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THE SECOND EPISTLE OF PAUL THE APOSTLE TO THE CORINTHIANS - Chapter 9 - Verse 1

 

INTRODUCTION to 2nd Corinthians Chapter 9

IN this chapter the apostle continues the subject which he had discussed in 2 Co 8 —the collection which he had purposed to make for the poor saints in Judea. The deep anxiety which he had that the collection should be liberal; that it should not only be such as to be really an aid to those who were suffering, but be such as would be an expression of tender attachment to them on the part of the Gentile converts, was the reason, doubtless, why Paul urged this so much on their attention. His primary wish undoubtedly was to furnish aid to those who were suffering. But in connexion with that, he also wished to excite a deep interest among the Gentile converts in behalf of those who had been converted to Christianity among the Jews. He wished that the collection should be so liberal as to show that they felt that they were united as brethren, and that they were grateful that they had received the true religion from the Jews. And he doubtless wished to cement as much as possible the great body of the Christian brotherhood, and to impress on their minds the great truths, that whatever was their national origin, and whatever were their national distinctions, yet in Christ they were one. For this purpose he presses on their attention a great variety of considerations why they should give liberally: and this chapter is chiefly occupied in stating reasons for that, in addition to those which had been urged in the previous chapter. The following view will present the main points in the chapter :—

(1.) He was aware of their readiness to give; and knowing this, he had boasted of it to others, and others had been excited to give liberally from what the apostle had said of them, 2 Co 9:1,2. The argument here is, that Paul's veracity and their own character were at stake, and depended on their now giving liberally.

(2.) He had sent the brethren to them in order that there might by no possibility be a failure, 2 Co 9:3-5. Though he had the utmost confidence in them, and fully believed that they were disposed to give liberally, yet he knew also that something might prevent it, unless messengers went to secure the contributions; and that the consequence might be, that he and they would be "ashamed" that he had boasted so much of their readiness to give.

(3.) To excite them to give liberally, Paul advances the great principles that the reward in heaven will be in proportion to the liberality evinced on earth, and that God loves one who gives cheerfully, 2 Co 9:6,7. By the prospect, therefore, of an ample reward, and by the desire to meet with the approbation of God, he calls upon them to contribute freely to aid their afflicted Christian brethren.

(4.) He further excites them to liberal giving by the consideration that, if they contributed liberally, God was able to furnish them abundantly with the means of doing good on a large scale in time to come, 2 Co 9:8-11. In this way he would enable them to do good hereafter, in proportion as they were disposed to do good now; and the result of all would be, that abundant thanks would be rendered to God—thanks from those who were aided, and thanks from those who had aided them that they had been enabled to contribute to supply their wants.

(5.) As a final consideration inducing them to give, the apostle states that not only would they thus do good, but would show the power of the gospel, and the affection which they had for the Jewish converts, and would thus contribute much in promoting the glory of God. The Jewish converts would see the power of the gospel on their Gentile brethren; they would feel that they now appertained to one great family; they would praise God for imparting his grace in this manner; and they would be led to pray much for those who had thus contributed to alleviate their wants, 2 Co 8:12-14.

(6.) Paul closes the whole chapter, and the whole discussion respecting the contribution about which he had felt so deep an interest, by rendering thanks to God for his "unspeakable gift," JESUS CHRIST, 2 Co 9:15. Paul was ever ready, whatever was the topic before him, to turn the attention to him. He here evidently regards him as the Author of all liberal feeling, and of all true charity; and seems to imply that all that they could give would be small compared with the "unspeakable gift" of God, and that the fact that God had imparted such a gift to the world was a reason why they should be willing to devote all they had to his service.

Verse 1. For as touching the ministering to the saints. In regard to the collection that was to be taken up for the aid of the poor Christians in Judea. See Barnes "Ro 15:26 1 Co 16:11; 2 Co 8".

 

It is superfluous, etc. It is needless to urge that matter on you, because I know that you acknowledge the obligation to do it, and have already purposed it.

For me to write to you. That is, to write more, or to write largely on the subject. It is unnecessary for me to urge arguments why it should be done; and all that is proper is to offer some suggestions in regard to the manner in which it shall be accomplished.

{*} "touching" "concerning" {a} "ministering to the saints" 2 Co 8:4

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