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Archive for May 9th, 2017

Father Callan’s Commentary on 2 Corinthians 9:6-15

Posted by Dim Bulb on May 9, 2017


A Summary of 2 Corinthians 9:6-15~The Apostle is sending his delegates to Corinth beforehand, in order that the collection may be completed in advance of his own arrival; and yet he hopes haste may not in any way interfere with the generosity and willingness of the Corinthians. Accordingly, before closing this topic, he takes occasion briefly to exhort the faithful to give freely and generously, in view of their future recompense. God will reward their charity with greater benefits, both temporal and spiritual, because their bounty will not only relieve the necessities of those who receive of it, but will also glorify God. Wherefore the Apostle concludes with an act of thanksgiving to the heavenly Father.

2 Cor 9:6. Now this I say: He who soweth sparingly, shall also reap sparingly: and he who soweth in blessings, shall also reap blessings.

St. Paul now tells the Corinthians that as the harvest corresponds to the sowing, so their reward will be in proportion to their generosity in giving: he who gives little will receive little; he that gives much will likewise receive much. The reward, then, will be according to the work performed, as the doctrine of merit teaches.

2 Cor 9:7. Every one as he hath determined in his heart, not with sadness, or of necessity: For God loveth a cheerful giver.

The alms must be given joyously.

As he hath determined. The Corinthians had already shown a willingness to make the collection (2 Cor 5:2; 8:10 ff), and St. Paul supposes that each one has fixed what he intends to give. Therefore let him give what he has determined, not with sadness, i.e., regretfully, or of necessity, i.e., unwillingly. To enforce his words the Apostle quotes the LXX of Prov. 22:8, which literally runs as follows: “God loveth a man cheerful and a giver.” These words are an addition in the LXX ; they are not in the Hebrew or in the Vulgate of Prov. A similar sentence is found in Sir 35:11.

2 Cor 9:8. And God is able to make all grace abound in you; that ye always, having all sufficiency in all things, may abound in every good work,

St. Paul now begins to speak of the fruits of almsgiving. He who gives in charity ought not to fear want in his own case; for God is able to make him always abound in temporal blessings, so that he can take part in every work of beneficence.

All grace means here chiefly earthly blessings, but the term is so comprehensive as to include also spiritual goods.

Sufficiency, i.e., the wherewith to help others.

2 Cor 9:9. As it is written: He hath dispersed abroad, he hath given to the poor: his justice remaineth for ever.

The Apostle confirms what he has just said by citing the LXX of Psalm 111:9. The just man scatters his gifts as the sower his grain, and his justice remaineth, etc., i.e., the remembrance of his good deeds will never be forgotten: his reward will await him hereafter. This is the most probable meaning of justice (δικαιοσύνη = dikaiosyne) here.

The saeculi of the Vulgate is not in the Greek.

2 Cor 9:10. And he that ministereth seed to the sower, will both give you bread to eat, and will multiply your seed, and increase the growth of the fruits of your justice:

St. Paul now proves from a fact of experience that God will provide “sufficiency” (verse 8) for him who gives in charity.

And he that ministereth, etc. Better, “And he that ministereth seed to the sower and bread to eat, will also provide and multiply your seed,” etc. These words are a quotation from Isaiah 60:10. What the Prophet says of the rain from heaven, St. Paul applies to God’s ordinary Providence, which not only will enable the charitable man to give, but will also increase his temporal possessions, the fruits of his justice, i.e., the reward of his virtue.

2 Cor 9:11. That being enriched in all things, you may abound unto all simplicity, which worketh through us thanksgiving to God.

That . . . you may abound (Vulg., ut . . . abundetis) is not represented in the Greek, which has simply: “Ye being enriched in all things unto all simplicity,” etc. The meaning of the verse is: “Your singleness of heart, your absence of all secondary and selfish motives, provides us with the means of alleviating the distresses of others, and thus elicits from them thanks to God out of the fulness of a grateful heart” (Lias).

2 Cor 9:12. Because the administration of this office doth not only supply the want of the saints, but aboundeth also by many thanksgivings in the Lord,

From this verse to the end of the chapter St. Paul is considering the results of the collection, when finally made and distributed among the poor in Jerusalem.

The administration (διακονία = diakonia), i.e., the performance on the part of the Corinthians of this office (λειτουργίας = leitourgias) i.e., of this public service of almsgiving, not only satisfies the wants of the poor in Jerusalem, but is the cause on the part of the recipients of bountiful thanksgiving to God.

Religious terms are used here to express offices of charity. Thus διακονία = diakonia is a religious word from which deacon is derived; and λειτουργίας = leitourgias  among the Jews meant priestly ministrations (Luke 1: 23; Heb. 8:6; 9:21), among Christians it was used of public worship generally but especially of the Eucharist (Acts 13:2; Rom. 15:16; Philip, 2:17, 20, 25, 30; etc.).

