II Corinthians 9:1-6

Sunday, April 20th, 2014

Text: II Corinthians 9:1-6

PRINCIPLES OF CHRISTIAN GIVING

INTRODUCTION:

Something which we must realize is that none of our money is really ours in the first place. It is God's. He has merely entrusted it to us so that we may use it wisely. King David stated in I Chronicles 29:14 , But who am I, and what are my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly after this sort? For all things come of thee, and of thine own have we given thee.

Something else which we must realize is that God doesn't need our money. He's not been forced into an austerity program in His old age. He is not in financial trouble. He doesn't need a raise. His work is not being hindered by the lack of money. Now it is a little difficult for us to understand this because we think of money as being such a necessity. We think of our church as not being able to do things which we might want to do because we can't afford them.

The principles of Christian giving in I Corinthians 16 and II Corinthians 8-9 do not concern the support of the local church through the tithes and offerings of the people. They concern the collection for the impoverished saints in Jerusalem. Tithing is taken for granted. The giving in this chapter is for a special offering and is not intended to support the local church in Corinth.

We have already seen some principles of Christian giving in I Corinthians 16 for this one-time gift to the impoverished saints in Jerusalem. We saw that giving for this special offering is to be done in and through the local church. We also saw that the time of giving is the first day of the week. We saw that the giving is to be regular, i.e. on the first day of the week. We saw that the participants in the giving are everyone of you. We saw that the basis for this special offering is as God has prospered you, and we saw that the manner of the giving was to be a voluntary, free-will offering to God.

In II Corinthians 8 we saw that giving is a grace. We also saw that giving is to be sacrificial and that giving is to be done willingly. We also saw that giving is to be done eagerly. Giving is also to be done spiritually and voluntarily. Giving demonstrates the sincerity of a believer's love. Giving is to follow the example set by Christ. Giving is to be done according to ability. We also saw that church funds are to be handled completely above board.

In II Corinthians 9 we see more principles of Christian giving. Paul called upon the Corinthian believers to set aside their money for their gift in advance (9:1-5). Giving always pays dividends (9:6). Paul then describes what Christian giving should be like (9:7) and closes this section by discussing the rewards of giving (9:8-15).

I. MONEY WAS TO BE SET ASIDE IN ADVANCE - 9:1-5

Paul knew that it was not really necessary for him to write to the Corinthians regarding the collection for the saints in Jerusalem (9:1) because he knew they were prepared for their gift a year earlier; and their zeal had encouraged other churches (9:2). Nevertheless, Paul was sending these three men in advance of his coming to Corinth to make certain their offering would be ready when he would arrive (9:3) lest men from Macedonia should come with Paul and find the collection unprepared and both Paul and the Corinthian believers be embarrassed (9:4). For this reason Paul thought it wise to send Titus and the two others to make certain that the collection was ready (9:5).

II Corinthians 9:1-5 - (1) For as touching the ministering to the saints, it is superfluous for me to write to you: (2) For I know the forwardness of your mind, for which I boast of you to them of Macedonia, that Achaia was ready a year ago; and your zeal hath provoked very many. (3) Yet have I sent the brethren, lest our boasting of you should be in vain in this behalf; that, as I said, ye may be ready: (4) Lest haply if they of Macedonia come with me, and find you unprepared, we (that we say not, ye) should be ashamed in this same confident boasting. (5) Therefore I thought it necessary to exhort the brethren, that they would go before unto you, and make up beforehand your bounty, whereof ye had notice before, that the same might be ready, as a matter of bounty, and not as of covetousness.

II Corinthians 9:1 For as touching the ministering to the saints, it is superfluous for me to write to you.

According to verse 1, Paul, speaking graciously, states that he realizes that it is not necessary for him to write the Corinthian believers regarding the collection for the poor saints in Jerusalem.

For introduces the continuation of the thought of chapter 8 and is understood in the sense of now.

As touching the ministering is concerning (or about) the ministry (or the service) and is used in reference to the collection for the impoverished saints in Jerusalem.

To the saints is used to restrict the meaning of the ministering to being the specific ministering to the saints in Jerusalem.

It is superfluous is it is unnecessary. They were already aware of it and had been preparing for it a year earlier.

Although superfluous (or unnecessary), he was still writing about the Corinthian believers ministering to the impoverished saints in Jerusalem. It is a gentle reminder that it was time for the Corinthians to complete what they had already begun.

For me refers to Paul.

To write actually functions as the subject of is in the Greek text, and its tense indicates ongoing action in the sense of to be writing and describes what Paul is doing at this time in his life.

To you is to you Corinthian believers.

II Corinthians 9:2 For I know the forwardness of your mind, for which I boast of you to them of Macedonia, that Achaia was ready a year ago; and your zeal hath provoked very many.

Verse 2 explains why it was not necessary for Paul to write the Corinthian believers regarding the collection for the impoverished believers in Jerusalem. They were ready with the collection a year earlier.

For introduces this explanation and is understood in the sense of because.

I know is used in the sense of I see, I perceive, or I recognize.

What Paul knows is the forwardness of your mind, which speaks of the Corinthian believers' exceptional interest in being of service in the sense of your willingness, your readiness, or your goodwill.

This term was previously used in 8:19 where it was translated ready mind. The same term was used in 8:11, where it was translated a readiness, and in 8:12, where it was translated a willing mind.

For which is about which or concerning which.

I boast is I boast about, I am boasting about, I mention in order to boast of, or I am proud of.

Of you is concerning you or about you Corinthian believers.

To them of Macedonia is to Macedonians.

That introduces the content of Paul's boast: that Achaia was ready a year ago.

Achaia speaks of southern Greece where Corinth was located. It is another way of saying Corinth but includes some from outside of Corinth.

Was ready is was prepared. The believers in the church at Corinth were ready (or prepared) to take on the task of gathering money for the impoverished saints in Jerusalem. It does not mean that their contribution had already been completely gathered and was ready to be picked up by someone and taken to Jerusalem. Their desire to participate in this collection is described as a readiness to will in II Corinthians 8:11.

II Corinthians 8:10-11 - (10) And herein I give my advice: for this is expedient for you, who have begun before, not only to do, but also to be forward a year ago.

(11) Now therefore perform the doing of it; that as there was a readiness to will, so there may be a performance also out of that which ye have (emphasis added).

A year ago is from last year.

And your zeal speaks of the Corinthian believers' intense interest in the collection for the impoverished saints in Jerusalem.

Hath provoked suggests has caused some to react in a way that suggests acceptance of a challenge in the sense of aroused or provoked. It has been translated in a way which emphasizes the result of its action.

Very many is the majority or the most.

II Corinthians 9:3 Yet have I sent the brethren, lest our boasting of you should be in vain in this behalf; that, as I said, ye may be ready.

According to verse 3, in spite of its being unnecessary for Paul to write to the Corinthian believers regarding the collection, he has sent Titus and the two fellow believers to make certain the Corinthians are ready for the collection to be picked up and taken to Jerusalem.

Yet introduces a statement in mild contrast to what Paul wrote in verse 1, that it was superfluous to write to them concerning the collection. This usage of the word is often translated but.

Have I sent is I sent; and it has been translated in a way which emphasizes the result of its action. Have I sent is understood from the viewpoint of the readers rather than from the viewpoint of the writer. He had not yet actually sent them while he was still writing II Corinthians but would send them with this letter. By the time the Corinthian believers received this letter, he would have sent them.

The brethren is the brothers and refers to Titus and the two brothers mentioned in II Corinthians 8:18-22.

Lest introduces a negative purpose clause and is understood in the sense of in order that . . . not or for the purpose that . . . not.

Our boasting is an expression of pride in the sense of our boast or what is said by us in boasting.

Of you is the (boasting) concerning (or on behalf of) you Corinthian believers and is used to restrict or limit the content of Paul's boast.

Should be in vain suggests should be caused to be without result (or effect) in the sense of should be destroyed, should be rendered void, should be rendered of no effect, or should be empty.

In this behalf is in this case or in this matter.

That is understood in the sense of in order that or for the purpose that.

As I said is just as I was saying.

Ye may be ready is you (Corinthian believers) may be ready or you may be prepared. The tense of may be ready indicates you may be in a state of having been prepared. Its tense indicates action completed in the past with the result continuing and indicates a state of being.

Paul was not concerned that they would be making a contribution but that they would not yet have finished the task of collecting the money by the time he arrived in Corinth. Paul wanted the Corinthians to be ready when the time arrived that the money was to be given to him and his associates and taken to Jerusalem. The Corinthians needed to make certain it was already taken care of.

II Corinthians 9:4 Lest haply if they of Macedonia come with me, and find you unprepared, we (that we say not, ye) should be ashamed in this same confident boasting.

Paul indicates in verse 4 that it would not be good for him and the representatives of the churches in Macedonia to arrive in Corinth and find them unprepared for the collection, and Paul would find his confidence in the Corinthian believers embarrassing.

Lest haply is lest somehow or lest perhaps and indicates a negative perspective expressing misgiving.

Lest introduces a negative purpose clause and is connected with we . . . should be ashamed and means in order that (or for the purpose that) we not be ashamed.

Haply is somehow, in some way, or perhaps.

If introduces a conditional statement whose structure indicates that no assumption can be made regarding its truthfulness: if they of Macedonia come with me, and find you unprepared. It may or may not be true.

Its conclusion is we (that we say not, ye) should be ashamed in this same confident boasting.

