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SermonIndex.net : Christian Books : 1 Corinthians 16:1-7

Commentary On Corinthians Volume 2 by Jean Calvin

1 Corinthians 16:1-7

1. Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the Churches of Galatia, even so do ye.

1. Caeterum de collecta quae fit in sanctos, quemadmodum ordinavi Ecclesiis Galatiae, ita et vos facite.

2. Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.

2. In una sabbatorum unusquisque vestrum apud se seponat, thesaurizans quod successerit, ne, quum venero, tunc collectae fiant.

3. And when I come, whomsoever ye shall approve by your letters, them will I send to bring your liberality unto Jerusalem.

3. Ubi autem affuero, quos probaveritis per epistolas, eos mittam, ut perferant beneficentiam vestram in Ierusalem.

4. And if it be meet that I go also, they shall go with me.

4. Quodsi fuerit operae pretium me quoque proficisci, mecum proficiscentur.

5. Now I will come unto you, when I shall pass through Macedonia: for I do pass through Macedonia.

5. Veniam autem ad vos, quum Macedoniam transiero: Macedoniam enim pertransiturus sum.

6. And it may be that I will abide, yea, and winter with you, that ye may bring me on my journey whithersoever I go.

6. Apud vos autem forte permanebo, aut etiam hibernabo, ut vos me deducatis quocunque proficiscar.

7. For I will not see you now by the way; but I trust to tarry a while with you, if the Lord permit.

7. Nolo enim vos nunc in transcursu videre: sed spero me ad aliquod tempus mansurum apud vos, si Dominus permiserit.

1. But concerning the collection Luke relates (Acts 11:28) that the prediction of Agabus, foretelling that there would be a famine under Claudius Caesar, gave occasion for alms being collected by the saints, with the view of affording help to the brethren in Jerusalem. For though the Prophet had foretold, that this calamity would be generally prevalent almost throughout the world, yet as they were more heavily oppressed with penury at Jerusalem, and as all the Gentile Churches were bound, if they would not be held guilty of very great ingratitude, to afford aid to that place from which they had received the gospel, every one, consequently, forgetful of self, resolved to afford relief to Jerusalem. That the pressure of want was felt heavily at Jerusalem, appears from the Epistle to the Galatians, (Galatians 2:10,) where Paul relates, that he had been charged by the Apostles to stir up the Gentiles to afford help. Now the Apostles would never have given such a charge, had they not been constrained by necessity. Farther, this passage is an evidence of the truth of what Paul states there also -- that he had been careful to exhort the Gentiles to afford help in such a case of necessity. Now, however, he prescribes the method of relief; and that the Corinthians may accede to it the more readily, he mentions that he had already prescribed it to the Churches of Galatia; for they would necessarily be the more influenced by example, as we are wont to feel a natural backwardness to anything that is not ordinarily practiced. Now follows the method -- by which he designed to cut off all hinderances and impediments.

2. On one of the Sabbaths. The end is this -- that they may have their alms ready in time. He therefore exhorts them not to wait till he came, as anything that is done suddenly, and in a bustle, is not done well, but to contribute on the Sabbath what might seem good, and according as every one's ability might enable -- that is, on the day on which they held their sacred assemblies. The clause rendered on one of the Sabbaths, (kata mian sabbaton,) Chrysostom explains to mean -- the first Sabbath. In this I do not agree with him; for Paul means rather that they should contribute, one on one Sabbath and another on another; or even each of them every Sabbath, if they chose. For he has an eye, first of all, to convenience, and farther, that the sacred assembly, in which the communion of saints is celebrated, might be an additional spur to them. Nor am I more inclined to admit the view taken by Chrysostom -- that the term Sabbath is employed here to mean the Lord's day, (Revelation 1:10,) for the probability is, that the Apostles, at the beginning, retained the day that was already in use, but that afterwards, constrained by the superstition of the Jews, they set aside that day, and substituted another. Now the Lord's day was made choice of, chiefly because our Lord's resurrection put an end to the shadows of the law. Hence the day itself puts us in mind of our Christian liberty. We may, however, very readily infer from this passage, that believers have always had a certain day of rest from labor -- not as if the worship of God consisted in idleness, but because it is of importance for the common harmony, that a certain day should be appointed for holding sacred assemblies, as they cannot be held every day. For as to Paul's forbidding elsewhere (Galatians 4:10) that any distinction should be made between one day and another, that must be understood to be with a view to religion, and not with a view to polity or external order.

