25 But now I am going to Jerusalem to minister to the saints. 26 For it pleased those from Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor among the saints who are in Jerusalem. 27 It pleased them indeed, and they are their debtors. For if the Gentiles have been partakers of their spiritual things, their duty is also to minister to them in material things.
Having stated his long range plans to go to Rome and Spain, Paul now stated his immediate plan.
I am going to Jerusalem to minister to the saints.
Paul’s immediate plan was to go to Jerusalem to deliver financial contributions for persecuted saints (Ac 24:17). He viewed financial support of the church in Jerusalem as a ministry.
For it pleased those from Macedonia and Achaia
Greek churches from the northern province of Macedonia and the southern province of Achaia gave to the church in Jerusalem. It was their pleasure to do so; they delighted in giving to people who meant so much to them.
to make a certain contribution [fellowship] for the poor among the saints who are in Jerusalem.
Almost all giving to the poor in the Bible is to believers, not unbelievers (1 Co 16:1-4; 9:12-13). The Greek word for “contribution” is fellowship, an act of sharing something. The Greek church fellowshipped with the Jerusalem church by financial support.
It pleased them indeed,
The repetition of the word “pleased” in verses 26 and 27 indicates contributions based on the grace principle.
and they are their debtors.
Not only was their giving based on grace, but there was also a sense of obligation. This was a moral debt, not a legal one. The churches of Greece were in debt to the Jerusalem churches for “spiritual” blessings.
For if the Gentiles have been partakers of their spiritual things,
There is a correlation between receiving spiritual things and material things. The Jerusalem church launched the gospel to the world.
their duty is also to minister to them in material things.
The “duty” of Gentile churches was to minister to Jewish Jerusalem churches financially.
Motivation for giving is the principle of grace.
In his letter to Second Corinthians Paul appealed to the Macedonians to give on the principle of grace (2 Co 8,9). It is the will as well as the gift that makes the giver.
The context of Corinthians was the collection for the poor saints in Jerusalem. We should remember that biblical giving is overwhelmingly to the saints, whether in the Old Testament or the New Testament. It is a sad thing to watch evangelicals of our day put the emphasis in the wrong place in their giving. Evangelical young adults today give out of sentimentality rather than biblical priority. The church cannot meet the physical needs of the world. This is not to say that the Christian should not give to those needs, but it is not God’s priority for giving. God’s priority is the church and its mission to the world.