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Bible Commentaries

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

2 Corinthians 8



Other Authors
Verse 1

The grace (την χαρινtēn charin). As manifested in the collection in the churches, poor as they were. The Romans had lacerated Macedonia (Livy, XLV. 30).

Verse 2

Proof (δοκιμηιdokimēi). Tests as of metals as in 2 Corinthians 2:9.

Abundance (περισσειαperisseia). Late word from περισσευωperisseuō to overflow.

Their deep poverty (η κατα βατους πτωχεια αυτωνhē kata bathous ptōcheia autōn). ΠτωχειαPtōcheia is old word from πτωχευωptōcheuō to be a beggar, as of Jesus in 2 Corinthians 8:9 (from πτωχοςptōchos cowering in fear and poverty, as in Luke 14:13, but ennobled by Christ as in Matthew 5:3; 2 Corinthians 8:9). Poverty down deep. Strabo (LX 419) has κατα βατουςkata bathous down to the bottom.

Liberality (απλοτητοςhaplotētos). From απλουςhaplous single, simple (Matthew 6:22). “The passage from single-mindedness or simplicity to liberality is not quite obvious” (Plummer). Perhaps “heartiness” supplies the connecting link. See also 2 Corinthians 9:11-13.

Verse 3

Beyond their power (παρα δυναμινpara dunamin). “Alongside” with accusative like υπερ δυναμινhuper dunamin in 2 Corinthians 1:8. Field (Ot. Nov.) quotes Josephus (Ant. iii. 6, 1) for κατα δυναμινkata dunamin and παρα δυναμινpara dunamin as here. Few give κατα δυναμινkata dunamin (according to actual ability). Paul commends this high pressure collection because of the emergency.

Of their own accord (αυταιρετοιauthairetoi). Old verbal adjective (αυτοσ αιρετοςautosαιρεομαιhairetos from εκουσιως και αυταιρετωςhaireomai to choose), of their own initiative, voluntary. Only here and 2 Corinthians 8:17 in N.T. Papyri often have hekousiōs kai authairetōs (willingly and voluntarily).

Verse 4

Beseeching us with much intreaty in regard of this grace (μετα πολλης παρακλησεως δεομενοι ημων την χαρινmeta pollēs paraklēseōs deomenoi hēmōn tēn charin). Literally, “with much intreaty begging of us the favour and the partnership in the ministry to the saints.” The accusative (χαρινcharin) after δεομαιdeomai is unusual. By χαριςcharis Paul means the privilege of giving (cf. Acts 24:27). Apparently Paul had been reluctant to press the Macedonians because of their manifest poverty. They demanded the right to have a share in it.

Verse 5

We had hoped (ηλπισαμενēlpisamen). First aorist active indicative of ελπιζωelpizō “Expected,” he means. They went beyond his hopes about them.

First they gave their own selves (εαυτους εδωκαν πρωτονheautous edōkan prōton). First aorist active indicative of διδωμιdidōmi (k aorist). “Themselves they gave first.” That is the explanation of the generous giving.

Verse 6

Insomuch that we exhorted Titus (εις το παρακαλεσαι ημας Τιτονeis to parakalesai hēmas Titon). Use of εις τοeis to and the infinitive for result with accusative of general reference (ημαςhēmas). See Robertson, Grammar, p. 1003.

He had made a beginning before (προενηρχατοproenērxato). First aorist active indicative of the double compound verb προεναρχομαιprȯeṅarchomai still found only here and 2 Corinthians 8:10, to make a start before others.

Complete (επιτελεσειepitelesei) First aorist (effective) active subjunctive of επιτελεωepiteleō to finish, with perfective use of επιepi in composition.

Verse 7

In this grace also (και εν ταυτηι τηι χαριτιkai en tautēi tēi chariti). This gifted church (1 Corinthians 12-14) had fallen behind in the grace of giving. Kindly irony in this allusion.

Verse 8

Proving (δοκιμαζωνdokimazōn). Testing and so proving.

The sincerity also of your love (και το της υμετερας αγαπης γνησιονkai to tēs humeteras agapēs gnēsion). Old adjective, contraction of γενεσιοςgenesios (γινομαιginomai), legitimately born, not spurious. A collection is a test of one‘s love for Christ, not the only test, but a real one.

Verse 9

Though he was rich (πλουσιος ωνplousios ōn). Concessive present participle ωνōn from ειμιeimi to be.

Be became poor (επτωχευσενeptōcheusen). Ingressive aorist active indicative of πτωχευωptōcheuō (see 2 Corinthians 8:2 on πτωχειαptōcheia).

Through his poverty (τηι εκεινου πτωχειαιtēi ekeinou ptōcheiāi). Instrumental case, by means of.

Might become rich (πλουτησητεploutēsēte). Ingressive first aorist active subjunctive of πλουτεωplouteō to be rich with ιναhina (that). See Luke 1:53; note on 1 Corinthians 4:8.

Verse 10

Judgment (γνωμηνgnōmēn). Deliberate opinion, but not a “command” (επιταγηepitagē 2 Corinthians 8:8). Cf. 1 Corinthians 7:25.

A year ago (απο περυσιapo perusi) From last year.

Not only to do, but also to will (ου μονον το ποιησαι αλλα και το τελεινou monon to poiēsaiπροενηρχαστεalla kai to thelein). Articular infinitives the objects of proenērxasthe on which verb see 2 Corinthians 8:6). That is to say, the Corinthians promised before any others.

Verse 11

The readiness to will (η προτυμια του τελεινhē prothumia tou thelein). Old word from προτυμοςprothumos (προ τυμοςproκαι το επιτελεσαιthumos), forwardness, eagerness (Acts 17:11). They were quick to pledge.

