As those reconciled to God and to each other, Christians support each other in their physical needs. St. Paul returns to this topic from his first letter to the Corinthians as he speaks about their participation in the offering for the saints in Jerusalem. Out of their joy and poverty, the saints in Macedonia have given generously according to their means. Now St. Paul calls the Corinthians to similar participation in this act of grace, which flows from the grace that Jesus has shown by becoming poor so that we could share in His riches. As the Corinthians finish their participation in this offering, God will continue to supply His people with their daily bread.
Rev. Chris Hull, pastor at Immanuel Lutheran Church and Student Center in Macomb, IL, joins host Rev. Timothy Appel to study 2 Corinthians 8:1-15.
“A Letter of Comfort” is a series on Sharper Iron that goes through the epistle of 2 Corinthians. St. Paul writes again to the Christians in Corinth to bring them the ongoing comfort of the Gospel in the midst of the attacks of false doctrine from so-called “super apostles.” He seeks to give confidence to the Corinthians—and to us—that the good news of Christ crucified and risen proclaimed by His called ministers will accomplish all that He intends.
Sharper Iron, hosted by Rev. Timothy Appel, looks at the text of Holy Scripture both in its broad context and its narrow detail, all for the sake of proclaiming Christ crucified and risen for sinners. Two pastors engage with God’s Word to sharpen not only their own faith and knowledge, but the faith and knowledge of all who listen.
Sharper Iron is underwritten by Lutheran Church Extension Fund, where your investments help support the work of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. Visit lcef.org.
2 Corinthians 8:1-15
Encouragement to Give Generously
8 We want you to know, brothers,[a] about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia, 2 for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. 3 For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own accord, 4 begging us earnestly for the favor[b] of taking part in the relief of the saints— 5 and this, not as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then by the will of God to us. 6 Accordingly, we urged Titus that as he had started, so he should complete among you this act of grace. 7 But as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all earnestness, and in our love for you[c]—see that you excel in this act of grace also.
8 I say this not as a command, but to prove by the earnestness of others that your love also is genuine. 9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich. 10 And in this matter I give my judgment: this benefits you, who a year ago started not only to do this work but also to desire to do it. 11 So now finish doing it as well, so that your readiness in desiring it may be matched by your completing it out of what you have. 12 For if the readiness is there, it is acceptable according to what a person has, not according to what he does not have. 13 For I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened, but that as a matter of fairness 14 your abundance at the present time should supply their need, so that their abundance may supply your need, that there may be fairness. 15 As it is written, “Whoever gathered much had nothing left over, and whoever gathered little had no lack.”
English Standard Version (ESV) The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. esv.org