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Bible Commentaries
2 Corinthians 8

Bengel's Gnomon of the New TestamentBengel's Gnomon

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Verse 1

2 Corinthians 8:1 . Γνωρίζομεν , we make known ) This exhortation is inserted in this passage, which is extremely well suited to the purpose, and, after the preceding very sweet declaration of mutual love, with which it is connected by the mention of Titus; it is also set before them according to the order of Paul’s journey, that the epistle may afterwards terminate in a graver admonition. Moreover the exhortation itself, even to the Corinthians, in respect to whom the apostle might have used the authority of a father, is even most especially liberal and evangelical. τὴν χάριν , the grace ) When anything is well done, there is grace to those, who do it, and also grace to those, to whom it is done. This word here is of frequent occurrence, 2 Corinthians 8:4 ; 2Co 8:6-7 ; 2 Corinthians 8:9 ; 2 Corinthians 8:19 ; ch. 2 Corinthians 9:8 ; 2 Corinthians 9:14 .

Verse 2

2 Corinthians 8:2 . Θλίψεως , of distress (pressuræ) [ of affliction ]) joined to poverty, 2 Corinthians 8:13 , θλιψις , a burden of distress . περισσεία καὶ πτωχεία , abundance and poverty ) An oxymoron and hendiadys pleasantly interwoven. Κατὰ βάθους ) Βάθους is the genitive, governed by κατὰ : comp. κατὰ , Matthew 8:32 : also E. Schmid., 2 John, 2 Corinthians 8:3 . He quotes his own syntax of Greek particles, an excellent book. ἁπλότητος , of [liberality] simplicity ) Simplicity renders men liberal, ch. 2 Corinthians 9:11 [ ἀπλότητα , which Engl. V. renders bountifulness ].

Verse 3

2 Corinthians 8:3 . Ὅτι , because ) Anaphora with epitasis. [44] ΜΑΡΤΥΡῶ , I bear witness ) This expression has respect to the words, κατὰ , according to , and παρὰ , beyond . αὐθαίρετοι ) of their own accord; not only not being besought, but they themselves beseeching us. See the following verse.

[44] See App. The same ὅτι , already used 2 Corinthians 8:2 , is again by Anaphora used here, to mark the beginnings of sections or sentences. The κατὰ δύναμιν makes an emphatic addition or epitasis. ED.

Verse 4

2 Corinthians 8:4 . Δεόμενοι , beseeching [ praying ]) They had been affectionately admonished by Paul, not to do beyond their power . The Macedonians on the other hand besought [prayed], namely, that their gift might be received. τὴν χάριν καὶ τὴν κοινωνίαν , [45] grace and fellowship [46] ) a Hendiadys.

[45] Rec. Text adds after ἁγίους the words δέξασθαι ἡμᾶς . But BCD( Λ )G fg Vulg. omit them. ED.

[46] = their free gift of fellowship to be ministered to. ED.

Verse 5

2 Corinthians 8:5 . Ἔδωκαν , they gave ) This word mamtains the whole structure of the paragraph in the following sense: Not only have they given grace and a proof of fellowship, or δόμα , that gift, but they have altogether given their own selves. So Chrysostom, Homil. 16. on 2 Cor.; comp. especially Homil. 17, where he repeats ὑπὲρ δύναμιν ἔδωκαν . The nominatives αὐθαίρετοι , δεόμενοι are connected with the same verb ἔδωκαν ; and the accusatives χάριν , κοινωνίαν , ἑαυτοὺς , depend upon it, in an easy and agreeable sense. The transcribers have thrust in δέξασθαι ἡμᾶς after ἁγίους ; and those who consider these words as Paul’s, give themselves great trouble, especially Beza. Different commentators have used different glosses, which are quite superfluous. πρῶτον , first ) their own selves, before [in preference and precedency to] their gift; comp. Romans 15:16 . τῷ Κυρίῳ , to the Lord ) Christ. καὶ ἡμῖν διὰ θελήματος Θεοῦ , and to us by the will of God ) It is therefore called the grace of God , 2 Corinthians 8:1 . The Macedonians did not of themselves previously determine the amount of the gift, but left that to the disposal of the apostle.

Verse 6

2 Corinthians 8:6 . Εἰς ) Not the end, but the consequence is intended [“insomuch that”]. καθῶς προενήρξατο , as he formerly began ) in regard to spiritual things, ch. 2 Corinthians 7:15 . To him, who has begun well, the things which are beyond turn out easy. He had gone to the Corinthians; he was going to the Corinthians. ἐπιτελέσῃ , he would finish ) in this matter . [ If you have attempted any good thing , finish it. V. g.] εἰς ὑμᾶς , in respect of you ) that you might imitate the Macedonians.

