2 Corinthians 8:19


Tuesday, 13 October 2015

What is more, he was chosen by the churches to accompany us as we carry the offering, which we administer in order to honor the Lord himself and to show our eagerness to help. 2 Corinthians 8:19

This verse explains more about “the brother who is praised by all the churches” mentioned in the preceding verse. This brother “was chosen by the churches.” The word for choosing him is cheirotoneó . It specifically means “election by a show of hands” or “chosen by a vote.” It is only used one other time, in Acts 14:23, in the selection of elders in churches. This brother wasn’t only praised by all the churches, but he was also trusted by them as well.

Paul notes that his selection was “to accompany us as we carry the offering.” He was doing everything possible to ensure that the offering was not only collected without pressure, but also to make sure that it would be supervised and safeguarded by a group of people who could ensure there was integrity concerning its handling every step of the way.

It needs to be remembered that he is still in the process of stirring the Corinthians into action concerning their promise of giving. His words concerning this person are probably twofold then. First, they would not have to worry if the gift could be mishandled in any way because of how it was being collected and conducted to Jerusalem. Secondly, this designated representative, and in fact all involved in the process, would be aware of exactly how much was given by each church. If they didn’t meet what they promised, it would reflect negatively on them as a body.

As Paul continues, he says that the offering is one that “we administer in order to honor the Lord.” This “we” is all-inclusive of every person and each church involved in the gathering. Paul is the Apostle to the Gentiles, and those he ministered to were the fruit of his labors. They were mostly Gentiles who were tending to the needs of the saints in Jerusalem. Could there be a better way to “honor the Lord” than to meet the needs of those who were there, even during His earthy ministry and who were now in need? Thus in giving, they would be able to “show our eagerness to help.”

Life application: There are those who are older within the church. They may not be able to attend anymore because of infirmity. Wouldn’t it be honoring to the Lord for us to make visits to them in gratitude for their service to the church during their own youth? If we can remember that we meet because of their faithfulness, then it should put our visits and care for them in the proper perspective. Each time we gather, it is partly a result of their commitment to the very place where we meet.

Heavenly Father, please help us to remember those who can no longer attend the church because of age or infirmity. Give us the willing heart to stop by and visit from time to time and to share in how things are at the church they helped to maintain during their own youth. Thank you for their past faithfulness, and please help us to be equally faithful to them now. I know this would certainly be honoring to You. Amen.



2 Corinthians 8:18


Monday, 12 October 2015

And we have sent with him the brother whose praise is in the gospel throughout all the churches,
2 Corinthians 8:18

Again Paul writes in the epistolary aorist style, stating that “we have sent” even though he is still writing the letter. When they receive the letter, they will also have with them “the brother whose praise is in the gospel throughout all the churches.” It is rather unusual that the brother is not named. Paul seems to rejoice over giving credit, right in his letters, for those who are willing to work for the sake of the gospel.

Scholars debate who this person is and the majority of them turn to Luke as the most likely. Others have suggested Titus’ brother, Silas, Barnabas, Mark, and Epaenetus. Some of those have been adamantly excluded by other scholars. In reasoning why Luke is the correct choice, long notes of explanation are given. None of these names can be ascertained with certainty and some of them make dubious connections.

One reason for selecting Luke is the phrase “in the gospel.” As he was the author of one of the four gospels, the connection is made that he is being spoken of. But it is also generally understood that at this point, the term “gospel” did not refer to the written accounts we now call the “four gospels.” Instead, it was a term speaking of the general plan of salvation spoken by those who spread it.

Vincent’s Word Studies gives an impressive possibility for who is being referred to. They base it on “a supposed play upon the word praise, epainos; Epaenetus meaning praiseworthy.” Paul makes use of the same type of wordplay in the book of Philemon where Onesimus is called “profitable” which is exactly what his name means. This is seen in Philemon 1:10, 11 –

“I appeal to you for my son Onesimus, whom I have begotten while in my chains, 11 who once was unprofitable to you, but now is profitable to you and to me.”

Whoever it was that Paul sent along with Titus, he was a proper choice because of his praise “in the gospel” which permeated all the churches.

Life application: There are various mysteries in the Bible which can only be speculated on, but these also can help us to stretch our minds and possibly make other conclusions that may never have been made. It is good to not be overly zealous in defending that which cannot be defended, but there is nothing wrong with doing our best to try to explain these hidden mysteries.

Lord God, I know that I will stand before You in judgment some day. It is my goal to be prepared for that day. I can only think that a Christian life that is lived without wanting to know Your word more and more each day is a life which has wasted what is of the highest value. We can’t know Your heart without knowing Your word. We can’t grasp who Jesus truly is without it either. And we can’t know You if we don’t know these things. Grant me a heart to place Your word where it truly belongs – high on my list of daily duties. Help me to know Your superior word. Amen.



2 Corinthians 8:17


Sunday, 11 October 2015

For he not only accepted the exhortation, but being more diligent, he went to you of his own accord.
2 Corinthians 8:17

It needs to be noted that Paul hasn’t yet finished the letter he is writing, and it has not yet been received or read by the Corinthians. And yet, he is writing as if the thing mentioned is accomplished by using the words “accepted” and “went.” This is known as an epistolary aorist. His words are intended to reflect the state of things as the letter is read, and thus his thoughts encompass what has not yet transpired.

In this, he says that Titus “not only accepted the exhortation…” This indicates that Paul had put forth the idea that Titus would be the one to return to Corinth with the letter. Titus heard Paul’s words and responded to them, but there was more. He now says, “…but being more diligent, he went to you of his own accord.”

