Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
For as touching the ministering to the saints, it is superfluous for me to write to you:
2Co 9:1-15. Reasons for His Sending Titus. The Greater Their Bountifulness, the More Shall Be the Return of Blessing to Them, and Thanksgiving to God.
1. For—connected with 2Co 8:16: "Show love to the messengers of the churches; for as concerns the ministration for the saints, it is superfluous for me to write to you who are so forward already."
write—emphatical: It is superfluous to "write," for you will have witnesses present [Bengel].
For I know the forwardness of your mind, for which I boast of you to them of Macedonia, that Achaia was ready a year ago; and your zeal hath provoked very many.
2. ready a year ago—to send off the money, owing to the apostle's former exhortation (1Co 16:1, 2).
your zeal—Greek, "the zeal from you," that is, on your part; propagated from you to others.
provoked—that is, stimulated.
very many—Greek, "the greater number," namely, of the Macedonians.
Yet have I sent the brethren, lest our boasting of you should be in vain in this behalf; that, as I said, ye may be ready:
3. have I sent—we should say, "I send"; whereas the ancients put it in the past, the time which it would be by the time that the letter arrived.
the brethren—(2Co 8:18, 22)—Titus and the two others.
should be in vain in this behalf—"should be proved futile in this particular," however true in general (2Co 7:4). A tacit compliment, softening the sharp monition.
as I said—as I was saying (2Co 9:2).
Lest haply if they of Macedonia come with me, and find you unprepared, we (that we say not, ye) should be ashamed in this same confident boasting.
4. if they of Macedonia—rather as Greek, "if Macedonians."
unprepared—with your collection; see 2Co 9:2, "ready," Greek, "prepared."
we, not to say ye—Ye would naturally feel more ashamed for yourselves, than we (who boasted of you) would for you.
confident boasting—The oldest manuscripts read simply "confidence," namely, in your liberality.
Therefore I thought it necessary to exhort the brethren, that they would go before unto you, and make up beforehand your bounty, whereof ye had notice before, that the same might be ready, as a matter of bounty, and not as of covetousness.
5. that they would go before—Translate, "that they should," &c.
whereof ye had notice before—rather, "promised before"; "long announced by me to the Macedonians" (2Co 9:2) [Bengel]. "Your promised bounty" [Ellicott and others].
not as of covetousness—Translate, "not as matter of covetousness," which it would be, if you gave niggardly.
But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.
6. I say—Ellicott and others supply the ellipsis thus: "But remember this."
bountifully—literally, "with," or "in blessings." The word itself implies a beneficent spirit in the giver (compare 2Co 9:7, end), and the plural implies the abundance and liberality of the gifts. "The reaping shall correspond to the proportions and spirit of the sowing" [Bengel]. Compare Eze 34:26, "Showers of blessing."
Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.
7. according as he purposeth in his heart—Let the full consent of the free will go with the gift [Alford]. Opposed to "of necessity," as "grudgingly" is opposed to "a cheerful giver" (Pr 22:9; 11:25; Isa 32:8).
And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:
8. all grace—even in external goods, and even while ye bestow on others [Bengel].
that—"in order that." God's gifts are bestowed on us, not that we may have them to ourselves, but that we may the more "abound in good works" to others.
sufficiency—so as not to need the help of others, having yourselves from God "bread for your food" (2Co 9:10).
in all things—Greek, "in everything."
every good work—of charity to others, which will be "your seed sown" (2Co 9:10).
(As it is written, He hath dispersed abroad; he hath given to the poor: his righteousness remaineth for ever.
9. As it is written—realizing the highly blessed character portrayed in Ps 112:9.
He—the "good man" (Ps 112:5).
dispersed—as seed sown with full and open hand, without anxious thought in what direction each grain may fall. It is implied also that he has always what he may disperse [Bengel]. So in Ps 112:9.
the poor—The Greek word is found here only in New Testament, "one in straitened circumstances, who earns his bread by labor." The word usually employed means "one so poor as to live by begging."
his righteousness—Here "beneficence": the evidence of his being righteous before God and man. Compare De 24:13; Mt 6:1, "alms"; Greek, "righteousness."
remaineth—unexhausted and unfailing.
Now he that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for your food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness;)
10. Translate, as in Isa 55:10, "He that ministereth (supplieth) seed to the sower and bread for food" (literally, "bread for eating").
minister—rather future, as the oldest manuscripts, "Shall minister (supply) and multiply."
your seed—your means for liberality.
the fruits of your righteousness—the heavenly rewards for your Christian charity (Mt 10:42). Righteousness shall be itself the reward, even as it is the thing rewarded (Ho 10:12; Mt 5:6; 6:33).
Being enriched in every thing to all bountifulness, which causeth through us thanksgiving to God.
11. Compare 2Co 9:8.
bountifulness—Greek, "single-minded liberality." Translated "simplicity," Ro 12:8.
causeth through us—literally, "worketh through us"; that is, through our instrumentality as the distributors.
thanksgiving—on the part of the recipients.
For the administration of this service not only supplieth the want of the saints, but is abundant also by many thanksgivings unto God;
12. Greek, "The ministration of this public service (on your part) is not only still further supplying the wants of the saints (besides the supplies from other quarters), but is abounding also (namely, in respect to relieving the necessities of others in poverty) through many thanksgivings to God."
Whiles by the experiment of this ministration they glorify God for your professed subjection unto the gospel of Christ, and for your liberal distribution unto them, and unto all men;
13. by—through occasion of.
experiment—Translate, "the experience" [Ellicott and others]. Or, "the experimental proof" of your Christian character, afforded by "this ministration."
for your professed subjection—Greek, "for the subjection of your profession"; that is, your subjection in accordance with your profession, in relation to the Gospel. Ye yield yourselves in willing subjection to the Gospel precepts, evinced in acts, as well as in profession.
your liberal distribution—Greek, "the liberality of your contribution in relation to them," &c.
And by their prayer for you, which long after you for the exceeding grace of God in you.
14. Translate, "Themselves also with prayer for you, longing after you on account of the exceeding grace of God (resting) upon you." English Version is, however, good sense: They glorify God (2Co 9:13) by the experimental proof, &c., "and by their prayer for you." But the Greek favors the former.
Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.
15. his unspeakable gift—the gift of His own Son, which includes all other inferior gifts (2Co 8:9; Ro 8:32). If we have received from God "His unspeakable gift," what great thing is it, if we give a few perishing gifts for His sake?