Here, Paul exercises his apostolic authority, in response to
their own question, by giving a command. But, in 2Co 8:8, he speaks: "not by
commandment..." but rather in mild entreaty. Between the 1st letter and the 2nd,
Paul's apostolic authority has been seriously questioned.
"Speak to us, Lord, till, shamed by Thy great
Our hands unclasp to set our treasures free;
Our wills, our love, our dear ones, our possessions
All gladly yielded, gracious Lord, to Thee."
Vv 1-4: The collection. Each course of priests in Temple
brought a contribution on Sabbath when they began a new week's service (Temple
The giving of money to those in need is part of the service
that the brethren and sisters could do for others. In Jerusalem there were many
brethren and sisters who were destitute because of their faith in Jesus. Jewish
brethren, who accepted Jesus, were "put out of the synagogue". The implication
of this is that they were ostracized by their Jewish brethren, and thus would
not be able to work in a Jewish environment. They would lose all their friends
as well. With no social security they were truly destitute.
The rule of the collection: (1) Regularly ("on the first day
of every week"), (2) Individually ("each one of you"), and (3) Proportionately
("in keeping with his income").
FIRST DAY: Day of Christ's resurrection AND day of
This is one of the few places where scripture actually gives
us an instruction to do something regularly on the first day of the week. There
is no specific instruction about breaking bread weekly. But there were plainly
practical reasons for the use of the first day for a regularly-scheduled
breaking of bread: (1) Slaves of the Romans had the first day of the week off.
(2) The synagogues were vacant on the first day, for the Jews met on the
sabbath. (3) Christ rose on the first day, and the early Christians were
preaching the resurrection.
IF THE LORD PERMITS: Cp 1Co 4:19; Jam 4:15; Act
Open doors: for restored communion (2Ch 29:3); deliverance
from prison (Act 5:19); surrender and welcome (Rev 3:20); answered prayer (Mat
7:7); and opportunity for service (1Co 16:9; Rev 3:8).
Shut doors: for safety (Gen 7:16; Isa 26:20); privacy and
communion (Mat 6:6); faith and prayer (2Ki 4:5,21,33); and separation and
rejection (Mat 25:10).
SEE TO IT THAT HE HAS NOTHING TO FEAR: It seems to be a
problem wherever Timothy goes, that he is despised, or discounted, because of
his youth (1Ti 4:12; 2Ti 1:7). There were serious problems at Corinth,
doubtlessly Timothy would have had hard things to say to them. Paul, it seems,
was conscious of the possibility that the brethren might well have been hostile
towards Timothy because of his message. His comment here would let it be known
to the Corinthians that he was aware of that possibility. Such knowledge may
well have tempered their response to Timothy.
Poss Apollos was staying away so as not to undermine Paul's
message (1Co 1:12).
Cp 1Sa 4:9, where the Philistines are encouraged not to become
servants to Hebrews.
THEY HAVE DEVOTED THEMSELVES TO THE SERVICE OF THE
SAINTS: "If someone were to call us an addict, no doubt our first reaction
would be to feel insulted. This need not be the case for the word addict means
to devote, to give oneself up habitually. It is certainly in this sense that
Paul tells us that 'the house of Stephanas had addicted themselves to the
ministry of the saints.'
"Unfortunately the word today is used mostly to describe those
who are slaves to a bad habit such as tobacco, liquor or drugs. These people
certainly are devoted to serving these vices and so the word aptly describes
their slavery. We are all a slave to something, as Paul tells us, either to
Christ or to sin. What are you addicted to? How wonderful to be addicted to
ministering to the saints of God. This is the kind of addiction we need"
Notice the effect that a pastoral visit had on Paul. We tend
to think of spiritual giants as being self sufficient. This should show us that
they are not. Even to a very strong (and apparently self-sufficient) brother or
sister, he fellowship of a likeminded brother or sister can be
A CURSE BE ON HIM. COME, O LORD: In KJV, "Anathema
Maranatha" = "A curse (or let him be cursed) at the Lord's coming!" (But "Come,
O Lord" should perhaps -- as in NIV -- be a new sentence.)