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Home > Research Library > The Biblical Case for Giving > Theological Topics > Generosity

Generosity

Below are articles and papers that explain what biblical generosity is, why we should care about it, how it should be done, and what the possible results of it are. Questions about generosity?


Articles and Papers

Of Muzzles and Oxen: Deuteronomy 25:4 and 1 Corinthians 9:9
Jan L. Verbruggen. Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, December 2006.
Why is a prohibition against muzzling one’s ox put in the context of a series of laws about human rights in the New Testament? Jan Verbruggen, assistant professor of Old Testament at Western Seminary, answers this question in this exegesis of Deuteronomy 25:4, “Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain,” and the apostle Paul’s reference to this verse in 1 Corinthians 9:9. Rather than primarily being a command about how to treat animals, Verbruggen argues that this was an economic command about the duties of moral beings to one another. After a thorough analysis of this verse and its historical context, Verbruggen concluses that Paul mentioned this verse in 1 Corinthians 9:9 to defend the claim that a preacher should be paid for his work: “just as in the world where a person is rewarded for his service, so also Paul and Barnabas should have the right to be supported by the people benefiting from their ministry.”

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The Opportunity of Generosity
Patrick Johnson. Money Matters, n.d.
Britain’s heroic wartime prime minister Winston Churchill once said, “We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give.” There are two sides to giving, says Generous Giving executive Patrick Johnson: the obligation of Christian giving and the benefits of Christian giving. The benefits of giving generously are numerous, and they often are ignored by believers today. These benefits are ours when we imitate Jesus’ generosity: (1) We gain a deeper understanding of God’s grace and nature (Ephesians 2:8). (2) We experience joy (2 Corinthians 8:1-2). (3) We experience freedom (Matthew 6:24). (4) We experience purpose (2 Corinthians 9:11). (5) We reap eternal rewards (Matthew 6:19-21).

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Generosity and Joy
Justin Borger. Chattanooga, Tenn.: Generous Giving, 2007.
Generosity and joy are kind of like the chicken and the egg: We’re never quite sure which one comes first. The Bible teach that generosity and joy have a reciprocal relationship: (1) Joy leads to generosity (especially to the poor), and (2) generosity (especially to the poor) leads to joy. An example of joy leading to generosity is Deuteronomy 26:5, 9-11, where the Israelites gave the firstfruits of their crops to God because they were so overjoyed with God’s provision. An example of generosity leading to joy is Proverbs 22:9, which states, “A generous man will himself be blessed, for he shares his food with the poor.” The perfect example of this intertwining relationship of generosity and joy is found in Jesus Christ. Jesus gave the most generous gift—himself—to the poorest creatures—sinners deserving hell—and experienced the greatest joy—eternal glory with the Father. Ultimately, in order to experience the “joy set before us” in the gospel, we must imitate the example of Christ by sacrificially giving of ourselves and our resources for the good of others.

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Avoid the Blitz and Ground Your Giving in Love
Howard Dayton. Money Matters, n.d.
How can we give Christmas gifts in a way that puts the focus on Christ? In this short article Howard Dayton, CEO of Crown Financial Ministries, offers simple advice about giving that applies to the holiday season as well as everyday life: There is nothing wrong with giving Christmas gifts if it is done with an attitude of love. God himself is a giver; he gave the world his only Son (John 3:16). However, giving that is not done in love has no true value. “If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing” (1 Corinthians 13:3). The only way we can give in love is first to dedicate each gift to the Lord himself. When we give gifts to our families at Christmas or when we give to a charity or needy person, we must give these things in love as though we were giving to the Lord himself. Then we truly will be loving the recipients—and worshipping God—with our money.

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Chapter XXXIX
Tertullian. Excerpt from his “Apology”. Latin Christianity: Its Founder, Tertullian, vol. 3 of Ante-Nicene Fathers: The Writings of the Fathers Down to A.D. 325. Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson, eds. Revised and chronologically arranged, with brief prefaces and occasional notes by A. Cleveland Coxe. Hendrickson Publishers, n.d.
The early church father Tertullian (155-230) writes on brotherly love and generosity within the Christian church of his day. This chapter offers a compelling view of how the love we are to have for one another in the church should influence our generosity. Tertullian’s writing style is heavy, but his firsthand perspective on the early church is unique and valuable.

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How Much Should a Christian Give to God?
John R. Cionca. The Monitor [News magazine of Mission: Moving Mountains], n.d.
Dr. John Cionca, associate dean and professor at Bethel Theological Seminary in St. Paul, Minn., offers a light but thorough survey of the Bible’s teaching on stewardship and giving. Cionca begins by outlining several stewardship presuppositions. These include that we are stewards, not owners of all that we possess; that giving is not optional; and that God has promised to bless the one who gives from a generous heart. He continues by specifying several obligations we have in our stewardship planning: things such as our responsibility to taxes, family and the poor. The author concludes by outlining a pattern of personal stewardship practices, such as giving habitually, willingly and proportionately. In sum, “We are recipients of ‘every good and perfect gift.’ We have been adopted as God’s beloved children. With hearts full of gratitude, let us work at becoming the most astute financial planners, so that we may abound in generosity.” Note: No downloadable text or audio is available at this time.

