2 5 for in a severe test of affliction, the abundance of their joy and their profound poverty overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part.
3 6 For according to their means, I can testify, and beyond their means, spontaneously,
5 and this, not as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and to us 7 through the will of God,
6 so that we urged Titus 8 that, as he had already begun, he should also complete for you this gracious act also.
9 10 For you know the gracious act of our Lord Jesus Christ, that for your sake he became poor although he was rich, so that by his poverty you might become rich.
11 complete it now, so that your eager 11 willingness may be matched by your completion of it out of what you have.
12 12 For if the eagerness is there, it is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what one does not have;
13 not that others should have relief while you are burdened, but that as a matter of equality
16 13 But thanks be to God who put the same concern for you into the heart of Titus,
18 With him we have sent the brother 14 who is praised in all the churches for his preaching of the gospel.
19 And not only that, but he has also been appointed our traveling companion by the churches in this gracious work administered by us for the glory of the Lord (himself) and for the expression of our eagerness.
24 So give proof before the churches of your love and of our boasting about you to them. 16
1 [8:1-9:15] Paul turns to a new topic, the collection for the church in
2 [1-24] This is a letter of recommendation for Titus and two unnamed companions, written from Macedonia probably at least a year later than 1 Cor 16. The recommendation proper is prefaced by remarks about the ideals of sharing and equality within the Christian community (2 Cor 8:1-15). Philippians 4:10-20 shows that Paul has reflected on his personal experience of need and relief in his relations with the community at Philippi; he now develops his reflections on the larger scale of relations between his Gentile churches and the mother church in Jerusalem.
3 [1-5] The example of the Macedonians, a model of what ought to be happening at
4  The grace of God: the fundamental theme is expressed by the Greek noun charis, which will be variously translated throughout these chapters as ＂grace＂ (2 Cor 8:1; 9:8, 14), ＂favor＂ (2 Cor 8:4), , ＂gracious act＂ (2 Cor 8:6, 7, 9) or ＂gracious work＂ (2 Cor 8:19), to be compared to ＂gracious gift＂ (1 Cor 16:3). The related term, eucharistia, ＂thanksgiving,＂ also occurs at 2 Cor 9:11, 12. The wordplay is not superficial; various mutations of the same root signal inner connection between aspects of a single reality, and Paul consciously exploits the similarities in vocabulary to highlight that connection.
5  Three more terms are now introduced. Test (dokime): the same root is translated as ＂to test＂ (2 Cor 8:8) and ＂evidence＂ (2 Cor 9:13); it means to be tried and found genuine. Abundance: variations on the same root lie behind ＂overflow＂ (2 Cor 8:2; 9:12), ＂excel＂ (2 Cor 8:7), ＂surplus＂ (2 Cor 8:14), ＂superfluous＂ (2 Cor 9:1) ＂make abundant＂ and ＂have an abundance＂ (2 Cor 9:8). These expressions of fullness contrast with references to need (2 Cor 8:14; 9:12). Generosity: the word haplotes has nuances of both simplicity and sincerity; here and in 2 Cor 9:11, 13 it designates the singleness of purpose that manifests itself in generous giving.
6 [3-4] Paul emphasizes the spontaneity of the Macedonians and the nature of their action. They begged us insistently: the same root is translated as ＂urge,＂ ＂appeal,＂＂encourage＂ (2 Cor 8:6, 17; 9:5). Taking part: the same word is translated ＂contribution＂ in 2 Cor 9:13 and a related term as ＂partner＂ in 2 Cor 8:23. Service (diakonia): this word occurs also in 2 Cor 9:1, 13 as ＂service＂; in 2 Cor 9:12 it is translated ＂administration,＂ and in 2 Cor 8:19, 20 the corresponding verb is rendered ＂administer.＂
7  They gave themselves . . . to the Lord and to us: on its deepest level their attitude is one of self-giving.
8  Titus: 1 Cor 16 seemed to leave the organization up to the Corinthians, but apparently Paul has sent Titus to initiate the collection as well; 2 Cor 8:16-17 will describe Titus' attitude as one of shared concern and cooperation.
9  The charitable service Paul is promoting is seen briefly and in passing within the perspective of Paul's theology of the charisms. Earnestness (spoude): this or related terms occur also in 2 Cor 8:22 (＂earnest＂) and 2 Cor 8:8, 16, 17 (＂concern＂).
10  The dialectic of Jesus' experience, expressed earlier in terms of life and death (2 Cor 5:15), sin and righteousness (2 Cor 5:21), is now rephrased in terms of poverty and wealth. Many scholars think this is a reference to Jesus' preexistence with God (his ＂wealth＂) and to his incarnation and death (his ＂poverty＂), and they point to the similarity between this verse and Philippians 2:6-8. Others interpret the wealth and poverty as succeeding phases of Jesus' earthly existence, e.g., his sense of intimacy with God and then the desolation and the feeling of abandonment by God in his death (cf Mark 15:34).
12 [12-15] Paul introduces the principle of equality into the discussion. The goal is not impoverishment but sharing of resources; balance is achieved at least over the course of time. In 2 Cor 8:15 Paul grounds his argument unexpectedly in the experience of
13 [16-24] In recommending Titus and his companions, Paul stresses their personal and apostolic qualities, their good dispositions toward the Corinthians, and their authority as messengers of the churches and representatives of Christ.
15 [20-22] That anyone blame us: 2 Cor 12:16-18 suggests that misunderstandings may indeed have arisen concerning Paul's management of the collection through the messengers mentioned here, but those same verses seem to imply that the Corinthians by and large would recognize the honesty of Paul's conduct in this area as in others (cf 2 Cor 6:3).
16  As Paul began by holding up the Macedonians as examples to be imitated, he closes by exhorting the Corinthians to show their love (by accepting the envoys and by cooperating as the Macedonians do), thus justifying the pride Paul demonstrates because of them before other churches.