Section two, chapter one...The Money Tree : LUSENET : church of Christ : One Thread


1 Cor. 16:1-3, “Now concerning the collections of 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. And when I arrive, whomsoever ye shall approve, them will I send with letters to carry your bounty unto Jerusalem.”

If we were going to this scripture without the traditions of the past how would we understand these verses? Paul is writing to individuals who possibly had inquired concerning how they were to prepare for the helping the poor saints in Jerusalem. Paul is going to visit Corinth. He will send letters with whomever the saints appoint to take the gifts to Jerusalem. So far so good. Here is Paul’s plan for their getting their bounty ready. Each is to lay by HIM in store, upon the first day of the week. This scripture is the foundation for the Money Tree that grows each week in the Churches today.

Here is how it could be read through the traditions of the institutional Church. “Upon the first day of the week let each one of you go to Church and put what you have set aside for that week in the plate so when I get there all the bounty will be available for the poor saints in Jerusalem.” But that isn't what it says. That is, however, what tradition would have us believe was in Paul’s mind in 1 Cor. 16:1-3

Because of the current “church” practices, the above verses have been badly polluted to fit into the thinking of today. This passage is very controversial. Because of the institution that has engulfed God’s family, responsibility has been laid on the members to support financially the big business of the “Local Church.” Tradition has taken this one simple passage and built something that was never heard of when the apostles taught the infant body. What did it build? An Institution, an IT!

The saints of God are intimidated into building the Money Tree by those who stand in the Pulpit week after week. Many times the above scripture is not even quoted correctly. When it says, “lay by HIM in store,” sometimes that is taught, “lay by in store.”Leaving out the HIM. That more easily fits the taking of the money to Church and putting it into the plate, to add to the Money Tree.

Why is this taught? Because of the tradition handled down and taught that the saints must “go to worship” on the first day of the week, so they can give into the treasury. Since the above scripture mentions the “first day of the week, that, to some, means the people were commanded to go to Church on that day. But why did Paul say they were to “lay by HIM in store" upon the first day of the week? We don’t know for sure. He didn't tell us. Literally, it says “the first of the Sabbath” which is an Hebraic expression. The Jews marked the days of the from the Sabbath, or seventh day. Therefore, Sunday was “the first of the Sabbath, Monday was the second of the Sabbath, and so on. They often called the whole week a Sabbath. The translators took the liberty of translating ton sabbatwn, first day of the week. The Jews were usually paid daily and this plan of laying aside weekly would assure there would be a bounty when Paul arrived. Possibly that is the reason for Paul's statement. Other than that we have no idea on which to offer a guess why Paul made the statement.

The verse, “Let each one of you lay by him in store” is the problem verse. The controversy hinges on this verse. The meaning in the Greek is that each one is to lay something alongside himself, storing it. The Greek words, par’ heauto means “alongside himself,” or ”by him” The second part of the greek word is the pronoun, “him.” In other words, something is being laid alongside one’s self. Paul is directing each saint to lay something away at home, storing it, every “first day of the Sabbath.” He is not directing the saints to bring their money to Church and drop it into the plate.

Unless the commentators have an agenda, they give the right rendering of the passage. The more scholarly the commentators are in the Greek language (experts) the more they give proof of the passage meaning keeping the bounty by oneself until Paul arrived.

Here are just a couple of the highly recognized Greek experts’ rendition of the passage.

George R. Berry (Interlinear Greek-English New Testament) “Every first (day) of the week each of you by him let put, treasuring up whatever he may be prospered in, that not when I may come then collections there shall be.

A.T. Robertson (Word Pictures in The New Testament) “Lay by him in store…By himself, in his home. Treasuring it.”

There are two more passages that are used today teach the saints that giving into the treasury is necessary for their salvation. With these two scriptures the teaching of the building of the Money Tree is solidified.

Matt. 5:20, "except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no wise enter into the Kingdom of heaven." Sometimes this passage is used to teach the saints that if they do not give more than 10% into the treasury they are no better than the scribes and Pharisees. This has nothing to do with the Money Tree.

2 Cor. 9:7, "Every man according as he purposith in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver." Give cheerfully....when? On the first day of the week when people go to Church and put money into the treasury? Nothing even hints to such a practice. Surely, when we give to the poor we are to be generous and cheerful, knowing what we do for others we are doing for our Lord.

Next I will send a copy of quotes from the Greek scholars. My husband gathered these together "in one place."


Bible Discussion lists:

-- Nelta Brock (, February 16, 2004


Hi Grant:


Logic question. If each person were to set/keep their contributions individually, how would that square with the "that no collections be made when I come". If each kept their own, wouldn't a collection be REQUIRED when Paul came? Thank you in advance.

-- Grant Wright (, September 15, 2004.

My take on this is thus. Paul told each to gather their bounty and have it ready when he got there. They were to treasure it up at home and not have to wait for him to arrive to get together what each wanted to give to the poor saints. We have been taught that each was to go to Church and put what they had gathered for that week into a common treasury. However, nothing in that context refers to such.

Your thoughts?


-- Nelta Brock (, September 20, 2004.

Logic question. If each person were to set/keep their contributions individually, how would that square with the "that no collections be made when I come". If each kept their own, wouldn't a collection be REQUIRED when Paul came? Thank you in advance.

-- Grant Wright (, September 15, 2004.

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