Volume 45 - Issue 1

The Genesis of the Jerusalem Donation

By Daryn Graham


The Jerusalem Donation was the Apostle Paul’s largest charity drive. However, it did not begin by his own initiative. In this article, it shall be shown using biblical evidence and other ancient sources, that the movement to provide the Jerusalem church with considerable added finances to alleviate suffering among them due to the Great Famine, began with the ordinary Christians of Achaea, Macedonia and Galatia. This article proves, contrary to the claims made by some commentators, the movement behind this collection was not driven by Jerusalemite coercion or pressure from James, Peter and John upon Paul, but rather, it began and progressed out of Christian solidarity and love between Gentile and Jewish believers in those provinces, and genuine concern for their brethren suffering from the effects of famine sustained in Jerusalem.

1. The Community of Goods

Charitable giving had deep Christian roots that would emerge under the terrible conditions sustained by the Christians of Judea during the Great Famine. During his ministry, Jesus taught his followers not be anxious about money, but rather, act to give to the poor, a teaching taken up zealously by the early Christians in Jerusalem (Matt 6:25, 28; Luke 12:33; 18:22). So seriously were Jesus’s teachings taken up by the early church, shortly after the first Pentecost following Jesus’s ascension, the Christians living in Jerusalem began to voluntarily share and pool their resources, selling their property so that ‘there were no needy persons among them’ (Acts 4:32–37).1 Fundamental to this community was the priority of provisioning for poor widows among both Hebrew and Hellene Christian adherents (Acts 6:1–7). According to Acts, this Community of Goods voluntarily pooled their resources to assist the poor and needy believers among their growing numbers.

All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. (Acts 2:44–45)

All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had.… There were no needy persons among them. From time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need. (Acts 4:32, 34–35)

Some scholars see in this communal sharing influence by the Jewish group, the Essenes, such as those from Qumran who wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls, who also pooled their resources within their communities.2 As the Community Rule states,

All those who freely devote themselves to His [God’s] truth shall bring all their knowledge, powers and possessions into the Community of God, that they may purify their knowledge in the truth of God’s precepts and order their powers according to His ways of perfection and all their possessions according to His righteous counsel. (1QS 1.11–55)

However, it should be noted a difference between these two communities: among the Essenes in Qumran the contribution of resources was required upon joining, whereas among the Christians in Jerusalem the pooling of monies was more voluntary.3 However, there is evidence in the Luke’s writings that the church in Jerusalem was not acting spontaneously in its sharing. Jesus taught the crowds, ‘Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out’ (Luke 12:33).

If this teaching was the inspiration for the Community of Goods, then it would seem that the Jerusalem church was not operating in a vacuum. Given that the Essenes had been operating in a similar way for some time already, this does suggest that there must have been some influence over the Christians of Jerusalem by the Essenes, like those from Qumran.4 Most likely, after Jesus’s ascension, the Christians of Jerusalem recalled Jesus’s instructions to sell their possessions and give to the poor, and did so helping those mainly from amongst their own numbers along similar lines as those at Qumran.5

In order to facilitate the charitable giving, Christian overseers were appointed to oversee sharing in similar fashion to the Essenes at Qumran, who also appointed overseers to take charge over financial sharing there. This allowed leading Christian teachers like Peter greater opportunity to preach more freely (Acts 6:17).6 Granted, Martin has questioned the biblical narrative, claiming that the Hellene Christians in Jerusalem were too few in number to require any kind of the assistance that Acts refers to.7 However, as Gonzales and Blomberg show, Luke was a deliberately honest reporter, and the early church’s relief efforts embraced Jewish and Hellene believers.8

One of the main reasons for the Community of Goods was Jesus’s prophecy of coming famine. In Jesus’s prophetic teachings delivered at the temple not long before his arrest, Matthew’s and Mark’s Gospels record that Jesus warns famine to be expected as a sign that the earth is giving birth to a new spiritual age under God’s rule. In Jesus’s own words, ‘Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains.… Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it [the end of all things] is near, right at the door’ (Matt 24:7–8, 33). Jesus’s teaching on this matter was so influential among early Christians, that in the middle of the Great Famine (AD 45–63) that swept the Roman Empire, the apostle Paul would inform the church at Corinth that ‘time is short’, and that ‘this world in its present form is passing away’ (1 Cor 7:29, 31).

This Community of Goods met a significant test in the Great Famine. Indeed, before the famine developed, there was already a sense of foreboding among Christian communities in Judea and Syria that the forthcoming famine would hit the people of the Judean region hard. We first meet this sense of foreboding in the city of Syrian Antioch. According to Acts, at a Christian meeting in Antioch not long before Agrippa I’s death in AD 44, the Christian prophet Agabus prophesied that a particularly devastating famine would soon hit the empire hard, and Judea the hardest, at some stage in the near future, as indeed it would. Acts states that immediately upon hearing Agabus’s prophetic message, the Christians of Antioch, led by the apostle Paul—a Roman citizen from Tarsus in Cilicia—and his peer Barnabas, responded promptly by collecting and compiling monetary funds to send to the church in Jerusalem in anticipation of the coming famine. In essence, this collection was an Antiochene extension of the kind of monetary sharing exhibited by the Judean Community of Goods. Acts states,

During this time some prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. One of them, named Agabus, stood up and through the Spirit predicted that a severe famine would spread over the entire Roman world [οἰκουμένη]. (This happened during the reign of Claudius.) The disciples, each according to his ability, decided to provide help for the brothers living in Judea. This they did, sending their gift to the elders by Paul and Barnabas. (Acts 11:27–30)

Although it has been suggested by Pervo and others that the historical tradition concerning Agabus in this instanced originally derived from Antiochene witnesses and confirmed and Paul,9 Pervo has argued that the entire Agabus story was based largely upon the later post-famine traditions.10 As to the nature of Agabus himself, views vary. Dunn has argued in the past that Agabus must have been a wandering prophet, similar to a Cynic philosopher, much like those recorded in the Didache, on the premise that Agabus seemingly appears to have been wandering still later on in Acts 21:10.11 However, as Keener observes, such an identification with the Didache, written as it is long after the New Testament was written, is anachronistic.12 In fact, there are many references made throughout the NT to Christian prophets like Agabus, meaning he was not a mere prototype of later unrelated ‘wandering’ Christian prophetic traditions, as much as he may seem Hellenistic and Cynic in style upon first glance.13 Moreover, Schnabel affirms the historical veracity of the Agabus tradition, arguing that given this meeting took place in AD 44, around a year before, the famine began, Luke’s sources must have indeed been Antiochene, as Pervo holds, but originating from firsthand eyewitnesses at the meeting itself.14 This helpful response that the Christian church in Antioch extended to their Jerusalemite brethren is evidence that both groups deeply respected one another, and this kind gesture on the part of the Antiochene Christians no doubt reinforced their already close ties.15

