SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
- Paul urges the Corinthians to set aside money every week so that they will be prepared when the time comes to offer it. Paul offers to write letters of introduction for the people they send the money with and also to accompany them if they want. But he also doesn’t want to take a collection. It seems Paul doesn’t want to be involved with money handling but wants it all to go to the believers in Jerusalem who are suffering a famine.
- Apollos was considered an apostle but verse 12 shows that there wasn’t a hierarchy or command system among them. It was less like an organization and more like a family.
- Paul tells the Corinthians to submit to people like those in the household of Stephanas. He doesn’t give them titles, offices or authority but simply says to follow the leadership of people who join in the work and labor at it.
SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
- We learn here that we are to give consistently ("on the first day of every week") (which, by the way, is when the church meets, these people were giving their offerings to God at their church) and we are to practice percentage giving ("each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with your income.
- Paul was vitally important to the churches he started. But without people who join in the work there would cease to be Jesus centered communities in those cities. While a leader has a great impact on a church nothing will be accomplished if people don’t step up.
NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
- Do you give (from your finances) consistently, or kind of haphazardly? Do you give a set percentage, or is the amount kind of random? How does your giving need to change to better honor God?
- Why do you attend church? Do you find yourself seeking for yourself, but not giving to others through serving them? The household of Stephanas were made up of people who led by example. Where is God telling you to get involved?
- It's powerful to have Bible verses memorized that we can tell ourselves when we need them. Verses 13-14 might provide a great passage to memorize from this book: "Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. Do everything in love."