IV. The Apostle's Fellowship concerning
the Ministry to the Needy Saints
A. The Grace from Four Parties
1 Furthermore we make known to you, brothers, the 1agrace of God which has been given in the churches of bMacedonia,
2 That in much 1proving of affliction the abundance of their joy and the depth of their apoverty abounded unto the riches of their 2bliberality;
3 That according to their power, I testify, and beyond their power, aof their own accord,
4 With much entreaty they besought of us the 1grace and the fellowship of the aministry to the saints;
5 And this, not as we had hoped, but they agave themselves 1first to the Lord, 2and to us 3through the will of God.
6 So we entreated aTitus that, even as he began before, so also he would complete for you this 1bgrace 2as well.
7 But just as you aabound in everything, in faith and in 1word and in bknowledge and in all 2cearnestness and in 3the love in you 4from us, abound in this 5grace also.
8 I am anot speaking by way of command but through the earnestness of others, proving also the genuineness of your love.
9 For you know the 1agrace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, for your sakes He became poor in order that you, because of His poverty, might become brich.
10 And I give my 1aopinion in this matter, for this is profitable for you who were the first to begin ba year ago not only to do this but even to intend to do this.
11 But now complete also the doing, so that as there was the aeagerness in intending, so also there would be the completing out of what you bhave.
12 For if the eagerness is there, it is acceptable according to whatever one has, not according to what he does not have.
13 For it is not that to others there would be relief, yet to you affliction,
14 But it is out of equality; at the present time your abundance for their alack that their abundance also may be for your lack, so that there may be equality;
15 As it is written, 1a"He who gathered much had no excess, and he who gathered little had no lack.''
B. Exercising Foresight for What Is Honorable
16 But athanks be to God who puts the same 1bearnestness on your behalf in the heart of cTitus,
17 Because he not only received the 1aentreaty, but being more earnest, he also went forth bof his own accord to you.
18 And we sent together with him the abrother whose praise in the gospel is throughout ball the churches,
19 And not only this, but who has also been selected by the churches as our fellow traveler in this 1agrace which is being ministered by us, to the bglory of the Lord Himself and to demonstrate our ceagerness;
20 1Avoiding this, that anyone should find fault with us in this 2abundance which is being ministered by us.
21 For we 1exercise foresight for what is honorable not only in the sight of the Lord but also in the sight of men.
22 And we sent with them 1our brother, whom we have proved to be 2diligent in many things many times, yet now much more 2diligent because of the great aconfidence he has toward you.
23 Whether concerning aTitus, he is my bpartner and cfellow worker for you; or our brothers, they are 1apostles of the churches, they are Christ's glory.
24 Show therefore to them, in the face of the churches, the proof of your love and of our aboasting on your behalf.
C. Giving as a Blessing, Not as Covetousness
1 For concerning the aministry to the saints, it is superfluous for me to bwrite to you;
2 For I know your aeagerness, of which I bboast on your behalf to the Macedonians, that 1Achaia has been prepared since clast year; and your zeal has stirred up the greater number of them.
3 But I sent the abrothers that our boasting on your behalf might not be made void in this respect, that, as I said, you might be prepared;
4 Lest, if the aMacedonians come with me and find you unprepared, we, not to mention you, be put to shame in this 1bconfidence.
5 Therefore I thought it necessary to entreat the brothers to go before to you and make ready beforehand your previously promised 1ablessing, that thus this might be ready 2as a blessing and not 2as a matter of covetousness.
D. Sowing for Reaping the Fruits of Righteousness
6 But take note of this: He who asows sparingly shall also sparingly reap; and he who sows with 1blessings shall also with 2blessings reap;
7 Each one as he has purposed in his heart, anot out of sorrow or out of 1necessity, for 2God loves a 3cheerful giver.
8 And God is able to make 1all grace abound unto you, that, in everything always having all sufficiency, you may aabound unto every good work;
9 Even as it is written, a"He has 1bscattered abroad; he has given to the 2cpoor; his 3righteousness abides forever.''
10 Now 1He who bountifully supplies aseed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed and cause the fruits of your righteousness to increase.
11 You in everything are being aenriched unto all 1liberality, which works out through us bthanksgiving to God,
12 Because the aministry of this 1service is not only filling up the black of the saints, but is also abounding through many thanksgivings to God.
13 They, through the 1approving of this ministry, are aglorifying God based upon the subjection unto the gospel of Christ that issues from your bconfession, and upon the cliberality of the 2dfellowship to them and to all;
14 While in petition on your behalf they also long after you on account of the 1surpassing 2grace of God upon you.
15 aThanks be to God for His 1indescribable 2bgift!