2 Corinthians 9:7 MEANING

2 Corinthians 9:7
(7) Every man according as he purposeth.--The verb, which does not occur elsewhere in the New Testament, is used in its full ethical significance as indicating, not a passing impulse nor a vague wish, but a deliberate resolve, deciding both on the end and on the means for its attainment (Aristotle, Eth. Nicom. iii., c. 2). Such, St. Paul teaches, should be the purpose of the giver--not the outcome of a spent emotion, or a promise half-regretted, but formed with a clear well-defined perception of all attendant circumstances, and therefore neither "grudgingly," as regards amount, nor with reluctance, as giving under pressure.

God loveth a cheerful giver.--As in 2 Corinthians 8:21, so here, we have a distinct echo from the Book of Proverbs (Proverbs 22:8) as it stands in the Greek version. In that version we find the following: "He that soweth wicked things shall reap evils, and shall complete the penalty of his deed. God blesseth a cheerful man and a giver, and shall complete" (in a good sense) "the incompleteness of his works." It is obvious that this differs much from the Hebrew, which is represented in the English version, and it is interesting as showing that St. Paul used the LXX., and habitually quoted from it, and not from the Hebrew. As coming so soon after the quotation from Proverbs 3:4 in 2 Corinthians 8:21, it seems to suggest that the Apostle had recently been studying that book, and that his mind was full of its teaching. As a law of action, it may be noted that the principle has a far wider range of application than that of simple alms-giving. Cheerfulness in visits of sympathy, in the daily offices of kindness, in the life of home, in giving instruction or advice--all come under the head of that which God approves and loves. So the greatest of Greek ethical teachers had refused the title of "liberal" to the man who gave without pleasure in the act of giving. The pain he feels proves that if he could he would rather have the money than do the noble action (Aristotle, Eth. Nicom. iv., c. 1).

Verse 7. - In his heart. The heart must not only go with but anticipate the hand. Grudgingly; literally, from grief (Exodus 25:2; Romans 12:8). A cheerful giver. The phrase is from the addition to Proverbs 22:8, which is found in the LXX.; except that "loveth" is substituted for "blesseth." Compare "He that showeth mercy, with cheerfulness" (Romans 12:8). The rabbis said that cheerful kindness, even if nothing was given, was better than a morose gift.

9:6-15 Money bestowed in charity, may to the carnal mind seem thrown away, but when given from proper principles, it is seed sown, from which a valuable increase may be expected. It should be given carefully. Works of charity, like other good works, should be done with thought and design. Due thought, as to our circumstances, and those we are about to relieve, will direct our gifts for charitable uses. Help should be given freely, be it more or less; not grudgingly, but cheerfully. While some scatter, and yet increase; others withhold more than is meet, and it tends to poverty. If we had more faith and love, we should waste less on ourselves, and sow more in hope of a plentiful increase. Can a man lose by doing that with which God is pleased? He is able to make all grace abound towards us, and to abound in us; to give a large increase of spiritual and of temporal good things. He can make us to have enough in all things; and to be content with what we have. God gives not only enough for ourselves, but that also wherewith we may supply the wants of others, and this should be as seed to be sown. We must show the reality of our subjection to the gospel, by works of charity. This will be for the credit of our profession, and to the praise and glory of God. Let us endeavour to copy the example of Christ, being unwearied in doing good, and deeming it more blessed to give than to receive. Blessed be God for the unspeakable gift of his grace, whereby he enables and inclines some of his people to bestow upon others, and others to be grateful for it; and blessed be his glorious name to all eternity, for Jesus Christ, that inestimable gift of his love, through whom this and every other good thing, pertaining to life and godliness, are freely given unto us, beyond all expression, measure, or bounds.Every man according as he purposeth in his heart,.... Which is not to be understood of the quantity, or any set sum he has fixed upon in his mind to give; but of the quality or nature of giving; or of the manner in which he is to give:

so let him give; of his own will and free choice, from his very heart; not as directed and forced by others, but according to his own counsel and determination:

not grudgingly; or not of grief; with pain and uneasiness of mind, grieving at parting with what is given, reflecting on the persons that move him to it, or on the objects moved for. The Jews (g) reckon this the lowest degree of all in giving alms; "when a man gives to anyone" "with grief", to which the apostle seems to refer: who adds,

or of necessity; of force, by coaction, being obliged to it by the influence, example, or commands of superiors; or through the powerful motives, or prevailing entreaties of others; for without these, men, according to their abilities, should give of themselves freely and liberally:

for God loveth a cheerful giver; or one that gives , "with a cheerful countenance", as the Jews (h) say; or as elsewhere (i), "with a cheerful heart": their rule is this,

"he that doth the commandment, i.e. alms, let him do it , "with a cheerful heart".''

Who looks pleasantly on the person or persons that move him to it, or on the object to whom he gives; who parts with his money willingly, and takes delight in doing good to others; such givers God loves: not that their cheerful beneficence is the cause of his special peculiar love to them in his own heart, which arises from nothing in man, or done by him; but the meaning is, that God does well to such persons; shows his love to them; he lets them know how kindly he takes such acts of theirs, by prospering and succeeding them in their worldly affairs. In the Septuagint in Proverbs 22:8 are these words, "God blesses a cheerful man, and a giver", which the apostle refers to.

(g) Maimon. Mattanot Anayim, c. 10. sect. 14. (h) Maimon. Mattanot Anayim, c. 10. sect. 13. (i) Vajikra Rabba, fol. 174. 1. Parash. 34.

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