Lectionary Year B
July 2, 2000
II Corinthians 8:7-15

Step II: Disposition


The form of this address is the epistle. The passage is a part of Paul's [JEA - further explanation?] fourth letter to the Corinthians. It is the letter of reconciliation. The church feud seems to have passed. Reconciliation is at hand. These verses are an exhortation to generous giving for the Lord's work beyond that particular congregation. This letter to the congregation includes the use of certain "Christian Wisdom Literature." The lyrical verse 9 has a hymn-like quality, while vs. 15 is a quote from Ex. 16:18. [DH - resources?] It refers to the children of Israel in the wilderness. No matter if a person gathered a little manna or a lot, it was enough. Vs. 12 may have proverbial roots.

Authorship in not in doubt, as this work is a vintage Pauline composition.


This church had experienced a severe rupture in its unity. Yet Paul now calls to mind the wonderful work of grace among these Christians in days past. Just as you have excelled in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in sincerity, and in your love for us, excel in this work of grace also.

No command for giving is forced upon the family of faith. Paul has shared this sentiment before -- there he continues, for God loves a cheerful giver. This is an area of response to God in which our hearts and our minds and our wills are brought together through faith. Very often our heart will suggest that we make a particular contribution, but our mind cannot see that we are able to afford it. How our will is in harmony with God's will determines the extent of our sacrifice. In a real sense, our response also determines how deeply the grace of God will be lodged in our lives. And one follows the other, this is much like the teaching of a rabbi.

The readiness and eagerness of the Corinthian Christians are recalled. You were first with a desire to assist the saints. Now let your actions reflect your desires. Let your deeds catch up with your words! The central appeal is to the example of Christ, but other appeals are included.

Remember the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ -- he was willing to leave his splendor behind and to chose our poverty so that we, the impoverished ones, might know his riches. What are these riches? To know God! To be in communion with the Divine Master of all things. It is no easy thing to teach or demonstrate or live. But Christ was willing to endure the greatest suffering that we might see the power of God more clearly.

If the eagerness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what one does not have! [DH - step II?]

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