The Collection for the Saints (16:1-4)
The Collection. One of the most basic Christian privileges is giving. We have a giving God (John 3:16), and we ought to reflect His character. Throughout the New Testament we have instructions and patterns set forward for the assembly to have collections where funds can be gathered and used in the service of the Lord. Following on 1 Cor. 16:1-4, the most extensive inspired treatment of the issue of Christian generosity is found in 2 Corinthians 8 - 9. It fits in with the broader subject of 2 Corinthians because one of the ways Christian ministry is supported is through Christian giving. What was being given? We can give our time, energy, and love to the Lord, but money is what is spoken of in connection with the collection. Why is money to be collected? Money is a useful way to transfer substance. Yet money is something we naturally cling to very tightly. Christian giving is really a test for us, whether we love others, or whether we love ourselves; whether we consider our possessions to be our own, or the Lord's. Money is not evil; but the love of money is the root of all evil (1 Tim. 6:10). Hebrews 13:16 shows us that God is "well pleased" with the sacrifice of our substance. In his epistles, Paul clearly separates giving to the ministering for personal needs and giving to the poor. These are the primary uses of the collection in scripture.Read more…
- To support the servants of the Lord (Phil. 4:16; Gal. 6:6; 1 Tim. 5:17-18).
- To supply the material needs of saints living in poverty (1 Cor. 16:3-4; 2 Cor. 8-9; Acts 24:17; Rom. 15:25-26).
Paul’s Travel Plans: His Initial Visit to Corinth Postponed (16:5-9)
Practical Exhortations Concerning Service (16:10-18)
- Watchfulness. The first thing Paul tells the Corinthians is to “be vigilant”. The enemy, like a roaring lion (1 Pet. 5:8), was looking to corrupt and divide the saints in Corinth, and he had already been partially successful. The solution to this is to be vigilant or watchful.
- Steadfastness. The second thing is to “stand fast in the faith”. The presence of the definite article tells us that “the faith” refers to the body of Christian knowledge. The Corinthians had not been vigilant, and as a result they had imbibed false doctrine concerning the resurrection.
- Courage. The third thing is to “quit yourselves like men”. This means, ‘be men of courage’. We need courage to swim against the current of the world. It doesn’t mean to be callous or hardened. An example might be David, who “encouraged himself in the Lord”. This is the antidote to the problem of spiritual babyhood (1 Cor. 3:1).
- Strength. The fourth thing is to “be strong”. Strength and weakness in the epistles is often connected with being established in grace, and not entangled with law (i.e. 1 Cor. 8). Timothy was told to “be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 2:1). Perhaps the Sadducean error that had come in was coupled with a legal influence. We cannot know for sure.
- Love. The fifth thing is to “Let all things ye do be done in love”. This final exhortation is given to reinforce what the Spirit has taught in the eighth, ninth, and above all, the thirteenth chapter. Love is what ought to regulate all our activities, whether the exercise of Christian liberty, or the exercise of gift in the assembly.
The holy kiss is mentioned four times in the New Testament as a common expression of affection, to be used as a greeting for Christians (Rom. 16:16; 1 Cor. 16:20; 2 Cor. 13:12; 1 Thess. 5:263). There was to be a ‘kiss’, or display of affection; but it was to ‘holy’ as well. They were to be careful that their greetings were genuine, and above reproach. There are at least two ways a kiss could be unholy. First, if it is not genuine, like the kiss of Judas (Luke 22:47-48) or Joab (2 Sam. 20:9). Second, if it is sexually motivated or gives the appearance of evil (1 Cor. 7:1). Paul wanted to see affection between the saints, but he wanted it to be pure. God's desire is for warmth and affection to be present in the greetings of His saints. It is remarkable how a simple greeting such as a kiss can remove barriers, soften bitter hearts, and draw the Lord's people together.4
- Kelly, William. The First Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians. Bible Truth Publishers, 1975.
- Darby, J. N. Synopsis of the Books of the Bible. G. Morrish, 1940.
- In addition, we have a "kiss of love" in 1 Pet. 5:14.
- Should we still practice the holy kiss today? If God had intended some other form of greeting He would have specified it. In many cultures around the world, a greeting with a kiss is still common and socially appropriate. However, in some western cultures a kiss in public would have the appearance of evil. For example, in the United States, two men kissing in public, or a man kissing another man's wife, would give the appearance of evil, and therefore could not be considered "a holy kiss". In these cases, a different greeting could be used, or else discretion should govern the times and places the holy kiss is used.