II Corinthians 8:16-24

Sunday, April 13th, 2014

Text: II Corinthians 8:16-24

PRINCIPLES OF CHRISTIAN GIVING

INTRODUCTION:

We all know that it costs a lot of money to run a local church. This message is not to be construed as a plea for money, but as a study in principles regarding Christian giving.

The principles of Christian giving found in II Corinthians 8-9 have nothing to do with tithing, the practice of giving one tenth of one's income to the Lord through the local church. What is under consideration in these chapters is a special offering for the impoverished saints in Jerusalem. The principles found in these chapters are applicable to other special offerings received by the church but are not applicable to the weekly support of the local church and should not be understood as replacing the practice of tithing. In my commentary on I Corinthians 16 , I wrote,

We have already seen that -

I. GIVING IS A GRACE - 8:1

II Corinthians 8:1 Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia.

We have also seen that -

II. GIVING IS TO BE SACRIFICIAL - 8:2

II Corinthians 8:2 How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality.

We have furthermore seen that -

III. GIVING IS TO BE DONE WILLINGLY - 8:3-4

II Corinthians 8:3-4 - (3) For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves; (4) Praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints.

We have seen that -

IV. GIVING IS TO BE DONE SPIRITUALLY - 8:5

II Corinthians 8:5 And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God.

We have also seen that -

V. GIVING IS TO BE DONE VOLUNTARILY - 8:6-8

II Corinthians 8:6-8 - (6) Insomuch that we desired Titus, that as he had begun, so he would also finish in you the same grace also. (7) Therefore, as ye abound in every thing, in faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love to us, see that ye abound in this grace also. (8) I speak not by commandment, but by occasion of the forwardness of others, and to prove the sincerity of your love.

Next, we have seen that -

VI. GIVING IS TO FOLLOW THE EXAMPLE SET BY CHRIST - 8:9

II Corinthians 8:9 For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.

Finally, we have seen that -

VII. GIVING IS TO BE DONE ACCORDING TO ABILITY - 8:10-15

II Corinthians 8:10-15 - (10) And herein I give my advice: for this is expedient for you, who have begun before, not only to do, but also to be forward a year ago. (11) Now therefore perform the doing of it; that as there was a readiness to will, so there may be a performance also out of that which ye have. (12) For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not. (13) For I mean not that other men be eased, and ye burdened: (14) But by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may be a supply for their want, that their abundance also may be a supply for your want: that there may be equality: (15) As it is written, He that had gathered much had nothing over; and he that had gathered little had no lack.

We continue with -

VIII. CHURCH FUNDS ARE TO BE HANDLED COMPLETELY ABOVE BOARD - 8:16-24

II Corinthians 8:16 But thanks be to God, which put the same earnest care into the heart of Titus for you.

According to verse 16, Paul is thankful that Titus wanted to go to Corinth to help with the collection.

Thanks be to God is used to express Paul's gratitude toward God the Father for His work in Titus' heart on behalf of the Corinthian believers.

Which put refers to God the Father and means the One Who put in the sense of the One Who gave, granted, or bestowed.

The same earnest care speaks of an earnest commitment in discharging an obligation in the sense of the same eagerness, (i.e. earnestness, diligence, willingness, or zeal).

It is the same earnest care for the Corinthian believers that Paul had.

Into the heart of Titus is in (or within) the heart of Titus and suggests deep within Titus.

For you is on behalf of you. God burdened Titus for this ministry with the Corinthian believers just as He had burdened Paul for this ministry.

God burdens people to do His will.

Philippians 2:13 - For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

II Corinthians 8:17 For indeed he accepted the exhortation; but being more forward, of his own accord he went unto you.

According to verse 17, Paul's urging was accepted by Titus, but Titus was more zealous and went to Corinth of his own accord.

For is the word ordinarily translated because and should be understood in this sense here as well.

Indeed is used to emphasize the contrast between he accepted the exhortation and of his own accord he went unto you.

He accepted indicates approval or conviction by accepting in the sense of he was receptive of, he was open to, or he approved.

What Titus accepted was the exhortation, which speaks of a strong request in the sense of the appeal or the request.

But introduces a statement in mild contrast to he accepted the exhortation: being more forward, of his own accord he went unto you.

Being indicates cause and is understood in the sense of because (i.e. since or inasmuch as) he was.

More forward pertains to being more conscientious in discharging a duty or obligation and is understood in the sense of more eager, more zealous, more earnest, or more diligent.

Of his own accord, where his refers to Titus, suggests that it was his own decision.

He went unto you is he went out to you.

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

Verses 18-22 describe two fellow believers who would travel to Corinth with Titus. Verses 18-21 describe one of them, and verse 22 describes the other one. According to verse 18 this first believer has been praised in the gospel ministry throughout all the churches.

And we have sent with him suggests we have sent someone together with Titus or we have sent someone at the same time with Titus.

