Does I Corinthians 16:2 Support Sunday Worship?

In this post, learn how many Christians distorted the real meaning of I Corinthians 16:2 and why it doesn’t support Sunday worship.

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I Corinthians 16:2 is among the Bible verses that people use to support their Sunday Worship. They would use this verse to argue that the Sabbath command is no longer applicable to Christians today, but instead, we must come together on Sunday.

Widespread wrong interpretation

However, is this what the Bible really teaches? Let’s examine.

Let’s read I Corinthians 16, starting verse 1 to get a better context:

Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given orders to the churches of Galatia, so you must do also…

Continuing to verse 2:

On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper, that there be no collections when I come.

Now, the common understanding of these verses is that the common practice of early churches in the first century is to gather together on the first day of the week. As supposedly evidenced by verse 2, it is saying that during a Sunday religious service, they were taking up a collection.

However, a quick look at the context of these verses will immediately tell you that what most people believe is actually WRONG!

First of all, I Corinthians 16:1-2 never said anything about having a religious church service. You can go back and read these verses and you’ll soon see that it is only an unfounded assumption that the church at that time is having a religious service.

The difference between Sunday Worship and Sabbath Day
The difference between Sunday Worship and Sabbath Day

Collection to be done while Paul hadn’t arrived yet

So, what is being said here?

First of all, verse 1 says that Paul instructed the brethren to have a “collection for the saints.” Who are these saints? These saints are the brethren living in Jerusalem. 

We read in 1 Corinthians 16:3:

“And when I come, whomever you approve by your letters I will send to bear your gift to Jerusalem.”

Paul was saying here that let the collection for the saints be done before he arrives. In fact, in verse 2, we read that he wants that collections would be done beforehand so that when he arrives, there will be no collections to be done anymore!

Let’s read that again:

On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper, that there be no collections when I come.

Think about this for a second: if verse 2 is referring to a religious service, then the presence of Paul would put a stop in collecting the offerings.

Simply put, if Paul arrives, then no collection should be done in religious services. Therefore, wherever Paul was, there should not be any collection to be made. 

Isn’t it weird?

So why would Paul stop the brethren from giving the offering in his presence? Obviously, there’s something wrong with the belief that verse 2 is about having a religious service!

Famine struck, brethren helping each other

So, what was really going on here?

It seems that there was a famine in Judea at that time. Because of this, brethren in other places were urged to contribute and send help to the brethren in Judea.

We read in Acts 11:28-30:

28 Then one of them, named Agabus, stood up and showed by the Spirit that there was going to be a great famine throughout all the world, which also happened in the days of Claudius Caesar. 29 Then the disciples, each according to his ability, determined to send relief to the brethren dwelling in Judea. 30 This they also did, and sent it to the elders by the hands of Barnabas and Saul.

Romans 15:25-26 added more details:

25 But now I am going to Jerusalem to minister to the saints. 26 For it pleased those from Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor among the saints who are in Jerusalem

So, we are seeing here a concerted effort among the brethren to support those who were in need. In this case, the Judean brethren were fatally hit by the famine and if it weren’t for the support of other saints, they might have not survived.

Is the Sabbath still binding on Christians today?
Is the Sabbath still binding on Christians today?

Collection to be made individually

As you can see, there’s no indication or sign that Paul was requiring the brethren to do the collection during church services. On the contrary, Paul’s instruction was clear that the brethren set aside their contributions as individuals — NOT as a group.

Notice the wording of verse 2:

2 On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper, that there be no collections when I come.

Paul was asking the brethren individually to set aside their contributions, most likely in their homes, and store them up as they “prosper.” So, when Paul finally arrives, they can easily and quickly get their collected items and give them to him.

Final words

In conclusion, I Corinthians 16:2 is NOT referring to a collection made during church services. To say it is and it proves Sunday worship is simply a biased interpretation of people who want to get rid of the Fourth Commandment instituted by God.

On the contrary, I Corinthians 16:2 is talking about the outgoing concern and love of the brethren towards each other in a time of difficulty. It shows us how we must always support those who are weak and let them feel our brotherly love and concern.


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