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Anne O’Brien’s

WEDNESDAY

BIBLE STUDY

This study notes provide the core content of a group of bible studies on the Book of Joshua. While the core message of the study has been captured for you to read, written text can not fully express the sense of anointing upon the discussion of the word or the joy of corporate fellowship. We encourage you to pray before you begin reading that the Lord would open your heart and mind to be receptive and responsive to God’s message contained within this study. There may be times when you find it difficult to reconcile God’s truth to your own opinion or worldview, God’s truth is eternal, it does not change, our understanding of the truth does change as we allow God to work in our hearts and minds.

Some thoughts on

GIVING 2 Corinthians 8 & 9


Some thoughts on giving from 2 Corinthians chapters 8&9 To make sense of these chapters we first need to read Acts 11 verses 27-­‐30. These verses explain why Paul was collecting money to take back to Jerusalem. The prophecy of Agabus came true and there was indeed a famine in the years AD 46-­‐47, not only in Israel, but also in Egypt.

Read 2 Corinthians 8v1-­‐7 Although themselves suffering from poverty -­‐ the churches in Berea, Philippi and Thessalonica had given richly to the offering for their brothers and sisters in Christ who were suffering in Jerusalem. They saw it as a privilege – verse 4. And so, Paul urges the Corinthian church to do likewise – to excel in the grace of giving.

Q. What do you think Paul means by “the grace of giving”? Think about the meaning of the word grace (a benefit that is not earned – a gift). Read verses 10-­‐15 Paul gives Christ as an example of giving sacrificially – this is how he wanted the Corinthians (and us?) to give. It seems they had the desire to give (v 10) but, in proportion to their means, they had not given much. We are to give according to what we have.

Q. Paul knew the requirement of God’s law was to give ten percent – a tithe. Why did he not ask for this? Is a tithe enough ... too much ...? God allows us all to be in different circumstances and with different means. But his desire is that we are all equal – and he puts the onus on us to share what we have. We are encouraged to bless others and when we are in need God will use them to bless us. In verse 15 Paul cites the example of the Israelites collecting manna in the wilderness. They all had just the right amount. If they got greedy, the extra went off! Read verses 16-­‐24 Paul is sending Titus with the letter and he will be collecting the money. Interestingly we are given an insight into how careful we need to be with the Lord’s money and how we are held to account. Verses 18&19 show how that the money was properly accounted for and looked after (in order to avoid criticism). This was necessary but also proved to be a very sensible thing – because when Paul returned to Jerusalem with the money, there were those (Judaisers) who accused him of fiddling the accounts in order to make trouble for him. (The charge was found to be untrue.) Verse 21 is important advice for us all. We are answerable to God and to our fellow beings. Verse 22: Another brother also accompanied them with the money – he was zealous; perhaps he was the one who preached and got results! Read 2 Corinthians 9v1-­‐5 In our culture of not talking about how much we give, it seems strange to us that Paul would confront the Corinthians in this way and make them feel guilty if they didn’t give.

Q. Would you think this was acceptable? Perhaps we should think their culture and background and why they needed such encouragement. Read verses 6-­‐11 Paul gives us several basic Biblical principles here: • Whoever sows sparingly will reap sparingly • Whoever sows generously will reap generously • God loves a cheerful giver • If we give, we will be enriched in every way Q. Have you ever tried giving what you can barely afford? What was the result? Did you suffer or do you consider it helped you? Read verses 12-­‐15 Our giving is a way of expressing our thanks to God for the things we do have. Our giving is the means of bring blessing to others, so that they know God cares for them. Paul finished as he started, with the example of Jesus. God gave us everything. Why should we hold back?

Q. What effect should these verses have on us when we know that there are thousands of Christians who are suffering around the world today? A verse by D. De Haan: One grace each child of God can show Is giving from a willing heart Yet, if we wait till riches grow It may be that we’ll never start. Anne O’Brien November 2014


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