2 Corinthians 8: Act on Good Intentions

How could Paul regard pain and suffering as God’s favor?

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2 Corinthians 8:1 My dear friends, I want you to be aware of God’s favor upon the gatherings of believers in Macedonia.
8:2 In the severity of their affliction, the joy of the Lord is being revealed. In their great depth of poverty, they are rich in giving.
King James
2 Corinthians 8:1 Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia;
8:2 How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality.

What was the basis of Paul’s reluctance in accepting a gift for the church in Jerusalem?

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2 Corinthians 8:3 I can say without fear of contradiction that they gave beyond what they realistically could afford, only because that’s what they wanted to do.
8:4 They begged us to accept their gift and take it to the believers in Jerusalem.
8:5 The amount was much more than we had hoped, which is explained by their complete dedication to the Lord’s will and their commitment to our ministry.
King James
2 Corinthians 8:3 For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves;
8:4 Praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints.
8:5 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.

What motivated Titus to go back to Corinth?

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2 Corinthians 8:6 This led us to ask Titus to come again to you and finish what was started, that you too should benefit in this generosity.
8:7 Since you excel in so many areas: in faith, knowledge, and speaking, and your enthusiasm and care for us is so great, I want you to be abundantly blessed in giving, as well.
King James
2 Corinthians 8:6 Insomuch that we desired Titus, that as he had begun, so he would also finish in you the same grace also.
8:7 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.

How do you determine how much or how little you should give?

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2 Corinthians 8:8 I don’t want you to give reluctantly, because it’s a requirement, but be encouraged by how eagerly others have helped and take advantage of this opportunity to express your love.
King James
2 Corinthians 8:8 I speak not by commandment, but by occasion of the forwardness of others, and to prove the sincerity of your love.

In what ways should Jesus be an example for our giving?

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2 Corinthians 8:9 You know the generosity of our Lord Jesus Christ. He left his place of riches and glory and became poor, subject to the frailties of human flesh, so that through his poverty we might be made rich.
King James
2 Corinthians 8:9 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.

How do our actions confirm or deny what we say we want to do?

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2 Corinthians 8:10 Here’s what I think: A year ago, you were the first who wanted to give. Now it’s time to finish what you started.
8:11 A plan is good only when we see its fulfillment, so let your desire be matched with action. Let everyone give in proportion to what they have.
King James
2 Corinthians 8:10 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.
8:11 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.

Why do you think Paul didn’t exhort believers to give sacrificially?

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2 Corinthians 8:12 Great or small, whatever you want to give is fine—just whatever is reasonable according to what you have.
8:13 I don’t intend for you to make life easy for others and hard for yourselves. Let your abundance supply what others lack. And then their abundance can supply what you lack, balancing the resources with the needs.
King James
2 Corinthians 8:12 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.
8:13 For I mean not that other men be eased, and ye burdened.

When people have more, what incentive do they have to give to those who have less?

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Exodus 16:18 When the manna was measured out, everyone had just enough. Those who gathered much had nothing left over, and those who gathered little had no lack.
2 Corinthians 8:14 Right now, you have an abundance that will help the need in Jerusalem, which will make it possible, later on, for them to help you out of their abundance. There needs to be an equality
8:15 as is written of the Israelites in the wilderness: Those who gathered much had nothing left over, and those who gathered little had no lack.
King James
Exodus 16:18 And when they did mete it with an omer, he that gathered much had nothing over, and he that gathered little had no lack; they gathered every man according to his eating.
2 Corinthians 8:14 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:
8:15 As it is written, He that had gathered much had nothing over; and he that had gathered little had no lack.

Why would Paul think that Titus cared as much for the Corinthians as he did?

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2 Corinthians 8:16 I am grateful that God has given Titus the same care for you that I have.
8:17 When we asked him to visit you again, he was overjoyed, eager to see you.
King James
2 Corinthians 8:16 But thanks be to God, which put the same earnest care into the heart of Titus for you.
8:17 For indeed he accepted the exhortation; but being more forward, of his own accord he went unto you.

Why might Paul have chosen not to name the highly regarded person sent with Titus)?

Author’s Thoughts
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2 Corinthians 8:18 We are sending another brother with Titus, one who is highly regarded among the churches for his preaching about Jesus.
8:19 Besides that, they appointed him to travel with us as we take our offering to Jerusalem to glorify the Lord and show our eagerness to help.
King James
2 Corinthians 8:18 And we have sent with him the brother, whose praise is in the gospel throughout all the churches;
8:19 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.

As long as our actions are honorable, why should we be concerned about what others think?

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2 Corinthians 8:20 We’re traveling as a group so no one can say we have mishandled your generous gift.
8:21 We want to be seen as honorable, both before God and before men.
King James
2 Corinthians 8:20 Avoiding this, that no man should blame us in this abundance which is administered by us:
8:21 Providing for honest things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men.

Why would Paul send a second man with Titus instead of sending him to another city?

Author’s Thoughts
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2 Corinthians 8:22 We’re sending a second man with Titus, one who has shown on many occasions his eagerness to help people. He comes with great enthusiasm because of what he’s been told about you.
King James
2 Corinthians 8:22 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.

To what extent should we respect people in ministry?

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2 Corinthians 8:23 If anyone questions Titus’s authority, know that he is my partner whom I have sent to help you. The churches have approved their message that glorifies our Lord Jesus Christ.
8:24 Therefore, give these men your utmost kindness and respect, which will justify my boasting to believers everywhere of your great love.
King James
2 Corinthians 8:23 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.
8:24 Wherefore shew ye to them, and before the churches, the proof of your love, and of our boasting on your behalf.