2 Corinthians, Lesson 14: God the Source and God the Receiver

From the heart to the heart (610x352)Christian giving flows from God’s grace changing us by the Gospel. Flowing from Christ’s gifts to us, the Christian gives as he is able. This flows from grace, not guilt. Yes, the Law makes us aware of how God wants us to live, but it’s the Gospel and empowers and moves us to do so.

Being a “Blessing”: The True Motivation for Christian Giving

Excursis: Preterition

Preterition, from the Latin, “a passing over.” This is a rhetorical device where someone says that he is going to pass over a subject but ends up discussing it. (Paul would have called it paraleipsis, “omitting.”) By doing so, the speaker emphasizes the topic that he said that he would not be mentioning. By not saying that he is going to talk about something causes the listener to refresh his mind, awaiting a new topic. And, then, by bringing up that same topic, the refreshed mind set to hear the topic afresh.

Paul also used preterition in 1 Thessalonians 1:8, 5:1 and Philemon 19. Today, someone uses a weakened form of preterition when he says, “I don’t have to tell you that…” and then proceeds to tell the person “that.”


Read 2 Corinthians 9:1-2

Paul now continues on the topic of the collection for the Jerusalem Christians. He connects chapter 9 with the end of chapter 8 by using “for” (Greek, gar, “now,” ESV). Paul even uses much of the same vocabulary. We find diakonia: “ministry” in 9:1, used earlier in 8:4, 19-20 (relief, ministered, administered, ESV). We find prothumia: “readiness” in 9:2, used earlier in 8:11, 12, and 19 (readiness, readiness, good will, ESV). We also find Paul “boast,” kauchaomai, about the Corinthians, which he did in 8:24. He also spoke of their effort “since last year,” apo perusi, like he did 8:10 (“a year ago,” ESV).

  • Why does Paul say that it is “superfluous” for him to write about the service that they doing for the Jerusalem saints?


  • What was the effect of the Corinthians’ original zeal for the collection on the Macedonians?


Read 2 Corinthians 9:3-5

  • By sending “the brothers” ahead of him, what is Paul trying to avoid?


“gift”: Here Paul changes words. He doesn’t use charis but eulogia, which is the normal word for a “blessing,” normally from God spoken through others. Thus, the collection, through the Corinthians, will be God’s blessing on the church at Jerusalem.

“you have promised”: Greek, prokatartizo, promised, a passive verb. In the Greek, it’s “the promised blessing of yours.” When Paul characterizes their gift as a “promised blessing,” he implies that God will be blessing the Jerusalem Christians through them!

“exaction”: Greek, pleonexia, greediness, covetousness. The “blessing” is to be given in willing eagerness, not expecting money back in return. “Exaction” (extortion, demanding money for a service rendered) is the result of a having greedy heart. Of course, Paul doesn’t want the Corinthians to exact (outward actions) money back from the Jerusalem Christians. But Paul is focusing on the heart—of not expecting material gain in return. Instead, the Christian is to be content with what God will give him.


What God Does through Giving for the Person who Gives

Read 2 Corinthians 9:6-7

Here, as is his norm, Paul uses Greek-language Old Testament (Septuagint) when references Scripture


New Testament

Greek-language Old-Testament (Septuagint)

Hebrew Masoretic Text

The one who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the one who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully….


…God loves a cheerful giver. [2 Corinthians 9:6-7]



The one who sows what is worthless will reap what is bad…



God blesses a cheerful man and a giver, and He [God] will bring an end to the emptiness of his [the giver’s] works [Proverbs 22:7-8]


He who sows iniquity will reap sorrow…




He who has a generous eye will be blessed… [Proverbs 22:8-9]


  • In 2 Corinthians 9:5, Paul just said not to give from a greedy heart, expecting material gain back. So, what then does someone receive who “sows bountifully”?


  • In this verse, what four things are part of the “decision matrix” when a Christian gives?


Read 2 Corinthians 9:8

  • What does God have the power to make “abound to you”?


“grace”: Greek, charis, also means “gift.” God’s grace coming to the Corinthians is a gift.

