The Law of Giving and Receiving
After these things were ended, Paul purposed in the spirit, when he had passed through Macedonia and Achaia, to go to Jerusalem, saying, After I have been there, I must also see Rome.
The phrase “in the spirit” in the Aramaic texts reads “in his mind.” If we stay with the Greek texts, it should be understood as the spirit of man. In either language, it should be understood as Paul making a mental decision. Before Paul has even left Ephesus, he has set the basics of his itinerary. Ephesus to Macedonia, then Achaia, then travel to Jerusalem and then, on to Rome.
When these things had been accomplished, Paul made up his mind to travel through all of Mac-e-do’ni-a and A-cha’ia, and then to go to Jerusalem, saying, After I have been there, I must also see Rome.
But when these things were done, Paulus set in his mind to journey in all Macedonia and in Akaia and to go to Jerusalem, and he said, “When I have gone there, I must also see Rome.”
Aramaic Bible in Plain English
Remember Paul walked all the way across Asia looking for direction from God before he had his itinerary on his second journey. Then for his third trip Paul was only going to Ephesus if it was the will of God. Now, he has set his itinerary based on his own thoughts. We will have to pay close attention to what God’s Word has to say as we move through this section of God’s Word.
Before Paul leaves Ephesus, he will write the Epistles of Galatians and First Corinthians.
1 Corinthians 16:1
Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye.
This one short verse has a wealth of information for us to consider as we move forward in our walk with God.
1.It sends the mind to consider the Law of Giving and Receiving. 2.The context shows us where both Galatians and First Corinthians were written. 3.It shows us the order in which these epistles were written. 4.It demonstrates to us that the Pauline Epistles are encyclicals.
Now, let’s unpack these four points. Let’s begin with the three easy points.
The items we wanted to unpack first are; where were both Galatians and First Corinthians written, the order in which these epistles were written, were the Pauline Epistles encyclicals.
1 Corinthians 16:1
Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye.
Galatians was written before First Corinthians as stated very plainly in this verse. That the Corinthians could read what Paul said to the Galatians shows that the Pauline Epistles were indeed encyclicals. Both epistles were written from Ephesus.
And when this epistle is read among you, cause that it be read also in the church of the Laodiceans; and that ye likewise read the epistle from Laodicea.
An encyclical means an epistle would travel from village or town to the next town and so on. A community would make a copy and pass it on.
1 Corinthians 16:19
The churches of Asia salute you. Aquila and Priscilla salute you much in the Lord, with the church that is in their house.
Greeting from the churches in Asia because Paul's location when writing these epistles is Ephesus.
At the end of First Corinthians my Bible has a note, “The first epistle to the Corinthians was written from Philippi…” Paul would not be sending greeting from the churches in Asia if he were in Philippi of Macedonia.
Similarly, at the close of the epistle to the Galatians my Bible has the note, “Unto the Galatians written from Rome.” Paul will not be in Rome for a minimum of another three years.
Obviously, these notes after the close of the epistle are not inspired by God and are of no value. They are opinions of a certain man or maybe a group, but they are not God breathed.
Further, Paul sends greetings from Aquila and Priscilla, who, you will remember, were with Paul in Corinth, but have lived in Ephesus since they traveled to Ephesus with Paul in Acts 18. (Acts 18:18-19).
Now, let’s unpack what Paul is handling in the first few verses of 1 Corinthians 16, the collection for the saints.
The Law of Giving and Receiving
Abraham, when he was still Abram, can help us with the Law of Giving and Receiving.
And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God. And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth: and blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all.
These verses are a parenthesis. They interrupt the account of the King of Sodom. You can read from verse 17 and skip down to verse 21 without losing the context.
There are a few simple Truths we should take from these verses about Abram and Melchizedek. First, the name Melchizedek. The first part of his name, melek means king. Then, the second half of his name, sedeq means righteousness. Melchizedek means King of Righteousness.
For this Melchisedec, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him; to whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; first being by interpretation King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace.
King of Righteousness and King of Peace. The title King of Peace comes from being the King of Salem. Salem means peace. Jewish scholars affirm that Salem is later called Jerusalem. Melchizedek is also a priest of the most high God.
Abraham gives Melchizedek a tithe of every thing he recovered and brought back from his military victory. Abraham practiced the Law of giving and receiving through the tithe. But the sequence is out of order. Melchizedek speaks of God giving Abraham the victory and then he tithes. The correct sequence is to give first and then receive. The answer is simple. This is not when Abraham starts tithing, he was tithing before this event, this is just the first time God records it in his Word.
Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation. Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the LORD of hosts. And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the LORD of hosts.
God is talking about the Law of Giving and Receiving under the Mosaic Law of the Old Testament, during the Law Administration.
You cannot out give God! To Israel God promised He would open the windows of heaven and pour out blessings.
The principle is simple. Like a single kernel of corn going into the ground returns the farmer ears of corn. Opening the windows of heaven so mightily that you will not have room to receive back all that God gives you. One kernel of corn to receive ears of corn. Wall Street could never do as much under the best broker.
But notice another promise in these verses, “I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes…” What did Melchizedek say to Abraham, “blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand…” This also demonstrates to us that Abraham had been tithing to Melchizedek before this event. Notice another aspect of verses 18 to 20 of Genesis fourteen, there is no introduction between Abraham and Melchizedek. This tells us that they already knew one another.
That is the obvious observations from Genesis 14:18-20. There is a more subtle observation.
