The reason for sending Titus to collect their alms. (1-5) The Corinthians to be liberal and cheerful, The apostle thanks God for his unspeakable gift. (6-15)
Verses 1-5 When we would have others do good, we must act toward them prudently and tenderly, and give them time. Christians should consider what is for the credit of their profession, and endeavour to adorn the doctrine of God their Saviour in all things. The duty of ministering to the saints is so plain, that there would seem no need to exhort Christians to it; yet self-love contends so powerfully against the love of Christ, that it is often necessary to stir up their minds by way of remembrance.
Verses 6-15 Money bestowed in charity, may to the carnal mind seem thrown away, but when given from proper principles, it is seed sown, from which a valuable increase may be expected. It should be given carefully. Works of charity, like other good works, should be done with thought and design. Due thought, as to our circumstances, and those we are about to relieve, will direct our gifts for charitable uses. Help should be given freely, be it more or less; not grudgingly, but cheerfully. While some scatter, and yet increase; others withhold more than is meet, and it tends to poverty. If we had more faith and love, we should waste less on ourselves, and sow more in hope of a plentiful increase. Can a man lose by doing that with which God is pleased? He is able to make all grace abound towards us, and to abound in us; to give a large increase of spiritual and of temporal good things. He can make us to have enough in all things; and to be content with what we have. God gives not only enough for ourselves, but that also wherewith we may supply the wants of others, and this should be as seed to be sown. We must show the reality of our subjection to the gospel, by works of charity. This will be for the credit of our profession, and to the praise and glory of God. Let us endeavour to copy the example of Christ, being unwearied in doing good, and deeming it more blessed to give than to receive. Blessed be God for the unspeakable gift of his grace, whereby he enables and inclines some of his people to bestow upon others, and others to be grateful for it; and blessed be his glorious name to all eternity, for Jesus Christ, that inestimable gift of his love, through whom this and every other good thing, pertaining to life and godliness, are freely given unto us, beyond all expression, measure, or bounds.
2 Corinthians 9:1-15 . REASONS FOR HIS SENDING TITUS. THE GREATER THEIR BOUNTIFULNESS, THE MORE SHALL BE THE RETURN OF BLESSING TO THEM, AND THANKSGIVING TO GOD.
1. For--connected with 2 Corinthians 8:16 : "Show love to the messengers of the churches; for as concerns the ministration for the saints, it is superfluous for me to write to you who are so forward already."
write--emphatical: It is superfluous to "write," for you will have witnesses present [BENGEL].
2. ready a year ago--to send off the money, owing to the apostle's former exhortation ( 1 Corinthians 16:1 1 Corinthians 16:2 ).
your zeal--Greek, "the zeal from you," that is, on your part; propagated from you to others.
provoked--that is, stimulated.
very many--Greek, "the greater number," namely, of the Macedonians.
3. have I sent--we should say, "I send"; whereas the ancients put it in the past, the time which it would be by the time that the letter arrived.
the brethren--( 2 Corinthians 8:18 2 Corinthians 8:22 )--Titus and the two others.
should be in vain in this behalf--"should be proved futile in this particular," however true in general ( 2 Corinthians 7:4 ). A tacit compliment, softening the sharp monition.
as I said--as I was saying ( 2 Corinthians 9:2 ).
4. if they of Macedonia--rather as Greek, "if Macedonians."
unprepared--with your collection; see 2 Corinthians 9:2 , "ready," Greek, "prepared."
we, not to say ye--Ye would naturally feel more ashamed for yourselves, than we (who boasted of you) would for you.
confident boasting--The oldest manuscripts read simply "confidence," namely, in your liberality.
5. that they would go before--Translate, "that they should," &c.
whereof ye had notice before--rather, "promised before"; "long announced by me to the Macedonians" ( 2 Corinthians 9:2 ) [BENGEL]. "Your promised bounty" [ELLICOTT and others].
not as of covetousness--Translate, "not as matter of covetousness," which it would be, if you gave niggardly.
