They gave above and beyond their means (2 Cor. 8:3)

“As I can testify,

The Macedonians

Voluntarily gave

According to their means,

And even beyond their means.”

ὅτι κατὰ δύναμιν, μαρτυρῶ, καὶ παρὰ δύναμιν, αὐθαίρετοι

Paul said that as I can testify (μαρτυρῶ), the Macedonians voluntarily gave (αὐθαίρετοι) according to their means (ὅτι κατὰ δύναμιν), and even beyond their means (καὶ παρὰ δύναμιν).  Only this Corinthian letter used this word αὐθαίρετοι, that means self-chosen or of one’s own accord.  Paul then continued with his praise for the northern neighbors of the Corinthians.  Paul was willing to testify that these Macedonians have given of their means and even more their means.  They were very generous, a model of generosity.  This was a hint by Paul to remind the Corinthians to be as generous, if not more so than their fellow Christians to the north.  Do you think that your neighbors are more generous than you?