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1 Corinthians 16:2

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

Upon the first day of the week - Greek, “On one of the Sabbaths.” The Jews, however, used the word Sabbath to denote the week; the period of seven days; Matthew 28:1; Mark 16:9; Luke 18:12; Luke 24:1; John 20:1, John 20:19; compare Leviticus 23:15; Deuteronomy 16:9. It is universally agreed that this here denotes the first day of the week, or the Lord‘s Day.

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 only, 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 - ( παρ ̓ ἑαυτῷ τιθέτω θησαυρίζων par' heautō tithetō thēsaurizōn). 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 Sunday 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” ( εὐοδῶται euodōtai) 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 λογίαι logiai 1 Corinthians 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 Corinthians 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 toward 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 toward 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 hath 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 Sunday. It is right to do good then Matthew 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 lack of funds for any well-directed plan for the conversion of the world.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
The good examples of other Christians and churches should rouse us. It is good to lay up in store for good uses. Those who are rich in this world, should be rich in good works, 1Ti 6:17,18. The diligent hand will not make rich, without the Divine blessing, Pr 10:4,22. And what more proper to stir us up to charity to the people and children of God, than to look at all we have as his gift? Works of mercy are real fruits of true love to God, and are therefore proper services on his own day. Ministers are doing their proper business, when putting forward, or helping works of charity. The heart of a Christian minister must be towards the people among whom he has laboured long, and with success. All our purposes must be made with submission to the Divine providence, Jas 4:15. Adversaries and opposition do not break the spirits of faithful and successful ministers, but warm their zeal, and inspire them with fresh courage. A faithful minister is more discouraged by the hardness of his hearers' hearts, and the backslidings of professors, than by the enemies' attempts.
Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

Upon the first day of the week - The apostle prescribes the most convenient and proper method of making this contribution.

  1. Every man was to feel it his duty to succor his brethren in distress.
  • He was to do this according to the ability which God gave him.
  • He was to do this at the conclusion of the week, when he had cast up his weekly earnings, and had seen how much God had prospered his labor.
  • He was then to bring it on the first day of the week, as is most likely, to the church or assembly, that it might be put in the common treasury.
  • We learn from this that the weekly contribution could not be always the same, as each man was to lay by as God had prospered him: now, some weeks he would gain more; others, less.
  • It appears from the whole that the first day of the week, which is the Christian Sabbath, was the day on which their principal religious meetings were held in Corinth and the Churches of Galatia; and, consequently, in all other places where Christianity had prevailed. This is a strong argument for the keeping of the Christian Sabbath.
  • We may observe that the apostle follows here the rule of the synagogue; it was a regular custom among the Jews to make their collections for the poor on the Sabbath day, that they might not be without the necessaries of life, and might not be prevented from coming to the synagogue.
  • For the purpose of making this provision, they had a purse, which was called צדקה של ארנקי Arneki shel tsedakah, "The purse of the alms," or what we would term, the poor's box. This is what the apostle seems to mean when he says, Let him lay by him in store - let him put it in the alms' purse, or in the poor's box.
  • It was a maxim also with them that, if they found any money, they were not to put it in their private purse, but in that which belonged to the poor.
  • 10. The pious Jews believed that as salt seasoned food, so did alms, riches; and that he who did not give alms of what he had, his riches should be dispersed. The moth would corrupt the bags, and the canker corrode the money, unless the mass was sanctified by giving a part to the poor.

    Ellen G. White
    Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, 382

    Ministers have neglected to enforce gospel beneficence. The subject of tithes and offerings has not been dwelt upon as it should have been. Men are not naturally inclined to be benevolent, but to be sordid and avaricious, and to live for self. And Satan is ever ready to present the advantages to be gained by using all their means for selfish, worldly purposes; he is glad when he can influence them to shirk duty and rob God in tithes and offerings. But not one is excused in this matter. “Let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him.” The poor and the rich, the young men and the young women who earn wages—all are to lay by a portion; for God claims it. The spiritual prosperity of every member of the church depends on personal effort and strict fidelity to God. Says the apostle Paul: “Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not high-minded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; that they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.” All are required to show a deep interest in the cause of God in its various branches, and close and unexpected tests will be brought to bear upon them to see who are worthy to receive the seal of the living God. 5T 382.1

