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THE SECOND EPISTLE OF PAUL THE APOSTLE TO THE CORINTHIANS - Chapter 8 - Verse 2

Verse 2. How that, in a great trial of affliction. When it might be supposed they were unable to give; when many would suppose they needed the aid of others; or when it might be supposed their minds would be wholly engrossed with their own concerns. The trial to which the apostle here refers was doubtless some persecution which Was excited against them, probably by the Jews. Ac 16:20; 17:5.

The abundance of their joy. Their joy arising from the hopes and promises of the gospel. Notwithstanding their persecutions, their joy has abounded, and the effect of their joy has been seen in the liberal contribution which they have made. Their joy could not be repressed by their persecution, and they cheerfully contributed largely to the aid of others.

And their deep poverty. Their very low estate of poverty was made to contribute liberally to the wants of others. It is implied here,

(1.) that they were very poor—a fact arising probably from the consideration that the poor gene- rally embraced the gospel first, and also because it is probable that they were molested and stripped of their property in persecutions. Comp. Heb 10:34.

(2.) That notwithstanding this they were enabled to make a liberal contribution—a fact demonstrating that a people can do much even when poor, if all feel disposed to do it, and that afflictions are favourable to the effort. And,

(3.) that one cause of this was the joy which they had even in their trials. If a people have the joys of the gospel; if they have the consolations of religion themselves, they will somehow or other find means to contribute to the welfare of others. They will be willing to labour with reference to it, or they will find something which they can sacrifice or spare. Even their deep poverty will abound in the fruits of benevolence.

Abounded. They contributed liberally. Their joy was manifested in a large donation, notwithstanding their poverty.

Unto the riches of their liberality, Marg., "simplicity." The word (aplothv) here used, means properly sincerity, candour, probity; then Christian simplicity, integrity; then liberality. See Ro 12:8, (Marg.;) 2 Co 9:11,13. The phrase, "riches of liberality," is a Hebraism, meaning rich or abundant liberality; The sense is, their liberality was much greater than could be expected from persons so poor; and the object of the apostle is to excite the Corinthians to give liberally by their example.

{b} "deep poverty" Mr 12:44 {1} "liberality" "simplicity"

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