" (negative purpose with μη and first aorist middle subjunctive of μωμεομα. See on 2 Corinthians 6:3, only other N.T. example).

Bounty (αδροτητ). Old word from αδρος, thick, stout, ripe, rich, great as in 1 Kings 1:9; 2 Kings 10:6. Only here in N.T.

Verse 21

We take thought (προνουμεν). Old verb, to plan beforehand (προ-) as in Romans 12:17; 1 Timothy 5:8.

But also in the sight of men (αλλα κα ενωπιον ανθρωπων). It is not enough for one's financial accounts to be honourable (καλα) as God sees them, but they should be so kept that men can understand them also. A timely warning. Paul took the utmost pains that no suspicion could be attached to him in this collection.

Verse 22

Our brother (τον αδελφον ημων). Not Paul's personal brother, but a brother in Christ, one whom Paul had tested and was willing to trust. It may have been Tychicus or Apollos, but we do not know.

Verse 23

About Titus (υπερ Τιτου). There is no verb expressed. Supply "inquire." He endorses Titus up to the hilt. He is "my partner" (κοινωνος εμος) and "fellow-worker" (συνεργος).

Messengers of the churches (αποστολο εκκλησιων). Apostles in the general sense of "sent ones" (from αποστελλω, to send) by the churches and responsible to the churches for the handling of the funds.

The glory of Christ (δοξα Χριστου). Financial agents, please observe.

Verse 24

The proof of your love (την ενδειξιν της αγαπης υμων). There is a word here for pastors and deacons who try to protect the churches from the denominational representatives of kingdom causes.

In the face of the churches (εις προσωπον των εκκλησιων). A great host is pictured as watching how the Corinthians will treat these duly accredited agents in the collection (Titus and the other two brethren). It requires courage to stand by such representatives of great causes before stingy saints.

Copyright Statement
The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright © Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)
Bibliographical Information
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on 2 Corinthians 8". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/rwp/2-corinthians-8.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.