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What does it mean that God is able to make all grace abound (2 Corinthians 9:8)?

all grace abound

In 2 Corinthians 8:1—9:15, the apostle Paul speaks about God’s grace in the context of generous giving. Earlier, the believers in Corinth had promised to help the famine-depleted church in Jerusalem (see Acts 11:27–30; 1 Corinthians 16:1–4; cf. 2 Corinthians 9:5) but still had not sent their offering. Paul now challenges them to give generously and cheerfully (2 Corinthians 9:6–7). He knows that, when Christians give with big hearts and open hands, God blesses them abundantly: “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work” (2 Corinthians 9:8, ESV).

Paul draws from an agricultural proverb to illustrate his point: “Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously” (2 Corinthians 9:6; cf. Proverbs 11:24). “A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed,” affirms Solomon (Proverbs 11:25). In the style of the Beatitudes, Proverbs 22:9 agrees: “Blessed are those who are generous, because they feed the poor” (NLT).

When Paul received financial help from the believers in Philippi, he wrote a similar encouragement: “I want you to receive a reward for your kindness. At the moment I have all I need—and more! I am generously supplied with the gifts you sent me with Epaphroditus. They are a sweet-smelling sacrifice that is acceptable and pleasing to God. And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:17–19, NLT).

Sometimes we struggle with giving—even more with giving generously and cheerfully—when we have pressing needs of our own. We think we must hold on to what we have instead of giving it away. But Jesus Himself taught, “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you” (Luke 6:38).

The God of the harvest provides a bounty for the farmer and his family to live on, plus a supply of seed for the next season and even some extra to feed the needy. In the same way, Jehovah Jireh, God our provider, blesses us with enough to meet our needs and plenty left over to share with others.

This concept that God is able to make all grace abound to us is not unique to the New Testament and Proverbs. In the time of the prophet Malachi, the people had turned away from the Lord, robbing Him of the tithes and offerings He was due (Malachi 3:8–9). Through Malachi, God challenged His people to test Him: “‘Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do,’ says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, ‘I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in! Try it! Put me to the test!’” (Malachi 3:10, NLT).

Every Christian is a recipient of God’s abundant, amazing grace made known through Jesus Christ in His wonderful gift of forgiveness and redemption by His blood (Romans 5:15). His generosity in showing grace to sinners is our example. God’s grace poured out on us should be replicated in our graciousness toward others. And since God’s grace abounds in infinite, unmeasured supply, we who receive it are to show it to others without measure or stinginess.

God desires His people in every generation to be generous-hearted givers. He wants His children to trust “that God is able to make all grace abound.” And He bountifully provides all we need.

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Questions about 2 Corinthians

What does it mean that God is able to make all grace abound (2 Corinthians 9:8)?
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This page last updated: September 26, 2022