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Bible Commentaries

Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament
2 Corinthians 8

 

 

Other Authors
Introduction

CHAPTER 8

2 Corinthians 8:3. ὑπὲρ δύναμιν] Lachm. Rück. and Tisch. read παρὰ δύναμ., on decisive evidence; ὑπέρ is a gloss.—2 Corinthians 8:4. After ἁγίους Elz. has δέξασθαι ὑμᾶς, which, on decisive evidence, is rightly struck out by Griesb. and the later editors as a supplementary insertion, though defended by Rinck.—2 Corinthians 8:5. ἠλπίσαμεν] Only B and 80 have ἠλπίκαμεν, just as in 2 Corinthians 8:6 only B has ἐνήρξατο.—2 Corinthians 8:7. ἐξ ἡμῶν ἐν ὑμῖν is attested only by min. and Syr. Arm. Slav. ms. Comp. Orig.: nostra in vos. Error of transcription, or correction through misunderstanding.—2 Corinthians 8:12. After ἔχῃ Elz. and Scholz have τις. An addition in opposition to decisive evidence.—2 Corinthians 8:13. δέ] is wanting in B C א min. and Aeth. Clar. Germ.; deleted by Lachm., and rightly, since it betrays itself as inserted to mark the contrast.—2 Corinthians 8:16. διδόντι] D E F G L א and many min. Chrys. Theophyl. have δόντι. Approved by Griesb., adopted by Scholz, Rück. But the aorist has crept in obviously on account of the aorists that follow.—2 Corinthians 8:19. σύν] B C and many min., also several vss. and Fathers, have ἐν. Recommended by Griesb., adopted by Lachm. Rück. and Tisch. Rightly; σύν, though defended by Reiche, is an erroneous glos.

αὐτοῦ] is wanting in B C D* F G L and many min., also in several vss. and Latin Fathers. Suspected by Griesb., deleted by Lachm. Rück. Considering the great preponderance of the adverse evidence, it is more probable that it has crept in by writing τοῦ twice, than that it has been left out on account of its being unnecessary and seemingly unsuitable (Reiche).

Instead of the last ἡμῶν Elz. has ὑμῶν, against decisive testimony. Alteration, because ἡμῶν was held to be unsuitable.—2 Corinthians 8:21. προνοοῦμεν γάρ] Elz.: προνοούμενοι, only supported by later codd. and some Fathers. The participle appears to be a mere copyist’s error occasioned by στελλόμενοι, so that at first even the γάρ remained beside it, as is the case still in C, min., and some vss. and Fathers, whom Tisch. follows. But afterwards this γάρ had to be dropped on account of the retention of the participle.—2 Corinthians 8:24. ἐνδείξασθε] Lachm. and Tisch. read ἐνδεικνύμενοι, following B D* E* F G 17, It. Goth. The imperative is a gloss.

Elz., against decisive testimony, has καί before εἰς πρόσωπον. Added for the sake of connection.

Chap. 8 and 9 The second chief division of the Epistle: regarding the collection for the poor in Jerusalem (1 Corinthians 16), coming very fitly after the praise contained in chap. 7, and having the way appropriately paved for it in particular by the closing words, 2 Corinthians 7:16.


Verse 1

2 Corinthians 8:1. The δέ is the mere μεταβατικόν, leading over to a new topic in the Epistle. Comp. 1 Corinthians 7:1; 1 Corinthians 8:1; 1 Corinthians 12:1; 1 Corinthians 15:1.

τὴν χάριν τ. θεοῦ τὴν δεδομ. κ. τ. λ.] the grace of God, which is given in the churches of Macedonia, i.e. how graciously God has wrought in the churches of Macedonia, inasmuch as He (see 2 Corinthians 8:2) called forth in them so great liberality. Comp. 2 Corinthians 9:14. The expression rests on the idea, that such excellent dispositions and resolves are produced and nourished, not by independent spontaneity, but by the grace of God working on us (operationes gratiae). Comp. Philippians 2:13. Paul, therefore, does not think of the grace of God as shown to himself (Origen, Erasmus, who paraphrases it: “quemadmodum adfuerit mihi Deus in ecclesiis Maced.;” comp. Zachariae, Emmerling, Billroth, Wieseler, Chronol. p. 357 ff.; also Rückert, yet with hesitation),—in which case he could not but have added ἐμοί or ἡμῖν, in order to make himself understood,—but, on the contrary, as granted to the liberal churches, working in them the communicative zeal of love, so that the construction with ἐν is quite as in 2 Corinthians 8:16; 2 Corinthians 1:22.


Verses 1-6

2 Corinthians 8:1-6. The beneficence of the Macedonians has been shown beyond all expectation; hence we have exhorted Titus to complete among you the work already begun.


Verse 2

2 Corinthians 8:2. A more precise explanation of τὴν χάριν κ. τ. λ., so that ὅτι (that, namely) is dependent on γνωρίζομεν. This exposition consists, as was seen by Chrysostom, Theodoret, Erasmus, Luther, Grotius, and many others, of two statements, so that after τῆς χαρᾶς αὐτῶν we must mentally supply the simple ἐστί.(265) This scheme of the passage, which Osiander and Hofmann also follow, is indicated by περισσεία in the one half, and ἐπερίσσευσεν in the other, whereby two parallel predicative relations are expressed, as well as by the fact that, if the whole be taken as one sentence, and consequently περισσ. τ. χαρᾶς αὐτῶν be taken along with the following καὶ κατὰ βάθους πτωχεία αὐτῶν as the subject of ἐπερίσσευσεν (so by most expositors since Beza), this subject would embrace two very diverse elements, and, besides, there would result the combination not elsewhere occurring: περισσεία ἐπερίσσευσεν. Hence it is to be explained: that, namely, in much attestation of affliction the abundance of their joyfulness is, i.e. that, while they are much put to the test by sufferings, their joy is plentifully present, and (that) their deep poverty became abundant unto the riches of their single-heartedness, i.e. that they, in their deep poverty, plentifully showed how rich their single-heartedness wa.

ἐν πολλῇ δοκιμῇ θλίψεως] Instead of writing simply ἐν πολλῇ θλίψει, Paul designates this situation according to the wholesome moral aspect, in which it showed itself amongst the Macedonians to their praise. δοκιμή, namely, is here also not: trial, but, as Paul always uses it, verification (Romans 5:4; 2 Corinthians 2:9; 2 Corinthians 9:13; 2 Corinthians 13:3; Philippians 2:22). Chrysostom aptly says: οὐδὲ γὰρ ἁπλῶς ἐθλίβησαν, ἀλλʼ οὕτως ὡς καὶ δόκιμοι γενέσθαι διὰ τῆς ὑπομονῆς. The verification of their Christian character, which the θλίψις effected in them, was just the moral element, in which the joyfulness πολλὴ καὶ ἄφατος ἐβλάστησεν ἐν αὐτοῖς (Chrysostom), and existed among them in spite of the θλίψις itself, which, moreover, would have been calculated to produce the opposite of χαρά. Regarding the θλίψις of the Macedonians, see 1 Thessalonians 1:6; 1 Thessalonians 2:14 ff.; Acts 16:20 ff; Acts 17:5. The χαρά, the virtue of Christian gladness of soul, rising above all afflictions (Galatians 5:22; 2 Corinthians 6:10; Romans 14:17; comp. on John 15:11), is not yet defined here more precisely as regards its special expression, but is already brought into prominence with a view to the second part of the verse, consequently to the liberality which gladly distributes (2 Corinthians 9:7; Acts 20:35).

κατὰ βάθους πτωχεία] the deep poverty,(266) literally, that which has gone down to the depth (Winer, p. 357 [E. T. 477]); comp. βάθος κακῶν, Aesch. Pers. 718, Hel. 303; ἐς κίνδυνον βαθύν, Pind. Pyth. iv. 368, and the like; Blomfield, ad Aesch. Pers. Gloss. 471. The opposite is βαθύπλουτος, Ellendt, Lex. Soph. I. p. 286.

ἐπερίσσευσεν] became abundant, i.e. developed an exceedingly great activity, and this εἰς τὸν πλοῦτον κ. τ. λ.,(267) unto the riches of their singleness of heart. This is the result (Romans 3:7; 2 Corinthians 9:8) of the ἐπερίσσ.; so that their simple, upright spirit showed itself as rich, in spite of their poverty, through the abundance of kind gifts which they distributed. Note the skill and point of the antithetic correlation purposely marking the expressions in the two parts of the verse.

