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THE FIRST EPISTLE OF PAUL THE APOSTLE TO THE CORINTHIANS - Chapter 16 - Verse 2
Let every one of you. Let the collection be universal. Let each one esteem it his duty and his privilege to give to this object. It was not to be confined to the rich on]y, but was the common duty of all. The poor, as well as the rich, were expected to contribute according to their ability.
Lay by him in store. par eautw tiyetw yhsaurizwn. Let him lay up at home, treasuring up as he has been prospered. The Greek phrase, "by himself," means, probably, the same as at home. Let him set it apart; let him designate a certain portion; let him do this by himself, when he is at home, when he can calmly look at the evidence of his prosperity. Let him do it, not under the influence of pathetic appeals, or for the sake of display when he is with others; but let him do it as a matter of principle, and when he is by himself. The phrase in Greek, "treasuring up," may mean that each one was to put the part which he had designated into the common treasury. This interpretation seems to be demanded by the latter part of the verse. They were to lay it by, and to put it into the common treasury, that there might be no trouble of collecting when he should come. Or it may, perhaps, mean that they were individually to treasure it up, having designated in their own mind the sum which they could give, and have it in readiness when he should come. This was evidently to be done not on one Sabbath only, but was to be done on each Lord's-day until he should come.
As God hath prospered him. The word "God" is not in the original, but it is evidently understood, and necessary to the sense. The word rendered "hath prospered" (euodwtai) means, properly, to set forward on one's way; to prosper one's journey; and then to prosper, or be prospered. This is the rule which Paul lays down here to guide the Christians at Corinth in giving alms—a rule that is as applicable now, and as valuable now, as it was then.
That there be no gatherings when I come. No collections, (logiai,) 1 Co 16:1. The apostle means that there should be no trouble in collecting the small sums; that it should all be prepared; that each one might have laid by what he could give; and that all might be ready to be handed over to him, or to whomsoever they might choose to send with it to Jerusalem, 1 Co 16:3.
In view of this important verse, we may remark,
(1.) that there is here clear proof that the first day of the week was observed by the church at Corinth as holy time. If it was not, there can have been no propriety in selecting that day in preference to any other in which to make the collection. It was the day which was set apart to the duties of religion, and therefore an appropriate, day for the exercise of charity and the bestowment of alms. There can have been no reason why this day should have been designated except that it was a day set apart to religion, and therefore deemed a proper day for the exercise of benevolence towards others.
(2.) This order extended also to the churches in Galatia, proving also that the first day of the week was observed by them, and was regarded as a day proper for the exercise of charity towards the poor and the afflicted. And if the first day of the week was observed, by apostolic authority, in those churches, it is morally certain that it was observed by others. This consideration, therefore, demonstrates that it was the custom to observe this day, and that it was observed by the authority of the early founders of Christianity.
(3.) Paul intended that they should be systematic in their giving, and that they should give from principle, and not merely under the impulse of feeling.
(4.) Paul designed that the habit of doing good with their money should be constant. He, therefore, directed that it should be on the return of each Lord's-day, and that the subject should be constantly before their minds.
(5.) It was evident that Paul in this way would obtain more for his object than he would if he waited that they should give all at once. He therefore directed them honestly to lay by each week what they could then give, and to regard it as a sacred treasure. How much would the amount of charities in the Christian churches be swelled if this were the practice now, and if all Christians would lay by in store each week what they could then devote to sacred purposes.
(6.) The true rule of giving is, "as the Lord has prospered us." If he has prospered us, we owe it to him as a debt of gratitude. And according to our prosperity and success, we should honestly devote our property to God.
(7.) It is right and proper to lay by of our wealth for the purposes of benevolence on the Sabbath-day. It is right to do good then, (Mt 12:12;) and one of the appropriate exercises of religion is to look at the evidence of our prosperity with a view to know what we may be permitted to give to advance the kingdom of the Lord Jesus.
(8.) If every Christian would honestly do this every week, it would do much to keep down the spirit of worldliness that now prevails everywhere in the Christian church; and if every Christian would conscientiously follow the direction of Paul here, there would be no want of funds for any well-directed plan for the conversion of the world.
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