4I often boast about you; I have great pride in you; I am filled with consolation; I am overjoyed in all our affliction.5For even when we came into Macedonia, our bodies had no rest, but we were afflicted in every way—disputes without and fears within.6But God, who consoles the downcast, consoled us by the arrival of Titus,7and not only by his coming, but also by the consolation with which he was consoled about you, as he told us of your longing, your mourning, your zeal for me, so that I rejoiced still more.8For even if I made you sorry with my letter, I do not regret it (though I did regret it, for I see that I grieved you with that letter, though only briefly).9Now I rejoice, not because you were grieved, but because your grief led to repentance; for you felt a godly grief, so that you were not harmed in any way by us.10For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation and brings no regret, but worldly grief produces death.11For see what earnestness this godly grief has produced in you, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what zeal, what punishment! At every point you have proved yourselves guiltless in the matter.12So although I wrote to you, it was not on account of the one who did the wrong, nor on account of the one who was wronged, but in order that your zeal for us might be made known to you before God.13In this we find comfort.
In addition to our own consolation, we rejoiced still more at the joy of Titus, because his mind has been set at rest by all of you.14For if I have been somewhat boastful about you to him, I was not disgraced; but just as everything we said to you was true, so our boasting to Titus has proved true as well.15And his heart goes out all the more to you, as he remembers the obedience of all of you, and how you welcomed him with fear and trembling.16I rejoice, because I have complete confidence in you.
Chapter 8Encouragement to Be Generous
1We want you to know, brothers and sisters, about the grace of God that has been granted to the churches of Macedonia;2for during a severe ordeal of affliction, their abundant joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part.3For, as I can testify, they voluntarily gave according to their means, and even beyond their means,4begging us earnestly for the privilege of sharing in this ministry to the saints—5and this, not merely as we expected; they gave themselves first to the Lord and, by the will of God, to us,6so that we might urge Titus that, as he had already made a beginning, so he should also complete this generous undertaking among you.7Now as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in utmost eagerness, and in our love for you —so we want you to excel also in this generous undertaking.8I do not say this as a command, but I am testing the genuineness of your love against the earnestness of others.9For you know the generous act of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich.10And in this matter I am giving my advice: it is appropriate for you who began last year not only to do something but even to desire to do something—11now finish doing it, so that your eagerness may be matched by completing it according to your means.12For if the eagerness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has—not according to what one does not have.13I do not mean that there should be relief for others and pressure on you, but it is a question of a fair balance between14your present abundance and their need, so that their abundance may be for your need, in order that there may be a fair balance.15As it is written,
“The one who had much did not have too much,
and the one who had little did not have too little.”Commendation of Titus
16But thanks be to God who put in the heart of Titus the same eagerness for you that I myself have.17For he not only accepted our appeal, but since he is more eager than ever, he is going to you of his own accord.18With him we are sending the brother who is famous among all the churches for his proclaiming the good news;19and not only that, but he has also been appointed by the churches to travel with us while we are administering this generous undertaking for the glory of the Lord himself and to show our goodwill.20We intend that no one should blame us about this generous gift that we are administering,21for we intend to do what is right not only in the Lord's sight but also in the sight of others.22And with them we are sending our brother whom we have often tested and found eager in many matters, but who is now more eager than ever because of his great confidence in you.23As for Titus, he is my partner and co-worker in your service; as for our brothers, they are messengers of the churches, the glory of Christ.24Therefore openly before the churches, show them the proof of your love and of our reason for boasting about you.Chapter 9The Collection for Christians at Jerusalem
1Now it is not necessary for me to write you about the ministry to the saints,2for I know your eagerness, which is the subject of my boasting about you to the people of Macedonia, saying that Achaia has been ready since last year; and your zeal has stirred up most of them.3But I am sending the brothers in order that our boasting about you may not prove to have been empty in this case, so that you may be ready, as I said you would be;4otherwise, if some Macedonians come with me and find that you are not ready, we would be humiliated—to say nothing of you—in this undertaking.5So I thought it necessary to urge the brothers to go on ahead to you, and arrange in advance for this bountiful gift that you have promised, so that it may be ready as a voluntary gift and not as an extortion.6The point is this: the one who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the one who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.7Each of you must give as you have made up your mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.8And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that by always having enough of everything, you may share abundantly in every good work.9As it is written,
“He scatters abroad, he gives to the poor;
his righteousness endures forever.”10He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness.11You will be enriched in every way for your great generosity, which will produce thanksgiving to God through us;12for the rendering of this ministry not only supplies the needs of the saints but also overflows with many thanksgivings to God.13Through the testing of this ministry you glorify God by your obedience to the confession of the gospel of Christ and by the generosity of your sharing with them and with all others,14while they long for you and pray for you because of the surpassing grace of God that he has given you.15Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!