In order to explain this verse, we need to read 1 Corinthians 16:1-4. That says, “Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I directed the churches of Galatia, so do you also. On the first day of every week each one of you is to put aside and save, as he may prosper, so that no collections be made when I come. When I arrive, whomever you may approve, I will send them with letters to carry your gift to Jerusalem; and if it is fitting for me to go also, they will go with me” (NASB).

These verses teach us that a special collection was being made up for needy saints in Jerusalem. Perhaps this need was the result of the famine spoken of in Acts 11:27-30 which reads, “Now at this time some prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. One of them named Agabus stood up and began to indicate by the Spirit that there would certainly be a great famine all over the world. And this took place in the reign of Claudius. And in the proportion that any of the disciples had means, each of them determined to send a contribution for the relief of the brethren living in Judea. And this they did, sending it in charge of Barnabus and Saul to the elders” (NASB). It is beautiful to see the love displayed in the early church in this practical way. A great and prolonged famine hit the saints at Jerusalem hard, and it is most precious to witness the unity of the church as Gentile believers ministered of their means to their Jewish brethren. This ministry began in Antioch but in time many other assemblies felt led of the Lord to dig into their wallets to help meet the needs of their brothers and sisters in Jerusalem.

We learn a very important principle about giving in these portions. Their giving was to be PROPORTIONATE. We saw in Acts 11:29 it was to be “in the proportion that any of the disciples had means,” and in 1 Corinthians 16:2as he may prosper.” God doesn’t expect us to give “beyond our means”; He desires that we give “according to our means.” We see this same principle in 2 Corinthians 8:12, “it is acceptable according to what a person has, not according to what he does not have.”

We also learn that giving was to be OPEN and HONEST before all men. This is the main lesson of verse 3, for when Paul arrived to arrange the sending of the collection to Jerusalem, he said, “whomever you may approve, I will send them with letters to carry your gift to Jerusalem.” Paul knew that the world was constantly watching Christians and he would have the church at Corinth pick men that were known for their honesty and integrity to handle the money. Notice they were to choose “men” for this job, NOT “one man.” Why is this? Because they were to avoid suspicion, for the world might accuse one man of taking some of the money for himself. We learn in Paul’s next epistle to the Corinthians that this principle was faithfully carried out in connection with this collection, for along with Titus, two other faithful men were chosen. 2 Corinthians 8:18-22 states, “We have sent along with him the brother whose fame in the gospel has spread through all the churches; and not only this, but he has also been appointed by the churches to travel with us in this gracious work, which is being administered by us for the glory of the Lord Himself, and to show our readiness, taking precaution so that no one will discredit us in our administration of this generous gift; for we have regard for what is honorable, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men. We have sent with him our brother, whom we have often tested and found diligent in many things” (NASB). How practical our God is! He will see to it that our testimony before men is above board, and that He is glorified in the gifts that we give. (171.9) (DO)