bible blog 1769

FOR READERS: I have just started a new blog: 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 and adding either a scripture reference or topic, e.g.: John 3:16; or punishment.



security forces arrest Palestinian woman

security forces arrest Palestinian woman

2 Corinthians 9 Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)

9 There is really no need for me to write you about this offering for God’s people — 2 I know how eager you are, and I boast about you to the Macedonians. I tell them, “Achaia has been ready since last year,” and it was your zeal that stirred up most of them. 3 But now I am sending the brothers so that our boast about you in this regard will not prove hollow, so that you will be ready, as I said you would be. 4 For if some Macedonians were to come with me and find you unprepared, we would be humiliated at having been so confident — to say nothing of how you would feel. 5 So I thought it necessary to urge these brothers to go on to you ahead of me and prepare your promised gift in plenty of time; this way it will be ready when I come and will be a genuine gift, not something extracted by pressure.

6 Here’s the point: he who plants sparingly also harvests sparingly. 7 Each should give according to what he has decided in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 Moreover, God has the power to provide you with every gracious gift in abundance, so that always in every way you will have all you need yourselves and be able to provide abundantly for every good cause — 9 as the Bible says,
“He gave generously to the poor;
his goodness lasts forever.”

10 He who provides both seed for the planter and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed and increase the harvest of your goodness. 11 You will be enriched in every way, so that you can be generous in everything. And through us your generosity will cause people to thank God, 12 because rendering this holy service not only provides for the needs of God’s people, but it also overflows in the many thanks people will be giving to God. 13 In offering this service you prove to these people that you glorify God by actually doing what your acknowledgement of the Good News of the Messiah requires, namely, sharing generously with them and with everyone. 14 And in their prayers for you they will feel a strong affection for you because of how gracious God has been to you. 15 Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!

tree1There’s just a little suspicion that chapter 9 follows chapter 8 awkwardly; some scholars have suggested that this belongs to a different letter. I’m assuming that it was a momentary lapse in continuity as Paul completed this letter. (Remember, chapters 10-13 are definitely from a different letter, namely the angry letter that preceded this conciliatory one, 2 Corinthians 1-9) Because of the misplacing of these letters by the first editors of Paul’s correspondence, the greetings which would have ended this chapter have been lost.

This passage may seem humdrum to the reader, but is in fact very carefully composed by Paul to emphasise his understanding of the aid from the gentile assemblies to the poor of the Jerusalem assembly. He sees it as flowing from the generosity of God in his Messiah to all human beings, so that those who know they have received it will be more than willing to show it to others in whatever way they can. The Greek verb perisseuo which means to be abundant, to overflow, is used frequently in this passage along with words that mean to enrich, to be generous, to share as partners. Of course Paul is aware that the Corinthian Assembly had been very cool towards his “collection”, but building on an improved relationship with them, he encourages them as persuasively as he can, relating what may seem to them a superfluous demand to the heart of the gospel: God’s goodness to them has been superfluous; so let them copy God.

1. He appeals to what we may call evangelical honour, that they should be aware that their reputation amongst other assemblies is at stake.

2.. He stresses the urgency of the matter; they should be ready with their gift. Verse 5 uses three different Greek verbs with the prefix “pro” meaning before, in advance, ahead of. Now is the time!

3. He tells them not to think of the collection as a tax on their meanness but as an act of blessing or generosity. He used the lovely Greek word eulogian which means desiring good for others. He uses an traditional proverb about sowing to reinforce his point. If a farmer is sparing with seed, his harvest will be poor. Verse 8 is the key statement: God has the power to provide “in abundance” (perisseuo) so that you will have enough to provide in abundance (perisseuo) for others.

4.God the creator and restorer of the world is the source of all goodness, so their generosity to Jerusalem will result in thanksgiving to God. (Greek: eucharistia, the word which became the technical term for the Lord’s Meal). We can see that the restoration of humanity as one supportive family in Messiah Jesus, is the cause of the thanksgiving expressed in the holy meal.tree2

5.In verse 13 Paul uses another of his key words, koinonia (partnership). The words translated “sharing generously might better be translated “sincere or single-minded partnership”. This is what Paul holds out to the Corinthians as their true identity, through their trust in Jesus Messiah.

The whole passage is one huge statement of the superabundant goodness of God which if truly received transforms ordinary mortals into people capable of generous living, verifying the claim of Jesus reported in John’s gospel that “he came so that they might have life and that more abundantly”

Anyone who has ever been involved in any human endeavour, a church, a business, a community project, a charity, will know how many things fail because of pervasive meanness, and how many succeed because of the infectious generosity of a few. Again we should be amazed at Paul’s grasp of essentials.

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