2 Corinthians


The collection for the believers, 8:1-9:15

Give generously


In the passage before us, Paul encourages his readers to show liberality. Paul is obviously worried about the willingness of the Corinthians to contribute to the collection for the Jerusalem church which he will receive from them when he arrives in person. So, he encourages generosity, promising them that God will provide the recourses necessary for them to contribute to the collection. The collection will result in praise and thanksgiving to God from the recipients, it will strengthen the bonds that unite God's people, and it will serve as a proof that the Corinthian Gentiles have truly come under the grace of God, having put their faith in the gospel and borne the fruit of love.


i] Context: See 8:1-7.


ii] Background: See 8:1-7.


iii] Structure: Give generously:

An exhortation - give cheerfully, v6-7;

The cheerful giver is divinely resourced, v8-11;

Reciprocal blessings, v12-15:

Prompting thanksgiving and praise, v12-13;

Establishing affectionate relations , v14;

Reminding all of God's abundant generosity, v15.


iv] Interpretation:

Paul continues to tackle the issue of the collection for the poor "saints" (Jewish believers) in Jerusalem. There is obviously a practical need in the Jerusalem church, although the specifics remain unclear. Paul is possibly looking toward the fulfillment of prophecy, of that day when Gentiles come bearing gifts to God's historic people, for such is a sign that the kingdom of God is close at hand. The collection is also mentioned in Rom.15:25-32, 1Cor.16:1-4, cf. Gal.2:10.

In the passage before us, Paul draws out the principle of a poor sowing producing a poor harvest, as against a generous sowing producing a plentiful harvest. This principle has had a long history of interpretation. At the mundane level it is sometimes implied that a believer who gives generously gets back abundantly. This is certainly a nice thought, but Paul is probably only saying that God will provide the resources necessary for generous giving, not that generous giving will result in an abundance of extra resources (that we can use for our own ends!!!). So the point is, God produces the harvest which we can use to his glory, 1Cor.3:7. Harris states that the primary act of God is "unmistakable" in v8, 9. "God gives to givers so they might keep on giving in a way that will give glory and thanks to God, as well as prompt a greater solidarity between those who give and those who receive their gifts", Guthrie.


v] Exposition: A simple exposition of this passage may be found in the linked pew-level Sermon Notes.

Text - 9:6

The resources and results of generosity, v6-15: i] Exhortation - give cheerfully, v6-7. Paul quotes a proverb, one obviously in common use at the time. All things being equal, the size of the harvest depends on the quantity of seed sown.

de "-" - but/and. Transitional connective, indicating the next step in the argument.

touto "remember this" - [and] this. Accusative object of an assumed verb. Cataphoric, referring forward; "the point is this", NRSV.

oJ speirwn (speirw) pres. part. "whoever sows" - the one sowing. The participle serves as a substantive, as NIV. "Poor sowing means poor harvest", Phillips.

feidomenwV adv. "sparingly" - Adverb of manner.

kai "also" - [will] and = also [reap sparingly]. Adjunctive, as NIV.

ep (epi) + dat. "[generously]" - [and the one sowing] for [a blessing, and = also will reap a blessing]. The preposition here is adverbial forming the adverbial construction of manner, "with a blessing" = "generously, liberally, bountifully." "Generous sowing means generous reaping", Barclay.


Given v6, a believer should give liberally. Giving should be driven by a conviction of the heart rather than the approval, or demand, of others. God "loves" (in the sense of approves, for God even "loves" the selfish sinner) "a cheerful giver", cf., Prov.22:8.

eJkastoV "each of you should give" - each one should give. The demonstrative adjective serves as a substantive, subject of an assumed verb, probably "to give"; "each person", Barclay. The ellipsis (ie., the missing verb) is, according to Plummer, intended for emphasis.

kaqwV "what" - as. Here expressing a quality or standard, "in accordance with"; "let each one give as in his heart he had planned", Berkeley.

th/ kardia/ (a) dat. "in your heart" - [he has decided previously] in the heart. Local dative, metaphorical.

ek .... ex + gen. "[not reluctantly or under compulsion]" - [not] out of [grief or = nor] out of [necessity, distress]. It is likely that in both cases the preposition is adverbial, of "circumstances which accompany an action without necessarily being the source of it", BAGD. So, "reluctantly, grudgingly" and "by compulsion." Plummer suggests that the person who gives "without regret" is a person who gives "without restraint." There is an allusion here to Deuteronomy 15:10.

gar "for" - Introducing a causal clause explaining why such giving should be done "without regret, without restraint", Cassirer. "Because God love those who love to give."