Treasuring up I have preferred to retain the Greek participle, as it appeared to me to be more emphatic. For although thesanrizein means to lay up, yet in my opinion, he designed to admonish the Corinthians, that whatever they might contribute for the saints would be their best and safest treasure. For if a heathen poet could say -- |What riches you give away, those alone you shall always have, how much more ought that consideration to have influence among us, who are not dependent on the gratitude of men, but have God to look to, who makes himself a debtor in the room of the poor man, to restore to us one day, with large interest, whatever we give away? (Proverbs 19:17.) Hence this statement of Paul corresponds with that saying of Christ --

Lay up for yourselves treasure in heaven, where it will not be exposed either to thieves, or to moths. (Matthew 6:20.)

According as he has prospered. Instead of this the old translation has rendered it, What may seem good to him, misled, no doubt, by the resemblance between the word made use of, and another. Erasmus renders it, What will be convenient. Neither the one nor the other pleased me, for this reason -- that the proper signification of the word brings out a meaning that is much more suitable; for it means -- to go on prosperously. Hence he calls every one to consider his ability -- |Let every one, according as God hath blessed him, lay out upon the poor from his increase.|

3. And when I come As we are cheerful in giving, when we know for certain, that what we give is well laid out, he points out to the Corinthians a method, by which they may be assured of a good and faithful administration -- by selecting approved persons, to whom they may intrust the matter. Nay more, he offers his own services, if desired, which is an evidence that he has the matter at heart.

5. When I shall pass through Macedonia The common opinion is, that this espistle was sent from Philippi. Persons coming thence to Corinth by land, required to pass through Macedonia; for that colony is situated in the farthest extremity, towards the Emathian mountains. Paul, it is true, might, instead of going by land, have gone thither by sea, but he was desirous to visit the Macedonian Churches, that he might confirm them in passing. So much for the common opinion. To me, however, it appears more probable, that the epistle was written at Ephesus; for he says a little afterwards, that he will remain there until Pentecost, (1 Corinthians 16:8) ; and he salutes the Corinthians, not in the name of the Philippians, but of the Asiatics. (1 Corinthians 16:19.) Besides, in the second epistle he explicitly states, that, after he had sent away this epistle, he passed over into Macedonia. (2 Corinthians 2:13.) Now after passing through Macedonia, he would be at a distance from Ephesus, and in the neighborhood of Achaia. Hence I have no doubt that he was at Ephesus at that time: thence he could sail by a straight course to Achaia. For visiting Macedonia, a long circuit was needed, and a more disagreeable route. Accordingly he lets them know that he will not come to them by a direct course, as he required to go through Macedonia

To the Corinthians, however, he promises something farther -- that he would make a longer stay with them By this he shows his affection towards them. For what reason had he for delay, except that he was concerned as to their welfare? On the other hand, he lets them know how fully assured he is of their affection towards him in return, by taking it, as it were, for granted that he would be conducted forward by them in the way of kindness; for he says this from confidence in their friendship.

After saying everything, however, he subjoins this limitation -- if the Lord permit With this reservation, saints ought to follow up all their plans and deliberations; for it is an instance of great rashness to undertake and determine many things for the future, while we have not even a moment in our power. The main thing indeed is, that, in the inward affection of the mind, we submit to God and his providence, whatever we resolve upon; but at the same time, it is becoming that we should accustom ourselves to such forms of expression, that whenever we have to do with what is future we may make everything depend on the divine will.

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