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2 Corinthians 8:2

ESV for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part.
NIV In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity.
NASB that in a great ordeal of affliction their abundance of joy and their deep poverty overflowed in the wealth of their liberality.
CSB During a severe trial brought about by affliction, their abundant joy and their extreme poverty overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part.
NLT They are being tested by many troubles, and they are very poor. But they are also filled with abundant joy, which has overflowed in rich generosity.
KJV How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality.

What does 2 Corinthians 8:2 mean?

The Corinthians are being asked to follow through on their commitment to give funds to the collection for the suffering Christians in Jerusalem. Paul introduces the topic by pointing out how the churches in the region of Macedonia have already given generously to the collection. This is despite Christians in those churches experiencing great affliction in being persecuted for their faith. This resulted in extreme poverty. That did not stop them from being eager to give to meet the needs of others.

Paul describes it almost as an equation. Severe affliction added to abundant joy added to extreme poverty overflowed to a wealth of generosity. This result doesn't make sense from any human perspective. We would expect persecution and poverty to cause any group of people to need funds, not to be so eager to give them. That's why Paul said in the previous verses that these churches had received the grace of God. Their attitude and generosity, in the face of dire circumstances, were evidence of God's generous work in them.
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