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2 Corinthians 8 Commentary

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A verse by verse commentary with quotations from many different authors.
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  2 CORITHIAS 8 COMMETARY Edited by Glenn Pease ITRODUCTIO The whole issue of the collection for the saints in Jerusalem began in I Cor. 16:1-4 We need to go back and read those verses to understand what Paul is saying here. 1 Corinthians 16   1ow about the collection for God's people: Do what I told the Galatian churches to do. 2On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made. 3Then, when I arrive, I will give letters of introduction to the men you approve and send them with your gift to Jerusalem. 4If it seems advisable for me to go also, they will accompany me.II COR. CHAPTER 8 1. BARES, The object of his Statement in the close of 2Corinthians 7 seems to have  been to excite them to diligence in completing the collection which they had begun for the poor and afflicted saints of Judea. On the consideration of that subject, which lay so  near his heart, he now enters; and this chapter and the following are occupied with suggesting arguments and giving directions for a liberal contribution. Paul had given directions for taking up this collection in the first epistle. See 2Corinthians 8:1, seq. Comp. Romans 15:26. This collection he had given Titus direction to take up when he went to Corinth. See 2Corinthians 8:6-17. But from some cause it had not been completed, 2Corinthians 8:10,11. What that cause was, is not stated; but it may have been possibly the disturbances which had existed there, or the opposition of the enemies of Paul, or the attention which was necessarily bestowed in regulating the affairs of the church. But in order that the contribution might be made, and might be a liberal one, Paul presses on their attention several considerations designed to excite them to give freely. The chapter is, therefore, of importance to us, as it is a statement of the duty of giving liberally to the cause of benevolence, and of the motives by which it should be done.2. CALVI, As, in the event of the Corinthians retaining any feeling of offense, occasioned by the severity of the preceding Epistle, that might stand in the way of Paul’s authority having influence over them, he has hitherto made it his endeavor to conciliate their affections. ow, after clearing away all occasion of offense, and regaining favor for his ministry, he recommends to them the brethren at Jerusalem, that they may furnish help to their necessities. He could not, with any great advantage, have attempted this in the commencement of the Epistle. Hence, he has prudently deferred it, until he has prepared their minds for it. Accordingly, he takes up the whole of this chapter, and the next, in exhorting the Corinthians to be active and diligent in collecting alms to be taken to Jerusalem for relieving the indigence of the brethren. For they were afflicted with a great famine, so that they could scarcely support life without being aided by other churches. The Apostles had intrusted Paul with this matter, (Galatians 2:10,) and he had promised to concern himself in reference to it, and he had already done so in part, as we have seen in the former Epistle. 659 ow, however, he presses them still farther. Generosity Encouraged 1And now, brothers, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches.  1. Barnes, “ Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit -  We make known to you; we inform you. The phrase “we do you to wit,” is used in Tyndale’s translation, and means “we cause you to know.” The purpose for which Paul informed them of the liberality of the churches of Macedonia was to excite them to similar liberality. Of the grace of God ... - The favor which God had shown them in exciting a spirit of liberality, and in enabling them to contribute to the fund for supplying the needs of the poor saints at Jerusalem. The word “grace” ( χάρις   charis ) is sometimes used in the sense of gift, and the phrase “gift of God” some have supposed may mean very great gift, where the words “of God” may be designed to mark anything very eminent or excellent, as in the phrase “cedars of God,” “mountains of God,” denoting very great cedars, very great mountains. Some critics (as Macknight, Bloomfield, Locke, and others) have supposed that this means that the churches of Macedonia had been able to contribute largely to the aid of the saints of Judea. But the more obvious and correct interpretation, as I apprehend, is that which is implied in the common version, that the phrase “grace of God,” means that God had bestowed on them grace to give according to their ability in this cause. According to this it is implied:(1) That a disposition to contribute to the cause of benevolence is to be traced to God. He is its author. He excites it. It is not a plant of native growth in the human heart, but a large and liberal spirit of benevolence is one of the effects of his grace, and is to be traced to him.