Bible Commentaries
2 Corinthians 8

Vincent's Word StudiesVincent's Studies

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Verse 1

We do you to wit [γνωριζομεν] . An obsolete, though correct rendering. Do is used in the sense of cause or make, as Chaucer : "She that doth me all this woe endure."

To wit is to know : Anglo - Saxon, witan; German, wissen; English, wit. So "Legend of King Arthur :" " Now go thou and do me to wit (make me to know) what betokeneth that noise in the field. " Rev., we make known. Trial of affliction [δοκιμη θλιψεως] . Rev., better, proof. See on experience, Romans 5:4. In much affliction, which tried and proved their christian character, their joy and liberality abounded.

Deep [κατα βαθους] . An adverbial expression : their poverty which went down to the depths.

Liberality [απλοτητος] . Or singleness. See on simplicity, Romans 12:8. It is better to throw the verse into two parallel clauses, instead of making abundance of joy and deep poverty the joint subject of abounded. Render : How that in much proof of affliction was the abundance of their joy, and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches, etc.

Verse 3

They were willing [αυθαιρετοι] . The adjective stands alone. Only here and ver. 17. Lit., self - chosen, and so Rev., of their own accord.

Verse 4

Praying us - that we would receive the gift and take upon us the fellowship [δεομενοι ημων την χαριν και την κοινωνιαν] . Rev., beseeching us, etc., in regard of this grace and the fellowship in the ministering. The Greek reads simply, praying us for the favor and the fellowship of the ministry. The renderings of both A. V. and Rev. are clumsy. Paul means that they earnestly besought him as a favor that they might have a share in ministering to the poor saints. Cariv means grace, gift, and favor. Here the last.

Verse 5

As we hoped [καθως ηλπισαμεν] . Better, expected. They took part in this contribution in a manner beyond our expectation. Supply, as A. V., this they did, or, Rev., and this.

Their own selves. Their liberality began in self - surrender to God and to the apostles as His agents : to us by the will of God.

Verse 6

Had begun [προενηρξατο] . Only here and ver. 10. Rev., giving the force of pro before, had made a beginning before : on his first visit to Corinth.

Complete - this grace also [επιτελεση και την χαριν ταυτην] . Should complete among you the act of love [χαριν] , the contribution already begun, in addition to whatever else He has yet to complete among you [και αλσο] .

Verse 8

Sincerity (gnhsion). Used by Paul only. Contracted from genhsiov legitimately born : hence genuine. Paul calls Timothy his lawful son in the faith (1 Timothy 1:2). The kindred adverb gnhsiwv sincerely (A. V. naturally), occurs once, Philippians 2:20. See note.

Verse 9

He became poor [επτωχευσεν] . Only here in the New Testament. Primarily of abject poverty, beggary (see on Matthew 5:3), though used of poverty generally. "Became poor" is correct, though some render "was poor," and explain that Christ was both rich and poor simultaneously; combining divine power and excellence with human weakness and suffering. But this idea is foreign to the general drift of the passage. The other explanation falls in better with the key - note - an act of self - devotion - in ver. 5. The aorist tense denotes the entrance into the condition of poverty, and the whole accords with the magnificent passage, Philippians 2:6-8. Stanley has some interesting remarks on the influence of this passage in giving rise to the orders of mendicant friars. See Dante, "Paradiso," 11, 40 - 139; 12, 130 sqq.

Verse 11

Out of that which ye have [εκ του εχειν] . Wrong. Meyer justly remarks that it would be an indelicate compliment to the inclination of the readers, that it had originated from their possession. Render, according to your ability; better than Rev. out of your ability.

Verse 12

If there be first a willing mind [ει η προθυμια προκειται] . The error of the A. V. consists in regarding pro in prokeitai as indicating priority in time; be first; whereas it signifies position, before one; as "the hope, or the race, or the joy which is set before us." Hebrews 6:18; Hebrews 12:1, Hebrews 12:2; or "the example which is set forth," Jude 1:7. Hence Rev., correctly, if the readiness is there.

Verse 14

By an equality [εξ ισοτητος] . Ex as in ver. 11, according to. I speak on the principle that your abundance should go to equalize the difference created by their want.

Verse 18

The brother whose praise is in the Gospel. Is should be joined with throughout all the churches; as Rev., whose praise in the Gospel is spread throughout, etc. The person referred to has been variously identified with Titus' brother, Barnabas, Mark, Luke, and Epaenetus, mentioned in Romans 16:5. The reference to Epaenetus has been urged on the ground of a supposed play upon the word praise, epainos; Epaenetus meaning praiseworthy; and the parallel is cited in the case of Onesimus profitable, of whom Paul says that he will henceforth be useful, Philippians 1:11. Philippians 1:149

Verse 19

With this grace [εν τη χαριτι ταυτη] . An obscure rendering, not much bettered by Rev. Grace is ambiguous. The reference is, of course, to the contribution as a work of love; cariv being used in the sense of benefaction or bounty. Paul says that the brother was appointed as his fellow - traveller in the matter of this bounty; in the prosecution of this kindly act. For appointed, see on Acts 14:23; Acts 10:41.

Verse 20

Avoiding this [στελλομενοι τουτο] . The verb, which occurs only here and 2 Thessalonians 3:6, means to arrange or provide for. As preparation involves a getting together of things, it passes into the meaning of collect, gather : then contract, as the furling of sails; so, to draw back, draw one's self away, as 2 Thessalonians 3:6. Connect with we have sent, ver. 18. Compare ch. 12 17, 18, where it appears that he had been charged with collecting money for his own purposes. 150 Abundance [αδροτητι] . Only here in the New Testament. Lit., thickness, and so, of the vigor or strength of the human body or of plants. Thus Hesiod speaks of the ears of corn nodding in their thickness. Herodotus : "When the harvest was ripe or full grown, [αδρος] , he (Alyattes) marched his army into Milesia" (i. 17). Homer of Patroclus : "His soul departed, leaving behind his strength (aJdrothta," 151 "Iliad," 16. 857). Herodotus uses it of thickly - falling snow (iv. 31). In the Septuagint it is used of the rich or great, 1 Kings 1:9, princes (A. V., men of Judah); 2 Kings 10:6, great men. The A. V. abundance is better than Rev. bounty, which, though properly implying abundance, is currently taken as synonymous with gift. The reference is to the large contribution.

Verse 21

We take thought [προνοουμενοι] . Beforehand [προ] . See on Romans 12:17. The words are from Proverbs 3:4, where the Septuagint reads, take thought for honorable things in the sight of the Lord and of men.

Bibliographical Information
Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on 2 Corinthians 8". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.