Archive for May 8th, 2020

2 Corinthians 9:1-4

In 2 Corinthians 9:1-4 Paul continues his encouragement of the church to step up and support the struggling Christians in Jerusalem. Paul may be showing his sarcasm again. The basic idea is, “I don’t even need to write this, reminding you about the collection, because you are already ready and willing to give.” Of course, if the Corinthian Christians were really as ready and willing as Paul seems to indicate, he really wouldn’t need to write this at all. “Now it is superfluous for me to write to you about the ministry for the saints, for I know your readiness, of which I boast about you to the people of Macedonia, saying that Achaia has been ready since last year. And your zeal has stirred up most of them.”

So it really isn’t superfluous for him to write, and he is encouraging them to be ready to give. He lays it on thicker when he tells them that he’s been boasting about their giving to the church in Macedonia, which has been a very giving church and one that Paul has held up as an example. Call it positive reinforcement or maybe guilting them a bit to actually do what they have already said they would. And as Paul talks about their zeal, he is saying that the Corinthian Christians were so zealous in their willingness to give that they were an example to the majority of other Christians. He expands his boasting to really drive them to give.

He reminds them that he is sending a team to make sure they follow through and give generously. Paul is sending the team to make sure things happen. It’s his way of assuring that the Corinthians will put money in the plate so those believers in the body who are struggling to survive have some help. “But I am sending the brothers so that our boasting about you may not prove vain in this matter, so that you may be ready, as I said you would be.” And by telling them that the team is coming, he is attempting to drive the right behavior and assure they follow through. Lots of psychology going on here.

He continues to lay it on and makes sure the Corinthian church knows that Paul has staked his reputation on their follow through to prevent him and the team from being humiliated and looking like they had shared news that wasn’t true. “Otherwise, if some Macedonians come with me and find that you are not ready, we would be humiliated – to say nothing of you – for being so confident.” Paul tells the church that they don’t want the Macedonians to see that they were unwilling to give. Paul didn’t want a case where he and the team had to worry about their confident boasting.

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