agapa/ (agapaw) pres. "loves" - [god] loves. Probably being used in the sense of "approves", so Barrett, Barnett.

iJlapon adj. "cheerful" - a cheerful [giver]. Possibly the "cheerful giver" is best expressed as "a liberal person."


ii] The "cheerful giver" is divinely resourced for their giving, v8-11. Paul outlines an interesting Biblical principle in this verse. The believer who intends to use their resources in line with the impelling generosity of the indwelling Spirit of Christ, will be entrusted with greater resources ("make all grace abound") for service, ie., God will supply the resources to honor a benevolent intent. The line in the Lord's prayer, "give us this day our daily bread", may well be a prayer for resources toward realizing the kingdom of God.

de "and" - but/and. Possibly coordinative, "and", as NIV, or even emphatic, "indeed", but more likely indicating the next step in the argument.

perisseusai (perisseuw) aor. inf. "to [bless you] abundantly" - [god is able] to cause to abound [all grace to you]. The infinitive is complementary, completing the sense of the verb "is able." Here transitive, so "to cause to abound" = "to give in abundant measure", Harris. The adjective pasan, "all" = "all kinds of [grace]", BAGD. And carin, "grace" = "kindness" = "benefit / blessing", a benefit given toward "specific acts of Christian service", Furnish; "both material and spiritual blessings", Harris. "God is able most abundantly to bestow both the spiritual quality of cheerful generosity and the practical resources for its implementation", Thrall. "It is God who has the power to bestow on you every gracious favor in abundance", Cassirer.

iJna + subj. "so that" - Introducing a final clause expressing purpose, as NIV, REB, although better consecutive expressing result, "so as a result"; "thus you will have", NEB.

en + dat. "in [all things at all times]" - in [everything]. Local, "in all circumstances", or reference / respect; "with respect to all circumstances."

pantote adv. "at all times" - always. Temporal adverb. Both this adverb and the preceding adverbial construction "in everything", modify the participial construction "having all sufficiency"; "so that having all sufficiency in all things and at all times", ESV.

econteV (ecw) pres. part. "having [all that you need]" - having [all sufficiency, independence]. The participle is adverbial, probably causal; "so as a result, because you have an abundance of all things at all times, you have the capacity to give generously to every good work." Temporal is also possible, "while you have", as are manner and means, NIV. Barnett suggests that this participle, as with the two that follow in v11, "supplying" and "sowing", are best treated as indicative verbs. The noun autarkeia was often used for "self-sufficiency", but Paul has in mind God / Christ's sufficiency.

eiV + acc. "in [every good work]" - [you may abound toward [all good work]. Possibly expressing purpose; "for the purpose of / for every kind of good work."


Psalm 112:9 affirms the truth that righteousness (justice) is revealed in a person's kindness toward the poor. The NIV has "he", but the TNIV has changed this to "they" to indicate that the subject of the quote is the "righteous" person; it is they who scatter their gifts.

kaqwV "as" - as [it has been written]. A common introduction to the citing of scripture; expressing a standard.

eskorpisen (eskorpizw) aor. "he has scattered abroad [his gifts] / they have freely scattered [their gifts]" - he scattered [he gave]. The TNIV has decided to identify the subject of the quote as the righteous person, so "they". Certainly God could be the subject and is the subject of v8, although the righteous person "you" is the subject of the subordinate clause. A.T. Hanson argues that the subject is Christ-in-the-Christian. This is certainly sound theology since it is only in Christ that we stand approved before God, but it is unlikely that Paul is running such a subtle argument here.

toiV penhsin (hV ou) dat. "to the poor" - to the poor day-laborer. Dative of interest, advantage.

hJ dikaiosunh (h) "[his] righteousness / [their] righteousness" - [his] righteousness. Nominative subject of the verb "to remain, endure." It is likely that the word here refers to the moral generosity / benevolence of the iJlaron dothn, "cheerful giver", v7. It is unlikely, in this context, to mean right-standing before God / covenant compliant.

eiV ton aiwna "forever" - [remains] into the age. This prepositional construction is adverbial, temporal. Paul did drop tou aiwnoV, although included in some texts, but has left "into the age." If autou, "his", is referring to the "cheerful giver" / righteous person, then how is their benevolence enduring forever? The sense is probably that for "those we have noted: the acts of the righteous man continue throughout his life, Thrall"; "his generosity to the poor will remain a way of life", Harris. Less likely is Bruce's suggestion that the effect of the generosity endures, or worse, Plummer's argument that it will be remembered and rewarded by God (a divine quid pro quo). "Remains into eternity", Betz.