2. Beginnings of the Great Famine

It is held by many biblical commentators that under Claudius there was never one, single famine that swept the empire, but an unrelated series of localised food shortages that only gives one an impression of one singular great famine.16 On the other hand, others believe this famine that Acts states was ‘worldwide’ denotes a singular famine that covered the entire planet.17 However, as Keener points out, the word ‘world’ (οἰκουμένη) Luke uses in his gospel and Acts (Luke 2:1; Acts 17:6–7; 19:27; 24:5), refers only to the Roman ‘world’ at the very most.18 For, the same designation is used by Josephus (J.W. 3.29) and Lucian (Octogenarians 7) in this fashion.19 Keener also notes that although there were various seemingly independent food crisis occurring throughout disparate parts of the empire under Claudius at roughly the same time, together these did result in a single, massive empire-wide food crisis, the longest and most devastating famine that occurred under Roman rule. This accounts for the lack of provision of a year date of the famine in Acts—its duration necessitated that any reference to one single year for this famine redundant.20

Egyptian agriculture is the gift of the Nile. However, the Nile’s floodwaters that made alluvial fields cultivatable were never always consistent; and, whilst a Nile height of sixteen cubits during inundation was ideal, variation in Nile flood height could mean a year’s poor harvest (Ammianus Marcellinus, Rerum Gestarum 22.15.13).21 That fact was amply demonstrated in the year AD 45, when, as Pliny the Elder states, the Nile rose to a height of eighteen cubits—the highest in more than a century—which resulted in such a poor harvest for that year that its effects were felt throughout Egypt and the Roman Empire (Nat. 5.58).22 Both papyri and ostraca from Egypt illustrate just how dire the situation in Egypt was as a consequence. The papyri register of the Grapheion at Tebtunis dated to August, September and November of AD 45 records that the price of grain at Artaba averaged some 8 drachmas, which was exorbitantly higher than the cost of grain there for the entire period preceding AD 70.23 Compared to this high rate, ostraka from Artaba show that in AD 3 the normal price level for grain there was a mere 3 drachmas,24 and in AD 33 it was 3 drachmas.25 Notably, in AD 65 the cost of grain there was reduced to just 2 drachmas and 1 obol —a fall in price that indicates that by 65 the great famine had dissipated for several years.26 Papyri records from Egypt dated to September–October AD 51 fill this gap somewhat between 45 and 65. They show that in one Egyptian city in AD 45/46, 1,222 locals there had to default in their tax arrears, and that in AD 47/48 that number had risen to 1,678, and that even in AD 50/51 there were still many defaulters. Moreover, at the same time, up to half the entire adult male population of Philadelphia in Egypt defaulted as well.27 Furthermore, papyri from Oxyrhynchus in the year AD 45 reveal that the poor there were heavily in debt and needed credit just to acquire food, and these conditions lasted right up to the early years of Nero’s principate, by which stage there had formed a sharp depression in taxpayers in that city.28 In short, this high inundation of AD 45 resulted in an acute grain shortage which produced a dramatic rise in the cost of grain throughout all of Egypt, and together with hoarding and the inevitable price speculation at inflated prices, food crisis conditions worsened exponentially.29 From the papyri alone we can detect that the famine lasted for many years, a scenario that is also attested to in Roman literary sources. In addition to Pliny’s evidence, the Roman historian Tacitus states in AD 51 there was yet another sizable dip in the Roman Empire’s grain supply:

This year [AD 51] witnessed many prodigies. Ill-omened birds settled on the Capitol. Houses were flattened by repeated earthquakes, and as terror spread the weak were trampled to death by the panic-stricken crowd. Further portents were also seen in a shortage of corn, resulting in famine. (Ann. 12.43)

The main origin of this shortage of grain was, once again, Egypt.

However, Egypt was not alone in suffering crop failure during the period between AD 45 and 57. Other food crises throughout the empire added to a general grain shortage. In AD 45, an armed insurrection in western North Africa, one of Rome’s other main sources of grain besides Egypt, necessitated a military campaign there by a Roman procurator against the Maurusii in Mauretania. This war disrupted North Africa’s food harvests, for according to Garnsey, ‘to say that an interplay of natural and human causes was a regular feature of food crisis is not a bold assertion’.30

A series of severe droughts also hit the Levant in AD 46, which caused the harvests of Syria and Judea, the two next richest bread-baskets of Rome, also to fail. According to Josephus, famine had already set in by the Passover in the spring of that year (Ant. 3.320). This timing is revealing, for in the Levant the winter from November to March is the main wet and rainy season. As famine had set in by the spring of AD 46, this indicates that the rains of this wet season must have failed dramatically by the beginning of that year, resulting in drought, and famine.31 But the Levant did not suffer just one year of drought, nor just one of famine. According to Suetonius, a whole series of droughts that spanned many years ‘caused a scarcity of grain’ for the entire empire, including Judea (Claud. 18).

Given that the church in Jerusalem required urgent financial aid from Paul’s Gentile churches in AD 57 to feed itself, this series of droughts and famine clearly up to that date there. As for the date of this famine’s end, we can be fairly certain that it dissipated in AD 63. For, in that year, Nero issued brass dupondius coins that feature on its reverse side an image of a new food market that seems to celebrate the return of crop abundance once more.32 Given also that by AD 65 grain prices had been restored to the low level of 2 drachma and 1 obol, access to plentiful supplies of grain and other foodstuffs must have been restored for several years by that time, suggesting an end to the famine in AD 63.33