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Giving and Wisdom
Garry Friesen. Chapter in Decision Making and the Will of God: A Biblical Alternative to the Traditional View. Sisters, Ore.: Multnomah Publishers, 2000.
Garry Friesen, professor of Bible at Multnomah Bible College and Biblical Seminary in Portland, Ore., argues that for many Christians giving is not joyful as Jesus described it to be in Acts 20:35. For many believers, it is a burden to try to keep up with all the ministries that are in constant need of funds. But, as Friesen says, “By learning and applying biblical principles of giving, the Christian can make a significant contribution to the Lord’s work—and enjoy doing it. By basing his giving on scriptural guidelines rather than a purely emotional response to appeals, the believer can experience pleasure rather pressure.” Friesen proceeds to critique two commonly misguided models for giving in the contemporary church: the tithe and the faith promise. The tithe, he believes, is an obsolete practice for us because it was connected Israel’s temple worship system in the Old Testament. Additionally, the faith promise subjectivizes our giving habits, as if God normally communicates to us in our prayers an exact amount that we should give. In the second half of this essay, Friesen examines 2 Corinthians 8-9 to clarify how we can give biblically and, thus, joyfully. This sort of giving, called “grace giving”, involves giving out of the amount that we possess and according to the priorities spelled out for us in the Bible. Guilt or compulsion play no part in grace giving; rather, “God has entrusted to His children the privilege and responsibility of wisely utilizing this world’s goods to attain spiritual fruit.” In other words, “Passing out God’s money is fun.”

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To the Praise of His Glory: There Are Many Good and Biblical Reasons for Giving to God’s Kingdom
Austin Pryor. TheGoodSteward.com, June 4, 2001.
Citing a host of biblical references and an extended quote from pastor and author John MacArthur, Christian financial author Austin Pryor explains that our self-sufficient God does not need us to give in order to advance his own kingdom. What then is the purpose of Christian giving? We give mainly in order to glorify God and to respond to his exceeding generosity toward us.

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Giving out of Gratitude
Daryl Heald. Money Matters, no. 334 (December 2005).
The Bible says that God has given us riches for a reason: “You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God” (2 Corinthians 9:11). God’s word also teaches that giving benefits the giver: “[T]he Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive’ ” (Acts 20:35). But while we have several opportunities in affluent America to give generously, statistics show that the U.S. church has not faithfully done so. Daryl Heald, president of Generous Giving, expounds upon the above verses, explaining to us that giving is just as much a joy and a blessing to the giver as it is an obligation.

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God’s Amazing Generosity
Larry Burkett. Money Matters, no. 333. (November 2005).
Giving to God does not merely mean giving money offerings, nor do we give merely to profit ourselves. Rather, giving to the Lord means giving him all things with a willing heart. Larry Burkett, the late co-founder of Crown Financial Ministries, explains to us the free grace of God’s love and how we should love others through our actions in response to His love.

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It’s a Different World
Bishop Demetri. Speech delivered at the annual College Conference, Ligonier, Pa., December 27, 2000.
In the midst of an inspired talk about how Orthodox Christians should live in the world, Bishop Demetri includes the activity that he terms “Christianity in action”: almsgiving. He distinguishes between stewardship and almsgiving. Stewardship is when we financially support our church, parish and clergy; almsgiving is when we give to whoever is in need. While almsgiving obviously helps those who receive it, we don’t often realize what a blessing it is to the giver. By dying to self and putting God above our desire for wealth and comfort, our generosity furthers our sanctification and conforms ourselves more and more to the image of our Savior. Demetri concludes by reminding us that we are not to give out of pride, but out of humble gratitude, knowing that everything we have is from the Lord.

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Money in the Church: Money. Why Does the Church Talk about It So Much? Shouldn’t We Focus on Spiritual Things Instead?
Michael Gillis. Again 26, no. 1.
“In this world, our spiritual life has no form of its own. Our spiritual life is revealed by what we do with our material life.” Michael Gillis, pastor of Holy Nativity of Christ Orthodox Mission in Langley, B.C., dispels the belief that our spirituality and our finances are separate categories of life; he believes, rather, that our generosity is one of the ways of giving material expression to our faith and trust in God. When we put God first in our finances, we make explicit where our priorities lie. God promises to bless us when we give; the lesser blessing includes financial security. The greater blessing is the growth in faith that we experience when we put “our” money in God’s hands.

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The Gift of Giving
Anonymous. Posted on the Web site of the Coptic Orthodox Church’s Diocese of Los Angeles, December 23, 2004.
Beginning with a touching story, this article teaches us that “alms-giving is a work of the Holy Spirit, an indication that we have attained brotherly love.” We are warned about the work of the devil, who will try to dissuade us from giving freely by being overly concerned about our financial security. We are urged to give lovingly, to “let the amount that you give be an indication of the amount of love you have for God.” The author concludes this exhortation with the reminder that we are to give humbly, for “the amount that we give can not compare to what (God) has given us.”

