1 Now, brothers, I have to tell you about the grace God has given to the churches of Macedonia. 2 Amid a severe ordeal of trouble, their overflowing joy and their deep poverty together have poured out a flood of rich generosity; 3 I can testify that up to their means, aye and beyond their means, they have given ??4 begging me of their own accord, most urgently, for the favour of contributing to the support of the saints. 5 They have done more than I expected; they gave themselves to the Lord, to begin with, and then (for so God willed it) they put themselves at my disposal. 6 This has led me to ask Titus to complete the arrangements for the same gracious contribution among yourselves, as it was he who started it. 7 Now then, you are to the front in everything, in faith, in utterance, in knowledge, in all zeal, and in love for us ??do come to the front in this gracious enterprise as well.
8 I am not issuing any orders, only using the zeal of others to prove how sterling your own love is. 9 (You know how gracious our Lord Jesus Christ was; rich though he was, he became poor for the sake of you, that by his poverty you might be rich.) 10 But I will tell you what I think about it; it is to your interest to go on with this enterprise, for you started it last year, you were the first not merely to do anything but to want to do anything. 11 Now, carry it through, so that your readiness to take it up may be equalled by the way you carry it through ??so far as your means allow. 12 If only one is ready to give, according to his means, it is acceptable; he is not asked to give what he has not got. 13 This does not mean that other people are to be relieved and you to suffer: 14 it is a matter of give and take; at the present moment your surplus goes to make up what they lack, in order that their surplus may go to make up what you lack. 15 Thus it is to give and take ??as it is written, He who got much had nothing over, and he who got little had not too little.
16 Thanks be to God who has inspired Titus with an interest in you equal to my own; 17 he has indeed responded to my request, but he is off to you by his own choice, so keen is his interest in you. 18 Along with him I am sending that brother whose services to the gospel are praised by all the churches; 19 besides, he has been appointed by the churches to travel with me on the business of administering this fund to the glory of the Lord. His appointment has my full consent, 20 for I want to take precautions against any risk of suspicion in connection with the administration of this charity; 21 I aim at being above reproach not only from God but also from men. 22 Along with them I am also sending our brother: I have had ample proof of his keen interest on many occasions, and it is specially keen on this occasion, as he has absolute confidence in you. 23 Titus is my colleague, he shares my work for you, and these brothers of mine are apostles of the church, a credit to Christ. 24 So let them have proof of how you can love, and of my reasons for being proud of you; it will be a proof read by the churches.