Drought and famine were not uncommon occurrences in the Levant in ancient times. Famines had occurred there in 25/24 BC, AD 38/39 and AD 45/6, thereby averaging about once every 20 years.34 Famines are repeatedly referred to in both the OT (2 Sam 21:1; 1 Kgs 8:35–40; 17:1–24; 2 Kgs 4:38; 8:1–5) and NT (Mark 13:8; Luke 15:14; Acts 11:27–30; Rev 6:8; 18:8). In biblical sources, God is sometimes referred to as a protector from famine, but in most cases God is a harbinger of famine and divine punishment.35 Scientific studies also inform us that droughts were frequent in the Levant as a result of natural conditions in the region. Droughts there could be brought on by climatic anomalies, agricultural failure, or hydrologic failure, or all three.36 Despite its small size, the Levant was characterised by geographical extremes: from hills and alpine mountains to plains; from tropical jungle to oak forests to desert; and from gorges and valleys to lakes, rivers and the Dead Sea. While parts of Galilee in the north were often well-watered, southern Judea near the northern edge of the arid Negev desert was vulnerable to ongoing droughts.37 As a result of these variations, changes in weather patterns throughout them had immense impacts upon the food supply of inhabitants of the region, for their eating habits were largely dependent upon their own economic and technical agricultural conditions, and the trade and food patterns of neighbouring kingdoms. As a result, when drought conditions returned Syria and Judea in AD 46, the outcome was acute food crisis there, which compounded the suffering experienced throughout a Roman empire reliant upon grain from the Levant, as well as Egypt and North Africa, for its subsistence.38

3. The Jerusalem Donation

The largest, and indeed the only, attested fundraising effort by Early Christians was the Pauline churches’ mass collection known as the ‘Jerusalem Donation’. Some commentators see the germination of this collection in Paul’s letter to the Galatians. This letter is dated between AD 48—two years after the famine began to be felt in Judea—and the early 50s, perhaps 53, meaning that potentially this germination began to take place just a few years after the famine began in Jerusalem. It is true that during the Hellenistic period, ‘Galatia’ designated the geographical region in northern Phrygia on the Anatolian peninsula (Polybius, Histories 5.77–80; Livy, History of Rome 38. 16; Strabo, Geog. 12.5. 1–4), however, by Paul’s time ‘Galatia’ designated the Roman province of that name which stretched from the Black Sea to Pamphylia on the Mediterranean (Pliny, Nat. 5.147). Thus, while scholars have traditionally held that the churches of Galatia were located somewhere in the Hellenistic Galatia of northern Anatolia,39 the churches of South Anatolia that Paul founded in the southern regions of the Roman province of Galatia himself, at Pisidian Antioch, Iconium, Lystra, and Derbe, are more than likely to have been among the letter’s immediate recipients.40 Just as Paul used provincial titles throughout this letter for Arabia, Syria and Cilicia, and Judea, and that Gaius of Derbe and Timothy from southern Galatia accompanied Paul when he eventually took the Jerusalem Donation to Jerusalem, it is highly likely that Paul had in mind Roman Galatia, not Hellenistic Galatia, as his audience when writing Galatians.41 This places the precise composition of Galatians to AD 47/48, not long after Paul’s meeting, as recorded in Galatians, between himself, James, John, and Peter in Jerusalem, ‘fourteen years’ after his conversion to Christianity in AD 33/34. Those claims that in Paul’s letter to the Galatians is the first written reference to this collection, has given rise to the notion that the Community of Goods must have proved a dismal failure. Several theories have been put forward as to why this might have been so. These include that the many evangelised believers in Jerusalem since Pentecost were probably drawn from that city’s poorest classes, that the Sanhedrin’s hostility towards Christians in Jerusalem took its toll on them financially, that the hospitality shown for missionaries and pilgrims and the monetary provision for widows there used up precious resources, and that in the very act of sharing, the Community of Goods reduced what little capital the already impoverished church in Jerusalem possessed, thus rendering individual money-making endeavours null and void.42 Some scholars even claim that the Jerusalem Christians must have principally been little more than alms-dependent beggars.43

However, the fact that this collection was not carried by Paul to Jerusalem until the late date of AD 57 demonstrates that the Community of Goods was not a failure some would have one believe. Indeed, an examination of Galatians shows there is no proof within it that the Community of Goods had failed. There appears in Galatians only one description of Paul’s meeting between himself and the Jerusalem church leaders, and crucially, not one explicit statement to a collection for Jerusalem exists in it. Many commentators entertain such an order as a given fact.44 However, all that is contained in this epistle is that instruction that Paul should make provision for the poor generally, and given they agreed this as Paul was leaving for an overseas mission, they no doubt implied that Paul care for the poor in those foreign fields. To quote the passage in this letter assumed by some commentators as proof that Paul had been given instructions to raise money for the Jerusalem church among mission converts, ‘They [James, Peter and John] agreed that we should go to the Gentiles, and they to the Jews. All they asked was that we should continue to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do’ (Gal 2:9–10). Clearly, it is an assumption that this is proof that the pillars of the Jerusalem church commanded Paul to raise funds for ‘the poor’ in Jerusalem specifically,45 which F. F. Bruce identifies as forerunners of the ‘Ebionites’ (derived from the Hebrew word for ‘the poor’), and an ill-founded one at that.46 Indeed, given the earliest explicit evidence that Paul was raising funds for the Community of Goods in Jerusalem comes in the Corinthian correspondence in the mid-50s, clearly that Community progressed well enough financially amidst famine conditions until long after Galatians was written in the late 40s. In short, there was no urgency for financial relief within the Jerusalem church when Galatians was written. Yet, in time, as funds did eventually run out in the Jerusalem church, Paul would have to help that community, but independently of any instruction by Peter, John and James.47

Rather, instead of raising funds for the Jerusalem church, in Galatians Paul tells his readers in Galatia to use its monetary resources to help all people, everywhere: ‘Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers’ (Gal 6:9–10).

Astonishingly, the churches in Galatia felt the effects of the Great Famine acutely at this point, for an inscription from Asia Minor dated to this period records in horror the devastating effects of this famine throughout Asia Minor, in the following expressions: ‘A famine in the land, flesh-eating, terrible, and bearing inescapable death, [that] gripped the whole [Roman] world’ (CIG 3973:5–6).48

Most likely, the Galatian Christians shared the sufferings of those living next to them in Asia Minor. For, although Paul instructs the Galatian Christians to ‘do good to all people’, he lays heavy emphasis that those who should receive good deeds and gifts ‘belong to the family of believers’ (Gal 6:9–10). These words indicate that funds in the Galatian churches may have started to seriously dwindle.49 Still, there clearly continued to be some degree of flexibility as to how the Galatians interpreted Paul’s instruction, for ‘all people’, and the ‘family of believers’ could still, theoretically, apply to every single Christian, including those normally outside the Galatian churches. By AD 54, the Galatian Christians had started raising funds for their Jerusalem brethren, even though Paul had initially intended Galatian church funds be reserved for the Galatian church members in Galatians. However, years had passed since the writing of that letter, and perhaps as testimony to the effectiveness of Paul’s financial advice to the Galatian churches, in AD 54 the Galatian churches began pressing Paul for his permission and blessing on their raising funds for their Jerusalem brethren, and the Apostle agreed with them that they be allowed, just as they wished (Gal 1:2).

