But by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may be a supply for their want, that their abundance also may be a supply for your want: that there may be equality:
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The equality Paul is speaking of consists in the fact that because they are ministering to the saints this time they will be repaid by them in the future, for they are making the saints their debtors. Commentary on Paul’s Epistles.
But by an equality. I do not command so large almsgiving that your homes be pauperised while the poor have ample, but of your superfluity, which supplies the proper matter of almsgiving, I beg you to communicate with the poor, and supply their want, so that you may both have the necessities of life, and may each hold the mean between the two extremes of poverty and abundance. Let there be nothing superfluous in the means of them that give, and nothing deficient in the way of the necessaries of life to them that receive (Theophylact).
That their abundance also may be a supply for your want. So their abundant supply of faith and hope and all graces will, by their prayers and merits before God, assist your spiritual poverty in this life, and in the other life they will, when you die, receive you into everlasting habitations. The kingdom of heaven is the possession of Christ"s poor (Anselm).
That there may be equality. By an interchange of spiritual goods as well as temporal.
Of this same thing also in the second Epistle to the Corinthians: "Let your abundance supply their want, that their abundance also may be the supplement of your want, that there may be equality: as it is written, He who had much had not excess; and he who had little had no lack."
This present time, let your abundance The sense, according to some interpreters is, that the time may perhaps come, when they in Judea may supply the wants of those in Achaia in the same kind. Others rather understand it of a communication of spiritual for temporal goods, that your alms, by the assistance of those who will pray for you, and your charities, may obtain for you the spiritual riches of grace, which every one stands chiefly in need of. (Witham)
For not only by the words he has before used but by these also, he is desirous of making the commandment light. Nor yet from this consideration alone, but from that of the recompense also, again he makes it easier; and utters higher things than they deserve, saying, That there may be equality at this time, and their abundance a supply for your want. Now what is it that he says? 'You are flourishing in money; they in life and in boldness towards God.' 'Give ye to them, therefore, of the money which you abound in but they have not; that you may receive of that boldness wherein they are rich and you are lacking.' See how he has covertly prepared for their giving beyond their power and of their want. 'For,' he says, 'if you desire to receive of their abundance, give of your abundance; but if to win for yourself the whole, you will give of your want and beyond your power.' He does not say this, however, but leaves it to the reasoning of his hearers; and himself meanwhile works out his objec...
Paul points out that sharing is mutual. Indeed, the Corinthians would be reaping spiritual rewards in abundance. How can they be compared with what is merely carnal? Homilies on the Epistles of Paul to the Corinthians