1 Corinthians Jewish New Testament and comments of David H. Stern
1. Now, in regard to the collection being made for God’s people: you are to do the same as I directed the congregations in Galatia to do.
2. Every week, on Motza’ei-Shabbat, each of you should set some money aside, according to his resources, and save it up; so that when I come I won’t have to do fundraising.
Every week, on Motza'ei-Shabhat. The Hebrew expression means, literally, "departure of the Sabbath"; it signifies Saturday night. It translates the Greek phrase which means, literally, "every one of a week," that is, every first day of the week. The question is: does this refer to Saturday night or to Sunday?
In favor of the idea that "every one of a week" means Sunday are these points:
(1) Gentiles did not keep Shabbat.
(2) By the Roman system of timekeeping days began at midnight.
(3) There is good documentation that the Gentile churches have observed Sunday as a day of worship since very early times. Specifically, Ignatius writes in the early second century of Sunday as "the Lord's Day," commemorating the day Yeshua rose from the grave. This we know to have been Sunday from Mt 28:1 and Lk 24:1; Мк 16:2 pinpoints it as "just after sunrise" on the first day of the week, that is, Sunday morning. (But Rv 1:10 is speaking of the eschatological Day of Judgment, not Sunday; see note there.)
In favor of the idea that "every one of a week" means Saturday night are these points:
(1) The use of "one" rather than "first" shows that Sha'ul was thinking in Hebrew, not Greek (see the Hebrew of Genesis 1:5).
(2) In the Jewish calendar, days commence at sundown, so that the "first day of the week" refers to any time between sunset Saturday and sunset Sunday.
(3) In the early days of the Messianic Community, Jewish believers continued to observe Shabbat as a day of rest and met for Messianic worship in the evening after it was over.
(4) There were Jews, prominent ones, in the Corinthian congregation, so that Sha'ul would not have dealt with it as a wholly Gentile congregation.
(5) The only other use of this Greek phrase in connection with Sha'ul speaks of an evening event where he preached so long that Eutychus went to sleep and fell off the window ledge; this was probably Saturday night (see Ac 20:7&N).
(6) Sunday could not have been regularly celebrated by the early Jewish believers as Shabbat or as a yom tov ("festival," literally, "good day") because, since Judaism prohibits handling money on such days, Sha'ul would never have suggested taking up a collection then to a congregation with Jews in it.
I believe the reasons for Saturday night outweigh those for Sunday and accordingly translate the Greek phrase by "Moiza 'ei-Shabbat."
While the New Testament does not abrogate Shabbat as the holy day of rest for Jews stipulated in the Fourth Commandment, it also contains no command concerning a proper day for Messianic worship. At the founding of the Messianic Community the believers met together every day (Ac 2:46). In conclusion, what makes sense to me is that a Messianic Jewish congregation can choose any day (or days) of the week for Messianic worship, but worship elements specific to Shabbat should be included only on Shabbat (Friday sundown to Saturday sundown).
3. And when I arrive, I will give letters of introduction to the people you have approved, and I will send them to carry your gift to Yerushalayim.
4. If it seems appropriate that I go too, they will go along with me.
The collection may be for the Messianic Jewish community in Jerusalem, but a good case can be made that God's people (literally, "the saints" or "the holy ones") means all the Jewish people, Messianic or not — see Ro 15:25-27&NN, where Sha'ul teaches that Gentile believers have a duty to aid "the Jews" materially. Whichever is the case, Sha'ul had promised the Messianic Jewish leaders in Jerusalem that he would "remember the poor" (Ga 2:10). Sha'ul took an earlier such collection to Jerusalem (Ac 11:27-30, 12:25); this one may be the same as that spoken of in Romans and at Ac 24:17 (compare Ac 20:4,16 with vv. 3,8 here). In fundraising, as in other matters, Sha'ul was no slouch; see 2C 8:1-9:15 for his skillful and tactful "follow-up letter"; Ro 15:26-27a seems to imply that his efforts succeeded.
5. I will visit you after I have gone through Macedonia, for I am intending to pass through Macedonia,
6. and I may stay with you or even spend the winter, so that you may help me continue my travels wherever I may go.
7. For I don’t want to see you now, when I am only passing through; because I am hoping to spend some time with you, if the Lord allows it.
8. But I will remain in Ephesus until Shavu‘ot,
9. because a great and important door has opened for my work, and there are many people opposing me.
Shavu'ot, the Feast of Weeks, also known as Pentecost, had been invested with new meaning; because some twenty years earlier on this day God had poured out his Holy Spirit upon the Messianic Community in Jerusalem (Ac 2:4; see Ac 2:IN and Ac 2:4b-13N about the traditional and new significances of Shavu'ot).
