2 Corinthians 9
In this chapter the apostle seems to excuse his earnestness in pressing
the Corinthians to the duty of charity
(2 Corinthians 9:1-5),
and proceeds to give directions about the acceptable way and manner of
performing it, namely, bountifully, deliberately, and freely; and gives
good encouragement for so doing,
2 Corinthians 9:6-15.
1 For as touching the ministering to the saints, it is
superfluous for me to write to you:
2 For I know the forwardness of your mind, for which I boast of
you to them of Macedonia, that Achaia was ready a year ago; and
your zeal hath provoked very many.
3 Yet have I sent the brethren, lest our boasting of you should
be in vain in this behalf; that, as I said, ye may be ready:
4 Lest haply if they of Macedonia come with me, and find you
unprepared, we (that we say not, ye) should be ashamed in this
same confident boasting.
5 Therefore I thought it necessary to exhort the brethren, that
they would go before unto you, and make up beforehand your
bounty, whereof ye had notice before, that the same might be
ready, as a matter of bounty, and not as of covetousness.
In these verses the apostle speaks very respectfully to the
Corinthians, and with great skill; and, while he seems to excuse his
urging them so earnestly to charity, still presses them thereto, and
shows how much his heart was set upon this matter.
I. He tells them it was needless to press them with further arguments
to afford relief to their poor brethren
(2 Corinthians 9:1),
being satisfied he had said enough already to prevail with those of
whom he had so good an opinion. For,
1. He knew their forwardness to every good work, and how they
had begun this good work a year ago, insomuch that,
2. He had boasted of their zeal to the Macedonians, and this had
provoked many of them to do as they had done. Wherefore he was
persuaded, that, as they had begun well, they would go on well; and so,
commending them for what they had done, he lays an obligation on them
to proceed and persevere.
II. He seems to apologize for sending Titus and the other brethren to
them. He is unwilling they should be offended at him for this, as if he
were too earnest, and pressed too hard upon them; and tells the true
reasons why he sent them, namely,
1. That, having this timely notice, they might be fully ready
(2 Corinthians 9:3),
and not surprised with hasty demands, when he should come to them. When
we would have others to do that which is good we must act towards them
prudently and tenderly, and give them time.
2. That he might not be ashamed of his boasting concerning them, if
they should be found unready,
2 Corinthians 9:3,4.
He intimates that some from Macedonia might haply come with him:
and, if the collection should not then be made, this would make him,
not to say them, ashamed, considering the boasting of the apostle
concerning them. Thus careful was he to preserve their reputation and
his own. Note, Christians should consult the reputation of their
profession, and endeavour to adorn the doctrine of God our
6 But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also
sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also
7 Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him
give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful
8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that
ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to
every good work:
9 (As it is written, He hath dispersed abroad; he hath given to
the poor: his righteousness remaineth for ever.
10 Now he that ministereth seed to the sower both minister
bread for your food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase
the fruits of your righteousness;)
11 Being enriched in every thing to all bountifulness, which
causeth through us thanksgiving to God.
12 For the administration of this service not only supplieth
the want of the saints, but is abundant also by many
thanksgivings unto God;
13 Whiles by the experiment of this ministration they glorify
God for your professed subjection unto the gospel of Christ, and
for your liberal distribution unto them, and unto all men;
14 And by their prayer for you, which long after you for the
exceeding grace of God in you.
15 Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.