It is as if Titus heard Paul and then said, “I had already planned on going!” This explains the words of the previous verse which said, “…thanks be to God who puts the same earnest care for you into the heart of Titus.” He wasn’t just willing to go because he was asked. Instead, he was willing to go because his heart was turned towards the Corinthians in brotherly love.

The words in this verse then are intended to show the church at Corinth that Titus was both sanctioned by Paul and that he was already willing and eager to go. It is a touching note concerning Titus’ zeal for the church there.

Life application: If someone is willing to accomplish a task for you or for your church, it is good to send along a note of approval which can say, “I vouch for the sincerity of this person. He wanted to help and I fully support him in this matter.” In doing so, it may be just what is needed to ensure that the person is accepted by those he is going to visit.

Lord, a fish needs water to swim in, and there is water. Squirrels need acorns to eat, and You provide them in abundance. Trees need soil to cling to and grow, and it is there for them. Every need which is instilled in life has something which can fulfill it. Me… I have a need for You. It permeates my very soul, calling out for You. This need exists and You are there to fulfill it. Thank You for Your presence in my life. I am filled to overflowing. Amen.



2 Corinthians 8:16


Saturday, 10 October 2015

But thanks be to God who puts the same earnest care for you into the heart of Titus. 2 Corinthians 8:16

Paul, always giving thanks where thanks is due, moves from his idea of Christian giving in order to relieve one another’s burden, to the heartfelt care of Titus for those in Corinth. He thanks God for having directed Titus’ heart in this way stating that He “puts the same earnest care for you into the heart of Titus.”

Some older translations say “put” as if it was something instilled in Titus in the past. This is not correct. The verb is in the present tense; it is an on-going action. God put, and continued to put, earnest care for those in Corinth into Titus’ heart. This is important because it indicates that he still had that care for them and he continued to be burdened for them as Paul wrote the letter which would then be carried by Titus back to them.

In arriving, they would read this verse and know that among them stood a person who had not only cared for them in the past, but who continued to do so. Paul makes no direct connection to himself here, but the thought is to be implicitly understood. Just as Paul cared about them, and just as he continued to care about them, so Titus also cared about them.

In context, it needs to be remembered that Paul is speaking of the gift which is being collected for the saints in Jerusalem. Therefore, the care which is being referred to includes the fact that the Corinthians had promised to make a gift and that this promise needed to be fulfilled. If not, then there would be a stain upon them and upon their name. Therefore, the care of Paul and Titus is that this would not occur, but rather that they would complete the task and receive thanks rather than disapproval.

Life application: If there is a need for God’s people that He determines will be met, He will ensure that the need is met. It is He who stirs the hearts and directs the events in such times. Be assured that He is overseeing His church in an absolutely perfect way. If things don’t turn out as we may hope or expect, we shouldn’t become disheartened because the Lord already figured the matter out in accord with His greater plan.

Lord, knowing that You are in control of all things sure takes the pressure off when times don’t go well. Just because I may not understand why trials come, should I think that Your plan has failed? Not at all! Help me to remember this when things seem to be falling apart. Help me at those times to say, “God has it all under control… this was no surprise to Him.” I am confident that there is a good plan which will not fail to come out exactly as You ordained. Thank You for this. Amen.



2 Corinthians 8:15


Friday, 9 October 2015

As it is written, “He who gathered much had nothing left over, and he who gathered little had no lack.”
2 Corinthians 8:15

Paul now cites Scripture to demonstrate that what has occurred among the early church was not unlike what occurred among the early redeemed congregation of Israel. Shortly after departing from Egypt, the Lord provided the people Manna for their sustenance. The account encompasses Exodus 16, but the portion which Paul cites is to be found in these verses –

And Moses said to them, “This is the bread which the Lord has given you to eat. 16 This is the thing which the Lord has commanded: ‘Let every man gather it according to each one’s need, one omer for each person, according to the number of persons; let every man take for those who are in his tent.’”
17 Then the children of Israel did so and gathered, some more, some less. 18 So when they measured it by omers, he who gathered much had nothing left over, and he who gathered little had no lack. Every man had gathered according to each one’s need. Exodus 16:15-18

The gathering of the collection for the saints in Jerusalem was a collection of love intended to meet their needs just as the Manna from the Lord was an act of love towards His people. The people went out and gathered each morning and brought it into the camp. When it was divided up between them, it was found that the exact amount needed for all of the people had been gathered.

In this, Paul is not demonstrating a socialist or communist attitude. Rather, he is citing the Scripture in order to show that what the people possessed ultimately came from God and it would be inappropriate for other brothers to lack while they had an overabundance. These verses cannot be used to justify government robbing of one group in order to pay for another.

First, this is a collection based on free-will giving. Secondly, it is intended only for Christians in need, not the society at large. Third, those in Corinth were not asked to sell any possessions or land in order to make contributions. They were asked to provide willingly out of whatever they possessed. Fourth, the account of the Manna in the wilderness ended when Israel came to the Land of Promise and a new economy was introduced.

Life application: If you hear a socialist or a commie use the Bible to justify their ungodly stand, ignore them. They are manipulators of God’s word with evil intent. Tell them to get to work and earn their own keep.

Heavenly Father, I wish people would be as willing to read and know their Bible as they are to memorize sports statistics or play on the internet. If they were, we wouldn’t have a social gospel or a society full of indolent people waiting for a handout. Nor would our leaders use the Bible to justify ungodly aims. I pray for a society that would return to Your word, cherish it, and live by it once again. I certainly pray for this. Amen.