The ἁπλότης(268) is the upright simplicity of heart (Ephesians 6:5; Colossians 3:22); honestly and straightforwardly it contributes what it can to the work of love without any selfish design or arrière pensée (as e.g. the widow with her mite). Comp. on 2 Corinthians 12:8. And so it is rich, even with deep poverty on the part of the givers. The genitive is, as in περισσεία τῆς χαρ., the genitivus subjecti, not objecti (rich in simplicity), as Hofmann, following older commentators, holds. The αὐτῶν is against this latter view, for either it would have been wanting, or it would have been added to πλοῦτον, because it would belong to that word.


Verses 3-5

2 Corinthians 8:3-5. ὅτι is not dependent on γνωρίζομεν (Hofmann), but gives the proof of what was just said: εἰς τὸν πλοῦτον τῆς ἁπλ. αὐτ.

The construction is plain; for there is no need to supply an ἦσαν, as many wish, after αὐθαίρετοι or after δεόμενοι, but, as Bengel aptly remarks: “ ἔδωκανtotam periochae structuram sustinet.” Comp. Fritzsche, Dissert. II. p. 49; Billroth, Ewald, Osiander, Hofmann. There are, namely (and in accordance therewith the punctuation is to be fixed), four modal definitions attached to this ἔδωκαν: They gave (1) according to and beyond their means; (2) of their ovm impulse; (3) urgently entreating us for the χάρις and κοινωνία κ. τ. λ.; and (4) not as we hoped, but themselves, etc. This last modal definition is naturally and quite logically attached by καί (hence καὶ οὐ καθὼς ἠλπίσ.); and Rückert (comp. de Wette and Neander) is arbitrary in holding this καί to prove that Paul allowed the sentence he had begun to drop, and appended a new one, so that after ἠλπίσαμεν we should have to supply an ἐγένετο or ἐποίησαν.

μαρτυρῶ] I testify it, a parenthetic assurance. Comp. the Greek use of οἶμαι and the like (Bornem. ad Xen. Conv. p. 71, 179; Stallb. ad Plat. Gorg. p. 460 A).

παρὰ δύναμιν] i.e. more amply than was accordant with their resources. See Homer, Il. xiii. 787; Thucyd. i. 70. 2; Lucian. Nigr. 28, de Dom. 10. The same, in substantial meaning, is ὑπὲρ δύναμιν, 2 Corinthians 1:8; Dem. 292. 25. It forms, with κατὰ δύναμ., a climactic definition of ἔδωκαν, not of αὐθαίρ., to which it is not suitabl.

αὐθαίρετοι] excludes human persuasion or compulsion, not the divine influence (see 2 Corinthians 8:5, διὰ θελήματος θεοῦ); we must not, with Rückert, hold it, on account of the remark 2 Corinthians 9:2, to be an exaggeration, since the latter notice does not deny the self-determination of the Macedonians, but, when compared with our passage, exhibits as the real state of the case this, that Paul had boasted of the readiness of the Achaeans before the Macedonians, but without exhortation to the latter, and that these thereupon, of their own accord, without urging, had resolved on making a contribution, and had given very amply. Comp. Chrysostom on 2 Corinthians 9:2. αὐθαίρετος, free-willed, self-determined, only here and at 2 Corinthians 8:17 in the N. T., often in the classic writers; seldom of persons (Xen. Anab. v. 7. 29; Lucian. Catapl. 4). Comp. the adverb in 2 Maccabees 6:19; 3 Maccabees 6:6.

μετὰ πολλῆςεἰς τ. ἁγίους] to be taken together: with much exhortation entreating us for the kindness and the participation of the service being rendered for the saints, i.e. urgently entreating us that the kindness might be shown them of permitting them to take active part in the … work of collections. οὐχ ἡμεῖς αὐτῶν ἐδεήθημεν, ἀλλʼ αὐτοὶ ἡμῶν, Chrysostom; and in the κοινωνία sought they saw a kindness to be shown to themselves: they knew how to value the work of love thus highly. The χάρις, namely, here is not grace from God (Hofmann and the older commentators), since it was requested from the apostle, but τὴν χάριν κ. τ. κοινων. is a true ἓν διὰ δυοῖν (the favour, and indeed the partaking, i.e. the favour of partaking). See Fritzsche, ad Matth. p. 854, and generally, Nägelsbach on Il. iii. 100, p. 461, ed. 3. Bengel, who likewise rejects the δέξασθαι ἡμᾶς of the Recepta, connects τὴν χάριν κ. τὴν κοινωνίαν κ. τ. λ. with ἔδωκαν; but what a prolix designation of the withal quite self-evident object of ἔδωκαν would that be, while δεόμενοι ἡμῶν would remain quite open and void of definition! On δεῖσθαι, with accusative of the thing and genitive of the person, comp. Plato, Apol. p. 18 A, p. 41 E Xen. Cyrop. i. 4. 12; Anab. vii. 3. 5; 3 Esd. 8:53. Yet in the classics the accusative of the object is the neuter of a pronoun, like τοῦτο ὑμῶν δέομαι; ὅπερ ὑμῶν δέομαι, and the like, or of an adjective (Krüger on Thuc. i. 32. 1).

τῆς εἰς τοὺς ἁγίους] In this addition (comp. 1 Corinthians 16:1), which would in itself be superfluous, there lies a motive of the δεόμενοι.

καὶ οὐ καθὼς ἠλπίσαμεν] for but a little could be expected from the oppressed and poor Macedonians! οὐ περὶ τῆς γνώμης λέγει, ἀ̓ λλὰ περὶ τοῦ πλήθους τῶν χρημάτων, Theodoret. According to Hofmann, the words are meant only to affirm that the Macedonians had joined in the contribution quite of their own resolution, which had not been expected by the apostle. But in this case the remark, which on this interpretation would be no independent element, but only the negative expression of what was already said in αὐθαίρετοι, would have had its logical position immediately behind αὐθαίρετοι; and it must have run not as it is written by Paul, but: καθὲς οὐκ ἠλπίσαμεν. No, the apostle says: and their giving did not remain within the limits of the hope which we had formed regarding them, but far surpassed these ( ἀλλʼ ἑαυτοὺς κ. τ. λ.).

ἀλλʼ ἑαυτοὺς κ. τ. λ.] but themselves they gave, etc. An expression of the highest Christian readiness of sacrifice and liberality, which, by giving up all individual interests, is not only a contribution of money, but a self-surrender, in the first instance, to the Lord, since in fact Christ is thereby served, and also to him who conducts the work of collection, since he is to the giver the organ of Christ. Flatt and Billroth, following Mosheim and Heumann, are wrong in making πρῶτον before in the sense: before I asked them. This reference is not in the least implied in the immediate context ( οὐ καθὼς ἠλπίσ.); and if it were, πρῶτον must have had the first place:(269) ἀλλὰ πρῶτον ἑαυτοὺς ἔδωκαν κ. τ. λ. As the words stand, ἑαυτούς has the emphasis of the contrast with οὐ καθὼς ἠλπίσ. Bengel also (comp. Schrader) is wrong in thinking that in πρῶτον there is implied prae munere: the Macedonians, before they made collection, had first given themselves to the Lord, and then left it to the apostle to determine how large their contribution should be. In that case there must have been inserted καὶ τὰ χρήματα ἡμῖν, or something similar, as a correlative to ἑαυτοὺς πρῶτον τῷ κυρίῳ. It is wrong to find in ἑαυτούς the idea merely of voluntarily.(270) without any summons, because it is object of the having given. It must have run: αὐτοὶ ἑαυτοὺς κ. τ. λ. (comp. 2 Corinthians 1:9), or without stress on the self-object, ἀφʼ ἑαυτῶν.

καὶ ἡ΄ῖν] Paul does not say ἔπειτα ἡ΄ῖν (in opposition to the usual opinion that καί stands for ἔπειτα; so also Rückert), because the surrender to the Lord is not a prius in time, but in degree: to the Lord before all, and to us. So Romans 1:16; Romans 2:9-10.

διὰ θελήμ. θεοῦ] not exactly an expression of modesty (Billroth),—for it is only arbitrary to limit it merely to καὶ ἡμῖν (so also Bengel, Ewald),—but added quite according to the requirement of religious feeling: for God has, according to His will, so wrought on their dispositions, that they, etc. Comp. 2 Corinthians 8:1; 2 Corinthians 8:16.


