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Bible Commentaries

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments
2 Corinthians 9

 

 

Verse 1-2

2 Corinthians 9:1-2. As touching the ministering to the saints — Contributing to their relief, see on Romans 15:26; it is superfluous for me to write — More largely and particularly. For I know — Rather, have known, in former instances, and have now again learned from Titus; the forwardness of your mind — Your readiness to assist in this good work; for which I boast of you to them of Macedonia — To the Christians in that province, with whom he then was; that Achaia — Whereof Corinth was the chief city; was ready — Was prepared; a year ago — Or since the last year, as απο περυσι properly signifies. “So the apostle thought when he boasted of the Corinthians to the Macedonians. For in his former letter, which was written in the end of the preceding year, he had exhorted them to make the collection, and had given it in charge to Titus, who carried that letter, to encourage them in the work. Besides, the Corinthians having expressed the greatest respect for the apostle in the letter which they sent to him, and the messengers, who brought him that letter, having assured him of their disposition to obey him in every thing, he did not doubt of their having complied with his request. And therefore, when he went into Macedonia the following spring, after pentecost, he told the Macedonian churches that Achaia was prepared since the end of the last year, firmly believing that it was so.” — Macknight.


Verses 3-7

2 Corinthians 9:3-7. Yet have I sent the brethren — Above mentioned before me; lest our boasting of you should be in vain — Lest you should be found unprepared. To make up beforehand — To complete before my arrival; your bounty — Or gift; whereof ye had notice before — Greek, την προκατηγγελμενην, spoken of before, namely, by me to the Macedonians. Or, as some understand the expression, formerly announced to the saints in Judea. That the same might be ready — When I come; as a bounty — Or free gift, willingly bestowed; and not as of covetousness

A thing extorted, or wrung by importunity from covetous persons. But this I say — This I wish you to keep in mind as an important declaration; He who soweth sparingly shall reap sparingly, &c. — A general rule: God will proportion the reward to the work, and the temper whence it proceeds. Every man as he purposeth, &c. — As he finds himself inclined from his own bountiful disposition, and not as being constrained thereto by me or any other; not grudgingly εκ λυπης, from grief, as if he were sorry to part with his money; or of necessity — Because he is ashamed to refuse. For — In matters of charity; God loveth a cheerful giver — Nor can that be acceptable to him which is given with reluctance and by constraint.


Verse 8-9

2 Corinthians 9:8-9. And God is able, &c. — The contents of this verse are very remarkable; each expression is loaded with matter, which increases as the sentence proceeds; God is able to make — And will make, see on Romans 4:21; all grace — Every kind of blessing, as the word here appears to signify; to abound toward you — And to supply you abundantly with the means of liberality; that ye, always having all sufficiency — Enough to enable you to relieve others in their necessities; in all things — That he sees good for you; may abound to every good work — That ye may go on with new enlargement and vigour in doing every good in your power, without finding your circumstances straitened. God confers his gifts upon us that we may do good therewith, and so may receive still greater blessings. All things in this life, even rewards, are to the faithful seeds, in order to a future harvest. As it is written — Of the truly liberal and charitable man; He hath dispersed abroad, &c. — With a full hand, without any anxious thought which way each grain falls. This is an allusion to a person who, in sowing seed, scatters it plentifully. And the image beautifully represents both the good-will with which the liberal distribute their alms, and the many needy persons on whom they are bestowed. His righteousness — His beneficence, (as the expression here means,) with the blessed effects of it; remaineth for ever — Unexhausted, God still renewing his store. In other words, He shall always have enough wherewith to exercise his bounty in works of mercy, (2 Corinthians 9:11,) and this act of obedience shall have an eternal reward.


Verses 10-14

2 Corinthians 9:10-14. Now he that ministereth seed to the sower — By making the earth fruitful; and bread for your food — (So Bengelius reads,) namely, all things needful for your souls and bodies. May he supply and multiply ( χορηγησαι και πληθυναι) your seed sown — Your ability to help others; and increase the fruits of your righteousness — The happy effects of your love to God and man: or may he make an ample return for what you have liberally bestowed on the indigent, and abundantly increase and reward your works of mercy and charity. Being enriched in every thing to all bountifulness — Plentifully furnished with all things that may enable you to exercise the greatest bounty, 1 Timothy 6:18. Which causeth through us thanksgiving to God — Both from us who distribute, and them who receive your bounty. For the administration of this service — Which we have undertaken, and in which we do as it were officiate for you, in the presentation of this acceptable offering; not only supplieth the wants of the saints — In their present exigency; but is abundant by many thanksgivings — Which it occasions, to the glory of God. The word λειτουργια, rendered service, in the first clause of the verse, intimates that their contributing to the relief of the poor saints in Judea, was to be considered not merely as an act of humanity, but of religion, most pleasing to God, and suitable to the nature of the gospel. See Hebrews 13:16. While by the experiment — Or proof by experience; of this ministration — This generous contribution; they glorify God — Giving him praise; for your professed subjection — This open testimony of your sincere obedience; to the gospel of Christ — Which so strictly enjoins works of charity; for your liberal distribution — Or communication of your goods to them in their present distress; and to all men — In the like circumstances. And by their prayers for you — It also produces many prayers to God for you from the poor saints; who long after you — Have a great affection for you, and are very desirous of your welfare; for the exceeding grace of God in you — Which produces fruits so much for the glory of God, the good of your fellow-creatures, and so highly ornamental to Christianity. The reader will observe, that in this passage, the apostle mentions four different fruits of alms-giving: the relief of the poor, thanksgiving to God from the poor for that relief, the honour done to God by good works, and lastly, the prayers of the poor for their benefactors, proceeding from gratitude and love.


Verse 15

2 Corinthians 9:15. Thanks be to God for his unspeakable gift — By this gift, for which the apostle so fervently thanks God, Dr. Whitby understands the charitable disposition that was in the Corinthians, Macedonians, and other sincere Christians, “by which God was glorified, the gospel adorned, the poor saints refreshed, and themselves fitted for an exceeding great reward.” The text, understood in this sense, is a clear proof that every good affection in the human heart is to be ascribed to a divine influence. But, as Macknight justly observes, “it may be doubted whether the apostle would call that gift unspeakable. So grand an epithet may, with more propriety, be applied to Christ. Besides the happy effects of a cordial friendship established between the [believing] Jews and Gentiles, now united in one faith, worship, and church, being the object of the apostle’s present thoughts, it was natural for him to break forth in a thanksgiving to God for Christ, the author of that happy union, and of all the blessings which mankind enjoy. And as these blessings are so many and so great, that they cannot be fully declared in human language, Christ, the author of them all, may well be called God’s unspeakable gift.”

 


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Bibliography Information
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on 2 Corinthians 9:4". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/2-corinthians-9.html. 1857.


Lectionary Calendar
Sunday, September 23rd, 2018
the Week of Proper 20 / Ordinary 25
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