6. I say--ELLICOTT and others supply the ellipsis thus: "But remember this."
bountifully--literally, "with," or "in blessings." The word itself implies a beneficent spirit in the giver (compare 2 Corinthians 9:7 , end), and the plural implies the abundance and liberality of the gifts. "The reaping shall correspond to the proportions and spirit of the sowing" [BENGEL]. Compare Ezekiel 34:26 , "Showers of blessing."
7. according as he purposeth in his heart--Let the full consent of the free will go with the gift [ALFORD]. Opposed to "of necessity," as "grudgingly" is opposed to "a cheerful giver" ( Proverbs 22:9 , 11:25 , Isaiah 32:8 ).
8. all grace--even in external goods, and even while ye bestow on others [BENGEL].
that--"in order that." God's gifts are bestowed on us, not that we may have them to ourselves, but that we may the more "abound in good works" to others.
sufficiency--so as not to need the help of others, having yourselves from God "bread for your food" ( 2 Corinthians 9:10 ).
in all things--Greek, "in everything."
every good work--of charity to others, which will be "your seed sown" ( 2 Corinthians 9:10 ).
9. As it is written--realizing the highly blessed character portrayed in Psalms 112:9 .
He--the "good man" ( Psalms 112:5 ).
dispersed--as seed sown with full and open hand, without anxious thought in what direction each grain may fall. It is implied also that he has always what he may disperse [BENGEL]. So in Psalms 112:9 .
the poor--The Greek word is found here only in New Testament, "one in straitened circumstances, who earns his bread by labor." The word usually employed means "one so poor as to live by begging."
his righteousness--Here "beneficence": the evidence of his being righteous before God and man. Compare Deuteronomy 24:13 , Matthew 6:1 , "alms"; Greek, "righteousness."
remaineth--unexhausted and unfailing.
10. Translate, as in Isaiah 55:10 , "He that ministereth (supplieth) seed to the sower and bread for food" (literally, "bread for eating").
minister--rather future, as the oldest manuscripts, "Shall minister (supply) and multiply."
your seed--your means for liberality.
the fruits of your righteousness--the heavenly rewards for your Christian charity ( Matthew 10:42 ). Righteousness shall be itself the reward, even as it is the thing rewarded ( Hosea 10:12 , Matthew 5:6 , 6:33 ).
11. Compare 2 Corinthians 9:8 .
bountifulness--Greek, "single-minded liberality." Translated "simplicity," Romans 12:8 .
causeth through us--literally, "worketh through us"; that is, through our instrumentality as the distributors.
thanksgiving--on the part of the recipients.
12. Greek, "The ministration of this public service (on your part) is not only still further supplying the wants of the saints (besides the supplies from other quarters), but is abounding also (namely, in respect to relieving the necessities of others in poverty) through many thanksgivings to God."
13. by--through occasion of.
experiment--Translate, "the experience" [ELLICOTT and others]. Or, "the experimental proof" of your Christian character, afforded by "this ministration."
for your professed subjection--Greek, "for the subjection of your profession"; that is, your subjection in accordance with your profession, in relation to the Gospel. Ye yield yourselves in willing subjection to the Gospel precepts, evinced in acts, as well as in profession.
your liberal distribution--Greek, "the liberality of your contribution in relation to them," &c.
14. Translate, "Themselves also with prayer for you, longing after you on account of the exceeding grace of God (resting) upon you." English Version is, however, good sense: They glorify God ( 2 Corinthians 9:13 ) by the experimental proof, &c., "and by their prayer for you." But the Greek favors the former.
15. his unspeakable gift--the gift of His own Son, which includes all other inferior gifts ( 2 Corinthians 8:9 , Romans 8:32 ). If we have received from God "His unspeakable gift," what great thing is it, if we give a few perishing gifts for His sake?