Do what is right (2 Cor. 8:21)

“We intend

To do

What is right

Not only in the Lord’s sight

But also,

In the sight of men.”

προνοοῦμεν γὰρ καλὰ οὐ μόνον ἐνώπιον Κυρίου ἀλλὰ καὶ ἐνώπιον ἀνθρώπων.

Paul said that we intend (προνοοῦμεν) to do what is right (γὰρ καλὰ) not only in the Lord’s sight (καλὰ οὐ μόνον ἐνώπιον Κυρίου) but also in the sight of men (ἀλλὰ καὶ ἐνώπιον ἀνθρώπων).  Only the Pauline letters used this word (προνοοῦμεν) that means to foresee, take thought for beforehand, provide for, or practice.  Paul was carefully trying to do what was right or honorable, not only before the Lord, but also before other humans.  Paul was cautiously not trying to offend anyone by appearing to be greedy.  There were all kinds of constraints put on this collection so that it would be done right.  Are you careful with the handling of church funds?

Do not blame us (2 Cor. 8:20)

“We intend

To avoid this,

So that no one

Would blame us

About this generous gift

That we are administering

For you.”

στελλόμενοι τοῦτο, μή τις ἡμᾶς μωμήσηται ἐν τῇ ἁδρότητι ταύτῃ τῇ διακονουμένῃ ὑφ’ ἡμῶν·

Paul said that he wanted to avoid this (στελλόμενοι τοῦτο), so that no one would blame him (μή τις ἡμᾶς μωμήσηται) about this generous gift (ἐν τῇ ἁδρότητι ταύτῃ) that they were administering for them (διακονουμένῃ ὑφ’ ἡμῶν).  Only the Pauline letters used this word στελλόμενοι, that means to arrange, prepare, gather up, to restrain, or avoid.  Only this Corinthian letter used this word μωμήσηται, that means to find fault with, blame, or slander, and the word ἁδρότητι, that means thickness, abundance, lavishness, or abundance.  Paul wanted to be clear.  He was trying to avoid all appearances of impropriety about this collection.  He did not want anyone to blame him about this generous gift that the Corinthians were giving to the Jerusalem Jewish Christians.  He was merely administering it for them.  Thus, there was a need to have oversight from other people.  Do you try to avoid the appearance of impropriety?

Generous work (2 Cor. 8:19)

“Not only that,

But he has been appointed

By the churches

To travel with us

While we are administering

This generous work

For the glory

Of the Lord

And to show our good will.”

οὐ μόνον δὲ ἀλλὰ καὶ χειροτονηθεὶς ὑπὸ τῶν ἐκκλησιῶν συνέκδημος ἡμῶν ἐν τῇ χάριτι ταύτῃ τῇ διακονουμένῃ ὑφ’ ἡμῶν πρὸς τὴν αὐτοῦ τοῦ Κυρίου δόξαν καὶ προθυμίαν ἡμῶν,

Paul said that not only that (οὐ μόνον δὲ), but he has been appointed (δὲ ἀλλὰ καὶ χειροτονηθεὶς) by the churches (ὑπὸ τῶν ἐκκλησιῶν) to travel with us (συνέκδημος ἡμῶν) while we are administering (ταύτῃ τῇ διακονουμένῃ) this generous work (ἐν τῇ χάριτι) for the glory of the Lord (πρὸς τὴν αὐτοῦ τοῦ Κυρίου δόξαν) and to show our good will (καὶ προθυμίαν ἡμῶν).  Paul indicated this famous gospel orator was appointed by the various churches to go with them when they traveled to administer this generous gift of the glory of God and their good will.  Much like the temple tax collections, they were going to see that there would be oversight over this collection for the Jerusalem Christians.  Thus, this famous orator, possibly Luke, was going to go with him to Jerusalem with the collection once it was finished.  Of course, all of this was done for the glory of God and to further show the good will of the gentile Greek Christians with the Jewish Jerusalem Christians.  Do you belong to a good Christian organization?

The famous preaching brother (2 Cor. 8:18)

“With him,

We are sending

The brother

Who was famous

Among all the churches

For his preaching

Of the gospel.”

