2 Corinthians 9

A Call to Generosity

Gathering a Donation

It is not really necessary for me to write to you about this contribution for the saints (2 Corinthians 9:1).

Given the context, the “contribution” mentioned here is clearly a collection of money to be used for other churches. It is usually considered to be the collection of money also mentioned in Acts 24:17, 1 Corinthians 16:3, and 2 Corinthians 8:4, 18-19. Carrying this large collection of money may have been one of the factors in Paul’s decision to double back through Macedonia by land to Jerusalem (Acts 20:3) instead of by sea from Corinth. Even though this had been his return route previously (Acts 18:18), a long voyage on the open sea carried too much of a risk that the money might be lost. This hoard of Greek silver coins is slightly earlier than the time of Paul.


I boast about you to the Macedonians that Achaia has been prepared since last year (2 Corinthians 9:2).

Macedonia was the region of northern Greece, and Achaia was the name given to southern Greece, including the Peloponnese, where Corinth is situated. Paul planted churches in both of these regions and anticipated going with their gift to the church in Jerusalem. Shown here is Philippi, one of the cities of Macedonia that Paul visited on his second missionary journey (Acts 16).

Sowing Bountifully

The one who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the one who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully (2 Corinthians 9:6).

The principle of this verse is that one’s return is directly proportional to one’s investment. This American Colony photo, taken between 1927 and 1933, shows a man sowing grain on the Mount of Olives. The walls of the Old City are visible in the background.

Provision for the Needy

He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food (2 Corinthians 9:10).

This relief is from an honorary monument to Emperor Hadrian. It comes from Rome and dates to AD 117–138. The Roman practice of handing out subsidized or free grain or bread, referred to as Cura Annonae, began in the 2nd century BC and is thought to have continued into the 6th century AD. In Paul’s day, about 200,000 citizens of Rome were recipients of free or subsidized grain. This relief was photographed at the Capitoline Museums in Rome.

A Gift Beyond Words

Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift (2 Corinthians 9:15).

The word “indescribable” is used only here in the New Testament. God’s “indescribable gift” is salvation (Eph 2:8), which was provided through the death of Jesus Christ on the cross. Perhaps a hint this gift’s splendor can be seen in creation itself, illustrated here by a beautiful sunrise over the city of Jerusalem. Paul’s point is that since God gave so much to us, we ought to give generously back to Him.

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