1 Corinthians 16:2 MEANING

1 Corinthians 16:2
(2) Upon the first day of the week.--The Greek phrase (as given in the best MSS.) is literally, on one of the Sabbaths--that being, after a Hebrew idiom, equivalent to "the day next after the Sabbath." Already the day of the week on which Christ had risen had become noted as a suitable day for distinctively Christian work and Christian worship. It does not yet seem to have been designated by the phrase by which it became subsequently universally known in Christendom--"the Lord's Day;" that name occurs first in Revelation 1:10. This would be a convenient as well as a suitable day for each one to set aside, as he had proposed, something, storing it up until the Apostle's arrival; for this was already the usual day for Christians assembling themselves together (Acts 20:7). I cannot think with Stanley and others that the Apostle means that each was to lay by "in his own house," and not in some general treasury. The object of this direction is expressly stated to be that the money should all be ready in bulk-sum when the Apostle came, so that his time and that of the Christian community during his visit might not be occupied with this, but with more profitable matters, which result would not have been accomplished if the offering had then to be gathered from each Christian home.

As God hath prospered him.--Better, whatsoever he may be prospered in. These words do not imply that only in cases of exceptional prosperity was a man to contribute, but every man was to give out of whatever fruits he had from his labour.

Verse 2. - Upon the first day of the week. This verse can hardly be said to imply any religious observance of the Sunday, which rests rather on Acts 20:7; Revelation 1:10; John 20:19, 26. Lay by him in store. The Greek phrase implies that the laying up was done at home, but when the money was accumulated, it was doubtless brought to the assembly and handed over to the presbyters. As God hath prospered him; rather, whatsoever he has been prospered in; i.e. all that his prosperity may permit. That there be no gatherings when I come; rather, that, when I come, there may then be no collections. When he came he did not wish his attention to be absorbed in serving tables.

16:1-9 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.Upon the first day of the week,.... In an ancient copy of Beza's, and in some others, it is added, "the Lord's day". Upon some one first day of the week, or more, if there was a necessity for it, until the collection was finished; though the Syriac and Arabic versions render it, "every first day": but this is not the apostle's intention, that a collection should be made every first day, but only on some one day, or as long as it was necessary: for at the close of the verse he gives this reason for it, "that there be no gatherings when I:come": whereas, if this collection was to have been every first day, and to have been always continued, it must have been when he was present, as well as when absent; but this was only designed for a certain time, and on a certain account: the reason of his fixing upon the first day of the week was, because on this day the disciples of Christ, and the primitive churches, met together for divine worship, to hear the word, and observe the ordinances of Christ; see John 20:19 and was a very fit reason for such a work, when their hearts were warmed with the presence of God and Christ, with the grace of the Spirit, and the doctrines of the Gospel, and their affections were knit to one another, and to all the saints: and so we find from the accounts of Justin Martyr (w), and of Tertullian (x), that it was usual for the primitive churches in the age following that of the apostles, after the worship of God was over, to collect money for widows and orphans, and for saints in distress, such as were banished into distant parts, or condemned to the mines; and this practice was very agreeable to the customs of the apostle's countrymen, the Jews, from whence he might take this, who used to collect for, and distribute to the poor on their sabbath (y).

"The alms dish was every day, but the alms chest from evening of the sabbath to the evening of the sabbath,''

It was collected and distributed then, as their commentators say (z).

Let everyone of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him. The persons who are to contribute are everyone, of every sex, age, state, and condition, male and female, young and old, servants and masters, the meaner as well as the richer sort; the poor widow threw in her mite into the treasury as well as the rich men: the act of communication or distribution is signified by laying by him in store; for this is not to be understood of separating a part of his substance from the rest, and laying it up "in his own house", as the Syriac version renders it, or the putting it in his pocket in order to give it; though both these acts may be necessary, as preparatory to the work: but it intends the very act itself: for communicating to the poor is laying up in store a good foundation for the time to come; it is a laying up treasure in heaven, and riches there, which will never corrupt: the manner in which this is to be done, and the measure of it, "as God hath prospered him"; according to the success he has in his worldly business, and the increase of his worldly substance, and which is the way to have it enlarged. The Jews have a saying (a),

"if a man observes his provisions to be straitened, let him do alms of them, how much more if they are large.''

The Vulgate Latin version renders, it, "laying up what pleases him well"; and the Arabic version, "what through liberality he pleases, and shall be convenient for him"; for this ought to be a freewill offering, as a matter of bounty and generosity, and not of covetousness, or of force and necessity, but as a man, of himself has purposed in his own heart, and which he does with cheerfulness and freedom.

That there be no gatherings when I come; who had other work, and greater service to do among them; besides, he was desirous of having this collection over and ready when he came, that he might directly send it away to Jerusalem, knowing the pressing necessities of the saints there.

(w) Apolog. 2. p. 98, 99. (x) Apolog. c. 39. (y) T. Bab. Bava Bathra, fol. 8. 2. Maimon, Hilch. Mattanot Anayim, c. 9. sect. 6. (z) Maimon. R. Samson & Bartenora in Misn. Peah, c. 8. sect. 7. (a) T. Bab. Gittim, fol. 7. 1.

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