New Testament Giving – 1 Corinthians 16

Though 2 Corinthians 8 and 9 are the longest expositions concerning New Testament giving, there are in the Scriptures that are addressed to the body of Christ, more passages about this important topic. One of them is in 1 Corinthians 16:1-5. There we read:


“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.”


This passage is very similar in character with 2 Corinthians 8 and 9. Again the collection is for the (poor) saints in Jerusalem. They are the same recipients as in 2 Corinthians. It appears that the Jerusalem saints were in great need and the Corinthians, the Macedonians and maybe also the Galatians were contributing to help their needs. The new in this passage is the reference to storing for the poor on the first day of the week. The Greek text translated here as “the first day of the week”, is “on one of the Sabbaths”. It is used in some occasions in the New Testament but it is not clear to me what it exactly means. Regardless of this, what Paul says here to the Corinthians is that each one should make a kind of a fund for the poor, storing there on a regular basis (“on one of the Sabbaths”) as he may prosper. Notice the rule here: the rule is not the tithe. It is not “store up your tithes”. It is “store up as you may prosper” (1 Corinthians 16:2). Both poor and rich were supposed to store up, each one as he may prosper i.e. in accordance to their resources. 2 Corinthians 8 and 9 take this further adding the desire, the cheerful, non-grudging giver plus the other elements we saw there. The reason that Paul gives concerning the necessity of the regularity of these contributions is, as he says, “that there be no collections when I come” (1 Corinthians 16:2). This is the reason behind doing the contributions on a regular basis. Would these contributions continue forever, even after Paul came? No, not at least for this purpose. The contributions were for a specific purpose (“to help the poor saints in Jerusalem” – Romans 15:26) and were done on a regular basis (“on the first day of the week” – 1 Corinthians 16:2) so that they would not be done at haste when Paul would come. After Paul had come they would not continue, at least not for this purpose. But the principle is there, and the principle is that as Christians we should help our poor brothers. This would not be an erratic giving – though this could happen too – but could also be a giving on a more regular basis, based on the needs. We could be tipped to it from a church planter (like Paul here) or we could also be brought there directly by the Lord (“the rich and the poor meet together; the Lord is the maker of them all” (Proverbs 22:2).


Tassos Kioulachoglou






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