Verse 6

2 Corinthians 8:6. In order that we should exhort Titus, etc. Comp. 2 Corinthians 8:17. εἰς τό with the infinitive is here, as in all passages (see on Romans 1:20), to be taken, not as so that (so usually, and by Winer), but as telic: in order that. Comp. Kühner, ad Xen. Anab. vii. 8. 20. Certainly the παρακαλέσαι ἡμᾶς τίτον κ. τ. λ. was a consequence of the beyond expectation successful course of the matter in Macedonia, in accordance with which Paul might promise himself no less a success among the Corinthians; but delicately and piously he presents the state of the case, as if this further prosecution of the work of collection, amidst the self-sacrificing liberality of the Macedonians effected by the divine will, had lain in God’s purpose, and was therefore a consequence that had been aimed at by God. This flows from the διὰ θελήμ. θεοῦ immediately preceding. Comp. Hofmann also. Paul sees in the fact, that the divinely-willed success of the collecting work in Macedonia has encouraged him to the continuance of it expressed in 2 Corinthians 8:6, the fulfilment of the divine counsel and will, which he is thereby servin.

ἵνα] Design in the παρακαλέσαι, and consequently its content.

καθὼς προενήρξατο] as he formerly has begun, without doubt during his sojourn in Corinth after our first Epistle, see Introd. § 1. The word is indeed without example elsewhere, but it is formed from ἐνάρχομαι, after the analogy of προάρχω and other.

οὕτω καὶ ἐπιτελέσῃ εἰς ὑμᾶς] so also might complete it among you. The emphasis lies, as before on προενήρξατο, so here on ἐπιτελέσῃ. With the verb of rest εἰς associates the thought of the previous arrival, so that ἐλθέν may for clearness be supplied. See Kühner, § 622 b; Jacobs, ad Anthol. XIII. p. 71; Ellendt, Lex. Soph. I. p. 537. The correlation of ἐνάρχεσθαι and ἐπιτελεῖν is simply as in Philippians 1:6, Galatians 3:3; we should anticipate (2 Corinthians 9:12) by importing the idea of sacrifice (Osiander).

καὶ τὴν χάριν ταύτην] not hanc quoque gratiam (Beza, Calvin, comp. Castalio), but: etiam gratiam istam (Vulgate). For also belongs to τὴν χάριν, not to ταύτην. He shall complete among you—in addition to whatever else he has already begun and has still to complete—also this benefit. This better suits the context, namely, the connection of the οὕτω καὶ ἐπιτελ. with καθὼς προενήρξατο, than the interpretation of Estius: “dicit etiam, ut innuat Titum alia quaedam apud ipsos jam perfecisse.” So also Flatt. It is quite superfluous to invoke, with Hofmann, an involution of two sentences in order to explain the double καί. And since καί refers to the activity of Titus, Billroth is wrong in explaining it: “they are to distinguish themselves in this good deed, as in all things.”

The work of collection is designated as χάρις, for on the side of the givers it was a showing of kindness, a work of love, an opus charitativum. Observe that here and in 2 Corinthians 8:4; 2 Corinthians 8:19, θεοῦ is not added, as in 2 Corinthians 8:1; 2 Corinthians 9:14, according to which Hofmann and older commentators explain it here also of the divine grace, of which they are made worthy through the service rendered.


Verse 7

2 Corinthians 8:7. ἀλλʼ] is not equivalent to οὖν (Beza and others, also Flatt), nor to agedum (Emmerling), but is the Latin at, breaking off the preceding statement, like the German doch. Hermann, ad Viger. p. 812, aptly says: “Saepe indicat, satis argumentorum allatum esse.” Comp. Baeumlein, Partik. p. 15. Olshausen has a more far-fetched idea, that it is corrective: yea rather. And Billroth imports quite arbitrarily: “When I entreated Titus, I knew beforehand that this time also you would not deceive me, but that, as you are distinguished in all that is good, so also you would zealously further this collection;” and Rückert also (similarly Calvin): “I have entreated Titus, etc.; yet let it not happen that he should need first to encourage you (?), yea rather, etc.” According to Hofmann, ἀλλά forms the transition to the οὐ κατʼ ἐπιταγὴν λέγω which follows in 2 Corinthians 8:8; but this supposes a very involved construction (comp. afterwards on ἵνα κ. τ. λ.).

ὥσπερ ἐν παντὶ κ. τ. λ.] as you in every relation are abundant (excellitis) through faith (strength, fervour, and efficacy of faith), and discourse (aptitude in speaking), and knowledge (see regarding both on 1 Corinthians 1:5), and every diligence (“studium ad agendas res bonas,” Grotius), and your love to us, so should you abound in showing this kindness. If πίστει κ. τ. λ. be taken as a specification of ἐν παντί (Luther, Grotius, and most), the meaning is more uncertain, since ἐν is not repeated. Comp. 2 Corinthians 6:4; 1 Corinthians 1:5; it comes in again only before ταύτῃ τ. χάρ. Grotius aptly remarks: “non ignoravit P. artem rhetorum, movere laudando.” Amidst the general praise, however, he wisely here also leaves the distingue personas to the feeling of the reader.

τῇ ἐξ ὑμῶν ἐν ὑμῖν ἀγάπῃ] Paul here conceives the active love as something issuing from the disposition of the person loving, and adhering to the person loved. Thus he felt the love of the Corinthians to him in his heart; comp. 2 Corinthians 7:3. This view alone suits the context, inasmuch as the other points mentioned are points purely subjective, belonging to the readers, and serving to recommend them; hence we are not to understand it as the love dwelling in the apostle, but owing its origin to the readers (Hofmann). Calvin aptly remarks: “Caritatem erga se commemorat, ut personae quoque suae respectu illis addat animos.” On the form of the expression, comp. Winer, p. 181 f. [E. T. 241].

ἵνα καὶ ἐν ταύτῃ τῇ χάριτι περισσ.] A periphrasis for the imperative, to be explained by supplying a verb of summoning, on which ἵνα depends in the conception of the speakers. See Buttmann, p. 208 [E. T. 241]; Fritzsche, ad Matth. p. 840, ad Marc. p. 179. In the old Greek ὅπως is used in the very same way ( ἵνα late and seldom, as in Epictetus, Dissert, iv. 1. 142). See Matthiae, p. 1187; Viger. ed. Herm. pp. 435, 791 f.; Hartung, Partikell. II. p. 148. According to Grotius and Bengel, whom Hofmann follows, the connecting of ἵνα κ. τ. λ. with the following οὐ κατʼ ἐπιταγὴν λέγω would yield no unsuitable sense (in opposition to Rückert); but the construction of the passage in 2 Corinthians 8:7-8, so as to form one period, would be a construction assumed without sufficient ground, ill-arranged and ambiguous, and would not accord with the apostle’s way of beginning a new sentence by οὐλέγω in order to guard against an incorrect judgment of the previous one (2 Corinthians 7:3; 1 Corinthians 4:14. Comp. 2 Corinthians 5:12).

In καὶ ἐν ταύτῃ τῇ χάριτι, ταύτῃ has the emphasis (it was otherwise in 2 Corinthians 8:6); also in this showing of kindness, as in other works of beneficence,—which was embraced in ἐν παντί.


Verses 7-15

2 Corinthians 8:7-15. Encouragement to associate with their other Christian excellences distinction also in this work of love, which he says not in the form of a command, but to test their love—for they knew indeed the pattern of love in Christ—and by way of advice (w. 7–9). For this is serviceable for them, inasmuch as they had already made the beginning. Now, however, they were not to fail of completing their work, namely, according to their means; for it was not intended that others should be at ease while they were in want, but that a relation of equality should be established (2 Corinthians 8:10-15).


Verse 8

2 Corinthians 8:8. Prudent and yet deeply stirring caveat in reference to what was said in 2 Corinthians 8:7. Not by way of command do I say it, but as, through the diligence of others, testing also the genuine nature of your love.

διά] “aliorum studio vobis commemorate,” Benge.

ἑτέρων] of members of extraneous churche.

τὸ γνήσιον] the genuineness. See Kühner, II. p. 122; Dissen, ad Pind. Nem. p. 452.

δοκιμάζειν] is here, too (comp. on 1 Corinthians 11:28), not probatum reddere (Chrysostom, Theodoret, Estius), but explorare; for by the result, which the setting forth of the Macedonian example would have on the Corinthians, it had to be shown whether, and how far, their brotherly love was genuine or not. The participle does not depend on 2 Corinthians 8:10 (Bengel), but on λέγω, which is to be supplied again after ἀλλά. λέγω with the participle: I say it, inasmuch as I thereby, etc. Comp. on 1 Corinthians 4:14.


