What does 2 Corinthians 9:6 mean?
ESV: The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.
NIV: Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.
NASB: Now I say this: the one who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the one who sows generously will also reap generously.
CSB: The point is this: The person who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the person who sows generously will also reap generously.
NLT: Remember this — a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop.
KJV: But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.
NKJV: But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.
Verse Commentary:
The Corinthians are being urged to follow through on their previous commitment. They had promised to give generously to meet the needs of Jerusalem Christians. Paul now begins to talk about why giving in this way matters so much, both for the givers and those who receive the gift.

He begins by referencing Proverbs 11:24–26 to cite a general principle. This holds true both in the natural and spiritual worlds: larger harvests typically require larger planting. The one who sows less seed can expect to have less grain. The one who plants more seed will have a more bountiful harvest.

Paul wants the Corinthians to catch the vision that their financial contributions to the needs of other believers can bring spiritual results. The more they can "plant" out of a heart of true, Christlike love for their spiritual siblings, the more that love will bear crops. Those results are not in money coming back to the Corinthians, but in the spiritual lives of the givers and those who receive their gifts. In that sense, money becomes more than just money. It becomes evidence of love given in the name of Christ.
Verse Context:
Second Corinthians 9:6–15 contains Paul's explanation of benefits and opportunities tied to generous giving. The key point is that godly giving is a Christlike act of grace. God does not intend giving to be done as an obligation, or under a cloud of legalism. Rather, it should be inspired and driven by a willing and cheerful heart. Giving is an opportunity for believers to participate with God in meeting the needs of the poor. God increases the ability of believers who give generously to give even more. This results in increasing His righteousness on earth, as well as in causing thankfulness to Him to overflow. He will be glorified by those who receive the gift and pray for those who give.
Chapter Summary:
Paul continues to urge the Corinthians to follow through on their commitment. They had agreed to contribute to a collection for suffering Christians in Jerusalem. They should give willingly, even cheerfully, according to what they had agreed earlier. Not only will they participate with God in meeting the physical needs of others, they will contribute to an overflowing thankfulness to God. They will build a connection with their suffering siblings in Christ that will also bring glory to God. This chapter points out that God expects Christian giving to be faith-based, voluntary, and cheerful—not legalistic, oppressive, or mandatory.
Chapter Context:
Second Corinthians chapter 9 continues an appeal begun earlier in the letter. Paul urges the Corinthians to participate in the gift to the Jerusalem Christians. Paul is concerned their earlier enthusiasm might have waned. Everyone should give what he or she previously decided to give and do so willingly and cheerfully. God makes those who give generously abound so that they will be able to give even more. The result goes beyond meeting physical needs to increasing God's righteousness on earth, causing thankfulness to Him to overflow, and bringing glory to Him as connections are forged between the givers and those whose needs are met. After this, Paul will return to a defense of his spiritual legitimacy.
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.
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