Lectionary Year B
July 2, 2000
II Corinthians 8:7-15

Step IV: Broader Context


At issue here is a project near and dear to the heart of the Apostle, the collection for the mother church in Jerusalem. For whatever reason, the church there was impoverished and in need of relief. One of Paul's consuming desires was the unity of Jewish and Gentile Christians. Acts 15 recounts the manner in which the leaders of the early church avoided an early turn toward "denominational" division, although differences persisted. No doubt Paul took an active role in those deliberations. This act of grace would help restore and cement relations between these two emerging branches of the church. It is not just the giving, but the unity of the church, that was at the heart of Paul's passion for this project. [DH - resources? Other dimensions to step IV?]

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