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QUESTIONS CONCERNING THE COLLECTION
By John Isaac Edwards

Paul wrote, "Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye. Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come" (1st Corinthians 16:1-2). This text answers several questions concerning the collection.

When? Answer: "Upon the first day of the week". The first day of the week is a day of great significance in the New Testament. On this day, Jesus arose from the dead (Mark 16:1-6), the risen Lord appeared to His disciples (Mark 16:9; Luke 24:13-35; John 20:19-29), the first recorded gospel sermon was preached and the church of Christ was established (Leviticus 23:15-16; Acts 2), and disciples came together to break bread (Acts 20:7). 1st Corinthians 16:2 is the sum total of all the New Testament says as to the time for a collection by the church. It is specific and exclusive. Inasmuch as every week has a first day, the collection is weekly.

Who? Answer: "Let every one of you". Paul addresses his letter "Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours" (1st Corinthians 1:2). Every saint is commanded to give and should consider it a blessing to participate in the collection for the saints.

What? Answer: "Lay by him in store". The fact that each Christian is to lay by in store suggests a common treasury into which members of the local church pool their resources.

How Much? Answer: "As God hath prospered him". In the Old Testament, God commanded tithing (Leviticus 27:30-34; Malachi 3:8). In the New Testament, the Lord's people are instructed to give as God has prospered them. Our giving is to be in proportion with our prospering. The more we prosper, the more we give.

Why? Answer: "That there be no gatherings when I come". There were poor saints in Jerusalem. Paul planned to travel to Corinth and wanted things to be ready when he arrived so that those approved could bring the liberality of the Corinthians unto Jerusalem. This shows that the early church regularly gave of their means upon the first day of the week.

Also, notice that the collection is for the saints. In the New Testament, relief of the church was limited to "poor… saints" (Romans 15:26). No doubt, there were hungry non-saints, but where do we find the New Testament church trying to feed and clothe those who were non-Christians?

The early church practiced giving as a part of their first day of the week worship, and so do we.

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