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Generosity: How to Give
Michael Wakely. Relay 9, no 2 (2nd ed. 2004).
In this excerpt from his book, Generosity: Big-Heartedness as a Way of Life, Michael Wakely of Operation Mobilisation teaches us the biblical meaning of generosity. He argues that the attitude of the giving heart is more important than the gift itself. People should also not give for wrong reasons such as to impress others or to get notoriety. As followers of Christ, we are called to be “hilarious” givers by giving cheerfully with hilarious abandon. This does not mean reckless abandon, but a sacrifice must be made. “There can be no true generosity that has cost us nothing.” Wakely also encourages us to be purposeful in our giving by having goals and to be systematic by being organized rather than spontaneous givers. Wakely offers many insights from Scripture to help create biblically sound givers. Note: No downloadable text or audio is available at this time.

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Join the Generosity Journey
Dave Toycen. World Vision 8, no. 2 (Winter 2004), p. 30. Excerpt from “The Power of Generosity: How to Transform Yourself and Your World.” Federal Way, Wash.: World Vision Press, 2004.
The president of World Vision Canada argues that generosity is an essential medicine for today’s materialist society and that it can save lives. Generosity can save lives through not only enriching our personal emotion and physical health but also will help those in poverty around the world. He concludes with a challenge to join the generosity journey.

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Money Matters: Biblical and Practical Insights into Generosity and Finances
Brian Kluth. N.d.
Author and pastor Brian Kluth proclaims that generosity is “God’s pathway to joy and freedom.” When we understand the biblical principle of God’s ownership, we will see our finances as a tool and not as a master. Kluth instructs us to give first, give systematically, give cheerfully and give eternally. When it comes to finances, he encourages us to have a written plan and to trust God more than credit. Most helpfully, he provides advice on common challenges to giving, such as a would-be giver whose spouse is either not a Christian or is not in agreement about giving. Kluth’s desire is that we would be “spiritually converted in our head, heart and pocketbook.”

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Christianity and Wealth
Margaret Thatcher. Speech delivered at the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, Edinburgh, Scotland, May 21, 1988.
In treating the delicate topic of Christian life and public policy, Lady Margaret Thatcher, former British prime minister, asserts that the two can never be viewed in full independence of each other. True Christian living is never benign; faith inevitably expresses itself in socially relevant and culturally influential ways. When practiced, the sacred call to “love our neighbor as ourselves” is a radical commitment that impacts not only private life but also the public and society as a whole. Among other reminders, Thatcher points out that one way in which Christian life and public duty merge together is through every man’s obligation to be merciful and generous, an obligation central to both the Christian life and a healthy society.

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Four Things That Gifts Are Not
C. Peter Wagner. Chapter in Your Spiritual Gifts Can Help Your Church Grow: How to Find Your Gifts and Use Them to Bless Others. 15th anniversary edition fully revised and updated. Ventura, Calif.: Gospel Light, Regal, 1994.
C. Peter Wagner, professor of church growth at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, Calif., has spent his life studying and teaching about building and strengthening the church. Crucial to this task is that God’s people learn to use the gifts that God has given them. Wagner’s catalog of the 27 spiritual gifts found in the Bible is a good starting place to both discover and use such gifts. In chapter 4, he briefly discusses the gifts of giving and voluntary poverty, which are two direct ways in which Christians can provide for others’ material needs. Wagner is clear that all Christians are commanded to tithe their firstfruits to God, but he adds that some Christians are gifted to give “liberally and cheerfully”—this is the gift of giving. And some Christians are empowered by God not only to give of their financial resources but also to give up their privileged personal material comforts for the sake of providing for others and opening new paths for the gospel—this is the gift of voluntary poverty. Wagner’s discussion of these two gifts is very brief and generalized, but they may prove to be a beneficial starting point for further study of these two spiritual gifts.

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Understanding the Ministry of Giving
Kay Arthur. O Beloved: A Message from Kay Arthur, pamphlet by Precept Ministries International, Chattanooga, Tenn., April 2001.
Teacher Kay Arthur piles up principle after principle on giving in this small pamphlet. From the apostle Paul’s remarkable description of the joyful giving of the Macedonian churches in 2 Corinthians 8, she explains that giving is not a duty but, rather, a ministry. She challenges her readers to move beyond the law-based tithe and to give more liberally as they are able, in a way appropriate to the “new era ... of grace.” Her description of this ministry consists of 10 principles, which focus on the multifaceted benefits of giving for the whole church. Note: No downloadable text or audio is available at this time.

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The Gift of Giving
Kay Arthur. From “God’s Word on ... Spiritual Gifts.” Chattanooga, Tenn.: Precept Ministries International, 2001: 13.
In a pamphlet on spiritual gifts, teacher Kay Arthur briefly explains that the gift of giving, mentioned in Romans 12, is intended for the support of “the work [God] calls us to do.” She distinguishes between giving out of obedience, which all believers are called to do, and the gift of giving, which is a supernatural work of the Holy Spirit and goes beyond giving out of obedience. Note: No downloadable text or audio is available at this time.

