2 Corinthians 9:6
But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.
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(6) He which, soweth sparingly . . .—It is interesting to note the occurrence of this thought in another Epistle of this period (Galatians 6:7-8).

He which soweth bountifully . . .—Literally, repeating the word before used, he which soweth in blessings. The obvious meaning of the passage is that a man “reaps,” i.e., gains, the reward of God’s favour and inward satisfaction, not according to the quantitative value of the thing given, except so far as that is an indication of character, but according to the spirit and temper in which he has given it.

9:6-15 Money bestowed in charity, may to the carnal mind seem thrown away, but when given from proper principles, it is seed sown, from which a valuable increase may be expected. It should be given carefully. Works of charity, like other good works, should be done with thought and design. Due thought, as to our circumstances, and those we are about to relieve, will direct our gifts for charitable uses. Help should be given freely, be it more or less; not grudgingly, but cheerfully. While some scatter, and yet increase; others withhold more than is meet, and it tends to poverty. If we had more faith and love, we should waste less on ourselves, and sow more in hope of a plentiful increase. Can a man lose by doing that with which God is pleased? He is able to make all grace abound towards us, and to abound in us; to give a large increase of spiritual and of temporal good things. He can make us to have enough in all things; and to be content with what we have. God gives not only enough for ourselves, but that also wherewith we may supply the wants of others, and this should be as seed to be sown. We must show the reality of our subjection to the gospel, by works of charity. This will be for the credit of our profession, and to the praise and glory of God. Let us endeavour to copy the example of Christ, being unwearied in doing good, and deeming it more blessed to give than to receive. Blessed be God for the unspeakable gift of his grace, whereby he enables and inclines some of his people to bestow upon others, and others to be grateful for it; and blessed be his glorious name to all eternity, for Jesus Christ, that inestimable gift of his love, through whom this and every other good thing, pertaining to life and godliness, are freely given unto us, beyond all expression, measure, or bounds.But this I say - This I say in order to induce you to give liberally. This I say to prevent your supposing that because it is to be a voluntary offering you may give only from your superfluity, and may give sparingly.

He which soweth sparingly - This expression has all the appearance of a proverb, and doubtless is such. It does not occur indeed elsewhere in the Scriptures, though substantially the same sentiment exciting to liberality often occurs; see Psalm 12:1-3; Proverbs 11:24-25; Proverbs 19:17; Proverbs 22:9. Paul here says that it is in giving as it is in agriculture. A man that sows little must expect to reap little. If he sows a small piece of land he will reap a small harvest; or if he is stubborn in sowing and wishes to save his seed and will not commit it to the earth, he must expect to reap little. So it is in giving. Money given in alms, money bestowed to aid the poor and needy, or to extend the influence of virtue and pure religion, is money bestowed in a way similar to the act of committing seed to the earth. It will be returned again in some way with an abundant increase. It shall not be lost. The seed may be buried long.

It may lie in the ground with no indication of a return or of increase. One who knew not the arrangements of Providence might suppose it was lost and dead. But in due time it shall spring up and produce an ample increase. So with money given to objects of benevolence. To many it may seem to be a waste, or may appear to be thrown away. But in due time it will be repaid in some way with abundant increase. And the man who wishes to make the most out of his money for future use and personal comfort will give liberally to deserving objects of charity - just as the man who wishes to make the most out of his grain will not suffer it to lie in his granary, but will commit the seed to the fertile earth. "Cast thy bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it again after many days" Ecclesiastes 11:1; that is, when the waters as of the Nile have overflown the banks and flooded the whole adjacent country, then is the time to cast abroad thy seed. The waters will retire, and the seed will sink into the accumulated fertile mud that is deposited, and will spring up in an abundant harvest. So it is with that which is given for objects of benevolence.

Shall reap also sparingly - Shall reap in proportion to what he sowed. This everyone knows is true in regard to grain that is sowed. It is also no less true in regard to deeds of charity. The idea is, that God will bestow rewards in proportion to what is given. These rewards may refer to results in this life, or to the rewards in heaven, or both. All who have ever been in the habit of giving liberally to the objects of benevolence can testify that they have lost nothing, but have reaped in proportion to their liberality. This follows in various ways.

