What is Biblical Generosity?

What is the definition of generosity? Biblical generosity means first recognizing that our time, talent, and treasure all belong to God, then offering these gifts back to him to serve others out of obedience.

Generosity is often equated with financial giving, but it clearly goes beyond the number of dollars given away. We believe God intends generosity to be transformational. Biblical generosity means changing the way we think about all of our resources, not just money, in order to uplift others, strengthen relationships, and glorify God.

So how can we embrace this transformational definition of biblical generosity and shift how we give? It begins by unpacking a few major characteristics of generosity in Scripture.

Biblical Generosity is Cheerful

Questions like, “How much can I afford to give?” or, “Is my giving enough?” might stand in the way of finding joy in our giving. Scripture offers a different approach to generosity that does not require formulas or spreadsheets.

“Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”

2 Corinthians 9:6-7 complements the stories of the widows in 1 Kings 17 and Mark 12, who, without reluctance, desired to give of all they had, despite having little. Sowing generously and reaping generously is not defined by a set amount or percentage, but is an evaluation from the heart, and is a joyful overflow of love.

Biblical Generosity is Connective

The stories of generous people in the Bible also show how a generous heart connects communities and knows no boundaries. In Luke 10, it is the outcast Good Samaritan who generously steps forward to help the man who was robbed on a rural road to Jericho. In Acts 2:45, the earliest believers generously “sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need.” The Lord added to their community daily because of their welcoming generosity.

Just as God generously gave His only Son, who paid the price for all who have sinned, our giving should be reflective of that same love, connecting it with those who may have never known it before.

Biblical Generosity is First Fruits Driven

Numbers 18:12 states that, “all the finest new wine and grain they give the LORD as the first fruits of their harvest.” In many places throughout the Bible, the idea of giving first—rather than giving from what was left over—was an acknowledgement of God’s ownership over all things. Giving of our first fruits is not a tithe but a gift out of a portion that is normally meant for ourselves.

Biblical generosity encourages acting in faith to “return” what is already God’s. God will use our biblical generosity to spread joy, connect communities, share the love of Jesus, and eternally impact the beautiful Kingdom of the Lord.