2 Corinthians 8:9

Larry Ray Hafley
Plano, Illinois

"For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich" (2 Cor. 8:9). There are few passages in the Bible that include and encompass the theme of Scripture as completely as does our text. In the midst of exhorting and encouraging the Achaeans to prove the veracity and sincerity of their love by ministering to the needy, Paul inserts the unselfish sacrifice that had made them rich in righteousness.

The Passage Analyzed

(1) "For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ: " "Know" (ginosko) means to understand fully. The Corinthians had "tasted of the heavenly gift" (Heb. 6:4). They definitely comprehended the favor and loving-kindness of Jesus. Such mercy is more than sublime; it is divine. This affirms the deity of Christ. The grace these saints knew was "of God" (2 Cor. 6: 1), but here it is "of our Lord Jesus Christ," hence, he is God.

(2) "That, though he was rich:" When was he rich? It was not upon earth. "Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head" U. 9:58). This affirms the "Preexistence" of Christ. He was (in the past) rich, yet not while in the days of his flesh, thus, it had to be previous to his life among men. Speaking of the ruler or governor that should be born in Bethlehem, Micah said his "goings forth has been from old, from everlasting" (Mic. 5:2). The marginal reading says from "the days of eternity." Truly, before Abraham was, he was. (Jn. 8:58)

(3) "Yet for Your sakes he became poor: " He was rich "being on an equality with God" (Phil. 2:6), however, he divested himself of this treasure and became poor, i.e., a man. It was a willing impoverishment. He emptied and surrendered himself for the good of others. There were no greedy motives or avaricious incentives to entice him to leave the glory which he had possessed with the Father "before the world was" (Jn. 17:5).

"For your sakes he became poor" - that statement should prompt thanksgiving and promote liberality.

(4) "That ye through his poverty might be rich:" The poverty here referred to is not material or monetary. It is through "the body of his flesh" that we are made rich. With his poverty or manhood, as contrasted with his riches or deity, we are made rich. The riches we possess are provided by his grace, secured by his blood, assured by his promise, and procured by our faith.


The above teachings were enunciated to spur the zeal of the Corinthians. No doubt they did so. But what of us today? When our generosity of spirit begins to lag and lounge in languor, let us remember the grace, the riches, and the poverty of our Lord Jesus. If these thoughts cannot summon us to the Savior's service, we are dead while we live.

February 11, 1971