The Vulgate in domino should be simply Deo (τῷ Θεῷ· = to theo).

2 Cor 9:13. By the proof of this ministry, glorifying God for the obedience of your confession unto the gospel of Christ, and for the simplicity of your communicating unto them, and unto all.

This verse explains why the recipients of the bounty give thanks, namely, because the collection is a proof of Corinthian loyalty to the Gospel, and of Corinthian generosity in giving. The Palestinians had somewhat doubted the loyalty and adhesion to the Gospel of Gentile converts, but in this collection they would have an answer to their misgivings, and they would glorify God as a result.

The simplicity of your communicating, i.e., the generosity of your contributions.

2 Cor 9:14. And in their praying for you, being desirous of you, because of the excellent grace of God in you.

The construction is uncertain. Perhaps the meaning is best secured by taking αὐτῶν ἐπιποθούντων (= auto epipothouton) as a genitive absolute, thus giving the following sense: They glorify God for your faith in the Gospel and your liberality in giving (verse 13), while they themselves through prayer intercede for you, and yearn for you, on account of the excellent grace of God, i.e., the grace of Christian faith and charity which is manifest in your exceeding liberality towards them. The Apostle is speaking as if the collection were completed and distributed.

2 Cor 9:15. Thanks be to God for his unspeakable gift.

The unspeakable gift is the grace of Christian faith and charity, spoken of in the preceding verse. Foreseeing the good effects which this grace in the Corinthians will have, how it will relieve the distresses of his poor countrymen, how it will unite Jewish and Gentile Christians, and the like, the Apostle concludes this second main portion of his letter with an act of profound thanksgiving to God, the Author of all good.


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Father Callans’ Commentary on 2 Corinthians 9:1-5

Posted by Dim Bulb on May 9, 2017


A Summary of 2 Corinthians 9:1-5~After commending the delegates who are to make the collection at Corinth, St. Paul urges that what the faithful have to give should be collected soon. He himself, perhaps accompanied by some Macedonians, will visit them shortly, and if the alms are gathered before that event, they will not be made
ashamed by the presence of their generous neighbors; the reputation they have will be sustained.

2 Cor 9:1. For concerning the ministry, that is done towards the saints, it is superfluous for me to write unto you.

The Apostle has just been speaking of the collectors who are going to Corinth, and now he turns to the collection itself. But it is superfluous to commend that, as he will show in the following verse.

The ministry, i.e., the alms for the poor in Jerusalem.

2 Cor 9:2. For I know your forward mind : for which I boast of you to the Macedonians. That Achaia also is ready from the year past, and your emulation hath provoked very many.

There should be only a comma after Macedonians.

Also (Vulg., et) should be omitted. The sense is: I know your eagerness, of which I boast about you to the Macedonians, that Achaia has been prepared, etc.

Is ready, i.e., has been prepared {iraptaKtvaa-TaC), i.e., was begun.

From the year past. See on 2 Cor 8:10.

Your emulation hath provoked, etc., i.e., “your zeal has stimulated very many” (the reading of B K C P); or the emulation created by you has provoked very many (the reading of D F G K L).

2 Cor 9:3. Now I have sent the brethren, that the thing which we boast of concerning you, be not made void in this behalf, that (as I have said) you may be ready:

I have sent, is the epistolary aorist, as in 2 Cor 8:17, 18, 22. The Apostle is sending Titus and his two companions so that the praise he has bestowed on the charity of the Corinthians may not be disproved by facts in regard to the collection, but that they may be in readiness to give. Parentheses here and in the Vulgate are needless.

2 Cor 8:4. Lest, when the Macedonians shall come with me, and find you unprepared, we (not to say ye) should be ashamed in this matter.

The reason is assigned why the collection ought to be completed promptly.

Lest, when, etc. Better, “Lest if (any) Macedonians,” etc. (ἐὰν ἔλθωσι = ean elthosin).

We . . . should be ashamed, at seeing the facts contrary to the praise we have given your charity.

In this matter. Rather, “In regard to this confidence,” i.e., the confidence the Apostle has reposed in the Corinthians.

2 Cor 8:5. Therefore I thought it necessary to desire the brethren that they would go to you before, and prepare this blessing before promised, to be ready, so as a blessing, not as covetousness.

Would go to you before, i.e., that the three delegates would go to Corinth in advance of St. Paul.

This blessing, i.e., the collection for the Palestinians. The collection is here called a “blessing” (εὐλογίαν = eulogian), because contributed willingly (St. Chrys.).

As a blessing, not as, etc., i.e., as a generous, willing gift, and not as an extortion (πλεονεξίαν = pleonexian). The Apostle wishes the collection to be a free and liberal gift of the Corinthians, and not an extortion of the collectors.

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