All Posts

What is Biblical Generosity?

A quill, representing The Signatry

The Signatry

March 14, 2024

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.

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ — Matthew 25:34

In Matthew 25, it is no mistake that Jesus focuses on clothes, food, water, and community when he describes the standard of care He expects from His people. He never mentions money at all. In the parable of those on the right and left of the throne, those who are blessed sought to impact their neighbors directly through tangible forms according to their need.

Our generosity is not just about a transaction to check a box, to feel better about our status in comparison to others, or to receive a worldly write-off for our good deed. Biblical generosity encourages us to seek the good of our brothers and sisters. It is a focus shift away from only dollar amounts. Generosity comes in many forms, such as volunteering our time and resources. Is your generosity, financial or not, followed through with love, care for the fulfillment of the need, and refined according to its efficacy?

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.


Originally Published on November 15, 2022.

Create a Generosity Plan as a Family

Most of us have a plan for everything else in life, so why not generosity? Creating a generosity plan can help you align your core values with the causes you champion.

Build Your Generosity Plan Today

About The Signatry

A quill, representing The Signatry

The Signatry seeks to inspire and facilitate revolutionary biblical generosity across generations. Through donor advised funds and other innovative tools and resources, families are empowered to live generously, modeling biblical values for future generations and making a greater impact for causes that align with their passions. Since its founding in 2000, The Signatry has facilitated sending over $4 billion to organizations around the world that are dedicated to solving the world’s greatest problems.

Start your journey towards a lasting legacy

Bring your family together around shared values and goals for generosity through a donor advised fund.

Start a Fund
Large Call to Action Background

Together we’re redefining generosity.

Join the conversation and get our newsletter.