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Radical Math
Josh Kaufman-Horner. Generosity without Borders, 2004.
Josh Kaufman-Horner, regional director for Mission Year, uses an equation to illustrate the meaning of the biblical word grace: grace = unmerited favor = Generosity > justice > tithe. This essay is an explication of that equation. Part 1 is a plea for the retranslation of the NT Greek word charis, usually translated grace, as generosity. In part 2, the author argues that generosity is more than the tithe, and more even than the justice called for by the OT prophets. Part 3 is a collection of Scripture references in support of the arguments of parts 1 and 2. This essay is a creative and provocative contribution to the discussion of generosity in the New Testament.

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The Grace of Giving
Kay Arthur. Speech delivered at the annual Generous Giving Conference, Orlando, Fla., February 19-21, 2004.
Speaking from 2 Corinthians 8:1-5, where Paul speaks of the zeal of the impoverished Macedonians to give, women’s Bible teacher Kay Arthur shows how Christians can and should find great delight in giving themselves and their money to the Lord. The Macedonians were in deep poverty, yet they had an abundance of joy because they sought to serve God. They gave beyond their ability and of their own accord. Following Romans 12:1, Christians are to give themselves as living sacrifices to the Lord, part of which entails a great desire to give away what we have as a gracious act of ministry. How we give proves the sincerity of our love for the God that sent His Son to die for us. “Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously” (2 Corinthians 9:6). Arthur explains in detail the joys and benefits that happen to us when we give as God would have us give.

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Treasure Transplant
Interview with Daryl Heald. Reformed Quarterly, Spring/Summer 2003.
What implications for giving follow from the fact that Christians are in Christ? Daryl Heald, president of Generous Giving, fleshes out many basic problems with the contemporary church’s attitude toward giving, showing how these problems are resolved through a proper understanding of giving in relationship to Christ. Giving is not a matter of law and obligation, but is rather a matter of the heart and our identity in Christ. He derives several significant applications from this principle, concerning the essentiality of giving to the life of every believer, Christ’s lordship over the funds of His followers, and the heart-felt joy of those who give in Christ.

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Building Spiritual Discipline
George O. Wood. Chap. in The Successful Life. Aglow Cornerstone Series. Lynnwood, Wash.: Women’s Aglow Fellowship, 1984: 32-35.
In this selection from his book on the Sermon on the Mount, the general secretary of the Assemblies of God outlines three principles on giving from Scripture, with special attention to the third as taught in Matthew 6:1-18: (1) Our income is not given us merely to satisfy our own personal needs, but it was entrusted to us so that we may aid others as well. (2) Not only are we to tithe, but we also are to give voluntarily above what is required of us. (3) We must guard against wrong motivations in giving. Additionally, Wood offers a brief testimony of his own stewardship journey and the joy he has received through giving.

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Team Spirit: The Grace of Giving
Tony Evans. Chap. in A Guide to Spiritual Success: The Victorious Christian Life. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1994.
Looking at 2 Corinthians 8 and 9, urban black pastor and author Tony Evans challenges believers to live lives of godly stewardship. Although this chapter is on giving, “The issue here is not money, but how we respond to God’s grace.” When we see our lives in light of our need for God’s abundant grace and provision, our problems with money fall into perspective, and the joy of giving begins.

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The Early Church and Almsgiving
Comp. C. Matthew McMahon, A Puritan’s Mind.
What did the Early Church think about this almsgiving? What then should we think about it? In this compilation of excerpts from the works of the early Church Fathers, read the words concerning the topic of giving penned by Barnabas, Didache, Hennas, Justin Martyr, Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian, Cyprian, Origen, Lactantius, Irenaeus, Polycarp and others. These passages are divided into three subtopics: exhortations and counsel on almsgiving, rewards for almsgiving, and making friends with unrighteous mammon.

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Giving That Profits the Giver
Cynthia Heald. Excerpt from a speech delivered at the annual Generous Giving Conference, Pasadena, Calif., February 28-March 2, 2003.
Why does it matter in what spirit we give—if all our gifts go to the same Kingdom work? Cynthia Heald reminds us that attitude does matter, for giving without love “profits me nothing” (1 Corinthians 13:2). Because of His love for us, God desires that our giving will profit not only the Kingdom but also us as His servants. This resource is available on compact disc.

