2 Corinthians 8 … There is both historical interest and godly principles of generous giving within the church body covered here, beginning in 2 Corinthians 8 and continuing through chapter 9. Paul is writing to Corinth (southern Greece) and begins (v.1) by pointing to the example of churches in northern Greece (Macedonia is northern Greece). Northern churches, despite their own poverty, gave richly to benefit the poor. (We might note as we pass through these passages, that when referring to believers, that the text doesn’t call them Christians, doesn’t call them church members, or even believers; the most common term in the New Testament for faithful followers of Christ is “saints” (v.4). We don’t hear the term that frequently in churches today, but frankly … we should.)
In verse 6 we learn that Paul had sent Titus to Corinth to encourage them in their own program of generous giving. Giving should be voluntary (v.8) and (v.10) ought to originate as a desire to give based on what Christ has done for us; He became poor so that we, broken sinners that we are, might become rich. In this passage, we’re taught God’s purpose in giving. Although some are rich and certainly some are poor, God expects that His people will seek equity in distribution through a godly desire to meet the needs of others (v.14). How different this is from the prevailing mindset we see today of “what’s mine is mine.”
Verses 16-24 are a historical note of tribute to Titus and his role as a fellow-worker of the Apostle Paul. Titus was apparently a gifted pastor-teacher (v.18) and was given the task of cultivating a giving spirit in the Corinthian church. What might we glean here? The purpose of giving in the church is not only to pay the staff or keep the building(s) and classrooms supplied, but to ensure equity in necessary supplies for all the saints, local and in every land. That’s the giving spirit that’s communicated in 2 Corinthians 8.
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