    All should feel that they are not proprietors, but stewards, and that the time is coming when they must give an account for the use they have made of their Lord's money. Means will be needed in the cause of God. With David they should say: “All things come of Thee, and of Thine own have we given Thee.” Schools are to be established in various places, publications are to be multiplied, churches are to be built in the large cities, and laborers are to be sent forth, not only into the cities, but into the highways and hedges. And now, my brethren who believe the truth, is your opportunity. We are standing, as it were, on the borders of the eternal world. We are looking for the glorious appearing of our Lord; the night is far spent; the day is at hand. When we realize the greatness of the plan of redemption we shall be far more courageous, self-sacrificing, and devotional than we now are. 5T 382.2

    There is a great work for us to do before success will crown our efforts. There must be decided reforms in our homes and in our churches. Parents must labor for the salvation of their children. God will work with our efforts when we do on our part all that He has enjoined upon us and qualified us to do; but because of our unbelief, worldliness, and indolence, blood-bought souls in the very shadow of our homes are dying in their sins, and dying unwarned. Is Satan always thus to triumph? Oh, no! The light reflected from the cross of Calvary indicates that a greater work is to be done than our eyes have yet witnessed. 5T 383.1

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    Ellen G. White
    Testimonies for the Church, vol. 3, 389

    Great objects are accomplished by this system. If one and all would accept it, each would be made a vigilant and faithful treasurer for God, and there would be no want of means with which to carry forward the great work of sounding the last message of warning to the world. The treasury will be full if all adopt this system, and the contributors will not be left the poorer. Through every investment made they will become more wedded to the cause of present truth. They will be “laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.” 3T 389.1

    As the persevering, systematic workers see that the tendency of their benevolent efforts is to nourish love to God and their fellow men, and that their personal efforts are extending their sphere of usefulness, they will realize that it is a great blessing to be co-workers with Christ. The Christian church, as a general thing, are disowning the claims of God upon them to give alms of the things which they possess to support the warfare against the moral darkness which is flooding the world. Never can the work of God advance as it should until the followers of Christ become active, zealous workers. 3T 389.2

    Every individual in the church should feel that the truth which he professes is a reality, and all should be disinterested workers. Some rich men feel like murmuring because the work of God is extending and there is a demand for money. They say that there is no end to the calls for means. One object after another is continually arising, demanding help. To such we would say that we hope the cause of God will so extend that there will be greater occasion, and more frequent and urgent calls, for supplies from the treasury to prosecute the work. 3T 389.3

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    Ellen G. White
    Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, 192

    I saw that it is time for those who have large possessions to begin to work fast. It is time that they were not only laying by them in store as God is now prospering them, but as He has prospered them. In the days of the apostles, plans were especially laid that some should not be eased and others burdened. Arrangements were made that all should share equally in the burdens of the church of God according to their several abilities. Said the angel: “The ax must be laid at the root of the tree.” Those who, like Judas, have set their hearts upon earthly treasure will complain as he did. His heart coveted the costly ointment poured upon Jesus, and he sought to hide his selfishness under a pious, conscientious regard for the poor: “Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor?” He wished that he had the ointment in his possession; it would not thus be lavished upon the Saviour. He would apply it to his own use; sell it for money. He prized his Lord just enough to sell Him to wicked men for a few pieces of silver. As Judas brought up the poor as an excuse for his selfishness, so professed Christians, whose hearts are covetous, will seek to hide their selfishness under a put-on conscientiousness. Oh, they fear that in adopting systematic benevolence we are becoming like the nominal churches! “Let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth.” They seem to have a conscientious desire to follow exactly the Bible as they understand it in this matter; but they entirely neglect the plain admonition of Christ: “Sell that ye have, and give alms.” 1T 192.1

    “Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them.” Some think this text teaches that they must be secret in their works of charity. And they do but very little, excusing themselves because they do not know just how to give. But Jesus explained it to His disciples as follows: “Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, they have their reward.” They gave to be regarded noble and generous by men. They received praise of men, and Jesus taught His disciples that this was all the reward they would have. With many, the left hand does not know what the right hand does, for the right hand does nothing worthy of the notice of the left hand. This lesson of Jesus to His disciples was to rebuke those who wished to receive glory of men. They performed their almsgiving at some very public gathering; and before doing this, a public proclamation was made heralding their generosity before the people; and many gave large sums merely to have their name exalted by men. And the means given in this manner was often extorted from others, by oppressing the hireling in his wages, and grinding the face of the poor. 1T 193.1