The brother is the one who has been sent with Titus is not named. Inasmuch as Paul does not name him, speculation regarding his identity is not necessary. It seems that Titus and this brother are carrying with them this letter of II Corinthians, which Paul has not yet finished writing. However, by the time they arrive in Corinth, Paul will have completed the letter and will have sent the letter with them.

Whose praise is understood in the sense of whose approval or whose recognition.

As indicated by the italics, is has been supplied by the translators.

In the gospel suggests in the ministry of the gospel or in the proclamation of the gospel.

Throughout all the churches indicates that this brother was well known in many churches and was, therefore, an appropriate and trusted individual to participate in the collection for the impoverished believers in Jerusalem.

II Corinthians 8:19 And not that only, but who was also chosen of the churches to travel with us with this grace, which is administered by us to the glory of the same Lord, and declaration of your ready mind.

Verse 19 continues the description of a believer who was sent by Paul to aid in gathering the collection in Corinth. He was chosen by the churches to travel with Paul in this ministry which Paul is administering to the glory of the Lord and the declaration of the Corinthians' prepared mind.

And not that only refers to the fact that the brother mentioned in verse 18 as the one whose praise is in the gospel throughout all the churches and sets up a contrast with the statement introduced by but also which suggests but in addition.

Who was . . . chosen is the one who was chosen (selected or elected).

Of the churches is by the churches. It was the churches who chose, selected, or elected this man for this task.

To travel is (to be) a traveling companion.

With us, where us refers to Paul, shows possession and is our, i.e. our traveling companion.

With this grace suggests with this gracious gift.

Which is administered by us is understood in the sense of the one which is administered (or ministered) by us, i.e. by Paul himself. Paul had taken on himself the responsibility for gathering and delivering this collection to the impoverished saints in Jerusalem.

To the glory of the same Lord is to the glory of the Lord Himself.

Glory is understood as honor, enhancement, or recognition of status in the sense of fame, recognition, renown, prestige, or reputation.

The Lord in Paul's writings refers to the Lord Jesus Christ.

And connects glory with ready mind.

As indicated by the italics, a declaration of has been supplied by the translators.

Your ready mind suggests an exceptional interest in being of service in the sense of your willingness, your readiness, or your goodwill. The same term was used in verse 11, where it is translated a readiness, and in verse 12, where it is translated a willing mind. It is also translated forwardness in II Corinthians 9:2 .

II Corinthians 8:20 Avoiding this, that no man should blame us in this abundance which is administered by us.

Verse 20 continues the description of one believer who was sent by Paul to aid in gathering the collection in Corinth.

Avoiding indicates purpose or time in the sense of in order to avoid, for the purpose of avoiding, in order to try to avoid, or for the purpose of trying to avoid or while avoiding, while trying to avoid, while we avoid, or while we try to avoid.

What Paul was trying to avoid was this: that no man should blame us in this abundance which is administered by us.

No man is no one or nobody, and it may refer to a female as well as to a male.

Should blame us is should (or might) find fault with, (i.e. criticize or censure) us, i.e. Paul.

In this abundance speaks of the great amount of money in the collection.

Which is administered by us (i.e. Paul), is which is ministered by us. The same term is used in verse 19 and refers to Paul's having taken on himself the responsibility for gathering and delivering this collection to the impoverished saints in Jerusalem.

II Corinthians 8:21 Providing for honest things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men.

Verse 21 indicates that the handling of money should be characterized by integrity, not only in the sight of the Lord but also in the sight of men.

Providing for is in contrast to avoiding in verse 20. It suggests giving careful thought to something in the sense of taking thought for, taking into consideration, or having regard for. It is understood in the sense of for the purpose of providing (i.e. for the purpose of taking thought for, for the purpose of taking into consideration, or for the purpose of having thought for) or while providing (i.e. while taking thought for, while taking into consideration, or while having regard for).

Honest things is good things, noble things, or praiseworthy things.

Not only . . . but also sets in the sight of the Lord in emphatic contrast with in the sight of men. It means that thought should be given to good things from both the Lord's viewpoint and also from a human viewpoint.

Not only in the sight of the Lord indicates that care should be taken to insure that everything is done properly in the Lord's sight.

But also indicates that additional care should also be taken to do things properly in the sight of humanity.

In both cases, in the sight of is understood as in the opinion of or in the judgment of.

The Lord refers to the Lord Jesus Christ, and men is the generic term for human beings and includes females as well as males. Care should be taken to handle and/or manage finances in a way which the Lord, Who is omniscient and sees everything, regards as proper. Care should also be taken in churches to handle and/or manage large sums of money in a way which human beings, who do not know or see everything, regard as proper. This avoids raising suspicions that there may be some impropriety. It could be that the false apostles were insinuating that Paul was using this collection for his own financial benefit rather than for the saints in Jerusalem. It could also be that Paul was seeking to ward off any possible criticism by giving no appearance of evil.

