Vol.XIII No.VI Pg.7
August 1976

You Know What?

Robert F. Turner

Bro. Turner:

Did the Corinthian church send contributions to non-saints, 2 Cor. 9:13?


If they did there is no evidence of it. This passage is clearly a reference to the collection for the poor saints which are at Jerusalem (Rom. 15:25-27; 1 Cor. 16:1-3; 2 Cor. 8:4; 9:1-f.). Laws of context indicate this, and commentaries generally acknowledge the same. Unto all (men is not in the Greek but is supplied) refers to all of like characteristics as the them.

Remember, the donors of these gifts are Gentiles, and the recipients are Jews. Paul felt the rift in Jewish-Gentile relations night be helped by this Gentile concern for Jewish brethren; but the situation was so ticklish that he asked the Romans to pray that my ministration which I have for Jerusalem may be acceptable to the Saints (Rom. 15:30-f).

Now, in 2 Cor. 9:12, the ministration of this service these two things. It 1) not only filleth up the. .wants of the saints i.e., satisfies their physical needs; but it 2) aboundeth also through many thanksgivings unto God i.e., causes the recipients to praise and thank God. Verse 13 expands this last thought by saying the recipients glorify God for (epi, on account of) two things: 1) the obedience of your confession unto the gospel of Christ; and 2) for the liberality of your koinonias (fellowship). This fellowship (K.J. distribution; A.S. contribution) is unto 1) them and 2) unto all. Some debaters tell us that the unto all (eis pantas) is found five times in the N.T., and that it always refers to non-saints. One need not know Greek to see this is illogical. How could unto all in and of itself refer to saint or non-saint? That must be determined by the context in which unto all is found. Also, in 1 Thes. 3:12; Paul commends the saints love toward one-another and toward all (eis pantas) even as he loved the brethren of Thessalonica. The context here strongly suggests all saints. The all (pasin) of Acts 2:45 refers to saints — clear enough here, and enforced by the detailed accounts of such benevolence in Acts 4:34-f. and Acts 6:1-4. Likewise, an unbiased study of 2 Cor. 9:13 shows that unto all refers to other saints.

But when careful analytical study fails to justify a false position the devotees often turn to prejudices. We are accused of a heartless unconcern for the needy of the world. I remind you we are discussing what the church did from its treasury, in an organized capacity. The church has an obligation to widows indeed that it does not have to widows who are the responsibility of individuals (1 Tim. 5:16). This does not warrant the conclusion that there is no concern for other widows. It simply defines and limits collective responsibilities.

The church distributively — individual saints — have many social, domestic, civil, and other responsibilities that are not the assigned work of the church collectively — as an organized unit. The Lords church allows the Lord to settle such matters.