συνεπέμψαμεν δὲ μετ’ αὐτοῦ τὸν ἀδελφὸν οὗ ὁ ἔπαινος ἐν τῷ εὐαγγελίῳ διὰ πασῶν τῶν ἐκκλησιῶν,

Paul said that he was sending (συνεπέμψαμεν) with him (δὲ μετ’ αὐτοῦ), the brother (τὸν ἀδελφὸν) who was famous (οὗ ὁ ἔπαινος) among all the churches (διὰ πασῶν τῶν ἐκκλησιῶν) for his preaching of the gospel (ἐν τῷ εὐαγγελίῳ).  Only this Corinthian letter used this word συνεπέμψαμεν, that means to send with or together with.  Paul indicated that he was sending someone special with Titus.  This Christian believer brother was well known among the Corinthian believers because he was a preacher of the gospel of Jesus.  Some have speculated that this famous preacher may have been Luke, the writer of the fourth gospel and the Acts of the Apostles.  Certainly, Luke was with Paul on some of his missionary work.  However, this famous gospel orator remains unidentified.  In other words, this was a strong delegation sent to collect the money for the Jerusalem Christians.  Do you know any famous Christian preachers?

Titus is going to visit you (2 Cor. 8:17)

“Titus not only accepted

Our appeal,

But since he is more eager

Than ever,

He is going to you

On his own accord.”

ὅτι τὴν μὲν παράκλησιν ἐδέξατο, σπουδαιότερος δὲ ὑπάρχων αὐθαίρετος ἐξῆλθεν πρὸς ὑμᾶς.

Paul said that Titus not only accepted our appeal (ὅτι τὴν μὲν παράκλησιν ἐδέξατο), but since he was more eager than ever (σπουδαιότερος δὲ ὑπάρχων), he is going to you (ἐξῆλθεν πρὸς ὑμᾶς) on his own accord (αὐθαίρετος).  Only this Corinthian letter used this word αὐθαίρετος, that means self-chosen or on one’s own accord, and the word σπουδαιότερος, that means hasty, eager, diligent, earnest, or zealous.  Paul indicated that Titus was very eager to begin or complete this mission of making the collection for the Jerusalem Christians in Corinth.  He had accepted this mission from Paul, but he was so zealous to get going.  He did this of his own accord.  Are you excited about things that you are asked to do?

Titus is eager (2 Cor. 8:16)

“But thanks be to God,

Who puts

In the heart of Titus

The same eagerness

For you.”

Χάρις δὲ τῷ Θεῷ τῷ διδόντι τὴν αὐτὴν σπουδὴν ὑπὲρ ὑμῶν ἐν τῇ καρδίᾳ Τίτου,

Paul said thanks be to God (Χάρις δὲ τῷ Θεῷ), who put (τῷ διδόντι) into the heart of Titus (ἐν τῇ καρδίᾳ Τίτου) the same eagerness for you (τὴν αὐτὴν σπουδὴν ὑπὲρ ὑμῶν).  Paul now turned to the question of Titus.  Paul was very thankful to God that he put into Titus’ heart the same eagerness for the Corinthians that Paul had.  Titus had helped solve their problems earlier in verse 8:6.  Titus had made a good impression on the Corinthians.  He loved them the same way that Paul did.  Do you know someone who thinks and acts like yourself?

Not too much or too little (2 Cor. 8:15)

“As it is written.

‘The one who had much

Did not have too much.

The one who had little,

Did not have too little.’”

καθὼς γέγραπται Ὁ τὸ πολὺ οὐκ ἐπλεόνασεν, καὶ ὁ τὸ ὀλίγον οὐκ ἠλαττόνησεν.

