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They desired only that we should remember the poor, the very thing which I also was eager to do.”


They desired only that we should remember the poor,

There is no mention of the request for Paul to remember the poor in the decree of the Jerusalem Council of Acts 15. There was no need for this since the request was directed personally at the apostle Paul’s team; it was not part of the decision of the Council regarding salvation by the law or the letter to the Antioch church. 

The one stipulation that came from the Jerusalem church to Paul’s team is indicated by the word “only,” and that provision had nothing to do with doctrine. This stipulation was only for Paul’s crew as they went back to Antioch. The apostles in Jerusalem and the Council agreed with Paul’s gospel of grace to the Gentiles, but they had one request that he “remember the poor.”

The request to remember the poor was not doctrinal but practical. They did not demand that they do this; it was simply a request. The Gentile church in Antioch of Syria was in a financial position to meet the needs of the Jews under persecution in Judea. Therefore, the Judaizers could not use giving to the poor as leverage against Paul to establish their doctrine of salvation and sanctification by works. 

the very thing which I also was eager to do.

The word “eager” carries the idea of to hasten to do a thing or give diligence. The idea is that Paul was zealous in remembering the poor. He took this task with forceful motivation. Paul previously brought financial relief to Jerusalem (Acts 11:29-30), so giving to the poor was in his heart already. He also raised funds on his third missionary enterprise to alleviate those destitute in Judea due to persecution (1 Corinthians 16:1-3; 2 Corinthians 8:1-9,15; 9:1-5, 12; Romans 15:25-28).


God expects us to help those who cannot help themselves.


God expects Christians to care for those who cannot help themselves. However, those who can help themselves are responsible for feeding themselves (2 Thessalonians 3:10).

Are you “eager” to do something for destitute believers? It is not enough to be willing; we must be enthusiastic about giving to those in poverty.

“If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,’ but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit?” (James 2:15-16).

“But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?” (1 John 3:17).