The point here seems to be not merely that Sha'ul, an observant Jew (Ac 13:9N), intends to return in time to keep the holiday in Jerusalem, as prescribed in the Torah (as at Ac 20:16&N), but that he feels he has to justify his remaining in Ephesus until then, that is, during Pesach, which comes seven weeks earlier. He would normally plan to arrive in Jerusalem in time for Pesach, but he intends to forego being in Jerusalem for Passover because a great and important door has opened for my work, and there are many people opposing me — I need to deal with this difficult situation, even at the cost of disobeying the Torah command to be in Jerusalem for Passover. In effect Sha'ul issues a halakhic decision (see Mt 18:18-20&N, Yn 7:22-23&N, Ga 2:11-14&NN) that when one must choose between obeying the mitzvah of being in Jerusalem for a Pilgrim Festival and obeying the mitzvah of assuring the propagation of the Gospel, the latter is the more important and must be obeyed.
10. If Timothy comes, see that he has nothing to be afraid of while he is with you; for he is doing the Lord’s work, just as I am.
11. So let no one treat him with disrespect. Help him on his way in peace, so that he will return to me, for the brothers and I are expecting him.
Timothy. See Ac 16:1-3. Let no one treat him with disrespect. Evidently this was a chronic problem for Timothy; see 1 Ti 4:12.
12. As for brother Apollos, I strongly urged him to go and visit you along with the other brothers; and although it was not at all his desire to come at this time, he will come when he has the opportunity.
13. Stay alert, stand firm in the faith, behave like a mentsh, grow strong.
Mentsh, Yiddish, from German mensch, "man," but meaning a person (male or female) of strong moral character, a truly human being, not just a male member of the human race. The Greek word here is "andrizomai" defined by Aradt and Gingrich's A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament as to "conduct oneself in a manly or courageous way," which is precisely what "behave like a mentsh" means.
14. Let everything you do be done in love.
15. Now, brothers, you know that the household of Stephanas were the first people in Achaia to put their trust in the Messiah, and they have devoted themselves to serving God’s people.
16. I urge you to submit yourselves to people like these and to everyone who works and toils with them.
17. I am glad that Stephanas and Fortunatus and Achaicus are here, because they have helped make up for your not being here.
18. They have refreshed my spirit, just as they have yours. I want you to show appreciation for people like these.
19. The congregations in the province of Asia send greetings to you. Aquila and Priscilla greet you in union with the Lord, as does the congregation that meets in their house.
Aquila and Prisca... the congregation that meets in their house. See Ac 18:1-3 (where she is called Priscilla), Ro 16:3-5&N.
20. All the brothers send you their greetings. Greet one another with a holy kiss.
21. Now, I Sha’ul, greet you in my own handwriting.
22. If anyone does not love the Lord, a curse on him! Marana, ta! [Our Lord, come!]
Love. This is Sha'ul's only use of the Greek word "phileo," which means having "brotherly affection" and is distinct from "agape" (13:1&N, Yn 21:15—17&N). A curse on him (literally, "let him be anathema"), a phrase also found at Ga 1:8-9; compare 12:3 above. In context here, "anyone" refers to those Sha'ul can expect to regard his letter seriously; it means "anyone who counts himself a part of the Messianic community or understands what the Good News really is"; but it does not include random outsiders or casual inquirers still in the dilettante stage. I do not believe Sha'ul is lashing out in unprovoked anger; quite the contrary, in the light of his assurance of steadfast love and concern in the final words of the letter. Rather, he is giving a final warning: if anyone does not have even so much as brotherly affection for the Lord, let him understand that he is in danger of being cursed so as to be separated from God forever. Sha'ul understood the seriousness of his words — he said thai he would be willing to invoke anathema on himself if it would help Jews trust in Yeshua (Ro 9:3; Ro 9:2-4aN).
"Marana, ta!" — our Lord, come! Greek maranatha is a transliieration of two Aramaic words which must have been a set expression in the Greek congregations. They may be read as either ''Murana, lal" ("Our Lord, come!"), which resembles Rv 22:20, or "Maran ata" (this can mean either "Our Lord has come" or "Our Lord is coming"). That our Lord Yeshua may come at any moment should spur the careless to heed Sha'ul's warning and encourage everyone to expect God's promises to be fulfilled. The rallying cry is consistent with the warm final greetings of vv. 23-24.
23. May the grace of the Lord Yeshua be with you.
24. My love is with you all, in union with the Messiah Yeshua.
In my own handwriting, signified in the Jewish New Testament by cursive type. Similarly at Ga 6:11-18, Co4:18, 2 Th 3:17-18 and Pm 19.
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