The Trinity Delusion An exposť of the doctrine of the Trinity

2 Corinthians 8:9

For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.

Trinitarian Claim

Some Trinitarians claim this verse refers to Jesus Christ's pre-incarnate existence. Typically, many Trinitarians associate this verse with their own interpretations of Philippians 2:5-9, Romans 8:3, and the like.


The Claim vs. The Facts

The facts show that Trinitarians are resorting to their own imaginations. Not being able to comprehend how Jesus was "rich," in any other way but to presuppose a pre-incarnate Christ, they imagine that Paul must be referring to the pre-incarnate second person of their Trinity doctrine. So they suppose Paul is referring to a pre-incarnate God the Son who was "rich," and when he became a human, he became "poor." Their interpretation is simply a projection of their own Incarnation doctrine. The contextual facts, however, give us ample facts which show us how and when Jesus was "rich" and we do not need to resort to our imaginations.


The Problems with the Claim

The Corinthians were "Rich" too

For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that YOU through his poverty might become rich.

Jesus gave so that the Corinthians might become "rich." In what way did the Corinthians become rich. In what way were they rich. This seems to be a question which Trinitarians do not even bother to ask. Else, it would be evident to them how and when Jesus was "rich." If it is evident that these human being were rich, it should also be evident to Trinitarians that the human being Jesus of Nazareth could be rich.

Lack of Understanding, Fanciful Suppositions and Eisegesis

The Trinitarian mind does not comprehend how Jesus of Nazareth could have been "rich." In their minds, only the pre-incarnate God the Son was "rich." But this is entirely based upon their own imaginations which are formed by their own doctrines. Ultimately, they are reading something into the text which is not there. Nothing is mentioned about a pre-incarnate God the Son becoming "poor" as a result of becoming a human being. In fact, the immediate context speaks to the contrary.

The context is completely ignored for the sake of Trinitarian doctrine. In short, Trinitarian doctrine becomes their "context" by which they interpret this verse through an act of eisegesis - reading their doctrine into the text.


Analysis of the Facts

The Context: Giving to Others

The context of 2 Corinthians 8:9 is about gracious giving so that others might have abundance. Once this is realized, it becomes quite easy to comprehend what Paul is really talking about in this verse.

Now, brethren, we wish to make known to you the grace of God which has been given in the churches of Macedonia, that in much trial of affliction, the abundance of their joy and their corresponding depth of poverty superabounded in the wealth of their generosity. For I testify that according to their ability, and beyond their ability, they gave of their own accord, pleading and urging us for the participation in this grace (their gift) in the service of the saints, and they exceeded our expectations giving themselves first of all to the Lord, and then by the will of God also to us. So we urged Titus that as he had previously made a beginning, so he would also complete in you this grace (their gift/giving). But just as you abound in everything, in faith and utterance and knowledge and in all earnestness and in the [e]love we inspired in you, see that you abound in this grace also. I am not speaking this as a command, but as proving through the earnestness of others the sincerity of your love also. For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich,. And here is my knowledge about what is best for you in this matter. Last year you were the first not only to give but also to have the desire to do so. Now finish the work, so that your eager willingness to do it may be matched by your completion of it, according to your means. For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what one does not have. Our desire is not that others might be relieved while you are hard pressed, but that there might be equality. At the present time your abundance will supply what they need, so that in turn their abundance will supply what you need. The goal is equality, as it is written: "The one who gathered much did not have too much, and the one who gathered little did not have too little."

Note how the context is about the grace of giving so that others might be rich. Paul exhorts Christians to graciously give out of what they have so that others might also have. And then note how Paul turns to Jesus as an example for them to follow. Paul instructs them to give out of their abundance so that other saints might also have abundance.

How Jesus Graciously Gave

Jesus was the King of Israel. But he gave a very precious thing. He gave his life for the sins of his people. And Christians are given his resurrection life so that they might have life more abundantly. As Paul says earlier in this letter, we have this treasure in jars of clay (2 Corinthians 4:7; cf. 2 Timothy 1:14), that is, the Holy Spirit which he had just been discussing, the Spirit which transforms us from glory unto glory. The treasure which Christians seek is not an earthly treasure. Because Christians do not store up treasure on earth (cf. James 5:3), those who have choose to freely give to the saints who do not have. They become poor so that others might become rich. They give and suffer because Jesus their Lord gave and suffered and they follow him walking in his footsteps. Note how Paul here in this same letter speaks on the matter showing us how we make others "rich":

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves; we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesusí sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death works in us, but life in you.

Jesus of Nazareth was rich. He was rich in the same way his followers understand they are rich. They are full of the Holy Spirit and the spiritual blessings of heaven. They have this treasure dwelling, a deposit and guarantee of the glory that awaits the heirs of God. Jesus was likewise rich but he gave up everything for our sake. He did not come to be served but to serve and give his life as a ransom for many (Matthew 20:28). He did not seek earthly success in any form but chose to give up absolutely everything he had for our sake. When he hung upon the cross, he was left with nothing. He no longer even had his life. There was nothing left for him to give. He become completely impoverished.

In everything I showed you that by working hard in this manner you must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, "It is more blessed to give than to receive." (Acts 20:35).

If Jesus wasn't rich, the he didn't give us much either did he? A poor man can't give you much if anything at all. Only a rich man can give you much and Jesus did give; he gave us much; he gave us something more precious than any wealthy man on earth could give. If Jesus of Nazareth wasn't rich, then he didn't have anything to give us did he? Let the reader understand what his riches were.


Conclusion

A true Christian comprehends his riches as a royal son of the King our God. But his treasure is not in earthly goods; his treasure is stored up in heaven and he is an heir of the coming glory when Jesus returns for the saints. Those who store up treasure for themselves are not rich with God (Luke 12:21). The Kingdom of God is like a treasure in a field (Matthew 13:44ff.). Disciples of Jesus are those who will have treasure in heaven (Matthew 19:21; Mark 10:21; Luke 18:22). Because a saint does not store up treasure on earth, he freely gives the saints their earthly needs. He becomes poor so that others might also have. He already has treasure dwelling within him. In Christ are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Colossians 2:3).

For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.

Jesus gave out of the abundance of his heart. Paul is instructing the saints to do the same and walk as he walked. Whatever the saints have, whether earthly blessings or heavenly, they also give, and they give because they are heirs of glory and their treasure is in heaven. They give up their earthly riches for poverty because they have spiritual blessings, heavenly riches, and little regard for earthly riches. Jesus was the King of Israel and anointed by the Spirit of God. Jesus became poor by giving us his riches; he gave us his life and hung dead upon a cross. And we read that he became poor so that WE might become rich. How are we Christians rich? What is it that makes us rich? Ask this question and you will know how Jesus of Nazareth was rich.

For where your treasure is, there your heart will also be. - Jesus


Created: September 12, 2016
Last Revision/Update: September 12, 2016


 HOME