2 Cor 9:6-11 (NRSV)
6 The point is this: the one who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the one who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 7 Each of you must give as you have made up your mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that by always having enough of everything, you may share abundantly in every good work. 9 As it is written,
“He scatters abroad, he gives to the poor;
his righteousness[b] endures forever.”
10 He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness.[c] 11 You will be enriched in every way for your great generosity, which will produce thanksgiving to God through us;
With echoes from Isa 55:10 and Hos 10:12 lending weight to his counsel, in this passage Paul elaborates some implications of God’s being the source of grace and abundance. God, the understood but unstated subject, who provides “seed to the sower and bread for food” (Isa 55:10 NRSV), “will supply and multiply your store of seed” and “will increase your ‘harvest of righteousness’” (Hos 10:12 NRSV). Divinely produced abundance cascades through these rich phrases and clauses, reminding the Corinthians not only of the source of life but also of its bounty with its attendant responsibility to do the aforementioned good work (9:8), which could also be identified as the “righteousness/justice” that Paul, quoting Psalm 111, expects (9:9). Grace once received obligates the recipient to the pursuit of justice.
In the verses that remain about the collection(9:11-15), Paul adopts the plural and thus associates himself with all those who have readily committed to the collection so far, and he looks forward to the immediate future, projecting what he hopes will happen with and through the Corinthians. Because Paul is confident in his knowledge of God, he assures the Corinthians that this God of abundance will enrich them in every generosity, which will bring about “through us” thanksgiving to God (9:11).
-Adapted from the New Interpreters Bible Volume XI, p. 130.
Questions about the Scripture
1. To establish the context of the verses above, Paul reminds the Corinthians in chapter 8 of an earlier commitment they had made to help the poor of Jerusalem. Why would it be important for the relatively affluent Corinthians to express their tangible support for fellow Christians in need?
2. In the seed analogy of verse 10, God is the implied “He” who supplies seed to the sower (us). If God is the generous supplier of every seed (every good gift – James 1:17), what are the implications for us, the sowers? Are these seeds exclusively for us or are they to be also shared? If the latter is true, how then do we share them?
3. Re-read verse 6. In agriculture, if a farmer sows sparingly, what is the outcome? Conversely, what it the outcome of sowing bountifully? Paul implies that the Corinthians will be blessed in return. What are some of the ways that you have been blessed through giving to God’s work or to others in need?
4. According to verse 11, why does God enrich us? Why do you think generosity is so important to God? Respond to the statement “the measure of a man (or woman) is not what they get, but what they give.” Explain why you agree or disagree.
Community & Personal Action Items
Over the course of this week together, let’s challenge ourselves to do one (or both) of the following actions:
1. Pray. As you seek to become more generous with God’s presents in your life, lift up the following prayer each day this week.
“Lord Jesus, show me how to express my gratitude for You and Your goodness through my acts of generosity today. Let me hold loosely to my time, my resources, and my possessions so that I might freely give them to bless others in need. I choose to trust you to supply my every need so that I might meet the needs of others, for Your name and Your glory. Thank You!”
2. Remember. Recite and memorize the following verse this week. Then discuss its meaning and application with your family, friends, or small group.
MEMORY VERSE: Mark 12:30 – Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.