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A Short Address to the Friends of Him Who Hath No Helper
Richard Allen. From “The Life, Experience, and Gospel Labors of the Rt. Rev. Richard Allen. To Which Is Annexed the Rise and Progress of the African Methodist Episcopal Church in the United States of America. Containing a Narrative of the Yellow Fever in the Year of Our Lord 1793: With an Address to the People of Color in the United States.” Philadelphia: Martin & Bodin, Printers, 1833.
Have you been charitable with everything you have? Have you been as industrious in laying up treasures in heaven as you have been in hoarding up the perishable riches of this world? Have you stretched out your hand, as you had opportunity, beyond the circle of your own house and family? Have you dedicated any portion of your labors to God, who blessed them, by doing good to any besides your own? Has the stranger, the widow or the fatherless ever tasted of your bounty? Richard Allen (1760-1831), former slave and founder of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, writes words of encouragement and challenge to those Christians who have engaged in the “African cause,” challenging them to live as stewards of the abundant blessings of God, to give to all who are in need, and to show love for their neighbors. Although written long ago and originally intended for a specific audience, this text is rich in the doctrine of generosity and applicable to all Christians who take to heart Christ’s command to “love one another.”

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The Motivation of Christian Stewardship
Tony Evans. The Alternative, October 23, 2003.
How do we measure our giving? Pastor Tony Evans looks at the generosity of the widow in Mark 12. This widow didn’t have anything to give, yet God looked at her heart and measured her gift by her motive. In light of this, Evans asks, is the offering given with a motivation that honors God, or with a motivation to give Him what is left over? Do we share the same motivation as the widow? When the offering plate comes around, do we think in terms of giving to God? Or do we think in terms of how much we have left over in our wallets after the bills are paid? God isn’t as interested in how much we give; He wants to know why we give it.

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A Closer Look at the Widow’s Offering: Mark 12:41-44
Geoffrey Smith. Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 40, no. 1 (March 1997).
The author examines Mark’s account of the widow’s offering. According to Smith, this passage should be understood as the convergence of two themes: (1) We should see the strength of the widow’s faith as she trusts God to provide for her needs and gives generously of the little she has. (2) We should also see the widow as a symbol, as “one of the last nails in the coffin of national Israel.” In other words, “the chronic disregard of God’s law and the sham religion of the nation’s leaders were summed up in her.”

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Is Gambling a Sin?
Wilhelmus à Brakel. Excerpts from his “The Christian’s Reasonable Service,” vols. 3 and 4.
Although Dutch Reformed theologian Wilhelmus à Brakel (1635-1711) does address gambling in this excerpt from his work, the title is misleading. While concluding that “Gambling and Lotteries are sin,” most of the ink is used in instructing the Christian in the grace of giving. He gives great practical advice not only concerning our responsibility to give but also how and where we should give. In addition, he points us to God as the Great Giver of all good things, to whom we owe our abundant gratitude.

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Is It Wrong to Let Others Know How Much We Give Financially to the Lord’s Work? Couldn’t This Encourage Others to Give More Generously?
Randy Alcorn. Gresham, Ore.: Eternal Perspective Ministries, n.d.
In response to this great question, Alcorn teaches that it is not whether people know about our gift that matters but, rather, what our motives are in giving. “Do your giving quietly, unobtrusively,” he writes, not for the praise that comes from man, but for the glory of God. If our hearts are right, when people see us give they also may be spurred on to a life of generosity.

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The Parable of the Wicked Mammon
William Tyndale. Marburg, Hesse: Hans Luft, 1528.
William Tyndale (1494-1536) is best remembered for his translation in 1526 of the Bible from the Greek into English during the Protestant Reformation, a work largely employed in the compilation of the King James Version nearly a century later. In this discourse, Tyndale provides a lengthy explanation on the relationship between faith and works. Our works, such as giving, should flow from a changed heart in Christ, he argues. In other words, our giving should be a response to Christ’s gift.

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Ten Principles of Christian Giving
J. Ligon Duncan. Pamphlet produced for First Presbyterian Church, Jackson, Miss., n.d.
In order to encourage greater generosity in his church, the author circulated this pamphlet to assist the congregation in examining their hearts and actions in this area. Asking them to think through those principles carefully as a part of preparing to make their stewardship commitment, these principles are helpful for any Christian striving to honor God through giving: (1) The Lord Jesus expects and requires us to give. (2) The Lord Jesus wants us to give for the right reasons. (3) The Lord Jesus wants us to practice benevolent or charitable giving. (4) The Lord Jesus reminds us that our giving is ultimately to the all-seeing heavenly Father. (5) The Bible teaches that Christian giving is an act of worship. (6) The Bible teaches that Christian giving should be done in light of the incarnation. (7) Bible teaches that Christian giving should be done in accordance with our means. (8) The Bible teaches that the liberality of God’s blessings to us is connected to the liberality of our Christian giving. (9) The Bible teaches that Christian giving must be willing giving, free giving. (10) The Bible teaches that Christian giving ought to be cheerful giving.

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Giving in the Church: Are We Condemned to Poverty or Rejoicing in Abundance?
D.R. Downes. Kenya Church Growth Bulletin, July 1, 1994.
Who wouldn’t want their storehouses filled to overflowing? Oh, to see such great giving that our church offering baskets are brimming over and we must, like Moses, say “Stop! We have enough!” Yet many churches struggle when it comes to the topic of money. This article from a Kenyan publication offers five biblical principles for giving. “As we begin to change our teaching and giving practices in accordance with the five biblical principles outlined above,” the author writes, “our churches will, indeed, climb out of the depths of poverty to rejoice in abundance!”