4. The Churches of Corinth, Macedonia, and Galatia

Around the time Nero became emperor in AD 54, the Corinthian church made the first voluntary request to Paul to help financially to support the church in Jerusalem.50 This request marks the first step in the creation of what would later be called the ‘Jerusalem Donation’. As Paul wrote to the Corinthians in AD 55, ‘Last year [AD 54] you were the first not only to give but also to have the desire to do so’ (2 Cor 8:10). One reason for the Corinthians’ desire to do this may be found in the mercantile culture of Corinth itself. After Corinth was refounded by Julius Caesar in 44 BC, Rome invested heavily in the city. Located as it is on the isthmus linking the Peloponnese with Central Greece, and being situated between major east-west maritime trade routes, it was perfectly situated for a reconstituted Roman city. Thus, from that point a Roman-style forum surrounded by Roman temples were built there,51 Caesarean Games and Imperial Games were held there,52 and the city’s new general layout resembled that of any other typical Roman city.53 This investment paid off. Over the century between its refoundation and the onset of the famine under Claudius, Corinth’s economy boomed. Up until AD 67 it even had its own mint.54 Corinth’s proverbial wealth attracted a population of 100,000, most of whom were Romans.55

However, while Corinth was a bustling, entrepreneurial, commercial hub, like the churches in Galatia by AD 49 the famine was felt extremely hard there. By that time, a modius of grain cost six didrachms, around eight times the normal price at Rome.56 Paul captured the economic hardship faced by Corinthians in his first letter to the Corinthians, in his instruction to the Christians there to resist celebrating weddings in order to incur no further financial costs. As Paul states, ‘Because of the present crisis, I think that it is good for a man to remain as he is [unmarried]’ (1 Cor 7:26).

Although Paul believed the ‘affairs of this world’ would soon usher in the ‘passing away’ of ‘this world in its present form’, meaning that new marriages would be short-lived anyway, Paul’s reference to the ‘present crisis’ is revealing (1 Cor 7:29–34). Clearly he meant the famine, for only decades earlier, Dionysius of Halicarnassus had used similar language when he linked a famine in a city with ‘trouble’ and ‘perplexity’ (Ant. rom. 9.3–4). Thus, the ‘present crisis’ faced by the church in Corinth that Paul refers to, and which Paul believed demanded a cut in lavish spending associated with traditional weddings and marriages there, must be a reference to suffering and poverty experienced in that city.57 In support of these grain price statistics and Paul’s Corinthian correspondence,58 the archaeological record also strengthens the case that Corinth suffered the effects of famine greatly throughout the late 40s and into the 50s hard. Three honorific inscriptions found at Corinth memorialise one wealthy, and politically influential, Corinthian Tiberius Claudius Dinippus as curator annonae—a post he held three times, twice in the late AD 40s and once around AD 51.59 In the Greek East, a curator annonae was responsible in times of food crisis for sourcing grain and selling it at reduced prices to favour the consumers in their city,60 a practice the Greeks termed paraprasis (παράπρασις).61 It was also the role of the curator annonae to source financial contributions from their city’s wealthiest citizens and create a grain fund, in order to purchase food staples their city’s inhabitants.62 To place the importance of these three inscriptions in their context, there have only been eight other inscriptions found throughout Greece and Asia Minor by archaeologists that honour such grain curators over the period from 330 BC to AD 150, which means that Dinippus’s repeated appointment to the office of curator annonae must have come out of a particularly pressing want of food at precisely the same time grain price statistics and Paul’s letters suggest the famine under Claudius was hitting the region hard.63 This makes the Corinthian church’s eagerness to give funds to the Jerusalem church all the more astonishing.

Very soon solidarity with Jerusalem caught on among the Pauline churches. This should not come as a total surprise, for upon inspection into the national and religious make up of Paul’s churches and the regions they were located, they often consisted of both Gentile and Jewish believers. According to Acts, it was Paul’s custom to attend synagogue Sabbath meetings wherever he evangelised, and indeed, he often began his missional preaching in synagogues as he travelled throughout Anatolia (Acts 13:14; 14:1; 16:1 18:19), Achaea (Acts 17:16; 18:4) and Macedonia (Acts 16:13; 17:1–2; 17:10). Ancient literary and epigraphic evidence shows there were many synagogues in the regions Paul travelled to and preached, including in Anatolia,64 in Achaea,65 and in Macedonia.66 At these synagogues and others like them, the Law and the Prophets were read and discussed (Acts 13:14–15; Josephus, Ag. Ap. 2.283; CIJ I no. 203), and these synagogue communities at other times also raised funds for the Temple in Jerusalem (Josephus Ant. 14.110–13; 16.167–68). Some of their members made frequent pilgrimages to the Jerusalem Temple during Jewish festivals, especially Passover (Philo, Spec. Laws 1.69; Josephus, J.W. 1.245–61; 2.8–16; 6.414–23; CIJ II no. 777) and Pentecost (Philo, Spec. Laws 1.69; Acts 2:1–13; Josephus J.W. 2.35–58), and amongst their number were Jews from Judea and also Greek and Roman converts, as Josephus (Ag. Ap. 2.123) and Juvenal (Sat. 14.96–106) attest. Indeed, such was their patriotic fervour towards the Temple that according to Cassius Dio, during the First Jewish War, Jews from all over the eastern provinces of the Roman Empire fought against Titus from the walls of Jerusalem, a large number of which came from the Jewish communities in Greece and Asia (Roman History 66.4.1–4). Seen against this backdrop, the example of Timothy as a son of a mother who was a Jewish Christian, and a father who was a Greek believer, may not have been an altogether rare occurrence among Paul’s churches and other segments of the local populations throughout Asia, Greece and Macedonia (Acts 16:1). Thus, Gentiles and Jews lived alongside, and even together, in these provinces. They were Gentile nations, and Paul’s mission was certainly to the Gentiles, but these nations, or rather provinces under the Romans, had sizable Jewish populations that Paul welcomed into his missional activity.