The completion also (εκ του εχεινkai to epitelesai). The finishing also (articular first aorist active infinitive).

Out of your ability (ek tou echein). “Out of the having,” literally, and so, “out of what you can give” (2 Corinthians 8:12).

Verse 12

Is there (προκειταιprokeitai). Lies before one. Old word.

Acceptable (ευπροσδεκτοςeuprosdektos). See note on 2 Corinthians 6:2.

According as a man hath (κατο εαν εχηιkatho ean echēi). Indefinite comparative clause with εανean and present subjunctive εχειechei Clearly God does not expect us to give what we do not have.

Not according as he hath not (ου κατο ουκ εχειou katho ouk echei). Note present indicative rather than subjunctive because a specific case is presented. See 2 Corinthians 9:7; Mark 12:43.

Verse 13

Others may be eased (αλλοις ανεσιςallois anesis). “Release to others.”

Ye distressed (υμιν τλιπσιςhumin thlipsis). “To you tribulation.” The verb ηιēi (present subjunctive) with ιναhina is not expressed.

Verse 14

By equality (εχ ισοτητοςex isotētos). Old word from ισοςisos fair, equal. In N.T. only here and Colossians 4:1.

Abundancy (περισσευμαperisseuma). Late word from περισσευωperisseuō like περισσειαperisseia (2 Corinthians 8:2) Cf. Matthew 12:34.

Want (υστερημαhusterēma). Late word from υστερεωhustereō to be in want. See also 2 Corinthians 9:12; Luke 21:4 (cf. υστερησιςhusterēsis in Mark 12:44).

Verse 16

Which putteth (τωι διδοντιtōi didonti). Present active articular participle, “who is continually giving.” Hence Titus is full of zealous care for you.

Verse 17

Very earnest (σπουδαιοτεροςspoudaioteros). “More earnest than ordinarily,” comparative adjective.

Verse 18

We have sent with him (συνεπεμπσαμεν μετ αυτουsunepempsamen met' autou). Epistolary aorist.

The brother (τον αδελπονton adelphon). This may be, probably is, Luke who may also be the brother of Titus (see also 2 Corinthians 12:18) according to a common Greek idiom where the article is used as “his.” But this idiom is not necessary. As a matter of fact, we do not know who this brother is.

Is spread through all the churches (δια πασων των εκκλησιωνdia pasōn tōn ekklēsiōn). No verb in the Greek (ellipsis).

Verse 19

But who was also appointed (αλλα και χειροτονητειςalla kai cheirotonētheis). Anacoluthon. The first aorist passive participle χειροτονητειςcheirotonētheis is from χειροτονεωcheirotoneō old verb to stretch out the hands (χειρ τεινωcheir teinō) and so to vote in public. The idea is that this brother was chosen by the churches, not by Paul. Only here in N.T. save Acts 14:23 where it means to appoint without notion of raising the hands. In Acts 10:41 we have προχειροτονεωprocheirotoneō

To travel with us (συνεκδημοςsunekdēmos). Late word for travelling companion. So in the inscriptions (συνsun together with, εκδημοςekdēmos away from home).

Verse 20

Avoiding this (στελλομενοι τουτοstellomenoi touto). Present middle participle of στελλωstellō old verb, to set, to arrange. So “arranging for ourselves this.”

That any man should blame us (μη τις ημας μωμησηταιmē tis hēmas mōmēsētai). Literally, “lest any one blame us” (negative purpose with μηmē and first aorist middle subjunctive of μωμεομαιmōmeomai See note on 2 Corinthians 6:3, only other N.T. example).

Bounty (αδροτητιhadrotēti). Old word from αδροςhadros thick, stout, ripe, rich, great as in 1 Kings 1:9; 2 Kings 10:6. Only here in N.T.

Verse 21

We take thought (προνουμενpronoumen). Old verb, to plan beforehand (προpro -) as in Romans 12:17; 1 Timothy 5:8.

But also in the sight of men (αλλα και ενωπιον αντρωπωνalla kai enōpion anthrōpōn). It is not enough for one‘s financial accounts to be honourable (καλαkala) as God sees them, but they should be so kept that men can understand them also. A timely warning. Paul took the utmost pains that no suspicion could be attached to him in this collection.

Verse 22

Our brother (τον αδελπον ημωνton adelphon hēmōn). Not Paul‘s personal brother, but a brother in Christ, one whom Paul had tested and was willing to trust. It may have been Tychicus or Apollos, but we do not know.

Verse 23

About Titus (υπερ Τιτουhuper Titou). There is no verb expressed. Supply “inquire.” He endorses Titus up to the hilt. He is “my partner” (κοινωνος εμοςKoinéōnos emos) and “fellow-worker” (συνεργοςsunergos).

Messengers of the churches (αποστολοι εκκλησιωνapostoloi ekklēsiōn). Apostles in the general sense of “sent ones” (from αποστελλωapostellō to send) by the churches and responsible to the churches for the handling of the funds.

The glory of Christ (δοχα Χριστουdoxa Christou). Financial agents, please observe.

Verse 24

The proof of your love (την ενδειχιν της αγαπης υμωνtēn endeixin tēs agapēs humōn). There is a word here for pastors and deacons who try to protect the churches from the denominational representatives of kingdom causes.

In the face of the churches (εις προσωπον των εκκλησιωνeis prosōpon tōn ekklēsiōn). A great host is pictured as watching how the Corinthians will treat these duly accredited agents in the collection (Titus and the other two brethren). It requires courage to stand by such representatives of great causes before stingy saints.


Copyright Statement
The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)

Bibliography Information
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on 2 Corinthians 8:4". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

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