9. Generosity Modeled and Encouraged (2 Corinthians 8:1-9:5)

by Dr. Ralph F. Wilson
Audio (29:47)

In this lesson, Paul is seeking to finalize preparations for the Corinthian church to receive a collection "to make a contribution for the poor among the saints in Jerusalem." (Romans 15:25). For several years, Paul has been working with churches in Macedonia and Achaia to take up an offering to relieve the extreme poverty in Judea.

This project had been on Paul's heart for a long time. After his first missionary journey, when discussing with the apostles in Jerusalem,

"They asked ... that we should continue to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do." (Galatians 2:10)

In a previous letter to the Corinthians, Paul had mentioned the offering.

"1 Now about the collection for God's people: Do what I told the Galatian churches to do. 2 On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made. 3 Then, when I arrive, I will give letters of introduction to the men you approve and send them with your gift to Jerusalem. 4 If it seems advisable for me to go also, they will accompany me." (1 Corinthians 16:1-4)

Now the time has come to complete the offering, since representatives of the Macedonian churches would be coming to Corinth shortly and Paul wants to make sure everything is ready. Then Paul will arrive and together they will carry the cash to Jerusalem (Acts 24:17).

It appears in this chapter, however, that Paul is concerned that the Corinthians won't be ready after all. They had started well, but needed additional prompting and encouragement.

The Generosity of the Macedonian Churches (8:1-5)

So Paul begins his encouragement by sharing the example of other churches that are giving generously for this collection. Paul is writing this letter from Macedonia and boasts about the generosity he is seeing there (7:5-7).

"1 And now, brothers, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. 2 Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity." (8:1-2)

As Paul writes, the churches in Macedonia " probably Thessalonica and Philippi, and perhaps Berea " were undergoing a terrible time of persecution and the poverty that prevails at such a time, probably related to Paul's own difficulties there (7:5).

Paul describes the Macedonian's problem as "the most severe trial" (NIV), a "severe ordeal of affliction" (NRSV), combining two words, one upon another, to indicate the severity of the experience: dokimē, "a testing process, test, ordeal,"[296] and thlipsis, "pressure, oppression, affliction, tribulation."[297] (We've examined both of these words previously.) Combined with their trials is the word bathos, "extreme" (NIV, NRSV) or "deep" (KJV)[298] describing their poverty.[299] This is a level of poverty hard for us to imagine. We might use the expression "dirt poor" to describe it.

But despite the severity of their persecution and the depth of their poverty, the Macedonian Christians are exhibiting unexpected joy and generosity. The phrase "overflowing joy" (NIV), "abundant joy" (NRSV) employs the modifier perisseia, "that which is beyond the regular or expected amount, surplus, abundance."[300] Paul uses a related verb to describe the spontaneous overflow[301] of their generosity.

 This generosity itself comes with a modifier:[302] "rich generosity" (NIV), "wealth of generosity" (NRSV), "riches of their liberality" (KJV). They aren't just generous, they are amazingly generous! Haplotēs, translated "generosity" (NIV, NRSV), "liberality" (KJV), has the root idea of "simplicity, sincerity,"[303] but here probably carries the idea of "open-heartedness," hence, "generosity, liberality."[304]

Paul continues,

"3 For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, 4 they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the saints. 5 And they did not do as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then to us in keeping with God's will." (8:3-5)

They gave "according to their means" (kata dynamin), a phrase very common in papyrus documents from that era, especially in marriage contracts where a husband promises to provide food and clothing for his wife "according to his means."[305] This is what Paul recommended to the Corinthians previously:

"On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income...." (1 Corinthians 16:2)

"In keeping with his income" (NIV), "as God has prospered him" (KJV) translates the passive verb, euodoō, "have things turn out well, prosper, succeed."[306] To the degree that he prospers, he should give.

But here in 2 Corinthians, Paul notes that the Macedonians went beyond giving according to their ability. They gave "even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own[307]...." In other words, they weren't motivated by clever offering appeals, but out of their own volition, they got caught up in the joy of giving to relieve the poverty of others " while the Macedonians themselves were utterly poor. Amazing!

More than that, it sounds like Paul may not have even decided to ask them to give, because it says they "urgently pleaded" (NIV), "begging us earnestly" (NRSV), "praying us with much intreaty" (KJV)[308] "...for the privilege of sharing in this service to the saints." They didn't want to be left out of the blessing of being a blessing!

