2 Corinthians 8:20
Avoiding this, that no man should blame us in this abundance which is administered by us:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(20) Avoiding this, that no man should blame us.—He gives this as the reason why he wished men thus appointed to travel with him. He desired to guard against the suspicion of those who were too ready to suspect. His companions were to bear witness that the sums which he took up with him from the several churches were what had actually been collected. They were to be, practically, auditors of his accounts. (See Note on Acts 20:4.) He dwells again, later on in the Epistle (2Corinthians 12:18-19), on the same measure of precaution.

This abundance.—The word, which primarily signifies “succulence,” or juiciness, as used of plants and fruits, does not occur elsewhere in the New Testament. It has rather the look of belonging to St. Luke’s medical vocabulary, and is, indeed, used by Hippocrates (De Gen, p. 28) of the full habit of body of a youth attaining puberty.

8:16-24 The apostle commends the brethren sent to collect their charity, that it might be known who they were, and how safely they might be trusted. It is the duty of all Christians to act prudently; to hinder, as far as we can, all unjust suspicions. It is needful, in the first place, to act uprightly in the sight of God, but things honest in the sight of men should also be attended to. A clear character, as well as a pure conscience, is requisite for usefulness. They brought glory to Christ as instruments, and had obtained honour from Christ to be counted faithful, and employed in his service. The good opinion others have of us, should be an argument with us to do well.Avoiding this - That is, I intend to prevent any blame from being cast upon me in regard to the management of these funds. For this purpose Paul had refused to have the entire management of the funds (see 1 Corinthians 12:3-4), and had secured the appointment of one who had the entire confidence of all the churches.

That no man should blame us - That no one should have any occasion to say that I had appropriated it to my own use or contrary to the will of the donors. Paul felt how dangerous it was for ministers to have much to do with money matters. He had a very deep impression of the necessity of keeping his own character free from suspicion on this subject. He knew how easy it might be for his enemies to raise the charge that he had embezzled the funds and appropriated them to his own use. He therefore insisted on having associated with him some one who had the entire confidence of the churches, and who should be appointed by them, and thus he was certain of being forever free from blame on the subject. A most important example for all ministers in regard to the pecuniary benefactions of the churches.

In this abundance ... - In this large amount which is contributed by the churches and committed to our disposal. Large sums of money are in our time committed to the ministers of the gospel in the execution of the objects of Christian benevolence. Nothing can be more wise than the example of Paul here, that they should have associated with them others who have the entire confidence of the churches, that there may not be occasion for slander to move her poisonous tongue against the ministers of religion.

20. Avoiding—taking precautions against this.

in this abundance—in the case of this abundance.

I have sent more than one as witnesses of what is done in this service, that none might reflect upon those trusted with the charity of divers churches, as if they converted any part of it to their own private use, and did not distribute it to those for whom it was given. The apostle here commendeth to all ministers and Christians, a prudent foresight of such scandalous imputations, as they may be exposed to (be their sincerity what it will) from the men of the world, who have no good will towards them; and a provision against them. Paul could have trusted Titus in the distribution of these alms, but he did not know what the world might say, had he discharged the trust alone; he therefore takes in one with him, to be a witness of his actions. Avoiding this, that no man should blame us,.... There is an allusion in these words to mariners, who, when sensible of danger, steer their course another way, in order to shun a rock and secure themselves. So the apostles being aware of the censorious spirits of some persons, and to prevent all suspicion of their converting any part of what they had collected to their own private use, sent Titus with it, a man of known probity and integrity; and he not by himself only, but another brother with him, one who had obtained a good report as a minister of the Gospel in all the churches: and, besides, was appointed not by the apostles, but by the churches themselves, to this service. This shows the good conduct, and great prudence of the apostle, and his care and solicitude that the ministry be not blamed; he knew he had many enemies, and how subject such are to suspicion and jealousy, when persons are intrusted with much, which was the case here; for it is added,

in this abundance which is administered by us: which designs the very large contributions which were made by the churches, through the means of the apostle's moving, exciting, and encouraging them thereunto; and which were committed to their care and trust, and at their entreaty they had accepted of.

