Sunday, 1 November 2015
…and by their prayer for you, who long for you because of the exceeding grace of God in you.
2 Corinthians 9:14
The actual intent of Paul’s words here is debated over, but what is certain is that the Greek is confusing. Albert Barnes gives the following analysis –
“On the grammatical construction of this difficult verse, Doddridge and Bloomfield may be consulted. It is probably to be taken in connection with 2 Corinthians 9:12, and 2 Corinthians 9:13 is a parenthesis. Thus interpreted, the sense will be, ‘The administration of this service [2 Corinthians 9:12] will produce abundant thanks to God. It will also [2 Corinthians 9:14] produce another effect. It will tend to excite the prayers of the saints for you, and thus produce important benefits to yourselves. They will earnestly desire your welfare, they will anxiously pray to be united in Christian friendship with those who have been so signally endowed with the grace of God.'”
Because of the difficult nature of the Greek, this seems to be in line with what Paul was trying to say. He was taking these other verses and tying them together with the words of this verse. One way or another, an effect would be produced in the hearts of the people in Jerusalem towards the Gentile churches who had given the gift. They would come to understand that the Gentiles, like them, had received God’s exceeding grace. With this knowledge, they would then glorify God. This is actually what occurred as well, as is documented in Acts at the time that the gift was presented to them –
“And when we had come to Jerusalem, the brethren received us gladly. 18 On the following day Paul went in with us to James, and all the elders were present. 19 When he had greeted them, he told in detail those things which God had done among the Gentiles through his ministry. 20 And when they heard it, they glorified the Lord.” Acts 21:17-20
Life application: There are portions of Scripture which are complicated, but understanding or misunderstanding them is because of our limitations, not God’s. We need to take the Bible as a whole and allow Scripture to interpret Scripture. In doing so, there will always be a satisfactory explanation for that which is at first difficult to understand.
Lord God, help us to be pure in our intentions towards Your word. When we come to it, keep our hearts open to what You want us to see and not just what we want to see. You have given us instructions that are easily manipulated by teachers with personal agendas and which can then lead others down wrong paths. Keep us from this Lord. Instead, help us to revere Your word and to accept it in context and with the understanding that it is our guide to right living and a right relationship with You. Amen.