Soon after the Corinthian church made its request to Paul to help the Christians of Jerusalem, the churches of Macedonia also sent their own request to Paul to allow them to contribute, as well. In Paul’s second epistle to the Corinthians, written in late AD 55, Paul indicates that the Christians in Macedonia pleaded with Paul so they might join with Corinthian Corinthians to help the Jerusalemite Christians, too. As Paul states,

And now, brothers and sisters, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in the service to the Lord’s people [in Jerusalem].… Last year you [the church in Corinth] were the first not only to give but also to have the desire to do so. (2 Cor 8:1–4, 10)

Of note in this passage is the fact that the churches in Macedonia were, similarly to that in Corinth, undergoing ‘severe trial’ and ‘extreme poverty’. Some commentators have in the past been puzzled over the cause for these hardships and lack of money,67 but given that this letter coincides with the famine, they must be references to the suffering Macedonia endured as a result of it. Indeed, Paul’s silence on charitable giving in 1 Thessalonians reveals that even by AD 49–52, Paul probably hoped the Macedonian Christians to conserve their funds amongst themselves, in similar fashion to the Galatian churches, as discussed.68 However, also like the Galatian churches, this conservation of funds allowed the Macedonian churches to volunteer contributions by AD 54. Still, the lingering trials and poverty of the Macedonian churches makes their enthusiasm to contribute funds as impressive as that of the Corinthians’ own.69

Fervour to help Judea continued to catch on among Paul’s churches, and finally the churches of Galatia sent their own request to Paul that he allow them to contribute to funds to Jerusalem. In response to all these requests, Paul addressed the Galatian churches first, possibly at the very time when the ambassadors of the Galatian churches came to Paul with their special request. Then came his responses to the churches in both Corinth and Macedonia, with words that now lack all caution to conserve or preserve funds. Paul writes,

Now about the collection for the Lord’s people: Do what I told the Galatian churches to do. On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with your income, saving it up, so that when I come no collection will have to be made. Then, when I arrive, I will give letters of introduction to the men you approve and send them with your gift to Jerusalem. If it seems advisable for me to go also, they will accompany me. (1 Cor 16:1–4)

To some, this passage seems a mere errand.70 However, it is rich in information on the conditions and workings of the Corinthian church during the Great Famine, and on what we know about the nature of the resulting collection called the ‘Jerusalem Donation’.71 What is made clear is that Paul stipulated that on the first day of the week—most likely the day when the Corinthian church came together for worship72—over an undisclosed extended period, each person was to ‘set aside a sum of money in keeping with one’s income, saving it up’ throughout that week (1 Cor 16:1–2).73 Every person was to make a contribution, no matter their financial situation, and their donations were to be saved in the home and in the church’s treasury.74 Paul also appointed collectors to collect the funds from the Macedonian, Corinthian and Galatian churches, and he would then pass the funds onto the Jerusalem church himself (1 Cor 16:2–4; 2 Cor 8:19–21).

Despite their initial zeal, the Corinthian church’s enthusiasm began quickly to abate, until that is, they learned of the fervour with which the Galatian churches raised their own funds for Jerusalem. Their fervour proved infectious to the Corinthians, and it certainly appears to be the case that they were soon pressing on with similar fervour also.75 Indeed, such was the enthusiasm that the Corinthian churches now exhibited, that they soon inspired the churches of Macedonia to give even more than they had been giving. As Paul states, ‘For I know your eagerness to help [in the Jerusalem Donation], and I have been boasting about it to the Macedonians, telling them that since last year [AD 54] you in Achaia were ready to give; and your enthusiasm has stirred most of them to action’ (2 Cor 9:2).

This drawing of inspiration from the Corinthian church by the Macedonian churches explains why Paul paired the churches of Macedonia with those of Achaia together in his letter to the church in Rome, written in AD 57, with such palpable, nostalgic retrospection, in the following words:

Macedonia and Achaia were pleased to make a contribution for the poor among the Lord’s people in Jerusalem. They were pleased to do it, and indeed they owe (ὀφειλέται) it to them. For if the Gentiles have shared in the Jews’ spiritual blessings, they owe (ὀφείλουσιν) it to the Jews to share with them their material blessings. (Rom 15:26–27)

This passage has sparked much scholarly debate regarding the nature of the Jerusalem Donation. In this mid-twentieth century, some scholars drew comparison between it and the Jerusalem temple tax expected from Jews universally.76 However, although the Jewish leaders of Jerusalem maintained that full observance of the Mosaic law was obligatory for all Jews everywhere, Paul’s letter to the Galatian churches clearly stands against Judaising.77 More correctly, other scholars emphasise the voluntary nature of the Jerusalem Donation, and categorise it as an extension of the Community of Goods. Given it was based on monetary contributions, the collection served to cement together Jewish and Gentile Christians in a kind of universal Community of Goods.78 Indeed, Paul’s own use of the words ὀφειλέται and ὀφείλουσιν in Romans 15:27 reflect the Pauline connection of grace and responsibility, which Paul taught ought to be adopted by all Christians for their Christian brothers and sisters, universally.79 Therefore, what mattered to Paul was not a unilateral direction of funds by religious subjects to a mother-city, but expressions of faith and reciprocal loving works between all Christians, including those in Jerusalem, who had already shared their own ‘spiritual blessings’ with the Christians of the Gentile world, motivated by Christian love. Thus, Paul paid honour to the church in Jerusalem by contributing to their welfare in a way it would have done itself—not with purchased food, but with the gift of money (Rom 15:27).

5. Paul Takes Charge of the Jerusalem Donation

By late AD 55, Paul took over the collection of funds for the Jerusalem church. A number of factors drove Paul to this. Firstly, it fitted well with Paul’s theology. Ideally, in theological terms, charity to Paul is a natural expression of a genuine Christian’s faith, shown, as Tasker describes it, ‘in action, just as faith must issue in works’.80 Paul articulated in his letter to the church at Ephesus, ‘by grace you have been saved, through faith’, but Paul then followed up with the statement that once saved by grace, Christians should act upon their faith, and show charitable grace to others, since ‘we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works’ (Eph 2:4–10).81 Paul reiterated this point to the church in Rome, writing that we are ‘justified by faith apart from observing the law’; once saved by grace we become ‘slaves to righteousness’ of God, exercising spiritual gifts that include ‘contributing to the needs of others’ from a place of godly gracious love.82 Thus, the Jerusalem Donation was driven by collective love—on behalf of God and towards one’s fellow Christians in Jerusalem, who were also loved by God.83 Hence, for Paul, Christians ought to do good works out of love and faith in God and love and hope for others, exhibiting ‘faith working through love’ as Paul described it to the Christians of Galatia in his letter to them (Gal 5:6).