With this and the next verse, Paul assures his readers that where there is generous intent, God's provision will make generous benevolence possible. Touching again on the thought of v8, Paul makes the point that God is a "generous supplier of seed for their giving, thus enlarging the harvest of their righteousness", Barnett. "God is the supplier of all good things; he will prosper your work and thereby make it possible for you to express your right standing before God", Barrett.

oJ .. epicorhgwn (epicorhgew) pres. part. "he who supplies" - [but/and] the one supplying, providing [seed]. The participle serves as a substantive. The prefix epi = "abundant supply", a divine trait.

tw/ speironti (speirw) dat. pres. part. "to the sower" - to the one sowing. The participle serves as a substantive, dative of indirect object / interest, advantage; "he who supplies seed to the sower / for sowing."

eiV + acc. "for [food]" - [will supply bread] into [food and will multiply the seed of you]. The preposition here probably expresses purpose, "for the purpose of eating." The noun brwma = "food", whereas brwsiV = "food for eating" = "eating". The phrase "seed to the sower and bread for food" is drawn from Isaiah 55:10, LXX. "God who gives ..... bread to eat", Barclay.

thV dikaiosunhV (h) gen. "of [your] righteousness" - [and will increase the fruits] of the righteousness, justice [of you]. The genitive is adjectival, probably attributive, "your righteous harvest", but possibly a genitive of definition, "the harvest which is / namely righteousness", or ablative, source / origin, "from righteousness." The phrase "harvest of righteousness" is found in Hosea 10:12. Again the "righteousness / justice" in Paul's mind is unclear, but probably it is the goodness of the "cheerful giver" = benevolence, ie., taking the same meaning as in v9. Barnett argues that what God corhghsei, "will supply", is the righteousness of Christ, "his forensic righteousness ..... which in turn is to be expressed in the righteousness of generosity" - sound theology, but probably not Paul's intent here.


The generosity of a believer results in "thanksgiving" to God, the one who gave the resources in the first place.

ploutizomenoi (ploutizw) pres. pas. part. "you will be made rich / you will be enriched" - being enriched. The NIV, in a sense, takes the participle as attendant circumstance expressing action accompanying the indicative future verbs "will supply ... will increase .... will enlarge", v10, so "and will enrich." Harris opts for this approach, but numerous other options have been suggested, eg.: an example of a participle used for a finite verb, Furnish, cf., BDF 468(2); an anacoluthon where the participle has been loosely attached to the preceding uJmwn, "of you", Plummer; a periphrastic present construction where the verb to be is assumed, Long. Usually taken as a divine passive.

en + dat. "in [every way]" - in [everything]. Here the preposition is adverbial, reference / respect; "in respect to every circumstance of life." Indicating the extent of the enrichment.

eiV + acc. "so that [you can be generous]" - toward [all generosity]. Here the preposition is adverbial, expressing purpose, as NIV; "in order to be generous / to show generosity."

pasan adj. "on every occasion" - all. Possibly "to every claim on you", Barclay.

h{tiV pro. "-" - which [produces]. Indefinite pronoun, here with a consecutive sense, "with the result that"; "such that", Zerwick.

di (dia) + gen. "through" - through [us]. Agency, "through us", as NIV. The "us" being Paul and his missionary team who will soon collect the offering from the Corinthians and take it to the "poor saints" in Jerusalem.

tw/ qew/ (oV) dat. "to God" - [thanksgiving, blessing] to god. A dative of indirect object. The Corinthians are enriched, and as a consequence of their sharing their abundance with the Jerusalem church, the believers in Jerusalem offer their thanksgiving to God.


iii] Reciprocal blessings, v12-15. Not only is the "cheerful giver" divinely resourced for their giving, their gifts prompt in the recipient thanksgiving and praise to God, v12-13, establish affectionate relations between the giver and the recipient, v14, and remind all of the abundant generosity of God himself in Christ, v15. Not only is the "cheerful giver" divinely resourced for their giving, their gifts also prompt in the recipient thanksgiving and praise. The generosity of the Corinthians will not only aid the poor in Jerusalem, but will result in thanksgiving to God, a thanksgiving prompted by the knowledge that the gospel has powerfully touched a Gentile community.

oJti "-" - that. Here more reason than cause; explanatory: "[Let me explain / elaborate,] what you are doing is much more than a service that supplies God's people with what they need", CEV.

thV leiturgiaV (a) gen. "[this service] that you perform" - [the ministry, administration] of [this] service, public service. The genitive is probably adjectival, attributive, limiting "service", Martin, as NIV, but possibly epexegetic, "the charitable acts of this public service", Betz, or verbal, objective, "the execution of this act of public service", Barrett.

