2 Corinthians 8:12 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

2 Corinthians 8:12, NIV: "For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what one does not have."

2 Corinthians 8:12, ESV: "For if the readiness is there, it is acceptable according to what a person has, not according to what he does not have."

2 Corinthians 8:12, KJV: "For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not."

2 Corinthians 8:12, NASB: "For if the willingness is present, it is acceptable according to what a person has, not according to what he does not have."

2 Corinthians 8:12, NLT: "Whatever you give is acceptable if you give it eagerly. And give according to what you have, not what you don't have."

2 Corinthians 8:12, CSB: "For if the eagerness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what a person has, not according to what he does not have."

What does 2 Corinthians 8:12 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

The time has come, Paul has written, for the Corinthians to follow through on their original commitment to donate to a collection for the suffering Christians in Jerusalem. He has said, in essence, that their original readiness to give will be meaningless if they do not complete it.

Paul insists that he is not asking for any specific amount of money from them. Instead, he says the same thing here as when writing to them in 1 Corinthians 16. Namely, that giving should be according to what each of them has, based on a person's possessions or income, not according to a set amount. This is the biblical principle of proportional giving: contributing a percentage of one's money to the needs of others as an act of grace and love.

It's important to notice that Paul does not specify what that proportion or percentage should be. Paul leaves that to each person individually. The important thing is to give according to what a person has and not according to some set amount that would be unfairly difficult for the poor to contribute and unfairly easy for the wealthy to reach.