(1) in the comfort and peace which results from giving. If a man wishes to purchase happiness with his gold, he can secure the most by bestowing it liberally on objects of charity. It will produce him more immediate peace than it would to spend it in sensual gratifications, and far more than to hoard it up useless in his coffers.

(2) in reflection on it hereafter. It will produce more happiness in remembering that he has done good with it, and promoted the happiness of others, than it will to reflect that he has hoarded up useless wealth, or that he has squandered it in sensual gratification. The one will be unmingled pleasure when he comes to die; the other will be unmingled self-reproach and pain.

(3) in subsequent life, God will in some way repay to him far more than he has bestowed in deeds of charity. By augmented prosperity, by health and future comfort, and by raising up for us and our families, when in distress and want, friends to aid us, God can and often does abundantly repay the liberal for all their acts of kindness and deeds of beneficence.

(4) God can and will reward his people in heaven abundantly for all their kindness to the poor, and all their self-denials in endeavoring to diffuse the influence of truth and the knowledge of salvation. Indeed the rewards of heaven will be in no small degree apportioned in this manner, and determined by the amount of benevolence which we have shown on earth; see Matthew 25:34-40. On all accounts, therefore, we have every inducement to give liberally. As a farmer who desires an ample harvest scatters his seed with a liberal hand; as he does not grudge it though it falls into the earth; as he scatters it with the expectation that in due time it will spring up and reward his labors, so should we give with a liberal hand to aid the cause of benevolence, nor should we deem what we give to be lost or wasted though we wait long before we are recompensed, or though we should be in no other way rewarded than by the comfort which arises from the act of doing good.

6. I say—Ellicott and others supply the ellipsis thus: "But remember this."

bountifully—literally, "with," or "in blessings." The word itself implies a beneficent spirit in the giver (compare 2Co 9:7, end), and the plural implies the abundance and liberality of the gifts. "The reaping shall correspond to the proportions and spirit of the sowing" [Bengel]. Compare Eze 34:26, "Showers of blessing."

Whereas covetous persons think all lost which they give to charitable uses, the apostle correcteth their mistake, by letting them know, that it is no more lost than the seed is which the husbandman casteth into his ground, which bringeth forth thirty, sixty, or sometimes a hundred-fold; though with this difference, that whereas the husbandman’s crop dependeth upon the goodness and preparedness of his ground, it is not so with this spiritual crop; a man shall not reap according to the nature of the soil in which he casts his seed; for he that giveth to a prophet or to a rightcerts man, in the name of a prophet or a righteous man, (though he may be mistaken in the person to whom he so giveth), yet shall he receive the reward of a prophet and of a righteous man. But this spiritual sower shall receive according to the quantity of seed which he soweth: he that soweth stubborn and sparingly shall reap accordingly; he that soweth liberally shall reap liberally: from whence we may be confirmed, that the rewards of another life will not be equal, but bear some proportion to the good works which men have done here.

But this I say,.... This the apostle would have the Corinthians take notice of, and well consider, it being what he could aver for truth, by observation and experience; that as in things natural, so in things of a moral and spiritual kind,

he which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly, and he which soweth bountifully, or with blessings,

shall reap also bountifully; or with blessings; as a man sows, so shall he reap; the one is in proportion to the other. Sowing and reaping are here used in a metaphorical sense. The former signifies doing acts of beneficence and liberality. So it is used in the Old Testament, and in Jewish writings; see Ecclesiastes 9:6. The interpretation of the latter text, give me leave to produce out of the Talmud (e) as follows, and which will serve to illustrate this of the apostle's.

