Why was Paul so focused on the collection in II Corinthians 8 & 9?

Glenn Addington By Glenn Addington, 14th Aug 2018 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/3b2u41kk/
Posted in Wikinut>Family>Religion

The historical background for Paul's collection emphasis in the eighth and ninth chapters of the book of II Corinthians.

The early church's first major problem.

Because of their conversion to Christianity, many of those who chose to become Christians were the victims of social and economic censorship. Their former friends and family members disowned them. Those who were in business lost their former customers, and soon became broke. This was especially so in the case of those who had formerly been Jews. Because of their newfound faith in Jesus, they were rejected entirely by their friends, family, and former associates. It was common then, and still is today, for a Jewish family to have a funeral for a living family member who converts to Christianity.

Christian love and generosity to the rescue!

The loving spirit of these first Christians is evident in their unselfishness. Verses 44 and 45 of chapter 2 tell of the believers meeting together and sharing everything they had. Many sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need. In Acts chapter 4, verse 32, we read, "all those who believed were of one heart and soul. No one said that any of the things that belong to him was his own, but they had everything in common." Verse 34 goes on to say, "There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them and brought the money to the apostles, and it was distributed to each as any had need." We are then told that Barnabas sold a field that belonged to him and gave the money to the apostles.

But extreme poverty was a persistent problem

This situation continued for quite some time. It may have been 2 to 3 years later that the complaint was voiced that the Grecian widows were being neglected in the daily distribution of food. This resulted in the choosing of the seven who were put in charge of this responsibility. Despite this problem, the church continued to grow. Chapter 6, verse one tells us that the disciples were increasing in number, and verse seven tells us that the number disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the Christian faith.

A new development: the apostle Paul becomes aware of this problem

Some believe that Paul's conversion took place in AD 34.
Three years later, when he visited Jerusalem for the first time, he saw the extreme poverty of the believers there. This got his attention and became a constant concern of his.
The purpose of his next visit, along with Barnabas, was to bring alms from the Church of Antioch for the brethren that dwelt there in Judea.
Fourteen years after Paul's first visit, he attended the Council of Jerusalem, which we read about in Acts 15. At the Council it was decided that Paul and Barnabas should take the gospel to the Gentiles. In addition, Peter, James and John expressed a desire that Paul and Barnabas should remember the poor; this most likely meaning the poor believers in Jerusalem. Paul tells us in Galatians 2, about that visit, and tells of his eagerness to do that.
In the 16th chapter of the book of first Corinthians, Paul instructed the believers there to lay aside some money, accordingly as each had been prospered, on the first day of the week. He informed them that eventually, when he returned to Corinth, he would make arrangements for this money to be taken to Jerusalem.
In the latter part of the book of Romans, Paul tells the believers there that he is going to Jerusalem, taking with him contributions from Macedonia and Achaia, which was the capital city of Corinth, “for the poor among the saints who were there”. In Acts, chapter 24, Paul explains to Felix the governor that his reason for being in Jerusalem was "to bring alms to my nation

The Corinthians believers were the first to commit to take up an offering for those in Jerusalem.

Paul reminded them, in chapter 8, verse 11, that they first had the idea to take up a collection for the poor in Jerusalem. This became known to the believers in Macedonia, who gave what Paul believed was an unbelievable amount, because of the incredible poverty they themselves were experiencing.
Paul's purpose in writing these 2 chapters in II Corinthians was to spur the believers there in Corinth to follow through on their original intent and complete the task.
Scripture verses were taken from the New American Standard Bible.
Please click on the line beneath my name above to see the list of my other articles. Your comments and welcomed and appreciated! Thank you.

Tags

Alms, Benevolence, Christian Giving, Christian Love, The Apostle Paul

Meet the author

author avatar Glenn Addington
I am an American, former Viet Nam veteran, and a Christian, living in East Tennessee. I am now retired and am pursuing a writing career. I would welcome writing assignments.

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