Verse 7

2 Corinthians 8:7 . Ἀλλʼ ὥσπερ , but as ) He says, but . The things which Paul had formerly done with the Corinthians by means of Titus, had the force of an injunction , ἐπιταγὴ , 2 Corinthians 7:15 . Comp. 1 Corinthians 5:7 . He now acts differently: therefore the word that presently after depends on, I speak , in the following verse. ὥσπερ , as ) The Spirit leads to abundance in all respects. γνώσει , in knowledge ) This is mentioned appositely: comp. ch. 2 Corinthians 6:6 , note. Its conjugate γνώμην occurs presently at 2 Corinthians 8:10 : comp. 1 Corinthians 7:25 , note. καὶ πάσῃ σπουδῇ ) and in all diligence . σπουδῇ here comprehends ‘ faith ,’ and ‘ utterance ’ (of the heart and of the mouth), ‘ knowledge ,’ etc. And the genus or whole is often subjoined to the species or one or more parts, by introducing the connecting link, and all; ch. 2 Corinthians 10:5 ; Matthew 3:5 ; Matthew 23:27 ; Mark 7:3 ; Luke 11:42 ; Luke 13:28 ; Luke 21:29 ; Acts 7:14 ; Acts 15:17 ; Acts 22:5 ; Ephesians 1:21 ; Ephesians 4:31 ; Ephesians 5:3 ; Hebrews 13:24 , James 3:16 ; Revelation 7:16 ; Revelation 21:8 ; Revelation 22:15 . καὶ τῇ ἀγάπῃ , and in love ) He subjoins to the genus [ σπουδὴ ] the species [ ἀγάπη ] which is most connected with the matter in hand [viz. that they should contribute to their brethren in need]. ἐξ , from ) He does not say, in your love toward us , but he says, in love from you in us [in the love which is on your part, and is treasured up in us], because the Corinthians were in the heart of Paul, ch. 2 Corinthians 7:3 . He pleads their love as an argument: he does not add, that they should give the more on account of Paul, who had preached to them the Gospel gratuitously. ἵνα , that ) This word depends on λέγω , I speak , elegantly subjoined [ 2Co 8:8 ].

Verse 8

2 Corinthians 8:8 . Διὰ , by ) Having mentioned to you in 2 Corinthians 8:1 , the diligence of others. καὶ ) also . This is more powerful than any commandment . ἀγάπης , of love ) nothing is more forward in zeal [referring to σπουδῆς ] than love. δοκιμάζων , proving ) The participle depends on 2 Corinthians 8:10 .

Verse 9

2 Corinthians 8:9 . Γινώσκετε γὰρ , for ye know ) by that knowledge , which ought to include love . χάριν , the grace ) love most sincere, abundant, and free. ἐπτώχευσε , He became poor ) He bore the burden of poverty; and yet this is not demanded from you: 2 Corinthians 8:14 . ἐκείνου , of Him, His ) This intimates the previous greatness of the Lord. πτωχείᾳ πλουτήσητε , through His poverty ye might be rich ) So through the instrumentality of all those things, which the Lord has suffered, the contrary benefits have been procured for us, 1 Peter 2:24 , end of ver.

Verse 10

2 Corinthians 8:10 . Καὶ , and ) συμφέρει , is expedient ) An argument from the useful , moving them to give: So, 2 Corinthians 8:16 , ὑπὲρ . A most pleasant paradox. τὸ ποιῆσαι , to do ) for the past year. τὸ θέλειν , [to be forward] to be willing ) for this year.

Verse 11

2 Corinthians 8:11 . Τὸ ποιῆσαι , the doing ) that you may do again. ἐπιτελέσατε , perform ) The beginning and especially the end of actions lays the foundation of praise or else blame, Genesis 11:6 ; Joshua 6:26 ; Jeremiah 44:25 . ὅπως , that ) namely, it may be . ἐκ τοῦ ἔχειν , out of that which you have ) not more. The proposition [theme for discussion] in relation to what follows.

