The Divine Lamp

The unfolding of thy words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple…Make thy face shine upon thy servant, and teach me thy statutes

Father Callan’s Commentary on 2 Corinthians 8:16-24

Posted by Dim Bulb on May 8, 2017


A Summary of 2 Corinthians 8:16-24~After his exhortation to the Corinthians regarding the collection to be completed among them, St. Paul recommends those officials who have been appointed to terminate the work. Titus, who had begun the collection, and who loves the Corinthians so much, is not in need of any recommendation. And as regards the two delegates who are to assist him, one was a trusted helper in the Macedonian collection, and the other has proved himself most faithful in many important charges, and is very well disposed towards the Corinthians. Hence all three deserve to be received most cordially by the faithful.

2 Cor 8:16. And thanks be to God, who hath given the same carefulness for you in the heart of Titus.

The Apostle thanks God that Titus is inspired with the same deep interest and zeal for the Corinthians which he himself has for them. This earnestness and solicitude Titus has not only in his words and actions, but also in his heart.

2 Cor 8:17. For indeed he accepted the exhortation; but being more careful, of his own will he went unto you.

The exhortation, i.e., the Apostle’s exhortation to go and complete the collection.

More careful, i.e., very much in earnest.

He went (ἐξῆλθε). This is the epistolary aorist, referring to the time when the Corinthians would read this letter. So anxious was Titus to go and complete the collection that he did not need the Apostle’s exhortation, but of his own accord went for this purpose to Corinth, most probably carrying with him this present letter.

2 Cor 8:18. We have sent also with him the brother, whose praise is in the gospel through all the churches.

We have sent. Again the epistolary aorist.

The brother means a fellow-Christian and companion of St. Paul and Titus. Who this “brother” was we do not know. St. Chrysostom thought he was Barnabas or Luke; St. Jerome and Origen said he was Luke; others have conjectured Mark, Silas, Sopater, Aristarchus, or Secundus (Acts 19:29; 20:4; 27:2).

In the gospel means in preaching the Gospel. There is no reference to St. Luke’s Gospel, which was not written at the time, nor to any other written Gospel.

2 Cor 8:19. And not that only, but he was also ordained by the churches companion of our travels, for this grace, which is administered by us, to the glory of the Lord, and our determined will:

The meaning is that the “brother” just spoken of was not only widely praised for his work in preaching the Gospel, but also had been appointed by the Churches, probably of Macedonia, to accompany St. Paul in his journey to Jerusalem with the alms for the poor.

Was ordained, i.e., appointed. The word χειροτονηθεὶς  in classical Greek means to elect by show of hands, but in later ecclesiastical Greek it was the ordinary word used to signify sacramental ordination by imposition of hands. In this latter sense it is employed in Acts 14:22, the only other place in which it occurs in the New Testament. Here, however, the term probably retains its original meaning, since it is said, “he was ordained by the churches.”

This grace, i.e., this charitable work of making the collection and conveying it to the poor.

Which is administered, etc., i.e., which is discharged by us Apostles to promote the glory of God and to manifest our own ready will (καὶ προθυμίαν ἡμῶν· = kai promthymian hemon) to help the poor.

2 Cor 8:20. Avoiding this, lest any man should blame us in this abundance which is administered by us.

Avoiding this, etc. Verse 19 is almost parenthetical, and the connection now goes back to “we have sent” of verse 18. The meaning is that the Apostle is sending the “brother” to assist Titus with the collection so that all suspicion of any fraud on his part may be removed.

This abundance refers to the collection, and indirectly suggests to the Corinthians to make it a generous one.

2 Cor 8:21. For we forecast what may be good not only before God, but also before men.

St. Paul means to say that he is at pains not only to be honest in the sight of God, but also to appear so before men.
This is why he had reliable helpers, and witnesses for the work of the collection.

The verse is a quotation from the LXX of Prov. 3:4. Cf. Rom. 12:17; Matt. 5:16.

2 Cor 8:22. And we have sent with them our brother also, whom we have often proved diligent in many things ; but now much more diligent, with much confidence in you,

Our brother. This is the third delegate, who is to assist Titus and “the brother” (verse 18). It is also uncertain who this brother, i.e., fellow-Christian and companion of the Apostle, was. Surely he was not St. Paul’s own brother, but some other tried and trusted co-worker who had great interest in the Corinthians, and in whom, consequently, they would have great confidence. Some authorities refer much confidence back to “we have sent” (verse 18), and in that connection it would be St. Paul who had much confidence in the Corinthians (Estius). The previous view is preferable.

2 Cor 8:23. Either for Titus, who is my companion and fellow labourer towards you, or our brethren, the apostles of the churches, the glory of Christ.

Some things have to be supplied here. The sense is: If there be question of Titus, he is my companion and fellow-worker among you; and as to our brethren (verses 18, 22), they are the Apostles of the Churches, the glory of Christ. The term apostles here has its original and literal meaning of those sent as messengers or legates. There is no implication that these messengers enjoyed Apostolic dignity equal to that of St. Paul or the twelve.

The glory of Christ means that these legates honored and glorified Christ by their holy lives and zealous labors.

Who (Vulg., qui) after Titus is not in the Greek.

2 Cor 8:24. Wherefore shew ye to them, in the sight of the churches, the evidence of your charity, and of our boasting on your behalf.

The Apostle tells the Corinthians to give the delegates of the Churches of Macedonia, who are coming to them, a proof of their charity, and of the good reputation he has given them.

In the sight of, etc. The meaning is that the respect shown to those delegates will be respect shown to the Church from which they come.

In the Vulgate, quae est should be omitted, and gloriae should be gloriationis, to agree with the Greek.


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