Virtues of Grace.

2 Corinthians 8:7-8 discusses the position of a believer. As they are grown by grace, they will exhibit a series of virtues, of which giving is the last that Paul lists. These virtues work together and are only the result of God's work. Paul compliments the Corinthians and assumes they will keep growing.


Faith is a strong trust in the Lord that stems from the certainty of spiritual security. Believers demonstrate a confidence in the Lord.


This word is translated "speech" or "utterance." It refers to God's Word. Believers understand doctrine and defend against falsehood. They are great evangelists because they have great spiritual health.


This is the ability to apply sound doctrine to living. God's Word makes one skilled in the art of living (Psalm 19:7).


This is an athletic term that also means "passion." All these virtues work together, and none is neglected as grace works in our lives.


The Corinthians had been following the example of Paul's love, and he encourages them to continue.

All these virtues are easily pursued if grace is causing a believer to grow. Each virtue should be discussed and lived in proportion. To all these, Paul urged the Corinthians to pursue grace in giving. The repetition of the word "abound" shows energy.

Paul clearly is not giving a command, but his words are as close as Greek grammar can get to an imperative without being one. He doesn't have to command because he is confident that grace will cause them to continue to grow in giving. There is no reason why any believer cannot give. Excuses disintegrate when grace is at work. All of these virtues prove that one is walking with God.

Note on Giving in the Old and New Testaments

In the Old Testament, some giving was mandated, and some was given freely. Tithes were taxes paid in the theocracy. Ten percent was given to the Levites; another 10% was given to support the Jewish festival calendar. Every third year, more was collected for the fatherless and widows. An additional temple tax raised a Jewish family's tax obligation to 25% of their annual income.

Freewill offerings were given out of adoration for Jehovah, given above and beyond their legal obligation as a form of worship.

Christ paid his legal tithes as any Jew under the Mosaic Law, even though the human system had become corrupt. The Roman government mandated additional taxes on the Jewish people, bringing the total to 50-60% of a family's income, by some estimations.

In the New Testament, after Acts 2, the Mosaic system was no longer in effect. Tithes are no longer obligatory. (Imagine the Jewish leaders' dismay when born-again Jews stopped paying them! Imagine the persecution that resulted.) Romans 13:1-7 says we are still obligated to pay taxes to our government. Church giving is like the freewill giving of Jewish worship. It is motivated by grace, personal and corporate, in response to Christ's freewill offering of Himself. It is spiritual far before it's about money. In future passages, we will see how it is spontaneous, sincere, joyful, sacrificial, and never minimal.

Application Points

  • Are you consistently learning God's Word? What benefits come from a foundation of understanding sound doctrine?
  • Grace guarantees that a believer will grow in virtue. Where do you see this in your own life? Rejoice and thank God for his work in you!

Tools for Further Study

Cross References to Explore
  • 1 Corinthians 16:1-2 – the beginning of the collection for Jerusalem.
  • Matthew 22:15-22, 17:24-27 – Jesus paid his taxes.