This reminds me of the poor widow who gave two small coins as her offering in the temple. Her love for God was so great that she gave all she had. Jesus commented to his disciples on her generosity in the face of deep poverty:

"I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on." (Luke 21:3-4)

Jesus held her up as an example to his disciples.

Q1. (2 Corinthians 8:1-5) Why is it so difficult to give when we are stressed by circumstances and bills and pressures? What can we learn from the example of the Macedonians and the poor widow? How will this lesson affect your own giving?

The Grace of Giving

It's interesting to observe that in five places in our passage, giving is referred to as "grace":

  1. Verse 4 - "privilege" (NIV, NRSV), "gift" (KJV)
  2. Verse 7 - "act of grace" (NIV), "generous undertaking" (NRSV), "grace" (KJV)
  3. Verse 8 - "grace of giving" (NIV), "generous undertaking" (NRSV), "grace" (KJV)
  4. Verse 9 - "grace" (NIV), "generous act" (NRSV), "grace" (KJV)
  5. Verse 19 - "offering" (NIV), "generous undertaking" (NRSV), "grace" (KJV)

The word is charis, which has the root idea of "a beneficent disposition toward someone, favor, grace, gracious care or help, goodwill." Here, it has the sense of a "practical application of goodwill, (a sign of) favor, gracious deed or gift, benefaction."[309]

Those who see giving as a chore, a necessary evil, a tax, an exaction, have missed the spirit of giving and of blessing that should be part of a Christian's value system. The Macedonians viewed this offering as a "service" (NIV), a "ministry" (NRSV, cf. KJV) of theirs to those less fortunate.[310] This was their opportunity to show solidarity with their brothers and sisters in the mother church, a "participation, sharing," a sense of fellowship.[311] The Church in Judea had blessed them with the gospel; now they were giving back.

Q2. (2 Corinthians 8:4, 7-9, 19) What does grace have to do with giving? What does giving look like when it isn't accompanied by grace? What does it look like when grace prompts your giving?

Match the Macedonians' Generosity (8:6-8)

"6 So we urged Titus, since he had earlier made a beginning, to bring also to completion this act of grace on your part. 7 But just as you excel in everything " in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love for us " see that you also excel in this grace of giving." (8:6-7)

The Corinthians had begun to give according to Paul's direction in 1 Corinthians 16:1-4, and through Titus' ministry with them. But now is the time to wrap it up, to bring the offering to a completion so they would be ready to send it off without a big push to give right at the end. Now he complements them about their record of excelling.[312] I don't think Paul is speaking sarcastically here; rather he is encouraging them to extend their example of spiritual excellence to giving as well. The grace of giving can't be commanded, but it can be encouraged and stimulated by the example of others. He says,

"I am not commanding you, but I want to test the sincerity of your love by comparing[313] it with the earnestness of others." (8:8)

Paul makes no apology for using the example of the Macedonian's giving to stimulate the Corinthians' giving. You could look at it cynically as a way to engage their pride " and you might be a little bit right.

But one thing I have learned in discipling Christians for decades is that believers normally rise only as high as the level of commitment and devotion they see in other Christians that they respect. People imitate what they see directly or hear about (1 Corinthians 11:1). If you've visited various churches, you may have seen some pretty "dead" churches, as well as some churches that have a profoundly "faith-filled" environment in which Christians grow quickly.

So to stimulate their faith, Paul shares the example of some on-fire saints in Macedonia who are characterized by their zeal. "Earnestness" (NIV), "eagerness" (NRSV), "diligence" (KJV) in verse 7 and "earnestness" (NIV, NRSV), "forwardness" (KJV) in verse 8  is spoudē, "earnest commitment in discharge of an obligation or experience of a relationship, eagerness, earnestness, diligence, willingness, zeal."[314]

Your zeal in giving, says Paul, will be a good way to demonstrate or test[315] your love by contrasting it with the loving zeal of the Macedonians.

Christ's Generosity in Poverty Made Us Rich (8:9)

But Paul doesn't stop with giving the Corinthians the example of the Macedonians. Rather, he points to the example of Christ himself:

"For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich." (8:9)

Jesus Was Poor Here on Earth

I've heard people who ought to know better, try to support the Prosperity Teaching using this verse. They somehow "prove" that the historic Jesus was wealthy during this time on earth. That is false, according to the Gospels.

