Titus was coming to Corinth, with two other men, to collect the church’s gift for Judea’s poor Christians. Paul urged the Christians in Corinth to have complete confidence in those men. He wanted Corinth’s Christians to know that he himself trusted those men.
So Paul explained that Titus was not merely coming on behalf of Paul, as Paul’s agent or assistant. Rather, Titus was Paul’s partner in the great work that God had sent them to do at Corinth. Paul was recognising that God had given Titus authority over Corinth’s church, and responsibility for that church. So, Corinth’s Christians should respect Titus as Paul himself respected him.
It seems likely that Paul wanted Corinth’s Christians to accept Titus as the leader of their church. Certainly Titus’s responsibility was leadership. However, the other two men were not going to Corinth to lead the church. Their task was to collect and to look after the money that the church members were giving. Therefore, Paul describes them differently.
Those two men were ‘brothers’, that is, Christian men. Paul then describes them, in the original language (Greek), as ‘apostles of churches’. We usually use the word ‘apostles’ to mean the first and most important Christian leaders. However, the original meaning of the word ‘apostle’ is someone whom a master sends to carry out a special task. That is the meaning here. The churches had given these two men the special responsibility and duty to collect these gifts.
Paul then adds a final, extraordinary description of these men. They are ‘the glory (honour and greatness) of Christ’. In other words, they are men whose lives bring honour to Christ. Or, the greatness of Christ shows clearly from their lives*.
Next part: ‘The proof of your love’ (8:24)
* See complete article for these Bible references.
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© 2016, Keith Simons.