A Fundamental Methodological Question
Is it possible to interpret a text in light of the Old Testament texts and traditions?
Ulrich Luz states: “one may only appeal to biblical intertexts when the combination between them has been made explicit to the readers through clear correspondence between the wordings and the basic meanings of the text.” In a footnote, Luz explains: “As a general rule, for readers to have recognized a biblical intertextual reference, I assume there must exist a specific correspondence, i.e. a correspondence particular to the texts in question only, between at least two words of the suggested parallels, as well a correspondence in basic meaning.”
Using the rule set forth by Ulrich Luz, I am comfortable in stating that Paul, in praising the example of the Macedonians, was in fact made an allusion to the poor widow in the temple. There are at least two words, “abundance” and “poverty” in parallel, and also a clear correspondence in basic meaning.
In 2 Cor. 8, Paul discusses the collection for the saints and the example of the Macedonians. In verse 2, Paul mentions the extreme poverty of the Macedonians. Paul tells us that the Macedonians gave to the utmost limits of their means and even beyond it in the face of severe hardship and poverty.
The Lucan Jesus informed us, “this poor widow has put in more than all of them; for they contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all the living that she had.”[i] The Macedonians collectively are the living embodiment of the poor widow.
[i] Luke 21:3-4.