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Bible Commentaries

Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible
2 Corinthians 8

 

 

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Introduction

2 Corinthians 8, 9. The Collection for Poor Christians at Jerusalem.—Paul attached the highest importance to this collection, to which he seems to have invited all the Gentile churches to contribute. He valued it not merely for the relief it would bring to the deep poverty of the Christians at Jerusalem, but also as a means of eliciting generosity in the churches to which he appealed, and as a symbol of that binding unity in which all" the churches of God in Christ "were held together. He thinks of the liberality thus evoked as a grace," a gift of God to man, and a gift of man to God, and also as a "fellowship," a common participation in common service which was a precious symbol of participation in common life.


Verses 1-15

2 Corinthians 8, 9. The Collection for Poor Christians at Jerusalem.—Paul attached the highest importance to this collection, to which he seems to have invited all the Gentile churches to contribute. He valued it not merely for the relief it would bring to the deep poverty of the Christians at Jerusalem, but also as a means of eliciting generosity in the churches to which he appealed, and as a symbol of that binding unity in which all" the churches of God in Christ "were held together. He thinks of the liberality thus evoked as a grace," a gift of God to man, and a gift of man to God, and also as a "fellowship," a common participation in common service which was a precious symbol of participation in common life.

2 Corinthians 8:1-15. Of this liberality, significant of so much, the churches of Macedonia, such as Thessalonica, Philippi, Berœa, had already given an example all the more remarkable because of their notorious poverty, and also of the persecution they were enduring. And, best of all, this offering was really a self-offering, and had been made not, as well might have happened, to the apostle, but first to Christ and then to Paul and the cause for which he pleaded.

Paul had already laid this subject of the collection before the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 16:1 ff.), and possibly Titus had taken the opportunity of a previous visit to set it on foot, and now Paul, encouraged by what has happened in Macedonia, has instructed him to bring it to a successful issue in Corinth. The readiness of the Macedonians is to be used as a test of the loyalty of the Corinthians. And they have a still higher example before their eyes. What else did they see in Jesus Christ Himself but a liberality which knew no limits? In view of this Paul contents himself with a suggestion, leaving it to the prompting of their own conscience to give effect to that resolve which already a year ago had been present behind the first steps of action. In 2 Corinthians 8:12 he lays down the same principle as that which underlies our Lord's appreciation of the liberality of the widow who "cast in all that she had" (Mark 12:42-44).

[2 Corinthians 8:9. The reference is not to the fact that Jesus lived a life of poverty on earth. The contrast is between His pre-incarnate life in heaven and the state of humiliation on which He entered at the Incarnation. This is strongly suggested by the parallel in Philippians 2:6-8; and the poverty which was His earthly lot could hardly be said to be the cause that many became rich.—A. S. P.]


Verses 16-24

2 Corinthians 8:16-24. Paul commends the three messengers who are going to Corinth on the business of the collection. One of these was Titus, and he looked on the matter in the same way as Paul. There were two others, whose names he probably wrote, though for some unknown reason they were afterwards erased. The first of these, who may possibly have been Luke, was already favourably known to all the churches through his work for Christ, and had been chosen "by the churches" to assist Paul in the responsible work of collecting and conveying the money—an arrangement which Paul cordially approves, inasmuch as it shut off the possibility of suspicion or scandal against himself in the handling of the contributions. The second, whose name has also been omitted (early commentators guessed Apollos) had been selected by the apostle himself, partly on the ground of his firm belief in the liberality of the Corinthians. The construction of 2 Corinthians 8:23 is confused, but the meaning is plain. For Titus and for his two companions Paul asks such a reception as will both prove the Corinthians' affection for himself and justify his pride in them—for Titus, on the ground that he is Paul's companion and fellow-worker, for the other two on the ground that they are his brethren, envoys of the churches, and reflect the glory of Christ (cf. 1 Corinthians 11:7).

2 Corinthians 8:19. "To shew our readiness" is best taken with "appointed by the churches" in the sense of "according to our inclination" or "to the increase of readiness," Paul's readiness to have someone appointed being increased by the particular appointments which were made.

 


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Bibliography Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on 2 Corinthians 8:4". "Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pfc/2-corinthians-8.html. 1919.


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