Here we have,
I. Proper directions to be observed about the right and acceptable
manner of bestowing charity; and it is of great concernment that we not
only do what is required, but do it as is commanded. Now, as to the
manner in which the apostle would have the Corinthians give, observe,
1. It should be bountifully; this was intimated,
2 Corinthians 9:5,
that a liberal contribution was expected, a matter of bounty, not what
savoured of covetousness; and he offers to their consideration that men
who expect a good return at harvest are not wont to pinch and spare in
sowing their seed, for the return is usually proportionable to what
2 Corinthians 9:6.
2. It should be deliberately Every man, according as he purposes in
2 Corinthians 9:7.
Works of charity, like other good works, should be done with thought
and design; whereas some do good only by accident. They comply, it may
be hastily, with the importunity of others, without any good design,
and give more than they intended, and then repent of it afterwards. Or
possibly, had they duly considered all things, they would have given
more. Due deliberation, as to this matter of our own circumstances, and
those of the persons we are about to relieve, will be very helpful to
direct us how liberal we should be in our contributions for charitable
3. It should be freely, whatever we give, be it more or less: Not
grudgingly, nor of necessity, but cheerfully,
2 Corinthians 9:7.
Persons sometimes will give merely to satisfy the importunity of those
who ask their charity, and what they give is in a manner squeezed or
forced from them, and this unwillingness spoils all they do. We ought
to give more freely than the modesty of some necessitous persons will
allow them to ask: we should not only deal out bread, but draw out our
souls to the hungry,
We should give liberally, with an open hand, and cheerfully, with an
open countenance, being glad we have ability and an opportunity to be
II. Good encouragement to perform this work of charity in the manner
directed. Here the apostle tells the Corinthians,
1. They themselves would be no losers by what they gave in charity.
This may serve to obviate a secret objection in the minds of many
against this good work who are ready to think they may want what they
give away; but such should consider that what is given to the poor in a
right manner is far from being lost; as the precious seed which is cast
into the ground is not lost, though it is buried there for a time, for
it will spring up, and bear fruit; the sower shall receive it again
2 Corinthians 9:6.
Such good returns may those expect who give freely and liberally in
(1.) God loveth a cheerful giver
(2 Corinthians 9:7),
and what may not those hope to receive who are the objects of the
divine love? Can a man be a loser by doing that with which God is
pleased? May not such a one be sure that he shall some way or other be
a gainer? Nay, are not the love and favour of God better than all other
things, better than life itself?
(2.) God is able to make our charity redound to our advantage,
2 Corinthians 9:8.
We have no reason to distrust the goodness of God, and surely we have
no reason to question his power; he is able to make all grace
abound towards us, and abound in us; to give a large increase of
spiritual and temporal good things. He can cause us to have a
sufficiency in all things, to be content with what we have, to make up
what we give, to be able to give yet more: as it is written
concerning the charitable man, He hath dispersed abroad. He hath
given to the poor. His righteousness, that is, his almsgiving,
endureth for ever. The honour of it is lasting, the reward of it
eternal, and he is still able to live comfortably himself and to give
liberally to others.
(3.) The apostle puts up a prayer to God in their behalf that they
might be gainers, and not losers,
2 Corinthians 9:10,11.
[1.] To whom the prayer is made--to God, who ministereth seed to the
sower, who by his providence giveth such an increase of the fruits
of the earth that we have not only bread sufficient to eat for one
year, but enough to sow again for a future supply: or thus, It is God
who giveth us not only a competency for ourselves, but that also
wherewith we may supply the wants of others, and so should be as seed
to be sown.
[2.] For what he prayeth. There are several things which he desires for
them, namely, that they may have bread for their food, always a
competency for themselves, food convenient,--that God will
multiply their seed sown, that they may still be able to do more
good,--and that there may be an increase of the fruits of
righteousness, that they may reap plentifully, and have the best
and most ample returns of their charity, so as to be enriched in
every thing to all bountifulness
(2 Corinthians 9:11),--
that upon the whole they may find it true that they shall be no losers,
but great gainers. Note, Works of charity are so far from
impoverishing us that they are the proper means truly to enrich us, or
make us truly rich.
2. While they would be no losers, the poor distressed saints would be
gainers; for this service would supply their wants,
2 Corinthians 9:12.
If we have reason to think them to be saints, whom we believe to be of
the household of faith, whose wants are great, how ready should we be
to do them good! Our goodness can not extend unto God, but we should
freely extend it to these excellent ones of the earth, and thus
show that we delight in them.
3. This would redound to the praise and glory of God. Many
thanksgivings would be given to God on this account, by the apostle,
and by those who were employed in this ministration,
2 Corinthians 9:11.
These would bless God, who had made them happy instruments in so good a
work, and rendered them successful in it. Besides these, others also
would be thankful; the poor, who were supplied in their wants, would
not fail to be very thankful to God, and bless God for them; and all
who wished well to the gospel would glorify God for this
experiment, or proof of subjection to the gospel of Christ,
and true love to all men,
2 Corinthians 9:13.
(1.) True Christianity is a subjection to the gospel, a yielding of
ourselves to the commanding influence of its truths and laws.
(2.) We must evince the sincerity of our subjection to the gospel by
works of charity.
(3.) This will be for the credit of our profession, and to the praise
and glory of God.
4. Those whose wants were supplied would make the best return they were
able, by sending up many prayers to God for those who had relieved
2 Corinthians 9:14.
And thus should we recompense the kindnesses we receive when we are not
in a capacity of recompensing them in any other way; and, as this is
the only recompence the poor can make, so it is often greatly for the
advantage of the rich.
Lastly, The apostle concludes this whole matter with this
doxology, Thanks be to God for his unspeakable gift,
2 Corinthians 9:15.
Some think that by this unspeakable gift he means the gift of grace
bestowed on the churches, in making them able and willing to supply the
necessities of the saints, which would be attended with unspeakable
benefit both to the givers and receivers. It should seem rather that he
means Jesus Christ, who is indeed the unspeakable gift of God unto this
world, a gift we have all reason to be very thankful for.