"THE SECOND EPISTLE TO THE CORINTHIANS" Chapter Eight OBJECTIVES IN STUDYING THIS CHAPTER 1) To see how Paul motivated others in their giving 2) To ascertain what principles ought to govern our giving 3) To appreciate the honorable manner in which Paul handled the collection for needy saints SUMMARY At this point Paul addresses an issue that occupied much of his interest during his missionary journeys: the collection for the needy Christians in Judea (cf. Ga 2:9-10; Ro 15:25-28; 1 Co 16:1-2). In this letter, two entire chapters are devoted to the subject. He begins by mentioning the churches in Macedonia. Despite a great trial of affliction and their own deep poverty, their abundance of joy and eagerness to participate in this ministry resulted in great liberality (1-5). Having sent Titus to assist the Corinthians in carrying through with their own desire to give, Paul exhorts them not only by the example of the Macedonians but by the example of Jesus Christ (6-9). Since it is to their advantage that they complete what they began a year earlier, Paul reminds them of the principles that ought to govern their giving. These principles involve willingness, ability, and equality (10-15). In an effort to do everything honorable in the sight of others, the collection is to be handled by three men other than Paul. Titus is one, but the other two men are unnamed. However, they are well known and proven in their service to the Lord. Paul encourages the Corinthians to demonstrate to these men and to all the churches the proof of their love in this collection and that Paul's boasting about the church in Corinth was not in vain (16-24). OUTLINE I. MACEDONIA'S EXAMPLE IN GIVING (1-5) A. AFFLICTED AND POOR, THEY ABOUNDED IN LIBERALITY (1-2) 1. God's grace was bestowed upon the churches of Macedonia (1) 2. Despite affliction and deep poverty, with an abundance of joy their poverty abounded in riches of liberality (2) B. PAUL'S OBSERVATION OF THEIR GIVING (3-5) 1. They gave beyond their ability (3a) 2. They gave willingly (3b) 3. They implored Paul to accept their contribution (4) 4. Beyond Paul's expectations, they gave themselves first to the Lord and then to Paul as God willed (5) II. PAUL'S EXHORTATION TO THE CORINTHIANS (6-15) A. TO ABOUND IN THIS GRACE (6-7) 1. Titus was sent to complete this grace in them (6) 2. As the Corinthians abounded in many other things, Paul encourages them to abound in this grace also (7) B. TO BE MOTIVATED BY THE EXAMPLES OF OTHERS (8-9) 1. Not by commandment, but the example of others Paul seeks to test their love (8) 2. Remembering the example of Jesus, through whose poverty we became rich (9) C. TO COMPLETE WHAT THEY STARTED (10-11) 1. It is to their advantage to complete what they started a year before (10) 2. So that there is not only a desire to do it, but the completion of it as well (11) D. TO GIVE WILLINGLY AND ACCORDING TO ABILITY (12) 1. There must first be a willing mind (12a) 2. Then it should be according to what one has (12b) E. TO GIVE SO THAT THERE MIGHT BE EQUALITY (13-15) 1. Paul does not desire that they burden themselves to ease others (13) 2. But that their abundance might supply others' lack, so there can be equality (14) 3. As in the case of gathering manna, recorded in Exodus 16:18 (15) III. THE MESSENGERS ADMINISTERING THE COLLECTION (16-24) A. TITUS (16-17) 1. Paul could see that God put earnest care for the Corinthians in Titus' heart (16) 2. For he not only accepted the encouragement to go, but went on his own accord (17) B. A BROTHER WHOSE PRAISE IS IN THE GOSPEL (18-21) 1. Not mentioned by name, but whose praise was known by all the churches (18) 2. Chosen by the churches to travel with Paul, so that none would question Paul's handling of the collection (19-21) C. A BROTHER OFTEN PROVED DILIGENT IN MANY THINGS (22) 1. Also not mentioned by name, but well proven (22a) 2. Known for his diligence, he was very diligent in view of Paul's confidence in the Corinthians (22b) D. SUMMARY COMMENTS ABOUT THESE THREE MEN (23-24) 1. Titus is Paul's partner and fellow worker (23a) 2. The two unnamed brethren are messengers of the churches, the glory of Christ (23b) 3. Corinth encouraged to prove their love and Paul's boasting on their behalf to these messengers (24)
REVIEW QUESTIONS FOR THE CHAPTER Move your mouse pointer underneath each question to see the answer.
1) What are the main points of this chapter? 2) What was the condition of the churches in Macedonia? Yet what did they have in abundance? (2) 3) What three things are said in how they gave? (3-4) 4) How did they go beyond Paul's expectations? (5) 5) Why did Paul send Titus? (6) 6) What two examples did Paul use to motivate them to give? (8-9) 7) What three guidelines does Paul give to govern their giving? (12-14) 8) What three men were sent to administer this collection? (16,18,22) 9) Why were these men handling the collection, and not Paul? (20-21) 10) What did Paul want the Corinthians to show to these men and the other churches? (24)