Wesley's Notes on the Bible
Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia;
8:1 We declare to you the grace of God - Which evidently appeared by this happy effect.
How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality.
8:2 In a great trial of affliction - Being continually persecuted, harassed, and plundered.
For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves;
Praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints.
8:4 Praying us with much entreaty - Probably St. Paul had lovingly admonished them not to do beyond their power.
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.
8:5 And not as we hoped - That is, beyond all we could hope. They gave themselves to us, by the will of God - In obedience to his will, to be wholly directed by us.
Insomuch that we desired Titus, that as he had begun, so he would also finish in you the same grace also.
8:6 As he had begun - When he was with you before.
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.
I speak not by commandment, but by occasion of the forwardness of others, and to prove the sincerity of your love.
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.
8:9 For ye know - And this knowledge is the true source of love. The grace - The most sincere, most free, and most abundant love. He became poor - In becoming man, in all his life; in his death. Rich - In the favour and image of God.
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.
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.
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.
8:12 A man - Every believer. Is accepted - With God. According to what he hath - And the same rule holds universally. Whoever acknowledges himself to be a vile, guilty sinner, and, in consequence of this acknowledgment, flies for refuge to the wounds of a crucified Saviour, and relies on his merits alone for salvation, may in every circumstance of life apply this indulgent declaration to himself.
For I mean not that other men be eased, and ye burdened:
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:
8:14 That their abundance - If need should so require. May be - At another time. A supply to your want: that there may be an equality - No want on one side, no superfluity on the other. It may likewise have a further meaning: - that as the temporal bounty of the Corinthians did now supply the temporal wants of their poor brethren in Judea, so the prayers of these might be a means of bringing down many spiritual blessings on their benefactors: so that all the spiritual wants of the one might be amply supplied; all the temporal of the other.
As it is written, He that had gathered much had nothing over; and he that had gathered little had no lack.
8:15 As it is written, He that had gathered the most had nothing over; and he that had gathered the least did not lack - That is, in which that scripture is in another sense fulfilled. Exod 16:18
But thanks be to God, which put the same earnest care into the heart of Titus for you.
For indeed he accepted the exhortation; but being more forward, of his own accord he went unto you.
8:17 Being more forward - Than to need it, though he received it well.
And we have sent with him the brother, whose praise is in the gospel throughout all the churches;
8:18 We - I and Timothy. The brother - The ancients generally supposed this was St. Luke. Whose praise - For faithfully dispensing the gospel, is through all the churches.
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:
8:19 He was appointed by the churches - Of Macedonia. With this gift - Which they were carrying from Macedonia to Jerusalem. For the declaration of our ready mind - That of Paul and his fellow - traveller, ready to be the servants of all.
Avoiding this, that no man should blame us in this abundance which is administered by us:
Providing for honest things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men.
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.
8:22 With them - With Titus and Luke. Our brother - Perhaps Apollos.
Whether any do inquire of Titus, he is my partner and fellowhelper concerning you: or our brethren be inquired of, they are the messengers of the churches, and the glory of Christ.
8:23 My partner - In my cares and labours. The glory of Christ - Signal instruments of advancing his glory.
Wherefore shew ye to them, and before the churches, the proof of your love, and of our boasting on your behalf.
8:24 Before the churches - Present by their messengers.