LESSON 1, VERSE 1:
touching the ministering to the saints, it is superfluous for me
to write to you." 2nd Corinthians 9:1
Paul loved the Corinthians.
Many of them
were saved under his preaching.
He had great
hope for them as a congregation of Believers!
"Our hope of you is stedfast,"
he wrote in 2nd Corinthians 1:7.
His "care" for
them was astounding!
Yet Paul also
had burdens for other Churches and flocks too!
He even once
mentioned this. "Beside those things
that are without, that which cometh upon me daily,
the care of all the
churches." 2nd Corinthians 11:28
"care" (in Greek = "merimna") pictures things which "distract"
or "pull apart" one's emotions and thoughts and concerns!
burden Paul had was for the suffering saints at Jerusalem.
They often lacked necessary items ... perhaps even food and
For some time
Paul had wanted to receive a generous love offering from the
Gentile churches to help the Jewish Christians in their time of
Corinthians had apparently committed themselves to help in this
But it seems
that their commitment had nearly been forgotten!
They were on
the verge of going back on their word!
writes 2nd Corinthians 8 and 9, two whole chapters!
Here the great
Apostle is teaching them (and us) how to give, when to give and
why to give to the cause of Christ!
treatment of them is astounding!
In essence our
verse today, "For as touching the
ministering to the saints, it is superfluous for me to write to
you," is tantamount to writing something like this:
"Now, you folks know this. It is not even necessary for me
to remind you." He is leading up to mentioning the offering they
had promised to give!
"touching" translates "peri," a Greek preposition meaning
"concerning" or "surrounding" a certain thing.
The noun for
"ministering" is the same word which gives us the Greek term
"deacon." That is ... one who serves others! Get it?
NOT one who bosses others! The root verb "diako" means "to
("hagios") are truly born-again Blood-washed Believers in Jesus
Christ, set apart unto Him exclusively!
Paul loved to
help other Christians! He even went so far as to make them
a priority! "As we have therefore
opportunity, let us do good unto all men,
especially unto them who
are of the household of faith." (Galatians
6:10) He is saying "be good to everybody, but particularly
your brothers and sisters in Christ!"
that by loving one another, we Christians exert a powerful
testimony and influence for the sake of the Gospel! He
adopted Jesus' philosophy: "By this
shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have
love one to another." John 13:35
"superfluous" is in Greek "perissos" and means "in excess."
Super-abundant! Overflowing! It in reality means
modestly and kindly saying ... "I don't have to remind you" ...
but really he did!
about to fail in faithfulness to their word!
In not keeping
And it is so
important that we be truthful! That our "yea" really be
In fact, it's
so important that Psalm 15 ... when mentioning some things that
will keep us "stable" in the Christian life ... includes
"He that sweareth to his own hurt, and
changeth not." That means he who "does what he
says!" Psalm 15:4b
Can you today
think of any "broken" promises you need to rectify?
I suspect we
Well, you had
better read no further if you have no intentions of making those
the rest of this Text is all about, keeping one's word!
--- Dr. Mike Bagwell
LESSON 2, VERSE 2:
Corinthians were apparently on the verge of breaking a promise!
earlier committed to participate in a "love offering" for the
poor suffering Believers back in Jerusalem.
But, as Titus
had recently reported to Paul, plans for such an endeavor had
fallen by the wayside.
reveals how Paul tactfully reminded them of their vow!
Here again we
see that Paul, at least when dealing with fellow Christians,
seldom rebukes without also including some commendation in the
message as well!
"For I know the forwardness of your mind,
for which I boast of you to them of Macedonia, that Achaia was
ready a year ago; and your zeal hath provoked very many." 2nd
"know" ("eido") implies God-given knowledge! Not that
which Paul acquired at the feet of Gamaliel, for example.
God has revealed to Paul the fact that the Corinthians were
initially genuinely excited about financially helping their
Brethren in Judea.
"forwardness of their mind" is represented by a noun, "prothumia."
It means "passion" or strong emotional feeling ("thumos")
possessed previously ("pro") by a group of people. A
To "boast" ("kauchaomai")
is to brag on someone, to "glory" in them. Paul had been
telling of the Corinthians' unselfishness everywhere he went!
unselfishness which now had seemed to disappear!
Paul's day a mountainous country north of Greece proper, was the
location of cities like Philippi and Thessalonica.
apparently used the Corinthians' proposed generosity as an
example to "spur" the giving of the Macedonians!
So ... the
Achaians couldn't stop now! Achaia was the area, the
country, in which Corinth was located ... along with Athens and
"was ready" translates "paraskeuazo." A "skueos" in Greek
was a vessel or a pot or pan ready to be used in cooking or
otherwise preparing a meal. An implement, a tool, a piece
That's what we
Christian are to be, "tools" in the Master's Hand!
