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. Chapter 8.

Liberal Giving

1 WE MUST TELL YOU, friends, about the grace of generosity which God has imparted to [Or: how gracious God has been to ...] our congregations in Macedonia. 2 The troubles they have been through have tried them hard, yet in all this they have been so exuberantly happy that from the depths of their poverty they have shown themselves lavishly open-handed. 3 Going to the limit of their resources, as I can testify, and even beyond that limit, 4 they begged us most insistently, and on their own initiative, to be allowed to share in this generous service to their fellow-Christians. 5 And their giving surpassed our expectations; for they gave their very selves, offering them in the first instance to the Lord, but also, under God, to us. 6 The upshot is that we have asked Titus, who began it all, to visit you and bring this work of generosity also to completion. 7 You are so rich in everything?in faith, speech, knowledge, and zeal of every kind, as well as in the loving regard you have for us [Some witnesses read: the love we have for you; Or: the love which we have kindled in your hearts.] ?surely you should show yourselves equally lavish in this generous service! 8 This is not meant as an order; by telling you how keen others are I am putting your love to the test. 9 For you know how generous our Lord Jesus Christ has been: he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that through his poverty you might become rich.

10 Here is my considered opinion on the matter. What I ask you to do is in your own interests. You made a good beginning last year both in the work you did and in your willingness to undertake it. 11 Now I want you to go on and finish it: be as eager to complete the scheme as you were to adopt it, and give according to your means. 12 Provided there is an eager desire to give, God accepts what a man has; he does not ask for what he has not. 13 There is no question of relieving others at the cost of hardship to yourselves; 14 it is a question of equality. At the moment your surplus meets their need, but one day your need may be met from their surplus. 15 [ Ex.16.18. ] The aim is equality; as Scripture has it, 'The man who got much had no more than enough, and the man who got little did not go short.'

Titus and His Companions

16 I thank God that he has made Titus as keen on your behalf as we are! 17 For Titus not only welcomed our request; he is so eager that by his own desire he is now leaving to come to you. 18 With him we are sending one of our company whose reputation is high among our congregations everywhere for his services to the Gospel. 19 Moreover they have duly appointed him to travel with us and help in this beneficent work, by which we do honour to the Lord himself and show our own eagerness to serve. 20 We want to guard against any criticism of our handling of this generous gift; 21 [ Pr.3.4. ] for our aims are entirely honourable, not only in the Lord's eyes, but also in the eyes of men.

22 With these men we are sending another of our company whose enthusiasm we have had many opportunities of testing, and who is now all the more earnest because of the great confidence he has in you. 23 If there is any question about Titus, he is my partner and my associate in dealings with you; as for the others, they are delegates of our congregations, an honour to Christ. [Or: they are ... congregations; they reflect Christ.] 24 Then give them clear expression of your love and justify our pride in you; justify it to them, and through them to the congregations.

<< | II Corinthians: 8 | >>

NEBNew English Bible: © The Delegates of the Oxford University Press & the Syndics of the Cambridge University Press 1961. This Webpage layout © Paul Ingram 2009. Any mismatches, truncated verses, other mistakes? Please e-mail me.