First Corinthians – Part 43
Last time we looked at the issue of a “soulish” person and a “spiritual” person and the fact that the immortal body will be “spiritual”. We look forward to the new body for many reasons — not only is it the means for us to experience eternal life but it is the way we enjoy it as well. The bare grain of 15:37 is how the body was set up originally — a far cry from the resurrected body (that which shall be). The specific resurrection mentioned here is that which occurs at the last trump and is found in Matt 24:29-35, 1 Thess.4:16 and Rev. 11:15,16. These passages relate to a different company and have nothing to say about our specific hope which was hid in God.
Paul begins with his characteristic “Now concerning …” where he answers yet another concern raised by the Corinthians (– see 7.1, 8.1 and 12.1) but this time about collection for the saints.
KJV 1 Corinthians 16:1 Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye.
Though this is not mentioned in the epistle to the Galatians we do have the contents of the order:
KJV 1 Corinthians 16:2 Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.
TBT 1 Corinthians 16:2 κατὰ μίαν σαββάτων ἕκαστος ὑμῶν παρ᾽ ἑαυτῷ τιθέτω, θησαυρίζων ὅ τι ἂν εὐοδῶται, ἵνα μή, ὅταν ἔλθω, τότε λογίαι γίνωνται.
The offering for the poor saints at Jerusalem is a part of the ministry to the Jew first — Paul mentions this in Rom. 15:25-28, 2 Corinthians 8;9 and also in the Acts — Acts 11:29-30, 24:17. It would seem that this collection was “money” and would be most appropriate since this was not an offering primarily “unto God” but to the poor — see “alms” in Acts 24:17. That there would be dearth throughout all the earth was a prophecy made by one of the prophets (Agabus) from Jerusalem who came to Antioch. Not only was this prophecy made but was also fulfilled in the days of Claudius Caesar. Claudius Caesar was the fifth Roman emperor, and came to the throne in AD 41. His rule lasted to AD 54 when his wife Agrippina poisoned him in order that her son could replace him in the throne.The disciples gathered relief and sent it to Judaea by the hands of Barnabas and Saul.
Notice it was the first day of the week when the offering was to be put in store — the expression is interesting ” κατὰ μίαν σαββάτων ” upon the first of the sabbaths — and means the first day after the Sabbath or the first day of the week. This was not an optional extra but an “order” a command or imperative ” let every one of you lay by him in store”. There is grace within the imperative — it was not a certain amount but as God had prospered them — Paul wanted this done as a practical measure so that there would be no fuss when he came.
3 And when I come, whomsoever ye shall approve by your letters, them will I send to bring your liberality unto Jerusalem.
4 And if it be meet that I go also, they shall go with me.
It was by no means certain that Paul would accompany those whom the Corinthians had written and appointed — but organization was needed to make things run decently and in order. The Acts period had an economy that was Jew first and every Christian felt its consequences.
5 Now I will come unto you, when I shall pass through Macedonia: for I do pass through Macedonia.
6 And it may be that I will abide, yea, and winter with you, that ye may bring me on my journey whithersoever I go.
7 For I will not see you now by the way; but I trust to tarry a while with you, if the Lord permit.
8 But I will tarry at Ephesus until Pentecost. 9 For a great door and effectual is opened unto me, and there are many adversaries.
It is clear that Paul’s journeys were not fully revealed to him “whithersover I go” — but were contingent on other mitigating circumstances ” but I trust to tarry a while with you, if the Lord permit” — the Lord may have alternate plans and Paul would be open to these. One thing he was certain of — he would stay at Ephesus until Pentecost since a great door of effectual witness was opened to him — but of course with this there were many adversaries.