Paul was eager that God’s blessings would follow on to the Macedonian and Corinthian Christians as a result of their kind giving, teaching the Corinthians in apt metaphors in the midst of famine, that he who ‘sows generously will also reap generously’ (2 Cor 9:6). Theologically speaking, for Paul, generosity is as beneficial to the giver as to the receiver. As Paul wrote,

If he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God. (2 Cor 9:10–11)

In 2 Corinthians 8:7, Paul called this teaching the ‘grace of giving’. Through this kind of giving, Paul believed the Christians of Greece and Macedonia would become rich ‘in every way that God knows will contribute to that person’s spiritual growth’.84 Paul believed this growth of more importance than the act of charity itself: ‘If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing’ (1 Cor 13:3). Thus, a Christian should ‘do everything’ in regard to the relief of poverty, but only ‘in love’ (1 Cor 16:18).

Paul also had other practical reasons for choosing to oversee the collection. For one thing, this generosity provided a divine pattern for others to follow.85 Politically and socially, also, Paul hoped that by unifying the Gentile and Jewish Christians within his own churches,86 the Gentile world would be encouraged to show more friendship with the Jewish world,87 and hopefully halt animosities from escalating into what would be the First Jewish War (AD 66–70),88 Moreover, on a missional level, it was of fundamental importance to Paul to consolidate his work in the East, and ensure it against Judaisers in the lead up to his mission to Spain.89 However, according to Paul the greatest rewards would be spiritual, bringing pleasure to God, who loves to bless ‘cheerful givers’ with enlarged harvests of ‘righteousness’ and generosity with ‘thanksgiving’ (2 Cor 9:6–10).

6. Conclusion

In AD 57, Paul finally set out to deliver the Jerusalem Donation to Judea, sailing there from Ephesus, conveniently situated centrally between Corinth, Macedonia, and Galatia. The long length of time that transpired between the start of the famine and Paul’s deliverance of the Jerusalem Donation—eleven years—proves that the Community of Goods was no dismal failure. However, in AD 57, Paul became aware for some time that he could be arrested by conspirators in Jerusalem. Although the prophet Agabus had told Paul upon his arrival in Caesarea Maritima that he would soon be arrested and tried by Gentiles, Paul hastened to Jerusalem anyway (Acts 21:1–16). This demonstrates just how much the Christians in Jerusalem had started finally to feel acute shortage from the lingering effects of this long and severe famine by that date. Thus, with simplicity and brevity, Paul farewelled the church in Rome in concise tones: ‘Now, however, I am on my way to Jerusalem in the service of the Lord’s people there’ (Rom 15:25). When Paul arrived at Jerusalem, he was welcomed warmly by all the Christians there, and on the second day he received an audience with James and the Jerusalemite elders, upon which the apostle gave them a detailed report about his missions, including the collection. ‘When they heard this’, Acts states, proving that they received the collection, ‘they praised God’ (Acts 21:19–20). As a signifier that the Jerusalemite church could handle its financial affairs competently, no evidence exists that it required any further donations up to the end of the famine in AD 63. Clearly, in the main, it managed its funds, despite the crisis of a funding shortfall in AD 57, extremely well.

[1] Chris Marshall, ‘The Radical Community’, Reaper 72.5 (1990): 3–5.

[2] Geza Vermes, The Dead Sea Scrolls: Qumran in Perspective (London: SCM, 1994), 21–22; Brian J. Capper, ‘Community of Goods in the Early Christian Church’, ANRW 26.2:1730–74; James VanderKam and Peter Flint, The Meaning of the Dead Sea Scrolls (San Francisco: Harper, 2002), 346–47; Steve Walton, ‘Primitive Communism in Acts? Does Acts Present the Community of Goods (2:44–45; 4:32–35) as Mistaken?’, EvQ 80 (2008), 99–111.

[3] VanderKam and Flint, The Meaning of the Dead Sea Scrolls, 347–48.

[4] On overseers at Qumran, see 1QS 1.1; 1QS 6.21–22; 1QS 8.1–4; 4Q265 fr. 7.2; 4QSa=4QS255. For financial leaders among the Christians in Jerusalem, see Acts 2:44–45; James VanderKam, Peter Flint, The Meaning of the Dead Sea Scrolls, 347.

[5] Geza Vermes, The Dead Sea Scrolls, 21.

[6] Craig L. Blomberg, From Pentecost to Patmos: An Introduction to Acts Through Revelation (Nashville: B&H Academic, 2006), 34.

[7] T. Martin, ‘Hellenists’, ABD 3:135–36.

[8] Justo L. González, Acts: The Gospel of the Spirit (New York: Orbis, 2001), 142–43. Blomberg, From Pentecost to Patmos, 46.

[9] D. E. Aune, Prophecy and Early Christianity (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1983), 264–65; Joseph A. Fitzmeyer, The Acts of the Apostles, AB (New York: Doubleday, 1998), 480; Richard I. Pervo, Acts: A Commentary, Herm (Minneapolis: Fortress, 2009), 296–97; Craig S. Keener, Acts (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2015), 2:1853.

[10] Pervo, Acts, 295–97.

[11] Acts 21:10; Did. 11–13; James D. G. Dunn, The Acts of the Apostles (Valley Forge, PA: Trinity Press, 1996), 157.

[12] Keener, Acts, 2:1851.

[13] NT references to prophets in the early church include the following: Luke 2:26–27, 36; Acts 13:1; 19:6; 21:9; Rom 12:6; 1 Cor 11:4–5; 12:10, 28–29; 13:2, 8–9; 14:1–39; Eph 3:5; 4:11; 1 Thess 5:20; 1 Tim 1:18; 4:14; Rev 1:3; 10:11; 11:3, 6, 10, 18; 16:6; 18:20, 24; 19:10; 22:6–10, 18–19; cf. Keener, Acts, 2:1852.

[14] Eckhard J. Schnabel, Acts, Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2012), 526.

[15] Ben Witherington III, The Acts of the Apostles: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1998), 373; Stephen Joubert, Paul as Benefactor: Reciprocity Strategy and Theological Reflection in Paul’s Collection, WUNT 2/124 (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2000), 114–15, 132 n. 31, 139; John S. Kloppenborg, ‘Paul’s Collection for Jerusalem and the Financial Practices in Greek Cities’, in Paul and Economics: A Handbook, ed. Thomas R. Blanton IV and Raymond Pickett (Minneapolis: Fortress, 2017), 309.

[16] Fitzmeyer, The Acts of the Apostles, 482; Pervo, Acts, 296–97.

[17] Darrell L. Bock, Acts, BECNT (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2007), 417.

