2 Corinthians 9:10


Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Now may He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness, 2 Corinthians 9:10

In accord with verses 6-9, Paul now pronounces a hopeful blessing upon the promised seed which the Corinthians intend to sow. As they give, Paul desires that they will also receive a harvest in return. “Now may He” is obviously speaking of the Lord who is the Source of all things. It is “He who supplies seed to the sower.”

The word for “supplies” here is epichorégeó and it used for the first time in Scripture. Charles Ellicott notes its unusual history –

“Originally it expressed the act of one who undertook to defray the expenses of the chorus of a Greek theatre. As this was an act of somewhat stately generosity, the verb got a wider range, and was applied to any such act, and was so transferred in like manner by the Apostle, probably, as far as we can trace, for the first time, to the divine bounty.

Paul, leaning on his understanding of the Greek cultures and traditions, uses this word in a new sense as he ascribes the supplying he speaks of directly to the Creator, from whom all things originally stem. He will use the word two more times in his epistles and Peter will pick it up from him and use it twice as well.

The phrase “seed to the sower” finds its roots in Isaiah. There he wrote –

“For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven,
And do not return there,
But water the earth,
And make it bring forth and bud,
That it may give seed to the sower
And bread to the eater,
11 So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth;
It shall not return to Me void,
But it shall accomplish what I please,
And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55:10, 11

In addition to such seed, it is the Lord who provides “bread for food.” The seed grows, it is harvested and then it is turned into bread to feed man. Paul asks that such a blessing of prosperity from a seed, even to a full stomach, come upon the Corinthians with the petition that the Lord “supply and multiply the seed you have sown.” They have pronounced that they would give a gift and Paul writes as if the gift has already been collected. In turn for their (promised) faithfulness, his words beg for a return blessing upon them.

However, the final words show that the return is not just a return of the same type which was sown. They are to invest money, but Paul asks that the Lord will “increase the fruits of your righteousness.” The words come from the Greek translation of Hosea 10:12 and indicate spiritual blessings. It is the fruits of the righteousness and not necessarily the fruits of the seed that will be increased. Paul then is referring as much to heavenly rewards as he is referring to an earthly return on their investment.

It would be inappropriate to think that by giving money that a sudden shower of money would come flooding back down on them. Rather, the rewards may come in this life, or they may come at the time of our meeting with Christ at the judgment seat. But either way, they will come. The Lord will reward all faithful sowing.

Life application: When you give, do so with an open hand and without attaching conditions upon the gift. If you give in hopes of receiving back, then you have given with the wrong intention. Be content to share what you have. The Lord will reward you in His own way and in His own time.

Lord, help my heart to be right before You, not looking for something in return for the good things I do for others. Instead, help me to be open-handed to others without expecting to profit off of my deeds. I know that You will reward me according to Your wisdom and in Your timing. Let my heart simply be glad to help others, knowing that it is the right thing to do. Amen.




2 Corinthians 9:9


Tuesday, 27 October 2015

As it is written:
“He has dispersed abroad,
He has given to the poor;
His righteousness endures forever.”
 2 Corinthians 9:9

Paul returns to Scripture to make his point concerning his words of verses 6-8, but particularly verse 6. Here we find a quote from Psalm 112:9. Psalm 112 reviews the blessed status of a righteous man, and thus the words there show the cause and effect of his righteousness. In this portion of the psalm, it notes that “He has dispersed abroad.” The idea is that of a farmer sowing seeds. He carefully scatters his seed, tending to where each falls in order to bring about a harvest.

When a righteous man gives, it is with a sense of care and purpose, not in a willy-nilly manner. But this doesn’t just mean to people or places that will in turn directly bless him. Rather he has even “given to the poor.” His open hand of seed is careful to ensure that those who could never repay him are the recipients of his kind heart. This follows through with verse 7 which said that, each should give as he “purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.”

Such a man will reap a great harvest, not necessarily in more money, but in an eternal and blessed state. As the psalmist says, “His righteousness endures forever.” The only way this could come about is by having been blessed with eternal life. The fruit of sowing in this life is that of an eternal harvest. Such is the blessed state of a righteous man.

It should be noted though that deeds of righteousness are not in and of themselves meriting of heaven. Only a person who is in Christ will have those deeds counted towards his eternal state. The greatest giver on earth cannot buy heaven through his charity. Only through Christ can eternal life be attained.

Life application: God is aware of every seed you have sown and He will reward you for those that were done in faith. Don’t worry if no one sees your good deeds here on earth. God in heaven does and He is pleased with them.

Heavenly Father, thank You for the opportunity You have given to us to be charitable to others. If we have, it is because it all came from You. If we hoard away our treasure, it truly serves no purpose. Thieves can steal it, the government will certainly do their best to take it, and when we die, it will go to one who did not earn it. And so give us the right sense to pass on what we can to others in need. Help us to use the time we have, the things we possess, and the abilities You have blessed us with in a way which will return honor to You. Amen.



