v1-5 - Paul has been bragging all over the Roman Empire about how the Corinthians eagerly volunteered to help with the collection for the famine affected Christians in Jerusalem. This chapter is a reminder that the time has come to put their money where there mouth is.
v6-11 - Be careful here, as it's very easy to misunderstand this passage. On the surface, it may seem like this is investment advice, as if you give generou$ gift$ you will receive generou$ ble$$ing$. But look closely at what it says:
Generosity is hard work. Most of you know the hard work involved in sowing and reaping crops, and the effort you put into your generosity must reflect the effort you put in each springtime and fall.
These efforts must be made cheerfully.
God will bless your efforts. It even says that He will make you abound in these blessings.
But this passage does not promise you that these will be material or even financial blessings.
God may and often does reward us financially for our generosity, but He's promised you three things:
"you will have all that you need;"
so that "you will abound in every good work."
you will be "enriched in every way so that you can be generous in every occasion."
Isn't it awesome that giving to one cause opens the door to giving in other causes?
v12-15 - A key reason we give is to help meet the material needs of needy people, (especially Christians - v12). As important as this is, it's not the primary reason we're to give. The primary reason is that giving is for us to be able to overflow in expressions of thanks to God (v11 & 12).
Giving is a way to leverage gratitude, just like good investing leverages your financial portfolio.
Your initial gift shows gratitude to God, and the gift will then go on to cause the recipients to praise God (v13).
Paul closes this passage in a somewhat ironic way. He describes our call to give as being itself an indescribable gift for which he thanks God.
Use the comment box below to discuss one or more of these questions:
EYE FOR DETAIL—From what you recall seeing in this chapter, try answering the following question without looking at your Bible: Paul mentions something that God specifically loves in this chapter. What is it? (See verse 7.)
From what you see in this chapter, what expectations can we rightly have of God?
Questions taken from The Complete Bible Discussion Guide: New Testament
Follow the AAA Prayer Pattern:
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Our Father God, who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness (v10)
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Realize how you have been enriched by God in every way so that you can be generous in every occasion (v11)
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED: