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2 Corinthians 8-9Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

Appeal to Complete the Collection

We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God granted to the churches of Macedonia: During a severe testing by affliction, their abundance of joy and their deep poverty overflowed into the wealth of their generosity. I testify that, on their own, according to their ability and beyond their ability, they begged us insistently for the privilege of sharing in the ministry to the saints, and not just as we had hoped. Instead, they gave themselves especially to the Lord, then to us by God’s will. So we urged Titus that just as he had begun, so he should also complete this grace to you. Now as you excel in everything—faith, speech, knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love for us[a]—excel also in this grace.

I am not saying this as a command. Rather, by means of the diligence of others, I am testing the genuineness of your love. For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ: Though He was rich, for your sake He became poor, so that by His poverty you might become rich. 10 Now I am giving an opinion on this because it is profitable for you, who a year ago began not only to do something but also to desire it.[b] 11 But now finish the task[c] as well, that just as there was eagerness to desire it, so there may also be a completion from what you have. 12 For if the eagerness is there, it is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what he does not have. 13 It is not that there may be relief for others and hardship for you, but it is a question of equality[d] 14 at the present time your surplus is available for their need, so their abundance may also become available for our need, so there may be equality. 15 As it has been written:

The person who gathered much
did not have too much,
and the person who gathered little
did not have too little.[e]

Administration of the Collection

16 Thanks be to God who put the same concern for you into the heart of Titus. 17 For he accepted our urging and, being very diligent, went out to you by his own choice. 18 We have sent with him the brother who is praised throughout the churches for his gospel ministry.[f] 19 And not only that, but he was also appointed by the churches to accompany us with this gift[g] that is being administered by us for the glory of the Lord Himself and to show our eagerness to help. 20 We are taking this precaution so no one can criticize us about this large sum administered by us. 21 For we are making provision for what is right, not only before the Lord but also before men. 22 We have also sent with them our brother. We have often tested him in many circumstances and found him to be diligent—and now even more diligent because of his great confidence in you. 23 As for Titus, he is my partner and coworker serving you; as for our brothers, they are the messengers of the churches, the glory of Christ. 24 Therefore, show them proof before the churches of your love and of our boasting about you.

Motivations for Giving

Now concerning the ministry to the saints, it is unnecessary for me to write to you. For I know your eagerness, and I brag about you to the Macedonians:[h] “Achaia[i] has been prepared since last year,” and your zeal has stirred up most of them. But I sent the brothers so our boasting about you in the matter would not prove empty, and so you would be prepared just as I said. For if any Macedonians come with me and find you unprepared, we, not to mention you, would be embarrassed in that situation.[j] Therefore I considered it necessary to urge the brothers to go on ahead to you and arrange in advance the generous gift you promised, so that it will be ready as a gift and not as an extortion.

Remember this:[k] The person who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the person who sows generously will also reap generously. Each person should do as he has decided in his heart—not reluctantly or out of necessity, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make every grace overflow to you, so that in every way, always having everything you need, you may excel in every good work. As it is written:

He scattered;
He gave to the poor;
His righteousness endures forever.[l]

10 Now the One who provides seed for the sower and bread for food will provide and multiply your seed and increase the harvest of your righteousness. 11 You will be enriched in every way for all generosity, which produces thanksgiving to God through us. 12 For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints, but is also overflowing in many acts of thanksgiving to God. 13 They will glorify God for your obedience to the confession of[m] the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with others through the proof provided by this service. 14 And they will have deep affection for[n] you in their prayers on your behalf because of the surpassing grace of God in you. 15 Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift.

Footnotes:

  1. 2 Corinthians 8:7 Other mss read in our love for you
  2. 2 Corinthians 8:10 Lit to will
  3. 2 Corinthians 8:11 Lit finish the doing
  4. 2 Corinthians 8:13 Lit but from equality
  5. 2 Corinthians 8:15 Ex 16:18
  6. 2 Corinthians 8:18 Lit churches, in the gospel
  7. 2 Corinthians 8:19 Or grace
  8. 2 Corinthians 9:2 Macedonia was a Roman province in the northern area of modern Greece.
  9. 2 Corinthians 9:2 Achaia was the Roman province, south of Macedonia, where Corinth was located.
  10. 2 Corinthians 9:4 Or in this confidence
  11. 2 Corinthians 9:6 Lit And this
  12. 2 Corinthians 9:9 Ps 112:9
  13. 2 Corinthians 9:13 Or your obedient confession to
  14. 2 Corinthians 9:14 Or will long for

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