Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible
back to: 2 Corinthians
Book: 2 Corinthians
Chapter: 8

The Apostle reminds them of charitable contributions for the
Poor saints. (1-6) Enforces this By their Gifts, and By the Love
and Grace of Christ. (7-9) By the willingness they had shown to
this good work. (10-15) He recommends Titus to them. (16-24)

1-6 The Grace of God must be owned as the root and Fountain of
all the good in us, or done By us, at any time. It is great
Grace and favour from God, if we are made useful to others, and
forward to any good work. He commends the Charity of the
Macedonians. So far from needing that Paul should urge them,
they prayed him to receive the Gift. Whatever we use or lay out
for God, it is only giving him what is his own. All we give for
charitable uses, will not be accepted of God, nor turn to our
advantage, unless we first give ourselves to the Lord. By
ascribing all really good Works to the Grace of God, we not only
give the Glory to him whose due it is, but also show men where
their strength is. Abundant spiritual joy enlarges men's hearts
in the work and labour of Love. How different this from the
conduct of those who will not join in any good work, unless
urged into it!

7-9 Faith is the root; and as without Faith it is not possible
to please God, Heb 11:6, So those who abound in Faith, will
abound in other graces and good Works also; and this will work
and show itself By Love. Great talkers are not always the best
doers; but these Corinthians were diligent to do, as Well as to
know and talk Well. To all these good things the Apostle desires
them to add this Grace also, to abound in Charity to the Poor.
The best arguments for Christian duties, are drawn from the
Grace and Love of Christ. Though he was rich, as being God,
equal in power and Glory with the Father, yet he not only became
Man for us, but became Poor also. At length he emptied himself,
as it were, to Ransom their souls By his Sacrifice On the Cross.
From what riches, blessed Lord, to what poverty didst thou
descend for our sakes! and to what riches hast thou advanced us
through thy poverty! It is our happiness to be wholly at thy

10-15 Good purposes are like buds and blossoms, pleasant to
behold, and give hopes of good Fruit; but they are lost, and
signify nothing without good deeds. Good beginnings are Well;
but we lose the benefit, unless there is perseverance. When men
purpose that which is good, and endeavour, according to their
ability, to perform also, God will not reject them for what it
is not in their power to do. But this Scripture will not justify
those who think good meanings are enough, or that good purposes,
and the mere profession of a willing mind, are enough to save.
Providence gives to some more of the good things of this world,
and to some less, that those who have abundance might supply
others who are in want. It is the will of God, that By our
mutual supplying one another, there should be some sort of
equality; not such a levelling as would destroy property, for in
such a case there could be No Exercise of Charity. All should
think themselves concerned to relieve those in want. This is
shown from the gathering and giving out the Manna in the
Wilderness, Ex 16:18. Those who have most of this world, have
No more than Food and raiment; and those who have but little of
this world, seldom are quite without them.

16-24 The Apostle commends the brethren sent to collect their
Charity, that it might be known who they were, and how safely
they might be trusted. It is the duty of all Christians to act
prudently; to hinder, as far as we can, all unjust suspicions.
It is needful, in the first place, to act uprightly in the sight
of God, but things honest in the sight of men should also be
attended to. A clear character, as Well as a pure Conscience, is
requisite for usefulness. They brought Glory to Christ as
instruments, and had obtained honour from Christ to be counted
Faithful, and employed in his service. The good opinion others
have of us, should be an argument with us to do Well.