At the start of the first church, the Christians shared their possessions*. Nobody organised that; it was a simple act of love. However, it soon became necessary to make proper arrangements for those gifts*.
We can see a later set of arrangements for the widows in the church in 1 Timothy 5:3-16. Paul did not want anyone who refused to work to receive anything from the church*. Of course, an older widow may be too weak to earn enough money for herself. Then, she should carry out acts of kindness and she should pray*. She should give herself completely to God*; then it is right for the church to provide for her.
Corinth’s Christians were sending a large gift for Judea’s poor Christians. However, Paul insisted that he was not simply taking money from Corinth’s Christians to give it somewhere else*. In fact, each group of Christians was sharing what it had with other Christians. Corinth’s Christians had money to give; but Judea’s Christians were holy people, with an especially close relationship with God in prayer.
Paul expected Judea’s Christians to accept, as a serious responsibility, that they must pray for Corinth’s Christians. Corinth’s Christians had only recently become Christians. Since then, there had been serious problems in their church. However, they had shown by this gift that God was working powerfully in their lives. Now, they needed prayer, so that they could develop and become strong in their relationship with Christ. Paul could see that the mature Christians in Judea were the right people to pray for them.
Next part: A gift beyond explanation (9:15)
* See complete article for these Bible references.
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© 2016, Keith Simons.