In these verses the apostle commends the brethren who were sent to them to collect their charity; and as it were, gives them letters credential, that, if they were enquired after (2 Cor. 8:23), if any should be inquisitive or suspicious concerning them, it might be known who they were and how safely they might be trusted.
I. He commends Titus, 1. For his earnest care and great concern of heart for them, and desire in all things to promote their welfare. This is mentioned with thankfulness to God (2 Cor. 8:16), and it is cause of thankfulness if God hath put it into the hearts of any to do us or others any good. 2. For his readiness to this present service. He accepted the office, and was forward to go upon this good errand, 2 Cor. 8:17. Asking charity for the relief of others is by many looked upon as a thankless office; yet it is a good office, and what we should not be shy of when we are called to it.
II. He commends another brother, who was sent with Titus. It is generally thought that this was Luke. He is commended, 1. As a man whose praise was in the gospel through all the churches, 2 Cor. 8:18. His ministerial services of several kinds were well known, and he had approved himself praiseworthy in what he had done. 2. As one chosen of the churches (2 Cor. 8:19) and joined with the apostle in his ministration. This was done, it is most likely, at the motion and request of Paul himself; for this reason, that no man might blame him in that abundance which was administered by him (2 Cor. 8:20), so cautious was the apostle to avoid all occasions that evil-minded men might lay hold on to blacken him. He would not give occasion to any to accuse him of injustice or partiality in this affair, and thought it to be his duty, as it is the duty of all Christians, to provide for things honest, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men; that is, to act so prudently as to prevent, as far as we can, all unjust suspicions concerning us, and all occasions of scandalous imputations. Note, We live in a censorious world, and should cut off occasion from those who seek occasion to speak reproachfully. It is the crime of others if they reproach or censure us without occasion; and it is our imprudence at least if we give them any occasion, when there may not be a just cause for them so to do.
III. He commends also another brother who was joined with the two former in this affair. This brother is thought to be Apollos. Whoever he was, he had approved himself diligent in many things; and therefore was fit to be employed in this affair. Moreover, he had great desire to this work, because of the confidence or good opinion he had of the Corinthians (2 Cor. 8:22), and it is a great comfort to see those employed in good works who have formerly approved themselves diligent.
IV. He concludes this point with a general good character of them all (2 Cor. 8:23), as fellow-labourers with him for their welfare; as the messengers of the churches; as the glory of Christ, who were to him for a name and a praise, who brought glory to Christ as instruments and had obtained honour from Christ to be counted faithful and employed in his service. Wherefore, upon the whole, he exhorts them to show their liberality, answerable to the great expectation others had concerning them at this time, that these messengers of the churches, and the churches themselves, might see a full proof of their love to God and to their afflicted brethren, and that it was with good reason the apostle had even boasted on their behalf, 2 Cor. 8:24. Note, The good opinion others entertain of us should be an argument with us to do well.