The liberality of the churches
1-2Out of the midst of all their persecutions and afflictions the heart of the churches of Macedonia has been preserved so fresh and fearless that the surplus of their joy and gladness has taken the form of a bountiful gift to God. 3Their utter poverty too in respect of worldly needs and aspirations has contributed to this gift. 4They have but one single aim, and that has flowed liberally and richly into this contribution which is for the central church at Jerusalem. 5They have willingly and of their own accord brought what they could spare, and more than that, into this fund, not prompted thereto by any begging on my part, but because they were dedicated in heart and mind to serve God, and to love Him of their own free will, gladly they gave this present, this means of communication and fellowship with the saints in another land.
The fund in relation to true wealth
6Titus administered this fund and its collection, and he was so much impressed and encouraged by the Macedonians in the carrying out of this task, that I bade him continue this work which he had begun in Greece, and complete it by also attending to the fund which you are making; 7and I feel certain that the great increase which you have enjoyed, the blessings of true faith, new knowledge, and the understanding of the word, that all these will be accompanied too by the fullness and abundance of your giving. 8I enjoin no commandments upon you, but I promote in you a like enthusiasm to that which your brethren have shown. 9Your wealth, you well know, all that you really have, that is to say, is yours because Christ Jesus abandoned the world; 10the way he gave up all has brought you great riches, and now is the time to show how genuine is the love which has been opened to you. 11-12My opinion is that the time has now arrived for this fund and collection to be completed, and for your final gifts to be made.
Giving creates abundance
13-14I know that you have already given sums to it, and your good will and desire to give has long been shown. Complete the matter now, and since you have this desire, give now what you can afford. Our giving is not the kind that injures and depletes oneself in order to confer largess on another; but it illustrates a law of fairness. 15“He that gathered little had no lack, and he that gathered much had nothing over” (Ex. xvi. 18). 16-17This principle goes so deep that in our faith what you have in abundance will minister to that where-with they are less well provided, whilst that which fills them to overflowing will supply all that you can want in the same direction. So wonderful is the spiritual manna of the word. 18-19I thank God that Titus has the same feeling with me about this fund. My invitation to him to go to you about it chimed in with the plans and wishes he had already formulated in his own mind. So I am sending him, and with him that brother whose name has become famous throughout the churches for his service to the gospel. This brother was elected by the churches to travel with me in connection with this fund. 20I praise God for this arrangement which met my own wishes in the matter. 21I seek “favour and a good understanding in the sight of God and man” (Prov. iii. 4), and I am glad the churches have elected so well-known a man to help me, for the outsiders are sure to criticise my administration of this bounty.
The mission of three
22This man then and Titus I am sending to receive the collection, and along with them a third brother who has so often served me with the utmost willingness, and is now more than ever eager to do so because of the confidence he has in you. Thus then I recommend this mission of three who are coming to you to receive the fund. 23As regards Titus, he is my own special representative, and your own fellow-worker; the other two are commissioned by the churches, they show forth the Christ in their great works. 24Then show these three your love, and show them that what I have told them of you is but the truth, and let your work be known to all the other churches.