What does 2 Corinthians 8:12 mean?
ESV: For if the readiness is there, it is acceptable according to what a person has, not according to what he does not have.
NIV: For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what one does not have.
NASB: For if the willingness is present, it is acceptable according to what a person has, not according to what he does not have.
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.
NLT: Whatever you give is acceptable if you give it eagerly. And give according to what you have, not what you don’t have.
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.
NKJV: For if there is first a willing mind, it is accepted according to what one has, and not according to what he does not have.
Verse Commentary:
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.
Verse Context:
Second Corinthians 8:1–15 begins with Paul's praise for the churches in Macedonia. These believers begged to be included in giving to a collection for the suffering Jewish Christians in Jerusalem. Paul urges the Corinthians to follow through on their own commitment to do the same thing of their own free will as an act of grace. In doing so, they will also be following the example of Jesus' sacrifice for them. They should give proportionally, using their abundance to meet the need of other believers so that all may have enough.
Chapter Summary:
The Corinthians had previously agreed to contribute to a collection. This was for suffering Christians in Jerusalem. Paul raises the issue with them, pointing to the example of the poverty-stricken Macedonian churches who had given beyond their means of their own free will. Paul urges the Corinthians to follow through on their commitment by their own choice. Titus and two representatives of other churches are coming to Corinth to oversee the collection so it is done with integrity. Paul urges the Corinthians to prove their love by following through on their commitment to give.
Chapter Context:
Second Corinthians 8 follows Paul's expression of comfort and rejoicing at what he learned from Titus. That news explained the Corinthians' repentance in response to Paul's letter of rebuke. Next Paul urges them to follow through on a commitment to contribute to a collection for the suffering Christians in Jerusalem. He points to the example of the generous gifts of the poverty-stricken Macedonian churches and asks the Corinthians to prove that their own Christlike love for others is genuine by excelling in this, as well. Titus and two delegates from other churches will come to Corinth to oversee the collection. In chapter 9, Paul will continue to discuss this ministry opportunity.
Book Summary:
Second Corinthians returns to similar themes as those Paul mentioned in his first letter to this church. Paul is glad to hear that the church in Corinth has heeded his advice. At the same time, it is necessary for Paul to counter criticisms about his personality and legitimacy. Most of this text involves that subject. The fifth chapter, in contrast, contains comforting words which Christians have quoted often in times of hardship. Paul also details his expectations that the church in Corinth will make good on their promise to contribute to the needs of suffering believers in Jerusalem.
Accessed 6/22/2024 5:57:10 PM
© Copyright 2002-2024 Got Questions Ministries. All rights reserved.
Text from ESV, NIV, NASB, CSB, NLT, KJV, NKJV © Copyright respective owners, used by permission.
www.BibleRef.com