For I know the forwardness of your mind
How that they were willing of themselves to engage in this good work; how readily they came into it; what a cheerful disposition of mind they showed towards it; and how forward they were to begin the collection:
for which I boast of you to them of Macedonia;
he had one it before, which had put them upon the like service, and he still continued to boast of them,
that Achaia was ready a year ago:
not that their collection was ready made so long ago; but they had shown a readiness of mind, as to every good work, so to this of communicating to the saints a year ago, when they made a beginning, though as yet had not finished. By Achaia is meant, the inhabitants of Achaia. The Arabic version renders it, the citizens of Achaia; of this country, (See Gill on Acts 18:12). It is sometimes taken in a large sense, and designs Greece, and includes the countries of Doris, Hellas, Aetolia, Locri, Phocis, Boeotia, Attica, and Megaris; and had its name, as some say, from the frequent inundation of waters; and others, from one of the three generals of the Pelasgi, who were of this name; and sometimes it is taken strictly and properly for the country of the Peloponnesus, or the Morea. And so Drusius, out of Hesychius, has observed, that the Achaeans were Greeks; but properly they were they that inhabited that part of Peloponnesus, called Achaia; and these seem to be intended here. The Gospel was preached in these parts with success; Epaenetus, whom the Apostle Paul salutes, ( Romans 16:5 ) and the house of Stephanas he mentions, ( 1 Corinthians 16:15 ) were the firstfruits of it; and in process of time several churches were here gathered, and which continued for several ages. In the "second" century there was a synod in Achaia, concerning the time of keeping Easter, in which Bacchylus, bishop of Corinth, presided; in the beginning of the "fourth" century, the bishops of Achaia were present at the council of Nice, and in the same century bishops out of this country assisted at the synod in Sardica; in the "fifth" century there were many churches in Achaia, and the bishops of them were present in the Chalcedon synod; out of this country went several bishops, in the "seventh" century, to Constantinople, and were in the sixth synod there; and in the "eighth" century there were bishops of Achaia in the Nicene synod F4: here by Achaia are designed the churches of Christ, which were in that part of Greece in which Corinth stood, and of which that was the metropolis; so that when the apostle says Achaia was ready, his meaning is more particularly, that the Corinthians were ready:
your zeal hath provoked very many:
or "the zeal which is of you"; which sprung from, and was occasioned by them; for not the zeal of the Corinthians is here intended, as seems at first view, but that emulation which was stirred up in some of the leading persons among the Macedonians, upon hearing how ready they at Corinth were to minister to the necessitous brethren; and the zeal which appeared in these principal men, which was very warm, and yet prudent and seasonable, wrought very much on the minds of others, who, led by their example, contributed in a very generous and unexpected manner. In the Greek text it is, "the zeal out of you"; or, as the Arabic version renders it, "the zeal that arose from you", which was occasioned by them.
F4 Hist. Eccles. Magdeburg. cent. 2. c. 9. p. 125. cent. 4. c. 2. p. 5. c. 9. p. 425. cent. 5. c. 2. p. 6. cent. 7. c. 10. p. 258. cent. 9. c. 2. p. 7.