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The Collection for Christians at Jerusalem


Now it is not necessary for me to write you about the ministry to the saints, 2for I know your eagerness, which is the subject of my boasting about you to the people of Macedonia, saying that Achaia has been ready since last year; and your zeal has stirred up most of them. 3But I am sending the brothers in order that our boasting about you may not prove to have been empty in this case, so that you may be ready, as I said you would be; 4otherwise, if some Macedonians come with me and find that you are not ready, we would be humiliated—to say nothing of you—in this undertaking. 5So I thought it necessary to urge the brothers to go on ahead to you, and arrange in advance for this bountiful gift that you have promised, so that it may be ready as a voluntary gift and not as an extortion.

6 The point is this: the one who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the one who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 7Each of you must give as you have made up your mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that by always having enough of everything, you may share abundantly in every good work. 9As it is written,

“He scatters abroad, he gives to the poor;

his righteousness endures forever.”

10 He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. 11You will be enriched in every way for your great generosity, which will produce thanksgiving to God through us; 12for the rendering of this ministry not only supplies the needs of the saints but also overflows with many thanksgivings to God. 13Through the testing of this ministry you glorify God by your obedience to the confession of the gospel of Christ and by the generosity of your sharing with them and with all others, 14while they long for you and pray for you because of the surpassing grace of God that he has given you. 15Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!


By the term administration, he means what he had undertaken at the request of the Churches. Now what we render functionem (service), is in the Greek λειτουργία term that sometimes denotes a sacrifice, sometimes any office that is publicly assigned. 730730     The term λειτουργία is very frequently made use of in the Septuagint, in connection with the sacrifices and other services of the priests and Levites. (See Exodus 38:21; Numbers 4:24, and Numbers 8:22.) It is commonly employed by the Greek writers to denote a public service, more especially at Athens, discharged by the richer citizens at their own expense, and usually in rotation. The λειτουργοὶ, says Potter, in his Grecian Antiquities, (volume 1,) were “persons of considerable estates, who, by their own tribe, or the whole people, were ordered to perform some public duty, or supply the commonwealth with necessaries at their own expenses. Of these there were diverse sorts, all of which were elected out of twelve hundred of the richest citizens, who were appointed by the people to undergo, when they should be required, all the burdensome and chargeable offices in the commonwealth, every tribe electing an hundred and twenty out of their own body, though this was contrary to Solon’s constitution, by which every man, of what quality soever, was obliged to serve the public according to his ability, with this exception only, that two offices should not be imposed on the same person at once, as we are informed by Demosthenes, in his oration against Leptines, where he likewise mentions an ancient law, requiring every man to undergo some λειτουργία every second year.” — Ed. Either of them will suit this passage well. For on the one hand, it is no unusual thing for alms to be termed sacrifices; and, on the other hand, as on occasion of offices being distributed among citizens, 731731     “Les charges estans distribuees, en vne ville entre les citoyens d’icelle;” — “Offices being distributed in a town among the citizens of it.” no one grudges to undertake the duty that has been assigned him, so in the Church, imparting to others ought to be looked upon as a necessary duty. 732732     “Ainsi en l’Eglise la communication consiste en ce que chacun s’acquitte enuers ses prochains de ce qu’il leur doit en charite;” — “So in the Church, imparting to others consists in every one’s discharging to his neighbours, what he owes them, in love.” The Corinthians, therefore, and others, by assisting the brethren at Jerusalem, presented a sacrifice to God, or they discharged a service that was proper, and one which they were bound to fulfill. Paul was the minister of that sacrifice, but the term ministry, or service, may also be viewed as referring to the Corinthians. It is, however, of no particular importance.

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