The "zeal" of
the Corinthian Church, their ("zelos") hot passion, their
burning desire to give ... had encouraged others to take part in
this great offering of benevolence!
is to "stimulate!" The word has a dubious background! "Erethizo"
actually means to start a fight! "Eris" in Greek means a
quarrel or wrangling!
Is Paul here
posing a "contest" between the two districts? A "friendly"
battle to see who can give more graciously to those suffering
this term, but here Paul's "psychology" is evident!
His way of
handling the saved people so dear to his heart!
"inciting" them to good works!
He will later
teach us all to ... "consider one another
to provoke unto love and to good works." Hebrews
I have a
feeling the Corinthians, once receiving this challenging letter
from Paul, went on a dramatic stewardship drive!
Paul had earlier written that our giving is indeed
"the proof of our love!" 2nd
--- Dr. Mike Bagwell
LESSON 3, VERSE 3:
Paul was a man
with authority, God-given authority.
though I should boast somewhat more of our authority, which the
Lord hath given us for edification, and not for your destruction
...." 2nd Corinthians 10:8
He plans to
send several brethren to Corinth ... in advance of his arrival.
"Yet have I sent the brethren, lest our
boasting of you should be in vain in this behalf; that, as I
said, ye may be ready." 2nd Corinthians 9:3
"sent" is "pempo" in Greek. It means to dispatch someone
from one place to another. These "brethren" were with
Paul, probably at Philippi. From there to Corinth was at
least 250 miles.
"brethren" were unnamed, but had to include at least two or
three men. It seems that when Paul handled money, which was
indeed the reason for this trip to Corinth, he always tried to
keep it under the supervision of more than one man! This is wise! It lowers the threshold for temptation. And it
Why did Paul
send these "brethren?"
To help the
Corinthian Church with their love offering! They
apparently need a little "boost." Paul had been bragging
("boasting" = "kauchema") about the Corinthians' generosity.
But they had nearly failed him!
The word for
"vain" just means empty.
"behalf" in reality is "meros" and means a "part" or "portion"
of something. The Church at Corinth did not have the
burden of the whole love offering for the Christians in Judea.
They merely needed to do their part! That's all the Lord asks of
any of us.
Then Paul uses
a clause that is interesting, "as I said." He often
repeats things! Preachers must do so! Twice in his
Epistles he says: "I told you before." 2nd
Corinthians 13:2 and 1st Thessalonians 3:4
These men have
come to help the Church be financially "ready" for Paul's
arrival. That verb "may be ready" translates "paraskeuazo"
and means to be prepared as an "instrument" or a "vessel" or a
Paul was a
practical man of God!
urgently wanted this proposed love offering for the suffering
saints in Jerusalem to be both generous and proper.
--- Dr. Mike Bagwell
LESSON 4, VERSE 4:
planning another trip to Corinth.
according to 2nd Corinthians 13:1, is his third time there.
When he comes
he wants to collect the Corinthian "love offering" for the
suffering Believers in Jerusalem.
And he will be
bringing several additional Brethren with him too, men from
"Lest haply if they of Macedonia come with
me," says the Apostle. (2nd Corinthians 9:4)
"Haply" (in Greek = "pos") just means "perhaps" or "by any
The fact that
Paul has used the Corinthians as an "example" of voluntary
generous faith "giving," even to the Macedonians, is important
to remember here!
If the Apostle
comes to Corinth, with his Philippian brethren alongside, and
finds no offering collected, it will be embarrassing!
Both to him
and to the Corinthians themselves!
He does not
want "to find them unprepared!"
whole verse we're studying today: "Lest
haply if they of Macedonia come with me, and find you
unprepared, we (that we say not, ye ) should be ashamed in this
same confident boasting." 2nd Corinthians 9:4
means "disgraced" literally!
adjective "confident" which modifies Paul's "boasting" is
spelled "hupostasis" in Greek. It means that which is
standing ("stasis") under ("hupo") something to brace and
Paul was SURE
of the Corinthians' generosity!
In a unique
way a certain amount of spiritual pressure is being applied here
... due to the unusual circumstances ... exclusively for the
cause of Christ!
Paul is saying
something like this.
You all in
Corinth promised you would give to this fund for the needy!
Over a year
ago you said so!
You have been
slow to respond!
Now, get with
some men on ahead to help get you started!
I don't want
you ... or me ... to be embarrassed when other Christians see
what little you've done, if anything!
Come on now!
Your mentor in
And I say,
"Will the ushers come forward!"
--- Dr. Mike Bagwell
LESSON 5, VERSE 5:
their proposed love gift to the poor saints at Jerusalem a
"Therefore I thought it necessary to
exhort the brethren, that they would go before unto you, and
make up beforehand your bounty, whereof ye had notice before,
that the same might be ready, as a matter of bounty, and
not as of covetousness." 2nd Corinthians 9:5
pictures Paul uses!
In order, I
think, to avoid too many stark financial terms ... the Apostle
uses the word "eulogia" for the offering! This "bounty"
just means "a good word!" It can mean a "blessing" too.