2 Corinthians 9:8


Monday, 26 October 2015

And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work. 2 Corinthians 9:8

This verse explains verse 6 which said that “he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.” However, it is also qualified by verse 7 which said that we should give as our heart purposes and not grudgingly or of necessity. If we give in the right spirit and in a way which is intended to glorify Him, “God is able to make all grace abound toward you.”

This means that all good things that are necessary to fill up any void made from our giving will in fact be provided. There will be no lack. It is a note of assurance that people are not made poor by being generous. Instead, they will always have “all sufficiency in all things.”

The word translated as “sufficiency” is only found here and in 1 Timothy 6:6. In that verse, Paul notes that “godliness with contentment is great gain.” Our sufficiency will ensure our contentment. But again in that verse, Paul notes godliness. These verses of Paul cannot be separated from a connection to God.

The person who gives with the expectancy that they will profit off their giving is deluded. Giving is not intended to increase worldly wealth. Instead, it is intended to provide contentment in what one receives from the Lord, which will always provide all sufficiency. So much so is this that Paul says they “may have an abundance for every good work.”

There will never be a lack for the intended good work which is on one’s heart. Rather, God will provide a suitable amount to ensure that the need is met. These words are promises and therefore we are being asked to trust that they are true when we give. But remember the key points. We are to give – 1) willingly, and 2) with a heart which acknowledges the Lord in our giving. If our giving is self-directed, why would the Lord reward that?

Life application: Name it and claim it preachers should be ignored. Sow it and grow it preachers should be ignored. These people will get rich at your expense. They have appealed to the greed of your own heart. Ignore them! Focus on the Lord, not yourselves when you give.

Lord Jesus, I am truly embarrassed by the “sow it and you will grow it” attitude within Your church. People give because they are told You will respond by giving them more. They look at You as a cosmic ATM – “Put in $20 and you will get $200 back.” If that is all that there is to this type of faith, then they have their eyes in the wrong place. Help us to give willingly and with a pure heart. Help us to look to the true and undefiled riches which can never perish. Amen.

2 Corinthians 9:7


Sunday, 25 October 2015

So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. 2 Corinthians 9:7

The law is fulfilled in Christ and it is annulled. There is no longer a requirement to tithe in the New Testament Church. Not only that, this verse is the most explicit one in all of Paul’s writings concerning what to give and when. Only Galatians 6:6 adds anything substantially more for us to follow –

“Let him who is taught the word share in all good things with him who teaches.”

Understanding this, we should take this verse to heart and carry it with us always. New Testament Christians are to “each one give as he purposes in his heart.” That is it. We are not to allow ourselves to be forced to tithe by a pastor who reinserts the law which is now done away with. (Run, don’t walk from there!) We are also not to be coerced into giving apart from how our heart directs us, willingly and freely.

The word for “purposes” is proaireó. This is its only use in the New Testament and it “is used in its full ethical significance as indicating, not a passing impulse nor a vague wish, but a deliberate resolve, deciding both on the end and on the means for its attainment” (Charles Ellicott).

When we give, it is not to be as a passing fancy, under feelings of compulsion, nor in a manner which will later be stewed over. Instead, we are to give willingly, freely, and with a heart that is content that giving the gift was the right thing to do.

Paul continues in his thought by saying, “…not grudgingly or of necessity.” The Greek word for “grudgingly” literally means “from grief” or “out of sorrow.” Rather than being coerced into parting with our money and later feeling remorse over having given, we are to be joyous that we have helped out in a way which blessed us while also blessing the recipient of the gift. It should be voluntary rather than out of necessity as well. If we give out of necessity, then it is less a gift and more of a need.

Paul finishes this marvelous verse with the words, “…for God loves a cheerful giver.” Again, he introduces a word here that is only used this one time in the New Testament, hilaros, or “cheerful.” Our giving should be such that we are actually happy when we part with the money. We should be able to say, “I worked XX hours to make that and I am so pleased that those hours were spent in order to give this gift.”

The verse we are looking at closely follows the Greek translation of the Old Testament (the Septuagint) from Proverbs 22. The Hebrew version reads –

“He who sows iniquity will reap sorrow,
And the rod of his anger will fail.
He who has a generous eye will be blessed,
For he gives of his bread to the poor.” Proverbs 22:8, 9

The Hebrew version cited here is close enough to get a resemblance of Paul’s words, but it is clear from him citing Proverbs elsewhere in this letter that he had recently been reading that book and it was fresh on his mind. Further, it is apparent that he had been reading not the Hebrew version, but the Greek version. Finally, as a point that this type of giving was even considered appropriate in the Old Testament, we read this from Exodus 25 –

