“Now concerning the ministering to the saints, it is superfluous for me to write to you; for I know your willingness, about which I boast of you to the Macedonians, that Achaia was ready a year ago; and your zeal has stirred up the majority” (2 Corinthians 9:1-2).
The word “superfluous” is not a word that is widely used today. It communicates the idea of something that goes beyond what is required and is rendered unnecessary (CSB) or redundant (MEV) in other translations of the Scriptures. Since the members of the Corinthian church had already pledged their financial support for the Christians in the region of Judea, this may explain why Paul the Apostle felt no further need to discuss the topic.
On the other hand, there may a hint of gentle sarcasm lurking behind the Apostle’s message…
“It was quite unnecessary for Paul to write to the Corinthians concerning the subject of sending financial help to needy saints—yet he proceeded to do so anyway. Perhaps there is a trace of irony in this verse. Actually, in some respects it was not necessary for him to write to them. They had shown a willingness from the outset to participate in the collection for Jerusalem.
As far as willingness was concerned, they were to be commended. But they simply had not carried out their original intentions. That is why he feels it necessary to enlarge on the superfluous.” (1)
So it seems clear that Paul engaged in a motivational effort to encourage the Corinthians to move forward in fulfilling their financial commitments by saying, “I boast of you to the Macedonians.” However, we can also say that Paul was not seeking to establish a competition between these regional churches.
Instead, this boast is best seen as an expression of something we read in the New Testament book of Hebrews: “…let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds” (Hebrews 10:24 NIV).
We should also remember that it was the Corinthians’ commitment to support this relief effort that inspired the Macedonian churches to get involved. If the Corinthians failed to follow through on that promise, it would have reflected poorly upon them. In addition, others might have accused Paul of fundraising under false pretenses since the Macedonians were motivated to act by his boast of Corinth’s support. Given Paul’s disdain for those who sought to peddle the word of God for profit, this was something he surely wished to avoid.
(1) William Macdonald, Believer’s Bible Commentary Edited by Arthur Farstad Thomas Nelson Publishers [pg. 1853]