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Arrangements for the Gift
- For indeed, it’s superfluous for me to write to you about service to the saints.
- For I *know your eagerness, which I boast about on your behalf to the Macedonians; that Achaia has been prepared since last year, and your zeal has provoked more of them.
- But I sent the brothers so our boast about you won’t be empty in this matter, so you might have been prepared; just as I was saying.
- Lest if the Macedonians come with me and find you unprepared, we – not to mention you – would be put to shame in this confidence.
- Therefore, I thought it was essential to urge the brothers so they might go to you and prepare beforehand this blessing from you which has been already promised. Thus, it’s ready to be given as a blessing and not as from reluctant greed.(1)“greed” could also be translated “covetousness”. Paul seems to be saying the gift should freely given without a greedy wish that they wouldn’t have to give what they’d promised.
- Yet remember this: the man who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the man who sows blessings will also reap blessings,
- just as each has decided in the heart; not from grief or from compulsion, for God shows preference(2)The Greek word used here is “ἀγαπάω” (agapao), which is the verb form of “ἀγάπη” (agape), typically translated “love”. However, unlike our English word “love” – which primarily speaks of affection and feelings – agape centers on preference. In the verb form, it literally means “to prefer” or “show preference for”. In the New Testament, that usually means “moral preference”, or “actively preferring what God prefers” in what we do, not just in what we feel. It’s the “love” based on will, choice, decision, and action; not feelings. (Feelings-based love is the Greek word “φιλέω” (phileó), which properly means “brotherly love/affection”.) to a joyful and voluntary(3)“joyful and voluntary” is one word in Greek, which properly means joyful and not under compulsion; i.e. voluntary and happy about it. giver.
- And God can make all grace overflow into you, so having all you need always in everything, you might overflow in every good work.
- Just as it is *written, “He scattered abroad, He gave to the poor, His righteousness endures into the age.”(4)Quotation/allusion to Psalm 112:9. “into the age” is typically translated “eternal” here. But the Greek word translated “age” here is “αἰών” (aion), which means a time span with a beginning and an end. It’s also used in Matthew 24:3 to talk about the “culmination (end) of the age.”
- And the One who supplies seed for the man who sows, and bread for food will abundantly provide, and will multiply your seed for sowing, and will grow the fruits of your righteousness,
- enriching you in everything; into all generosity which through us produces thanksgiving to God.
- For the ministry of this service is not only completely supplying needs of the saints, but is also overflowing through much thanksgiving(5)literally “many thanksgivings” to God.
- Because this service is proof of your genuineness,(6)“proof of your genuineness” is one word in Greek. It’s a noun, derived from the adjective “δόκιμος” (dokimos) which means something that has been tested to prove it’s genuine. It was used of testing coins to prove they weren’t counterfeit or mixed with lesser metals. they’re glorifying God at the submission of your confession to the gospel of the Anointed, and the generosity of your partnership to them and to all men.
- And their earnest prayer is on your behalf; longing for you because of the surpassing grace of God upon you.
- Grace(7)“Grace” The Greek word here is “χάρις” (charis), most often translated “grace” or “gift”. It was a technical term in the 1st century, referring to the Patronage system in place. The Patron (from “pater” = “father”) would give gifts or do favors (both called a charis) for someone. A charis was always given/done freely to anyone who would be grateful for it, and this person then became a “client” of the patron. The clients were expected to reciprocate by telling everyone what the patron had done, and offering their services to the patron whenever the patron needed them. This reciprocal act was also called “charis”, and the ones who reciprocated were “being faithful”. Both were done out of gratitude, not legal obligation. A client who wasn’t faithful and grateful probably wouldn’t receive any more charis from his patron, or any other patrons. The patron was responsible for taking care of all his clients, and making sure their needs were met. Christian Grace and Faith is well picture by this system. The Heavenly Patron (God the Father) freely gave a gift (Jesus’ blood), and the clients who accept it (Christians) are expected to “be faithful” out of gratitude. be to God for His indescribable gift!
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