2 Corinthians 8:1-7

1 Moreover, brethren, we make known to you the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia:

that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded in the riches of their liberality.

For I bear witness that according to their ability, yes, and beyond their ability, they were freely willing,

imploring us with much urgency that we would receive the gift and the fellowship of the ministering to the saints.

And not only as we had hoped, but they first gave themselves to the Lord, and then to us by the will of God.

So we urged Titus, that as he had begun, so he would also complete this grace in you as well.

But as you abound in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all diligence, and in your love for us—see that you abound in this grace also.

The grace that is not received in vain delights to minister to the needs of the necessitous; and hence it is that in this and the following chapter, money thus used is called a “grace,” and those who give it are declared to be themselves recipients of the grace of God. Thus the giver of such grace is regarded as a receiver. To give and to receive is the one verb in Hebrew.

The famine predicted by Agabus (Acts 11:28) appears to have particularly affected the believers in Judea (v.29), and Paul when at Jerusalem (Galatians 2:10) promised that he would help to get money for them. Hence his activity in the matter in these two chapters; and his prayer (Romans 15:25-27) that the money so collected might be acceptable to the Judean saints (v.31).

It was in the fulfilling of this promise (Acts 24:17) that the Apostle met with violence at Jerusalem and imprisonment in Rome … — Williams, page 904.


As the kingdom program with its “all things common” gave place to the dispensation of the mystery, and those who had disposed of their goods to enter the kingdom began to lack, Paul was used more than once “to send relief” to these needy saints (Acts 11:29-30; Romans 15:25-26). Indeed, after his agreement with the apostles at Jerusalem to help their poor (Galatians 2:10), he made an organized effort to raise funds for their poor saints from among the Gentile churches of Macedonia; Achaia (Greece), Galatia, and the rest of Asia Minor (See Romans 15:25-26; 1 Corinthians 16:1; Acts 15:23-29; Acts 16:4).

Twice the apostle sent emissaries to awaken the wealthy but greedy Corinthians to their financial responsibilities and in his letters to them he did not refrain from informing them of poor churches who were doing better than they or from reminding them of their good intentions of the year previous, urging them to fulfill their promises without further delay, lest he and they should both be embarrassed by their failure to do their part (2 Corinthians 8:1-11; 9:2-5). — Stam, page 171.


While there is a great abundance of Scripture passages that describe the character of the Macedonian churches (especially that of the church of Philippi, the city from which Paul had undoubtedly written this letter to the Corinthians saints), the first five verses of 2 Corinthians 8 provides us with an amazingly comprehensive description of their character. And all of them together were as one.

1. As a church they were bitterly persecuted. The apostle refers to their “great trial of afflictions” (v.2) especially from the apostate Jews, who had persecuted Paul and had sought to kill him (Acts 20:3; 21:31; 23:15; 23:30). Who knows what “stripes,” “imprisonments,” yes, and executions had taken place among them? Doubtless many bore in their bodies the evidences of these persecutions.

2. They were a joyful church. The apostle bears witness to “the abundance of their joy” (v.2). Few were the criticisms or complaints at the Macedonian churches. They expressed the joy of victorious living in the midst of vicious persecution. …

3. They were not merely a poor church but a very poor one. Paul refers to “their deep poverty” in v.2.

4. Their “great trial of affliction, the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality” (v.2). Persecution, poverty—and joy had made out of them a generous assembly (vs.1-4), so that they begged Paul, “with much entreaty” to receive the gift they had collected for “the poor saints at Jerusalem,” a gift which Paul testifies, was all they could afford, yes, and more than they could afford (v.3).

5. Finally, they did not give as Paul had hoped; merely in response to his appeals, “but first gave their own selves to the Lord and to [Paul] by the will of God” (v.5). Is there anything else we can do? Is there some way in which we can be of greater help? —Stam, pages 173-174.

This entry was posted in 2 Corinthians. Bookmark the permalink.