Models of Integrity in Giving.

The Corinthian church had been distracted by an unbelieving group among them from an important part of worship. They had responded well to Paul's correction in his first letter. In 2 Corinthians, he has continued to explain what growing Christians do.

The true church cares for its needs for the purpose of its spiritual mission. An example of this motivation is the Macedonians (Romans 15:22-27 and 1 Thessalonians 1:1-9). They knew they were indebted spiritually to the Jerusalem church, so they were sharing to meet their physical needs.

Paul gives 3 models of giving, one divine and two human. 2 Corinthians 8:9 highlights the self-giving example of Jesus. The purpose of giving human examples is not to be hierarchical or performance-based, but to learn from other people as visuals of what the Christian life looks like.

God's people's sharing is always done for the progress of the Gospel.

Paul does not issue a command in this chapter except in verse 11. He simply says what would be good. When they are walking with God, God's people don't need to be begged or berated to give. Grace prompts them to choose to do so.

This passage addresses the character of giving in the heart (speaking of "desire") and will.

Giving with Integrity

Giving with integrity is willing (verse 11). The desire to give stems from one's growth in grace. This desire can be lost and renewed.

Integrity requires that one follow through on their desire to give. Paul urges the Corinthians to finish or complete what they desired to do. Considering models motivates us to do so.

Giving with integrity is by your ability or according to your means (2 Corinthians 8:11-12). It is not giving in order to get. This is a different heart than giving "out of" your means. This kind of giving is acceptable to God.

A ten-percent tithe can serve as a trans-dispensational benchmark, but the New Testament doesn't give numbers by which to measure our giving. We are free to figure out our own level of sharing with the Holy Spirit and the examples of other models. Churches don't have to discuss giving more than the Bible's context addresses it when grace is overwhelming and compelling believers to respond by giving.

Application Points

  • We learn from each other as visual examples of the Christian life. This is why it's important to ask how God is working in others' lives! Who in your spiritual family can you ask about that this week?
  • Brainstorm and expand your idea of giving. How can we share more, meet needs in our church body more effectively, and get the Gospel out more creatively?
  • Instead of fixating on numbers to measure your giving, regularly ask God how much He wants you and your household to share or give.

Tools for Further Study

Cross References to Explore
  • Philippians 4:10-20 – Sharing to meet physical needs benefits the giver, recipient, and God.
  • Romans 15:16, 15:31, 2 Corinthians 6:2 – Uses of the word "acceptable" in Paul's letters.