Introduction: Many years ago I was volunteering my time to
do some physical labor for the church. I was young and one
of the older members discussed family finances with me. When
he learned that my wife and I had our money in a joint bank
account he exclaimed, “What if she runs off with your
money?” Frankly, that had not previously crossed my mind. I
responded that I would be more concerned about losing her
than losing money. He was astonished by my response. For
him, money took precedence over his wife. That conversation
is like our study this week. If my job in writing this
lesson is to convince you to make voluntary offerings, then
the underlying problem is not money, but your attitude
toward God. This week as we study the Bible let’s focus more
on our attitude toward Jesus!

I. What is Love?

A. Read 2 Corinthians 9:1. When Paul writes to the
Corinthians and says it is “superfluous” for him
to write to them about money, what is he saying?
(He is saying that it is unnecessary for him to

1. Does he mean that? If he does, why is he
writing to them about money?

B. Read 2 Corinthians 9:2. What has Paul said to the
Christians in Macedonia about the Christians in
Corinth? (He has been boasting about their zeal
(their excitement) in giving money.)

C. Read 2 Corinthians 9:3-4. Is there a problem? Why
is Paul concerned about being humiliated when he
comes, especially if he brings some Macedonians
with him? (Clearly, Paul believes he may have a
problem. He is concerned that the Corinthians
might not have contributed the money that he
bragged was being contributed.)

D. Read 2 Corinthians 9:5. What has Paul decided to
do to avoid being embarrassed? (He is sending some
of his co-workers in advance to be sure that the
Corinthians give the gift they promised to give.)

1. Notice the last phrase, “so that it may be
ready as a willing gift, not as an exaction.”
Can you explain how sending an advance team to
be sure the money is ready prevents this from
being “an exaction?”

2. Let’s say that you have promised to buy me a
new car. I tell you that I’m sending a couple
of guys over in advance to be sure you have
that new car ready for me. What is your
reaction? Would you view this as a “willing

E. Read 2 Corinthians 9:6. How does this point
influence the Corinthians to give voluntarily?

1. Is this the same point as “we know you are
excited about giving?” (It is not the same
point. Paul says that if you give little, you
will be blessed little. If you give a lot, you
will receive a lot.)

F. 2 Corinthians Chapter 8 gives great
context to Chapter 9. Let’s read 2 Corinthians
8:13-14. What argument in favor of generosity is
Paul making here to the Corinthians? (This sounds
like an insurance plan! When you have excess, you
give it to them. When you have need, they will
give you their excess.)

G. If we are honest, and we should always be, do
Paul’s arguments seem to be based on love?

1. Last Sabbath, when I taught my Bible class we
discussed Malachi 3, and some of the class was
pushing back on my argument that God was
offering prosperity in exchange for tithe-
paying. One class member commented that the
prosperity argument was for new converts. For
mature Christians the motive is higher, the
motive is love. Do you agree? (I agree that
this is a valid point. But, it is a
complicated point.)

H. Let’s revisit my Introduction with the old church
member who was more concerned about his money than
his wife. Why do you think I was more concerned
about my wife than my money, and why was he more
concerned about his money than his wife? (My wife
had proven to be more important than money.)

1. Do you think that when we got married, she
said to herself, “I had better prove my
value?” Do you think I said, “Let’s see if my
new wife is better than money?” (Of course
not. We loved each other, and that love
motivated us to act in ways that showed we
were valuable for reasons other than love.)

I. When Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 9 that he has
been bragging about the Corinthians, and he does
not want them to embarrass him. When he writes in
2 Corinthians 8 that giving is like an insurance
policy, does this have something to do with love?
(I will argue, “yes.” One element of my love for
my wife is that she does not embarrass me in front
of others. Loving her has turned out to be a
valuable benefit outside of mere affection.)

1. Can we conclude that when Paul writes of
things that are part of the picture of love,
but not in themselves love, that he is still
talking about love?

2. Let’s put this idea to the test. Why do you
love Jesus who you have never met? Does it
have anything to do with what He has done for
you and those you love? (We need to understand
that love is not some abstract quality, human
love arises from experience.)

II. The Measure of Love

A. Read 2 Corinthians 9:7. Why would someone be
cheerful about giving money away? (Do you like to
give gifts to others? If so, you understand how
you can feel joy in helping others.)

1. What do you think the phrase “give as he has
decided in his heart” means? (It means that we
should be intentional about our giving. There
is a current phrase, “Random acts of kindness”
that reflects sloppy thinking. Why would you
be random when you have the opportunity to
maximize the good you can do with your money?)

B. Read 2 Corinthians 9:8. Paul now gives us a reason
to carefully consider how much we give as an
offering. What is it? (God will show grace to you
in that you have “all sufficiency in all things at
all times.”)

C. Read 2 Corinthians 9:10 what kind of crop does the
generous person experience here? (Paul tells us
that another reason for being generous is that it
makes us a better person. We harvest
“righteousness.” We do good.)

D. Read 2 Corinthians 9:11-14. What other good thing
arises from your generosity? (Giving prospers us
to allow us to be even more generous. Your
ministry causes people to give thanks to God. You
advance the Kingdom of God. You bring glory to

III. God’s Measure

A. Read Mark 12:41. Is it a spectator sport to watch
how much people are giving to God? (The fact that
Jesus and His disciples could observe this tells
us that the authorities wanted giving to be

1. How do you think the rich felt about being
seen to give large amounts to charity?

B. Read Mark 12:42. How do you think this lady felt?
Would she be embarrassed to give so little? Do
people like to broadcast that they are poor?

C. Read Mark 12:43. How can Jesus make this
statement? Clearly she contributed much less than
the rest.

D. Read Mark 12:44. What is Jesus’ explanation for
His comment on the amount? (He says that she gave
everything. She gave “all she had to live on.”)

1. Is this widow going to starve? Is that the
goal of giving? (Unless everything we have
been studying about giving resulting in
blessings is false, she is not going to
starve. She will be blessed.)

2. Considering the widow’s attitude about giving,
how is it that she is in this situation to
begin with? It doesn’t fit with what we have
studied. With such an attitude about giving
she should be rich! (Jesus seems to have a
narrow point – that it is not the amount that
you give that counts, rather it is whether the
gift means something to you.)

3. What point is Jesus making about the rich
giving “out of abundance” and the widow giving
“all she had to live on?” (The point is that
the rich could (and did) still trust their
money. The widow trusted God.)

E. Friend, God loves you. Your love to Him results in
a desire to be generous to others. But that
initial desire is just the beginning of things. As
you give, you are blessed in all sorts of ways
that encourage you to give even more. Why not
decide today to trust God and be generous with
God’s work?

IV. Next week: Dealing With Debt.

Copr. 2023, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. Scripture quotations are
from the ESV Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard
Version ), copyright 2001 by Crossway, a publishing
ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All
rights reserved. Suggested answers are found within
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Holy Spirit as you study.