Daily Bible Reading: Proverbs 1-2, 1 Corinthians 16
1 Cor 16:1-4 NKJV Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given orders to the churches of Galatia, so you must do also: On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper, that there be no collections when I come. And when I come, whomever you approve by your letters I will send to bear your gift to Jerusalem. But if it is fitting that I go also, they will go with me.
The flow of the previous chapter, from a prolonged discourse on doctrinal matters to a concluding exhortation on practical diligence, moved smoothly to a discussion of a practical expression of that faith—care for the needs of others and in particular, the needy in Jerusalem.
16:1. At this appropriate juncture, Paul took up the Corinthian inquiry (cf. 7:1) concerning a proposed collection for God’s people (cf. 1:2) in Jerusalem (15:3). The Corinthians had apparently heard about the collection through members of the Galatian churches, the oldest of all the Pauline-planted churches (Acts 13:14–14:23) in Derbe, Lystra, Iconium, and Pisidian Antioch. Paul’s instruction to them was repeated to the Corinthians.
16:2. Paul never used the word “tithe” when he discussed giving, even though he gave more attention to giving than any other New Testament writer. Giving should be a systematic, weekly practice on Sunday when the church meets together. Giving was also to be proportionate—in keeping with one’s income (cf. Acts 11:29). The income of some would permit them to give a greater proportion, while others, due to their few resources and other constraints on them, would be limited to lesser contributions. What was important was that giving be a unified ministry with each one participating, regardless of his income. Then when it came time to deliver the contributions to the saints in Jerusalem, no last-minute collections would need to be made, and the gift could be sent off gladly, not grudgingly (2 Cor. 9:5)—as would be true if it were wrung out by emotional appeals or personal pressure.
16:3–4. Paul’s practice in money matters was scrupulously aboveboard. Not only did he avoid solicitation for himself (cf. 9:12, 15), but also when he acted to meet the needs of others he avoided direct involvement in handling the gift. He preferred instead that individuals from the various contributing congregations elect representatives to bear their gift (cf. 2 Cor. 8:19–21) whom he might then accompany to the presentation.
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