2 Corinthians 8:7-12
2 Cor 8:7 (KJB)
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.
Ye abound - To excel or have an abundance
Utterance - Word, matter, speech, or message
Diligence - Hast, zeal, or earnestness
Paul was praising the Corinthians for excelling in their Christian walk above the other churches he founded. They were excelling in faith and in utterance, that is, they were receiving messages from the Lord through tongues and giving the proper interpretations. In the first letter to the Corinthians, Paul had laid down some guidelines when tongues were present in the assembly. It looks like the Corinthians had taken these principles and used them in the service and that is why the church had seemed to be in order. They were also excelling in knowledge, that is, knowledge of God and the Lord Jesus Christ which means they were excelling in their spiritual growth. Then they were excelling in diligence, that is, when things had to be done, they did not have endless meetings but got to work. It is a truth that if Moses had as many meetings as the modern day church, the Israelites would still be on the other side. After World War 2 General MacArthur had told the American churches to get their missionaries over to Japan. While the church was having meetings about it, the cults moved on that word and sent many of their representatives over there. This included the Mormons and the Jehovah’s Witnesses. The church’s own lackadaisical attitude is the reason our own country is being overrun with false gospels. We sing “Onward Christian Soldiers” in the pews but did you ever ask a Christian “where are they going onward to?”  They were also diligent in proclaiming the Word and spreading the Gospel. They also excelled in their love for Paul and his party and now Paul is desiring for them to excel in the grace of giving. They have shown themselves to be diligent Christians in all matters and now Paul wanted them to be diligent in the dynamics of Christian giving.
2 Cor 8:8 (KJB)
I speak not by commandment, but by occasion of the forwardness of others, and to prove the sincerity of your love.
By occasion - Through or by
Of the forwardness - Haste, speed, or zeal
The sincerity - Genuineness or true
Here Paul is saying that he did not want to come to them on the matter of giving by commandment, which as an apostle, he had the authority to do so. He had presented the zeal in giving of the other churches and how they attempted to meet the need as best as they could and he was hoping that knowledge of the other churches would provoke them into action. If they had given a gift like the other churches did, this would show the sincerity of their love that they had for the Lord and for the brethren. In our times, sometimes we hear of a need that a brother or sister has, and we find that people are giving to help meet that need, it would provoke us into joining the effort and that proves that we are not just words but faith in action.
2 Cor 8:9 (KJB)
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.
Paul now appeals to the Corinthians from another basis. He gives the story of the Lord Jesus Christ who was very rich, in that He is the owner of the world and the universe. (Psa 24:1 KJV) A Psalm of David. The earth is the LORD'S, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. He tells them that Jesus was rich but for the sake of those He came to save, he forsook those riches and came to earth to die. (Mat 8:20 KJV) And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head. While the Lord walked this earth, He had no wealth or visible sustenance. He went from being extremely wealthy to being extremely poor, so when He died for the Elect, He made us spiritually rich. It does not matter how much of the world’s goods you hold, if you have become saved, you have become spiritually wealthy. (Prov 13:7 KJV) There is that maketh himself rich, yet hath nothing: there is that maketh himself poor, yet hath great riches. Proverbs 13:7 teaches us that a person may have much wealth in this world yet have nothing, that is, they are spiritually bankrupt AKA unsaved. There are believers in this world who have very little or almost nothing of the world’s goods yet because of their salvation are heirs of God making them very spiritually rich. As 2 Corinthians 5:16 stated that no longer do we look at each other according to the flesh because the things of this world and our ownership of whatever we have, does not represent the real us, because our true riches are not here on earth but in heaven.
2 Cor 8:10 (KJB)
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.
Advice - Opinion or intention
Is expedient - Profitable or advantageous
To be forward - To purpose to do or be willing
Paul had appealed to them rather than giving any orders concerning a gift for the Jerusalem church. He had offered his advice which would have been much more profitable for them. If he would have commanded them, then some may have given out of compulsion and guilt and others might not have given one denarius. This is why Paul made a proper appeal to them especially since they had shown interest in making a collection for the brethren in Jerusalem about a year ago, that they should complete the task with the same zeal in which they started it. It must be noted here that when Paul says he gives his advice does not mean that this portion of the passage is not Scripture. Every word in the Bible is God’s word no matter how it is worded through the earthly author because the Scriptures were inspired by the Holy Spirit through that earthly author. We must never forget that nor think that there are any uninspired portions of text.
2 Cor 8:11 (KJB)
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.
Perform - Complete
There may be a performance - Bring to an end or accomplish
Paul had commended the Corinthians for their readiness to meet the needs of the Jerusalem church. Now he was basically stating that it is not only giving mental assent to the project but now is the time to bring it to completion. The word “perform” is in the imperative mood making it a command, that the Corinthians should now finish the project instead of letting it linger. The longer a project remains undone, the more chance it has of staying that way. Paul was just lighting a fire under them so they could get this project done and be on to the other aspects of the Lord’s business. Paul also states at the end of the verse that they needed to give what they had at that time. He did not want them to continue waiting until they may have collected more. He wanted to take to Jerusalem whatever they had collected because the need was great. If more help was needed Paul would have contacted them again in the future.
2 Cor 8:12 (KJB)
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.
This is probably the chief principle for giving to a ministry. Paul states, that before one gives, there needs to be a willing mind toward giving. That is the precursor to giving that you need to have it set in your mind that you want to give and the amount you can give. God has not given everyone the same amount of finances as we all differ. Some make a large salary and some make a small salary. God accepts gifts from people according to what they have and not according to what they do not have. God will never make a demand on you for a large gift if you have a small income. If you have a small income, He expects you to be faithful in giving what you can. Keep in mind the Widows Mite and the fishes and loaves. Jesus multiplied the fishes and loaves on two separate occasions feeding thousands each time. Jesus also commended the widow for giving two mites out of her poverty. The two mites didn’t shake the world but her gift was accepted by the Lord because of what she had. The principle is thus, little in the Lord’s hands can be multiplied very much.
In our day, a dangerous scenario exists in that ministries now take credit cards for donations and it would be very easy to get caught up in a moment and give above and beyond what you can pay back at the end of the month. God never wants you to go into debt to make a donation. We may want to make a $100 donation to a legitimate ministry but all we can send is $25, so, you send the $25 because that is what you have. I have heard charismatic televangelists ask for thousands of dollars and I would not give a penny to people like Robert Tilton, Mike Murdoch, Ron Parsley, Benny Hinn or any like that. They are professionals at guilt manipulation and attempt to get you to tears so you will give above and beyond your means. If you fall for their lines of lies, then it is your own fault if you go into debt. God wants us to give to legitimate ministries which carry His true word and send it forth around the world in obedience to the Great Commission. Never borrow to give, for soon you will be in strapping debt and all you will get for it is another envelope from the TV deceiver begging for more money. I would like to leave this verse with the principles of money given by John Wesley:
  • Gain all you can
  • Save all you can
  • Give all you can
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