Jesus' parents were so poor that Jesus was born in a stable. They had to offer the poor-man's sacrifice of two pigeons when Jesus was dedicated in the Temple at 40 days of age (Luke 2:22-24; Leviticus 12:8). While the Holy Family received extravagant gifts from the Magi, these were probably used up by their sojourn in Egypt, for Joseph was known in Nazareth as a carpenter (that is, a working craftsman, Matthew 13:55), not as a wealthy man who didn't have to work. As a carpenter himself (Mark 6:3), Jesus probably made a little more income than a subsistence farmer, but he was by no means rich. During his ministry, he was probably supported by a group of wealthy women (Luke 8:1-3) and received the hospitality of people in towns and villages, but of his own wealth, he said, "The Son of Man has no place to lay his head" (Matthew 8:20).

Christ Humbled Himself

So what does Paul mean when he says "though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor" (8:9)? Paul is talking about spiritual things, not material things!

This is probably best taught in Paul's majestic hymn about Christ in Philippians 2:

"6 Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
7 but made himself nothing,
taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
8 And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself and became obedient to death"
 even death on a cross!" (Philippians 2:6-8)

Christ, the Creator of the Universe (John 1:3; Colossians 1:16-17), voluntarily laid down his crown and radiant glory shining brighter than the sun, and took on the mortal body and the humble garb of a poor Jewish carpenter. He emptied himself of all his divine prerogatives and humbled himself " and ultimately died for us and for our sins. This is grace, unmerited favor that we neither can earn or deserve!

Paul builds on this truth in our passage:

"For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,
that though he was rich,
yet for your sakes he became poor,
so that you through his poverty
might become rich." (8:9)

The riches we received are the "the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints" (Ephesians 1:18), where we have all things in Christ and are heirs to everything he possesses. Yet in this life, our material lives may be "for richer, for poorer." We know what the true riches really are and those are what we long for!

Q3. (2 Corinthians 8:9) What riches did Christ have according to this verse? How did he become poor? In what way were we poor? In what way have we become rich?

Complete the Giving You Began (8:10-11)

Now after pointing to Christ's supreme example of giving, Paul continues:

"10 And here is my advice about what is best for you in this matter: Last year you were the first not only to give but also to have the desire to do so. 11 Now finish the work, so that your eager willingness to do it may be matched by your completion of it, according to your means." (8:10-11)

They should finish the collection so that their initial enthusiasm[316] will be matched by actual execution until completion.[317]

Give According to Your Blessing (8:12-15)

Paul takes pains to explain himself with clarity.

"12 For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable[318] according to what one has, not according to what he does not have. 13 Our desire is not that others might be relieved[319] while you are hard pressed,[320] but that there might be equality. 14 At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. Then there will be equality, 15 as it is written:

   ‘He who gathered much did not have too much,
  and he who gathered little did not have too little.'" (8:12-15)

We're only expected to give what we have, he says, not what we don't have. The idea isn't to impoverish the relatively well-off Corinthians so that the Jerusalem saints can become rich. The goal is an equitable distribution.

Does the Bible Advocate Socialism or Communism?

What does Paul mean when he seeks a goal of "equality" (NIV, KJV) or "fair balance" (NRSV) in verse 13 and 14? The Greek noun is isotēs, "state of matters being held in proper balance, equality."[321] Is he teaching some kind of socialism? No. What he is teaching is sacrificial love in action.

The infant church had seen this kind of love in their earliest days in Jerusalem.

"All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need." (Acts 2:44-45)

"In common" is koinos, "pertaining to being of mutual interest or shared collectively, communal, common," that is, they loved each other so much that they voluntarily shared what they had with those in need.

"All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had ... and much grace was upon them all. There were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles' feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need." (Acts 4:32-35)

This was not forced; it was love at work in the real world. Barnabas voluntarily sold some extra property to provide money to help those in need (Acts 4:36-37). Notice that Ananias and Sapphira weren't faulted for keeping back some of the proceeds of their sale, which would have been okay, but only for "lying to the Holy Spirit," pretending that they had given all of the proceeds for the poor (Acts 5:1-11).

Socialism and communism involve a forced redistribution of wealth. Scriptural giving out of love to relieve the poor is entirely voluntary; it cannot and should not be commanded (8:8). Such giving is a grace, not a law.

Gathering Just the Amount Needed (8:14-15)

"At the present time," Paul writes, "your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need." You help them now when you have extra, and when you are hit with disaster, they'll help you. In fact, in his letter to the Romans, Paul observes:

"For Macedonia and Achaia were pleased to make a contribution for the poor among the saints in Jerusalem. They were pleased to do it, and indeed they owe it to them. For if the Gentiles have shared in the Jews' spiritual blessings, they owe it to the Jews to share with them their material blessings." (Romans 15:25-27)

There's a sense in which the Jerusalem church has sacrificed to send out the gospel full of spiritual blessings to the Gentiles; now it is only fair that the Gentiles share material blessings with the mother church in their time of need.

