OFFERING–CONTRIBUTION

T. Pierce Brown

In 1 Cor. 16:1-2, we find Paul giving instructions to the church atCorinth, just as he had given to the churches ofGalatia. The principles about which he was teaching was, therefore, applicable to all churches of Christ everywhere, for all time. The particular situation was concerning “the collection for the saints.” This has reference to the poor saints inJudea(Acts11:27-30) who were suffering because of a famine and the disciples determined to send relief to them, sending it by Barnabas and Saul. As is suggested in 2 Corinthians 9:5, he thought it necessary to send beforehand and make up the bounty (their contribution) so it would be ready when the messengers got there.

So he gave “order”. This means that what he was writing was by commandment of the Lord (1 Cor.14:37). “Upon the first day of the week” was the time they came together to take the Lord’s Supper and worship (Acts 20:7). At that time, each Christian was to participate in the collection of money for God’s work–in this case, helping the poor saints inJerusalem. He was to set aside an amount which he was to determine on the basis of how well God has prospered him. As he says in 2 Corinthians8:12, “For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not.” God knew how much each man had, and how much he could share with others who had less if he had a loving heart. The Macedonians, even in the midst of poverty, were willing to give even beyond their power (2 Cor. 8:3) because they first gave themselves to the Lord (2 Cor. 8:5).

In order for the brethren to have the money ready when Paul got there, it was necessary to take collections beforehand, so they would not have to take them after Paul arrived, so they were put into the treasury of the congregation and saved for him to take and use in the work of the Lord.

Since God gave this command for the raising of money for one aspect of His work–the providing for the needs of the saints–it is the wisdom of God to use the same sort of arrangement to providing for the funds necessary to carry out any aspect of his work. If a person realizes that Jesus taught that it is more blessed to give than to receive, and that the souls of men are important, then he will try to do as the Corinthians did and give as he purposes and plans in his heart, according to how God has given to him. The time and manner of doing it is when the church is come together on the first day of the week.

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