"Says. R. Jochanan, in the name of R. Benaah, what is that which is written, "blessed are ye that sow beside all waters, that send forth thither the feet of the ox, and the ass?" blessed are the Israelites, for when they are employed in the law, , "and in acts of beneficence", their evil concupiscence is delivered into their hand, and they are not delivered into the hand of their evil concupiscence: or, as it is elsewhere (f) said, such are worthy of the inheritance of two tribes, Joseph and Issachar; as it is said, "blessed are ye that sow beside all waters", , "and there is no sowing but alms"; or, by the word "sowing", nothing else is meant but doing of alms, as it is said, Hosea 10:12 and there is no water but the law, or nothing else is meant by water but the law, as it is said, Isaiah 55:1. And as to these words, "that send forth thither the feet of the ox and the ass", it is a tradition of the house of Elias, for ever let a man place himself by the words of the law, as an ox to the yoke, and an ass to the burden.''

There is a good deal of likeness between sowing the seed in the earth, and doing of alms, or acts of beneficence. The seed that is sown is what is selected and reserved out of the stock expended or sold off, which if not done, there would be no provision for futurity; so that which a man gives for the relief of the necessitous, is what he lays by him in store of what God has prospered him with; in doing which he may hope for a fruitful harvest, whereas otherwise he could expect none: as seed is cast from, and scattered about by the sower all over the field; so what is given to the poor, it is parted with unto them, and spread among them, everyone has a portion; and it looks like a diminution of a man's substance, and as if it would never return with any advantage; though it does, as in a natural, so in a metaphorical sense. The sower casts and scatters his seed with an open hand; was he to gripe it in his fist, or only let go a grain of corn or wheat here and there, he would have but a poor harvest; so the cheerful giver opens his hand wide, and bountifully supplies the wants of the needy; who, as the sower casts his seed on the empty field, so he bestows his bounty on indigent persons, on all men in want, especially the household of faith: and, as when he has done, he harrows the ground, and covers the seed under the earth, where it lies hid, and is very unpromising for a while, and yet be exercises faith, hope, and patience, with respect to an harvest; so the generous benefactor does what he does in as private a manner as may be; and though for a time his good deeds may seem to be attended with little prospect of reward, yet in the end they certainly shall; for as a man sows, so shall he reap: if he sows, that is, gives nothing, he shall reap nothing; if he sows but little, he shall reap little; and if he sows much, he shall reap much; and that of the selfsame kind which he sows; as he is liberal in things temporal, so shall he prosper and succeed in the same; see Proverbs 3:9.

(e) T. Bab. Avoda Zara, fol. 5. 2. Zohar in Exod. fol. 2. 4. (f) T. Bab. Bava Kama, fol. 17. 1.

{2} But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.

(2) Alms must be given neither grudgingly, nor with a loathful mind, or sparingly. And a generous and free alms is compared to a sowing which has a most plentiful harvest of most abundant blessing following it.

2 Corinthians 9:6. Allusion to the Messianic recompense. Chrysostom aptly remarks: καὶ σπόρον τὸ πρᾶγμα ἐκάλεσεν, ἵνα εὐθέως πρὸς τὴν ἀντίδοσιν ἴδῃς καὶ τὸν ἀμητὸν ἐννοήσας μάθῃς ὅτι πλείονα λαμβάνεις ἢ δίδως.

The δέ is continuative, not restrictive, as Billroth thinks (“but so much know”), since the subsequent ἐπʼ εὐλογίαις proves that in 2 Corinthians 9:6 exactly the same two kinds of giving are expressed as in 2 Corinthians 9:5.

τοῦτο δέ] after Chrysostom and the Vulgate, is explained by the expositors supplying a λέγω or ἰστέον. But with what warrant from the context? Beza already made the admission: “quamvis haec ellipsis Graeco sermoni sit inusitata.” Comp. Galatians 3:17; 1 Thessalonians 4:17; 1 Corinthians 7:29, al., where Paul adds the verb of saying. Even the comparison of Php 3:14, where, in fact, to the ἓν δέ its verb is brought from the context, does not settle the question of the asyndetic τοῦτο (in opposition to Hofmann). Τοῦτο might be regarded as the object of σπείρων; but in that case there would result for τοῦτο an inappropriate emphasis (this kind of seed), seeing that a σπεῖρειν was not mentioned before, and the figure here comes in as new. Hence τοῦτο may be regarded as accusative absolute (see on 2 Corinthians 6:13), taking up again with special weight what was just said, in order to attach to it something further: Now as concerns this, namely, this ὡς εὐλογίαν, κ. μὴ ὡς πλεονεξίαν, it is the case that, etc. Lachmann placed ὁ σπείρωνἐπʼ εὐλογ. κ. θερίσει in a parenthesis. This would require us to supply faciat after ἕκαστος, or even the more definite det (from δότην in 2 Corinthians 9:7). But it would be unsuitable to assign to the important thought of 2 Corinthians 9:6 merely the place of a parenthetic ide.