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Principles of Biblical Giving: Parts 1 and 2
Richard Aeschliman. Equip for Ministry, September/October 2000; November/December 2000.
“You cannot discuss what Scripture teaches about giving without exploring the subject of tithing,” writes this Presbyterian Church in America teacher. But biblical giving goes much further than this. As you think about stewardship in giving, ask whether you excel in giving. Do your gifts provide equality in meeting needs of others? Do you have a willingness to give and show mercy? Do you experience the attitude of cheerfulness in giving?

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The Grace of Giving
J.L. Williams. New Directions for Living, no. 4.
Outlining the basic tenets of his book The Grace of Giving, the founder of New Directions International shares 10 principles of giving taken from 2 Corinthians 8 and 9. “Perhaps there is no greater window on the state of one’s soul than his or her perspective on spending and giving,” he writes.

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From Augustine to the People of Hippo
410 A.D. Letter no. 122.
In writing to his home church in the north African town of Hippo, Augustine (354-430) encourages them to not neglect the act of giving to the poor, even when tribulation comes upon them. In times of trouble, the early Church father writes, the Christian should be even more aware of the temporality of this world and be spurred on to give, committing his possessions to the keeping of the Lord.

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Of Almsdeeds
Thomas Aquinas. From “Summa Theologica,” trans. Fathers of the English Dominican Province. New York: Benziger Bros., 1947.
One of the most prominent theologians in Church history, Thomas Aquinas (1225?-74) did not overlook the topic of giving in writing his greatest work, Summa Theologica. Although the piece is written in the style of a classical philosophical argument and might be challenging for the modern reader to digest, the content of his work encourages Christians to live out the grace of God in their lives through acts of giving. Rich in theology, Aquinas’ work provides us with a lengthy exposition on Christian giving that challenges and stimulates both the heart and mind.

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Q & A: People Are Always Taking Advantage of Me. Where Do I Draw the Line?
Billy Graham. Tribune Media Services. From his syndicated newspaper column, July 23, 2002.
A reader once asked Graham: “Time after time I think people want me as a friend, but then they just take advantage of me—borrowing money they don’t repay, moving into my apartment ‘for a few days’ and staying months—that kind of thing. I know God doesn’t want me to be selfish, but where do I draw the line?” See how the American evangelist responds.

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Q & A: Does God Understand Why We Don’t Give Money to Our Church or Other Charities?
Billy Graham. Tribune Media Services. From his syndicated newspaper column, November 6, 2002.
When asked, “Will God understand if we don’t give anything?” evangelist Billy Graham challenges the asker to consider what God has done for her. How can she fail to respond through giving?

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What Possessed the Widow to Do Something Like That?
Kraig R. Brown. Generous Giving Journal, Givers Edition, May 2003.
To Jesus, there are two kinds of givers: those who give it all, and everybody else. Which one are you?

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The Grace of Giving: 1 Corinthians 8 in an Economic Drought
Kraig R. Brown. Generous Giving Monthly, Givers Edition, April 2003.
When we find our Christian brothers and sisters jobless, almost penniless, or with no cushion to fall back on, what is our reaction? We might never say so publicly, but very likely we're thinking to ourselves, “Perhaps if they were better stewards of the money God gave them, they would not be in this position.” But could God have given them these burdens in order to test our hearts?

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What Profit Is Giving?
Charles F. Stanley. Chap. in “Priority Profiles for Today’s Workplace.” 1989.
In today’s culture the prominent mindset when it comes to money is to get as much as you can, no matter the cost. Although most people may fall into this trap, Dr. Stanley challenges his readers to embrace instead God’s mindset: Give all you can.

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Social Morality
C.S. Lewis. Chap. in “Mere Christianity.” 1952.
Perhaps one of the most beloved authors of all time, Lewis has touched the lives of many through his writings. Although the topic of Christian giving is given only short attention in his masterpiece radio broadcasts-turned-book, Lewis addresses the topic of Christian giving, challenging his readers to examine whether they give at cost to themselves.

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Presidential Address
George W. Bush. Speech delivered at the annual convention of the National Religious Broadcasters, Nashville, Tenn., February 10, 2003.
In a time of economic instability and pending war, President Bush calls American Christians to remember that “the poor and suffering are the responsibility of the whole church, even when they are not members of any church.” Christians have a responsibility to give and to live up to their heritage of faith. “In America today people of faith are doing the work of compassion. So many good people are serving their neighbors because they love their God. The spirit of service is vital because the need in America is great.” What we need in our country is “to rally the Armies of Compassion so that we can change America one heart, one soul at a time.”

