SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 6 (EGW)


Chapter 8

1-8. Example of Others an Inducement to Giving—When a people have an earnest longing to help where help is needed in advancing the cause of God in any line, the Lord will impart to these consecrated, unselfish ones a heart to give gladly, as if it was a privilege. God moved on these Macedonians in their deep poverty to bestow liberally that their example might be recorded, thus leading others to exercise the same beneficence. 6BC 1102.9

Encouraged by this movement, which showed the special working of the Holy Spirit on the hearts of the believers, Paul requested Titus to visit the Corinthian church and finish the collection which they had proposed and had already begun. He was anxious that they should perform that which they had promised through the grace of God working upon their hearts. 6BC 1103.1

Lest they should be outstripped in liberality by the comparatively poor Macedonian churches, Paul not only writes to them, but sends Titus to attend to the collection. The apostle greatly desired to see in the believers symmetry of Christian character. He desired them to give evidence of their love and prove the sincerity of their faith. As disciples in full belief of the truth, he longed to see in them a lively sense of their obligation and accountability to God for the gospel. He desired that it should work in them as the power of God, and that they should bear testimony to its work by yielding fruit to the honor of God. As Christians under the control of God they were with all diligence to discharge every duty.... 6BC 1103.2

Paul laid no command upon the Corinthian brethren. But he set before them the necessity of the church at Jerusalem, and showed what others had given who had fewer advantages and less ability than had the Corinthians. He presented the example of others, to induce them to give (Manuscript 12, 1900). 6BC 1103.3

6. Ministers to Teach Liberality—There is a lesson also in this chapter to those who are working in the cause of God. Paul says, “We desired Titus, that as he had begun, so he would also finish in you the same grace also”—that is, make you to abound in the grace of liberality. A responsibility rests upon the ministers of Christ to educate the churches to be liberal. Even the poor are to have a part in presenting their offerings to God. They are to be sharers of the grace of Christ in denying self to help those whose need is more pressing than their own. Why should the poor saints be denied the blessing of giving to aid those who are still poorer than themselves (MS 28, 1894)? 6BC 1103.4

9. Christ's Poverty a Part of His Great Sacrifice—The apostle called upon them to consider the example of Christ. The Commander of heaven gave Himself to a life of humiliation and poverty that He might stand side by side with the fallen race, to restore the moral image of God in man. The Lord Jesus was willing to become poor, that through His humiliation and His death on the cross He might pay the ransom for us. 6BC 1103.5

Whether rich or poor, we must never forget that the poverty of Christ was a part of His legacy in humanity. It was not alone His betrayal in the garden or His agony upon the cross that constituted the atonement. The humiliation of which His poverty formed a part was included in His great sacrifice. The whole series of sorrows which compassed humanity Christ bore upon His divine soul (Manuscript 12, 1900). 6BC 1103.6

(Matthew 11:28; Philippians 2:5-8.) Why Christ Came as a Poor Man—When the plan of redemption was laid, it was decided that Christ should not appear in accordance with His divine character; for then He could not associate with the distressed and the suffering. He must come as a poor man. He could have appeared in accordance with His exalted station in the heavenly courts; but no, He must reach to the very lowest depths of human suffering and poverty, that His voice might be heard by the burdened and disappointed, that to the weary, sinsick soul He might reveal Himself as the Restorer, the desire of all nations, the Rest-giver. And to those who are longing for rest and peace today just as truly as to those who listened to His words in Judea, He is saying, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Manuscript 14, 1897). 6BC 1103.7

Christ's Poverty Paul's Mighty Argument—Here was the apostle's mighty argument. It is not the commandment of Paul, but of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Son of God had left His heavenly home, with its riches and honor and glory, and clothed His divinity with humanity—not to live in the palaces of kings, without care or labor, and to be supplied with all the conveniences which human nature naturally craves. In the councils of heaven He had chosen to stand in the ranks of the poor and oppressed, to take His part with the humble workers, and learn the trade of His earthly parent, which was that of a carpenter, a builder. He came to the world to be a reconstructor of character, and He brought into all His work of building the perfection which He desired to bring into the characters He was transforming by His divine power. 6BC 1103.8

Paul presents his pattern, his ideal. Christ had given Himself to a life of poverty that they might become rich in heavenly treasure. He would refresh their memories in regard to the sacrifice made in their behalf. Christ was commander in the heavenly courts, yet He took the lowest place in this world. He was rich, yet for our sakes, He became poor. It was not spiritual riches that He left behind; He was always abounding in the gifts of the Spirit. But He was of poor parentage. The world never saw its Lord wealthy (Manuscript 98, 1899). 6BC 1104.1

Rich in Attainments—Christ, the Majesty of heaven, became poor, that we through His poverty might be made rich. Not rich merely in endowments, but rich in attainments. 6BC 1104.2

These are the riches that Christ earnestly longs that His followers shall possess. As the true seeker after the truth reads the Word, and opens his mind to receive the Word, he longs after truth with his whole heart. The love, the pity, the tenderness, the courtesy, the Christian politeness, which will be the elements in the heavenly mansions that Christ has gone to prepare for those that love Him, take possession of his soul. His purpose is steadfast. He is determined to stand on the side of righteousness. Truth has found its way into the heart, and is planted there by the Holy Spirit, who is the truth. When truth takes hold of the heart, the man gives sure evidence of this by becoming a steward of the grace of Christ (Manuscript 7, 1898). 6BC 1104.3

12. See EGW on Acts 16:14. 6BC 1104.4

16-18, 23. Titus Journeys to Corinth—Paul's testimony was accepted as of great weight, because of the many revelations he had received. He knew better than did many others of the necessities of various places. But Paul was unwilling to take personal charge of the raising of this contribution. He had been largely instrumental in causing it to be raised, but, lest any should find occasion to speak evil, Titus and his companions ... made the journey to Corinth; for there was no safe way of transporting money at that time (Manuscript 101, 1906). 6BC 1104.5

16-22. Paul Commends Titus to the Corinthians—Titus has been so successful in raising gifts among the churches in Macedonia that Paul desired him to visit Corinth and continue in the same work. Another brother, “whose praise is in the gospel throughout all the churches,” and still another “whom we have oftentimes proved diligent in many things,” were sent to accompany Titus. Paul wrote a letter to the Corinthians commending to them these brethren who had so willingly undertaken such a difficult task. In this letter he reminded them of an effort that had been put forth a year previous to raise a contribution at Corinth (Manuscript 101, 1906). 6BC 1104.6

21. See EGW on Romans 12:17. 6BC 1104.7