Giving Gracefully for the Good of the Church
I. Directions for the Collection.
A. Consistency in Collection (1)
This word (which occurs only in these two verses in the NT) was used in papyrus letters for financial contributions, especially a collection that had religious overtones.
B. The Priority of Collection (2)
from the accounts of Justin Martyr, and of Tertullianx, 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.
C. Calling for the Collection (2b)
II. Distribution of the Gifts Collected. (3,4)
A. Character of those Handling the Collection
to make a critical examination of someth. to determine genuineness, put to the test, examine
for the poor saints there, who were reduced to poverty, either through the spoiling of their goods by their persecuting countrymen; or through the selling of their possessions, and putting their substance into one common stock, which was now exhausted, partly by their living upon it, and partly by the expending of it for the enlargement of the interest of Christ, and the spread of his Gospel among the Gentiles; so that it was but fit and reasonable that they should assist them in their necessitous circumstances: wherefore the apostle, after he had gone through the various subjects he thought fit to write upon, relating both to doctrine and practice, proceeds to give some orders, directions, and instructions, concerning this matter.
They were at that time weighed down with famine and were being treated cruelly by wicked people. The apostles had given Paul this responsibility to encourage the Gentile churches to provide assistance to them. Therefore he exhorts them to lay aside whatever was in their heart to contribute so that it might be delivered to Jerusalem without delay
B. Congregational Counsel Concerning the Distribution
almsgiving should be a voluntary act of generosity rather than a mandatory payment of a debt
churches need to discriminate between the deserving poor and lazy freeloaders
Christian workers must avoid all appearance of greed or financial misconduct. Drawing on these principles