[18] Keener, Acts, 2:1855.

[19] Witherington, The Acts of the Apostles, 372.

[20] Keener, Acts, 2:1856, 1858.

[21] Kenneth Sperber Gapp, ‘The Universal Famine Under Claudius’, HTR 28.4 (1935): 258.

[22] Gapp, ‘The Universal Famine’, 259.

[23] A. E. R. Boak, Papyri From Tebtunis, Part 1 (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1933), no. 123.II.26–27; no. 127.I.8, 12–14, 16, 17, 38; Gapp, ‘The Universal Famine’, 259.

[24] Friedrich Preisigke, Sammelbuch Griechische Urkunden aus Ägypten (Strassburg: Trübner, 1915–), no. 7341, 22–23; Kenneth Sperber Gapp, ‘The Universal Famine’, 259.

[25] Ulrecht Wilken, Griechische Ostraka aus Ägypten und Nubien, vol. 2 (Leipzig: Gieseke und Devrient, 1899), no. 1372; Gapp, ‘The Universal Famine’, 259.

[26] J. Tait, Greek Ostraka, vol. 1 (London: Egypt Exploration Society, 1930), no. 210, 108; Gapp, ‘The Universal Famine’, 259.

[27] P. Mich. 594 (September–October AD 51); G. M. Browne, Documentary Papyri from the Michigan Collection, X, ASP 6 (Toronto: Hakkert, 1970), 64–67.

[28] E. Smallwood, Documents Illustrating the Principates of Gaius, Claudius and Nero (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1967), no. 439; Josiah Osgood, Claudius Caesar: Image and Power in the Early Roman Empire (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011), 136–37.

[29] Gapp, ‘The Universal Famine’, 260.

[30] Peter Garnsey, ‘Famine in Rome’, in Trade and Famine in Classical Antiquity, ed. Peter Garnsey and C. R. Whittaker (Cambridge: Cambridge Philological Society, 1983), 58–60.

[31] Yair Goldreich, The Climate of Israel: Observation, Research and Application (Norwell: Kluwer Academic, 2003), 21–22; Morten H. Jensen, ‘Climate, Drought, Wars, and Famines in Galilee as a Background for Understanding the Historical Jesus’, in JBL 131 (2012): 307.

[32] BMC Nero 196; RIC Nero 110.

[33] See Suetonius Claud. 18; Tait, Greek Ostraka, no. 210, 108; Gapp, ‘The Universal Famine’, 259. Although Dio claims that this market was dedicated in AD 59 to celebrate Nero’s escape from an assassination attempt, Tacitus’s silence is conclusive that this could not have been so. In any event the dedication of a new market does not fit well with a famine, and makes more sense if it was dedicated immediately after one. See Tacitus Ann. 14. 12–15; Dio, Roman History 62.18.3.

[34] Israel Karmon, Israel: A Regional Geography (London: Wiley, 1971), 101.

[35] For God as a protector from famine, see Ps 37:19; Ezek 34:29. For God as harbinger of famine, see Lev 26:26; Deut 28:22–24; 32:24; 2 Sam 21:1; 1 Kgs 17:1; Ps 105:16; Isa 14:30; 51:19; Jer 11:22; 14:11–18; 24:10; 42:13–17; Amos 4:6–8; 8:11–14.

[36] Yair Goldreich, The Climate of Israel (New York: Springer, 2003), 77.

[37] William A. Dando, ‘Biblical Famines, 1850 BC–AD 46: Insights for Modern Mankind’, in Ecology of Food and Nutrition 13 (1983): 235; Goldreich, The Climate of Israel, 78.

[38] Dando, ‘Biblical Famines’, 235.

[39] James Moffatt, An Introduction to the Literature of the New Testament, 3rd ed. (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1918), 83–107; Hanz D. Betz, Galatians: A Commentary on Paul’s Letter to the Churches in Galatia, Herm (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1979), 81–83; J. B. Lightfoot, Saint Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians, 10th ed. (London: Macmillan, 1986); J. D. G. Dunn, The Epistle to the Galatians, BNTC (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1993), 8.

[40] Acts 13:13–14:20; F. F. Bruce, Epistle to the Galatians, NIGTC (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1982), 3–10, 17–18; Colin J. Hemer, The Book of Acts in the Setting of Hellenistic History, WUNT 49 (Tübingen: Mohr, 1989), 277–307; Richard N. Longenecker, Galatians, WBC (Dallas: Word, 1990), ixii–lxiii; Greg W. Forbes, ‘The Letter to the Galatians’, in All Things to All Cultures: Paul Among Jews, Greeks, and Romans, ed. Mark Harding and Alanna Nobbs (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2013), 244–46.

[41] Arabia: Gal 1:17; Syria and Cilicia: Gal 1:21; Judea: Gal 1:22; on Gaius and Timothy see Acts 20:4; Donald Guthrie, Galatians, NCBC (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1981), 21, 25.

[42] Margaret E. Thrall, The First and Second Letters of Paul to the Corinthians, CBC (Cambridge University Press, 1965), 161; Philip E. Hughes, The Second Epistle to the Corinthians, NICNT (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1962), 284; Raymond F. Collins, Second Corinthians, Paideia (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2013), 166.

[43] Jerome Murphy-O’Connor, ‘1 and 2 Corinthians’, in The Cambridge Companion to St. Paul, ed. James D. G. Dunn (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003), 87–88.

[44] Murphy-O’Connor, ‘1 and 2 Corinthians’, 83.

[45] Guthrie, Galatians, 84; Nicholas Taylor, Paul, Antioch and Jerusalem: A Study in Relationships and Authority in Earliest Christianity, JSNTSup 66 (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic, 1992), 112–16; Dunn, The Epistle to the Galatians, 112.

[46] Bruce, Galatians, 126.

[47] Joseph Klausner, From Jesus to Paul, trans. William F. Stinespring (London: Allen & Unwin, 1942), 364–70; D. R. Hall, ‘St. Paul and Famine Relief: A Study in Galatians 2:10’, ExpT 82 (1970–1971): 309–11; Bruce, Galatians, 126.

[48] Bruce W. Winter, ‘Acts and Food Shortages’, in The Book of Acts in its Graeco-Roman Setting, ed. D. W. J. Gill and Conrad Gempf, BAFCS 2 (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1994), 59–78.

[49] Taylor, Paul, Antioch and Jerusalem, 116–12; Dunn, The Epistle to the Galatians, 112.

