2 Corinthians Chapter 9
Commentary by Ron Beckham
Verse 1. "For it is superfluous for me to write to you
about this ministry to the saints;"
Some things are just self-evident (it's superfluous to even talk about them). You
dont steal. Adultery is simply wrong. Murder is unthinkable, and that
includes the willful killing of an unborn baby. Down deep, you know you
should not do these things. All these are wrong because of another very evident
truth: God is real and He said in His commandments to us:
In addition to - do NOT do this or that, we are to DO certain things as well. We
are to have hearts and hands that give to others in their need. One of the
great themes in Scripture is that we are to share what we have with widows, orphans, and
the stranger in our midst (for instance, the homeless). And if we look deep inside,
we already know this. We only pretend to ourselves that we do not know, because we
are a selfish people.
Verse 2. "for I know your readiness, of which I boast about you to the
Macedonians, namely, that Achaia has been prepared since last year, and your zeal has
stirred up most of them."
The other day, I talked with the former pastor of a large church (for 25-years), who is
now a "financial advisor". He expressed pleasure that he was out of the
ministry, citing his parishioners as the reason he left. "At least now they
(his customers) are honest with me about their finances" he said. His former
"clients" (his parishioners) had not given sufficiently for projects within the
church, which caused him to experience frustration.
Generally, where the church is alive spiritually, the members GIVE liberally.
This was Dr. J. Vernon Mc Gees observation and he went on to state, "I
been to some churches that really are dead spiritually. They dont
give much, for they are dead in their giving. The size of the offering is a pretty
good barometer." A group of people with a generous, willing heart, such as
these Corinthians had become, tends to be contagious, and stirs others to give as well.
Verse 3. "But I have sent the brethren, in order that our boasting about you
may not be made empty in this case, so that, as I was saying, you may be prepared;"
Paul really KNEW people. "Ill pray for you," we say, and then we
forget. Things come up and we often dont follow through. The Corinthians
had made a "pledge" of what apparently was a generous amount of money.
Paul, who was bragging about their generosity to other Christians, was holding them
accountable, and would send men to help them remember.
Verse 4. "otherwise if any Macedonians come with me and find you unprepared,
we -- not to speak of you -- will be put to shame by this confidence."
The Macedonians had very little, but they gave a lot (see 2 Corinthians 8:1-3).
Paul had used them as an example to spur the Corinthians (who had more than the
It is important that we follow through on our promises and be people who keep our word.
Ive seen many people shake their heads and say, "Dont work with
Christians; theyre the worst!" And the sad thing is, many
"christians" are less than reliable in business dealings.
Jesus said "let your yes be yes, and your
no be no" (Matthew 5:37). In other words, if you say
something, DO what you have said. If you promise something, then do it. Paul,
who had much experience with people, was making sure they would follow through. This
is much like the good parent who tells the child not to run out into the street, and then
also WATCHES to make sure the child stays on the sidewalk.
Verse 5. "So I thought it necessary to urge the brethren that they would go
on ahead to you and arrange beforehand your previously promised bountiful gift, so that
the same would be ready as a bountiful gift and not affected by covetousness."
Weve got a lot to learn about planning. We impulsively say, "Ill
(this or that)" but we have no plan for carrying out our promise and we do
nothing. God, who places His purposes into your heart, also provides the methods for
getting them done. If the Corinthians just put a little money aside, here and there
(Paul was suggesting), the gift would not be burdensome at all.
When you are ready with a gift in plenty of time, its not a strain and
youre glad to give it. But waiting until the last minute is stressful and the
tendency is to resent the giving. Jesus said "My yoke is
easy and My burden is light" (Matthew 11:30), but we often make things harder
than they need to be.
Verse 6. "Now this I say, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly,
and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully."
If we invest just a little bit of money, we stand to make a little. Though with
human investments, we often can lose what we have. Our investments in the kingdom of
God always succeed. To "sow bountifully" in the Kingdom of God is to
succeed in life.
Often, God will prompt your heart to GIVE to this person or that. When you give
in such a manner, you KNOW it was the right things to do. Those are the times when
you also receive information (from Him) about how MUCH to give. And when you give in
the will of God, He will give back to you "good measure,
pressed down, shaken together, and running over
for the in the same measure that you
use, it will be measured back to you" (Luke 6:38).
We do not give because some person told us to. We dont give merely out of
good intentions. We give because our God has prompted us to do that very thing.
When we sow bountifully in this manner, we will reap bountifully as well. We
do not give to get something, but God (who loves you) GIVES to the one with a generous
Verse 7. "Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not
grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver."
In your heart, Christian, God will place a desire to give. He will also point out
those who need to receive your gift (which may take various forms, like money, a prayer, a
hug, a kind word). In Psalms 37:4, we learn "He will give you the desires of
your heart" He will cause your desires to become His, and when the gift and
recipient are revealed in your heart, you MUST give. To give in such a manner is the
doorway to joy, for the giver and for the recipient.
Our first need is to give and our second is to give WILLINGLY. Jesus said we are
to give "expecting nothing in return" (Luke 6:35)
and that is the key to successful giving. Often when we give "grudgingly or
under compulsion" (as in this verse), it is because we are worried we think
they might not pay us back. Just give cheerfully to anyone who is in need and
dont worry about yourself at all (see commentary on verse 8).
Verse 8. "And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always
having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed;"
The reason you dont need to worry about yourself in giving (see commentary on
verse 7) is because God will take care of you. When He leads you to give, He will
provide the way for you to do it. This is a principle found throughout Scripture
(and one I did not understand for many years). The first time I encountered it was
during our "lean" financial years, in relation to Haggai 1:6, "He who earns
wages to put into a bag with holes." It seemed that no matter how much we
earned, it was not enough. It was like my wallet had a hole in the bottom. In
Haggai, they did not have enough because they were not building the Temple, as God had
directed. In our case, He wanted me to be a person who would give, even when I
thought we did not have enough.