II Corinthians 8:22 And we have sent with them our brother, whom we have oftentimes proved diligent in many things, but now much more diligent, upon the great confidence which I have in you.

According to verse 22, Paul sent a second believer with Titus and the believer mentioned in verses 18-21. This brother is characterized by diligence. And we have sent with them, where we is Paul and them suggests with Titus and the brother mentioned in verses 18-21.

Our brother, where our refers to Paul, refers to this second individual whom Paul sent to Corinth regarding the collection. This individual's name is not revealed. Again, Paul had not yet actually sent him. These three men, Titus and the two fellow believers, would be sent with this letter when Paul finished writing it. However, by the time the Corinthian believers receive the letter, he will have been sent with them.

Whom we have proved is whom we approved, whom we proved, or whom we tested. It suggests that we drew a conclusion regarding his worth on the basis of testing.

Oftentimes is used to describe we have proved and is understood in the sense of many times, often, or frequently.

Diligent suggests this brother's conscientiousness in discharging a duty or obligation in the sense of eager, zealous, or earnest.

In many things is literally in many and suggests in many matters (or situations) or in many ways.

But now much more diligent suggests now being even more conscientious in discharging a duty or obligation in the sense of being much more eager, much more zealous, or much more earnest.

Upon the great confidence suggests a state of certainty about something to the extent of placing reliance on and is understood in the sense of with much trust or with much confidence.

Which I have in you, where you is plural and refers to the Corinthian believers, refers to confidence and is literally the (confidence) unto you.

II Corinthians 8:23 Whether any do inquire of Titus, he is my partner and fellowhelper concerning you: or our brethren be inquired of, they are the messengers of the churches, and the glory of Christ.

In verse 23 Paul describes Titus as his partner and fellowhelper for the Corinthian believers, and he describes the two brothers as the messengers of the churches and the glory of Christ.

Whether is set in contrast to or (or if . . . if) both introduce conditions. The first condition is, If any do inquire of Titus, and its conclusion is, He is my partner and fellowhelper concerning you. The second condition is, If our brethren (be inquired of), (they are) the messengers of the churches, (and) the glory of Christ. The structure of both conditions indicates that, for sake of discussion, they are assumed to be true. Whether they are actually true, is not clear. It is impossible to determine today whether anyone inquired into the qualifications of these three individuals. Therefore, whether should be understood in the sense of assuming that.

As indicated by the italics, any do inquire has been supplied by the translators.

Of Titus is concerning Titus or about Titus.

As indicated by the italics, he is has also been supplied by the translators.

My partner suggests that Titus takes part in Paul's ministry as Paul's companion or sharer.

And fellowhelper is and fellow worker.

Concerning you is for you, with reference to you, or with respect to you.

Or introduces the second conditional statement. Inasmuch as it is not clear whether anyone will actually inquire into the qualifications of these two, or should be understood in the sense of assuming that.

Our brethren is our brothers and refers to the two men described in verses 18-22.

Again be inquired of has been supplied by the translators because it is implied by the context.

They are, which refers to the two men whom Paul is sending to Corinth with Titus, has likewise been supplied by the translators.

The messengers is the word ordinarily translated apostles and means delegates or envoys. Although they are apostles of the churches which sent them, they are not apostles of Jesus Christ in the same sense as Paul and the twelve apostles. The term is used of men being sent on a mission.

Of the churches indicates that it is the churches which have sent these two messengers.

And has also been supplied by the translators to connect the description of these two delegates of the churches with the glory of Christ, which seems best understood as the reflected radiance of Christ. It is another way of describing these two messengers of the churches. Their lives are Christlike and He is seen in them in the way they live or conduct their lives.

II Corinthians 8:24 Wherefore shew ye to them, and before the churches, the proof of your love, and of our boasting on your behalf.

In verse 24 Paul calls upon the Corinthian believers to demonstrate to Titus and the two brethren as well as to the other churches the proof of their love and of Paul's boasting on the Corinthian believers' behalf is another way of describing these two messengers of the churches.

Wherefore draws an inference from what has been said regarding these three that Paul is sending to Corinth, Titus and the two brethren, how that they are godly men and his fellow servants. It is understood in the sense of therefore, accordingly, consequently, then, or so.

Shew ye suggests show, demonstrate, or give proof of. The tense of shew indicates that its action should be carried out at once and without delay.

To them, where them refers to Titus and the two brethren who are coming from Paul to Corinth, is unto them.

And before the churches, who are pictured as observing what is happening in Corinth.

The proof is the noun form of the word translated shew ye. The proof is something which compels the mental acceptance of something in the sense of demonstration.

Of your love refers to the Corinthian believers and indicates something they are to demonstrate.

And of our boasting on your behalf is and of our pride.

On your behalf, where your is plural and refers to the Corinthian believers, is concerning you or about you.

CONCLUSION:

Therefore, let's give generously, but let's do it Scripturally realizing that all of our money belongs to God. Let's use what He has given us responsibly to bring glory to Him.