A Study on Biblical Giving
II Corinthians 8-9


The Scriptures are full of passages relating to money, with most of these verses devoted to the subject of Biblical giving. The Bible repeatedly condemns greed and encourages generosity. Here is a brief study on a few of those passages:


II Corinthians chapters 8 & 9 contain the most detailed passage on giving in the New Testament. The apostle Paul addressed the topic because false teachers in Corinth were questioning his motives in ministry, possibly even accusing him of skimming money from the "poor box". After defending his integrity (1:2), Paul directs the rich Corinthian church back toward generosity in this beautiful summary on biblical giving. He used the Macedonian churches as a prime example, poor though they were, of how and why believers should give: joyfully, freely, despite poverty and affliction, and as a privilege. "We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia, for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own free will, begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints." II Corinthians 8:1-4


WHAT IS BIBLICAL GIVING?

Giving Yourself. When we have surrendered ourselves to service for the Lord, giving comes naturally. What God wants is our trust and obedience, not our money. When we trust and obey and commit to His ways, we give. "And this, not as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then by the will of God to us." II Corinthians 8:5

An Act of Love. Not done by command (under compulsion), but voluntarily, because we remember that Christ gave everything --- power, heaven, his very life --- to enrich our lives with true riches that can only come from him. "I say this not as a command, but to prove by the earnestness of others that your love also is genuine. 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 by his poverty might become rich." II Corinthians 8:8

As You're Able. Generosity is never meant to impoverish the giver. What pleases God is not the size of the gift, but the willingness to give measured against what we have. "For if the readiness is there, it is acceptable according to what a person has, not according to what he does not have. I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened, but that as a matter of fairness." II Corinthians 8:12-13

To Meet Needs. We should help provide for the basic need of others who are destitute. "And he answered them, 'Whoever has two tunics is to share with him who has none, and whoever has food is to do likewise.'"Luke 3:11"But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth."I John 3:17-18 "Whoever gives to the poor will not want, but he who hides his eyes will get many a curse." Proverbs 28:27

As Sowing. Biblical giving brings an increase for more good works. "The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.Each one must give as he has made up his mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work."II Corinthians 9:6-8"One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want. Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered." Proverbs 11:24-25

It's Personal. The amount given is between you and God, done cheerfully. "Each one must give as he has made up his mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver." II Corinthians 9:7 "On the first day of every week, each of you is to put something aside and store it up, as he may prosper, so that here will be no collecting when I come." I Corinthians 16:2

An Expression of Trust. We can give joyfully and without fear because God can meet our needs and provide much more. "And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. As it is written, 'He has distributed freely, he has given to the poor; his righteousness endures forever.' He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way for all your generosity, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God." II Corinthians 9:8-11

It Stimulates Prayer. The recipient of our generosity praises God and prays for the giver. "For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints, but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God. By their approval of this service, they will glorify God because of your submission flowing from your confession of the gospel of Christ, and the generosity of your contribution for them and for all others, while they long for you and pray for you, because of the surpassing grace of God upon you. Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!" II Corinthians 9:12-15

It Develops Character. Biblical giving is the cure for selfishness, with which we are all afflicted by nature. "They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life." I Timothy 6:18-19

An Eternal Investment. Generosity is an investment in our eternal future, where there will be a sizable return. "The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully." II Corinthians 9:6 "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do no break in and steal." Matthew 6:19-20

GIVING IS A SPIRITUAL THERMOMETER,
NOT A THERMOSTAT

Being generous does not change us spiritually, but our spiritual growth changes our hearts for giving. When our hearts are attuned to Christ, we want to give freely, joyfully, and sacrificially to the needs of others. It is an act of gratitude for the grace given to us by God, and an imitation of God's generosity toward us in the gift of His Son. "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16

Biblical Giving is An Act of Worship. It's an expression of love and thankfulness, directing our hearts and our minds to Christ. "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Matthew 6:21


IT ALL BOILS DOWN TO THIS:



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All Scriptures quoted in this article are from the English Standard Version.


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