2 Corinthians 9 Bible study

 

The Pentecostal Bible Commentary

1 Corinthians

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Chapter 9.

 

A Mutual Example.

 

1,2. Now it is not necessary for me to write you about the ministry to the saints, for I know your eagerness, which is the subject of my boasting about you to the people of Macedonia, saying that Achaia has been ready since last year; and your zeal has stirred up most of them.

 

Paul considered it unnecessary to write to urge the Corinthians to give help to the Jerusalem saints, for they were willing and ready a year before to give financial help. In fact they were the first to suggest offering such help and had promised a liberal amount for Paul to take with him on his return. Paul had been so pleased by this willingness that he made a lot of it to the Macedonian churches. So although in chapter 8 the Macedonians were an example to the Corinthians, it had been the example of the Corinthians which had first inspired the Macedonians others to respond to the need (Prov. 27:17).

 

 

The Principles of Christian Giving.

 

Christian Giving is to be Reliable.

 

3,4. But I am sending the brothers in order that our boasting about you may not prove to have been empty in this case, so that you may be ready, as I said you would be; otherwise, if some Macedonians come with me and find that you are not ready, we would be humiliated--to say nothing of you--in this undertaking.

 

Paul had sent Titus (with two others) to forewarn the Corinthians that he was on his way so that their promised gift might be ready when he came. He was afraid in case the Corinthian's zeal had abated and they were not ready with their generous gift. Both they and Paul would find this very embarrassing, especially in front of the Macedonians who accompanied Paul to Jerusalem. For if their willingness to give beyond their means was inspired by the generosity of the Corinthians, what would they say if they found that this generosity was no more than empty talk? 

 

When we hear of a need in the Lord's work we may feel motivated to give. But how many have pledged to give to the Lord and did so once or twice, but then stopped? When Christ comes we will answer to Him for our inconsistency. Christian giving is to be reliable; let us give to God what we have promised.

 

Christian Giving is to be Systematic.

 

5. So I thought it necessary to urge the brothers to go on ahead to you, and arrange in advance for this bountiful gift that you have promised, so that it may be ready as a voluntary gift and not as an extortion.

 

Paul did not want ot "squeeze" an offering out of them. He had told them the need of the poor saints and they offered to help. He also gave them notice of his coming so that they could be ready. If they were not ready and in shame tried to make up the money all at once they would feel a fincncial pinch which they could avoid by obeying Paul's instruction to give a little each week (1 Cor 16:2). Christian giving is to be regular and systematic.

 

Christian Giving is a Spiritual as well as a Practical form of Service.

 

6. The point is this: the one who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the one who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.

 

Though Paul does not wish to extort money from them, he does challenge them with this spiritual principle. Whoever does not open his heart to give freely will never grow spiritually or reap the blessings and benefits of that growth. This princilpe is not about money. In giving our substance we are giving ourselves to Christ and laying down ourr lives for love of our brothers. This selfless giving results in increasing Christ likeness, blessing, and fellowship with the Lord and His people - what a harvest!

 

Christian Giving is to be According to Means.

 

7. Each of you must give as you have made up your mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

 

Each one should give as he has firmly decided in his heart, not because he has to. Each one should decide how much he can afford for God loves a prompt and willing giver.

 

 

God is the Source of all Gifts.

 

8. And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that by always having enough of everything, you may share abundantly in every good work. 

 

As we give our lives to Christ, laying down our lives and goods for His people, God will make every blessing and good come our way. This includes the material blessings which He showers on us and the disposition of a grateful and gracious heart that we may continue to give and share. God will make us content that we shall always have enough and to spare. God does not give full measure so that we can keep it. Christ's measure is "full and running over". God gives more than we need so that we might share with others. As v10 shows, all things come form God anyway. In days when men depended on the land much more than we realize today, they were keenly aware that they owed all to the One who sends the sun and rain, and who causes crops to grow. God will provide not only for our needs but also provide a surplus so that we might have enough to give to others (James 1:17).

 

 

Christian Giving is An Evidence of Justification.

 

9,10. And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that by always having enough of everything, you may share abundantly in every good work. As it is written, "He scatters abroad, he gives 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.

 

The Scripture says that the saints' giving to the poor provides proof of their justification; that is, their right standing before God, an everlasting condition. James tells us that good works demonstrate the reality of a faith which leads to justification (James 2:15-18 ; James 2:24).

 

 

Christian Giving Brings Glory to God.

 

11. You will be enriched in every way for your great generosity, which will produce thanksgiving to God through us.

 

Paul wanted this generous giving to bring thanksgiving to God and demonstrate to both Jews and Gentiles that the Christians loved each other - a testimony which revealed the powerful effects of Christ's gospel and brought glory to God. 

 

12. For the rendering of this ministry not only supplies the needs of the saints but also overflows with many thanksgivings to God.

 

This is the spiritual result of practical giving. Not only are the needs of the poor supplied, but their overflowing thanks to God brings glory to Him.

 

13. Through the testing of this ministry you glorify God by your obedience to the confession of the gospel of Christ and by the generosity of your sharing with them and with all others.

 

By this practical demonstration of Christian love (the effect of obedience to Christ) the Jewish believers would give glory to God for the evidence of God's salvation among the Gentiles and for their generosity in sharing with them in their need.

 

14. While they long for you and pray for you because of the surpassing grace of God that he has given you.

 

Your gift of love, Paul tells the Corinthians, will cause their love will go out to you, praying God's blessing on you and thanks for you and for the surpassing grace of God in you.

 

 

The Greatest Gift.

 

15. Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!

 

The greatest giver of all is God, who gave the greatest gift for the noblest reason (John 3:16). This is a gift is too wonderful for words; and we can never thank him enough for it. Included in this gift is His salvation, through which He produces in our hearts the inclination to share His love with others through the action of giving to brothers and sisters in need. 

 

"Paul suggests the strongest argument that can be used to stir up the saints to generosity and liberality, for if God of His free grace, and unmerited love, has given His Son to, and for His people, and with Him all things freely then they ought freely and bountifully to communicate temporal good things to the poor members of Christ, for whom God and Christ have an equal love, as for themselves." Gill

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