STUDY II Corinthians
9:6-15 (click here for notes)
Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. As it is written:
"He has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor; his righteousness endures forever."
Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.
This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of God's people but is also overflowing in many expression of thanks to God. Because of the service by which you have roved yourselves, men will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else. And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you. Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift! (NIV)
Paul has just reminded the Corinthians to fulfill his boasting about them by completing their collection. He now discourses on the results of true generosity.
1. Paul reminds this church that if they are stingy, they will reap stinginess; if they are generous, they will reap generously. This admonition refers overtly to money, but in what other ways might this proverb also be fulfilled? (see Proverbs 11:24,25; 22:9; 1 Corinthians 15:58; Galatians 6:7, 9)
2. The results of planned, generous, ungrudging giving are counter-intuitive to the way it normally seems things would work if people gave away much of their money. What does the Bible say will result when people give generously and without reluctance? (see Deuteronomy 15:10; 14:28-29; Luke 6:38-39; Matthew 7:2)
3. The idea of being obedient to one's heart's promptings is a recurrent theme when the Bible discusses offerings. Why is following one's decisions and convictions regarding giving, without compulsion, so important? (see Exodus 25:2; 35:21-22; 26-29; 2 Kings 12:4; 1 Chronicles 29:5, 7, 9; 2 Chronicles 24:10; 29:31; Ezra 2:68; Nehemiah 7:70-72; 2 Corinthians. 8:11-12; Romans 12:8; Acts 5: 1-11)
Abounding in Grace and Good Works
4. What does Paul mean by his comment, "God is able to make all grace abound to you"? (see Ephesians 3:20-21; Romans 12:3-8; 16:17-20; 25-27; Jude 24; Titus 2:11; Ephesians 1:4-8; 3:7-9; 2 Corinthians 8:6-7; Colossians 4:5-6; James 4:4-6; 1 Peter 5:5, 10; 2 Peter 3:17-18; Revelation 22:21)
5. In verse 8 Paul links grace abounding with having "all that you need" for the ultimate purpose of abounding "in every good work." How is God's grace connected to having all that we need? (see v. 8; Matthew 6:8, 25-34; 19:29; Philippians 4:19; Psalm 23:1; 37:4)
6. How is God's grace connected to abounding in good works? (see verse 11; Ephesians 2:10; 4:11-13; Titus 2:7, 14; 3:1, 8, 14; Matthew 5:16; 2 Cor. 8:21; 1 Peter 2:12, 15; 3:13-16)
Seeds and Harvest of Righteousness
Paul uses Psalm 112:9 to introduce his next comment about God's provision. "He has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor; his righteousness endures forever," states the Psalm. Paul now says that He who supplies seed for sowing and bread for food will "enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be made rich in every way so you can be generous"
7. How does God scatter his gifts to the poor, and what kinds of gifts does he scatter? (see Psalm 112:5; Luke 19:8; Acts 9:36; Matthew 5:44-45)
8. Paul now alludes to Isaiah 55:10 as he connects the "scattering" metaphor with the idea of planting seeds for a harvest of food. How does Paul use Isaiah 55:10 as a metaphor (in 2 Cor. 2:10) for Christ's work in and through us?
9. What is the "seed" which God will increase for us? (see Matthew 13:3-9, 18-23; 24-30; 31-32; 37-46; Luke 8:11; 1 Corinthians 3:6; John 12:23-26)
10. What is the "harvest of righteousness" which Christ will enlarge for us? (see Hosea 10:12; Proverbs 11:18; Isaiah 32:17-20; Philippians 1:9-11; Hebrews 12:11; James 3:17-18; 1 Corinthians 9:12; Galatians 6:7-10; Revelation 2:10; Revelation 14:15-16)
Made Rich for Generosity
11. In what ways would the Corinthians (and all Christ-followers submitted to God's discipline and will) be made rich? (see 1 Corinthians 1:5; 2 Corinthians 8:7; Matthew 6:28-33; Colossians 1:27; 2:2; Ephesians 2:7; 3:8-11)
12. Given the ways in which Christ's people are made rich, in what ways can they "be generous on every occasion"?
13. Paul points out that generosity and the alleviation of need are not ends in themselves. Verse 13 says that because of the Corinthians' generosity, "men will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them." What do these verses suggest about the real reason generosity is important? (1 Corinthians 1:10-11; 4:15; Matthew 9:6-8; 5:16; 15:31; Luke 7:15-16; Luke 13:12-13; 17:14-17; 23:44-47; John 15:8; Acts 4:21-22; 11:16-18; 21:17-20)
14. What is the "obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ" for which people praise God (v.13)? (see Hebrews 3:1; 2 Cor. 2:5-9; 8:7; 10:5-6; Romans 1:5; 6:16; 16:17-19; Titus 3:1-2; 1 Peter 1:2, 14-15; 2 John :6)
15. Paul links "grace" with "generosity" and "giving" repeatedly. Using the definition "unmerited favor" for grace, how does the Corinthians' generosity to others function in their own lives as God's unmerited favor to them? (see Psalm 37:25-26; 112:5; Luke 6:35-36; Proverbs 11:25; 22:9; Matthew 20:13-16; 1 Timothy 6: 17-19)
16. Paul ends this passage about people praising God for their benefactors' obedience and generosity with a statement that almost seems off the subject: "Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!" How is God's "indescribable gift" related to our generosity? (see v. 8, 9; 1 John 4:9-11; Romans 5:15-17; John 10:10; Psalm 65:11)
17. Are your heart and head in agreement regarding generous giving, or do you struggle in this area? If so, how?
18. How has God's grace made you rich?
19. Describe a time when you "saw" the heart of God because of someone's generosity.
20. Is your life "abounding in good works"? If so, how?
21. Do you experience resentment or anger because others seem to enjoy God's generous blessings but you don't? If so, in what way(s) do you feel left out?
22. What pride or "entitlement" do you need to surrender to Jesus that might be standing in the way of his providing for you?
23. What do you fear God might give you or do to you if you were to surrender your needs and dreams to him?
24. Ask God to soften your heart and to give you the courage to trust him. Ask him to be your everything, and let him fill your heart with his love and comfort. Ask Jesus to help you loosen your grip on your needs and dreams and possessions and desires. Release everything to him, letting him carry your unfulfilled dreams for you. Let Jesus be the center of your focus, and allow him to meet your needs according to his wisdom and love instead of according to your own understanding of your needs. Allow him to make you rich in all ways, and allow his love to make your own heart generous.
Copyright (c) 2002 Graphics Studio, Redlands,
CA USA. All rights reserved. Posted September 7, 2002.