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Bible: What Does 2 Corinthians 9-10 Teach Us About Godly Giving and Apostleship?
The Region of Achaia (Greece)
Titus, Paul's Fellow Worker
Contributing to the Needs of the Saints
Even though he regards the reminder as redundant, the apostle reiterates the Corinthians’ stated desire to contribute to the needs of the saints in Judea, a willingness that Achaia (their region) had declared a year previous to Paul’s letter and that had served as an example to other churches (vv. 1-2).
[Was this an association of “sister churches”?]
Still, Paul writes that he sent the brethren to make sure that the Corinthians were ready to follow through on their commitment; the apostle did not want any lack of preparedness on their part to cause Macedonians traveling with him to shame him (or the Corinthians) for having put confidence in them (vv. 3-4).
He informs them that he sent trustees to them beforehand to ensure that this embarrassing scenario would not come to pass; accordingly, Paul encouraged Titus and company to prepare the Corinthians’ previously promised gift, making sure that the church’s motive for contributing it was pure, unaffected by covetousness (v. 5).
[Paul recognized both how easy it is to pledge a generous gift and how difficult it is to release the money when the time to fulfill the promise arrives.]
Taking advantage of this present opportunity, Paul expands upon an important principle regarding the believer’s attitude toward giving (vv. 6-15): stinginess reaps little reward, but generosity brings to fruition a great blessing (v. 6).
Keeping in mind that God looks with favor upon the person who has the right attitude toward giving (literally, the word means hilarity, cheerfulness), all Christians should first decide within themselves whether to give at all.
Second, if they elect to give, they must determine how much to give, always keeping their motive in mind.
That is, if they choose to contribute, their giving should not arise out of reluctance or compulsion (v. 7).
Those who give generously with a righteous attitude God promises to prosper, so that they can contribute even more toward every “charity” they support (v. 8).
Paul cites Psalm 112:9 to illustrate that righteous men in the OT demonstrated this principle by disseminating their charitable giving widely and showing concern for the poor.
Through their generosity, they “establish their righteousness forever” (v. 9).
The apostle informs the Corinthian church that the God Who provides the farmer with what he needs to grow crops, enabling him to reap harvests and feed the world, will likewise funnel abundant finances to generous givers so that they can do their work and reap a harvest of righteousness (v. 10).
[The NKJV expresses this verse as Paul’s prayer that God would accomplish these things; the NASB renders it as what God always does.]
He affirms that God will increase their wealth so that they might become liberal contributors who, in turn, will cause Paul to thank God (v. 11).
Paul adds that proper management of these monies both supplies the needs of poor believers and elicits the giving of thanks to God (v. 12).
The saints in Jerusalem also give honor to God for enabling the Corinthians to obey the gospel and for making them generous.
Consequently, they pray for the welfare of their brethren in Corinth whom they remember with fondness (vv. 13-14).
Paul thanks God for His “indescribable gift”: presumably His salvation of the elect through Christ, Who makes it possible for these wonderful events to take place (v. 15).
The Apostle Paul
Paul's Divinely Powerful Weapon
Divinely Powerful Weapons
To what weapons do you think Paul referred in this chapter?
Defending His Apostleship
II Corinthians 10
Having completed his exhortation regarding proper giving attitudes, Paul now concentrates upon a defense of his apostleship in the last three chapters of this epistle.
He identifies himself (“I, Paul, myself”) as the one urging the Corinthians “by the meekness and gentleness of Christ” not to side with those among them who challenge his authority (v. 1a).
When absent from them, he writes boldly; when present, he is humble (v. 1b).
Paul does not wish to wield his authority (“be bold”) among them when he visits again, as he believes he must do toward his adversaries who think he is operating as if he were still an unregenerate man (v. 2).
He asserts that, while he uses his limited, physical body to conduct his life, he does not wage spiritual battles with unspiritual equipment (v. 3).
On the contrary, Paul employs divinely powerful weapons to destroy enemy “fortresses”: prideful speculations and rationalizations that argue against the knowledge of God.
[What “weapons” do you suppose he references here?]
He intends to defeat those who espouse erroneous theories, make them submit to Christ, and chastise those who disobey His commandment (vv. 4-6).
Paul employs either a rhetorical question (“Do you look at things according to outward appearance?”; NKJV) or a strong assertion (“You are looking at things as they are outwardly”; NASB) to rebuke those who thought that he was not a Christian leader because his bodily presence was weak (v. 7a; cf. v. 10; see 1 Sam. 9:2; 16:7).
He assures them that he belongs to Christ just as does the one whom they exalt (v. 7b).
Since Paul knows his authority comes from God and he is using it to build up the church (not destroy it), he fears no embarrassment about strongly asserting the Lord’s gift to him.
The apostle writes that he could communicate even greater power through his letters, but he did not wish to frighten them (vv. 8-9).
His opponents acknowledge the impressive nature of Paul’s letters, but sneer at his weak, bodily presence and his mediocre rhetorical skills (v. 10).
Paul quickly reminds one particular adversary that he will one day personally confront him with the authority he exemplifies in his writings (v. 11).
Considering as foolish his opponents’ practice of comparing their influence and authority to others in their company, the apostle quickly shuns it; Paul confesses he is content to boast only within divinely appointed borders (vv. 12-13).
He denies that he has extended his evangelistic efforts beyond those limits, for God had assigned Paul to reach Corinth; therefore, he is not working where other missionaries have gone (vv. 14-15a).
Paul hopes that the Corinthians will grow enough spiritually to help him move his ministry to “the regions beyond you,” to places where no apostle had gone before (vv. 15b-16).
Citing Jeremiah 9:24, Paul reiterates the importance of giving God the glory for accomplishments; he points out that exalting oneself does not meet with the Lord’s approval (vv. 17-18).
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