Verse 9

2 Corinthians 8:9. Parenthesis which states what holy reason he has for speaking to them, not κατʼ ἐπιταγήν, but in the way just mentioned, that of testing their love. For you know, indeed ( γινώσκετε not imperative, as Chrysostom and others think), what a high pattern of gracious kindness you have experienced in yourselves from Jesus Christ. So the testing, which I have in view among you, will only be imitation of Christ. Olshausen rejects here the conception of pattern, and finds the proof of possibility: “Since Christ by His becoming poor has made you rich, you also may communicate of your riches; He has placed you in a position to do so.” The outward giving, namely, presupposes the disposition to give as an internal motive, without which it would not take place. But in this view πλουτήσητε would of necessity apply to riches in loving dispositions, which, however, is not suggested at all in the context, since in point of fact the consciousness of every believing reader led him to think of the whole fulness of the Messianic blessings as the aim of Christ’s humiliation, and to place in that the riches meant by πλουτήσητε.

ὅτι διʼ ὑμᾶς κ. τ. λ.] that He for your sakes, etc., epexegetical of τὴν χάριν τ. κυρ. ἡμ. ἰησοῦ χριστοῦ. The emphatic διʼ ὑμᾶς brings home to the believing consciousness of the readers individually the aim, which in itself was universa.

ἐπτώχευσε] inasmuch as He by His humiliation to become incarnate emptied Himself of the participation, which He had in His pre-existent state, of God’s glory, dominion, and blessedness ( πλούσιος ὤν), Philippians 2:6. On the meaning of the word, comp. LXX. Judges 6:6; Judges 14:15; Psalms 34:10; Psalms 79:8; Proverbs 23:21; Tobit 4:21; Antiphanes in Becker’s Anecd. 112. 24. The aorist denotes the once-occurring entrance into the condition of being poor, and therefore certainly the having become poor (although πτωχεύειν, as also the classical πενέσθαι, does not mean to become poor, but to be(271) poor), and not the whole life led by Christ in poverty and lowliness, during which He was nevertheless rich in grace, rich in inward blessings; so Baur(272) and Köstlin, Lehrbegr. d. Joh. p. 310, also Beyschlag, Christol. p. 237. On the other hand, see Raebiger, Christol. Paul. p. 38 f.; Neander, ed. 4, p. 801 f.; Lechler, Apost. Zeit. p. 50 f.; Weiss, Bibl. Theol. pp. 312, 318.

ὤν] is the imperfect participle: when He was rich, and does not denote the abiding possession (Estius, Rückert); for, according to the context, the apostle is not speaking of what Christ is, but of what He was,(273) before He became man, and ceased to be on His self-exinanition in becoming man (Galatians 4:4; this also in opposition to Philippi, Glaubensl. IV. p. 447). So also ὑπάρχων, Philippians 2:6.

ἵνα ὑ΄εῖς πλουτήσητε] in order that you through His poverty might become rich. These riches are the reconciliation, justification, illumination, sanctification, peace, joy, certainty of eternal life, and thereafter this life itself, in short, the whole sum of spiritual and heavenly blessings (comp. Chrysostom) which Christ has obtained for believers by His humiliation even to the death of the cross. πλουτεῖν means with the Greek writers, and in the N. T. (Romans 10:12; Luke 12:21), to be rich; but the aorist (1 Corinthians 4:8) is to be taken as with ἐπτώχευσε. ἐκείνου, instead of the simple αὐτοῦ (Krüger, ad Xen. Anab. iv. 3. 30; Dissen, ad Dem. de cor. p. 276, 148), has great emphasis: “magnitudinem Domini innuit,” Bengel.

In opposition to the interpretation of our passage, by which ἐπτώχ. falls into the historical life, so that πλούσιος ὤν is taken potentialiter as denoting the power to take to Himself riches and dominion, which, however, Jesus has renounced and has subjected Himself to poverty and self-denial (so Grotius and de Wette), see on Philippians 2:6.


Verse 10

2 Corinthians 8:10 After the parenthesis in 2 Corinthians 8:9, a continuation of the ἀλλὰδοκιμάζων, 2 Corinthians 8:8 : and an opinion I give in this affair. γνώμην, opinion, has the emphasis, as contrasting with ἐπιταγήν in 2 Corinthians 8:8. Comp. on 1 Corinthians 7:25.

τοῦτο γὰρ ὑμῖν συμφέρει] συμφέρει does not mean decet (Vorstius, Emmerling, who appeals to LXX. Proverbs 19:10, where, however, the translation is inaccurate), but: it profits. And τοῦτο is not, with most, including Rückert, de Wette, Ewald, Neander, to be referred to the supplying of charitable gifts, in which case συμφέρει is either left without more precise definition (Rückert: “like every good deed, bringing advantage”), or is interpreted as pointing to the advantage of good repute (Grotius, comp. also Hofmann), of the divine recompense (Calovius) and the moral advantage (Flatt), or as useful for salvation (Bisping), and so on. τοῦτο γὰρ ὑμ. συμφ. contains, in fact, the ground why Paul proceeds in this matter merely by way of advising; hence, with Billroth, Osiander, and Kling, τοῦτο is to be referred to the previous γνώμηνδίδωμι. It is no objection to this, that in ἐν τούτῳ immediately before the pronoun referred to the distribution. For in the previous clause γνώμην δίδωμι contained the whole thought, and ἐν τούτῳ had no stress laid on it, not even needing to be inserted. Accordingly: for this—that I do not command you, but only give my opinion in the matter—is serviceable to you, is fitted to operate in the way of moral improvement on you, as being persons who have already shown yourselves to be such as need not command, but only counsel. The emphasis lies primarily on τοῦτο and next on ὑμῖν. According to Hofmann, who does not take 2 Corinthians 8:9 parenthetically, in καὶ γνώμην κ. τ. λ. there is meant to follow something new and further, so that both ἐν τούτῳ and subsequently τοῦτο point to the advice, which Paul intends to give (with the followingwhat follows), and this advice is expressed in the imperative clause 2 Corinthians 8:11, to which οἵτινες κ. τ. λ. belongs as a protasis. Against this confusion it may be decisively urged, first, that the ἐν τούτῳ emphatically pointing forward must have been placed first; secondly, that after δίδωμι there would come not at all the announced γνώμη, but in the first instance an argumentative parenthetic clause, which would again begin with “what follows,”—a course which could only lead the reader astray; thirdly, that if τοῦτο γ. ὑμῖν συμφέρει does not go with οἵτινες κ. τ. λ., and find its more precise explanation therein, it would interpolate a thought altogether indefinite and isolated; fourthly, that δέ after νυνί in 2 Corinthians 8:11 most naturally introduces a new sentence; lastly, that 2 Corinthians 8:11 has not in the least the form of a γνώμη, of an expression of opinion, but a form purely praeceptive, as, indeed, that which the apostle has put under the considerate point of view of a testing and a γνώμη in contrast to an ἐπιταγή, was already contained in 2 Corinthians 8:7 and has nothing more to do with the direct precept of 2 Corinthians 8:11.