(2) It is a favor bestowed on a church when God excites in it a spirit of benevolence. It is one of the evidences of his love. And indeed there cannot be a higher proof of the favor of God than when by his grace he inclines and enables us to contribute largely to meliorate the condition, and to alleviate the needs of our fellowmen. Perhaps the apostle here meant delicately to hint this. He did not therefore say coldly that the churches of Macedonia had contributed to this object, but he speaks of it as a favor shown to them  by God that they were able to do it. And he meant, probably, gently to intimate to the Corinthians that it would be an evidence that they were enjoying the favor of God if they should contribute in like manner. The churches of Macedonia - Philippi, Thessalonica, Berea. For an account of Macedonia, see the  Act_16:9note; Rom_15:26note. Of these churches, that at Philippi seems to have been most distinguished for liberality Phi_4:10, Phi_4:15-16, Phi_4:18, though it is probable that other churches contributed according to their ability, as they are commended (compare 2Co_9:2) without distinction. 2. Paul knew how to use psychology to motivate people. He knew that people are basically competitive, and so if you brag up some people to another people on how they have given to the cause, the other people will want to compete and hopefully do even better. Why should they be on top when we can do ever more? The modern church has followed Paul in this and that is why there are so many contests among churches to see who can give most, bring most visitors, send most missionaries, etc. Every group loves to win, and so competition is a key way to motivate people.3. CLARKE, Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit - In all our dignified  version very few ill-constructed sentences can be found; however here is one, and the  worst in the book. We do you to wit is in the srcinal γνωριζοµεν δε µιν , we make known unto you. This is plain and intelligible, the other is not so; and the form is now obsolete.  The grace of God bestowed - Dr. Whitby has made it fully evident that the χαρις Θεου  signifies the charitable contribution made by the Churches in Macedonia, to which they were excited by the grace or influence of God upon their hearts; and that δεδοµενην εν  cannot signify bestowed on, but given in. That χαρις  means liberality, appears from 2Co_8:6: We desired Titus that as he had begun, so he would finish  την χαριν ταυτην , this charitable contribution. And 2Co_8:7: That ye abound εν ταυτ τ χαριτι , in this liberal contribution. And 2Co_8:19: Who was chosen of the Church to travel with us συν  τ χαριτι ταυτ , with this charitable contribution, which is administered - which is to be dispensed, by us. So 2Co_9:8: God is able to make πασαν χαριν , all liberality, to abound towards you. And 1Co_16:3: To bring  την χαριν , your liberality, to the poor saints. Hence χαρις , is by Hesychius and Phavorinus interpreted a gift, as it is here by the apostle: Thanks be to God for his unspeakable gift, 2Co_9:15. This charity is styled the grace of God, either from its exceeding greatness, (as the cedars of God and mountains of God signify great cedars and great mountains, Psa_36:6; Psa_80:10); or rather, it is called so as proceeding from God, who is the dispenser of all good, and the giver of this disposition; for the motive of charity must come from him. So, in other places, the zeal of God, Rom_10:2; the love of God, 2Co_5:14; the grace of God, Tit_2:11. The Churches of Macedonia - These were Philippi, Thessalonica, Berea, etc. 4. GILL, Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God ,.... The apostle having said everything that was proper to conciliate the minds and affections of the Corinthians to him, and the matter in difference being adjusted to the satisfaction of all parties concerned; he proposes what he had wisely postponed till all was over, the making a collection for the poor saints at Jerusalem; which he enforces by the example of the Macedonian churches, the churches at Philippi, Thessalonica, &c. He addresses them in a kind and tender manner, under the endearing appellation of brethren , being so in a spiritual relation; and takes the liberty to inform them of the goodness of God to some of their sister churches; we do you to wit , or we make known unto you . The phrase to wit is an old English one, and almost obsolete, and signifies to acquaint with, inform of, make known, or give knowledge of anything. The thing informed of here, is the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia ; by which is meant, not any of the blessings of grace common to all the saints, such as regeneration, justification, adoption, forgiveness of sin, and the like; but beneficence, liberality, or a liberal disposition to do good to others, called the grace of God ; because it sprung from thence, as all good works do when performed aright; they were assisted in it by the grace of God; and it was the love and favour of God in Christ, which was the engaging motive, the leading view, which drew them on to it. This was  bestowed  upon them, not merited, it was grace and free grace; God may give persons ever so much of this world's goods, yet if he does not give them a spirit of generosity, a liberal disposition, they will make no use of it for the good of others: and this was  bestowed on the churches of Macedonia ; not on a few leading men among them, but upon all the members of these churches in general; and not upon one church, but upon many; a
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