2 Corinthians 8

tWorking together with him, then, uwe appeal to you vnot to receive the grace of God in vain. For he says,

wIn a favorable time I listened to you,

and in a day of salvation I have helped you.

Behold, xnow is the yfavorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation. We zput no obstacle in anyone's way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, but aas servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: bby great endurance, cin afflictions, dhardships, calamities, ebeatings, imprisonments, friots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger; gby purity, hknowledge, patience, kindness, ithe Holy Spirit, jgenuine love; by ktruthful speech, and lthe power of God; with mthe weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; through honor and dishonor, nthrough slander and praise. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; as unknown, and oyet well known; pas dying, and behold, we live; qas punished, and yet not killed; 10 ras sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; sas poor, yet making many rich; tas having nothing, uyet possessing everything.

11 We have spoken freely to you,1 Corinthians; vour heart is wide open. 12 You are not restricted by us, but wyou are restricted in your own affections. 13 xIn return (I speak yas to children) widen your hearts also.

The Temple of the Living God

14 zDo not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For awhat partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or bwhat fellowship has light with darkness? 15 cWhat accord has Christ with Belial?2 Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? 16 What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For dwe are the temple of the living God; as God said,

eI will make my dwelling among them and fwalk among them,

and gI will be their God,

and they shall be my people.

17  Therefore hgo out from their midst,

and be separate from them, says the Lord,

and touch no unclean thing;

then I will welcome you,

18  iand I will be a father to you,

and you shall be sons and daughters to me,

says the Lord Almighty.

Since we have these promises, beloved, jlet us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body1 and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.

Paul's Joy

kMake room in your hearts2 for us. lWe have wronged no one, we have corrupted no one, we have taken advantage of no one. I do not say this to condemn you, for I said before that myou are in our hearts, to die together and to live together. I am acting with ngreat boldness toward you; oI have great pride in you; pI am filled with comfort. In all our affliction, I am overflowing with joy.

For even qwhen we came into Macedonia, our bodies had no rest, but we were afflicted at every turnrfighting without and fear within. But sGod, who comforts the downcast, tcomforted us by the coming of Titus, and not only by his coming but also by the comfort with which he was comforted by you, as he told us of your longing, your mourning, your zeal for me, so that I rejoiced still more. For ueven if I made you grieve with my letter, I do not regret itthough vI did regret it, for I see that that letter grieved you, though only for a while. As it is, I rejoice, not because you were grieved, but wbecause you were grieved into repenting. For you felt a godly grief, so that you suffered no loss through us.

10 For xgodly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas yworldly grief produces death. 11 For see what earnestness this godly grief has produced in you, but also what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what longing, zwhat zeal, what punishment! At every point you have proved yourselves innocent in the matter. 12 So although I wrote to you, it was not for the sake of the one awho did the wrong, nor for the sake of the one who suffered the wrong, but in order that your earnestness for us might be revealed to you in the sight of God. 13 Therefore bwe are comforted.

And besides our own comfort, we rejoiced still more at the joy of Titus, because his spirit chas been refreshed by you all. 14 For dwhatever boasts I made to him about you, I was not put to shame. But just as everything we said to you ewas true, so also our boasting before Titus has proved true. 15 And his affection for you is even greater, as he remembers fthe obedience of you all, how you received him with fear and trembling. 16 I rejoice, because I have complete gconfidence in you.

Encouragement to Give Generously

We want you to know, brothers,1 about the grace of God that has been hgiven among the churches of Macedonia, for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and itheir extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. For they gave jaccording to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own accord, begging us earnestly kfor the favor2 of taking part in lthe relief of the saints and this, not as we expected, but they mgave themselves first to the Lord and then by the will of God to us. Accordingly, nwe urged Titus that as he had started, so he should complete among you othis act of grace. But as pyou excel in everythingin faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all earnestness, and in our love for you3qsee that you excel in this act of grace also.

rI say this not as a command, but to prove by the earnestness of others that your love also is genuine. For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that sthough he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich. 10 And in this matter tI give my judgment: uthis benefits you, who va year ago started not only to do this work but also to desire to do it. 11 So now finish doing it as well, so that your readiness in desiring it may be matched by your completing it out of what you have. 12 For if the readiness is there, it is acceptable waccording to what a person has, not according to what he does not have. 13 For I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened, but that as a matter of fairness 14 your abundance at the present time should supply xtheir need, so that their abundance may supply your need, that there may be fairness. 15 As it is written, yWhoever gathered much had nothing left over, and whoever gathered little had no lack.

