What does 2 Corinthians 9:5 mean?
ESV: So I thought it necessary to urge the brothers to go on ahead to you and arrange in advance for the gift you have promised, so that it may be ready as a willing gift, not as an exaction.
NIV: 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.
NASB: So I considered it necessary to urge the brothers that they go on ahead to you and arrange in advance your previously promised generous gift, that the same would be ready as a generous gift, and not as one grudgingly given due to greediness.
CSB: Therefore I considered it necessary to urge the brothers to go on ahead to you and arrange in advance the generous gift you promised, so that it will be ready as a gift and not as an extortion.
NLT: So I thought I should send these brothers ahead of me to make sure the gift you promised is ready. But I want it to be a willing gift, not one given grudgingly.
KJV: Therefore I thought it necessary to exhort the brethren, that they would go before unto you, and make up beforehand your bounty, whereof ye had notice before, that the same might be ready, as a matter of bounty, and not as of covetousness.
Verse Commentary:
Paul is coming to Corinth to officially receive their contribution to a collection for suffering believers in Jerusalem. He is concerned, though. His worry is that after all his confidence and compliments—assuring others of their promises to make a generous donation—which he describes as boasting about them to other churches, they may have nothing to give. That would be embarrassing for everyone involved. It would especially degrading to the Macedonians who have contributed so sacrificially.

To avoid this, Paul is sending an advance delegation to make sure the Corinthians have at least a little time to get ready. Titus and the other two men will arrive ahead of the official group and help to arrange a willing gift from the Corinthians. Paul does not want there to be any sense that the Corinthians are being compelled or obligated to give anything, as if their donation was being forced from them instead of given generously out of Christlike love.
Verse Context:
Second Corinthians 9:1–5 describes Paul's concern: that he and the Corinthians will be embarrassed if he shows up in Corinth to collect their contribution to the Jerusalem Christians and they are not ready. He is sending Titus ahead of himself to help them prepare. They were once enthusiastic about participating in the project. Paul hopes his boasting about the Corinthians—which inspired the Macedonians to give sacrificially—will not prove to have been meaningless.
Chapter Summary:
Paul continues to urge the Corinthians to follow through on their commitment. They had agreed to contribute to a collection for suffering Christians in Jerusalem. They should give willingly, even cheerfully, according to what they had agreed earlier. Not only will they participate with God in meeting the physical needs of others, they will contribute to an overflowing thankfulness to God. They will build a connection with their suffering siblings in Christ that will also bring glory to God. This chapter points out that God expects Christian giving to be faith-based, voluntary, and cheerful—not legalistic, oppressive, or mandatory.
Chapter Context:
Second Corinthians chapter 9 continues an appeal begun earlier in the letter. Paul urges the Corinthians to participate in the gift to the Jerusalem Christians. Paul is concerned their earlier enthusiasm might have waned. Everyone should give what he or she previously decided to give and do so willingly and cheerfully. God makes those who give generously abound so that they will be able to give even more. The result goes beyond meeting physical needs to increasing God's righteousness on earth, causing thankfulness to Him to overflow, and bringing glory to Him as connections are forged between the givers and those whose needs are met. After this, Paul will return to a defense of his spiritual legitimacy.
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.
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