In the previous post I exposed the misunderstanding of what ‘cheerful’ giver means. It has nothing to do with being happy! ‘Cheerful’ in the Biblical Greek is about being persuaded, disposed toward someone for their benefit…..
This post will explore who loves who and why in the context of giving.
Who loves who?
Bible translations for 2Cor 9:7 say – “…God loves a cheerful giver.”
Many may take this to mean, even though God loves the world, He especially loves those who cheerfully give. But this would mean God is partial and that He loves under certain condition.
Seems another reason why many believers are uncertain about their relationship with God.
Meaning of ‘love’ in 2Cor 9:7
The Greek word for love in this passage is agapaó.
Christians know it as ‘agape’ love.
Years ago I was taught ‘agape’ means
- unconditional love
- a love not based on will, it just is
- a love not based on emotion
- a constant love
- only God’s love is agape
I was taught it, I believed it. No questions asked. Never did think to look up this agapaó love. I blindly accepted the traditional religious explanation.
Hmm, have you ever considered how many things, rituals, traditions, dogma you have been taught by the religious institution and blindly accepted them as gospel truth?
Greek meaning of ‘agape’ love –
agapaó (ag-ap-ah’-o) – I love, wish well to, take pleasure in, long for; denotes the love of reason, esteem. Cognate: agapáō – properly, to prefer, to love
Hey, this is a much bigger and better agape than I had been taught!
Even consider “God is love.” (1Jn 4:8) He is the personification of the Greek meanings of agape! Hmm.
This agape love is referenced throughout the New Testament as God’s love to man, man’s love to God, and man’s love for one another. (e.g. Jn 3:16, Rom 5;8; Jn 8:42, 1Jn 4:20; Jn 15:12, 1Pet 4:8)
Back to love and cheerful giver. Who loves who?
God does not love a cheerful giver
Be assured I am no Greek Scholar, but upon looking up this verse in the Bible Hub Concordance for Greek, I was shocked to see the grammatical order actually says –
“…a cheerful giver loves God”!
This actually makes more sense.
Consider. We love because God first loved us. God so loved the world He gave. Freely you have received, freely give.
When we grow in grasping His agape love for us, then we really will love ourselves, and in turn naturally love our ‘neighbors’.
Remember, the meaning of ‘cheerful’ (giver) – favorably disposed toward others, are disposed because satisfied, and cheerfully ready to act because already approving.
So a ‘cheerful’ giver has first experienced God cheerfully giving to them! They have encountered His approving disposition towards them. In addition they have encountered His agape love – His preference for them, His esteem of them, His pleasure in them, His longing for them, His wishing well for them.
Giving does not involve
- I will give to show God I love Him
- I will be happy when I give because the Bible tells me to
- I will be a cheerful giver because the church told me I should be
- I will give so God will love me
- I love God because He first loved me
- God has cheerfully loved me and given to me and I have received fully
- I love God, I am a reflection of Him, and that naturally makes me a giver and a lover
- God loves me whether I give or not, but I want to give. It is part of my spiritual DNA!
- Please say the meaning of agape love over yourself – God wishes well to me, He takes pleasure in me, He longs for me, His love for me flows from reason (it is not a fickle whim), He prefers me, and He esteems me.
- If you have trouble loving your ‘neighbor’, then maybe you still need to love yourself. But that is hard to do – until you see how wonderful you really are. When you get that it changes the way you see everyone else, besides yourself!
- No wonder Paul prayed – “…that you being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height – to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”