Paul said that as it was written (καθὼς γέγραπται).  “The one who had much did not have too much (Ὁ τὸ πολὺ οὐκ ἐπλεόνασεν).  The one who had little, did not have too little (καὶ ὁ τὸ ὀλίγον οὐκ ἠλαττόνησεν).”  Only the Pauline letters used this word ἐπλεόνασεν, that means to super abound, to abound, more than enough, or increase.  Only this Corinthian letter used this word ἠλαττόνησεν that means to be less, or lack.  Paul cited Exodus, chapter 16:16-18, that Yahweh had told the Israelites to gather as much of the manna in the desert as each of them needed.  The Israelites did that.  Some gathered more, some less.  But when they measured it those who gathered much had nothing left over, and those who gathered little had no shortage.  They gathered as much as each of them needed.  Whether you gathered a lot or a little, there was no shortage or overage.  Paul used this Exodus quote about the manna in the wilderness to emphasize equality.  You should not have too much stuff or too little stuff.  You should have just enough.  Prosperity was a blessing to be shared with those who did not have enough.  Do you have too much stuff?

Abundance and need (2 Cor. 8:14)

“But it is a matter

Of equality.

Your abundance

At the present time

Supplies their need.

Thus,

Their abundance

Might help you in

Your need.

Thus,

There might be equality.”

ἀλλ’ ἐξ ἰσότητος ἐν τῷ νῦν καιρῷ τὸ ὑμῶν περίσσευμα εἰς τὸ ἐκείνων ὑστέρημα, ἵνα καὶ τὸ ἐκείνων περίσσευμα γένηται εἰς τὸ ὑμῶν ὑστέρημα, ὅπως γένηται ἰσότης,

Paul said that it was a matter of equality (ἀλλ’ ἐξ ἰσότητος).  Their abundance (τὸ ὑμῶν περίσσευμα) at the present time (ἐν τῷ νῦν καιρῷ) would supply the need (εἰς τὸ ἐκείνων ὑστέρημα) of the Jerusalem Christians, whose future abundance (ἵνα καὶ τὸ ἐκείνων περίσσευμα) might supply the Corinthian needs (γένηται εἰς τὸ ὑμῶν ὑστέρημα).  Thus, there might be equality (ὅπως γένηται ἰσότης).  Only the Pauline letters used this word ἰσότητος and ἰσότης, that mean equality, equality of treatment, or fairness.  Paul explained that now the Jerusalem Christians were in need, while the Corinthians Christians had a surplus of goods.  Maybe in the future, it might be the reverse.  Paul wanted equal treatment for all.  He did not want to overburden the Corinthians, but maybe someday in the future they might be in need in Corinth.  Right now, their abundance should be sent to Jerusalem.  Do you understand the difference between need and equality?

Relief or pressure (2 Cor. 8:13)

“I do not mean

That there should be relief

For others

But pressure

On you.”

οὐ γὰρ ἵνα ἄλλοις ἄνεσις, ὑμῖν θλῖψις·

Paul said I do not mean that there should be relief for others (οὐ γὰρ ἵνα ἄλλοις ἄνεσις) but pressure on you (ὑμῖν θλῖψις).  Paul insisted that he was not trying to put pressure on them.  He was not excusing others to annoy the Corinthians.  However, he had talked about the generous Macedonians.  Nevertheless, they should not be under any pressure.  Anything will do.  Paul did not to pressure the Corinthians.  Have you ever felt pressure to give money to some group or organization?

Give from what you have (2 Cor. 8:12)

“If the eagerness is there,

The gift is acceptable,

According to what a man has,

Not according to what he does not have.”

εἰ γὰρ ἡ προθυμία πρόκειται, καθὸ ἐὰν ἔχῃ εὐπρόσδεκτος, οὐ καθὸ οὐκ ἔχει.

Paul said that if the eagerness is there (εἰ γὰρ ἡ προθυμία πρόκειται), the gift is acceptable according to what a man has (καθὸ ἐὰν ἔχῃ εὐπρόσδεκτος), not according to what he does not have (οὐ καθὸ οὐκ ἔχει).  Paul recognized that they were eager to help out the Jerusalem Jewish Christians.  Now was the time to do something.  Any gift would be acceptable.  They should give based on what they have, not on what they do not have.  Don’t make perfection the enemy of doing something.  Anything would be okay, since it did not have to be a lot of money, or something that they did not have.  They were to give of what they had.  They were not to give what people expected them to have.  Do you give of what you can or what people expect you to give?