We begin this week by reading 2 Cor 8:16-24
v16: Thanks (Grace) to G-d: This word for grace can be understood as giving thanks to G-d.
- Earnest care (literally the word for ‘diligence’): The word for haste or urgency. When someone truly has a need, G-d will make haste to bring about His provision to meet their need. His faithfulness to us causes Him to respond urgently. When we have the Holy Spirit living in us, we are going to have this same character. Some Bibles talk about this as ‘earnest care’ or commitment. Being earnest produces faithfulness (loyalty) and diligence.
- Titus: Paul keeps coming back to Titus because Titus was a faithful, loyal and G-dly ambassador of the faith. Paul appreciated him and saw his commitment to the things of G-d.
v17: Accepted the exhortation (encouragement): This might be referring to the fact that Titus had heard, from Paul and others, about the commitment and growth of the Corinthian congregation. Because of that, he knew this was a congregation worth investing in as they had the potential to produce much fruit.
- Diligence: Diligence has been emphasised again and again in this passage. Titus was an individual who received the encouragement and responded to the need to do ministry. He interrupted his life to get involved in the lives of others.
- He went to you: Titus had a desire to bless this congregation, to share with them, teach them and impart G-dly things to them.
- Of his own accord: Titus was super diligent. He went the extra mile for others.
v18: The brother: We are not told this man’s name.
- Whose praise is in the gospel: This could mean that this man found satisfaction and fulfilment (praise) in the work of the gospel. It could also mean that this man received praise, from all the congregations, for his commitment to the gospel (he had a testimony or a reputation of being committed to the gospel). He accompanied Titus to minister to the Corinthians.
v19: Chosen … to travel with us: Paul and some others with him were going to administrate the giving of this collection, this gift, to the church in Judea. This unnamed brother or fellow believer had been chosen to go with Paul to do this.
- Gift: Referring to this financial gift.
- To the glory of the L-rd Himself: All of their service was done to bring glory to G-d.
- Ready mind (Forethought): Alludes to preparation or readiness. This collection had been happening for a year and now the moment was at hand for them to give that to this selected group that they might travel to Judea for the purpose of administering it.
v20: Avoiding: It is an avoiding because things are set in order. If things are done orderly or properly then they were going to avoid any shame or guilt being levelled at them.
- Blame us: Make them feel guilty.
v21: Note: We need to be careful and transparent. G-d knows what is going on in our lives, but others are also watching. Paul needed to administrate this abundant gift properly – not only before the L-rd but also before men, so that he and his companions would have a good reputation and testimony.
v22: Our brother: This same unnamed individual. He was loyal and showed an earnest faithfulness for the things of G-d.
- Proved: He has been tested and has not been found wanting.
- Diligent: This earnest, sincere behaviour again being emphasised.
- Great confidence: This one had much confidence in what this Corinthian congregation had been doing and he had confidence that they were going to give in abundance for the purpose of G-d.
v23: Titus: When Titus went to Corinth, they were thankful for his visit. They were a blessing to him. They did not just receive what he had to say but they were diligent and faithful to behave in the way that they were expected to.
- A fellow worker: A very important truth we can glean from this is this: we are all in this together. We are all fellow servants. We all are called to take part, in a variety of ways, in this work or ministry (according to our calling and giftedness).
- Concerning you: Referring to this Corinthian congregation.
- Our brethren/brothers: Paul is talking here about the apostles of the congregations.
- The glory of Messiah: This is the key. We are all servants together and everything we do should be for the glory of Messiah.
v24: Show to them: We are supposed to manifest faithfulness, righteousness, the standards of G-d, manifest His ministry in our lives.
- Before the churches: We should have a testimony that is visible to others. The church is called out of this world to be a witness of or testify about Yeshua.
- Show …the proof of your love: The way that we show love is by manifesting truth – walking in the commandments of G-d. Love produces lawfulness – it is not about keeping the letter of the law but about keeping the righteous intent of the law through the Spirit. A lack of love produces lawlessness. Showing our love shows forth our commitment to the character, will and purposes of G-d – loving His righteous standards. Loving involves giving of ourselves like Yeshua did (John 3:16)