Avoiding this, that no man should blame us in this {l} abundance which is administered by us:

(l) In this plentiful liberality of the churches, which is committed to our trust.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
2 Corinthians 8:20. Στελλόμενοι τοῦτο] goes along with συνεπέμψαμεν in 2 Corinthians 8:18. We have sent also the brother, who is honoured by all, and in addition has been chosen by the churches as our associate in this matter, inasmuch as we thereby avoid this, that no one, etc. Rückert (comp. de Wette) arbitrarily, because with unnecessary harshness, holds that Paul has abandoned the construction, and instead of writing στελλόμεθα γάρ, has put the participle, because he had had in his mind the thought: “I have caused him to be elected.” Hofmann connects it in an abnormal construction with προθυμ. ἡμῶν, which in itself would be admissible (see on 2 Corinthians 1:7), but cannot suit here, because πρὸς τ. προθυμ. ἡμ. was a definition of the aim contemplated not by Paul, but by the χειροτονήσαντες; the connection would be illogical.

According to linguistic usage, στελλόμενοι τοῦτο (see Kypke, Obss. II. p. 259 f., 344; Schott on 2 Thess. p. 271) may mean: (1) making this arrangement[282] (so, in the main, Kypke, Rückert, Hofmann), in which case there is not brought out any significant bearing of the words, and besides, the aorist participle could not but be expected; or (2) inasmuch as we draw back from this, shrink from and avoid this (Hesychius: στέλλεσθαι· φοβεῖσθαι); so Chrysostom, Theophylact, Luther, and most, following the Itala and Vulgate: “devitantes,” Gothic: “bivandjandans.” Comp. LXX. Malachi 2:5. The latter is to be preferred as most appropriate in the connection, and agreeing with 2 Thessalonians 3:6. The reading ὙΠΟΣΤΕΛΛΌΜΕΝΟΙ in F G is a correct gloss. Paul in his humility and practical wisdom did not deem it beneath his dignity to obviate calumnie.

ΤΟῦΤΟ] would in itself be superfluous, but it serves as an emphatic preparation for the following ΜΉ ΤΙς Κ.Τ.Λ. See Winer, p. 152 [E. T. 200].

ΜΉ ΤΙς ἩΜᾶς ΜΩΜΉΣ.] ΜΉ
after the notion of anxiety (Baeumlein, Partik. p. 288), which lies in στελλόμ.: that no one may reproach us (as if we were embezzling, not dealing conscientiously with the distribution, and the like) in this abundance.

ἐν] in puncto of this abundance. Comp. ἐν τῷ εὐαγγ., 2 Corinthians 8:18; ἘΝ Τῇ ΧΆΡ., 2 Corinthians 8:19.

ἉΔΡΌΤΗς
, from ἉΔΡΌς, dense, thick, means in Homer (Il. xxii. 263, xvi. 857, xxiv. 6): “habitudo corporis firma et succulenta,” Duncan, Lex., ed. Rost, p. 20. Afterwards it occurs in all relations of the adjective, as in reference to plants and fruits (Theophr., Herod. i. 17), to speech (Diog. Laert. 10:83), to tone (Athen. x. p. 415 A), to snow (Herod. iv. 31), etc. Hence what abundance is meant, is determined solely by the context. Here: abundance of charitable gifts. According to Wetstein, Zosimus has it also four times “pro ingenti largitione.” Rückert’s proposal to understand it of the great zeal of the contributors, which was produced through the apostle’s ministry (τῇ διακ. ὑφʼ ἡμῶν), would only be admissible in the event of there being anything in the context about such zeal. As it is, however, ἘΝ Τῇ ἉΔΡ. ΤΑΎΤῌ is in substance the same as ἘΝ Τῇ ΧΆΡΙΤΙ ΤΑΎΤῌ in 2 Corinthians 8:19. Comp. 2 Corinthians 8:3.