Jesus knew the Old Testament scriptures. He knew of this account of Abraham and Melchizedek, and he understood what these verses said of him, and what he was required to do because of this event.
The LORD (MEANING GOD) said unto my Lord (The Messiah), sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.
This sets the context of this Psalm for us. Then in verse four.
The LORD (AGAIN GOD) hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.
Jesus was to be a priest after the order, or in the manner, of Melchizedek. Jesus was to be a King and a priest. Not just a priest but the High Priest to Israel. Why do you think Jesus used bread and wine at the last supper? What did Melchizedek use with Abram?
Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
Jesus the High Priest to Israel and those who believed through the ministry of Jesus and his witnesses, like the twelve apostles, the two witnesses in the Book of Revelation, the 144,000 witnesses, and all others who believed and stood as his witness…
1 Peter 2:9
But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.
Jesus understood the tithe. Jesus understood the Law of Giving and Receiving because he understood the heart of his Father.
Verily, verily, I say unto you, except a corn (grain in the text) of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.
This is the Law of giving and receiving. This is a Law of God.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
How many will have everlasting life because God allowed His only begotten son to sacrifice his life? God is the first practitioner of the Law of giving and receiving. God gave that which was most precious to Him to gain more children.
This is the Law of giving and receiving, but it is not the point Paul is making to the Corinthians and others that would read this epistle. Paul is speaking of life on earth, not eternal life.
Paul set forth certain principles pertaining to the Law of giving and receiving in the Administration of Grace.
1 Corinthians 16:1-2
Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye. Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.
What had Paul told the Galatians?
Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.
The Greek word for burdens is baros and is speaking of a weight, a problem someone has encountered, that is a burden to carry. It could be mental, emotional, financial. What is the law of Christ?
For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
The Judaizes are so into the Law, Paul gives everyone a law, the law of love. You just have to appreciate God’s sense of humor. To the Judaizers, “You like law, well here’s a law for you.”
Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.
Paul told the Galatians that if they sow seed to the world, they will only reap corruption. But if they sow seed to the spirit, they receive eternal life from God.
Is this a new condition for receiving eternal life? The answer is, No. A very emphatic, NO!
The Galatians are turning back again to the world. They are giving in to the pressure applied by Judaizes who demand circumcision. All they will receive from the world is corruption. Paul is reminding the Galatians what they receive from God.
This is the figure of speech allegory. An allegory is a continued metaphor or a continued hypocatastasis, in this case a continued metaphor. The flesh represents sowing to the world and the spirit represents sowing to God.
Notice also the individual is deciding where to sow and what to sow. These verses begin with “a man,” and continues, “for he that soweth” twice, and “let us not be weary,” and finally, “as we have therefore opportunity.” The individual is deciding. No other person can decide this for you, consider auxano growth, stage by stage.
It is not about some person or group pressuring you to sow seed with them, it is about your decision as to where you will sow your seed.
1 Corinthians 13:1-3
Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.
We are not playing a game for public consumption. We are lining our lives up with what we see in God's Word. It is a walk of father and child.
In Paul’s second epistle to the Corinthians, he shares some other things about the Law of giving and receiving in the Administration of Grace.
2 Corinthians 8:12-13
For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not. For I mean not that other men be eased, and ye burdened:
This is what we saw in Galatians. God desires you to give willingly. God does not put you under obligation. God has shown you the benefit and profit of sowing seed, now it is a decision you make. Next, you may have heard the phrase, “Give ‘til it hurts.” That saying did not originate from the lips of God.
2 Corinthians 8:14-15
But by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may be a supply for their want, that their abundance also may be a supply for your want: that there may be equality: As it is written, He that had gathered much had nothing over; and he that had gathered little had no lack.
Therefore, we use the term shared abundance. Notice God does not say there is a fixed percent as with the tithe. It is your decision to share, it is your decision as to where you will share, and it is your decision how much you will share. In the Administration of Grace, we have a spiritual nature. We have the righteousness of God, we have Christ in us, therefore God has trust and confidence in us to walk worthy of our Lord.
2 Corinthians 9:6-7
But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.
Again, how much is shared is up to the individual, it is between the individual believer and God. But the mentality of the heart is very important. Not grudgingly (lype = grief, annoyance, regret), not out of necessity (anagke = compulsion, force), but cheerfully and willingly.
This is part of your walk with God and His son Jesus Christ. God and Jesus Christ are aware of the needs of others. Talk with God and Jesus Christ, what can be given and where or to whom? A meal here, a hug there, a word of encouragement over there, a financial blessing somewhere.
Sow to the flesh and you harvest corruption. Sow to the spirit and you harvest the blessings of God.
So, what have we seen concerning the Law of giving and receiving in the Administration of Grace?
1.Sharing of your abundance to the world brings a harvest of corruption. 2.Shared abundance spiritually brings blessings from God. 3.Shared abundance is up to the individual. 4.Shared abundance, unlike the tithe, has no percent attached to it. 5.Share sparingly and reap sparingly. Share bountifully and reap bountifully. 6.Shared abundance is part of your walk in the spirit. 7.Shared abundance needs to be done willingly, not grudgingly or out of necessity. 8.Shared abundance refers to finances, physical support, emotional support. It is sharing
of the abundance you have in your life.
Abundant sharing is a believer’s operation of the Law of giving and receiving in the Administration of Grace.
Now ye Philippians know also, that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only. For even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my necessity. Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account.
You cannot outgive God. But you can give out God’s heart and God’s blessing.
© Auxano Ministry 2022