2 Corinthians 9:2. for I know your readiness, of which I glory on your behalf (2 Corinthians 8:24), to them of Macedonia (writing as he was in Macedonia itself, he uses the present tense), that Achaia—the whole province, but especially Corinth, the central church,—hath been prepared for a year past (2 Corinthians 8:10);—and your zeal has stirred up very many (Gr. ‘the most part’) of them.
2 Corinthians 9:3. But I have sent the brethren, that our glorying on your behalf may not be made void in this respect (‘as if we had gone too far in commending your eagerness’); that, even as I said, ye may be prepared: 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.(1)
2 Corinthians 9:5. I thought it necessary, therefore, to entreat the brethren, that they would go before unto you, and make up before-hand your afore-promised bounty (Gr. ‘blessing’)—your collection before promised by me,—that the same might be ready, as a matter of bounty, and not of extortion. There is a beautiful sensitiveness here for the character of the Corinthian church, as taking the lead among the Gentile churches, in praising of this collection. Perhaps he had some reason to think that their first zeal in the matter had slackened, and that any Macedonians who might accompany him would think less of them than he had given them to expect, if, when they and he reached Corinth, the proceeds had even then to be got out of them by a pressure that might look like “extortion.” To prevent this, he thought it advisable to send messengers to make all ready against his coming visit.
2 Corinthians 9:6. But this I say—‘Let this as a general principle be borne in mind,’—He that soweth sparingly—parsimoniously, grudgingly,—shall reap also sparingly; and he that soweth bountifully (Gr. ‘with blessings’—his heart going along with his hand in wishing “blessings” on the objects of his charity),
shall also reap bountifully. On the great principle here expressed, see Exodus 25:2; Exodus 35:5; 1 Chronicles 29:14; 1 Chronicles 29:17; Psalms 112:9; Proverbs 11:24-25; Proverbs 19:17; Proverbs 22:9; Luke 6:38; Acts 20:35. The figure of sowing and reaping, natural in an agricultural country, and, as such, used by our Lord (Matthew 13:3, etc.; John 4:35-38), is a favourite one with our apostle (1 Corinthians 9:11; 1 Corinthians 15:36-37; 1 Corinthians 15:42-44; Galatians 6:7-8).
2 Corinthians 9:7. Let each man do according as he hath purposed in his heart; not grudgingly (Gr. ‘of grief’ or ‘sorrow’—as being wrung from him, and pained to think of the sacrifice he has to make):
for God loveth a cheerful giver. See on chap. 2 Corinthians 8:12. On the bearing of this on the tithe principle—supposed by some to be obligatory on Christians—see on 1 Corinthians 16, notes (2) and (3).
2 Corinthians 9:8. And God is able to make all grace abound unto you. The words “all grace” here are used in the same limited sense as in chap. 8, that is, ‘every temporal blessing,’ though “grace” in its higher sense is not excluded,
that ye, having always all sufficiency in every thing, may abound unto every good work—‘God is able, not only to make up to you what ye part with to those who need it, but to give you the means of so continuing in this generous consideration of the wants of others, as to abound in every work of Christian beneficence’:
2 Corinthians 9:9. as it is written (Psalms 112:9), He hath scattered abroad—‘a generous word’ (says Bengel), ‘with a full hand, not anxiously thinking about the single grains;’
he hath given to the poor: his righteousness (in dispersing abroad of his means) abideth for ever—enabling him always to manifest by his gifts what he is. That this is the sense of ‘righteousness abiding’ here, is evident from 2 Corinthians 9:10.
2 Corinthians 9:10. And he that supplieth seed to the sower and bread for food, shall supply(1) and multiply your seed for sowing, and increase the fruits of your righteousness. What 2 Corinthians 9:8 said that God was “able” to do, it is here said, He “will” do.
2 Corinthians 9:11. Ye being enriched in every thing unto all liberality (see on this word, 2 Corinthians 8:2), which worketh through us (when we shall present it to the poor brethren at Jerusalem) thanksgiving to God.
