1 Cor 16:2 – regular first day services?

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1 Corinthians 16:2

(1Co 16:1) Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye.
(1Co 16:2) 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.
(1Co 16:3) And when I come, whomsoever ye shall approve by your letters, them will I send to bring your liberality unto Jerusalem.
(1Co 16:4) And if it be meet that I go also, they shall go with me.
(1Co 16:5) Now I will come unto you, when I shall pass through Macedonia: for I do pass through Macedonia.
(1Co 16:6) And it may be that I will abide, yea, and winter with you, that ye may bring me on my journey whithersoever I go.

1 Cor 16:2 is quite good evidence for regular Sunday observance. It shows that every week – regularly, weekly – on a certain day, the people collected money for mission work done by Paul. This day was the first day of the week. The passage does not directly state that there are worship services on the first day of the week, but one can deduce from the context that this had to be so. The money was brought together weekly to one place – when else but the weekly day of worship? What better day to collect such donations than the day on which the Christians came together as a group? If they kept the Sabbath, then this would have been the Sabbath. But it was Sunday Paul chose, which indicates that Sunday was an easier day to collect things into one place than the Sabbath was.

Sabbatarians often claim that the money was to be collected at home on a weekly basis. This has two major flaws – first, the society they lived in did not work on a system where they got paid according to a 7-day weekly cycle and then did their budgeting on Sundays. Budgeting would need to be done when the cash came in, not only Sundays, and it was not the case that they all got paid on Friday or Saturday or Sunday on a cycle of 7 days. If they were not gathering together on the first day of the week, Paul’s request makes no sense, because then they would have been advised to put aside their money once they were paid, or, if they did gather together on the Sabbath, on the Friday, so it could be collected on the following day when they got together. There is no apparent financial advantage to putting money aside on Sunday over putting it aside on payday … actually the latter is even more sensible.

The second flaw is that if everyone collected their donations at home and stored it under the bed, Paul would still have to get everyone to bring it in when he arrived. He is clearly hoping to arrive on a random, unpredictable day and collect money which has been pooled and stored in one place for the entire community. He states that he does not want to have special gatherings/collections when he comes – he wants it pre-arranged.

Adventists often claim that the reason the Christian were to collect the money on Sunday was because it was contrary to God’s law to collect money on the Sabbath. But in the Bible there are NO prohibitions for CHRISTIANS to collect money on the Sabbath, so it seemed pretty pointless to collect the money the day AFTER they got together for their weekly worship service, if their weekly worship service was indeed on the Sabbath. The Adventist position doesn’t make sense.

Can you seriously imagine, after reading the theology of mercy preached by Jesus, where one can happily pull a sheep out of a pit on the Sabbath, never mind help someone in need, and after reading Paul’s examination of the law, that Christians actually were as legalistic as the Pharisees in this regard? Do you really buy the story that Christians, who on the one hand believed Paul when he said the Sabbath was a mere shadow and nailed to the cross, also taught that money to be used to spread the Gospel could NOT be collected on the Sabbath? What was more important – the Sabbath or the Gospel? Can you seriously imagine that the same Jesus would forbid the funding of the Gospel on a day that he said was made for man, not man for that day? What is more important to God – the Sabbath or the Gospel teaching about the salvation of the world? I think the answer should be obvious. The Adventist position goes against the points Jesus made with the Pharisees, and places the Sabbath at a higher level of importance than the Gospel message. That, taken with a complete lack of historical evidence for their claim, means that the Sabbatarian claim can safely be rejected.

See here for further discussion – 1 Cor 16:2 – Adventists take up monetary offerings on the Sabbath???

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