Many IFB Pastors will use 2 Corinthians 9:6 to manipulate the congregation to give money. This is a prosperity giving ruse that isn’t accurate and is extremely dangerous. 2 Corinthians 9:6 states:
But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. (KJV)
Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. (NIV)
The IFB uses this verse to teach prosperity giving with tithes and offerings… the message is presented as ‘the more you give the more you will be blessed as a result and conversely the less you give the less blessings you will receive – and those who give less or decline to give at all risk curses and life struggles as a consequence’. Yet again we see, however, that the use of this verse in this way is a twisting of Scripture. This verse is often isolated from its context and the context is lost when it is used to teach tithing and prosperity giving.
2 Corinthians 9:6-7 in Context
In order to keep the textual context we need to look at the whole of 2 Corinthians 8 & 9. In this passage, Paul was writing to the church at Corinth to verbalize concern about people in Jerusalem. Corinth was experiencing economic growth while people in Jerusalem were suffering in a time of poverty. During this time Titus was also traveling around telling others of the hard times Jerusalem was having and asking for Christians to donate to them. Macedonia, which wasn’t even close to the prosperity of Corinth, committed to give far more than they could afford (see verses 1-5). Seeing this, Paul decided to remind the Corinthians that they also made a commitment to help Jerusalem and motivate them to give also (see chapter 8 verses 10-12 and 9:1). The important thing to remember is that collections were taken to help those less fortunate (2 Corinthians 11:8-15). This was NOT a challenge for the Corinthians to give tithes to the church, it was to help fellow believers during a time of poverty and need.
2 Corinthians 9:6-7 is the climax of Paul’s motivating speech. Paul was motivating them and tugging on their heartstrings reminding them about generosity. But then in 9:7 he leaves it up to them. He made it clear that this was an act that was between only God and the individual. He was very careful to not send a message of guilt. He wanted them to give with a proper attitude not because they had to or were compelled to (verse 7) but because they wanted to. This was just a side note though in his message. Verses 6-7 is hardly the bulk of what Paul was trying to get across. When churches isolate these verses and pull them out of context, the main message of the passage gets lost. When kept in context we can clearly see this passage is about helping those who are less fortunate than us. This was not a message about tithing to the local church.
Typical prosperity giving statement from pastors
This blog post is the result of recently sitting through a sermon at a local Baptist church where the pastor was using this 2 Corinthians 9:6-7 to try and teach tithing. He said, and I quote:
“if you’re not giving [your tithes], God’s going to get his one way or another. It may be through a broken down car or exploding water heater. One way or another God will get his.”
Hopefully you can see the ridiculousness of this line of reasoning. It is the complete antithesis of 2 Corinthians 9:7 – to not give reluctantly or under compulsion. So the context aside for a moment, if a pastor is making you feel guilty for not tithing and using this 2 Corinthians 9:6 to do so, then he is sadly and ironically mistaken. The irony is that the very next verse tells us that we aren’t to be giving because we are compelled by someone to give. We are to give because we want to not because we have to. We are to give because we want to not to prevent guilt or a curse. Pastors shouldn’t be using this verse to teach tithing anyway because that’s not what it’s about.
In my case, not only did the pastor make the error of twisting scripture, he was trying to make us feel guilty by teaching a false doctrine of blessings and curses for tithes. Logic dictates that God doesn’t “get his” by way of physical possessions breaking. How stupid. If the car breaks down or a water heater explodes that money still doesn’t go to God! So even without the Bible one should be smart enough to understand that that’s not how God operates. When we actually get out our bibles, though and understand the context of the passage we see that this passage isn’t about tithing as taught in our modern churches anyway. It’s abusive, manipulative and coercive. Don’t fall for it! Keep you money or give it to someone who truly needs it like the passage talks about. Stop filling the pockets of these greedy, misrepresenting and manipulative pastors!