FOR READERS: I have just started a new blog: xtremejesus.co which is intended to contribute to political and social debate from the point of view of the Jesus tradition. Some have found difficulty in accessing the site from their search engines and browsers. At present, Google Chrome gives it easily.
MEANWHILE, this old faithful blog continues to explore Paul’s Corinthian correspondence day by day. At present it is dealing with 2 Corinthians. I’m assuming that all his Corinthian letters were sent from Ephesos. The news headline is a reminder of the world we live in. The great amount of commentary on this site can be accessed by date from the archive, or by googling emmock.com and adding either a scripture reference or topic, e.g.: emmock.com John 3:16; or emmock.com punishment.
2 CORINTHIANS 8
16 Now I thank God for making Titus as devoted to you as we are; 17 for he not only responded to our urging, but, being so devoted, he is coming to you on his own initiative. 18 And with him we are sending the brother whose work for the Good News is praised in all the congregations; 19 not only that, he has also been appointed by the congregations to travel with us, so that the way we administer this charitable work will bring honor to the Lord and show our eagerness to help. 20 Our aim in this is to show that our conduct in dealing with these substantial sums is above reproach; 21 for we take pains to do what is right not only in the sight of God but also in the sight of other people.[b] 22 With these two we are sending another brother of ours, one whose diligence we have tested many times in many ways, but who is now all the more diligent because of his great confidence in you. 23 As for Titus, he is my partner who works with me on your behalf; and the other brothers with him are emissaries of the congregations and bring honor to the Messiah. 24 So the love you show these men will justify our pride in you to them, and through them to the congregations that sent them.
Titus, a Gentile convert and close associate of Paul, has accompanied Paul to the conference at Jerusalem in 49 CE, and was sent by him as his agent to Corinth, bearing his angry letter, which we have as 2 Corinthians 10 -13, on which I have already commented. (See blogs 1751 forward). His visit was successful in restoring a good relationship between the Corinthian Assembly and Paul. His special status here is marked by Paul calling him ‘my partner’. Paul purports to be accrediting Titus, but it may be at this point that they had more trust in Titus than in Paul, in which the latter is hoping to share some of the former’s credit.
The importance of this visit is marked by the addition of two unnamed brothers, one of whom may be known to the Corinthians. The extra brothers, who belong to Macedonian congregations also have a specific purpose in reassuring the Corinthians that the collection is known to many and will be administered with care and honesty.
Again Paul emphasises his good opinion of the Corinthians and challenges them to demonstrate its accuracy by responding to an effort that unites all the assemblies of Jesus Messiah.
This first instance of inter-church aid is a profoundly imaginative project of Paul, as it makes a reality of his gospel that Messiah Jesus is for all humanity and that all assemblies are equally part of his one body. His grasp of the implications of his universal gospel is astonishing; in such a short time, he understands and implements the means by which his assemblies can become a world-wide community. Here is a form of globalisation which does not obliterate the local but is based on the conviction that what is good for the local assemblies ( the limbs and organs) is good for whole body. At the same time the local assemblies are made aware of their global links with distant and unknown people who are their brothers and sisters in Messiah and encouraged to live in their own places in the light of partnership.
We’ve a lot to learn from Paul.