The Collection for the Lord’s People

And now, brothers and sisters, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian(A) churches. In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity.(B) For I testify that they gave as much as they were able,(C) and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing(D) in this service(E) to the Lord’s people.(F) And they exceeded our expectations: They gave themselves first of all to the Lord, and then by the will of God also to us. So we urged(G) Titus,(H) just as he had earlier made a beginning, to bring also to completion(I) this act of grace on your part. But since you excel in everything(J)—in faith, in speech, in knowledge,(K) in complete earnestness and in the love we have kindled in you[a]—see that you also excel in this grace of giving.

I am not commanding you,(L) but I want to test the sincerity of your love by comparing it with the earnestness of others. For you know the grace(M) of our Lord Jesus Christ,(N) that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor,(O) so that you through his poverty might become rich.(P)

10 And here is my judgment(Q) about what is best for you in this matter. Last year you were the first not only to give but also to have the desire to do so.(R) 11 Now finish the work, so that your eager willingness(S) to do it may be matched by your completion of it, according to your means. 12 For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has,(T) not according to what one does not have.

13 Our desire is not that others might be relieved while you are hard pressed, but that there might be equality. 14 At the present time your plenty will supply what they need,(U) so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. The goal is equality, 15 as it is written: “The one who gathered much did not have too much, and the one who gathered little did not have too little.”[b](V)

Titus Sent to Receive the Collection

16 Thanks be to God,(W) who put into the heart(X) of Titus(Y) the same concern I have for you. 17 For Titus not only welcomed our appeal, but he is coming to you with much enthusiasm and on his own initiative.(Z) 18 And we are sending along with him the brother(AA) who is praised by all the churches(AB) for his service to the gospel.(AC) 19 What is more, he was chosen by the churches to accompany us(AD) as we carry the offering, which we administer in order to honor the Lord himself and to show our eagerness to help.(AE) 20 We want to avoid any criticism of the way we administer this liberal gift. 21 For we are taking pains to do what is right, not only in the eyes of the Lord but also in the eyes of man.(AF)

22 In addition, we are sending with them our brother who has often proved to us in many ways that he is zealous, and now even more so because of his great confidence in you. 23 As for Titus,(AG) he is my partner(AH) and co-worker(AI) among you; as for our brothers,(AJ) they are representatives of the churches and an honor to Christ. 24 Therefore show these men the proof of your love and the reason for our pride in you,(AK) so that the churches can see it.

Footnotes

  1. 2 Corinthians 8:7 Some manuscripts and in your love for us
  2. 2 Corinthians 8:15 Exodus 16:18

Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia;

How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality.

For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves;

Praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints.

And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God.

Insomuch that we desired Titus, that as he had begun, so he would also finish in you the same grace also.

Therefore, as ye abound in every thing, in faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love to us, see that ye abound in this grace also.

I speak not by commandment, but by occasion of the forwardness of others, and to prove the sincerity of your love.

For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.

10 And herein I give my advice: for this is expedient for you, who have begun before, not only to do, but also to be forward a year ago.

11 Now therefore perform the doing of it; that as there was a readiness to will, so there may be a performance also out of that which ye have.

12 For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not.

13 For I mean not that other men be eased, and ye burdened:

14 But by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may be a supply for their want, that their abundance also may be a supply for your want: that there may be equality:

15 As it is written, He that had gathered much had nothing over; and he that had gathered little had no lack.

16 But thanks be to God, which put the same earnest care into the heart of Titus for you.

17 For indeed he accepted the exhortation; but being more forward, of his own accord he went unto you.

18 And we have sent with him the brother, whose praise is in the gospel throughout all the churches;

19 And not that only, but who was also chosen of the churches to travel with us with this grace, which is administered by us to the glory of the same Lord, and declaration of your ready mind:

20 Avoiding this, that no man should blame us in this abundance which is administered by us:

21 Providing for honest things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men.

22 And we have sent with them our brother, whom we have oftentimes proved diligent in many things, but now much more diligent, upon the great confidence which I have in you.

23 Whether any do enquire of Titus, he is my partner and fellowhelper concerning you: or our brethren be enquired of, they are the messengers of the churches, and the glory of Christ.

24 Wherefore shew ye to them, and before the churches, the proof of your love, and of our boasting on your behalf.

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