Where are offerings to be collected? At home or at church?


I would like to know who is telling the truth and that is why I ask you the following. On the site  http://cristianet.fr/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=194&Itemid=121 I found the following: “More proof that the First church worshipped on the first day of the week can be found in I Corinthians 16. Paul challenged the believers in Corinth to take up a collection for the saints “On the first day of every week each one of you is to aput aside and save, as he may prosper, so that no collections be made when I come.(I Corinthians 16:2)” I ask myself, what proof? In the Romanian version of the Bible, the phrase “at home” is used in verse 2 so it seems that Paul is telling the believers to set this money aside at home and not give it at the church service. So which is correct, at home or at church?

Giving is a form of worship to the Lord and based on the fact that the Apostle Paul told the Christians to set aside their money in order to give on the first day of the week demonstrates that the worship service took place on Sunday. So the question is, should the collection to help the saints be done at home like they seemed to be doing in the First church or at the church, like we are accustomed to doing now? There are several reasons why they took their collections at home. One is that, back then, the church did not have a building of its own to hold worship meetings. Also, a collection does not necessarily mean “money”. They were probably collecting food, clothing, etc along with the money and the best place to store the food items as well as the clothing items would have been in the home and then when Paul and the others arrived, they were able to bring it all at once and give it as a collection for the saints for them to take to Jerusalem. This was probably the main reason why the collections were to be stored at home.

There was another reason as to why the collection was to be stored at home.  Actually, because of this reason Paul never asked the Corinthians for support as opposed to the other Christians in the different churches. Corinth was a very rich city when Paul planted the church there. He knew that after his departure, many false teachers and preachers would come, bringing heretical teachings and trying to make a profit off of the riches in the Corinthian church. This subject is covered in depth in both the first and second epistle to the Corinthian church. Here is a passage from II Corinthians where Paul explains why he worked the way he did and taught what he did about financial support (for the saints):

Or did I commit a sin in humbling myself so that you might be exalted, because I preached the gospel of God to you without charge ? I robbed other churches by taking wages from them to serve you; and when I was present with you and was in need, I was not a burden to anyone ; for when the brethren came from Macedonia they fully supplied my need, and in everything I kept myself from being a burden to you, and will continue to do so. As the truth of Christ is in me, this boasting of mine will not be stopped in the regions of Achaia. Why ? Because I do not love you? God knows I do! But what I am doing I will continue to do, so that I may cut off opportunity from those who desire an opportunity to be regarded just as we are in the matter about which they are boasting. For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ.  (II Corinthians 11:7-13)

It could have been so that the collection that was taken up for the saints in Jerusalem would actually make it to Jerusalem and not fall into the hands of the false apostles (who were pretending to be apostles of Jesus Christ). That may be why Paul told them to keep the collection at home but still worship and set them aside the first day of the week.

We currently encourage the Christians to take up collections at home so that they can help the saints in the furtherance of the Gospel. For Christmas, I challenged all of the believers of “Good News” (the church that I lead) to collect gifts to fill shoe boxes for presents to be used at the mission points during the Christmas season. We do not have a place to store all of these gifts so we asked the members to store them in their homes until they were needed. Then we used these gifts to bless many children this Christmas season.

Translation by: Erik Brewer