Did you ever
think of a twenty dollar bill in a folded sheet of paper
and mailed to a needy Christian brother or sister as a "good
Paul sure did
... and the Holy Spirit told him to use that term too!
here indicates that Paul possible had to exert a little friendly
"pressure" on two or three of the "brethren" to get them to come
ahead of him to Corinth ... to aid with the "collection."
I say that
because of the terms employed here.
translates "anagkaios" and means under constraint, pressure
being applied! And the verb "exhort" suggests some mild
persuasion just may have been involved too.
"To make up
beforehand" is "prokatartizo" and means "ahead of time" ("pro")
to "intensively" ("kata") refresh ("artios") the offering!
These men were sent to Corinth to be sure the offering was
complete (or nearly so) when Paul arrived! Here is the only time
this word is used in all the Bible! That alone makes it
"visit" should not surprise the Corinthians either. They
had know for some time that the offering "deadline" was
approaching. Paul was going to Jerusalem to deliver it
He says, "ye
had notice before." The verb "prokataggello" means
to announce ahead of time, to heartily proclaim something in
adjective "ready" ("hetoimos") means "fit" or "prepared."
expecting a spirit of generosity and love to surround this
Corinthians adventure! He wanted things done is an
atmosphere of "bounty" ("eulogia" again, a "good word") ...and
not one of "covetousness." "Pleonexia" means to have or to
hold ("echo") to more and more ("pleon")! That's exactly
what it is to covet! To want more and more and then some
more, never stopping!
giving is to be permeated by sweet liberality ... not selfish
May such be so
in our lives too.
--- Dr. Mike Bagwell
P. S. --- You
may be wondering WHY Paul is being so precise and so careful
about this offering. It could be, based on little "hints"
in 2nd Corinthians, that Paul has been accused (by his enemies
in that Corinthians Church) of wanting to get his "hands" on
that money ... for personal reasons! Listen to him in 2nd
Corinthians 12:18. "I desired Titus,
and with him I sent a brother. Did Titus make a gain of
you?" Did we take one cent of your money, he asks!
Or earlier another such indication rests in verse 16.
"But be it so, I did not burden you:
nevertheless, being crafty, I caught you with guile." I
did not take your money ... although I have been accused of
being "crafty!" So Paul reasoned with them. Folks, it's
just a good idea to have more than one person handling the money
down at God's House! In that sense there is safety
LESSON 6, VERSE 6:
Paul, for two whole chapters in 2nd Corinthians, discussed the
subject of Christian "giving," the "offering!"
He wrote to
the Romans: "Whensoever I take my
journey into Spain, I will come to you: for I trust to see you
in my journey, and to be brought on my way thitherward by you,
if first I be somewhat filled with your company.
But now I go unto
Jerusalem to minister unto the saints. For it hath pleased them
of Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the
poor saints which are at Jerusalem. It hath pleased them
verily; and their debtors they are. For if the Gentiles have
been made partakers of their spiritual things, their duty is
also to minister unto them in carnal things. When
therefore I have performed this, and have sealed to them this
fruit, I will come by you into Spain." (Romans
15:24-28) Note the capitalized text.
He has urged
all the churches, everywhere he has preached, to help with this
failed to do their best.
chapters 8 and 9 of his second Epistle to the Corinthians in
order to incite the Achaians to further generosity.
verse 6 of chapter 9 as sort of a "summary" of God's plan for
giving. "But this I say, He
which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which
soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully."
He here, under
Holy Spirit inspiration, pictures one's giving and sharing as
being quite similar to a farmer sowing his springtime crops!
The more one
"sows" ... the more he will reap!
The verb for
"sow," in Greek "speiro," means to scatter as well!
Everywhere one goes, give! In those days they did not
always plow straight rows and then plant, but often broadcast
the seed everywhere in a softly prepared field. Even in
the corners where rocks were located and along pathways where
"sparingly" means "not expending freely!" Too cautiously!
With too much care! Or even sorrowfully!
God does not
enjoy our giving if it is clothed in sorrow and grief! He
in fact loves a "cheerful" giver! (2nd Corinthians 9:7)
That word, "hilaros," means cheerful!
Then the term
"bountifully" translates "epi logia." Literally it means
upon blessing after blessing after blessing!
line here: Corinthians, the more you give ... the more you
will be blessed! Or maybe it is even this: The more
you give and bless others ... the more you yourself will receive
and be blessed!
God is good!
--- Dr. Mike Bagwell
If I have
studied Paul's paragraph accurately, he is really saying in this
Text ... "Corinthians, keep your word! You promised some
time ago to help with the offering for the needy saints in
Judea, but you have grown lazy in your generosity. I am
sending a few men to help you get started again. Don't
embarrass me as your leader of yourselves as saints of God.
Do what you said!"
pretty good advice for us all!
Christians need to read these Verses ...and practice their