Vol. 11 No. 10 October 2009
Too Heavy for the Collection Plate
Louis Rushmore, Editor
Question: When one speaks about giving on the first day of the week (1 Cor. 16:1-2), is it biblical for one to give something other than money itself? In other words, if the congregation needed a van, would that count as one’s offering if he gave it (patterned after 1 Cor. 16:1-2), and would that be a part of the treasury?
First Corinthians 16:1-2 reads, “Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given orders to the churches of Galatia, so you must do also: On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper, that there be no collections when I come.” Additional instruction that the apostle gave to the Corinthian church appears in 2 Corinthians 9:7, which reads, “So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.”
Ordinarily contemporary persons suppose that contributions would certainly be in the form of money (i.e., coins, currency or checks), but the passages cited do not define the form of the prosperity that one purposes to give back to the Lord. Anciently in biblical times, the tithe (which specified the quantity whereas the specific quantity is not specified in the New Testament) included heavy proportions of non-monetary contributions. The tithe was “the tenth part both of the produce of the land and of the increase of the flock, enjoined in the Mosaic law to be devoted by every Israelite to the servants of the sanctuary, and to the hospitable meals provided on the festivals for the poor and needy (Lev 27:30-33; Num 18:21-32; Deut 12:5-18; 14:22-29; 26:12-14)” (McClintock and Strong Encyclopedia. CD-ROM. Seattle: Biblesoft, 2000.) The tithe was the divine command about giving that predated the divine command for giving under the New Testament.
So, “Yes!” It might be a little heavy for the collection plate, but one could give a van to the Lord out of the abundance of his prosperity and according to the purpose of his heart. The van would be as much a part of the financial resources (treasury, if you must) as coins, currency, checks and church property, just in a different form than most contemporary gifts to the Lord.
Louis Rushmore, Editor
Question: What were the writers of the Old and New Testaments called?
The apostle Peter penned by inspiration respecting those whose writings comprised the Old Testament, “knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:20-21). Here, the apostle described them as “holy men,” and what they spoke and what they wrote were prophecies, making them prophets of God. Often, prophets who did not write their prophecies are distinguished from those prophets whose prophecies were written down, and which prophecies or teachings appear in the Old Testament, by referring to the latter as the “writing prophets” (Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary. CD-ROM. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1986; International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia. CD-ROM. Seattle: Biblesoft, 1996).
Materially, there is no difference between Old Testament and New Testament writers, only the time period and content of their messages differ. Most of the New Testament was written by the inspired pen of the apostle Paul. The apostles Peter and John plus two of our Lord’s half brothers and other inspired writers penned New Testament books, too.
“According to the uniform teaching of the Bible the prophet is a speaker of or for God” (International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia). The chief duty of the prophet was to transmit or forth tell the will of God to fellow mortals. Sometimes, though, the prophet’s divinely inspired message included foretelling the future, such as in Old Testament prophecies about the establishment of the spiritual kingdom and the coming of the Messiah. Therefore, New Unger’s Bible Dictionary says of the prophet: “One who is divinely inspired to communicate God’s will to His people and to disclose the future to them” (CD-ROM. Chicago: Moody P., 1988).
We can discern from such observations above some designations for those approximately 40 divinely inspired persons whose writings make up the Old and New testaments. However, it is more important to handle aright the Word of God (2 Timothy 2:15) and obey the Gospel of Jesus Christ (Hebrews 5:9; 2 Thessalonians 1:8).