Hello everybody and welcome in to episode #243 of the Bible 2021 podcast. We are reading 2nd Corinthians 8 today and our focus is on What the Bible Teaches about Giving. We are a daily 10 minute podcast, where we will dig in to the truth of the Word of God by reading one Bible chapter a day and discussing it. Welcome to new listeners in Nairobi, Kenya, Queensland, Africa, Parts unknown, Bangladesh, parts unknown, South Africa, Rajasthan, India, Berlin, Germany, Vienna, Austria, Meath, Ireland, Northern Ireland,UK, Saskatchewan, Canada, Salinas, California, Des Moines, Iowa, New York, New York, Santa Fe, New Mexico, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and Youngstown, Ohio. Our goal is to encourage DAILY Bible reading, so you can jump in at any time and join with us. We want to invite as many people as possible to join us in daily Bible reading, so help spread the word and share the podcast! Don’t forget about our web-page, Bible2021.com – contact page, show notes, transcript and more– Click here for our Bible 2021 reading plan\
Giving – probably not most people’s favorite topic. I still remember as a kid hearing various adults get moderately upset on Sundays when the preacher dared to preach on tithing or giving. Honestly, seeing people’s reaction to that topic when I was younger has made me somewhat hesitant to preach on giving as a pastor. What has made me more hesitant, however, is the vast number of charlatans out there that take advantage of people in the guise of giving to the work of God. There are many pseudo preachers and teachers out there – in churches and on various kinds of media – who seem quite focused on encouraging people to give to their ministries. I’ve heard pastors justify personal jets, and expensive mansions – some of which were bought with donations. This is terrible, and Jesus condemns it:
45 While all the people were listening, he said to his disciples, 46 “Beware of the scribes, who want to go around in long robes and who love greetings in the marketplaces, the best seats in the synagogues, and the places of honor at banquets. 47 They devour widows’ houses and say long prayers just for show. These will receive harsher judgment.” Luke 20:45-47
That said, the Bible teaches a great deal about giving, and we would be ignoring truth if we avoided teaching on giving – the important thing is to teach what the Word of God says, and not do so for financial gain. So, in that spirit, and because 2nd Corinthians 8 and 9 are both quite focused on giving – we are going to discuss giving. Both today, and also Friday, when we will be in 2nd Corinthians 9. (After spending Wednesday and Thursday in the Psalms.) First things first – we need to differentiate between tithing, which 2nd Corinthians 8 and 9 don’t really address and giving, which is the focus of these two chapters.
A tithe is a tenth – 10 percent. The Old Testament commanded Jews to tithe in various ways – the Jews would tithe a tenth of their crops and livestock and would also give a portion to the Levites and to the poor – almost always, a Jewish person would give a good bit MORE than a tenth of their total income/produce in year. The New Testament does talk about tithing, but only a little bit. Hebrews 7 mentions how the Levites collect the tithe, and twice Jesus challenges the Pharisees with this statement, both in Matthew and in Luke:
42 “But woe to you Pharisees! You give a tenth of mint, rue, and every kind of herb, and you bypass justice and love for God. These things you should have done without neglecting the others. (Luke 20:42)
That is the closest you will see to a command to tithe in the New Testament – Jesus saying in passing that the Pharisees should tithe a tenth of their herbs, but the overall point of what He was teaching is that the Pharisees were following the letter of the law, but missing the weightier and more important commandments of God. So – are Christians commanded to tithe? In a word, “no!” Tithing is not a New Testament commandment, but GIVING is. And when I say giving, I don’t just mean giving to the church, though that is a good and expected thing -but giving in general. In our chapters, we will see several truths about giving that I believe will help us. Let’s go ahead and read chapter 8 and then discuss it.
Here are five principles on giving that I see in our passage today:
- Giving is a privilege. I know that doesn’t make sense, but in the Kingdom of God, it does make sense, and it will especially make sense when we read chapter 9, and see God’s promise to provide for the giver. (Reminding you again, that this promise is not exclusively about giving to church, but about giving in general. Some pastors use these Scriptures to manipulate people to give more to the church, and I believe such behavior is anti-biblical and against what we will see in chapter 9. Giving CANNOT be under compulsion. That said, it is a privilege, “2 During a severe trial brought about by affliction, their abundant joy and their extreme poverty overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. 3 I can testify that, according to their ability and even beyond their ability, of their own accord, 4 they begged us earnestly for the privilege of sharing in the ministry to the saints,” (We’ll find out more Friday about WHY it is a privilege!)
- Giving should NOT be under compulsion, or manipulation, or guilt. “8 I am not saying this as a command. Rather, by means of the diligence of others, I am testing the genuineness of your love.” We should give -God blesses the generous, but leaders must be ultra careful not to command giving in an unbiblical way.
- We give to others, because Jesus, our ultimate model, sacrificed all for us, and gave Himself for us. “9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ: Though he was rich, for your sake he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich.“
- Giving should be proportional and giving should help people with need. Giving should not leave a person themselves in need. The idea seems to be that Christians should take care of each other so that nobody is in need. “12 For if the eagerness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what a person has, not according to what he does not have. 13 It is not that there should be relief for others and hardship for you, but it is a question of equality. 14 At the present time your surplus is available for their need, so that their abundance may in turn meet your need, in order that there may be equality. 15 As it is written: The person who had much did not have too much, and the person who had little did not have too little.” Jesus teaches us that it is not the amount given that is important, but rather the proportion according to what one has. A widow with barely any money giving a few dollars can be the same in God’s eyes as a rich person giving piles of money.
- There should be integrity and accountability among those who collect money. Paul goes to great pains in verses 16-23 to outline all of the steps and layers of accountability his team is taking in collecting an offering from the Corinthian church, and distributing that offering to those in need. This sort of accountability should be done openly, and not secretly.
Bible Memory verses for the month of August: 4 Love is patient, love is kind. Love does not envy, is not boastful, is not arrogant, 5 is not rude, is not self-seeking, is not irritable, and does not keep a record of wrongs. 6 Love finds no joy in unrighteousness but rejoices in the truth. 7 It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 1 Corinthians 13:4-6
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