οἵτινες] ut qui, includes the specifying of the reason. See on Ephesians 3:13. οὐ μόνον τὸ ποιῆσαι, ἀλλὰ καὶ τὸ θέλειν] Grotius, following the Peshito and Arabic of Erpenius, assumes here a loquendi genus inversum; but this is an irrational violence,(274) to which also the view of Emmerling (comp. Castalio in the Adnot.) ultimately comes: “vos haud mora, uno momento facere et velle coepistis.” The explanation of others (Chrysostom, Theodoret, Theophylact, Gregory, Erasmus, Calvin, Beza, Cornelius a Lapide, Clericus, Heumann, Bauer, Log. Paul. p. 334; Zachariae, Storr, Rosenmüller, Flatt, Billroth, Schrader, Olshausen, Rückert, Osiander, Ewald, and several others) is at least rational: not only the doing, but also the being willing, i.e. the doing willingly. But that θέλειν is not used in the sense of θέλοντας ποιεῖν (see regarding this use of θέλων, Markl. ad Lys. Reisk. p. 616), or even θέλειν ποιῆσαι (Bremi, ad Dem. hil. 2 Corinthians 1:13, p. 121), is plain from 2 Corinthians 8:11, where Paul, if that meaning had been in his mind, must have continued: νυνὶ δὲ καὶ ἐπιτελέσατε τὸ π. But, in the form in which he has written 2 Corinthians 8:11, the emphasis lies not on ἐπιτελέσατε, but on τὸ ποιῆσαι, which is thereby shown to be something not contemporaneous with the θέλειν, but following upon it, something which is still to happen after that θέλειν is already present, so that we have an advance (1) from the ποιῆσαι to the θέλειν in 2 Corinthians 8:10; and (2) from the θέλειν to the further ποιῆσαι in 2 Corinthians 8:11. Moreover, in opposition to the former interpretation, we may urge the change of tenses in 2 Corinthians 8:10; for, if the θέλειν in 2 Corinthians 8:10 were to be something inherent in the previous ποιῆσαι (willingness), the aorist infinitive must likewise have been used. Lastly, there is opposed to this interpretation the ὅπως καθάπερ κ. τ. λ. in 2 Corinthians 8:11, where evidently the (future) actual accomplishment is compared with the inclination of the (present) willing; hence, in 2 Corinthians 8:10 also θέλειν must be conceived of as something which subsists for itself, and not simply as a willingly doing. Others conceive that τὸ ποιῆσαι denotes the collection-gathering which had already actually taken place, and τὸ θέλειν the continuing wish to do still more. This is in the main the view of Hunnius, Hammond, Wetstein,(275) Mosheim, Bengel, Michaelis, Fritzsche. The latter says (Dissert. II. p. 9): “hoc modo non solum τὸ θέλειν tanquam gravius τῷ ποιεῖν oppositum est (nam qui nova beneficia veteribus addere vult, plus illo agit, qui in eo quod praestitit, subsistit) sed etiam v. προενάρξασθαι utrique bene congruit, illi ( τῷ ποιῆσαι), quoniam nondum tantum pecuniae erogaverant, quantum ad justam λογίαν sufficere videretur, huic ( τῷ θέλειν) quoniam in hac nova, voluntate huc usque acquieverant.” In this way the change of tenses in ποιῆσαι and θέλειν would be quite appropriate; both would apply (this in opposition to Billroth’s objection) to the same fact, to the work of collecting begun in pursuance of 1 Corinthians 16, which, however, would be viewed not according to two different sides (Billroth), objective ( ποιῆσαι) and subjective ( θέλειν), but according to two different stages, in respect of the first activity and of the further willing, so that now also the third stage, the execution of this further willing, must be added to complete the whole matter, 2 Corinthians 8:11. But since there is no indication whatever of the reference of τὸ θέλειν to a further willing (following on the ποιῆσαι), and that a willing arrested as to its realization; and since, on the other hand, the προ in προενήρξ. permits for the climactic relation οὐ ΄όνον τὸ ποιῆσαι, ἀλλὰ καὶ τὸ θέλειν only the temporal reference, that the θέλειν must have been earlier than the ποιῆσαι, and consequently οὐ ΄όνον ἀλλὰ καί is a climax of time pointing not forward, but backward: the view of Fritzsche is to be given up as not accordant with the context. There remains as the only correct view, that of Cajetanus and Estius, which de Wette (and after him Winer, p. 521 [E. T. 701 f.], also Wieseler, Chronol. d. apost. Zeitalt. p. 364) has defended, that προενήρξ. places the readers in comparison as to time with the Macedonians (2 Corinthians 8:1 ff.): not only the doing (the carrying out of the action of collecting), but also already the willing has begun earlier among you than among the Macedonians; you have anticipated them in both respects. With this view it is obvious that Paul could not but logically place ποιῆσαι before θέλειν. The offence, which this arrangement would otherwise occasion, cannot be got over by the pregnant meaning, which Hofmann puts into the present θέλειν, viz. that it denotes the steady attitude of mind sustained up to the execution (comp. Billroth). This would, in fact, be a modal definition of the willing, which Paul would doubtless have known how to designate, but could not put into the bare present.(276) And such an attitude of mind would withal have already existed before the ποιῆσαι, and would not simply have come afterward.

ἀπὸ πέρυσι] More precise definition of the προ in προενήρξ.: since the previous year. On πέρυσι, superiore anno, see Plato, Protag. p. 327 C Gorg. p. 473 E Aristoph. Vesp. 1044; Acharn. 348; Lucian, Tim. 59; Soloec. 7, al. Comp. ix. 2. Whether did Paul date the beginning of the year after the Greek (rather Attic and Olympic) reckoning (so Credner, Einl. I. 2, p. 372), i.e. about the time of the summer solstice, or after the Macedonian fashion (so, on account of 2 Corinthians 9:2, Wieseler, Chronol. d. apost. Zeitalt. p. 364), i.e. at the autumnal equinox, or from the month Nisan (Hofmann; see Grimm on 1 Maccabees 10:21), or from the usual national standpoint of the Jewish reckoning, according to which the beginning of the civil year was the month Tisri (in Sept.)? The last is in itself the most natural, and also the most probable, considering the great variety as to the times of beginning the year, to which he would have had to accommodate himself in the various provinces, and considering not less the acquaintance with the Jewish calendar which he could take for granted in all his churches. Consequently there lies between the composition of our first and second Epistles the time from Easter till at least after the beginning of the new year in Tisri.


Verse 11

2 Corinthians 8:11. The καί before τὸ ποιῆσαι can only belong to it, and not to ἐπιτελ. also (de Wette, Hofmann). It is the simple accessory also; as in 2 Corinthians 8:10 the thought proceeded backwards from doing to willing, now it proceeds forwards from willing to doing, so that at the bottom of καὶ τὸ ποιῆσαι there lies the conception: Now, however, bring not merely the willing, but also the doing to completion. This is an analysis of the elements, which in reality coincide (for the ἐπιτελέσαι of the willing is the actual execution), occasioned, however, very naturally by the juxtaposition in 2 Corinthians 8:10, and giving rise to no misconception her.

ὅπως καθάπερ κ. τ. λ.] in order that as the inclination of the willing, so also the completion (of that, which ye will) may be according to means, i.e. in order that the actual execution of that, which you will, may not remain out of proportion to the inclination of your will, but, like the latter, may be accordant with your means. As it is the inclination of your will to contribute according to the standard of your possessing, the execution of this willingness should take place according to the same standar.

οὕτω καὶ τὸ ἐπιτελέσαι] sc. . The supplying the subjunctive of εἰμι is not linguistically inadmissible (Rückert), and is found already in Homer (Il. i. 547, and Nägelsb. in loc.), but it is certainly rare in Greek writers. Comp. 2 Corinthians 8:13. See Bernhardy, p. 330 f.; Buttmann, neut. Gramm. p. 120 [E. T. 137].

ἐκ τοῦ ἔχειν] belongs to both subjects of the clause of purpose: in pursuance of the having, according to your means. See Fritzsche, Quaest. Luc. p. 179 f. Comp. expressions like ἐκ τῶν παρόντων, ἐκ τῶν ὑπαρχόντων, and the like. ἐκ is not to be taken in the sense of the origin, as Hofmann wishes; for it would, in fact, be an indelicate and bad compliment to the inclination of the readers, that it had “originated” from their possession. Paul himself indicates afterwards by καθό in what meaning he uses ἐκ.


Verse 12

2 Corinthians 8:12. Confirmation of the ἐκ τοῦ ἔχειν by a general proposition. There is nothing to be supplied except the simple ἐστί after εὐπρόσδεκτος, so that προθυμία remains the subject (Vulg., Erasmus, and others, including Rückert, Osiander, Ewald). It is quite superfluous mentally to supply the non-genuine τις after ἔχῃ, and to refer εὐπρόσδ. to it (Billroth), all the more that Paul is fond of personifying abstractions ( προθυμία). The correct translation is: For, if the inclination exists (presents itself as existing), it is well-pleasing in proportion to that which it has, not in proportion to that which it has not, i.e. God measures His good pleasure according to that which the πρόθυμος (who is ready to contribute) possesses, not according to that which he does not possess.(277) If, for example, the poor man who is ready to give little, because he has not much, were less pleasing to God than the rich man, who is willing to give much, God would then determine His good pleasure according to what the πρόθυ΄ος does not possess. Such an unjust standard God does not apply to good will! οὐ γὰρ τὴν ποσότητα, ἀλλὰ τῆς γνώμης ὁρᾶ τὴν ποιότητα, Theodoret. On πρόκειται in the sense specified, see Kypke, II. p. 259, and from Philo, Loesner, p. 312. Comp. παράκειται, Romans 7:18. The interpretation prius adest, namely, tanquam boni operis fundamentum (Erasmus, Beza, Estius, and others), is not supported by linguistic usage, and there is no hint in the context of a reference to time. Flatt imports “unpleasing” into the negative half of the sentence; and Hofmann goes still further, since he finds in πρόκειται the realization of the good will, and attaches to this (not to εὐπρόσδ.) the καθὸ ἐὰν ἔχῃ, while he thereupon adds the supplementary words οὐ καθὸ οὐκ ἔχει so as to form the sentence: “that is not the condition of the acceptableness of the good will, that it is present as realized according to the measure of what it has not.” In this way we should have mentally to add εἰ πρόκειται after οὐ; and Paul would not only have made use of a fragmentary mode of expression as unintelligibly as possible, but would withal have posited an inconceivable case, namely, that the good will is realized according to the measure of non-possession, which is tantamount to saying that the good will gives what it has not. And the assumption that πρόκειται denotes already the realization of the προθυμία by the act, is the more erroneous, that the one before whom the προθυμία is laid is here God, as is shown by εὐπρόσδεκτος. God, however, looks on the heart, and the frame of mind itself lies open before Him.

