STUDY II Corinthians
8:16-9:5 (click here for
I thank God, who put into the heart of Titus the same concern I have for you. For Titus not only welcomed our appeal, but he is coming to you with much enthusiasm and on his own initiative. And we are sending along with him the brother who is praised by all the churches for his service to the gospel. What is more, he was chosen by the churches to accompany us as we carry the offering, which we administer in order to honor the Lord himself and to show our eagerness to help. We want to avoid any criticism of the way we administer this liberal gift. For we are taking pains to do what is right, not only in the eyes of the Lord but also in the eyes of men.
In addition, we are sending with them our brother who has often proved to us in many ways that he is zealous, and now even more so because of his great confidence in you. As for Titus, he is my partner and fellow worker among you; as for our brothers, they are representatives of the churches and an honor to Christ. Therefore show these men the proof of your love and the reason for our pride in you, so that the churches can see it.
There is no need for me to write to you about this service to the saints. For I know your eagerness to help, and I have been boasting about it to the Macedonians, telling them that since last year you in Achaia were ready to give; and your enthusiasm has stirred most of them to action. But I am sending the brothers in order that our boasting about you in this matter should not prove hollow, but that you may be ready, as I said you would be. For if any Macedonians come with me and find you unprepared, we-not to say anything about you-would be ashamed of having been so confident. So I thought it necessary to urge the brothers to visit you in advance and finish the arrangements for the generous gift you had promised. Then it will be ready as a generous gift, not as one grudgingly given. (NIV)
Paul now explains to the Corinthians the protocol he has established for collecting and distributing the gifts. He is sending Titus as well as another well-known brother (probably Luke but possibly Barnabas-see NIV Study Bible text notes) who was chosen by the churches to accompany Paul and his representatives as they carried the money from one church to another.
1. How had Titus developed such a warm relationship with the Corinthians? (see v. 6; 2 Cor. 7:6-7, 13-15)
2. What does it mean when the text says God "put into the heart of Titus" concern for the Corinthians? (see also Revelation 17:17)
3. What can we conclude about the way God accomplishes his work through us from these texts?
4. Why was it necessary to have men appointed by the churches accompany Paul (or another delegated authority) as they delivered money to the churches? (see also 1 Cor. 16:3-4)
5. Why is it important to Paul that, as he says in verse 21, he takes pains to do what is right "in the eyes of men"? (see Matthew 5:16; Romans 12:17; 14:18; Titus 2:15; 3:1-2)
6. Paul recommends Titus to the Corinthians again, calling him "my partner and fellow worker among you." What significance does the word "partner" imply to the Corinthians? (see Philemon 1:17)
Proof of Love and Pride
7. How can giving a generous offering be proof of love? (see Matthew 6:19-21; 22:37-39; 1 Timothy 6:17-19; Hebrews 13:15-16)
8. Parents and teachers learn not to motivate or shame one child by comparing him or her with another. Why do you think Paul, the apostle of Christ, motivates the Corinthians by telling them about other church's generosity and by urging them not to make him look bad or to make themselves look bad to other churches? (see 8:1-7; 9:2-4; Matthew 7:6; 8:10-12; 13:10-13; Revelation 2:4-6)
9. Paul sent Titus to help the Corinthians get their gift ready. Why was it important that the Corinthians give generously and not grudgingly? (see Proverbs 15:8; 21:25-27; Luke 6:38; 12:15; 16:9, 13-15; Acts 20:35; 1 Peter 4:9-10; 5:2-3; Ephesians 5:5)
10. When have you given offerings of contributions or tithes grudgingly?
11. Describe a time when you gave with selfish or manipulative motives. Did your attitude taint the gift? The recipient?
12. In what ways are you or have you been irresponsible with your money and your giving?
13. Have you ever received a generous gift? How did it affect you?
14. What stands between you and planning your giving so you give thoughtfully and generously?
15. What do you fear about giving generously?
16. What negative experiences in your past color the way you approach giving now?
17. Ask God to open your heart to his love. Ask him to show you what
he wants you to do with your money and your times. Ask him to heal the wounds
of greed or fear or flattery or condescension that have shaped your attitude
toward giving. Ask Jesus to put his spirit of selfless love into your heart
and to make your giving an expression of your love for him.
Copyright (c) 2002 Graphics Studio, Redlands,
CA USA. All rights reserved. Posted July 13, 2002, revised September 7,