The “Quantity” argument. Click here for part 4.
It is very interesting to observe that virtually all of the newer bible translations clearly side with the quantity argument in verse 6. One may verify this by visiting a site such as BibleGateway.com. Does this reflect a greater understanding of the original Word of God…or a greater distortion of It? Some of the older ones (such as the highly respected King James Version) do to, but certainly not to the extent of newer ones.
Now, if the quantity argument is so prevalent today, then it must addressed head-on. In other words, let’s now suppose that verse 6 does indeed speak of quantity. As we shall see, this passage then becomes a very complex and incomplete piece of scripture!
To make this verse speaks of quantity paves the way for all kind of confusion…and abuses!
Here we go. Is verse 6 speaking of quantity in absolute terms or in relative terms? Where is the cutoff point between sparingly and generously? It is at 5% of what you have, 10%, or 20%? If there is one such cutoff point, why is it not mentioned here? Here is something else…what if you give cheerfully (as verse 7 encourages), but only 2% of what you have…does your giving overrides the quantity to give requirement? And what if you give grudgingly (as verse 7 discourages), but a full 70% of what you have…does your giving overrides the attitude in giving requirement? There is yet something else. What if you and someone else are to give a certain combined amount, and whatever the other gives, you will give the rest…Did you give the right amount even if the other gave 95% of the amount and you 5%? And would not this last case imply that the quality of your giving is conditioned by the giving of another? Since when your standing with God is dependent on someone else’s?
2 Corinthians 9:6, 7 –But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows on the basis of blessings will also reap blessings. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity;
According to verse 7, each one is to give as he purposes in his heart. But if that is the proper way to give, why are we being warned just before (verse 6) that giving little will have negative consequences? If verse 6 indeed speaks of quantity, then it effectively makes the first past of verse 7 completely irrelevant, and even – dare we say – very confusing. That is because the only correct amount to give, which is “much” was already stressed in verse 6. Who cares what one purposes in his or her heart…just give much, and you will right in the sight of God!
If there is a reference to quantity, it is in verse 7, not verse 6!
If there is one place in this passage referring to quantity, it is precisely the first part of verse 7. And the quantity requirement is that it should be the quantity one purposes in his heart, period! That is the quantity to give. And look, the verse then goes right back to the motivation in the giving, the whole purpose of this entire section.
It is our belief that there is simply no room for the quantity argument in verse 6. The very small sample of problematic questions that were raised in this article gives us a glimpse at the kind of abuses the quantity argument permits. This is the case because if the Bible does not answer those questions, then it effectively delegates this responsibility to our church leaders…and that is where all hell brake loose! The fact that most newer bible translations side with quantity clearly reflect the deliberate choice our so called bible scholars and authorities have made. And we can understood why! And these are the bibles you and I read! How sad! How v-e-r-r-r-r-y sad!
Anyway…what’s next? Well, after a brief look at the immediate context of this passage, precisely, verse 5, which further supports the motivation in giving argument of this series, we shall conclude with a reflection of the implication of this study.