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Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology


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Any organized gathering of funds or resources. In the Bible, collections are often taken for the benefit of others and not for oneself. The Hebrew term terumaa [ תְּרומָּה ] refers to a contribution. The Greek terms are logia [ λογεία ] ("collection"), koinonian [ κοινωνία ] ("participation"), and diakonia [ διακονία , δωροφορία ] ("ministry").

The collection detailed in 2 Chronicles 31 was part of Hezekiah's reforms to make sure that God's ministers, the priests, received adequate provision as the law had commanded ( Exodus 35:21,24 ; Leviticus 7:14,32 ; Deuteronomy 12:6,17-19 ). When an excess came in, the remainder was stored for later use. The collection was administered with care.

The right of the New Testament minister to donated material support is affirmed by Jesus (Luke 10:7 ) and the early church (1 Corinthians 9:1-14 ; 1 Timothy 5:18 ), but how this support is to be collected is not discussed anywhere in detail. Acts 4:32-37 discusses how believers voluntarily brought their gifts to help members to the apostles. Here the collection extends beyond ministers to any believer in need. A negative example of those who lie while making such a donation occurs in Acts 5:1-11 .

The key New Testament passages on collection are Romans 15:25-26,1 Corinthians 16:1-4 , and 2 Corinthians 8-9 . They all refer to Paul's aid from Gentiles for mostly Jewish believers in need in Jerusalem. Here believers in one locale help those of a different race in another locale. The gift expresses the sense of oneness in the body of Christ that comes through sharing and also reveals the church's sensitivity in meeting needs. First Corinthians 16:1-4 makes it clear that the gift is planned for and collected at a fixed time, and that much effort is made to insure the gift's integrity as it is delivered by trustworthy believers to those who are in need. In 2 Corinthians 8-9 , the gift is of their own free will, according to means, is handled by trustworthy individuals, is planned for, is to be given with joy, is an expression of thanksgiving to God, and glorifies him because it is a mark of generosity. In this passage, the collection is called "ministry."

Darrell L. Bock

See also Contribution ; Tithe, Tithing

Bibliography . S. McKnight, DPL, pp. 143-47; K. F. Nickle, The Collection: A Study in Paul's Strategy .

Copyright Statement
Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology. Edited by Walter A. Elwell
Copyright © 1996 by Walter A. Elwell. Published by Baker Books, a division of Baker Book House Company, PO Box 6287, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49516-6287.
All rights reserved. Used by permission.
For usage information, please read the Baker Book House Copyright Statement.

Bibliography Information
Elwell, Walter A. Entry for 'Collection'. Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology. 1996.

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