Note further the difference between the conditioned καθὸ ἐὰν ἔχῃ, in proportion to what he, under the respective circumstances of each case ( ἐάν = ἄν), may have, and the unconditioned καθὸ οὐκ ἔχει. Comp. Hartung, Partikell. II. p. 293 f.; Klotz, ad Devar. p. 143.


Verse 13

2 Corinthians 8:13. Confirmation of the previous οὐ καθὸ οὐκ ἔχει from the aim of the present collection.

The words usually supplied after οὐ γάρ (Beza, Flatt, and others: hoc dico; Erasmus and Grotius: sic dandum est; Rosenmüller and Fritzsche, ad Rom. p 48: volo; comp. Osiander; Rückert has γίνεται τοῦτο, comp. Ewald, and previously Luther) are superfluous, and therefore to be rejected. There is nothing to be supplied but after θλίψις and γίνεται (see 2 Corinthians 8:14) at the end of the verse: for not in order that there may be to others refreshing, to you distress, but on a footing of equality at the present time your superfluity reaches to the lack of those, is applied to remedy their lack. The punctuation is to be corrected accordingly. Since the sentence in this way flows logically and grammatically without any obstacle, there is not to be placed after θλίψις (Beza, Elzevir, Flatt, and many others), or yet even after ἰσότητος (Griesbach, Lachmann, Tischendorf, Rückert, de Wette, Osiander, and others), any colon, by which, moreover, ἐν τῷ νῦν καιρῷ would receive an emphasis not justified by any contrast, and would come in very abruptly, having no connecting particl.

ἄλλοις] means the Christians in Jerusalem. The same are afterwards meant by ἐκείνων. Probably opponents in Corinth had said: “he wishes to fleece us and bring us to want, that others may have good times or the like.”

On the contrast of ἄνεσις and θλίψις, comp. 2 Thessalonians 1:6 f. The asyndeton: ἄλλοις ἄνεσις, ὑμῖν ( δέ is not genuine) θλίψις presents the contrast more vividly. Paul, however, uses ἄλλοις, not ἑτέροις (as in 2 Corinthians 8:8), because he has been thinking of others generally, other persons than the readers.

ἐξ ἰσότητος] ἐκ, as in 2 Corinthians 8:11, used of the standard. The establishment of equality (between you and others) is the norm, according to which, et.

ἐν τῷ νῦν καιρᾷ] awakens the thought of a future, where the state of the case might be reversed. See 2 Corinthians 8:14. Hofmann thinks that Paul had here in view the definite inversion of the situation in such wise, that after Israel’s conversion (2 Corinthians 3:16) there would be in the Holy Land a Christian church under more prosperous fortunes than the body of Gentile Christians then sorely tried. But this is not to be made good by 2 Thessalonians 2:3, and it has against it Romans 11:25, according to which, before the conversion of Israel will ensue, the whole Gentile world must first be converted, and accordingly Paul could hardly have thought of casual collections from Judaea as then either necessary or effectual for the Gentiles (apart altogether from the expected nearness of the Parousia).

On γίνεσθαι εἰς, to come unto, reach towards, be apportioned to (Plato, Tim. p. 57 A Luc. Caucas, 19, al.), comp. on Galatians 3:14.


Verse 14

2 Corinthians 8:14 f. In order that (divine purpose), if the circumstances change, the converse case may also set in, and the superfluity of those be imparted to your lack. On account of 2 Corinthians 8:13 we must, in accordance with the context, think also here of something earthly, not (as Jerome, Chrysostom, Theodoret, Theophylact, Anselm, the Catholics,(278) Bengel, Michaelis, Schrader wish) of spiritual blessings—which would be unhistorical, and quite opposed to the standpoint of the apostle to the Gentiles. According to Paul, the participation of the Gentiles in the spiritual blessings of the Jewish Christians had already taken place through the conversion of the former, Romans 15:27.

ὅπως γένηται ἰσότης] in order that (according to the divine purpose) equality might set in, since, namely, then they will not have too much and you too little, if their superfluity shall come to the help of your lack. According to Hofmann, ἰσότης amounts here to the idea of the inversion of the relation, which, however, does not agree with 2 Corinthians 8:15, and has against it the clear reference of the meaning of ἐξ ἰσότ. in 2 Corinthians 8:13. The idea of brotherly equalization, which Paul had expressed by ἐξ ἰσότ. as regulative for the present case in 2 Corinthians 8:13, he repeats also for the eventual future case in 2 Corinthians 8:14 : it is to him of so much importance. And so important was it to the primitive church generally, that it even produced at first in Jerusalem the community of good.

καθὼς γέγραπται] A confirmation from Scripture of this idea, which is to realize itself in the two cases, 2 Corinthians 8:13 and 2 Corinthians 8:14. It is already typically presented in the gathering of the manna, Exodus 16:18 (freely quoted after the LXX.). The quotation refers therefore not simply to 2 Corinthians 8:14, but to 2 Corinthians 8:13-14, since in both there prevails the same fundamental though.

τὸ πολύ] he who much, namely, had gathered, as in Ex. l.c., we must supply from the context (2 Corinthians 8:17). Paul presupposes that his readers are aware of the reference and of the connection of the passag.

οὐκ ἐπλεόνασε] had not too much, not more than was appointed by God for his needs; τὸ γὰρ μέτρον μεγαλόδωρος τῷ δώρῳ συνέζευξε, Theodoret. See Exodus 16:16 f. In the same way: οὐκ ἠλαττόνησε, he had not too little. The word, frequent in the LXX., is foreign to Greek writers.

The articles denote the two definite and well-known cases which occurred in the gathering.


Verse 16

2 Corinthians 8:16. δέ] continuativ.

χάρις τῷ θεῷ, τῷ διδόντι κ. τ. λ.] language of the deeply religious consciousness (1 Corinthians 15:10; Romans 6:17; Philippians 2:13). Comp. 2 Corinthians 8:1. The present participle; for the continuing zeal is continually given by Go.

τὴν αὐτὴν σπουδ.] namely, as in me. This reference is made necessary by ὑπὲρ ὑμῶν, by which Billroth’s explanation: “the same zeal, which you have for the good cause,” is exclude.

ἐν τῇ καρδ.] See on ἐν ταῖς ἐκκλησ., 2 Corinthians 8:1.


Verses 16-24

2 Corinthians 8:16-24. Regarding Titus, already mentioned in 2 Corinthians 8:6, and the two others, who were sent with Titus as delegates to Corinth about the collection.


Verse 17

2 Corinthians 8:17. Proof of this σπουδή of Titus.

For the summons indeed he received; but, seeing that he was more zealous, of his own accord he set out to you. Paul has not expressed himself incorrectly, seeing that he can only have had in his mind a climax (Rückert); nor has he used μὲνδέ in the sense of the climactic οὐ μόνονἀλλά (Billroth, also Flatt); but the concessive clause τὴν μὲν παράκλ. ἐδέξ. expresses the delicate modesty and subordination of Titus, according to which he would not have it appear that he set out on the journey αὐθαίρετος; the second clause, on the other hand, sets forth the actual state of the case. The summons (2 Corinthians 8:6) indeed he received; he did not say as it were: there is no need of thy summons, I go of my own impulse; but in the actual state of the case he was too zealous to have needed a summons, and set out to you of his own self-determination.

ἐξῆλθε] The praeterite does not denote what was resolved on (Billroth), but is that of the epistolary style (comp. συνεπέμψ., 2 Corinthians 8:18; 2 Corinthians 8:22; Xen. Anab. i. 9. 25), used to represent the point of time at which the letter is read by those receiving it. Comp. Acts 15:27; Acts 23:30, also on Galatians 6:11.


Verse 18

2 Corinthians 8:18. Recommendation of the first companion of Titu.

συνεπέμψ. δὲ μετʼ αὐτοῦ] The σύν refers, like μετʼ αὐτοῦ, to Titus: we have sent along with him. Comp. 2 Corinthians 8:22. See Lobeck, ad Phryn. p. 354. Comp. Galatians 2:12; Acts 1:26; Acts 25:12; Matthew 17:3. Bengel takes it incorrectly: “una misimus ego et Timotheus,” which is contained in the plural, but not in the compoun.

