(Giving as we are prospered.) Bible Question.
“Although 1 Corinthians 16:1, 2 tells Christians that they are to give as prospered, I have heard preachers say that members should give a specific amount. Is that scriptural?”
“Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye. 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.” – 1 Corinthians 16:1, 2 (King James Version)
The apostle Paul was traveling among the churches collecting funds to take to “the poor among the saints at Jerusalem” (Romans 15:26). The instructions in the above text dealt with that collection. But these are not the only instructions about our giving, and we must consider all to find the truth of the Lord.
To give (or “lay by in store”) was to be based on “as prospered”. That simply means that the more a person receives from God, the more he should give to the work of God. This was to be done on the first day of each week, because the early church met on “the first day of the week to break bread” (Acts 20:7), and this would be a convenient time for the members to give into a common fund so that there would not have to be collections made after Paul and his associates arrived.
I agree that Christians should give a specific amount, but that is an amount that each one decides for himself. No one else can decide how much you should give – no one has the right. Notice what the Scripture says about that:
“Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.” – 2 Corinthians 9:7
Each one is to give “as he hath purposed in his heart”. Certainly that is going to be a specific amount, based on his income and his love for the Lord (2 Corinthians 8:8). But each Christian must do his own purposing.
Most of us have a pretty good idea of how much income we will have per week, or per year. It is both logical and scriptural to “purpose” what part (percent) of our income we will give. ONE way is to divide our annual income into fifty-two weeks, and then purpose to give our purposed percentage each week of the year. This fits precisely what the Scripture say about our giving (1 Corinthians 16:2; 2 Corinthians 9:7; etc.).
There are many passages that show that we should give generously (2 Corinthians 8:1 – 8; 2 Corinthians 9:6 – 8; etc.), and we should encourage one another to be generous in our giving. But the actual amount each one gives is still to be determined by that individual. No one has the right to tell another Christian how much to give to the Lord’s work.