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Giving Less, Believing Less? A Sober Year-End Reminder: Can Non-Givers Expect to Get into Heaven?
Joel Belz. World, December 27, 2002.
“Grace has symptoms. If one does not have the symptoms, does one have the condition?” Or less obliquely: People who have genuinely experienced God’s grace will demonstrate liberality in their giving. If liberality in giving is not in evidence, have those people genuinely experienced God's grace? Researchers at Empty Tomb turn to a couple of surprising sources to argue that yes, there is room to doubt someone’s standing with God if generous giving isn’t part of that person’s lifestyle. The sources are no less than the great reformers, Martin Luther and John Calvin. Authors John and Sylvia Ronsvalle pile up quote after quote from the two men who did so much to establish sola fide as the battle cry of the Reformation. While typical church members directed less than $20 a year to their churches for global outreach (including both evangelism and social welfare) during the early 1990s, those same people were spending $164 per capita on soft drinks, $657 on eating out, and more than $1,000 on recreation. So is it really a crass calculation to wonder just how far the number of people experiencing saving faith fell during that same stretch of years?

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Our Giving Responsibility
Crown Financial Ministries.
For the majority of U.S. Christians, serving God will never lead to worldwide fame, writing bestsellers or ministering in foreign lands. Regardless of the work to which we are called, there is hardly a Christian who cannot give. Yet many of God’s children fail to be faithful in this calling. This article challenges believers to examine their lives and their calling to give. In an age where there is so much affluence, yet so little giving, Christians must ask themselves, “What is our giving responsibility?”

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More Blessed to Give: Dr. E. Stanley Jones on Biblical Financial Stewardship
Ed Hird. International Christian Ashram Board in Kentucky.
The late Dr. E. Stanley Jones left many timely reminders about the freedom that comes from giving of oneself to God. First, the root of most anger is fear, and that fear comes from a self-centered perspective. The law of self-abandonment says “I do not want anything; therefore, I am afraid of nothing.” When we are focused on others, fear begins to disappear. Second, many people do not really understand the phrase, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” In our day and age Jones believed that “our greatest sins are economic sins, sins so hidden under respectability and under custom that we are scarcely aware of them.” When we pursue the illusion of hoarding material wealth, we fail to see that money consecrated to God creates life and opens opportunity for others. Also, no one really thinks the deceitfulness of riches, and thus never feels it is a danger to him. Jones uses many vivid illustrations to make the point, including, “Wealth is like manure: Put it one pile it is a stinking mass, but distributed across the fields it produces golden grain.” Our generous self-giving is part of working out the faith we have in Christ and His unshakable kingdom.

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The Financial Finish Line: Determining How Much Is Enough Makes It Easier to Live a Balanced Life
Russ Crosson. The Life@Work Journal 3, no. 3 (May/June 2000).
Financial advisor Russ Crosson gives his advice to Christians in answering one of life’s most difficult financial questions: “When is enough enough?” Note: No downloadable text or audio is available at this time.

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What Does the Bible Say about Generosity and Giving to the Poor?
Cliff Leitch. TwoPaths.com.

In this brief laymen’s topical Bible study, Cliff Leitch makes some helpful applications on giving for the average Christian, wealthy or not. All of us, the scriptures say, are given gifts, not for our own enjoyment, but for the sake of God’s church. Poor as we might be, none of us is without gifts and an obligation to minister with those gifts. Every Christian can and should be a generous giver.

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Report by the Special Committee on Sharing of Economic Resources
Rudolph Schmidt. Reformed Presbyterian Church Evangelical Synod, May 25, 1979.

This article is a report from a denominational study committee – the collective effort of a whole church to understand God’s word on money and giving. The report includes an excellent summary of the biblical data on money and giving – with emphases on the command to share with the needy, and the promise of blessing for those who obey. In addition, there is a list of practical suggestions on how modern American churches can follow these biblical precepts. Giving is a biblical priority for the church, and not just for individual Christians.

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Should We Save or Give?
Randy Alcorn. Eternal Perspective Ministries.

How do we balance financial responsibility with the scriptural command to give sacrificially? On the one hand, it seems that God would want us to save. But on the other hand, he tells us to give money away. Many of us know the experience of pinching our giving for the sake of a retirement plan, college tuition, or a new home. Alcorn argues that Christians must find ways to save without reducing their giving. What needs a pinch is not our giving, but our lifestyles.

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John Wesley's Guidelines on the Handling of Money
The Gathering.

This short guide is excerpted from the writings of the great revival evangelist John Wesley. His three principles have become legendary in church history: (1) gain all you can, (2) save all you can, and (3) give all you can. For more detail, see samples of John Wesley’s preaching.

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Money Talks: Giving It Back
Todd Temple. Boundless Webzine.

Over our lifetimes, each of us will probably manage millions of God’s dollars. Some will look after billions. And God has some strong opinions about what we are to do – and not do – with His money. Not surprisingly, many of His financial rules have to do with giving, and the first is this: the priority in giving is not giving money away to whomever, but giving money back to God, who is the original owner.

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Money Talks: Giving It Away
Todd Temple. Boundless.com.

Giving money away is absolutely the best thing you can do with it, says columnist Todd Temple. Temple addresses the funding of social services by the federal government and points out the church’s shameful absence. He advocates that Christians do less complaining about taxes and government involvement and more “pre-emptive” giving. Giving is our means to helping the poor in genuinely Christian ways, to reducing government involvement, to significance in world affairs, to partnership with the global church, and to continuity with the historic church.

