Twisted Scripture Number 36
: Luke 6:38 is NOT About Financially Giving to Get

By Brannon Howse

The Scripture: Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.


 The Twist: This verse is grossly twisted by the Word of Faith or prosperity gospel heretics. They want you to send in your “seed money,” your faith money, and yet, this verse has nothing to do with money. 


Many Word of Faith and New Apostolic Reformation teachers use Luke 6:38 to raise money: “You need to give,” they say, “so it will be given unto you, pressed down, shaken together and running over. Give.” As with so many verses the Word-of-Faithers use, this one is not talking about money. And yet, that’s how they teach them. I’ll share a few blatant examples of this misuse. 

Perhaps you’re familiar with CBN News, Pat Robertson, and the 700 Club. In an article entitled, “Why Should We Tithe?” we see a clear misuse of Luke 6:38: 


One reason we tithe, when we tithe, we receive many blessings from God. Give and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap.


The Christian Broadcasting Network is using this verse out of context to compel people to give to CBN. Yet one problem is that tithing is Old Testament. As we’ve already seen, the Old Testament tithe was the tax of Israel just as Americans and others around the world pay taxes to their governments today. Remember also that Israel was a theocracy. The standard for the New Testament Church is different as directed in 2 Corinthians 9:7: “So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.”

Another example of this wrong-headed teaching comes from Benny Hinn. Benny Hinn, as you may know, is a false teacher who pushes the property gospel. Consider this transcript from one of his television programs:


But I believe he also meant the wealth transfer. And I believe this is what the Lord spoke about when He spoke of it in Luke 6:38. He said, “Give, it shall be given unto you.” Now, listen to the words, “Good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, shall man give to your bosom.”


I don’t think we’ve . . . we . . . we . . . we have seen that kind of harvest yet, the kind of harvest that where it shall be given unto you good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over. That kind of prosperity is in the future, because that is that wealth transfer. I mean God has blessed us in many ways. But that promise of Luke 6:38, I don’t think we have seen it in completion. We have not seen the fullness of it yet. That’s coming.


How do we know, though, that Luke 6:38 cannot be correctly understood to be referencing money? To find out, we can back up a few verses and check the context beginning with Luke 6:35-36:


But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High.  For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.


As you can see, the context is loving your enemies, just as Christ loved us and died for us while we were yet sinners. It refers to being kind to those who are not kind to us—even to our enemies—so as to be a powerful testimony for the Gospel. Money is not the subject here.

Luke 6:37 goes on to say, “Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned.” As we saw in our discussion of Matthew 7:1, this verse is not saying that you can’t judge. It is simply saying to judge with the proper motives, with the right attitude. In other words, don’t be a hypocrite or have an attitude of spiritual superiority, looking down your nose at people. 

So overall, Luke 6 is talking about having a right attitude in how you treat people, even the unbeliever, and verses 37 and 38 are summary statements of this principle:


Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.


In other words, “Be kind and gracious and loving, even to your enemies, and even your enemies will want to be at peace with you.”  

In his commentary, J. Jeremias explains the background of this ethic taught by Jesus: 


The measuring of the corn is a process which is carried out according to an established pattern. The seller crouches on the ground with the measure between his legs. First of all he fills the measure three-quarters full and gives it a good shake with a rotary motion to make the grains settle down. Then he fills the measure to the top and gives it another shake. Next he presses the corn together strongly with both hands.  Finally he heaps it into a cone, tapping it carefully to press the grains together; from time to time he bores a hole in the cone and pours a few more grains into it, until there is literally no more room for a single grain. In this way, the purchaser is guaranteed an absolutely full measure; it cannot hold more.


Compare this to Luke 6:38 which promises, “good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over will be put into your bosom.” Sometimes the grain was brought in a cloth, or in a person’s robe and the buyer would dump it into his or her robe and carry it in “the bosom.” If you measure grace and mercy to someone—even to your enemy—your enemy may indeed return that same graciousness and favor to you. 

So, be kind to the unbeliever. Be kind to your enemies. Be a good testimony for the Gospel by being kind and gracious to everyone. The Lord Himself models this best in that He was kind to us, while we were yet sinners, and even died for us. And that’s more precious than any amount of money.  

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