Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Please Stop Mis-Using 1 Cor 16:1-2 as a Proof Text


The text reads:
Now about the collection for the saints: you should do the same as I instructed the Galatian churches. On the first day of the week, each of you is to set something aside and save to the extent that he prospers, so that no collections will need to be made when I come.
The next verse reads:
And when I arrive, I will send those whom you recommend by letter to carry your gracious gift to Jerusalem.
The entire context (including the context of the story as given by Luke in Acts, such as in Acts 24:17) concerns a special collection taken up by churches all over the Middle-East, to send to the poor Christians back in Jerusalem. You can see this rather clearly in 2 Corinthians 8:10ff:
Now I am giving an opinion on this because it is profitable for you, who a year ago began not only to do something but also to desire it. But now finish the task .... It is not that there may be relief for others and hardship for you, but it is a question of equality — at the present time your surplus is [available] for their need, so that their abundance may also become [available] for your need, that there may be equality.
The point is, what's spoken of in 1 Corinthians 16:1-2 has nothing to do with the regular weekly contribution we do in church every Sunday which is spent on our church needs. To claim that our collections for local needs is "commanded in 1 Corinthians 16:1-2", is to twist scripture. At most, this passage provides a proof-text for taking up a weekly collection for sending to poor churches, not for spending on the collecting church's needs.

I believe a weekly collection for our on-going church expenses is a Biblical concept, but this passage does not provide a proof-text for it, and should not be so used.

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