Commendation of Titus

16 But zthanks be to God, awho put into the heart of Titus the same earnest care I have for you. 17 For bhe not only accepted our appeal, but being himself very earnest he is going4 to you of his own accord. 18 With him we are sending5 cthe brother who is famous among dall the churches for his preaching of the gospel. 19 And not only that, but he has been eappointed by the churches to travel with us as we carry out this act of fgrace that is being ministered by us, gfor the glory of the Lord himself and to show our good will. 20 We take this course so that no one should blame us about this generous gift that is being administered by us, 21 for hwe aim at what is honorable inot only in the Lord's sight but also in the sight of man. 22 And with them we are sending our brother whom we have often tested and found earnest in many matters, but who is now more earnest than ever because of his great confidence in you. 23 As for Titus, he is jmy partner and fellow worker for your benefit. And as for our brothers, they are messengers6 of the churches, the glory of Christ. 24 So give proof before the churches of your love and of kour boasting about you to these men.

The Collection for Christians in Jerusalem

Now lit is superfluous for me to write to you about mthe ministry for the saints, for I know your readiness, nof which I boast about you to the people of Macedonia, saying that Achaia has been ready osince last year. And your zeal has stirred up most of them. But pI am sending1 the brothers so that our boasting about you may not prove empty in this matter, so that you may be ready, qas I said you would be. Otherwise, if some Macedonians rcome with me and find that you are not ready, we would be humiliatedto say nothing of youfor being so confident. So I thought it necessary to urge the brothers to go on ahead to you and arrange in advance for the sgift2 you have promised, so that it may be ready tas a willing gift, unot as an exaction.3

The Cheerful Giver

The point is this: vwhoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully4 will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, wnot reluctantly or under compulsion, for xGod loves a cheerful giver. And yGod is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency5 in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. As it is written,

zHe has distributed freely, he has given to the poor;

his righteousness endures forever.

10 He who supplies aseed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and bincrease the harvest of your righteousness. 11 cYou will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which dthrough us will produce thanksgiving to God. 12 For the ministry of this service is not only supplying ethe needs of the saints but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God. 13 By their approval of this service, fthey6 will glorify God because of your submission that comes from your gconfession of the gospel of Christ, and the generosity of your contribution for them and for all others, 14 while they long for you and pray for you, because of the surpassing grace of God upon you. 15 hThanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!

Paul Defends His Ministry

10 iI, Paul, myself entreat you, by the jmeekness and gentleness of ChristI who am humble when face to face with you, but bold toward you when I am away! I beg of you kthat when I am present I may not have to show lboldness with such confidence as I count on showing against some who suspect us of walking according to the flesh. For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the mweapons of nour warfare are not of the flesh but have odivine power pto destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and qevery lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to robey Christ, sbeing ready to punish every disobedience, twhen your obedience is complete.

uLook at what is before your eyes. vIf anyone is confident that he is Christ's, let him remind himself that just as whe is Christ's, xso also are we. For even if I boast a little too much of your authority, which the Lord gave for building you up and not for destroying you, I will not be ashamed. I do not want to appear to be frightening you with my letters. 10 For they say, His letters are weighty and strong, but zhis bodily presence is weak, and ahis speech of no account. 11 Let such a person understand that what we say by letter when absent, we do when present. 12 Not that we dare to classify or bcompare ourselves with some of those who care commending themselves. But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are dwithout understanding.

13 But we will not boast ebeyond limits, but will fboast only with regard to the area of influence God assigned to us, gto reach even to you. 14 For we are not overextending ourselves, as though we did not reach you. hFor we were the first to come all the way to you with the gospel of Christ. 15 We do not boast beyond limit in the labors of others. But our hope is that ias your faith increases, our area of influence among you may be jgreatly enlarged, 16 so that we may preach the gospel in lands beyond you, without boasting of work already done in another's area of influence. 17 Let kthe one who boasts, boast in the Lord. 18 For it is lnot the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one mwhom the Lord commends.