  • How does God’s grace (gift) come to the Corinthians?


  • What is the result of God’s grace “abounding to you” and making you “all sufficient”?


“sufficiency”: Greek, autarkeia. Here, Paul borrows a term from Stoic philosophy. Within Stoicism, it expressed attaining an inward mental happiness, of being able to accept the good or bad that life brings. But Paul Christianizes the term, showing that for the Christian “sufficiency” is not something that is turns inward, but outward.

First, God’s grace comes to the Christian from outside of himself. God’s grace for the Christian now become God’s grace through the Christian. This grace makes the Christian “self-sufficient,” which then enables him to live outwardly.

Read 2 Corinthians 9:9-10

“distributed freely”: Greek, skorpizo, scatter. Paul deliberately uses this word to connect the Christian “sowing bountifully” (in vs. 6) to what God is doing—scattering the seed of His grace/gift to the Corinthians. Paul then moves from imagery to an explicit statement of such in vs. 10.


Lesson 14, Gods Righteousness on Both Ends of Christian Giving


Read 2 Corinthians 9:11

For readability, the ESV places a period at the end of vs. 10. However, vs. 11 further explains what and how “He” (God) does what He does in vs. 10. In vs. 11, Paul uses the “divine passive.”

Pastor’s translation:

…[you] being enriched in everything into all simplicity, producing, through us, thanksgiving to God.

“into all simplicity”: This is being enriched by God, so what we bring does not interfere or get in the way of what God would have us do. This simplicity leads to generosity (or other responses of faith).


Lesson 14, How God Enriches to Produce Thanksgiving


Read 2 Corinthians 9:12

Excursus: The “Liturgy”

In 2 Corinthians 9:12, Paul could have used the word for “work” (ergon); instead, he chose the word “liturgy” (leitourgia), which the ESV translated as “service”: “for the ministry of this service.” To make sense of this, we need to understand the origins of the word “liturgy.”

At the root of leitourgia is something done for the common good, for the benefit of all. This meaning of leitourgia also came to include distributing bread or grain to those in need. The person who oversaw the distribution was the leitourgos, the “liturgist.” (Are you beginning to see connections to the Divine Service and the Lord’s Supper?)

The Greek-language Old Testament sometimes used leitourgia to refer to the work of the Old-Covenant Priests (for example, Numbers 4:37, 41; Sirach 50:14), or what Samuel did at the Temple (1 Samuel 2:11, 2:18, 3:1).

Paul uses leitourgia to connect what takes place in the Divine Service to what God’s people do in thanksgiving to Him. The sacrifice of thanksgiving does not take place only during the church service. It also takes place in the good works that the Christian does. This is the “liturgy” being lived out in his life. It is God’s grace received during the “liturgy,” “producing thanksgiving to God,” which also takes place in the life of the Christian.

Overseeing this collection for the saints at Jerusalem is Paul as the “liturgist,” overseeing the people as they live out the “liturgy.”


Paul Describes the Jerusalem Christians Receiving the Collection

Read 2 Corinthians 9:13

Pastor will do an on-the spot explanation of several terms in this verse, so what Paul emphasizes is clearer, focusing on “submission” (hupotasso, being properly ordered, no “your”), “confession” (homologeo, to say what exists somewhere else), and “generosity” (haplotes, simplicity).

Pastors’ literal translation:

…by their [the saints in Jerusalem] approval of this service [not leitourgia but diakanos, “serving tables”] they will glorify God because of [you] being properly ordered, which comes from your confession of the gospel of Christ, and the simplicity of the fellowship [koinonia, communion] with them and for all [others]…

  • When the Jerusalem Christians receive the gift from Corinth, what does Paul list first as the reason why they will “glorify God”?


  • Since Paul describes the Jerusalem Christians as glorifying God for the Corinthians’ simplicity—not their generosity—what are they really glorifying God for?


Read 2 Corinthians 9:14-15

  • Why will the Jerusalem Christians “long for” and “pray for” the Corinthian Christians?


  • Who is the source for this gift that they will receive? (vs 14)


  • Who is the ultimate receiver of thanks for the gift? (vs. 15)


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