Verse 12

2 Corinthians 8:12 . Πρόκειται , if there be obvious [if there be first]) So πονηρία πρόκειται ὑμῖν , evil is before you , Exodus 10:10 . εὐπρόσδεκτος , he is well-acccepted or very acceptable ) to God, ch. 2 Corinthians 9:7 , with his gift. [Not as Engl. V. “it is accepted;” 2Co 9:7 confirms this, “The Lord loveth a cheerful giver .”] οὐ καθὸ οὐκ ἔχει , not according to what a man has not ) For thus [were God’s favour regulated by the amount of the gift, not by the willingness of the giver] a more humble person would be less acceptable.

Verse 13

2 Corinthians 8:13 . Οὐ γὰρ ) for not , viz. the object aimed at is not . The rule of exercising liberality. ἄνεσις · θλίψις ) The same antithesis is found, 2 Thessalonians 1:6-7 . ἐξ ἰσότητος , by an equality ) in carnal things. [ Love thy neighbour , as thyself (not more). V. g.] ἐν τῷ νῦν καιρῷ , at the present [juncture] time ) This limitation does not occur again in the following verse. τὸ περίσσευμα , abundance ) in external resources [means]. The imperative γενέσθω is courteously omitted, for he does not command , 2 Corinthians 8:8 .

Verse 14

2 Corinthians 8:14 . Καὶ τὸ περίσσευμα , that also their abundance ) in spiritual things. [47] γένηται εἰς ) We have the same expression at Galatians 3:14 . τὸ ὑμῶν ὑστέρημα , your [spiritual] want ) inasmuch as ye were Gentiles. Their [spiritual] abundance had already begun to supply the want of the Corinthians; he is therefore speaking of continuation, increase, and reward [in spiritual things]. Nor yet would I venture to deny, that the corporeal abundance also of the Jews would sometimes supply the corporeal want of the Gentiles; for the limitation is omitted, 2 Corinthians 8:13 , note. Although [the view that the reference is to] the spiritual abundance of Israel is supported by the parallel passage, Romans 15:27 . ἰσότης , equality ) in spiritual things.

[47] As Jews. Eng. Ver. evidently takes it of temporal abundance, i.e. , that if hereafter ye be in want, their abundance may supply you, as you now supply them. But Beng. takes both “ your abundance” (temporal) and theirs (spiritual) of the present time. ED.

Verse 15

2 Corinthians 8:15 . Γέγραπται , it is written ) Exodus 16:18 , οὐκ ἐπλεόνασεν ὁ τὸ πολὺ , καὶ ὁ τὸ ἔλαττον , οὐκ ἠλαττόνησεν . The article τὸ adds to it the force of a superlative [ τὸ πολὺ , the most; τὸ ἔλαττον , the least ]. ὁ τὸ πολὺ , he who the most ) viz. συλλέξας , gathered . There is a similar expression, Numbers 35:8 , ἀπὸ τῶν τὰ πολλὰ , πολλά . οὐχ ἐπλεόνασε ) he had not more than an homer.

Verse 16

2 Corinthians 8:16 . Χάρις , thanks ) There was earnest care in me [myself]: from which proceeded [to which was owing] the exhortation to Titus; but there was in Titus himself the same earnest care, divinely inspired; for which I return thanks to God. See how widely this duty of thanksgiving extends. Often in some particular case, one person has greater care than others, as was the case with Titus. This circumstance ought not to be blamed, but to be acknowledged as the gift of God .

Verse 17

2 Corinthians 8:17 . Παράκλησιν , the exhortation ) that which is given at 2 Corinthians 8:6 , namely, that he should go to you. σπουδαιότερος , more forward ) more active than to require exhortation, 2 Corinthians 8:22 .

Verse 18

2 Corinthians 8:18 . Συνεπέμψαμεν , we have sent along with him ) Timotheus and I. So 2 Corinthians 8:1 , etc. This word is repeated at 2Co 8:22 by anaphora; [48] and in this passage, where it first occurs, is emphatic with μετὰ . τὸν ἀδελφὸν , the brother ) It was unnecessary to name this companion of Titus, and that ‘brother,’ who is spoken of at 2 Corinthians 8:22 . See ch. 2 Corinthians 12:18 . The ancients were of opinion, that Luke was intended; see the close of the epistle; comp. Philemon 1:24 . οὗ , of whom ) He, who is faithful in the Gospel, will be faithful also in matters of inferior importance.

[48] See Append. The repetition of the same word marking the beginnings of sections.