Paul concludes this part of his argument, by referring to the days of the Exodus when manna came down from heaven.

"He who gathered much did not have too much,
and he who gathered little did not have too little." (8:15, quoting Exodus 16:18)

Some people gathered a lot of manna; others gathered only a little, the Bible says. But when it was measured, the amount each had gathered was just what he and his family needed. No one gained by gathering more than they needed; that which was kept over to the next day spoiled anyway. Each family got what they needed, not more or less. It is that kind of equitable distribution that Paul seeks in the family of God, motivated entirely by love.

Representatives Who Will Carry the Offering to Jerusalem (8:16-19)

Paul explains that the offering will be conveyed to Jerusalem by representatives of the various churches, responsible men who are well-known to the Corinthians.

16 I thank God, who put into the heart of Titus the same concern I have for you. 17 For Titus not only welcomed our appeal, but he is coming to you with much enthusiasm and on his own initiative. 18 And we are sending along with him the brother who is praised by all the churches for his service to the gospel. 19 What is more, he was chosen by the churches to accompany us as we carry the offering, which we administer in order to honor the Lord himself and to show our eagerness to help." (8:16-19)

We Are Transparent in Financial Matters (8:20-21)

Paul interrupts his introduction of the conveyers of the gift by an explanation of why these precautions are being taken.

"20 We want to avoid any criticism of the way we administer this liberal gift. 21 For we are taking pains to do what is right, not only in the eyes of the Lord but also in the eyes of men." (8:20-21)

In Paul's day and in ours, people have seen so much corruption hiding behind the guise of religion that they are skeptical. So, to avoid any criticism,[322] Paul is planning ahead of time[323] for a clear, open, and transparent way of handling this large amount of money.[324]

There is a time to live our lives before Christ, and not to please men (Acts 4:19; 5:29). But how we live reflects on the gospel and on our Lord. So when possible, we need to take whatever precautions are necessary to demonstrate that are we are acting above reproach " especially about such often abused matters as money, sex, and power. Pastors and church leaders who don't take extra precautions to protect themselves in these areas are asking for both temptation and accusations of wrongdoing.

Q4. (2 Corinthians 8:21-22) What is the balance between living our lives wholly before God without being men-pleasers, and doing what is right in the sight of men?

Show Honor to Representatives from the Churches (8:22-24)

Now Paul continues to lay out the qualifications of those who will be accompanying the offering to its destination.

"22 In addition, we are sending with them our brother who has often proved to us in many ways that he is zealous, and now even more so because of his great confidence in you. 23 As for Titus, he is my partner[325] and fellow worker[326] among you; as for our brothers, they are representatives of the churches and an honor to Christ."(8:22-23)

These men are called "representatives" (NIV), "messengers" (NRSV, KJV) of the churches. The word is apostolos, "sent ones," here referring to "messengers without extraordinary status...." That is, they are not "apostles" used as a technical term, but rather serve in the more general sense of a "delegate, envoy, messenger."[327] They have been selected by the churches for this particular mission of conveying the money safely and securely to Jerusalem.

Finally, Paul exhorts the Corinthians,

"Therefore show these men the proof[328] of your love and the reason for our pride in you, so that the churches can see it." (8:24)

In other words, when these men come from Macedonia representing the churches there, don't give them any cause to send back to their churches the report that the Corinthians weren't ready or weren't generous. Respect those whom these men represent.

Boasting to the Macedonians (9:1-4)

"1 There is no need for me to write to you about this service to the saints. 2 For I know your eagerness to help, and I have been boasting about it to the Macedonians, telling them that since last year you in Achaia were ready to give;[329] and your enthusiasm has stirred most of them to action.[330] 3 But I am sending the brothers in order that our boasting about you in this matter should not prove hollow,[331] but that you may be ready, as I said you would be. 4 For if any Macedonians come with me and find you unprepared, we " not to say anything about you " would be ashamed of having been so confident." (9:1-4)

Paul begins this section by saying, "There's no need for me to write you about the collection." And, in a sense, this was true. They had shown initial enthusiasm for the project and had started well. But it appears that they had somewhat bogged down, and Paul is concerned that the representatives of the Macedonian churches will appear only to find them unprepared. Since Paul has been bragging to the Macedonian churches about their enthusiasm, if they don't follow through, Paul will be embarrassed and so will the Corinthians.

