Treasury - Only In An
(Continued from last
Judean Churches Had
Continuing to study our
theme, let us read Acts11:29,30: "And the disciples, every man according to
his ability, determined to send relief unto the brethren that dwelt in Judea:
which also they did, sending it to the elders by the hand of Barnabas and
Saul." Now, while it is not necessarily implied that these gifts were
placed in the treasury of the Antioch church, they certainly constituted
church-treasure once they were transferred to the hands of the elders of the
Judean churches, and remained such until distributed to the poor among the
"brethren." Therefore, the Judean churches had treasuries.
Church Had a Treasury
Let us now consider I Corinthians 16:1,2, which
reads: "Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I gave order to the
churches of Galatia, so also do ye. Upon the first day of the week let each one
of you lay by him in store, as he may prosper that no collections be made when I
come." Let us hear the comments of J. W. Garvey and Philip Y. Pendleton on
these verses: "The word "thesaurizoon", translated "in store," means, literally,
"Put into the treasury;- and the phrase "par' heauto," translated "by him," may
be taken as the neuter reflexive pronoun, and may be rendered with equal
correctness "by itself." Macknight thus renders these two words, and this
rendering is to be preferred. If each man had laid by in his own house, all
these scattered collections would have had to be gathered after Paul's arrival,
which was the very thing that he forbade. . . . It was put in the public
treasury of the church, but kept by itself as a separate fund." -
Commentary on First Corinthians, p. 61, Standard Pub.
Foundation, Cincinnati, Ohio.
The order therefore, which Paul previously gave
to the churches of Galatia and then extended to the church at Corinth was, that
every member should contribute to the store or treasury of the church, when they
assembled upon the first day of the week, so that when Paul arrived to receive
their "afore promised bounty", it would be ready -evidently in a special fund in
the treasury-to be dispatched to Jerusalem. His order and their compliance with
it did not institute a treasury in the church at Corinth, but rather involved
their use of it for the receiving and distributing of their gifts for "the
poor among the saints" at Jerusalem.
Impossible For Churches Without Treasuries
Did the early churches maintain treasuries
other than when benevolent emergencies were present? Let us continue the study
from another viewpoint. Paul to the Corinthians wrote: "I robbed other
churches, taking wages of them that I might minister unto you" (2 Cor.
11:8). How could churches pay wages to Paul unless these churches had resources
-treasuries from which to pay them? Certainly, they could not. The same apostle
penned these words: "Ye yourselves also know, ye Philippians, that in the
beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church had
fellowship with me in the matter of giving and receiving but ye only; for even
in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my need" (Phil. 4:15,16).
Again, it stands without argument, that the church at Philippi could not have
had fellowship with Paul in meeting his physical needs unless they had a
treasury! With regard to "desolate" widows, Paul again wrote: "Let none be
enrolled as a widow [to be supported by the church - GJP] under
three-score years old" (I Tim. 5:9). "If any woman that believeth hath
widows, let her relieve them, and let not the church be burdened; that it may
relieve them that are widows indeed" (I Tim. 5:16).
passages not only show that New Testament churches had treasuries but that no
real church work can be done without a treasury. To even call in question this
fact does not reflect a healthy attitude toward either the Lord's church or the
work that he has given it to do.
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