Verse 19

2 Corinthians 8:19 . Χειροτονηθεὶς [ chosen ] appointed ) This participle is not construed with, he went unto you , 2 Corinthians 8:17 : for that construction would interrupt the connection, 2 Corinthians 8:18 ; 2 Corinthians 8:20 , συνεπέμψαμεν στελλόμενοι , we sent along with avoiding . Therefore ὃς , who , is to be supplied, taken from οὗ , of whom, whose , in the preceding verse. The churches had given this companion to Paul, whithersoever he might go. Hence they are called the apostles , or messengers of the churches , 2 Corinthians 8:23 : and Paul declares, that this office here also has respect to the present business. From this it is evident, that the rights of the churches are mutual [reciprocal]. συνέκδημος , the companion of our travels . Those, who read with Wolfius, συνέκδημος ὑμῶν , refer to it by mistake the various reading of the pronoun at the end of the verse. [49] ΣῪΝ , with ) construed with συνέκδημος , the companion of our travels . They carried along with them the gift of the Macedonians to Jerusalem. πρὸς , to ) construed with χειροτονηθεὶς , chosen, appointed . αὐτοῦ τοῦ Κυριοῦ , of the [ same ] Lord Himself ) viz. Christ, 2 Corinthians 8:21 . καὶ προθυμίαν ἡμῶν , our ready mind ) The proofs for reading ἡμῶν are by far the most numerous, and ὙΜῶΝ has crept into a few copies, by an obvious exchange of the Greek pronoun, which was more readily made on account of the alliteration of the Υ in ὙΜῶΝ with ΠΡΟΘΥΜΊΑΝ . The churches had charged the brother of whom he is here speaking, the companion of Paul, with their own gift, not with a view to the readiness of the Corinthians , which had less relation to the churches, but with a view to produce readiness on the part of Paul and of that brother, i.e. lest for fear of that blame , of which he afterwards speaks, their willingness to undertake and finish the business might be lessened.

[49] Therefore both the margin of the 2d, as well as of the larger Ed. and the Germ. Ver., prefer the reading ἡμῶν . E. B.

At the end of the verse ἡμῶν is the reading of all the best Uncial MSS., BCG, etc., Vulg., etc. Rec. Text has ὑμῶν with but slight authority. ED.

Verse 20

2 Corinthians 8:20 . Ἁδρότητι , in this abundance ) This term does not permit the Corinthians to be restricted [niggardly] in their contribution.

Verse 21

2 Corinthians 8:21 . Ἐνώπιον Κυρίου , in the sight of the Lord ) in private, in truth: comp. Romans 12:17 , note.

Verse 22

2 Corinthians 8:22 . [51] Αὐτοῖς , with them ) with Titus and the brother. πεποιθήσει , through the confidence ) construed with, we have sent along with , here and at 2 Corinthians 8:18 : comp. v. 23. εἰς ὑμᾶς , which we feel towards [ in ] you ) concerning your liberality.

[51] Ενῶπιον ἀνθρώπων , in the sight of men ) Men are depraved, and are therefore suspicious. Hence also it is just, that men of the highest integrity should avert all suspicion. V. g.

Verse 23

2 Corinthians 8:23 . Ὑπὲρ , [pro] in behalf of, for ) This gives the motive of the confidence . [52] Τίτου , κοινωνὸς , in behalf of Titus, a partner ) These words are in apposition; comp. [ch. 2Co 11:28 ] Luke 22:20 [ διαθηκὴ ἐν τῷ αἳματί μου , τὸ ὑπὲρ ὑμῶν ἐκχυνόμενον ], note. ἀδελφοὶ , brethren ) It might have been said for , or in behalf of our brethren , but the word κοινωνὸς , partner , coming in between as the nominative case, brethren is also put in the nominative, and the verb are is supplied, i.e. , whether they are and are regarded as our brethren for the sake of whom we are confident you will be liberal]. ἀπόστολοι ) deputies, messengers; persons who on the public account execute a pious office. Again supply are .

[52] i.e . We feel confident you will be liberal for the sake of Titus. ED.

Verse 24

2 Corinthians 8:24 . Ἔνδειξιν ἐνδείξασθε ) This expression is the same idiom as χαίρειν χαράν . [53] εἰς αὐτοὺς , εἰς πρόσωπον τῶν ἐκκλησιῶν , to them, in the face of the churches ) The knowledge of the matter was sure to spread by means of the messengers [deputies] among the churches.

[53] An accus. of a cognate signification to the verb, Manifest a manifestation. ED.

Bibliographical Information
Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on 2 Corinthians 8". Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jab/2-corinthians-8.html. 1897.
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