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Read Introduction to 1 Corinthians

 

1Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given orders to the churches of Galatia, so you must do also: 2On 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.  

 

The first four verses deal with arrangements for the collection for the poor in Jerusalem.

16:1

Now concerning the collection

The words “now concerning” indicates a major change of subject from the resurrection to giving to the ministry of Christ (7:1, 25; 8:1; 12:1; 16:12; cf. 8:4). The Corinthians may have asked about giving and this chapter is Paul’s answer.

for the saints,

Note that almost all collections for the poor are for “saints” in the Bible. There is very little challenge in God’s Word to give to the poor without Christ.

as I have given orders to the churches of Galatia, so you must do also:

Leaders of the church in Jerusalem challenged Paul and Barnabas to remember poor Christians (Ac 11:27-30; Ga 2:10). There is no account of Paul challenging the Galatia churches to give to the Jerusalem church but he went through Galatia on his way to Ephesus where he wrote First Corinthians (Ac 18:23). Paul is writing from Ephesus. There is common responsibility for churches to give to the body of Christ. Giving was a universal practice in the first century.

16:2

On the first day of the week

The first day of the week (Sunday) was the traditional day of worship for the early church. There is no command to worship on Sunday. Giving was a regular part of worship on Sunday (Ac 20:7). Jews worshiped on Saturday (the Sabbath). Sunday was the day Jesus rose from the dead. Giving is to be systematic on a weekly basis. The principle here is the principle of regular giving.

let each one of you

Giving is an individual responsibility. None is exempt from giving, even those with limited funds. God will assess each of us very individually at the Judgment Seat of Christ. No one can do our giving for us. Giving is a personal between us and God. Note the words “each one” in 2 Co 9:7:

2 Co 9: 7So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.

Ro 14: 12So then each of us shall give account of himself to God.

2 Co 5: 10For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.

lay something aside,

Note the word “something.” Paul did not say how much the Corinthian believer was to give but that he was to give. The amount was at the discretion of each believer. Planning is necessary for excellent biblical giving. We need set a certain amount of funds as our objective in giving. This again is systematic giving.

storing up

We must pace our giving. It is easy to treat our giving as an afterthought. If we put priority on giving we will reserve amounts for a future giving point. We get the words “storing up” are from the Greek word thesaurizw or thesaurus, a treasury of words. Christians are to have a treasury storehouse, a repository of financial gifts to the Lord.

as he may prosper,

The phrase “as he may proper” indicates how much to give. God blesses us financially differently. We are to give according to how much He allows us to earn. We give in proportion to our earnings. There is no indication of giving 10% because that is not the standard of New Testament giving. Five percent may be a sacrifice for a widow with limited funds. The principle of prosperity is to give according to the standard of how God gives to us. God does not give a standard of percentage in New Testament giving. Each believer is to give from his heart (2 Co 9:6,7). This is the principle of proportionate giving according to a willing mind.

2 Co 8:12 For if there is first a willing mind, it is accepted according to what one has, and not according to what he does not have.

that there be no collections when I come.

Paul did not want the Corinthians to decide how much to give when he came because that might put extrinsic pressure on their giving. He wanted them to give from intrinsic motivation. No one should give from compulsion (2 Co 9:7). Many Christians give from manipulation or emotion. Paul did not want them to give based on the force of his personality.

The tithe was an income tax system in the Old Testament. There were three tithes, two tithes per year for two years and on the third year there was an additional tithe or 10% making it 30% for that year. The tithes for the third year were for the poor. Tithes are always in the plural, not the singular. If you want to give tithes, make sure you give at least 23 1/3 % of your income over a three year period! In addition to this you are to give “offerings.” Israelites gave both tithes and offerings. All this was done for the national entity Israel. A national entity needs an income tax system so that was the purpose of the tithe. The New Testament does not command tithes for the church. The idea for the church is an offering of proportional giving or as God has blessed the believer financially. There is no percentage in this system of giving.

PRINCIPLE:

Christians are to give out of principle based on how they are financially blessed proportionally by God.

APPLICATION:

Some people tithe to improve their business or get a girl. The idea is that if you put in your 10% then God will what you want—God is a glorified slot machine. Many Christians today respond to emotional appeals rather than to a set of priorities or principles. Many charlatans financially dupe evangelicals today making appeals based on something other than biblical principles.

God wants us to give proportionately according to how He gives to us. Has God blessed you abundantly financially? Give abundantly. The amount we give is not the issue but the motivation or heart. 

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