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2 Corinthians 8 Reading Guide


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Chapter Summary


  • v1-12 - You are always being urged to compare yourself with others in terms of finances, how green your lawn is, or how many likes you get on your posts. Certainly this isn't a healthy obsession, but at times in can be. Paul tells the Corinthians to compare themselves to the Macedonians, who although were "in the midst of a severe trial" themselves, we're able to give to the massive collection Paul's been organizing for starving Christians in Jerusalem, which was experiencing a tremendous famine.

  • The Macedonians:

  • gave above their ability;

  • pleaded for the "privilege of sharing;"

  • didn't just give money, but "gave of themselves."

  • Paul makes it clear that he has high expectations for the Corinthians:

  • Since they "excel at everything," they have an obligation to excel at giving as well. How often do you think of giving in these terms. Think of what you do to excel, whether that's on the farm, on the court, in the office or wherever. You know what hard work and effort it takes to excel. Are you putting that same hard work and effort into excelling at your giving?

  • Paul makes it clear that the Corinthians and us need to compare ourselves to others in this matter!

  • A church's giving is a quantifiable measure of its love and earnestness (v8). Measured in financial terms, how does your love and earnestness compare?

  • At the same time, the size of the check is not necessarily the best indicator of your generosity. If you are eagerly willing to give, "the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what one does not have (v12)."

  • v13-15 - The communist motto is 'From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.' At first glance, this seems very similar to v13-15, but there are massive differences.

  • First, Paul recognizes that while our abilities enable us to accumulate wealth, ultimately both our abilities and our wealth are gifts of God's grace. Communism, of course, seeks to eliminate any trace of God from society; a person's means come as a result of government.

  • Secondly, the communist model takes from each according to his ability and then distributes according to the needs of the people as the government sees fit.

  • The Bible is certainly not communist, but neither is it capitalist, nor any other sort of economic 'ist.' Instead, Christians are to realize their primary goal is neither wealth accumulation nor building a utopian society, but rather to glorify God and live together with His people in the fellowship of the Church.

  • v16-24 - The remainder of this chapter demonstrates the importance Paul placed on good business practices within the church. Certainly Paul could implicitly trust Titus to safely deliver the monies that had been collected, after all, Titus had been "praised by all the churches for his service to the gospel (v18)." But it's bad form to trust one person with a bunch of other people's cash, so Paul plans to send at least two others along with Titus to maintain accountability.


Discuss:

Use the comment box below to discuss one or more of these questions:

  1. EYE FOR DETAIL—From what you recall seeing in this chapter, try answering the following question without looking at your Bible: In verse 7, Paul says that the Corinthians “excel” or “abound” in everything; he then mentioned five specific ways in which they did this. How many of these five can you recall?

  2. How does Paul's decision to send others along with Titus protect both the interests of the church, as well as protecting Titus?

Question 1 taken from The Complete Bible Discussion Guide: New Testament

Follow the AAA Prayer Pattern:

  • ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Your Father, who share His grace with you as you give to others.

  • ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray for the willingness to excel in this grace of giving (v7).

  • ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED:

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