τὸν ἀδελφὸν κ. τ. λ.] is understood by Heumann and Rückert of an actual brother, viz. a brother of Titus. But ἀδελφοὶ ἡμῶν in 2 Corinthians 8:23 shows that Paul has here and in 2 Corinthians 8:22 f. taken ἀδελφός in the sense of Christian brotherhood. It would not have been in keeping with the prudence of the apostle to send with Titus the very brother of the latter and even his own brother (according to Rückert’s view of τ. ἀδελφ. ἡμ., 2 Corinthians 8:22). Who is meant, remains quite an open question. Some have conjectured Barnabas ( τινές in Chrysostom, and Chrysostom himself, Theodoret, Oecumenius, Luther, Calvin, and others) or Silas (Baronius, Estius); but the rank of these was not consistent with the position of a companion subordinate to Titus; nor is there anywhere a trace of Barnabas and Paul having ever united again for common work after their separation (Acts 15:39). Others (comp. also the usual subscription of the Epistle) think that it was Luke. So Origen, τίνες in Chrysostom, Jerome, Ambrosiaster, Pelagius, Primasius, Anselm, Cajetanus, Cornelius a Lapide, and others, including Grotius, Emmerling, Schrader, Olshausen, Köhler (Abfassungszeit, p. 85), of whom those named before Grotius referred ἐν τῷ εὐαγγ. to the Gospel of Luke (at that time not yet even in existence). But from the very brief statement of Acts 20:1 ff. there is no proof to be drawn either for (Olshausen) or against (Rückert); and Ignatius, ad Ephes. (interpol.) 15, to which Emmerling, after Salmeron and others, has again appealed, proves nothing further than that this unknown author either referred or merely applied our passage to Luke. The conjecture which points to Erastus (Ewald, following Acts 19:22; 2 Timothy 4:20) cannot be made good. With just as little proof some have thought of Mark (Lightfoot, Chron. p. 118; Storr, Opusc. II. p. 339; Tobler, Evangelienfr. p. 12). The result remains: we do not know who it was. So much only in reference to the two persons indicated here and in 2 Corinthians 8:22, and in opposition to the conjectures adduced, is clear from 2 Corinthians 8:23, that they were not fellow-labourers in the apostolic work, like Titus, but other Christians of distinction.(279) See on 2 Corinthians 8:23. Against this non liquet Rückert indeed objects, that in that case the Corinthians would not have known which of the two was meant to be here designated, since in 2 Corinthians 8:23 both are called ἀπόστολοι ἐκκλησιῶν, by which all distinction is precluded. But this first companion is in 2 Corinthians 8:19 so distinctively indicated as appointed by a special elective act of the churches concerned, and appointed just for this particular work, that he could not be unknown by name to the Corinthians, after Titus had already begun there the work of collection (2 Corinthians 8:6). Besides, Paul might leave all further information to Titu.

οὗ ἔπαινος κ. τ. λ.] i.e. who possesses his praise (that duly belonging to him) in the gospel (in the cause of the gospel, in confessing, furthering, preaching, defending it, and the like), spread through all the churches, throughout the whole Christian body. He was a Christian worthy of trust and praised by all.


Verse 19

2 Corinthians 8:19. As στελλόμενοι in 2 Corinthians 8:20 is connected with συνεπέμψαμεν in 2 Corinthians 8:18, 2 Corinthians 8:19 is a parenthesis (Beza, Lachmann) in which Paul “generali testimonio subjungit speciale, quod praesenti negotio congruit,” Calvi.

οὐ μόνον δέ] sc. ἐπαινούμενος (or ἐπαινός, praised, or ἔνδοξος, or the like) ἐστι ἐν τῷ εὐαγγ. διὰ πασ. τῶν ἐκκλησ.(280) Comp. Romans 9:10; Romans 5:3; Romans 5:11; Romans 8:23.

ἀλλὰ καὶ χειροτονηθεὶς κ. τ. λ.] but also having been chosen by the (collecting) churches as our travelling companion, etc. The χειροτ. ὑπὸ τ. ἐκκλ. contains a point so important in its bearing that we may not take it parenthetically, thereby breaking up the flow of the discourse. So Hofmann, assigning the incorrect reason, moreover, that the perfect participle must have been used. The perfect might be used; but the aorist expresses the act done, whereby the person concerned became ἀπόστολος of the churches in this case (2 Corinthians 8:23), and so Paul has conceived of it here.

The ἐκκλησίαι here meant are, according to 2 Corinthians 8:1 ff., the Macedonian.

χειροτον.] suffragiis designates. How this election was conducted, we do not know. Perhaps by the presbyters as representatives of the churches, and on the proposal of the apostle. Comp. on Acts 14:23.

ἐν τῇ χάριτι κ. τ. λ.] a more precise definition of the συνέκδ. ἡμῶν. It does not, however, simply mean: in the bringing over (Billroth; this arbitrary limitation was produced by the reading σύν), but in general: in matters of this χάρις, i.e. in the prosecution, in the whole bringing about, of this kindness (this work of love), which is ministered by us, is effected through our ministry (comp. 2 Corinthians 3:3).

πρὸς τὴν τοῦ κυρίου δόξαν κ. τ. λ.] is connected by most (including Theodoret, Beza, Grotius, Estius, Billroth, de Wette, Ewald, Neander) with τῇ διακον. ὑφ. ἡμ. But since in this way πρός (which is not, with Ewald, to be taken as according to, comp. 2 Corinthians 1:20) would have to combine two quite different relations: “in order to promote Christ’s honour and to prove our good-will;” and since, moreover, the latter element would be self-evident, tame, and superfluous,—we ought rather, with Chrysostom (who, however, reads ὑμῶν instead of ἡμῶν), to construe with χειροτονηθεὶς κ. τ. λ.: elected, etc., in order to further Christ’s honour and our good-will. The election of this brother had as its object, that by his co-operation in this matter Christ should be honoured(281) and our desire and love for the work should not be lessened “ob metum reprehensionis illius, de qua mox loquitur” (Bengel), but should be maintained and advanced by freedom from such hindering anxiety, and by a fellow-worker thus authorized. The connection with χειροτονηθεὶς κ. τ. λ., which Hofmann, attaching it also to συνεκδ. ἡμῶν, declares to be impossible (why?), places the election, which had primarily a business motive, under the higher ethical point of view.


Verse 20

2 Corinthians 8:20. στελλόμενοι τοῦτο] goes along with συνεπέμψαμεν in 2 Corinthians 8:18. We have sent also the brother, who is honoured by all, and in addition has been chosen by the churches as our associate in this matter, inasmuch as we thereby avoid this, that no one, etc. Rückert (comp. de Wette) arbitrarily, because with unnecessary harshness, holds that Paul has abandoned the construction, and instead of writing στελλόμεθα γάρ, has put the participle, because he had had in his mind the thought: “I have caused him to be elected.” Hofmann connects it in an abnormal construction with προθυμ. ἡμῶν, which in itself would be admissible (see on 2 Corinthians 1:7), but cannot suit here, because πρὸς τ. προθυμ. ἡμ. was a definition of the aim contemplated not by Paul, but by the χειροτονήσαντες; the connection would be illogical.

According to linguistic usage, στελλόμενοι τοῦτο (see Kypke, Obss. II. p. 259 f., 344; Schott on 2 Thess. p. 271) may mean: (1) making this arrangement(282) (so, in the main, Kypke, Rückert, Hofmann), in which case there is not brought out any significant bearing of the words, and besides, the aorist participle could not but be expected; or (2) inasmuch as we draw back from this, shrink from and avoid this (Hesychius: στέλλεσθαι· φοβεῖσθαι); so Chrysostom, Theophylact, Luther, and most, following the Itala and Vulgate: “devitantes,” Gothic: “bivandjandans.” Comp. LXX. Malachi 2:5. The latter is to be preferred as most appropriate in the connection, and agreeing with 2 Thessalonians 3:6. The reading ὑποστελλό΄ενοι in F G is a correct gloss. Paul in his humility and practical wisdom did not deem it beneath his dignity to obviate calumnie.

τοῦτο] would in itself be superfluous, but it serves as an emphatic preparation for the following ΄ή τις κ. τ. λ. See Winer, p. 152 [E. T. 200].

΄ή τις ἡ΄ᾶς ΄ω΄ήσ.] ΄ή after the notion of anxiety (Baeumlein, Partik. p. 288), which lies in στελλόμ.: that no one may reproach us (as if we were embezzling, not dealing conscientiously with the distribution, and the like) in this abundance.

ἐν] in puncto of this abundance. Comp. ἐν τῷ εὐαγγ., 2 Corinthians 8:18; ἐν τῇ χάρ., 2 Corinthians 8:19.

