The verse 2 Corinthians 9:15 says, “Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!” Why did Apostle Paul exclaim this? Is there such a thing in this world that humans can’t describe? Indeed, there is nothing absolutely inexpressible on earth, as humans describe virtually everything. Nonetheless, “indescribable” is a terrific phrase to use when words simply aren’t adequate.
The best way to interpret the verse is to examine our understanding of the nature of God’s inexpressible gift and the circumstances which motivated Apostle Paul to cry out this verse.
- 1 What Can Possibly Make A Gift Indescribable?
- 2 What Is God’s Indescribable Gift?
- 3 What Does “Thanks Be To God For His Indescribable Gift” Mean?
- 4 What Does “Thanks Be To God For His Indescribable Gift” Mean To Our Lives?
- 5 The Effects Of God’s Indescribable Gift
- 6 Conclusion
What Can Possibly Make A Gift Indescribable?
In 2 Corinthians 9:15, Paul exclaims “Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!” Given that any gift from a human being can be described, it follows that only a gift imbued with some divine element could defy description.
Neither God nor anything about Him can be adequately described. God’s grace itself is an unspeakable gift. The vast majority of our abilities are unrelated to grace. We give to those who are deserving of our generosity—our loved ones, those who have assisted us, or those who contributed to us in the past.
In contrast, the great gift of Jesus Christ is given not to God’s followers but to His enemies, to those who have in their sins rebelled and declared war on the Almighty. Romans 5:8 says, “While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
What Is God’s Indescribable Gift?
Paul writes in Corinthians 8 that the Christians at Corinth had promised that they would help those in Jerusalem who had also become Christians (2 Corinthians 8:6). Consequently, Paul challenges the Corinthians in Chapter 9 to make good on their pledge. Nonetheless, amid their financial hardships, the Christians of Macedonia gave generously (2 Corinthians 8:1-3).
In 2 Corinthians 9:2, Paul reiterates to the people of Corinth that he has “been boasting about it to the Macedonians, telling them that since last year you in Achaia were ready to give; and your enthusiasm has stirred most of them to action.” Paul hoped to encourage the Corinthian church to keep its vow to send money to the church in Jerusalem by citing the Macedonian church as an example.
The Christians of Corinth felt remorse, shame, and embarrassment in the presence of Apostle Paul and the Macedonian Christians who went with him if they neglected to make a financial contribution (2 Corinthians 9:4). In 2 Corinthians 9:7, Paul encourages them by saying, “God loves a cheerful giver.”
Their giving act of generosity would also support the confession that they are Christ-followers (2 Corinthians 9:13). As a result, the Bible tells us that the principles included in this verse were not just relevant to the church at Corinth, but to Christians of all times and places.
In Chapter 9’s conclusion, Paul proclaimed, “Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!” (2 Corinthians 9:15). Salvation is God’s “gift” described in this passage (Ephesians 2:8). There is nothing required to warrant His salvation because it is a gift of God’s grace.
In His grace, God gave us His Son as a means of salvation (John 3:16). God’s Son, Jesus Christ, in His infinite love for us, sacrificed His life for us on the cross (John 10:18). Christ took on Himself the punishment and condemnation we deserved for our transgressions (1 Peter 2:24).
What Does “Thanks Be To God For His Indescribable Gift” Mean?
Paul had already emphasized the wealth that Jesus has offered salvation in his letter to the church at Corinth. He penned in 2 Corinthians 8:9, “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake, He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich.”
The word “indescribable” is used by Paul to express God’s saving grace (2 Corinthians 9:15). Other Bible versions translate this verse as:
- “Thank God for this gift too wonderful for words!” (NLT)
- “Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!” (ESV)
- “Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.” (KJV)
- “Now thanks be to God for His indescribable gift [which is precious beyond words]!” (AMP)
The phrase “precious beyond words” is added by the translators of the Amplified Bible to convey the sense that redemption is indescribably magnificent.
Paul expresses his thanks to the Father and his adoration of Him throughout the letter. Praise and gratitude are fitting responses to God’s gracious gift of deliverance. Christ died for sinners even though they had no right to be saved. The Lord has given us an exquisite gift, for which we may and should praise Him.
What Does “Thanks Be To God For His Indescribable Gift” Mean To Our Lives?
The Greek term for “indescribable” does not appear anywhere else in the New Testament and is translated as “unutterable.” It signifies that words cannot adequately explain the immensity of the gift and that no human can fully describe its value.
The popular opinion appears to be that it refers to Jesus Christ, God’s only begotten Son. Some biblical interpreters believe it refers to the Holy Spirit, the gospels, God’s blessings, the forgiveness of the sins of believers through Jesus’ death on the cross, or God’s love.
The eternal truth is our belief in the salvation brought by Christ’s death and resurrection, and accept him as our personal savior, we get the greatest gift possible. We have peace with God through Jesus (Romans 5:1), are forgiven for our transgressions (1 Corinthians 6:11), and are granted a fresh start (2 Corinthians 5:17).
The Effects Of God’s Indescribable Gift
God’s gift isn’t like any other, because it accomplishes many things for those who put faith in Him.
1. The Riches Of The Father’s Grace Are Seen In The Forgiveness Of Sins That Jesus Offers.
In the eyes of God, this entails the abolition of sin. All our misdeeds are drowned in the sea (Micah 7:19). In Isaiah 44:22, the prophet Isaiah says that God has wiped out our iniquities as a thick cloud. In Psalms 10:312, David says that God has banished our sins. Moreover, Jeremiah 31:34 and Hebrews 10:17 state that God will no longer remember their transgression.
2. The Christian Is Declared Righteous By God’s Holy Law.
The good news is that through forgiveness, we are granted a standing before God that we did not previously possess and could never have earned on our own. God’s Word compares donning Christ’s righteousness to donning a new outfit.
3. We Are Adopted Into God’s Family.
According to Ephesians 2:12, before accepting Christ as our personal savior, we do not have hope and are in a Godless state. Because of the Father’s love, we are given the title “Sons of God” (1 John 3:1).
4. We Have Been Adopted By God As His Children And Heirs.
In Romans 8:17, Paul says that in Christ, we share in the ownership of everything! There is no denying the inexplicability of that.
Every season is a thanksgiving season. Have you ever shown gratitude to God for His glory and the salvation He has gifted you? If His gift is as wonderful as the Scripture and our emotions and minds tell us it is, then we have every reason to praise God for His gift, which can only be described as an unspeakable gift!
And while expressing gratitude, let us bear in mind that the finest expressions of gratitude transcend mere words and may be communicated through deeds and acts of service. If you haven’t accepted Jesus as your very own Lord and Savior, there is no better moment than the present time.