Online Bible Commentary
Give to Glorify God
2 Corinthians 8:16 But thanks be to God who puts the same earnest care for you into the heart of Titus. 17 For he not only accepted the exhortation, but being more diligent, he went to you of his own accord. 18 And we have sent with him the brother whose praise is in the gospel throughout all the churches, 19 and not only that, but who was also chosen by the churches to travel with us with this gift, which is administered by us to the glory of the Lord Himself and to show your ready mind, 20 avoiding this: that anyone should blame us in this lavish gift which is administered by us-- 21 providing honorable things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men. 22 And we have sent with them our brother whom we have often proved diligent in many things, but now much more diligent, because of the great confidence which we have in you. 23 If anyone inquires about Titus, he is my partner and fellow worker concerning you. Or if our brethren are inquired about, they are messengers of the churches, the glory of Christ. 24 Therefore show to them, and before the churches the proof of your love and of our boasting on your behalf. (NKJV)
On his third missionary journey, after ministering in Ephesus for two years and three months, the Apostle Paul left for Macedonia in May, A.D. 56. Paul was in Macedonia from June to November of that year. It was there that he wrote the letter of 2nd Corinthians, likely in September and October of A.D. 56.
Paul is writing this letter to the church at Corinth, Greece. This is a message directed to those Christians and to all Christians today.
After arriving in Macedonia, Paul was greeted by Titus who had come from Corinth. Titus delivered news of the goings on in Corinth. The church in Corinth had previously been mature in their belief. However, over the past year (2 Corinthians 9:2) they have followed false teachers.
Now, Titus has returned from Corinth to Macedonia to report that the Corinthian believers have now repented and returned to the teachings of Paul. In the previous passage, Paul wrote that it is now time for the Corinthians to complete the task of giving, that they had begun a year ago, a task that was interrupted when they turned away from the teachings of Paul.
In this passage, Paul begins by impressing upon the Corinthian believers that Titus has the same love for them and confidence in them as does Paul (v. 16). Paul has exhorted Titus to return to Corinth with this new letter, but Titus has actually volunteered to do so (v. 17).
Paul is sending with Titus “the brother whose praise is in the gospel throughout all the churches” (v. 18). The brother in Christ referred to here is thought to be Luke, although Paul does not identify him. It appears that Paul does not wish to detract from the importance of Titus.
This brother “was also chosen by the churches to travel with us with this gift” (v. 19a). The fact that “the churches” have chosen this brother testifies to his integrity and trustworthiness. The gift is the offerings from the churches which are to be returned to Jerusalem to help the Christians there.
The gift of offerings “is administered by us to the glory of the Lord Himself and to show your ready mind” (v. 19b). The offerings are to be used to glorify God, and also to show the maturity of the churches. The act of Christian giving is often one of the last graces to be displayed by the mature Christian.
Paul’s goal is that no one “should blame us in this lavish gift” (v. 20). He does not want anyone to blame them in regards to how the offerings are to be used and protected.
The offerings are to be used to provide “honorable things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men” (v. 21). The offerings are to be used for the glory of God, to accomplish honorable things. Those collecting and determining the use of the offerings are accountable both to God and man. This is the reason that church budgets are voted on by the congregation.
To prove this accountability Paul writes “And we have sent with them our brother” (v. 22a). Paul is sending a third brother to collect the offerings. This third brother is also unidentified.
The third brother has “often proved diligent in many things” (v. 22b). He also is a man of integrity and accomplished in glorifying God. This third brother is “now much more diligent, because of the great confidence which we have in you” (v. 22c}. The fact that the church in Corinth has restored Paul’s confidence in them will add to the accomplishment of the third brother
Paul continues to expound on the integrity of the collectors by providing references. He states that Titus is “my partner and fellow worker concerning you” (v. 23a). Then he states that the other two brothers in Christ “are messengers of the churches”, (v. 23b). The churches are described as “the glory of Christ” (v. 23c).
Finally, Paul requests that the Corinthian believers “show to them, and before the churches the proof of your love and of our boasting on your behalf” (v. 24). His request is that they should show to the collectors of the offerings, and to all the churches they represent, proof of their love and that Paul’s boasting of them was justified.
God loves a cheerful giver. We should give to God’s work from our abundance, cheerfully and willingly. In return, those who collect our offerings have a responsibility to us and to God to protect our offerings and to ensure that they are used to glorify God.