estin prosanaplhrousa (prosanaplhrow) pres. part. "is [not only] supplying" - is [not only] filling up, supplying. A present periphrastic construction probably emphasizing aspect, durative action. The verb is proV + ana + plhroun = "to fill up in addition to" = "supplying". We should classify this present tense as a futuristic. The Corinthians are certainly in the process of collecting the money, "this service of ministry", but both the meeting of the need and the responsive thanksgiving is still future; "will supply .... will also overflow ...."

twn aJgiwn gen. adj. "of the Lord's people" - [the things = what is lacking] of the saints. The genitive is adjectival, partitive; "the shortfall that exists within God's people."

alla kai "but" - Contrastive + adjunctive = a less important is contrasted with a more important; "[Not just ......... but more so] it is something that will make many others thank God", CEV.

perisseuousa (perisseuw) pres. part. "is [also] overflowing" - [is and = also] abounding, overflowing, being in excess. The verb estin is assumed, so forming a periphrastic present construction, as above.

dia + gen. "in" - through [many thanksgivings]. Instrumental, expressing means; "by means of", but possibly taking up the role of an adverb of manner, "in the form of widespread thanksgiving to God", Zerwick.

tw/ qew/ (oV) dat. "to God" - Dative of interest, advantage.


Explaining why the intended recipients of the gift will glorify / praise / give thanks to God; it is dia, "because", the Corinthians' "participation in the collection project is a concrete manifestation of [their faith] and ... of the progress of Paul's gospel among the Gentiles", Furnish.

dia + gen. "because of" - through, by means of. Usually instrumental when followed by the genitive, "By their approval of this service, " ESV, but sometimes causal, as NIV. It could even be explanatory, "Let me explain / elaborate ......"

thV diakoniaV (a) gen. "of the service" - [the character, evidence, proof] of [this] ministry, service. The genitive is usually classified as verbal, subjective, as NIV, or objective, "administering this priestly service", Long, but the classification, epexegetic / of definition is also acceptable; "through the proof [which is] provided by this act of service", Thrall, "which this ministration provides", Furnish.

doxazonteV (doxazw) pres. part. "others will praise God" - glorifying, extolling, praising [god]. This nominative absolute participle is again best treated as a finite verb, future indicative, technically classified as attendant circumstance, as for ploutizomenoi, v11, or as Long suggests, a future periphrastic with an assumed verb to be.

epi + dat. "for [the obedience]" - upon, on [the obedience, subjection, acknowledgment]. Basis / cause - the basis / ground on which the praise is offered; "on the basis of / because of."

oJmologiaV (a) gen. "that accompanies [your] confession" - of the confession / vow = of the contractual agreement [of you]. The genitive is usually classified as verbal, objective, "to / concerning your confession", so Betz, or subjective "arising from your confession", so Barnett, attributive, limiting "obedience / subjection", "your professed subjection", AV, so Bruce, or epexegetic, "on the basis of / because of the obedience consisting of/in your confession", "that of which obedience consists, namely, one's confession of the faith contained in the gospel", Furnish, or even possessive, of belonging to.

eiV + acc. "of [the gospel]" - to, into [the gospel]. Spacial, but leaning toward en, "in", "contained in the gospel", but Thrall, as NIV, opts for "confession of the gospel."

tou Cristou (oV) gen. "of Christ" - The genitive could be classed as ablative, source / origin, "from Christ", or adjectival, possessive, or verbal, objective, "the gospel concerning Christ", or even plenary, both objective and subjective, cf., Zerwick #37.

kai "and for" - and. The coordinate kai, "and", takes an assumed epi; "and on the basis of / because of ..."; basis / cause, as above.

aplothti (hV ou) dat. "your generosity" - the generosity. Dative after the assumed epi; "single minded generosity", Harris.

thV koinwniaV (a) gen. "in sharing" - of the fellowship, participation, sharing. The genitive here is possibly adverbial, reference / respect, "a single minded generosity with respect to fellowship (ie., with respect to partnership, sharing = with respect to your giving, benevolence, altruism), but more likely adjectival, attributed, "your sincere / generous fellowship", Long; "by sharing generously with God's people", CEV.

eiV + acc. "with [them]" - to, into [all men]. Spacial. The autouV, "them", is the Jerusalem church, while pantaV, "all others", is other Christian congregations.


