2 Cor. 8:1-5 Paul Paraphrased
"Moreover brethren, we want you to know of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia;
How that their joy was so great that they made a liberal welfare offering; and this in spite of personal poverty and amidst great afflictions.
I bear record that they gave according to their power to give, but they were willing to give even more and were able to do so through the bounties of God's grace unto them;
Asking us with great fervor to accept their gift and administer it to needy saints in the spirit of fellowship.
And their contributions exceeded our expectations because of the depth of their consecration, for they had first given themselves to the Lord, then they found it easy to follow God's will in giving of their substance to us."
2 Cor. 8:7 see that ye abound in this grace also
Paul invites the Corinthian saints to be liberal in their welfare donations.
Bruce R. McConkie
"Those who abound in faith and the attributes of godliness are the ones who impart liberally of their substance for the temporal welfare of their brethren in the kingdom." (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3 vols. [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1965-1973], 2:433)
2 Cor. 8:9 though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor
In terms of riches, the Great Jehovah, the Creator of innumerable worlds, the law Giver, and the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had all that the Father had. Prior to his mortal advent, he was richer than any mortal. As Craig J. Ostler noted, "If the glory of the premortal Messiah is likened unto riches, then he was truly the richest of all." (The Apostle Paul, His Life and His Testimony: The 23d Annual Sidney B. Sperry Symposium [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1994], 161.) From this exalted station, he descended to be born in a lowly manger, to be raised in humble circumstances, and to come forth from the despised town of Nazareth.
In things spiritual, He was the greatest of all God's children. He exhibited the most faith and was given all power. In mortality, he was without sin, and yet he was asked to suffer for sin. He was rich in spiritual reserve, but every ounce of his funds dried up in Gethsemane and Golgotha-a withdrawal made with blood, sweat, and tears. But there was 'first a willing mind' (v. 12) for he said, 'Here am I, send me' (Abr. 3:27). Likewise, 'there was a readiness' (v. 11) to follow the Father's will-to condescend from the richest of all to the poorest of all, that we 'through his poverty might be made rich.'
Elder Charles A. Callis
"What have we gained by reason of the earthly poverty and sufferings endured by the Lord Jesus Christ? We have gained eternal life, or the means of obtaining eternal life, and God has said: 'Behold, he that hath eternal life is rich.'" (Charles A. Callis, Conference Report, April 1911, Overflow Meeting. 80.)
2 Cor. 8:12 it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not
Bruce R. McConkie
"The widow's mite, how large it is on the ledgers of heaven!
"Out of their surplus, without sacrifice, often with selfish motives, frequently amid the blare of trumpets, rich men are sometimes wont to give to worthy causes. Meanwhile, the poor, out of their penury, unknown to their fellowmen, but because their hearts are right, sometimes give unheralded 'mites' to like worthy causes.
"Gift giving...must be measured in terms of capacity to give. The widow who cast in less than a half cent in American coinage, proportionately gave more than all the rich whose surpluses crammed the coffers in the temple court. See Luke 14:25-33.
"This episode in Jewish life-and Jesus deliberately took occasion to call attention to it that it's lesson might be preserved-teaches that the giver is greater than the gift; that sacrifice of all, though such be small in amount, is greater than the largess of kings who neither miss nor need that which they give away; and that it is the intent of the heart, not the value of the gift, which counts on the eternal ledgers. 'For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not.' (2 Cor. 8:12.)" (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3 vols. [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1965-1973], 1: 628.)
James E. Talmage
"In the accounts kept by the recording angels, figured out according to the arithmetic of heaven, entries are made in terms of quality rather than of quantity, and values are determined on the basis of capability and intent. The rich gave much yet kept back more; the widow's gift was her all. It was not the smallness of her offering that made it especially acceptable, but the spirit of sacrifice and devout intent with which she gave. On the books of the heavenly accountants that widow's contribution was entered as a munificent gift, surpassing in worth the largess of kings. 'For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not.'" (Jesus the Christ, 520)
"[God] will judge them 'not according to what they have not, but according to what they have' [2 Cor. 8:12]. Those who have lived without law will be judged without law, and those who have a law will be judged by that law. We need not doubt the wisdom and intelligence of the great Jehovah. He will award judgment or mercy to all nations according to their several deserts, their means of obtaining intelligence, the laws by which they are governed, the facilities afforded them of obtaining correct information, and his inscrutable designs in relation to the human family. And when the designs of God shall be made manifest and the curtain of futurity be withdrawn, we shall all of us eventually have to confess that the Judge of all the earth has done right." (Kent P. Jackson, comp. and ed., Joseph Smith's Commentary on the Bible [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1994], 154.)
2 Cor. 8:14 that there may be equality
Bruce R. McConkie
"In the early part of both this and the meridian dispensations, the saints attempted to live the full law of consecration. That is, they consecrated their temporal means and spiritual abilities to the Lord's work. All of their talents, strength, time, properties, and monies were made available for use in the establishment of the Lord's earthly Church and kingdom. In this dispensation the organizational arrangement whereunder the principles of consecration operated was the United Order. The New Testament contains only passing allusions of how the system operated in that day. See 2 Cor. 8:1-24; 9:1-15; 1 Tim. 5:1-18." (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3 vols. [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1965-1973], 2: 57.)
2 Cor. 8:23 whether any do enquire of Titus, he is my partner
David O. McKay
"Titus seems to have been one of the chief men in collecting contributions for the relief of the poor in Judea. When he returned to Corinth, he continued to make collections for Paul to take to Jerusalem in the near future." (Ancient Apostles [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1964], 215.)