Tag Archives: 2 Corinthians 9

December 5, 2017 Bible Study — Rewards For Generous Giving

I am using the daily Bible reading schedule from “The Bible.net” for my daily Bible reading.

Today, I am reading and commenting on 2 Corinthians 9-13.

    Paul tells us that we should give generously to those in need, in particular to our fellow believers who are in need. In many ways what he writes here is a reflection of the guidelines to giving we can draw from Luke’s account of the sharing undertaken by the early Church in Acts. In Acts we were told that no one was under obligation to give of their wealth to help others. Here, Paul tells the Corinthians that their giving should not be under compulsion. We should cheerfully give as we are able. God is more than able to supply our needs and will do so. If we give generously, God will reward us generously…although we should not make the mistake of thinking that the reward which God gives us will necessarily be material. Nevertheless, the more generous we are in our giving, the more generous we will be able to be going forward. This comes to be in two ways. As we give generously God may reward us financially so that we can give even more going forward. However, even if He does not, the joy of giving will cause us to ferret out ways in which we can reduce our expenses so that we can give more.

    At the end of his letter to the Corinthian believers Paul makes a defense of his ministry against the teachings of other teachers whom some of the Corinthian believers were more impressed with than they were with Paul. His defense contains two lines of argument. He warns the Corinthians not to be impressed by the credentials and personality of people whose teachings contradict what they already believe. Paul does not go into detail about what these other “apostles” are teaching, but he makes it clear that even those who follow them acknowledge it contradicts what Paul taught. These teachers were building on top of the foundations of belief which Paul had laid among the Corinthian believers, yet contradicting his teachings. These “apostles” presented themselves as having great credentials and wonderful accomplishments. For the most part all the Corinthians knew about the credentials of these “apostles” is what they said about themselves. Which brings me to Paul’s second line of argument. Paul laid out to them his own credentials, credentials which had been attested to by others, many of which had been directly witnessed by Corinthian believers.
    From this we learn to judge teachers and leaders by how their teaching and leadership lines up with what we already know about the Gospel. A true leader or teacher from God should encourage us to go to Scripture for ourselves and see if what they are teaching is supported by Scripture. Any teacher who claims authority to interpret Scripture in a way which only those with “secret” knowledge would understand is suspect. The second part of Paul’s argument reminds us that we must occasionally explain to people how we came by our understanding and knowledge of the Gospel. We should not ask people to accept our understanding of the Gospel on the basis of “appeal to authority”, but we do need to remind them that we learned from authoritative sources. To put that in personal perspective: I have no special knowledge and have no authority to demand your obedience or agreement, but I have studied the Scripture and the Holy Spirit has guided my thinking.

September 7, 2015 Bible Study — Whiter Than Snow

For today, One Year Bible Online links here.

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Proverbs 22:24-25

    If you spend too much time around angry people, around people who cannot control their temper, you will start to behave the same way. Inability to control one’s temper puts one on the path to destruction.

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Psalm 51

    This psalm contains the material of several great worship songs. There is a great old hymn, “Whiter Than Snow, and a great Contemporary Christian song, “Create In Me a Clean Heart” (sorry, no link, it is still under copyright). I know there is a third song using the lines from the psalm, “a broken and contrite heart You will not despise,” but I cannot remember the name of the song (and I do not think it uses that exact order). It is interesting to me how this psalm keeps coming back to the same point repeatedly without being redundant. Each time it repeats the point it lends greater clarity.
    It is only God who can cleanse us from our sin. We cannot buy that cleansing by sacrifices or offerings. God can clean our hearts and restore us to joy, to the joy which comes from His salvation. We are broken. It is only when we acknowledge our brokenness and approach God with contrition that we can receive His healing. If we do so, He will restore our spirits to a willingness to do His will. Once we have accepted His healing we can, must, and will teach His ways to those rebelling against Him, who will respond to the prodding of His Spirit.

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2 Corinthians 9

    This passage is one of the core passages used by those who believe in “prosperity gospel” (the teaching that if you practice Christianity faithfully you will become wealthy). As I read this passage I see how people come to that conclusion. Perhaps the biggest problem with the prosperity gospel reading of this passage is that Paul himself was never a wealthy man (unlike many of those preaching prosperity gospel). Indeed, if one interprets this passage in light of what we know about Paul’s life one comes to a different understanding.
    Paul tells us that if we sow only a few seeds, our harvest will be small, but if we sow generously our harvest will likewise be generous. He goes on to tell us that the same God who supplies seed for the sower and bread for food will increase our supply of seed and enlarge our harvest of righteousness. The key here is that our “harvest” is not wealth. Our harvest is righteousness. It is true that the more generous we are, the more generous we are able to be. However, that does not necessarily mean that our income increases. Sometimes it means that as we are more generous we realize that we can do without some things in order to give even more.

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Song of Solomon 5-8

    Much of the imagery and many of the metaphors of the Song of Solomon are foreign to me. However, there are lessons to be learned from reading this over and over. I mentioned yesterday the importance of the feelings between a man and a woman in a relationship being equal in both directions. Today, we see that there are dangers to playing hard to get. If you are interested in someone, when they express their interest in you, do not pretend that you are not interested. If you do so, there is likely to be trouble. There is a second point made here. Brothers should run interference for their sisters. They should prevent other young men from taking advantage of their sister.
    On both of these points the sexes involved can be reversed. Young men sometimes play hard to get, and young women are sometime predatory toward young men. In the former case, it is just as much a mistake as when women do it. In the latter case, sisters should protect their brothers from such predators just as much as brothers should protect their sisters.