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Understanding the Grace of Giving: God’s Pathway to Joy and True Financial Security
Brian Kluth. Kingdom Seekers.

While Christians’ wealth has increased, most Christian leaders of the last few generations have ignored teaching the biblical imperatives of giving. A materialistic undertow is threatening the spiritual vitality and financial stability of Christians and ministries everywhere. But giving in the scriptures is a “grace,” as well as a command. It is not a heavy burden, but a joyful task for which God provides the strength. Pastor Brian Kluth outlines the characteristics of biblical “grace” giving.

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Understanding the Giving Process
Ron Blue. From his Generous Living: Finding Contentment through Giving. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan Publishing House, 1997.

Veteran Christian financial planner Ron Blue is concerned that Christians expect an overnight transformation of heart that would make them feel radically generous. But such expectations, says Blue, are unrealistic and in fact keep people from increasing their giving. The cultivation of generosity is a process, and Blue sees these steps as necessary: (1) preparation, (2) problem-solving, (3) putting things into perspective, and (4) having a plan.

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Six Steps to Generous Giving
John Avanzini. CrossWalk.com. From Always Abounding, (Tulsa: Harrison House, 1989).

What is the right amount to put in the offering plate? People do a lot of figuring, determining percentages, considering their gross and net earnings, and finally looking into their wallets. Their frustration often takes away from the joy of giving. John Avanzini condenses relevant scriptures into six steps that make Christian giving both generous and joyful.

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Effectual Giving?
Larry Burkett. Gainesville, Ga.: Crown Financial Ministries, n.d.
In view of a decline in giving among U.S. evangelical Christians, this short article attempts to explain in a nutshell how and why believers should give. Christian financial counselor Larry Burkett suggests two main reasons that we should give: (1) We are not the owners; God is; and (2) When we give without thought for ourselves, God will bless us. As a method for increasing giving, he offers what he calls “God’s plan for giving” in “four progressive stages.” He believes all four steps are necessary responses of the believer to God’s ownership. They are: tithing, giving out of obedience to meet basic needs, giving out of abundance, and giving sacrificially.

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Generous Giving
Daryl Heald. Interview on Decision Today daily radio broadcast, December 12, 2002.
The founder and president of Generous Giving states that our giving is not just about tithing 10 percent but, rather, about making 100 percent of our resources available for the advancement of Christ’s kingdom. In order to live the life God has intended for us, we must be faithful stewards of our time, talents AND treasures. Note: No downloadable text or audio is available at this time.

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Giving out of Gratitude
Daryl Heald. Speech delivered to the Laymen’s Club of First Presbyterian Church, Chattanooga, Tenn., January 19, 2004.
Though Christians often ask many important questions concerning generosity (What should I give? When? Where? How much?), Daryl Heald, president of Generous Giving, notes that we fail to ask the most important question during the information gathering process: Why should I give? Whereas the other questions are tactical, the question of motivation is transformational, laying the foundation for action. 2 Corinthians 9:8 and 1 Timothy 6:18 give the reason for the possession of resources that surpass our own needs: We have more than we need in order that we might be generous on every occasion. We give because we are commanded to do so, but our motivation runs deeper than mere outward obedience to law. Our giving is also a part of worship; together with the sermon, the singing and prayer, the offering comprises our glorification of God. Furthermore, giving benefits the giver. When Paul asked the Corinthians to give, he sought the benefit of the Corinthians rather than his own gain. God commands us to store up treasure, but we must do so in the right place. Finally, Heald cautions the Christian in his relation to money. Because the love of money can cause much spiritual devastation, Christians need to seek accountability in the area of their finances as well as in other areas. Overall, Heald delivers an inspiring message for those desiring to examine their motives for generosity. A brief question-and-answer session follows the main portion of the speech. Note: No downloadable text or audio is available at this time.

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Wastefully Generous
Richard D. Allen. Steward to Steward [newsletter of International Steward] (Winter 2007).
Victorian novelist and Christian fantasy writer George MacDonald once said, “Wastefully generous, O Lord, art thou!” Since our Lord is a God of such marvelous generosity, we are created to reflect his image by being generous as well. “Wastefully generous” giving is the key to effective stewardship. It is about giving above and beyond a tithe. It is giving extra money when we see someone in need or hear of a special concern. It is giving without consideration of our own wants. Christians who are effective in the world excel in the generosity of their time, their talents and their treasures. Note: No downloadable text or audio is available at this time.

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The Third Conversion
Patrick Johnson. Chattanooga, Tenn.: Generous Giving, 2005.

Tradition has it that Martin Luther, the man God used to spark the Protestant Reformation, once said that every Christian has to undergo three conversions: the conversion of the heart, the conversion of the mind, and the conversion of the pocketbook. It is this third conversion, the conversion of the pocketbook, that is the subject of this essay. Johnson, Generous Giving's VP for churches and professional advisors, outlines four stewardship laws from Scripture and suggests four prudent giving guidelines.

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