φειδομένως] in a sparing way (Plut. Al. 25), so that he scatters only parsimoniously, narrowly, and scantily. But in φειδομένως κ. θερίσει the one who spares and holds back is the giver of the harvest, i.e. apart from figure: Christ the bestower of the Messianic salvation, who gives to the man in question only the corresponding lesser degree of blessedness. Comp. 2 Corinthians 5:10; Romans 14:10; Galatians 6:7.

ἐπʼ εὐλογίαις] denotes the relation occurring in the case (Matthiae, p. 1370 f.; Fritzsche, ad Rom. I. p. 315): with blessings, which, namely, he, when sowing, imparts, and in turn receives when reaping, i.e. according to the context, richly. Comp. 2 Corinthians 9:5. In the reaping Christ is likewise the distributor of blessings, bestowing on him, who has blissfully sowed, the appropriate great reward in Messianic blessedness. On the whole figure, comp. Proverbs 11:24; Proverbs 22:8; Psalm 112:9; Galatians 6:8-9. The plural strengthens the idea of richness, denoting its manifold kinds and shapes, etc. (Maetzner, ad Lycurg. p. 144 f.). The juxtaposition also serves as strengthening: ἐπʼ εὐλογ., ἐπʼ εὐλογ. Comp. on 1 Corinthians 6:4. The fact that the measure of well-doing is conditioned by one’s own means, is guarded already at 2 Corinthians 8:12. Comp. in general, Matthew 25:20 ff. See Calovius on this passage, in opposition to the misuse of it by Roman Catholics as regards the merit of good works—the moral measure of which, however, will, according to the divine saving decree, have as its consequence merely different degrees of the blessedness won for believers through Christ. The very nature of good works, which subjectively are the fruits of faith and objectively the fruits of the divine preparation of grace (Ephesians 2:10), excludes the idea of merit.[287]

[287] Comp. Weiss, bibl. Theol. p. 378 f.


6. He which soweth sparingly] “He calls it sowing,” says Chrysostom, “in order that we may learn by the figure of the harvest that in giving we receive more than we give.” Cf. Galatians 6:7-9; also Proverbs 11:18.

bountifully] Literally, with blessings (in benedictionibus, Vulg.). In both cases the Greek word is the same.

2 Corinthians 9:6. Φειδομένως) sparingly. [The reaping corresponds to the manner and principles of the sowing. The very words lead to that inference.—V. g.].—εὐλογίαις) The plural adds to the force.

Verse 6. - But this I say. The Greek only has "But this." The ellipse can hardly be "I say." It is an accusative used absolutely - "as to their." Compare "But one thing" (Philippians 3:14). Shall reap also sparingly. In the Greek the more emphatic order is "sparingly also shall reap." The metaphor of the harvest implies that the more generous the gift the richer will be the return; and that "withholding more than is meet" will only tend to poverty (Proverbs 11:24, 25; Proverbs 19:17; Proverbs 22:9). (For "sowing" and "reaping" in this connection, comp. 1 Corinthians 9:11.) Bountifully; literally, with blessings; Vulgate, in benedictionibus (comp. Galatians 6:7, 8). Bountifulness blesses both him that gives and him that takes. 2 Corinthians 9:6Bountifully (ἐπ' εὐλογίαις)

Lit., with blessings. Compare 1 Corinthians 9:10, "plow in hope (ἐπ' ἐλπίδι)."

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