Appeal to Complete the Collection

We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God granted to the churches(A) of Macedonia:(B) During a severe testing by affliction, their abundance of joy and their deep poverty overflowed into the wealth of their generosity.(C) I testify that, on their own, according to their ability and beyond their ability, they begged us insistently for the privilege of sharing(D) 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.(E) 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,(F) 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,(G) for your sake He became poor,(H) 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](I) 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.(J) 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.(K)[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(L) 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(M) for what is right,(N) 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(O) and coworker(P) serving you; as for our brothers, they are the messengers(Q) of the churches, the glory of Christ.(R) 24 Therefore, show them proof before the churches of your love and of our boasting(S) about you.

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

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

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