Does the Bible Teach Reasoned Giving or Risk Giving?

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Richard Foster identifies two types of giving – reasoned giving and risk giving.

Which is the type of giving that God seeks from us?

I think the typical Biblical call is for reasoned giving.

In 1 Cor. 16:2, Paul encourages the church at Corinth to set aside a sum of money in keeping with their income. 

We learn giving is:

  1. Premeditated – the amount we give should be determined before the collection is given.
  2. Proportionate – the amount we give is proportionate to our income.
  3. Reasoned -  When you look at your income, you ought to give a reasonably generous amount, but not an amount that will leave you in personal financial need and peril.

Thus, reasoned giving is the general admonition and call of Scripture.

However, it would be wrong to conclude that God won’t ever call some of us to risky giving.

Here again, I think we find another important truth: some may be called to risky giving, but not all are called to risky giving.  Who do you think is going to help provide the needs of the risky giver?  The reasoned giver!

2 Cor 8:12 - For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what one does not have.

This is something that I think proponents of risky giving get wrong. They challenge you sometimes to give what God has not yet given you.  If you’re living on a limited or a fixed income, then what you have is because that’s what God’s determined to give you.  Your reasoned gift will be acceptable based on what you’ve given.  I’ve heard of far too many people putting pledges or contributions on a credit card when they don’t have the money for those contributions.  They call this an act of faith, while I call it a foolish testing of God.  God looks for us to be responsible with what he’s given; he doesn’t call us to give more than he’s given.

Reasoned giving can include sacrificial giving

When I speak of reasoned giving, I’d include sacrificial giving in that.  You’ve recognized that you can make some lifestyle changes in order to give.  You’ve planned that, so it’s a form of reasoned giving.

When is it time for risky giving?

Wisdom ought to be our modus operandi.  God has given us wisdom, and he has created a world that is subject to certain principles.  For example, you reap what you sow.  God rarely intervenes against the natural order of his creation.  He wants us to use wisdom to guide our lives.  However, there will be times when God moves us to risky giving.

In the end, we need to be sure we are trusting and not testing God in our giving.

What about the woman who gave all she had?

I guess I’d simply say that we need to be careful about making an isolated story the norm for all Christians.  But perhaps that’s just because I don’t have the faith I need …

Which type of giving do you think the Bible teaches – reasoned giving or risky giving?


  1. Praveen Aaron says

    Reasoned giving makes more sense than the Risky giving. But whenever we put only two categories as the only alternatives and as opposites, we run into problems. There is risk in reasoned giving as it can be subjective, eliminating reasons that may not appeal. In risk giving there could be reasonable sacrifice prompted by personal faith on occasions.
    As explained well, the whole aspect of giving by faith pledges and by credit cards ending up in disappointments is not a healthy expression of Christ centred faith.
    Best is to take risks with what belongs to you rather than giving what legitimately belongs to others. I should always be willing to give everything that is mine to the Lord any time He requires. Giving to the Lord is not just an act but also a state of mind and attitude. When my giving is His initiative then its worth taking the risk. Praveen Aaron.

  2. P.Doss says

    I would like, very much, to see the concept of reasoning, and logic, as demonstrated by scripture, given a thorough vetting here.

    Christians live, primarily, like the unsaved society, with no understanding (IMHO) of the reasoning or logic presented by Scripture.

    This is an area, I think, mentioned when Scripture tells us that the people suffer for lack of

    My view of Scripture, is that it is absolutely reasonable and logical. I have seen no teaching whatever, that takes up this argument. ……Paul J. Doss

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