Questions On Giving

Answers to some deeper questions regarding the collection on the first day of the week.

For What Purpose Do We Give (Besides Helping Poor Saints)?

Since 1 Corinthians 16:1-2 and 2 Corinthians 8-9 is talking about a particular collection for helping poor saints, what other things does the Bible teach us we can give for?

Supporting workers in the kingdom

2 Corinthians 9:8-14:

I am not speaking these things according to human judgment, am I? Or does not the Law also say these things? For it is written in the Law of Moses, “You shall not muzzle the ox while he is threshing.” God is not concerned about oxen, is He? Or is He speaking altogether for our sake? Yes, for our sake it was written, because the plowman ought to plow in hope, and the thresher to thresh in hope of sharing the crops. If we sowed spiritual things in you, is it too much if we reap material things from you? If others share the right over you, do we not more? Nevertheless, we did not use this right, but we endure all things so that we will cause no hindrance to the gospel of Christ. Do you not know that those who perform sacred services eat the food of the temple, and those who attend regularly to the altar have their share from the altar? So also the Lord directed those who proclaim the gospel to get their living from the gospel.

Even preachers that are working in other places

2 Corinthians 11:8-9:

I robbed other churches by taking wages from them to serve you; and when I was present with you and was in need, I was not a burden to anyone; for when the brethren came from Macedonia they fully supplied my need, and in everything I kept myself from being a burden to you, and will continue to do so.

Philippians 4:15-18:

You yourselves also know, Philippians, that at the first preaching of the gospel, after I left Macedonia, no church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving but you alone; for even in Thessalonica you sent a gift more than once for my needs. Not that I seek the gift itself, but I seek for the profit which increases to your account. But I have received everything in full and have an abundance; I am amply supplied, having received from Epaphroditus what you have sent, a fragrant aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well-pleasing to God.

Even those who are not preachers

Romans 16:1-2:

I commend to you our sister Phoebe, who is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea; that you receive her in the Lord in a manner worthy of the saints, and that you help her in whatever matter she may have need of you; for she herself has also been a helper of many, and of myself as well.

Providing For the Work of the Church

A church is required to meet together. How is that need to be met? That is largely left up to the congregation to decide, but it requires someone to provide either money or a place.

A church is required to teach the brethren to edify them. What resources need to be used? That is left up to the congregation, but it often requires resources.

A church is required to support the teaching of the lost. This also requires resources.

A church is required to eat the Lord’s Supper on the first day of the week. Someone must provide either money or the bread and fruit of the vine.

Can We Use Verses Like 1 Chronicles 29:1-6 as Biblical Authority To Give Other Things Than Money?

This is about what King David gave for the building of the temple. But if we can use that directly as justification for giving things other than money, we can also use it to authorize anything from the Old Testament worship being approved today.

But what it does teach us is an important principle:

If God wants something done, and that thing requires things to do it, it is right to give those things to help get it done.

There are New Testament passages we can use to make the same point.

1 Corinthians 16:19:

The churches of Asia greet you. Aquila and Prisca greet you heartily in the Lord, with the church that is in their house.

Prisca (Priscilla) and Aquila gave a place for the church to meet.

2 Corinthians 9:5:

So I thought it necessary to urge the brethren that they would go on ahead to you and arrange beforehand your previously promised bountiful gift, so that the same would be ready as a bountiful gift and not affected by covetousness.

2 Corinthians 9:12:

For the ministry of this service is not only fully supplying the needs of the saints, but is also overflowing through many thanksgivings to God.

It never mentions giving money. It mentions giving what will supply the needs of the saints. We assume it was money because that would be the easiest to transport but since there is no emphasis put on it being money, we cannot restrict it to money either.

Is it Right to Give Something to the Church For the Church to Sell?

This is a little different. As was pointed out in the question, in Acts 5:1-11, or in Acts 4:34-35:

For there was not a needy person among them, for all who were owners of land or houses would sell them and bring the proceeds of the sales and lay them at the apostles’ feet, and they would be distributed to each as any had need.

If you give something to the church just so the church can sell it, you are now giving the church work to do that is not its business. Selling things may become necessary (for instance selling a church building is necessary sometimes when a church must move), but that is not something the church should be involved in on a regular basis. In that case, it had the building for other purposes and selling it is just a necessity. In the case of giving the church something to sell, you are now giving the church an extra mission that is not from God.

I know of no authority for the church to be in that business.

What About Giving Part of Your Yield From the Fields?

In certain denominations, the members will bring part of their yield from their fields and the church will sell it. We have just looked at the idea of the church having selling things as part of its mission. But we have also seen that if there is a need that God wants taken care of, it is not wrong for brethren to supply the need. If there are brethren in need of food and that is the best way to supply them with food, a Christian would certainly not be required to sell it and give money to buy it back with. God has not made any such restriction in how the church is to care for its needy.

Conclusion

As we can see here, giving is an area where God has given some specifics, but also has given some room for judgement. We have both specific and generic authority in regard to giving. We are told the purposes of giving. We are given freedom in deciding what works best in providing for those needs as long as it is freely given by brethren.