We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God granted to the churches of Macedonia:
during a severe testing by affliction, their abundance of joy and their deep poverty overflowed into the wealth of their generosity.
I testify that, on their own, according to their ability and beyond their ability,
they begged us insistently for the privilege of sharing in the ministry to the saints,
and not just as we had hoped. Instead, they gave themselves especially to the Lord, then to us by God's will.
So we urged Titus that, just as he had begun, so he should also complete this grace to you.
Now as you excel in everything-in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all diligence, and in your love for us-excel also in this grace.
I am not saying this as a command. Rather, by means of the diligence of others, I am testing the genuineness of your love.
For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ: although He was rich, for your sake He became poor, so that by His poverty you might become rich.
Now I am giving an opinion on this because it is profitable for you, who a year ago began not only to do something but also to desire it.
But now finish the task as well, that just as there was eagerness to desire it, so there may also be a completion from what you have.
For if the eagerness is there, it is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what he does not have.
It is not that there may be relief for others and hardship for you, but it is a question of equality-
at the present time your surplus is [available] for their need, so that their abundance may also become [available] for your need, that there may be equality.
As it has been written: The person who gathered much did not have too much, and the person who gathered little did not have too little.
Thanks be to God who put the same diligence for you into the heart of Titus.
For he accepted our urging and, being very diligent, went out to you by his own choice.
With him we have sent the brother who is praised throughout the churches for his gospel ministry.
And not only that, but he was also appointed by the churches to accompany us with this gift that is being administered by us for the glory of the Lord Himself and to show our eagerness [to help].
We are taking this precaution so no one can find fault with us concerning this large sum administered by us.
For we are making provision for what is honorable, not only before the Lord but also before men.
We have also sent with them our brother whom we have often tested, in many circumstances, and found diligent-and now even more diligent because of his great confidence in you.
As for Titus, he is my partner and co-worker serving you; as for our brothers, they are the messengers of the churches, the glory of Christ.
Therefore, before the churches, show them the proof of your love and of our boasting about you.
Holman Christian Standard Bible ® Copyright © 2003, 2002, 2000, 1999 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.