“Speak to the children of Israel, that they bring Me an offering. From everyone who gives it willingly with his heart you shall take My offering.” Exodus 25:2

Understanding that this offering was taken voluntarily from the people of Israel, and that it was intended for the building of the tabernacle, it follows that our gifts for the building of the church should likewise be voluntary, not forced. Again, this precept is found in the building of Solomon’s temple as well –

“Then the leaders of the fathers’ houses, leaders of the tribes of Israel, the captains of thousands and of hundreds, with the officers over the king’s work, offered willingly. They gave for the work of the house of God five thousand talents and ten thousand darics of gold, ten thousand talents of silver, eighteen thousand talents of bronze, and one hundred thousand talents of iron. And whoever had precious stones gave them to the treasury of the house of the Lord, into the hand of Jehiel the Gershonite. Then the people rejoiced, for they had offered willingly, because with a loyal heart they had offered willingly to the Lord; and King David also rejoiced greatly.” 1 Chronicles 29:6-9

This is the type of giving that is looked for in the New Testament believer. Let us take this to heart and not let the law be reinserted by mandating tithing, nor allow ourselves to be compelled to give against our will.

Life application: Take time today to memorize this verse and Galatians 6:6. After that, follow through with your giving in accord with those verses.

Heavenly Father, it sure is good to know that You trust the people of your church enough to allow them to give freely and without compulsion. Thank You that we have no set limits on what we are to give or when we are to give it. Instead, You allow our gifts to come from our willing heart. Help us then because of this to be cheerful givers that are willing to meet the needs that arise and to feel satisfied in our hearts when we have done so! Thank You for hearing our prayer today. Amen.




2 Corinthians 9:6


Saturday, 24 October 2015

But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 2 Corinthians 9:6

This verse closely matches Galatians 6:7, 8 –

“Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.”

However, there are marked differences in the intent behind the two as well. In this verse, Paul gives a push for graciously abundant giving. It is a thought which builds upon the entire discourse concerning giving. Not only were they to not give grudgingly (verse 5), but they should give in an exceptional way.

In explanation then, he says, “He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly.” Sowing is when one puts seed in the ground in the planting of crops. If someone puts a handful of grain into the ground on a large field, they won’t be reaping very much at harvest time. However, if one takes the chance, sows a large amount of grain (which could be otherwise eaten or sold for money), and tends to the field, they will probably have a far different result. As noted, “He who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.”

John Chyrsostom says, “He calls it sowing in order that we may learn by the figure of the harvest that in giving we receive more than we give.” This is generally true. There is, of course, no guarantee that a field will yield a thing. Drought, infestations, etc, may destroy the entire crop. But one cannot reap bountifully unless they first sow bountifully. And the word translated here as “bountifully” literally means “with blessings.

In this, we can see that there is more than just a material reaping at the harvest. There is also the satisfaction which accompanies the reaping. Blessings are what come to us in that which we find satisfaction. A person may simply be blessed by working in the cool breeze under the blue sky. But unless one goes out to reap, this part of the blessing will be missed.

However, the general principle here is a return on an investment by an increase of the same thing which was invested. A couple proverbs follow this same broad thought –

“There is one who scatters, yet increases more;
And there is one who withholds more than is right,
But it leads to poverty.
25 The generous soul will be made rich,
And he who waters will also be watered himself.” Proverbs 11:24, 25


“He who has pity on the poor lends to the Lord,
And He will pay back what he has given.” Proverbs 19:11

Without taking this to an unintended extreme, which modern “word of faith” preachers do, this is a general principle of increase. If a preacher promises that you will reap a hundred-fold if you send him $100.00, don’t waste your time. God is not a cosmic ATM. He tends to our needs, and He rewards each of us according to His wisdom, not our greed.

Further, it needs to be remembered that “sowing bountifully” is something that can only be determined by the individual in relation to what they already possess. If a millionaire sews $500.00, it really isn’t that much. In fact, it would be nothing compared to a cash-strapped blue collar worker who gave the same amount. Just because it is the same amount, the proportion is one which can’t truly be compared. To Proverbs again –

“He who has a generous eye will be blessed,
For he gives of his bread to the poor.” Proverbs 22:9

Life application: You cannot sow unless you reap. One cannot reap a great amount unless they sow enough to produce a great amount. This general principle applies in giving. All will be rewarded for their faithful sowing, but some of that reaping may not be realized in this life. If you’re giving in order to receive, you have missed the joy of giving and the reward may not be what you had hoped for.

Heavenly Father, Your word tells us that he who sows bountifully will reap bountifully. However, this is often taken to unintended places by people who want to get rich off of the giving of others. Help us to give with an open hand, to anticipate blessings from You for giving done in faith, and yet to understand that You are not a cosmic ATM. Instead, You will reward us according to Your wisdom and not towards our misguided wants. Thank You for every blessing that comes from Your open hand of grace. Amen.