Friday, January 11, 2013


"For I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened; by but equality, that now at this time your abundance may supply their lack, that their abundance also may supply your lack-that there may be equality. As it is written, "He who gathered much had nothing left over, and he who gathered little had no lack." (2 Corinthians 8:13-15). [THE NKJV STUDY BIBLE].

13-14 Perhaps one reason the collection had been languishing at Corinth was an objection like this: "As if we had no financial problems of our own, Paul is imposing fresh burdens on us so that others can become free of burdens." Christian giving, Paul insists, does not aim at an exchange of financial burdens but rather at an equal sharing of them and an equal supply of the necessities of life. The rich are not called upon to give so lavishly that they become poor and the poor rich. That would simply prolong inequality. But those who enjoy a greater share of material benefits are called upon to make certain that those who have a smaller share through no fault of their own are not in want.
          If v.13 alludes to an equal sharing of burdens that will lead to equality of supply, then v.14 speaks of mutual sacrifice that will maintain equality. Paul here is not predicting economic dearth (famine) in Corinth. But he saw that with the uncertainty of economic conditions in the first century, it was not inconceivable for the Jerusalem Christians some day to become the donors of financial aid and the Corinthians Christians the recipients. On the others hand, since chronic poverty existed in Jerusalem, perhaps Paul means that the Jerusalem believers would dispense nothing other than what they had already supplied to Gentile churches-namely, the spiritual blessings of the Gospel (cf. Rom 15:27).

15 Paul now illustrates this principle of equality of supply from the account of God's provision of manna to the Israelites in the wilderness (Exod 16:13-36; esp. v.18). Although some gathered more than others and some less, the needs of all were met. Miraculously there was equal provision, with neither surplus nor deficiency. But Paul's illustration also points to a contrast. The equality the Israelites miraculously experienced in the wilderness was enforced; the equality Christians are themselves to create in the church and the world is voluntary.
[NIV BIBLE COMMENTARY Volume 2: New Testament].



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