Monday, August 20, 2012

2 Corinthians 7 & 8

Paul's Joy

Make room in your hearts for us, we care about you. I made you grieve with my last letter, which is unfortunate, however it made you repent so I am glad it caused you temporary hardship since the end result was good. Godly grief produces repentance and salvation. Every time you have had Godly grief you have cleared yourself with God. I did not write to you for the purpose of the one who did wrong, or the person who was wronged, but so you could see your earnestness with God and feel comforted.

This seems like a bad thing to me. They have apparently done something wrong, Paul is not interested in making sure the person who did something wrong learns a lesson, or that the person who was wronged is made whole. The concern is that they are cleared in the eyes of God. It shouldn't be possible to be good with God without also at least trying to make it right with the wronged person.

Encouragement to Give Generously (ch 8)

We were going through severe affliction while in Macedonia, and the churches there gave in abundance even beyond their means. They were in extreme poverty, and yet gave to us generously on their own accord and begged us to take part in "the relief of the saints".

So Paul and his guys basically took advantage of poor people. When I read the title of this section I thought it was going to go on the good side of the overview, but it looks like it should read "encouragement to give generously to us".

This is not a command to you, but a way to prove your earnestness. You should give away your wealth to those who have little so when they have much and you have little they will help you out.

Now this doesn't sound so bad, basically a help each other out story. Basically trying to sell the idea of reciprocal altruism. Which would seem like a good lesson, except the first part of the lesson was about poor people who gave a bunch of wealth to the church. So who is Paul talking about? Is he talking about rich Corinthians helping out poor Corinthians? If so I like it, but I think Paul is asking the rich Corinthians to give money to the church (in other words, give money to Paul). I'm going to give him the benefit of the doubt as much as I can manage and put this in both good and bad.

Commendation of Titus

We are sending Titus to you, we like him and we think he will be good for you.

Doesn't seem to be much here.

For the overview post (If you think I should add or remove stuff from this list please let me know, I think it would make good conversation)


8:14 promote reciprocal altruism


7:12 Don't worry about the person you have wronged, just get good with God

8:3-4 Poor people should give to the church beyond their means


  1. Just wanted to add a quick note to perhaps explain a bit about Paul's collection of money. Specifically, the money was not for him. Rather, he was collecting it for the poor in Jerusalem (cf., e.g., Romans 15:26). Not sure if this is really a response with the problem of the poor giving beyond their means. But, at least the money collected was intended to go to those also in great need.

    1. Thanks for the reply. The Romans verse you mentioned does say the money was collected for "the poor among the saints". I'm not completely sure what that means, but it sounds like the money is going toward poor churches. I guess I don't have a particular aversion to that in principle, but it does seem they are taking money from poor people and giving it to other poor people. And if the church eventually gets rich, does the behavior of taking money from the poor stop? In my observations it doesn't seem like it.


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