Biblical Giving

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The Resources Biblical Giving.

"And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God."  2 Cor  8:5, KJV

Abstract:  Biblical giving starts long before we put money in the offering plate.   Giving starts within the temple of God - ourselves.  We learn from the Macedonian Miracle God's view of true giving.

God's Lesson on Biblical Giving.

A little biblical history is in order.  The church at Jerusalem was under siege.  They were being persecuted by the Jewish zealots - so much so that many had to leave town.  Those who did stay were destitute either because they had already given their material needs to the church for assistance to the needy or because they themselves were forced out their trade due to economic persecution.  Hence the call for assistance to the other churches especially the ones who had not yet experienced economic difficulty.  Corinth was such a church.  They had agreed to help the Jerusalem believers but a collection had not yet been sent on.  the Church in Macedonia were not originally included in the resource list of economic aid because they themselves were going through a different kind of economic difficulty.  Macedonia had been ravaged by ..'...civil war between Caesar and Pompey, between Brutus and Cassius and the triumvirs and finally between Augustus and Antonius.  They actually made a petition for a surcease of their burdens as a depleted area'[1] and   Because of this, the Macedonians were, themselves, needy.


Yet, a miracle of grace shook Christianity of the day when they insisted on becoming a major contributor for the Jerusalem economic aid effort.  Where were they going to get the money?  There was no visible means to accomplish this.   Instead, God multiplied their attitude of generosity and turned it into a miracle of grace-giving. 

Let us look into what happened to Macedonia and, perhaps, apply the lessons we learn to today's experience.

The Macedonians Lacked in Resources, but had a Wealth of Generosity.

For the Macedonians the situation was bleak.  It was certainly time for a pity party because they had become poor.  But when God touches the lives of folks the miracle of grace-living becomes a reality!  Even though they were living in abject poverty - yet, their hearts were rich with the treasure of infused joy from right relationship with their Saving Lord!  Listen to Paul's testimony:

"How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality."    2 Cor. 8:2, KJV

Though poor in this world's goods they had the overflowing riches of the Joy of the Lord.  There just no stopping the Macedonians in their generosity!   The Lord had put a joy in their hearts - this joy was overflowing into a generous attitude.  This was the miracle of grace-giving.  The Macedonians had suffered so much from the ravages of Roman civil war that they were living in "a great trial of affliction" - that was family affliction and especially economic affliction - yet the Lord had touched their hearts - saved them and poured poured His Love into their hearts in a torrential deluge [2] and given them a heaven-sent joy.  This joy translated into a wealth of generosity.  They were wealthy because   saving grace had flourished into giving grace.  It's just that it was a wealth that was not understood by the world or the carnal minded person.  But God understood the wealth!  So He met their generosity with supernatural resources.

The riches of their "liberality"  was their resource.  Word study: (gk = haplotes, the meaning is two-fold.  First, there is a connotation of a healthy attitude - one where there is no ulterior motives - no legalistic return of favor expected.  The other connotation is that of sincere generosity.  The LXX sheds some light on this word where David gave gold, silver, copper and iron for the building of the temple out of a sincere heart - 1 Chron 29:17.   James uses this word to describe how God gives His wisdom generously to the believer without being critical of the one asking for It [3])  This is the key to understand biblical giving - giving that expects gratitude or recognition - or giving out of a sense of duty is not the biblical way.  No.  Giving must be from a heart that has been infused by a sincere desire to give back to the Lord that which the believer knows to be His - that which the Lord has entrusted to him for his enjoyment - but that he wishes to return to the Lord what he now possesses because he Loves Him.

The Power of Divinely Infused Generosity

[3] For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves;    2 Corinthians 8:3. KJV

The resources that were at their disposal were non other than the resources of the Lord, Himself.  This is the way it is with Grace-giving.  So, it seems, that for the believer the issue is not how much they make on the job - or how much money they inherited because of their family - but rather whether they are connected to the resources of the Lord.  So, the "power" here in this text[4]  is from the Lord Himself.  It cannot be understood in the world's term, this power to give is supernatural.  It came from the coffers of the Lord Almighty, Himself.  This power was not theirs - No.  It was tied, however, in with their generous attitude.  Interesting - God does not look for the rich - nor the noble - not the celebrity type but to the lowly believer - He looks within the heart and sees His Love in abundance - the wealth of divinely infused joy and with this He opens up Heaven's floodgates of wealth and they are given the "Power" to give - give in such a way that the Christian world was by the Macedonians given a remarkable example of biblical giving!  What a wonderful God we have.

Remember the Widow's mite?[5]  I do not think that the impact of her grace-giving was limited to the spiritual value of her giving.  No.  I really believe that the Lord multiplied the value of that mite and that it had great impact wherever it was dispensed - that's the way of the Lord - He and He alone can multiply the value of the gift that is given with a spiritually motivated generosity.


The whole idea of giving from God's Resources is encompassed by the concept of His Grace.  We do not give what we have - we give back what God has given us.  This is is His provision, this is His grace and we are to return it to Him with an attitude of thankfulness and graciousness.

Next,a word study on "willing of themselves"

Another word study to come,  "Praying us with much entreaty"

1.  From The Complete Biblical Library, Romans - Corinthians Volume, Page 577, A quote from Zahniser of The Wesleyan Bible Commentary, 5:298  [ Back ]

2.  Rom 5:5.  [ Back ]

3.  James 1:5.  [ Back ]

4.  gk = dunamis, the New Testament uses this word 120 times.  It was used to describe the power of God, the power of Jesus Christ, the power of the Holy Spirit, the power of the Gospel or the power of the Cross.  It refers to inherent power - a power that cannot be annulled.  The word has the connotation of force, ability, might  [ Back ]

5.  Mark 12:43, 44.  [ Back ]