"The recipients of the Corinthians' sharing will in turn pray for the Corinthians with deep longing for them because of the abundant grace shown to them", Barnett. It is possible that v13-14 is one sentence in the Gk., and it is often treated this way. Yet, it is more likely that v12-14 consist of three separate sentences serving as three steps in a logical argument: The benevolence of the Corinthians will prompt thanksgiving to God, v12. And this because it evidences the progress of the gospel among the Gentiles, v13, And ..........., v14.

kai "and" - Here possibly coordinative, linking back to v12; "this service that you perform will not only supply ..... but will also overflow in praise and thanksgiving to God ..... and will, in their prayers (the prayers of the recipients / the Jerusalem church) for you, build a bond of warm affection [between them and you], because of God's grace upon you." It could also be adjunctive, referring back to v13; "God will be glorified by the evidence which this service provides ........, (v13). He will be glorified, too (also), by their prayer, for they will be filled with affectionate longing for you because of God's grace which has so abounded in you", Bruce, Paraphrase.

dehsei (iV ewV) dat. "in [their] prayers" - in [the supplication, prayer] of them. The dative is probably adverbial, instrumental, expressing means, "by their prayers", AV, or possibly modal, expressing manner, as NIV, or even attendant circumstance, "as they pray", cf., Thrall. Harris notes that epi from v13 may be assumed giving the sense "others will praise God for / because of the obedience .... and for / because of your generosity ...... and for / because of their prayer ...." The genitive pronoun autwn, "their", refers to the Jerusalem church.

uJper + gen. "for" - for [you]. Here expressing benefit / advantage.

epipoqountwn (epipoqew) gen. pres. part. "will go out to [you]" - having great affection for [you]. Again we have a participle which syntactically causes problems. Technically we would classify it as a genitive absolute participle, with some translations taking it as temporal, "while they long for you", ESV, "while they [the Jerusalemites], too [ie., along with Paul] are longing ....", Barnett. A causal genitive absolute construction seems best, as Bruce, Paraphrase, above, "for they will be filled with affectionate longing." Again we could just have a participle serving as a finite verb, with the present tense being treated as futuristic, as NIV, so Thrall - "a loose use of the genitive absolute."

dia + acc. "because of" - Expressing cause / reason; "on account of your having God's grace", Cassirer.

thn uJperballousan (uJperballw) pres. part. "the surpassing" - the exceeding, overflowing, superabundant / extraordinary. The participles is adjectival, attributive, limiting "grace".

carin (iV ewV) "grace" - grace, favor, kindness. The word takes a range of meanings, particularly in these chapters in 2 Corinthians. For example, Paul uses the word "grace" of God's gift to him of apostolic ministry, of a kindness bestowed on a person who persecuted the church. Given the context of this passage, "grace" here may well be the divine provision of resources for generous benevolence, or the divine prompting that stirs up benevolence, or the collection itself, or even more simply, "generosity", Bruce; "the goodwill and kind acts of a benefactor", Harris. Yet, it may well be that Paul has in mind at this point "God's action in human lives leading to those impulses which cause people to be generous", Martin - possibly the meaning of the word in 8:1. Furnish argues that it is not the activity of the grace itself, operative in the Corinthian congregation, that will prompt warm affection in the recipients, but "what is said about the grace of God among the Macedonians."

tou qeou (oV) gen. "God" - of god. The genitive may be classified ablative, expressing source / origin, grace sourced from / derived from God, or verbal, subjective, grace "given or shown by God", Harris.

ef (epi) + dat. "has given [you]" - upon [you]. Here with a spacial sense, "on, upon", so "rests on you", or as paraphrased by the NIV, "given to you." "God's grace resting upon you", Cassirer.


The thought of the integral unity / fellowship realized in God's new-covenant people through his gracious involvement in their life prompts in Paul an exclamation of praise; "May God be thanked for his unspeakable gift."

cariV (iV ewV) "thanks be" - grace. Obviously here in the sense of "thanks / gratitude". An optative / imperative verb to-be is assumed when taken as a wish-prayer; "let there be grace .....

tw/ qew/ (oV) dat. "to God" - be to god. Dative of indirect object along with the assumed verb to-be;let us give thanks to God."

epi + dat. "for" - upon = because of. Again expressing basis / cause, as NIV.

autou "his" - [the indescribable gift] of him. Emphatic by taking the attributive position, BDF 284(3).

dwrea/ (a) dat. "gift" - Harris nicely lists all the possibilities, excluding the collection itself and the Holy Spirit, a suggestion from Dunn: a) The sense of generosity stirred up in the Macedonians, and hopefully the Corinthians, so Furnish; b) Brotherly love stirred up between the Corinthians and the Jerusalem church. In which case "the doxology is based on hope rather than fact", Plummer; c) God's "universal gospel announced in Paul's message and ministry", Martin; d) Christ himself - this view is adopted by most commentators.


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