[Corpus-Paul] Sabbatical years and Paul's collections

Tim Gallant tim at rabbisaul.com
Sat Dec 31 17:23:25 EST 2005

Sabbatical years and Paul's collections>Could Paul's reason for the collection for the poor saints in Jerusalem be motivated more by his idea that the Messianic age had been inaugurated in Christ as evidenced by the Gentile interest in the God of Israel (my sense is that this was the so called pricks he found it difficult to kick against as he meditated on the scriptures regarding the Messianic age; thus Romans 1:2)?

>If so then it seems to me he might have had in mind Isaiah 60:1ff especially verse 6; it was/is expected that in the Messianic age  the Gentiles will bring thier riches to Israel. Thus Paul says in Romans 15:27 "...if the Gentiles have shared in their spiritual things, they are indebted to minister to them also in material things."

I think that it's safe to say that such things are also present, as numerous scholars have suggested. However, I don't really think you can say that such things motivate him "more." Remember that he isn't simply bringing tribute; he is self-consciously responding to poverty, as is clear both in his account in Gal 2, as well as the urgency he lays upon the churches. Perhaps one may say that it is the circumstance of poverty (whether deriving from sabbatical years or not) which provides the occasion for Paul to help fulfill such prophecies.

Tim Gallant
Pastor, Conrad Christian Reformed Church
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