2 Corinthians Jewish New Testament and comments of David H. Stern
1. There is really no need for me to write you about this offering for God’s people —
2. I know how eager you are, and I boast about you to the Macedonians. I tell them, “Achaia has been ready since last year,” and it was your zeal that stirred up most of them.
The Jewish mother again, There is really no need for me to write you. So why does he do it? By a figure of speech he indicates his awareness that underneath their laziness and slowness the Corinthians really do have the heart and the desire to do God's will. But at the same time he finds it necessary to prod them to act on these deeper and better motives.
3. But now I am sending the brothers so that our boast about you in this regard will not prove hollow, so that you will be ready, as I said you would be.
4. For if some Macedonians were to come with me and find you unprepared, we would be humiliated at having been so confident — to say nothing of how you would feel.
Having offered the Macedonians as an example for emulation, he here presents the Corinthians themselves as an example he has used among others — and urges them to live up to their publicity (vv. 2-3), lest they feel bad at failing to meet the implicit quota and Sha'ul be humiliated at having been so confident about them (v. 4).
5. So I thought it necessary to urge these brothers to go on to you ahead of me and prepare your promised gift in plenty of time; this way it will be ready when I come and will be a genuine gift, not something extracted by pressure.
Another reason for sending the advance committee is to prepare the gift, so that pressure tactics will be unnecessary.
6. Here’s the point: he who plants sparingly also harvests sparingly.
Next Sha'ul offers a more selfish reason for giving. He appeals to both exalted and ordinary motives but never to truly base or improper ones.
7. Each should give according to what he has decided in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver (Proverbs 22:8 (Septuagint))
8. Moreover, God has the power to provide you with every gracious gift in abundance, so that always in every way you will have all you need yourselves and be able to provide abundantly for every good cause —
Sha'ul is concerned with the inner state of the giver and not merely with the fact of giving. The New Covenant emphasizes both the inner condition and the outward action; and that inner state is created not by oneself but by God.
9. as the Tanakh says, "He gave generously to the poor; his tzedakah lasts forever" (Psalm 112:9).
Psalm 112 reads, in part:
"Blessed is the man who fears Adonai,
Who greatly delights in his commandments...
Wealth and riches will be in his house...
A good man shows favor...
His heart is established...
He has dispersed,
He has given to the poor.
His righteousness (tzedakah) remains forever." (Psalm 112:1,3a, 5a, 8a, 9)
The Hebrew word "tzedakah" means both "righteousness" and "charity" (see Mt 6:1-4N).
10. He who provides both seed for the planter and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed and increase the harvest of your tzedakah.
11. You will be enriched in every way, so that you can be generous in everything. And through us your generosity will cause people to thank God,
It Sha'ul urges the Corinthians not to fear for themselves, for God will supply plenty so that they may be generous (vv. 8-11; compare Mt 6:33. Pp 4:19).
12. because rendering this holy service not only provides for the needs of God’s people, but it also overflows in the many thanks people will be giving to God.
13. In offering this service you prove to these people that you glorify God by actually doing what your acknowledgement of the Good News of the Messiah requires, namely, sharing generously with them and with everyone.
14. And in their prayers for you they will feel a strong affection for you because of how gracious God has been to you.
Still another reason for giving: by so doing, you give the recipients a reason for praising God for having met their need through you (v. 12) and for having molded you into obedient believers (v. 13). As a result they will pray to God for you (v. 14).
15. Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!
Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift, namely, the opportunity to accomplish so much good for others, for yourselves, and for God's glory by giving to the Judean brothers!
- chapter 1
- chapter 2
- chapter 3
- chapter 4
- chapter 5
- chapter 6
- chapter 7
- chapter 8
- chapter 9
- chapter 10
- chapter 11
- chapter 12
- chapter 13