2 Corinthians 8-9 Expanded Bible (EXB)
8 And now, brothers and sisters, we want you to know about the grace God gave the churches in Macedonia [1:16]. 2 Although they have been tested by great ·troubles [trials; tribulation] ·and are very poor, they gave much because of their great joy [L their deep poverty and abundant joy overflowed into rich generosity]. 3 I can ·tell you [testify] that they gave as much as they were able and even more than they could afford. No one told them to do it. 4 But they begged and pleaded with us ·to let them [L for the privilege/grace to] share in this service for ·God’s people [T the saints]. 5 And they gave in a way we did not expect: They first gave themselves to the Lord and to us. ·This is what God wants […by the will of God]. 6 So we ·asked [urged; encouraged] Titus [2:13] to help you finish this special work of grace since he is the one who started it. 7 You ·are rich [excel] in everything—in faith, in speaking, in knowledge, in ·truly wanting to help [eagerness; zeal], and in the love ·you learned [L that is in you] from us.[a] In the same way, ·be strong [excel] also in the grace of giving.
8 I am not commanding you to give. But I want to ·see [test; prove] if your love is true by comparing you with ·others that really want to help [L the zeal/eagerness of others]. 9 [L For] You know the ·grace [gift] of our Lord Jesus Christ. Though he was rich, for your sake he became poor so that by his becoming poor you might become rich.
10 This is ·what I think you should do [L my opinion on this matter for your benefit]: Last year you were the first to want to give, and you were the first who gave. 11 So now finish the work you started. Then your ·“doing” [L completion] will be equal to your ·“wanting to do” [eager desire]. Give from what you have. 12 If you ·want [are eager/willing] to give, your gift will be accepted. It will be judged by what you have, not by what you do not have. 13 [L For] We do not want you to have ·troubles [hardships; trials] while other people ·are at ease [have relief], but we want everything to be equal [C giving is not intended to impoverish the giver, but to distribute God’s resources]. 14 At this time ·you have plenty and what you have [L your abundance] can help others who are in need. ·Then later, when they have plenty, they [or In the same way, their abundance] can help you when you are in need, and all will be equal [C Paul may be saying, (1) that the Jerusalem church may one day reciprocate by helping the Corinthians financially; or, (2) that the Corinthians’ financial gift will be reciprocated through Jerusalem’s spiritual gifts]. 15 As it is written in the Scriptures, “The person who gathered more did not have too much, nor did the person who gathered less have too little [Ex. 16:18].”
Titus and His Companions Help
16 ·I thank [L Thanks be to] God because he ·gave [L put into the heart of] Titus [2:13] the same ·love [L eagerness; zeal] for you that I have. 17 [L For] Titus accepted what we asked him to do. He ·wanted very much [was eager] to go to you, and this was ·his own idea [of his own accord]. 18 We are sending with him the brother who is praised by all the churches because of his service ·in preaching the Good News [L in the Gospel; C unknown person, possibly Luke]. 19 Also, this brother was ·chosen [appointed] by the churches to go with us ·when we deliver this gift of money [or in this ministry/administration of grace]. We are doing this ·service [ministry] to bring glory to the Lord and to show ·that we really want [our eagerness/willingness] to help.
20 We are being careful so that no one will ·criticize [blame] us for the way we are handling this ·large [abundant; generous] gift. 21 [L For] We are trying hard to do what is right, not only before the Lord but also before people [Prov. 3:4].
22 Also, we are sending with them our brother, who has proved to us in many ways that he is always ·ready [eager; zealous] to help. He wants to help even more now, because he has much ·faith [confidence] in you.
23 ·Now [or If there is any question] about Titus [2:13]—he is my partner ·who is working with me [and coworker] to help you. ·And [or If there is any question] about the other brothers—they are ·sent [messengers] from the churches, and ·they bring glory to [or they are the glory of] Christ. 24 So show these men the proof of your love and the reason we ·are proud [boast] of you. ·Then [or …so that] all the churches can see it.
Help for Fellow Christians
9 I really do not need to write you about this ·help [service; ministry] for ·God’s people [T the saints]. 2 [L For; Because] I know ·you want [your eagerness/willingness] to help. I have been ·bragging [boasting] about this to the ·believers in Macedonia [L Macedonians; 8:1], telling them that you in Achaia [C southern Greece; 1:1] have been ready to give since last year. And your ·desire to give [L zeal; enthusiasm] has ·made most of them ready to give also [L aroused/provoked the majority]. 3 But I am sending the brothers to you so that our ·bragging [boasting] about you in this matter will not be empty words. I want you to be ready, as I said you would be. 4 If any of the ·believers from Macedonia [L Macedonians] come with me and find that you are not ready, we will be ·ashamed [embarrassed; dishonored] that we were so sure of you. (And you will be ·ashamed [embarrassed; dishonored], too!) 5 So I thought I should ·ask [urge; encourage] these brothers to go to you before we do. They will finish getting in order the ·generous gift [blessing] you promised so it will be ready when we come. And it will be a ·generous gift [blessing]—not one ·that you did not want to give [required from you; grudgingly given].
6 Remember this: The person who ·plants a little [sows sparingly] will ·have a small harvest [also reap sparingly], but the person who ·plants a lot [sows generously/bountifully] will ·have a big harvest [also reap generously/bountifully]. 7 Each of you should give as you have decided in your heart to give. You should not ·be sad when you give [or give reluctantly], and you should not give ·because you feel forced to give [out of compulsion]. [L For] God loves the person who gives ·happily [cheerfully]. 8 And God can ·give you more blessings than you need [L overflow/abound all grace to you]. Then ·you will always have plenty of everything [L in all things at all times you will have all you need]— ·enough to give to [abounding/overflowing in] every good work. 9 [L Just as] It is written in the Scriptures:
“He ·gives [L scatters (seed) and gives] freely to the poor.
10 [L For] God is the One who gives seed to the farmer and bread for food. He will ·give you all the seed you need and make it grow [L supply and multiply your seed] so there will be a great harvest ·from your goodness [of your righteousness]. 11 He will make you rich in every way so that you can always give ·freely [generously]. And your giving through us will ·cause many to give thanks [L produce thanksgiving] to God. 12 This ·service you do [L ministry of service] not only helps the needs of ·God’s people [T the saints], it also brings many more thanks to God. 13 It is a proof of your faith. Many people will ·praise [glorify] God because you ·obey [submit to] the ·Good News [Gospel] of Christ—the gospel you ·say you believe [confess]—and because you ·freely [generously] share with them and with all others. 14 And when they pray for you, they will ·wish they could be with [L long for] you because of the great grace that God has given you. 15 Thanks be to God for his ·gift that is too wonderful for words [indescribable/inexpressible gift].
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