2 Corinthians 9:6-15 – How not to give

When we think about our giving, two questions worthy of asking are:

  • How much can I keep? (Or How much do I need to give?)

  • How much can I give?

These two questions show a different perspective on giving. In today’s passage Paul talks about how to give and how not to give (v6-7). He doesn’t want them to give because they must, whether its giving reluctantly or sparingly. He doesn’t desire that they give with a need to hold back for themselves. He desires the Corinthian church to give willingly and bountifully and cheerfully. He desires that their generosity overflows from their thankfulness to God. It is not about what we can keep or what we have to give; it is about desiring to give from a transformed heart.

The results of the generosity of the Corinthian church will be the continued provision of God for their needs (v8-10). Some read this passage suggesting’ the more you give the more you get’, and espousing a prosperity theology. However, in line with what we have seen in 2 Cor 8:13-15 it is more appropriate to understand this in the context of the interconnected Christian community providing for needs through such acts of generosity. By God’s blessing, the church, in all it’s expressions across the world, seeks to provide for each other’s need according to what has been given to them. This should result in thankfulness to God for his provision (v11) as well as thankfulness and praise of God from many others for this provision (v12-13). This generous gift, given from a transformed heart, will have continuing effects on the interconnected community of Christ.

Generosity isn’t simply something we should do, it is something we should want to do, as an expression of love for God, for our brothers and sisters in Christ and to seek to glorify God throughout his world.

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