Paul's deeply theological mind has switched abruptly to more practical matters and this acts as a reminder to the reader that this was a letter written at a certain time in a certain place by a once-living person to a group of individuals who had their own challenges, both alien to us and in many ways, so similar! The believers in Jerusalem were starving. Paul sought to bring together the various fellowships scattered around the Roman Empire to bring financial aid to them. Both the Jewish diaspora and the Greeks had a support network and Paul didn't want the Church to be behind them in their giving. Not only was it an exercise in testing the generosity of the Early Church, but it was a way of demonstrating its unity and was a way of putting into practical effect the teachings of Jesus. Paul writes about it in different ways: 1. He uses a Greek word which meant an EXTRA collection. This is a reminder that we cannot just give our tithes and assume that we have fulfilled our duties. We should have an eye out to give more if and when the need arises. 2. He describes the gifts as a free gift freely given. He doesn't tell them what amount to give, but to give as their prosperity demands and to give cheerfully. 3. He uses the word Koinonia in other passages. This Greek word means 'fellowship' and for there to be true fellowship, there must be sacrificial sharing. 4. He reminds his readers that sometimes what we cannot do in person, can be done through financial giving. 5. He encourages glad giving. It is not meant to be a drudge, but to be given out of thankful hearts. 6. He uses a Greek word which can be used as the word for an offering or a sacrifice. That which is given to a person in need is a sacrifice to God.
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