ἁδρότης, from ἁδρός, dense, thick, means in Homer (Il. xxii. 263, xvi. 857, xxiv. 6): “habitudo corporis firma et succulenta,” Duncan, Lex., ed. Rost, p. 20. Afterwards it occurs in all relations of the adjective, as in reference to plants and fruits (Theophr., Herod. i. 17), to speech (Diog. Laert. 10:83), to tone (Athen. x. p. 415 A), to snow (Herod. iv. 31), etc. Hence what abundance is meant, is determined solely by the context. Here: abundance of charitable gifts. According to Wetstein, Zosimus has it also four times “pro ingenti largitione.” Rückert’s proposal to understand it of the great zeal of the contributors, which was produced through the apostle’s ministry ( τῇ διακ. ὑφʼ ἡμῶν), would only be admissible in the event of there being anything in the context about such zeal. As it is, however, ἐν τῇ ἁδρ. ταύτῃ is in substance the same as ἐν τῇ χάριτι ταύτῃ in 2 Corinthians 8:19. Comp. 2 Corinthians 8:3.


Verse 21

2 Corinthians 8:21. Ground of this precautionary measure. For our anxiety is directed to what is good, not merely before the Lord, not merely so that we set before us God in this way (Proverbs 3:4), but also before men. Comp. on Romans 12:17. Were it merely the former, we should not need such precautionary measures, since to God we πεφανερώμεθα, 2 Corinthians 5:11; but “propter alios fama necessaria est,” Augustine. The misuse of the latter consideration is guarded against by ἐνώπ. κυρίου.

προνοεῖν, prospicere, also in the active; comp. Plato, Clit. p. 408 E Xen. Mem. ii. 10. 3; Aelian, V. H. ii. 21; Wisdom of Solomon 6:7; Hesych.: προνοεῖ· ἐπιμελεῖται.

For analogous Rabbinical sayings, see Wetstein.


Verse 22

2 Corinthians 8:22. Commendatory mention of the second companio.

αὐτοῖς] with Titus and the brother already spoken o.

τὸν ἀδελφ. ἡμ.] This one, too, we do not know by name. ἡμῶν does not point to him as in official relation to the apostle and Timothy, but denotes him as a Christian brother (see 2 Corinthians 8:23), so that the ἡμῶν embraces also the readers. Conjecture has lighted (but see previously on 2 Corinthians 8:18) on Epaenetus, Romans 16:5 (Grotius), on Apollos (Thomas, Lyra, and mentioned already in Theodoret), on Luke (Calvin and also Estius, who, however, does not discountenance the conjecture of Zenas, Titus 3:13, and Sosthenes), and even on Timothy (Cajetanus) and others. Wieseler (comp. on 2 Corinthians 8:18) understands it of Tychicus, and to this Hofmann also is inclined. The very plural ἡμῶν should have precluded Rückert from thinking of an actual brother of the apostle; see also on 2 Corinthians 8:18.

ἐν πολλοῖς πολλάκις] goes with ἐδοκ.: in many things many times. See on this collocation, Lobeck, Paral, p. 56.

νυνὶ δὲ πολὺ σπουδαιότερον πεποιθ. κ. τ. λ.] νυνί stands in contrast with the previous ἐδοκιμ. ἐν πολλοῖς πολλάκις: now, however, as much more zealous (than in the earlier cases) through the great confidence which he reposes in you. A high degree of good confidence in you has now increased very much his zeal. Others understand πεποιθήσει κ. τ. λ. of Paul’s confidence, connecting it either with πολὺ σπουδαιότ. (Erasmus, Beza, Piscator, and others) or with συνεπέμψαμεν (Estius, Emmerling: “sperans ut bene a vobis excipiantur”). The latter is an inappropriate departure from the order of the words, depriving πολὺ σπουδαιότερον of the ground assigned for it (and how delicately is its ground assigned by this very πεποιθ. κ. τ. λ.!); and the former must necessarily have been denoted by a personal pronoun added to πεποιθ.


Verse 23

2 Corinthians 8:23 f. Summary closing recommendation of all the three delegate.

εἴτε ὑπὲρ τίτου] sc. λέγω or γράφω. Be it that I speak on behalf of Titus, he is my associate and (especially) in regard to you my fellow-worker, and my intercession is thus made with good reaso.

εἴτε ἀδελφοὶ ἡμῶν] be it that they are brothers of ours, namely, for whom I speak, they are delegates of churches,(283) an honour to Christ, people, whose personal character and working redound to Christ’s honour. The words to be supplied with εἴτε in both cases would occur of themselves to the reader of the incomplete passage. Comp. Fritzsche, ad Rom. III. p. 47 f. Observe, however, that ἀδελφοὶ ἡμῶν is predicative, and therewith qualitative; hence the absence of the article appears to be strictly regular,(284) denoting the category to which the subjects meant in this second half of the verse belong, and therefore neither unsuitable (Rückert) nor yet erroneous (Buttmann, neut. Gr. p. 76 [E. T. 87]; comp. Hofmann).

ἡμῶν] as in 2 Corinthians 8:22. The distinguishing of the two others from Titus, who holds a higher position, by the qualitative ἀδελφοὶ ἡμῶν, shows that ἀδελφοί are not official associates. Such a one Titus was; the two others, however, were only distinguished church-members—as it were, lay-brothers commissioned ad hoc, the one by the churches, the other by Paul.


Verse 24

2 Corinthians 8:24. According to the Recepta, ἐνδείξασθε is here a direct exhortation, in conformity with the points adduced in 2 Corinthians 8:23 ( οὖν), to furnish towards those three ( εἰς αὐτούς) the demonstration ( τὴν ἐνδ.) of their love, etc., which demonstration of love is shown to the churches that were represented by them ( εἰς πρόσωπ.). Since, however, the Recepta is a gloss (see the critical remarks), and ἐνδεικνύμενοι is the correct reading, we have here an indirect exhortation, which puts the matter as a point of honour, and so touches the readers the more effectively, without directly making a demand on them. “When you accordingly show towards them the demonstration of your love and of what we have boasted regarding you, you do it in presence of the churches.” In this way εἰς αὐτούς and εἰς πρόσωπον τῶν ἐκκλ. emphatically correspond with each other, and after the participle ἐνδεικν. the second person of the present indicative of the same verb is to be supplied. Comp. Soph. O. C. 520; El. 1428 (1434): τὰ πρὶν εὖ θέμενοι τάδʼ ἑς πάλιν, sc. εὖ θῆσθε. See Schneidewin in loc., and, in general, Doederl. de brachyl. 1831, p. 10 f.; also Dissen, ad Dem. de Cor. 190, p. 359. We might also simply supply the imperative ἐστέ with ἐνδεικν. (see on Romans 12:9), so that also with this reading there would be a direct, stern summons. But with the former interpretation the contextually appropriate emphasis of εἰς πρόσωπον τῶν ἐκκλ. comes out more strongly and more independently.

On points of detail we may further observe—(1) The οὖν does not draw the inference simply from the second half of 2 Corinthians 8:23, but from both halves, since the exclusion of reference to Titus is not warranted by εἰς πρόσωπ. τ. ἐκκλ., which, in fact, suits all three together, and ἡμῶν καυχησέως κ. τ. λ. includes specially a glance at the apostle’s relation to Titus; comp. 2 Corinthians 8:6; 2 Corinthians 7:14. (2) πρόσωπον is here also not (see on 2 Corinthians 1:11) person, which would be against the usage of the N. T., and, besides, in the singular would be unsuitable here; but εἰς πρόσωπον means to the face, i.e. coram in the sense of the direction. The conception, namely, which Paul wishes to excite in the minds of his readers, is this, that in those three men they have to think of the churches themselves, whose instruments these men are in the matter of the collection, as present and as witnesses of the demonstrations of love that fall to the share of the representatives, and to measure their demeanour towards them accordingly. According to this view, every evidence of love, which is shown to these men, comes, when it takes place, before the eyes of the churches (ideally present in the case). The churches stand by and look on. (3) τῆς ἀγάπης ὑμ. is not the love to Paul (Grotius, Billroth, de Wette, Ewald, and others, following Chrysostom and Theophylact), but the Christian brotherly love, which thereupon has its definite object marked out by εἰς αὐτούς.

On τὴν ἔνδειξιν ἐνδείκνυσθαι, comp. Plat. Legg. 12, p. 966 B. The demonstration of the boasting: namely, how true it was. Comp. 2 Corinthians 7:14.

 


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Bibliography Information
Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on 2 Corinthians 8:4". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hmc/2-corinthians-8.html. 1832.


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Thursday, November 15th, 2018
the Week of Proper 27 / Ordinary 32
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