    I was shown that this scripture does not apply to those who have the cause of God at heart, and use their means humbly to advance it. I was directed to these texts: “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” “By their fruits ye shall know them.” I was shown that Scripture testimony will harmonize when it is rightly understood. The good works of the children of God are the most effectual preaching that the unbeliever has. He thinks that there must be strong motives that actuate the Christian to deny self, and use his possessions in trying to save his fellow men. It is unlike the spirit of the world. Such fruits testify that the possessors are genuine Christians. They seem to be constantly reaching upward to a treasure that is imperishable. 1T 193.2

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    Ellen G. White
    Spiritual Gifts, vol. 2, 232-3

    I saw that it was time that those who have their large possessions begin to work fast. It is time they were not only laying by them in store as God is now prospering them, but as he has prospered them. Plans were especially laid in the days of the apostles that some should not be eased and others burdened. Arrangements were made that all should share equally in the burdens of the church of God according to their several ability. Said the angel, The axe must be laid at the root of the tree. If the heart is wrapt in earthly treasures, like Judas they will complain. His heart coveted the costly ointment poured upon Jesus, and he sought to hide his selfishness under a pious, conscientious regard for the poor. “Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence and given to the poor?” He wished he had the ointment in his possession; it would not thus be lavished upon the Saviour. He would apply it to his own use; sell it for money. He prized his Lord just enough to sell him to wicked men for a few pieces of silver. As Judas brought up the poor as an excuse for his selfishness, professed Christians, whose hearts are covetous, will seek to hide their selfishness under a put-on conscientiousness. O, they fear Systematic Benevolence is getting like the nominal churches! Let not your left hand know what your right hand doeth! They seem conscientious to follow exactly the Bible as they understand it in this matter; but they entirely neglect the plain declaration of Christ, “Sell that ye have and give alms.” 2SG 232.1

    “Take heed that ye do not your alms before men to be seen of them.” Some think this text teaches that they must be secret in their works of charity. And they do but very little, excusing themselves, because they do not know just how to give. But Jesus explained it to his disciples as follows: “Therefore, when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee as the hypocrites do, in the synagogues, and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, they have their reward.” They gave to be regarded noble and generous by men. They received praise of men, and Jesus taught his disciples that it was all the reward they would have. With many, the left hand does not know what the right hand does, for the right hand does nothing worthy of the notice of the left hand. This lesson of Jesus to his disciples was to rebuke those who wished to receive glory of men. They performed their alms-giving upon some very public gathering; and before doing this, a public proclamation was made of their generosity before the people, and many gave large sums merely to have their names exalted by men. And the means given in this manner was often extorted from others by oppressing the hireling in his wages, and grinding the face of the poor. 2SG 234.1

    Then I was shown that this scripture does not apply to those who have the cause of God at heart, and use their means humbly to advance it. I was directed to these texts: “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” “By their fruits ye shall know them.” I was shown that scripture testimony will harmonize, when it is rightly understood. The good works of the children of God are the most effectual preaching the unbeliever has. He thinks there must be strong motives that actuate the christian to deny self, and with his possessions, try to save his fellow man. It is unlike the spirit of the world. Such fruits testify that they are genuine Christians. They seem to be constantly reaching upward to a treasure that is imperishable. 2SG 234.2

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    Ellen G. White
    Testimonies for the Church, vol. 6, 271

    Through circumstances some who love and obey God become poor. Some are not careful; they do not know how to manage. Others are poor through sickness and misfortune. Whatever the cause, they are in need, and to help them is an important line of missionary work. 6T 271.1

    All our churches should have a care for their own poor. Our love for God is to be expressed in doing good to the needy and suffering of the household of faith whose necessities come to our knowledge and require our care. Every soul is under special obligation to God to notice His worthy poor with particular compassion. Under no consideration are these to be passed by. 6T 271.2

    Paul wrote to the Corinthian church: “Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia; how that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality. For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves; praying us with much entreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints. And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God. Insomuch that we desired Titus, that as he had begun, so he would also finish in you the same grace also.” 6T 271.3

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