2 Corinthians, Chapter 8
© Copyright 2003 Darroll Evans, all rights reserved

2 Corinthians 8:1-4
1 Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia;
2 How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality.
3 For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves;
4 Praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints.

The KJV translation in verse one seems odd, so letís look at the New King James translation.

2 Corinthians 8:1---Moreover, brethren, we make known to you the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia: (NKJV).

That translation holds up in other versions.

Paulís message was simple. He preached grace. The reason was also simple.

The letter to the Galatians was precipitated due to their turning to legalism.

Galatians 5:4---"You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from graceĒ (NKJV).

At the time of the reformation many Protestants believe that the Roman Catholic papacy is an apostate Church. It rejected grace in favor of salvation by works and invalid "Hail Marys."

The Roman Church incorrectly teaches that Mary is a co-mediator with Christ. The Bible never calls Mary a mediator or co-mediator.

John 14:6--- "I [Jesus] am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."

It has only been in the past few years that Pope JPII has acknowledged grace to some very limited degree. However, the "faithful" still go to a man to ask forgiveness. Christ is the one they need.

Christ Jesus is known only through grace. Christ cannot be known, nor can the Bible be understood through acquired knowledge.

The liberality of Corinthian giving needs to be put into context. They gave neither to a Church denomination nor to Paul as an individual.

The funds were to be used for poor Christian Jews. It was NOT to be used for the general Jewish population.

Many Christians are working toward a day when another temple will be built in Jerusalem so animal sacrifice may resume. That is silly!

You are a temple of the Holy Spirit and todayís true Temple of God! We need to understand who we are in Christ.

The gift from the Corinthians was an offering. It was not a tithe.

Paul said, "they were willing of themselves" indicates a free will offering. In the KJV, the term "freewill" is used only in reference to offerings and only in the Old Testament.  

2 Corinthians 8:5 And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God.

In that offering, the wild Corinthians gave over and above what Paul expected. Once they gave themselves to the Lord, all they had was His.  

2 Corinthians 8:6 Insomuch that we desired Titus, that as he had begun, so he would also finish in you the same grace also.

Paul exhorted Titus to complete what had been given to him to start. The teaching of grace is still not complete within the Church.

Grace is a difficult subject for most to understand. We are saved and maintained in Christ through, plus nothing

2 Corinthians 8:7 Therefore, as ye abound in every thing, in faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love to us, see that ye abound in this grace also.

Paul wrote, "As you abound in everything." The Greek text says, "Exactly as you superabound in everything."

That indicates a growth pattern. We, Christians, are not born into full maturity.

As we grow, we may superabound in everything. That is not personal ego or pride. It is a fact.

As we grow in faith, our ability to speak the word and words of God, and our passion to do so, we also add to our knowledge of God. All this comes with maturity.

Hebrews 5:14---But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. (NKJ) 

2 Corinthians 8:8 I speak not by commandment, but by occasion of the forwardness of others, and to prove the sincerity of your love.

Once again, Paul tells the Corinthians that he is not saying this due to a God-given command. I believe that he is speaking through personal experience.

With all his education, Paul took time to learn Christianity. His primary teacher was the Holy Spirit.  

2 Corinthians 8:9 For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.

They knew the grace of our Lord. There is a great difference in knowing about and having a personal experience. The former is nothing more than second hand acquired understanding. The later is a personal intimacy.  

2 Corinthians 8:10 And herein I give my advice: for this is expedient for you, who have begun before, not only to do, but also to be forward a year ago.

This confirms verse eight. "I give my advice." They stepped out in faith earlier, and now Paul admonishes them to continue in their walk of faith. 

Please keep in mind that this section is devoted to raising funds for poorer Jewish Christians in Judea. Again, this is not a tithe. It is a free will offering.

Offerings require faith and maturity in understanding. We must understand what to give and when to give it.

2 Corinthians 8:11 Now therefore perform the doing of it; that as there was a readiness to will, so there may be a performance also out of that which ye have.

Many of us learn by doing. In learning, we come to understand the necessity of preparation. 

We accomplish according to the level of our God-given abilities. Some have much to give (money and talent) others have little, but things are accomplished through cooperation.

Are you giving in accord with what you have been given? 

Let me take time to explain what "little" means to the church. When a musician plays the music, he often encounters a "rest." That means stop donít do anything. That rest is a very important part of the overall sound of the musical piece.

What is a zero? It is nothing! And yet our mathematical systems do not work without zero.

When you write a check for 10 dollars, what would happen if you added another ten zeros? Zeros have an effect on the amount of the check. And yet, all you added was a bunch of zeros, nothings.

In Doing Godís work, you may only have a little. It is always enough!

2 Corinthians 8:12 For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not.

The key to accomplishing anything is a "willing mind," zeal, and eagerness.   Knowledge is not enough.

2 Corinthians 8:13 For I mean not that other men be eased, and ye burdened:

In any multi-layered organization the CEO is only as effective as those under him.  If the second tier is not doing its job, that lack will cause failure. It is only when each person does his/her job effectively that success will come.

We are not given gifts from the Holy Spirit so we can fail. All Christians are equipped to be victorious in Christ!

You cannot fail! You are Christís and He cannot fail. The reason you think you have failed is because you do not understand your goal.

2 Corinthians 8:14-15
14 But by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may be a supply for their want, that their abundance also may be a supply for your want: that there may be equality:
15 As it is written, He that had gathered much had nothing over; and he that had gathered little had no lack.

We are each given the task of providing for our brotherís needs. We do not help provide his/her wants. There should be equality of satisfaction in Christ. 

Lack may come in many forms. Most lack comes from misuse of resources. Sharing is the answer to need.

2 Corinthians 8:16 But thanks be to God, which put the same earnest care into the heart of Titus for you.

God placed Titusí love for the Corinthians in his heart.  Love is not something "we" work up.

2 Corinthians 8:17 For indeed he accepted the exhortation; but being more forward, of his own accord he went unto you. 

Titus accepted Paulís charge, but went further than commanded. Zeal that is properly used can be a wonderful thing. 

2 Corinthians 8:18-19
18 And we have sent with him the brother, whose praise is in the gospel throughout all the churches;
19 And not that only, but who was also chosen of the churches to travel with us with this grace, which is administered by us to the glory of the same Lord, and declaration of your ready mind:

In Paulís writings, we find only three men spoken of as sons-in-the-spirit. They are Timothy, Onesimus, and Titus. In that respect, Paul was sending his best man. 

Paul sent another brother whose reputation was impeccable. We are never told who that was. Whoever this man was, he had been appointed to travel with Paul and to assist him in his work.  

2 Corinthians 8:20-21
20 Avoiding this, that no man should blame us in this abundance which is administered by us:
21 Providing for honest things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men.

Paul welcomed outside accounting of his use of ministry resources. Those who are honest do not fear such oversight.

2 Corinthians 8:22 And we have sent with them our brother, whom we have oftentimes proved diligent in many things, but now much more diligent, upon the great confidence which I have in you.

Paul was diligent in his choice of companions.  He did not foresee the coming last days of the ministry to which God had called him.

2 Corinthians 8:23 Whether any do inquire of Titus, he is my partner and fellowhelper concerning you: or our brethren be inquired of, they are the messengers of the churches, and the glory of Christ.

Messengers (Gr. apostoloi-apostoloi) is the plural form of the Greek word translated "apostle."

Was Paul saying that Titus was an Apostle? 

2 Corinthians 8:24 Wherefore shew ye to them, and before the churches, the proof of your love, and of our boasting on your behalf.

Let me put this verse in the vernacular. "If you love the servants of God, prove it!" 

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