Time to Complete Your Generous Gift (9:5)

Thus, Paul needs to write to them about this after all " just to make sure things are ready on time.

"So I thought it necessary to urge the brothers to visit you in advance and finish the arrangements for the generous gift you had promised. Then it will be ready as a generous gift, not as one grudgingly given." (9:5)

The word describing their "generous gift" is a word used for blessing, for praise.[332] Their gift will be a great blessing to the believers in Jerusalem. The gift is an act of blessing.

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However, Paul wants it to be given in the right spirit. If they wait until the last minute and then play "hurry-up," everyone will come to resent[333] the gift, since they would have to ask for a lot of money quickly. Planning a capital funds program or a plan to raise weekly giving for the budget is a lot of work. But when people learn to give regularly " each Sunday worked for these people who may have been paid weekly " then the giving is easy, a matter of a good habit, and people enjoy the process of giving. Paul is urging the Corinthians to follow through on the counsel he had given in his earlier letter:

"On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made." (1 Corinthians 16:2)


Father, we humans are often so selfish, it's hard for us when we're first learning to give to your work. Teach us what genuine sacrifice really means as we contemplate Jesus emptying of himself to become poor for our sakes. Teach our hearts so that we may become like You. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.

Key Verses

"For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich." (2 Corinthians 8:9)

"For we are taking pains to do what is right, not only in the eyes of the Lord but also in the eyes of men." (2 Corinthians 8:21)

End Notes

[296] Dokimē, BDAG 256,1. Also at 2:9 and 9:13.

[297] Thlipsis, BDAG 457, 1.

[298] Bathos, BDAG 162, 2.

[299] "Poverty" is ptōcheia, "state of being deficient in means of support, poverty" (BDAG 896), also used in verse 9.

[300] Perisseia, BDAG 804.

[301] "Welled up" (NIV), "overflowed" (NRSV), "abounded" (KJV) is perisseuō, "to be in abundance, abound," here "to be extremely rich or abundant, overflow" (BDAG 805, 1aγ).

[302] Ploutos, "plentiful supply of something, a wealth, abundance" (BDAG 832, 2).

[303] Barrett translates the phrase, "the wealth of their simple-hearted goodness" (p. 219). The same word in Romans 12:8 he translates as "whole-heartedly," that is, "being without arrière-pensée [ulterior motive] in one's gifts" (C.K. Barrett, The Epistle to the Romans (Harper's New Testament Commentaries; Harper & Row, 1957), p. 238-239. Danker contends that "the sense of ‘sincere concern, simple goodness' is sufficient for all these passages" (BDAG 104, 2).

[304] Liddell-Scott, Greek Lexicon, sees a meaning "open-heartedness," hence, "liberality" (in loc.). The sense "generosity" is favored by Bruce and others based on parallels in Josephus, Antiquities 7, 13, 4 ("[David] took [Aruna's] generosity (haplotēs) and magnanimity (megalopsuxia, "greatness of soul, highmindedness, generosity") loudly, and accepted his good-will...."), and Testament of Issachar, 3, 8. Also at Romans 12:8, and 2 Corinthians 9:11, 13.

[305] Kruse, p. 151. Dynamis, "power," here means "ability to carry out something, capability" (BDAG 263, 2).

[306] Euodoō, BDAG 410. Danker translates the phrase, "save as much as he gains." But Fee notes that the Christian community contained a number of slaves who might have no income at all. He sees the verb as "intentionally ambiguous, and does not mean that each should lay aside all his or her ‘profits,' which a literal translation of the Greek text would allow, but that in accordance with ‘whatever success or prosperity may have come their way that week,' each should set aside something for this collection. There is no hint of a tithe or proportional giving; the gift is simply to be related to their ability from week to week as they have been prospered by God" (Gordon D. Fee, The First Epistle to the Corinthians (New International Commentary; Eerdmans, 1987), p. 814). The NRSV's translation "whatever extra you earn," misses the sense of it, I think.

[307] "Entirely on their own" (NIV), "voluntarily" (NRSV), "willing of themselves" (KJV) is authairetos, "pertaining to being self-chosen, of one's own accord," also in 8:17 (BDAG 150).

[308] This intense phrase is formed from three words used together: polys, "much" + paraklēsis, "strong request, appeal" (BDAG 766, 2) + deomai, "to ask for something pleadingly, request" (BDAG 218, aβ).

