Question:

Dear Jeffrey,

I have a question: did the church at Corinth collect offering every first day of the week before Paul wrote to them. After Paul and his team picked what the Corinthian church donated, did they continue to take collection every first day of the week?  If so, how do we know?

Does your Bible read: Concerning the collection that would be sent to the saints, let it be done every week? You say that the Greek Bible says every first day of the wee. What of us who do not know the Greek language, what do we do? I believe God would use the language we understand to judge us.

Answer:

"Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I directed the churches of Galatia, so do you also. On the first day of every week each one of you is to put aside and save, as he may prosper, so that no collections be made when I come" (I Corinthians 16:1-2).

A knowledge of Greek is not required to understand that the collection was done on each first day of the week (Sunday). "Every" appears in most translations. The word "every" translates the Greek word kataKata has a large range of meanings depending on what it is being used with. In regards to time, it means at a specific time ("at" or "on") or it can mean throughout a period ("every"). In this case, it is clear that there would be a number of Sundays between receiving the letter and Paul's arrival, so Paul was talking about every first day of the week.

Even if the translation you use says "on" instead of "every," you can deduce that every first day of the week was intended. If your boss told you payday is on Friday, you would expect a paycheck every Friday and not just one check. In the same way, a collection on Sunday implies every Sunday.

If this were the only expense, you might be able to argue that no other collections occurred. However, we know that churches had collected money for taking care of needy saints (Acts 4:34-5:11). They supported preachers (Philippians 4:15) -- in fact, Paul argued that preachers had a right to expect payment for their work (I Corinthians 9:14). We also know that some congregations met in upper rooms (rented facilities, usually above a store) (Acts 20:8). These expenses had to have been paid for from some sort of fund. Therefore, we deduce that churches collected money for other purposes at other times.

None of the other examples of collecting money mentions a timeframe. Only I Corinthians 16:1-2, specifically states that the collection for the needy in Judea was to be done on the first day of the week. This makes sense since it is the day that the church assembled for worship (Acts 20:7). Given that there is no other indication of collections on other days, we limit our collections to each first day of the week and only on the first day of the week.

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