2 Corinthians 8 Commentary


About a year earlier Paul had given instructions to the Corinthians about the collection of money he was organizing for the poor Christians in Jerusalem (1 Cor 16:1-4). The Corinthians had made a start (see 9:2), but in the meantime they became so concerned with their own difficulties that they neglected their responsibilities in the matter. Now that they have cleared up their local troubles, Paul reminds them of the importance of this exercise in Christian giving.

Paul urges the Corinthians to give (8:1-15)

The giving of the Christians in Macedonia is an example of true Christian giving. They might have suffered from persecution and poverty, but they gave generously – not only as much as they were able but far more, and without any urging from Paul (8:1-3). In fact, they begged Paul to allow them the privilege of taking part in the offering. Such an attitude was possible only because they first gave themselves to the Lord, for him to use them as he desired (4-5). Paul will now send Titus to Corinth to encourage the believers to complete what they had started. The enthusiasm they show in other spiritual exercises should be shown in their giving also (6-7).

There are no rules to force Christians to give. They should give out of love. Through love, Christ gave everything, leaving the glory of heaven for a sinful world, so that he might save sinners and give them a share in his riches (8-9). The Corinthians should likewise show sacrificial love, by completing the


work that they began the previous year. There is no law to determine the amount they should give. It will depend on how much they have (10-12).

Although the Corinthians may be financially better off than Christians in some other churches, Paul does not want to burden them unfairly. Nevertheless, they should realize that while they are able to help poorer churches, they should. They must bear in mind also that they do not know the future. One day they themselves may be poor and the Jerusalem church able to send help to them (13-14). The principle is not that all must receive an equal amount, but that all must have enough according to their needs, with no greed and no starving (15).

Arrangements for the collection (8:16-9:5)

Titus is just as keen as Paul to see this collection completed successfully (16-17). He is travelling to Corinth with two other well known Christians. One of them has been chosen by several churches as their representative to join Paul and the other representatives who will later take the money to Jerusalem. The other is a proven friend of Paul’s who has the interests of the Corinthians at heart. The reason for sending three people is to ensure that no one, whether inside or outside the church, has any cause to doubt Paul’s uprightness or sincerity. Everything must be done openly and honestly (18-22). By participating whole- heartedly in this offering, the Corinthians will display the generous love of which Paul has often boasted (23-24).

Paul feels he must speak further on the matter. He reminds the Corinthians of their enthusiasm the previous year, and of the fact that his boasting of their enthusiasm had stirred the Macedonians to join in the offering (9:1-2). He is sending these three men ahead to ensure the collection is completed before he arrives. If he comes and finds them not ready, he will be ashamed because of his over-confidence, and the Corinthians will be ashamed because of their laziness. Also it will mean that when he arrives he will have to stir them to make a hurried collection. This would not be an honourable way to do things. It would be more like paying a tax than willingly making an offering to God (3-5).

Privacy Policy