If you give as God directs you to give, He will provide for all of your needs and you
dont have to be afraid. This is seen in Proverbs 11:24, where Solomon teaches
us "There is one who scatters, yet increases more; and there is one who withholds
more than is right, but it leads to poverty." When God directs your hand to
give, go ahead and do so, and He will abundantly provide for your needs.
Verse 9. "as it is written, He scattered abroad, He gave to the poor,
His righteousness endures forever."
Paul is quoting Psalm 112:9, from the Septuagint translation that verse is
"he has dispersed abroad, he has given to the poor, his righteousness endures
forever; his horn will be exalted with honor." The Psalm contains a definition
of a "good man," by stating that the good person "deals graciously and
lends" (Psalm 112:5). This is not lending and expecting something in return,
but simply giving to the one in need. If they pay you back, fine; if not, praise the
This is absolutely consistent with Luke 6:35, where Jesus startled his disciples by
telling to "lend, expecting nothing in return."
He continued in that verse by promising "your reward
will be great." It may not always be the reward you have anticipated but
He WILL take care of you, and as He said, "you will be sons of
the Highest" (Luke 6:35), which is the best reward of all.
Verse 10. "Now 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
Have you ever wondered where your income is from? You possibly are like just
about everybody else and think its because youre such a hard and clever
worker. Actually, the principle is here in this verse, and if we believe it, our
lives will be changed and we will find peace.
Almighty God is the one who supplies the seed to the farmer. God is the one who
places the money into your pay envelope. If you are an entrepreneur, He gave you the
brains and the good circumstance to own that business. His intention in giving to
you, is that you will, in turn, give to those around you. You are to provide for
your family, give a fair wage to your workers and be generous with others, because GOD has
provided for you.
Verse 11. "you will be enriched in everything for all liberality, which
through us is producing thanksgiving to God."
Paul now tells them (in the next verses) of the RESULTS of faithfulness in giving.
Two are mentioned here. You will be enriched in everything that is truly
important in life. J. Vernon McGee, who said from his long experience, "I have
never known anyone who has gone broke giving to the Lords work," also said
"I dont think the blessings He gives to you will always be material
blessings." God often gives in ways that are better than money.
The second result of your decision to give, is that you will produce thankfulness in
other people. And this is a special kind of thanks, because we thank the Giver of
all good things - God. So often we thank our doctor, our spouse; some human helper
(and it is good to thank them). But the real Author of the good you have received is
God, and you should reasonably thank Him often.
Verse 12. "For the ministry of this service is not only fully supplying the
needs of the saints, but is also overflowing through many thanksgivings to God."
Often charitable organizations start within a Godly context and later continue to be
charitable but give no credit to God. True giving is indeed when you help others,
but there is an extra part that needs to be acknowledged. Yes, our giving must
supply the needs of those who have less than we do, but also cause many to thank God for
what He has done (through us). "Saints" here ("called out ones")
are those who trust in God.
There are those who have given to this ministry. The Friday Study website did not
occur by accident people have given their time and money to make it happen. I
thank God for them and if you benefit from this ministry, you might want to thank Him,
too. As J. Vernon McGee said about this verse, "when you give, it will cause
people to thank God for you. It is God who will get the praise and the glory."
Verse 13. "Because of the proof given by this ministry, they will glorify
God for your obedience to your confession of the gospel of Christ and for the liberality
contribution to them and to all,"
James said "faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead" (James
2:17). Paul knew the same truth, alerting us that we were "created in Christ
Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them"
(Ephesians 2:10). This is the proof of our faith, that we become obedient to the
confession of gospel of Christ (as in this verse) by caring for others.
We reveal who we truly are, partly by the liberality (or lack of it) with which we give
the love of God to those He has placed in our lives. We can give His love to others
in a variety of ways - the example here in these verses is money (but that is not the only
way to give). As to money, we are no longer tight with it, but we LONG to share with
others in any need.
Verse 14. "while they also, by prayer on your behalf, yearn for you because
of the surpassing grace of God in you."
In Christ, we become a people who yearn for one another, because of His love in us.
We PRAY for each other, and all this is the grace of God in us. It is His
gift to us, that His love is expressed IN us. "Grace" as we have seen, can
be defined as "unmerited favor" and is shown as we share His love with those
I have discovered in Scripture and from His Spirit, that through Adam and then through
Noah, we are one people one human race. When we read any newspaper, we see that
something is wrong with us, for we do not ACT like we are one. Sadly, our hearts are
divided, but then we receive Christ and we are made truly one in Him. With Him, our
hearts yearn to express Gods grace in the lives of other people.
Verse 15. "Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!"
James (4:6) quotes Solomon (Proverbs 3:34), who reveals that the gift of God to mankind
is GRACE (again unmerited favor). This was made possible through the Gospel
(good news) of Christ (2 Corinthians 9:13). The grace of God has always been
extended, but we dont know what giving really IS, until we are in Christ. Oh
yes, we might give something, but we cannot know what it means to pour ourselves out in
the will of God, until we are in Him.
And so we thank Him. Oh God, what JOY is in Your Name, Your Spirit, Your Son.
How we love You and praise You. We receive You now, because we see we have
not fully known You before. Not like this. Let us become a people O God, who
give in the grace of God, in His Spirit, because of the Son, in joy and in love. In
Jesus Name. Amen.
Ron Beckham, Pastor
Friday Study Ministries