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THE COLLECTION FOR THE SAINTS: 2 CORINTHIANS 8-9



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Criswell Theological Review 4 1 1989 97 117 Copyright 1989 by The Criswell College Cited with permission THE COLLECTION FOR THE SAINTS 2 CORINTHIANS 8 9 RICHARD R MELICK JR Mid America Baptist Theological Seminary Memphis TN 38104 Christian stewardship occupies a major place in contemporary Christian thought Through the various media including the pulpit many Christian spokespersons call for Christians to give of material resources for the advancement of their ministries Often 2 Corinthians 8 9 forms the biblical basis for giving The Scriptures speak often of material possessions They warn about misuse of what God has provided about the acquiring of things as a life goal and about the necessity of using material things to produce spiritual blessings and eternal rewards The foundation for this occurs in the OT and Jesus himself taught that we should lay up treasures in heaven Matt 6 20 The irony of this teaching is that laying up treasures in heaven involves a wise spending of the treasures of earth This passage speaks indirectly to that issue At a deeper level however Paul speaks here of Christian brotherhood While ostensibly the relief offering occupies the prominent place the passage concerns the well being of Christian brothers and sisters It speaks to a Christian s world and life view the reality of a spiritual tie that transcends physical dimensions and the fulfilling of OT prophetic expectations The literature on this section of Scripture is extensive l and at least one major commentary concerns these two chapters alone 2 1 See for example the bibliographic entries in H D Betz 2 Corinthians 8 and 9 A Commentary on Two Administrative Letters of the Apostle Paul Hermeneia Philadelphia Fortress 1985 xix xxv and 146 53 and R Martin 2 Corinthians WBC 10 Waco TX Word 1986 248 286 87 These two commentaries are the most significant recent works on the subject 2 H D Betz 2 Corinthians 98 CRISWELL THEOLOGICAL REVIEW I The Occasion These two chapters focus on the grace



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