a generous gift to an elderly lady December 2 Chronological Bible Study

Timeline. Map. Go to today’s Bible reading (NIV) or alternate versions (use your browser arrow to return): 2Corinthians 7:4–9:15

Give Generously

Christmas is the season for giving. We exchange gifts with each other and with friends. We may send packages to soldiers or baskets to the poor. We may make a special visit to nursing homes and bring gifts to the elderly. God is pleased when Christians give with cheerful hearts at Christmas, but is this the only time he wants us to do it? In this Bible study we learn to give generously and our motivation for helping others.

In today's Bible reading, the Apostle Paul has some words of praise for the Christians in the city of Corinth. The Corinthians believers have repented about their tolerance with an immoral brother in Christ, and now Paul is proud of them. He also speaks well of them because of their love and hospitality. While he is on his third missionary journey, he hears encouraging reports of their kindness towards Titus, one of Paul’s fellow laborers in the ministry. Titus tells Paul he is greatly missed, and that the Corinthian believers share his sorrows and concerns about his gospel ministry. This encourages the persecuted apostle. What do we do to encourage ministers of the gospel or other servants of God?

Paul seeks to bring some material encouragement to the poor persecuted believers in Jerusalem. He is collecting contributions from all the churches to meet their needs. The Corinthian believers have excelled in their hospitality and love. Now, Paul encourages them to excel in grace-giving.

What is grace-giving? Grace-giving is generosity based on the grace each believer receives. “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich” (2Corinthians 8:9, NIV). Because of the grace we received in salvation, we willingly give sacrificially to meet the material needs of others. Some people have learned to be more gracious than others and have been blessed for it. Paul says, “Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously” (2Corinthians 9:6, NIV).

The Corinthians believers were the first church in Asia to extend material help to brothers in Christ, and Paul is proud of them. The continuance of their support will be a proof of their love of which Paul boasts. Are we one-time or continual grace-givers? Let us be persistent in our giving as a proof of our love.

How do we practice grace-giving? There are random times when God moves our hearts to do something, but planned giving leads to consistent expressions of our love. The Apostle Paul tells the Corinthians to prepare for his coming. This means the Corinthians will have to save up a lump sum of money or regularly set aside amounts to be given when he comes. He wants them to be generous. Paul even wants them to be sacrificial. Knowing the sacrifice of Christ on our behalf, should we do less?

Grace-giving, however, is not given out of guilt or forced.

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” (2 Corinthians 9:7-8, NIV).

If we participate in grace-giving, Paul promises that God will see our righteousness and will give us even more so we can further our grace-giving (2 Corinthians 9:10-11).

What are the benefits to grace-giving? Givers should not give to get. The motivation for giving is love, not greed. There are, however, benefits to giving.

  • We are made richer in our spirituality because we are generous like Christ (9:11).
  • God promises to meet our needs and enable us to bless others on every occasion (9:11).
  • We are blessing people by meeting their material needs. This causes them to have joy in their hearts because of our obedience to Christ, and it causes them to have a fond affection for us (9:13).
  • Because of our joyful generosity, those who are helped will likely pray for special blessings upon us (9:14).

Lessons to Live By

  • God is pleased when Christians are generous in their giving.
  • We should excel in love, hospitality, and grace-giving
  • Those who practice grace-giving bless others, are blessed by God and by those whom they help.
  • In his grace, Jesus sacrificed himself for us so that we might have forgiveness, peace, and spiritual life (more...). We are like Jesus when we give sacrificially to those in need.

Focus Verse

2 Corinthians 8:7 (NIV) “But just as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love for us—see that you also excel in this grace of giving.”

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A Look Ahead: In today's Bible study we learned about Grace-Giving. In our Next Lesson we will learn about Godly Jealousy and Grace-Living.

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