The truth of the conclusion is dependent on the truth of the condition. If the condition is true, the conclusion will also be true. If they find the Corinthians unprepared, Paul and the Corinthian believers will be ashamed.

They of Macedonia is (the) Macedonians.

Come with me is come together with me and suggests that some from Macedonia will actually be traveling with Paul to Corinth.

And find you unprepared is discover you (Corinthian believers) not (to be) ready.

We . . . should be ashamed is we be put to shame or we be humiliated.

That we say not, ye is also a negative purpose clause. It is in order that (or for the purpose that) we (i.e. Paul) say not (i.e. not say) (or lest we say) ye (i.e. you Corinthian believers).

Paul is saying something without saying it. Not only will he be ashamed, put to shame, or humiliated; but the Corinthian believers will also be ashamed, put to shame, or humiliated if they are unprepared when Paul and some men from Macedonia arrive in Corinth and discover that they are not prepared to give the collection so that they may take it with them to Jerusalem. It will be embarrassing for both Paul and the Corinthian believers, but it will really be their problem rather than his.

In this same confident boasting speaks of the plan that Paul has devised for action which refers to the collection for the saints in Jerusalem.

II Corinthians 9:5 Therefore I thought it necessary to exhort the brethren, that they would go before unto you, and make up beforehand your bounty, whereof ye had notice before, that the same might be ready, as a matter of bounty, and not as of covetousness.

According to verse 5 Paul thought it advisable to send his representatives to Corinth to make certain their contribution was prepared to be received.

Therefore draws an inference from verse 4 and is understood in the sense of accordingly, consequently, then, or so.

I thought it necessary is I considered (or regarded) (it) necessary.

To exhort suggests to make a strong request for something in the sense of to request, to implore, or to entreat.

The brethren is the brothers and refers to Titus and the two brothers mentioned in II Corinthians 8:18-22.

The content of Paul's exhortation to the brethren is that they would go before unto you, and make up beforehand your bounty.

That is understood in the sense of in order that or for the purpose that.

They would go before suggests that they would precede (Paul) so as to be ahead (of him) in the sense of go on before (me) or ahead (of me). Paul intends to come to Corinth in the near future.

Unto you is unto you Corinthian believers, and indicates the destination of these three men.

And make up beforehand is arrange beforehand, get ready in advance, or make arrangements for in advance. They were to let the Corinthian believers know that Paul would soon be arriving in Corinth and advise them that the collection needed to be ready.

Your bounty, whereof ye had notice before is your announced beforehand bounty, your previously announced bounty, or your foretold bounty. It indicates that they had previously made a commitment to this collection, and Paul is now asking that they keep their commitment. Their commitment may even have been a specific amount. Paul had not assigned this commitment to them; they made it themselves.

Your bounty, where your is plural and refers to the Corinthian believers, means your blessing and in this context is understood in the sense of your generous gift.

That the same might be ready is that this (your previously announced bounty) be ready.

As a matter of bounty is simply as (a) generous gift.

And not as of covetousness suggests just as a gift that is grudgingly granted by avarice (or by extortion).

This gift is to be up to them; it is to be their choice and not given grudgingly or of necessity. Apparently, the church in Corinth followed through and completed their gift. Paul refers to it in Romans 15:25-26 , which he wrote shortly before he left Corinth,

Romans 15:25-26 - (25) But now I go unto Jerusalem to minister unto the saints. (26) For it hath pleased them of Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor saints which are at Jerusalem (emphasis added).

The reference to Achaia is referring to the church at Corinth or, at least, includes the church at Corinth.

II. GIVING PAYS DIVIDENDS - 9:6

II Corinthians 9:6 But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.

In verse 6 Paul reminds the believers that they will reap in accordance with their sowing.

But this I say introduces He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.

He which soweth is the one who sows is sowing.

Sparingly describes how he sows and implies in a scanty or meager manner.

Shall reap, or shall harvest, is predictive of something which will definitely happen when someone sows sparingly. There will not be much to reap when it comes time to harvest.

Also suggests in addition to his sowing sparingly.

Sparingly is the same word used in the previous phrase. This sparingly has been placed in a position of emphasis in the Greek text.

And he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.

He which soweth is the one who is sowing.

Bountifully is the one who sows generously.

Shall reap is predictive of a future event which will definitely happen if he sows bountifully.

Also suggests in addition to his sowing bountifully.

Bountifully is understood in the sense of generously.

Proverbs 11:24-25 - (24) There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth; and there is that withholdeth more than is meet, but it tendeth to poverty.

(25) The liberal soul shall be made fat: and he that watereth shall be watered also himself.

Proverbs 19:17 - He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the LORD; and that which he hath given will he pay him again.

Luke 6:38 - (38) Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.