What does 2 Corinthians 8:4 mean?
ESV: begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints—
NIV: they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the Lord's people.
NASB: begging us with much urging for the favor of participation in the support of the saints,
CSB: they begged us earnestly for the privilege of sharing in the ministry to the saints,
NLT: They begged us again and again for the privilege of sharing in the gift for the believers in Jerusalem.
KJV: Praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints.
Verse Commentary:
Paul has written that the believers in the region of Macedonia had given generously to meet the needs of the suffering Christians in Jerusalem. In spite of affliction and poverty, they gave beyond their means. Now Paul adds that they begged Paul and his companions to be included in the collection. They did not want to be left out of the opportunity to participate in providing relief to "the saints." This phrase is a reference to all saved Christians, not to some special class of believers.

Judging by the context here, perhaps Paul and those helping him raise these funds did not think to ask the suffering Christians in Macedonia to help out. It's possible they thought the Macedonian believers needed funds themselves in their extreme poverty. The Macedonians had to beg the apostle to be included in the opportunity to give and then surprised him with their great generosity. Paul gave the credit to God for giving them the grace to want to give to meet the needs of others.
Verse Context:
Second Corinthians 8:1–15 begins with Paul's praise for the churches in Macedonia. These believers begged to be included in giving to a collection for the suffering Jewish Christians in Jerusalem. Paul urges the Corinthians to follow through on their own commitment to do the same thing of their own free will as an act of grace. In doing so, they will also be following the example of Jesus' sacrifice for them. They should give proportionally, using their abundance to meet the need of other believers so that all may have enough.
Chapter Summary:
The Corinthians had previously agreed to contribute to a collection. This was for suffering Christians in Jerusalem. Paul raises the issue with them, pointing to the example of the poverty-stricken Macedonian churches who had given beyond their means of their own free will. Paul urges the Corinthians to follow through on their commitment by their own choice. Titus and two representatives of other churches are coming to Corinth to oversee the collection so it is done with integrity. Paul urges the Corinthians to prove their love by following through on their commitment to give.
Chapter Context:
Second Corinthians 8 follows Paul's expression of comfort and rejoicing at what he learned from Titus. That news explained the Corinthians' repentance in response to Paul's letter of rebuke. Next Paul urges them to follow through on a commitment to contribute to a collection for the suffering Christians in Jerusalem. He points to the example of the generous gifts of the poverty-stricken Macedonian churches and asks the Corinthians to prove that their own Christlike love for others is genuine by excelling in this, as well. Titus and two delegates from other churches will come to Corinth to oversee the collection. In chapter 9, Paul will continue to discuss this ministry opportunity.
Book Summary:
Second Corinthians returns to similar themes as those Paul mentioned in his first letter to this church. Paul is glad to hear that the church in Corinth has heeded his advice. At the same time, it is necessary for Paul to counter criticisms about his personality and legitimacy. Most of this text involves that subject. The fifth chapter, in contrast, contains comforting words which Christians have quoted often in times of hardship. Paul also details his expectations that the church in Corinth will make good on their promise to contribute to the needs of suffering believers in Jerusalem.
Accessed 4/22/2024 2:32:42 PM
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