on 2-corinthians 8 :1
Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit - In all our dignified version very few ill-constructed sentences can be found; however here is one, and the worst in the book. We do you to wit is in the original γνωριζομεν δε ὑμιν, we make known unto you. This is plain and intelligible, the other is not so; and the form is now obsolete.
The grace of God bestowed - Dr. Whitby has made it fully evident that the χαρις Θεου signifies the charitable contribution made by the Churches in Macedonia, to which they were excited by the grace or influence of God upon their hearts; and that δεδομενην εν cannot signify bestowed on, but given in. That χαρις means liberality, appears from 2 Corinthians 8:6 : We desired Titus that as he had begun, so he would finish την χαριν ταυτην, this charitable contribution. And 2 Corinthians 8:7 : That ye abound εν ταυτῃ τῃ χαριτι, in this liberal contribution. And 2 Corinthians 8:19 : Who was chosen of the Church to travel with us συν τῃ χαριτι ταυτῃ, with this charitable contribution, which is administered - which is to be dispensed, by us. So 2 Corinthians 9:8 : God is able to make πασαν χαριν, all liberality, to abound towards you. And 1 Corinthians 16:3 : To bring την χαριν, your liberality, to the poor saints. Hence χαρις, is by Hesychius and Phavorinus interpreted a gift, as it is here by the apostle: Thanks be to God for his unspeakable gift, 2 Corinthians 9:15. This charity is styled the grace of God, either from its exceeding greatness, (as the cedars of God and mountains of God signify great cedars and great mountains, Psalm 36:6; Psalm 80:10); or rather, it is called so as proceeding from God, who is the dispenser of all good, and the giver of this disposition; for the motive of charity must come from him. So, in other places, the zeal of God, Romans 10:2; the love of God, 2 Corinthians 5:14; the grace of God, Titus 2:11.
The Churches of Macedonia - These were Philippi, Thessalonica, Berea, etc.
on 2-corinthians 8 :1
Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit - We make known to you; we inform you. The phrase "we do you to wit," is used in Tyndale's translation, and means "we cause you to know." The purpose for which Paul informed them of the liberality of the churches of Macedonia was to excite them to similar liberality.
Of the grace of God ... - The favor which God had shown them in exciting a spirit of liberality, and in enabling them to contribute to the fund for supplying the needs of the poor saints at Jerusalem. The word "grace" (χάρις charis) is sometimes used in the sense of gift, and the phrase "gift of God" some have supposed may mean very great gift, where the words "of God" may be designed to mark anything very eminent or excellent, as in the phrase "cedars of God," "mountains of God," denoting very great cedars, very great mountains. Some critics (as Macknight, Bloomfield, Locke, and others) have supposed that this means that the churches of Macedonia had been able to contribute largely to the aid of the saints of Judea. But the more obvious and correct interpretation, as I apprehend, is that which is implied in the common version, that the phrase "grace of God," means that God had bestowed on them grace to give according to their ability in this cause. According to this it is implied:
(1) That a disposition to contribute to the cause of benevolence is to be traced to God. He is its author. He excites it. It is not a plant of native growth in the human heart, but a large and liberal spirit of benevolence is one of the effects of his grace, and is to be traced to him.
(2) it is a favor bestowed on a church when God excites in it a spirit of benevolence. It is one of the evidences of his love. And indeed there cannot be a higher proof of the favor of God than when by his grace he inclines and enables us to contribute largely to meliorate the condition, and to alleviate the needs of our fellowmen. Perhaps the apostle here meant delicately to hint this. He did not therefore say coldly that the churches of Macedonia had contributed to this object, but he speaks of it as a favor shown to them by God that they were able to do it. And he meant, probably, gently to intimate to the Corinthians that it would be an evidence that they were enjoying the favor of God if they should contribute in like manner.
The churches of Macedonia - Philippi, Thessalonica, Berea. For an account of Macedonia, see the Acts 16:9 note; Romans 15:26 note. Of these churches, that at Philippi seems to have been most distinguished for liberality Philippians 4:10, Philippians 4:15-16, Philippians 4:18, though it is probable that other churches contributed according to their ability, as they are commended (compare 2 Corinthians 9:2) without distinction.
on 2-corinthians 8 :1
8:1 We declare to you the grace of God - Which evidently appeared by this happy effect.