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Bible Commentaries

Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible
2 Corinthians 9

 

 

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 1-5

2 Corinthians 9:1-5. On the general subject, the obligation to provide assistance for God's people, there is no need for Paul to write to the Corinthians. They have already acknowledged that obligation, and Paul has proudly announced their willingness to the Macedonians, a willingness which included the churches of Greece to which Corinth stood as centre. What he is now concerned about, and taking steps to secure, is the fulfilment of their promises and a fulfilment in the spirit of bountifulness and not of grudging calculation.


Verses 6-15

2 Corinthians 9:6-15. This concern brings him, however, to a renewed consideration of the grace or liberality, and of the blessings attached to it. He touches in succession on the proper temper of such liberality (2 Corinthians 9:6 f.), viz. generous self-determination to sacrifice, such as meets with the Divine approval (quotation from Proverbs 22:8, LXX), the source both of the impulse and of the means for such liberality (2 Corinthians 9:8 ff.), and the ultimate issue of it in widespread thanksgiving to God (2 Corinthians 9:12-15). God it is who is able to make every kind of grace, including this of liberality, to abound; and it is He also who provides the means for their display of liberality, making this indeed its consequence and reward, so that their "righteousness," i.e. beneficence (cf. Matthew 6:1) need know no end. Paul's thought here runs closely parallel to the teaching of Jesus on almsgiving. Liberality is the expression not only of love to the brethren, but of confidence in the liberality of God, a confidence which shall not be disappointed. This is the true ministry of "Divine service" (cf. James 1:27), issuing not only in the relief of God's people but in exulting recognition of the power of the gospel as an inspiration to sacrifice and service. That it is hardly possible to exaggerate the significance which Paul attached to the collection, and the "grace" of liberality of which it was the symbol, appears from the closing verse. The "unspeakable gift" is either that grace of brotherly love and unity among communities so diverse from one another of which the collection is the expression, or it is the gift of Jesus Christ as leading to, and interpreting itself in, that unity, generosity, and gratitude.

 


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Bibliography Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on 2 Corinthians 9:4". "Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pfc/2-corinthians-9.html. 1919.


Lectionary Calendar
Saturday, October 20th, 2018
the Week of Proper 23 / Ordinary 28
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