SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
- Paul continues on the topic of money. In the first section he tells the Corinthians that he is sending someone to pick up the money they had previously promised (this may directly relate to 1 Corinthians 16:1-4). He is reminding them about their commitment, so that when the time comes they will give generously (instead of begrudgingly).
- He encourages these Christians to give generously back to God through their church.
SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
- Paul uses an analogy from farming, “Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously" to show that investment produces benefits in accordance with its proportion.
- Paul explains that we should give freely and cheerfully, not because we are pressured: “Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”
- Paul reminds us that we don't need to be afraid of giving generously, because God will provide for us and protect us: “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.”
NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
- In the Old Testament God repeatedly gives ten percent as the minimum standard for giving back to God (see, for instance, Malachi 3:9-10, Leviticus 27:30, Proverbs 3:9-10). In the New Testament, Jesus affirms the ten percent standard (see Matthew 23:23), but the new standard given (as we see in this chapter) for giving back to God is "generosity." So what do you think giving back to God generously might look like for you? Considering what God has said, and what He's given to you, what do you think God would consider "generous" giving from you?
- If you're not giving to God generously, why? What's stopping you? And what does it say about your faith and trust in God?