2 Corinthians 9:12. 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;
2 Corinthians 9:13. seeing that through the proving of you by this ministration, they glorify God for the obedience of your confession unto the gospel of Christ. The grammatical construction of this verse is somewhat irregular, and the sense of this clause not quite clear; but the import of it appears to be this: ‘They glorify God for the evidence which your liberality gives of the genuineness of your Christian “confession” or profession,’
and for the liberality of you contribution onto them and unto all;—“for” (says Meyer) “by their beneficence towards the Jews, the Corinthians showed that they excluded no Christian from the sincere fellowship of love;”
2 Corinthians 9:14. whilst they themselves also, with supplication on your behalf, long after you by reason of the exceeding grace of God in you;—‘Your generosity not only causes much thanksgiving to God, and prayer for you, but a yearning of heart towards you for the grace of God so eminently resting upon such donors.’
The Gift of all Gifts.
2 Corinthians 9:15. Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift. This exquisite and resistless outburst of thanksgiving for that gift, which not only transcends all our givings, but originates them all, is as sublime as it is suitable in closing the whole subject of this collection—on which the observations of Stanley are so admirable, that, long as they are, they will be acceptable to the reader:—
Note “the great stress laid by the apostle on the contribution of the Corinthian Church. He had warned them to have it ready (1 Corinthians 16:1-4); he had ‘boasted’ of their preparations, making the most of it that he could to the churches of Macedonia; by that boast the Macedonian churches had chiefly been stimulated to make exertions, which by the time that he wrote this Epistle had been very great, almost beyond their means. He now devotes a whole section of a very important Epistle solely to this subject; he sends Titus, the most energetic and fervent of his companions, with the express view of urging the completion of the collection; he joins with him two Christians, distinguished for their zeal, known through all the congregations through which he passed, tried by himself in many difficulties, messengers of many churches, ‘the glory of Christ Himself.’ He heaps entreaty upon entreaty that they will be ready, that they will be bountiful. He promises the fulness of God’s blessing upon them if they persevere. He anticipates a general thanksgiving to God and Christ, and an ardent affection for them from those whom they relieve; he compares the contribution to no less than the gifts of God Himself, as though it were itself an especial gift of God, and could only be expressed by the same word (‘grace,’ ‘blessing’); he utters solemn thanksgivings to God for the teal which Titus showed in the matter, and for the unspeakable gift’ itself. Finally, when, on arriving at Corinth, he found the gift completed (Romans 15:26), it determined his course to Jerusalem (1 Corinthians 16:3-4), in spite of his ardent desire to visit Rome and Spain (Romans 15:23-24; Romans 1:10-11), and in spite of the many dangers and difficulties of which he was warned upon his road; for the sake of taking this contribution, he was ‘bound in spirit,’ he was ‘ready to die for the name of the Lord Jesus’ (Acts 20:22-23; Acts 21:4, Acts 21:10-13); and if he should succeed in finding it ‘acceptable,’ then, and not before, he could ‘come with joy,’ and ‘report himself’ with the Christians of the west (Romans 15:32). With so little information as we possess, it is perhaps impossible to arrive at any certain knowledge of the reason which invested this contribution, especially the Corinthians’ part of it, with such importance. The most probable conjecture is, that having been expressly charged—as a condition of his separate apostleship to the Gentiles—with making this collection for the Jewish Christians (Galatians 2:10), he was doubly anxious to present it, especially that part of it which came from the capital of Greece, from his own chief and favourite church, especially converted by him, and the place of his longest residence in Europe. He regarded it both as a proof of his influence over them, and their real conversion to Christianity by him (Acts 21:19), not less than as a peace-offering (Romans 15:31 Gr.) from the greatest of the Gentile churches to the greatest of the Jewish, as a recognition of the spiritual blessings which had proceeded from Jerusalem (Romans 15:27). His ardour in the cause thus belongs to the same impassioned love for his country and people, which shows itself with hardly less vehemence, though in a more general form, in the Epistle to the Romans: ‘I could wish myself accursed from Christ for my brethren’s suites’ (Romans 9:7); ‘My heart’s desire and prayer to God is, that they might be saved’ (Romans 10:1); ‘Hath God cast away His people? God forbid; for I also am an Israelite’ (Romans 11:1-2).”
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Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on 2 Corinthians 9". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/
the Third Week after Epiphany