The Second to the Corinthians 9:1-15

9  Now concerning the ministry that is for the holy ones,+ it is not really necessary for me to write you,  for I know your willingness about which I am boasting to the Mac·e·doʹni·ans, that A·chaʹia has been ready now for a year, and your zeal has stirred up the majority of them.  But I am sending the brothers, so that our boasting about you might not prove empty in this respect and that you may really be ready, just as I said you would be.  Otherwise, if the Mac·e·doʹni·ans should come with me and find you not ready, we—not to mention you—should be put to shame by our confidence in you.  So I thought it necessary to encourage the brothers to come to you ahead of time and to get your promised bountiful gift ready in advance, so that this might be ready as a generous gift, and not as something extorted.  But as to this, whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.+  Let each one do just as he has resolved in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion,+ for God loves a cheerful giver.+  Moreover, God is able to cause all his undeserved kindness to abound toward you so that you are always completely self-sufficient in everything, as well as having plenty for every good work.+  (Just as it is written: “He has distributed widely; he has given to the poor. His righteousness continues forever.”+ 10  Now the One who abundantly supplies seed to the sower and bread for eating will supply and multiply the seed for you to sow and will increase the harvest of your righteousness.) 11  In everything you are being enriched for every sort of generosity, which produces through us an expression of thanks to God; 12  because the ministry of this public service is not only to provide well for the needs of the holy ones+ but also to be rich in many expressions of thanks to God. 13  Through the proof that this relief ministry gives, they glorify God because you are submissive to the good news about the Christ, as you publicly declared, and because you are generous in your contribution to them and to all.+ 14  And with supplication for you, they express affection for you because of the surpassing undeserved kindness of God upon you. 15  Thanks be to God for his indescribable free gift.


Study Notes

I am sending the brothers: See study note on 1Co 16:3.

not as something extorted: The Greek word here rendered “something extorted” is usually translated “greed” or “greediness.” (Lu 12:15; Ro 1:29; Eph 4:19; 5:3; Col 3:5) Therefore, the Greek expression indicates that Paul and his coworkers did not take up a collection with the wrong motive, in a spirit of greed. Paul did not pressure the Christians in Corinth into contributing to the relief work. He gave them no reason to feel as if someone had exploited them or extorted the funds from them. The giving was to be voluntary, out of a generous and cheerful heart.​—2Co 9:7.

whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully: The expression “bountifully” describes sowing an abundance of material blessings or benefits. Paul encourages the Christians in Corinth to sow bountifully, that is, to show generosity in connection with the relief ministry for the brothers in Jerusalem. (Ro 15:26; 2Co 8:4; 9:1, 7) Those brothers had apparently suffered many hardships, perhaps losing many of their possessions as a result of persecution from the Jews. (1Th 2:14) Paul indicates that the Corinthian Christians would also “reap bountifully,” receiving such blessings as God’s undeserved kindness and favor, as well as the assurance that they too would be cared for in a material way. (2Co 9:8, 10) All the brothers would give glory to God and thank him, either for the privilege of giving or for the assistance that they received.​—2Co 9:11-14.

has resolved in his heart: In discussing the relief effort to help the needy Christians in Judea, Paul was confident that the Christians in Corinth desired to contribute to the effort. (2Co 8:4, 6, 10; 9:1, 2) Now the Corinthians needed to turn their willingness and zeal into action. (2Co 9:3-5) Paul did not want to pressure them, for a person can hardly be “a cheerful giver” when he or she is coerced. Paul trusted that they had already resolved to give. The Greek word rendered “resolved” in this verse means “to decide beforehand; to determine ahead of time.” So Paul points out that a genuine Christian gives after he has considered ahead of time the needs of fellow believers and how he can contribute toward filling those needs.

grudgingly: Or “reluctantly.” The Greek expression rendered “grudgingly” literally means “out of sadness (grief).”

under compulsion: The Greek expression for “under compulsion” means “from necessity” or “under pressure.” Giving cannot result in real happiness to the giver if it is forced, causing one to feel pressured to give. Thus, Paul indicates that in the early Christian congregation, making contributions was to be completely voluntary.​—Compare De 15:10.

for God loves a cheerful giver: God is very pleased with a Christian who gives with the right motive to support true worship or to assist fellow believers. “A cheerful giver” is truly happy because he or she is able to give. Throughout history, God’s people have received joy from giving of themselves and their resources to support Jehovah’s worship. For example, the Israelites of Moses’ day joyfully supported the construction of the tabernacle. Those “with a willing heart” cheerfully gave gold, silver, wood, linen, and other things as a voluntary “contribution for Jehovah.” (Ex 35:4-35; 36:4-7) Centuries later, King David, along with princes, chiefs, and others, contributed generously toward the temple of Jehovah to be built by David’s son Solomon.​—1Ch 29:3-9.

has distributed widely: In his discussion of giving aid to needy fellow believers, Paul quotes the Greek Septuagint translation of Ps 112:9 (111:9, LXX), where the Greek word here rendered “distributed widely” is used to render the corresponding Hebrew term. Both the Greek and the Hebrew terms literally mean “to scatter.” In this context, the expression conveys the figurative idea of generous or abundant giving or distributing. Thus, it could also be translated “has distributed generously.” The truly generous person does not fear that his freehearted giving, even if it sometimes exceeds his actual financial means, will bring him to poverty.​—2Co 9:8, 10.

His righteousness: Paul continues to quote from the Hebrew Scriptures. (See study note on has distributed widely in this verse.) The one who does kind and beneficial deeds, such as giving generously to the poor, shows that he has the quality of “righteousness.” A person who conducts himself in harmony with God’s will and righteous standards rather than his own has the hope of doing so forever.​—Compare Mt 6:1, 2, 33.

public service: Paul applies this term to the ministry, or the relief work, that was carried out “to provide well for the needs of” the Jewish Christians in Jerusalem and Judea. Such work, or service, was truly of great benefit to fellow worshippers. The Greek word lei·tour·giʹa, used here, and the related words lei·tour·geʹo (to render public service) and lei·tour·gosʹ (public servant, or worker) were used by the ancient Greeks and Romans to refer to work or service for the State or for civil authorities and done for the benefit of the people. In the Christian Greek Scriptures, these terms are frequently used in connection with the temple service and the Christian ministry. For this usage, see study notes on Lu 1:23; Ac 13:2; Ro 13:6; 15:16.

relief ministry: This is translated from the Greek term usually rendered “ministry,” which shows that relief efforts in behalf of needy believers are a vital aspect of the Christian ministry, part of “sacred service.”​—Ro 12:1, 7; see study notes on Ac 11:29; Ro 15:31; 2Co 8:4.

contribution: The Greek word koi·no·niʹa conveys the basic idea of sharing, and the meaning varies according to context. (See study notes on Ac 2:42; 1Co 1:9.) Here it conveys the idea of giving that is motivated by a feeling of fellowship. The same word is similarly used at Heb 13:16: “Do not forget to do good and to share what you have with others, for God is well-pleased with such sacrifices.”


A Family in Corinth Donates to Help the Judean Brothers
A Family in Corinth Donates to Help the Judean Brothers

This artist’s rendering shows a family in Corinth contributing what they have set aside on a regular basis to provide relief to their brothers in Judea. (1Co 16:2) The family cheerfully cooperates with those in the congregation who are responsible for organizing this relief work. Because these parents teach their son to contribute, the child learns the greater joy that comes from giving. (Ac 20:35) A year before, the Corinthian congregation had expressed readiness to donate. (2Co 8:10, 11) So in his second inspired letter, Paul encourages the congregation to complete this act of kindness.