In chapter 7 of this letter, Paul expressed his joy at the news Titus brought him that the reception by the brethren at Corinth of his first letter. Many of them had been moved to repentance (2 Corinthians 7:8-9). Paul is sincerely proud of them, and now he reminds them of the collection for the poor in Jerusalem that was being gathered. He had first spoken to them about it several months ago (verse 10), and they had been happy to commit to doing it. Paul knows that this effort will be good for them as well.
Paul also points out the generosity of the brethren of Macedonia in this effort, of which McGarvey writes: “The only Macedonian churches known to us were those at Philippi, Thessalonica and Beroea. The district of Macedonia had suffered in the three civil wars, and had been reduced to such poverty that Tiberius Cæsar, hearkening to their petitions, had lightened their taxes. But in addition to this general poverty, the churches had been made poor by persecution (2 Thess 1:4).” As the Corinthian brethren were, by and large, substantially better off, Paul encourages their generosity as well, quoting Exodus 16:18 in verse 15. In verses 16-22, he stresses the point that trusted brethren will be carrying these gifts, so that there could be no hint of impropriety. One of those – the “brother who is famous among all the churches for his preaching” of verse 18 – is thought by some to be Luke, but we do not know.
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers
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