[282] In this case τοῦτο would not have to be taken as equivalent to ἑπὶ τοῦτο (preparing ourselves for this), but as simple accusative of the object, as in Polyb. ix. 24. 4 : πορείαν ἐπενόει στέλλεσθαι, Arrian, An. v. 17. 4; Wis 14:1; 2Ma 5:1. Comp. Blomfield, Gloss, in Aesch. Pers. p. 157 f.2 Corinthians 8:20. στελλόμενοι τοῦτο κ.τ.λ.: avoiding this (στελλέσθαι might mean “to prepare” as at Wis 14:1, 2Ma 5:1, but Malachi 2:5 and reff. make us decide for the Vulgate rendering devitantes; the metaphor is a naval one, of shifting sail so as to avoid an enemy’s pursuit), that any man should blame us in the matter of this bounty (see 2 Corinthians 12:18; ἁδρός = full, ripe, rich, as at 1 Kings 1:9, Job 34:19, Isaiah 34:7, Jeremiah 5:5, and so ἀδρότης stands for a considerable and liberal—a “fat”—contribution) which is being administered by us. For the broken constr. στελλόμενοι κ.τ.λ. cf. 2 Corinthians 5:12, 2 Corinthians 7:5.20. avoiding this] The word is used in Greek of furling the sails of a vessel to avoid a disaster. It occurs again in the N.T. in 2 Thessalonians 3:6. But it may perhaps be translated making this arrangement.

that no man should blame us] Chrysostom and Calvin remark on the care taken by the Apostle to avoid giving the slightest cause for suspicion. He did not, says the former, send Titus alone. “He was not,” says the latter, “so satisfied with himself as to think it unworthy of his dignity to avoid calumny.” And he adds, “certainly nothing exposes a man to unpleasant insinuations more than the management of public money.” “In this is to be observed St Paul’s wisdom, not only as a man of the world, but as a man of God. He knew that he lived in a censorious age, that he was as a city set on a hill, that the world would scan his every act and his every word, and attribute all conceivable and even inconceivable evil to what he did in all honour. It was just because of St Paul’s honour and innocence that he was likely to have omitted this prudence.” Robertson.

abundance] The Greek word occurs only here in the N.T. It comes from a root meaning firm, solid, compact, or perhaps with some lexicographers, large, and hence extensive, abundant.2 Corinthians 8:20. Ἁδρότητι, in this abundance) This term does not permit the Corinthians to be restricted [niggardly] in their contribution.Verse 20. - Avoiding this. The object in sending Titus and the brother was to cut away the possibility of blame and suspicion. The word "avoiding" (stellomenoi) literally means "furling sail," and then "taking precautions." It may, however, mean "making this arrangement" (see 2 Thessalonians 3:6). Too much stress has been laid on St. Paul's "use of nautical terms" (Acts 20:20; Galatians 2:12, etc.). They belong, in fact, to the very phraseology of the Greek language. That no man should blame us (see 2 Corinthians 6:3). St. Paul here sets a valuable and necessary example to all Christians who are entrusted with the management of charitable funds. It is their duty to take every step which may place them above the possibility of of suspicion. Their management of the sums entrusted to them should be obviously and transparently business-like and honourable. St. Paul taught this behaviour both by example and by precept (Romans 12:17; Philippians 4:8). There is such a thing as a foolish and reprehensible indifference to public opinion (1 Peter 2:12). Yet with all his noble carefulness, St. Paul did not escape this very slander (2 Corinthians 12:18). In this abundance. The word, which occurs here only, means literally "succulence," but in the LXX. the adjective means "rich" (1 Kings 1:9). It here implies that the sum which had been collected by St. Paul's exertion was a large one. Avoiding this (στελλόμενοι τοῦτο)

The verb, which occurs only here and 2 Thessalonians 3:6, means to arrange or provide for. As preparation involves a getting together of things, it passes into the meaning of collect, gather: then contract, as the furling of sails; so, to draw back, draw one's self away, as 2 Thessalonians 3:6. Connect with we have sent, 2 Corinthians 8:18. Compare 2 Corinthians 12:17, 2 Corinthians 12:18, where it appears that he had been charged with collecting money for his own purposes.

Abundance (ἁδρότητι)

Only here in the New Testament. Lit., thickness, and so, of the vigor or strength of the human body or of plants. Thus Hesiod speaks of the ears of corn nodding in their thickness. Herodotus: "When the harvest was ripe or full grown, (ἅδρος), he (Alyattes) marched his army into Milesia" (i. 17). Homer of Patroclus: "His soul departed, leaving behind his strength (ἁδροτῆτα," "Iliad," 16. 857). Herodotus uses it of thickly-falling snow (iv. 31). In the Septuagint it is used of the rich or great, 1 Kings 1:9, princes (A.V., men of Judah); 2 Kings 10:6, great men. The A.V. abundance is better than Rev. bounty, which, though properly implying abundance, is currently taken as synonymous with gift. The reference is to the large contribution.

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