[309] Charis, BDAG 1079, 3a.

[310] Diakonia, "service," is defined here as, "service rendered in an intermediary capacity, mediation, assignment," also used with this sense in 9:1 (BDAG 230, 1).

[311] Koinōnia, BDAG 553, 4.

[312] "Excel" (NIV, NRSV), "abound" (KJV) is perisseuō, here, "be outstanding, be prominent, excel in something" (BDAG 805, 1bβ).

[313] "Compare" (NIV) isn't in the text but is implied by the context.

[314] Spoudē, BDAG 939, 2.

[315] "Test" (NIV, NRSV), "prove" (KJV) is dokimazō, here, "to draw a conclusion about worth on the basis of testing, prove, approve ... accept as proved, approve" (BDAG 255, 2b).

[316] "Eager willingness" (NIV), "eagerness" (NRSV), "a readiness to will" (KJV) is two words: prothymia, "exceptional interest in being of service, willingness, readiness, goodwill" (BDAG 870), also used in the next verse, and thelō, "want," here, "to have something in mind for oneself, of purpose, resolve, will, wish, want, be ready" (BDAG 442, 2).

[317] "Completion" (NIV, NRSV), "performance" (KJV) is epiteleō, "to finish something begun, end, bring to an end, finish" (BDAG 383, 1).

[318] "Acceptable/accepted" is euprosdektos, "pertaining to being capable of eliciting favorable acceptance, acceptable" (BDAG 410, 1a).

[319] "Relieved/relief" (NIV, NRSV), "eased" (KJV) is anesis, "relief from something onerous or troublesome, rest, relaxation, relief" (BDAG 772).

[320] "Hard pressed" (NIV), "pressure" (NRSV), "burdened" (KJV) is thlipsis, "trouble that inflicts distress, affliction," here, "difficult circumstances" (BDAG 457, 1).

[321] Isotēs, BDAG 483, 1.

[322] "Criticism" (NIV), "blame" (NRSV, KJV) is mōmaomai, "find fault with, criticize, censure, blame someone" (BDAG 663).

[323] "Taking pains" (NIV), "intend" (NRSV), "providing for honest things" (KJV) is two words, pronoeō, "to think about something beforehand" (BDAG 872) and kalos, "good things."

[324] "Liberal/generous gift" (NIV/NRSV), "abundance" (KJV) is hadrotēs, "abundance," from hadros, "thick, stout, full-grown, strong, rich" (BDAG 21; Thayer, p. 12).

[325] "Partner" is koinōnos, "one who takes part in something with someone, companion, partner, sharer" (BDAG 553, 1d).

[326] "Fellow worker" (NIV), "co-worker" (NRSV), "fellow helper" (KJV) is synergos, "pertaining to working together with, helping," as substantive, "helper, fellow-worker" (BDAG 969). We get the English word "synergy" from this root.

[327] Apostolos, BDAG 122, 1.

[328] "Proof" is endeixis, "something that compels acceptance of something mentally or emotionally, demonstration, proof" (BDAG 332, 2).

[329] "Ready to give" (NIV), "ready" (NRSV, KJV) is paraskeuazō, "to cause something to be ready, prepare," here in the perfect voice, "be ready." (BDAG 772). The negative of this word is used in verse 4, aparaskeuastos, "not ready, unprepared" (a military technical term) (BDAG 97).

[330] "Stirred to action" (NIV), "stirred up" (NRSV), "provoked" (KJV) is erethizō, "to cause someone to react in a way that suggests acceptance of a challenge, arouse, provoke," here in a good sense (BDAG 393).

[331] "Hollow" (NIV), "in vain" (NRSV), "empty" (KJV) is kenoō, "to empty," here, "to cause to be without result or effect, destroy, render void or of no effect" (BDAG 539, 2).

[332] "Generous gift" (NIV), "bountiful gift" (NRSV), "a matter of bounty" (KJV) is eulogia, usually translated "praise, blessing" in the New Testament. But here, since the concept of blessing connotes the idea of bounty, the word also bears the meaning, "generous gift, bounty" (BDAG 408, 4).

[333] "One grudgingly given" (NIV), "an extortion" (NRSV), "of covetousness" (KJV) is pleonexia, "the state of desiring to have more than one's due, greediness, insatiableness, avarice, covetousness." Danker says of this verse, "the context calls for the pregnant meaning, a gift that is grudgingly granted by avarice; extortion" (BDAG 824).

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