[50] Josef Hainz, Koinonia: ‘Kirche’ als Gemainschaft bei Paulus (Regensburg: Pustet, 1982), 123–51; Kloppenborg, ‘Paul’s Collection for Jerusalem’, 309.

[51] E. C. K. Williams II, ‘A Re-evaluation of Temple E and the West End of the Forum of Corinth’, in The Greek Renaissance in the Roman Empire, ed. S. Walker and A. Cameron (London: Institute of Classical Studies, 1989), 156–62; Richard M. Rothaus, Corinth: The First City of Greece: An Urban History of Late Antique Cult and Religion, Religions in the Graeco-Roman World 139 (Leiden: Brill, 2000), 39–42.

[52] Donald F. Engels, Roman Corinth: An Alternative for the Classical City (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1990), 51–52.

[53] Aulus Gellius, Noct. Att. 16.13.9; Mary E. H. Walbank, ‘Pausanias, Octavia and Temple E at Corinth’, in The Annual of the British School at Athens 84 (1989): 394; Engels, Roman Corinth, 62.

[54] Bruce W. Winter, After Paul Left Corinth: The Influence of Secular Ethics and Social Change (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2001), 11.

[55] Engels, Roman Corinth, 220.

[56] B. M. Levick, ‘Greece (Including Crete and Cyprus) and Asia Minor From 43 B.C. to A.D. 69’, in CAH2 10:666.

[57] Winter, After Paul Left Corinth, 223–25.

[58] Michail Rostyovtzeff, The Social and Economic History of the Roman Empire, Volume 2 (Oxford: Clarendon, 1957), 600; M. Jameson, ‘Famine in the Greek World’, in Trade and Famine in Classical Antiquity, ed. Peter Garnsey, Cambridge Philological Society 8 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983), 6.

[59] A. B. West, Corinth: Results of Excavations Conducted by the American School of Classical Studies at Athens 1896–1926 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1931), 8/2:75–76 (no. 86–90); J. H. Kent, Corinth: Results of Excavations Conducted by the American School of Classical Studies at Athens 1926–1950 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1966), 8/3: 116–17 (no. 158–63); James R. Wiseman, ‘Rome and Corinth I’, in ANRW 11.7.1: 500; Bruce W. Winter, ‘Secular and Christian Responses to Corinthian Famines’, TynB 40 (1989): 86, 98–99; Winter, After Paul Left Corinth, 221–22.

[60] H. W. Pleket, ‘Economic History of the Ancient World and Epigraphy: Sone Introductory Remarks’, in Akten des VII. International Kongresses für griechische und lateinische Epigraphik (München: C. H. Beck’sche, 1973), 254; Winter, ‘Secular and Christian Responses’, 96.

[61] J. Triantaplyllopoulos, ‘Paraprasis’, in Acts of the Fifth International Congress of Greek and Latin Epigraphy (Hoboken: Blackwell, 1971), 65–69; Winter, ‘Secular and Christian Responses’, 96.

[62] Bruce W. Winter, ‘The Public Praising of Christian Benefactors: Romans 13:3–4 Peter 2:14–15’, JSNT 34 (1988): 87–103; Winter, ‘Secular and Christian Responses’, 106.

[63] Arthur R. Hands, Charities and Social Aid in Greece and Rome (London: Thames and Hudson, 1968), documents 2, 6, 7, 12. 14, 15, 23, 29.

[64] Pisidia (Acts 13:14–15), Bithynia (CIJ II no. 800 = IK Kalchedon no. 75), Phrygia (CIJ II no. 777; CIJ II no. 1414), Iconium (Acts 14:1), Teos (CIJ II no. 744 = DF no. 16), Samos (CIJ I² no. 731f), Cos (Josephus, Ant. 14.110–13), Halicarnassus (Ant. 14.256–58), Ancyra (Ant. 16.27–28, 162–65), Sardis (Ant. 14.259–61), Ephesus (Acts 19:8; Ant. 16.167–68; CIJ II no. 746 = IK Ephesos V no. 1676).

[65] Corinth (Acts 18:4), and Athens (Acts 17:16).

[66] Philippi (Acts 16:13), Thessalonika (Acts 17:1–2), and Berea (Acts 17:10).

[67] Leon Morris, 1 Corinthians, 2nd ed., TNTC (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1985), 237.

[68] Hanz Conzelmann, 1 Corinthians, Herm (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1975), 132 n. 13; G. D. Fee, The First Epistle to the Corinthians, 2nd ed., NICNT (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2014), 329; Winter, ‘Secular and Christian Responses’, 93.

[69] Winter, After Paul Left Corinth, 223–25.

[70] Robert Jewett, ‘Romans’, in The Cambridge Companion to St. Paul, ed. James D. G. Dunn (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003), 104.

[71] F. F. Bruce, Paul: Apostle of the Free Spirit (Exeter: Paternoster, 1977), 151.

[72] On the matter of worship on the first day of the week in the early church, see Justin Martyr, 1 Apol. 67.6. See also Morris, 1 Corinthians, 233.

[73] Kenneth E. Bailey, Paul Through Mediterranean Eyes: Cultural Studies in 1 Corinthians (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2011), 483–85.

[74] Morris, 1 Corinthians, 233.

[75] F. F. Bruce, 1 and 2 Corinthians (London: Oliphants, 1971), 157; C. K. Barrett, A Commentary on the First Epistle to the Corinthians (London: Black, 1971), 385; Fee, The First Epistle to the Corinthians, 897.

[76] J. Jeremias, Jerusalem zur Zeit Jesu (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1958), 1:86, 2A:48, 2B:118.

[77] Thrall, The First and Second Letters of Paul to the Corinthians, 161; Bruce, 1 and 2 Corinthians, 158.

[78] Barrett, A Commentary on the First Epistle to the Corinthians, 386.

[79] Michael F. Bird, ‘The Letter to the Romans’, in All Things to All Cultures: Paul Among Jews, Greeks, and Romans, ed. Mark Harding and Alanna Nobbs (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2013), 198.

[80] R. V. G. Tasker, 2 Corinthians, TNTC (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1958), 114.

[81] Francis Foulkes, Ephesians, TNTC (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1983), 71–78; F. F. Bruce, Romans, 2nd ed, TNTC (Nottingham: Inter-Varsity Press, 2008), 103.

[82] On justification, see Rom 3:28; on being slaves to righteousness, see 6:18, 19. John Ziesler, Paul’s Letter to the Romans, 168; James D. G. Dunn, Romans 1–8, WBC (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1988), 79. On charity as a spiritual gift, see 12:6–8; Bruce, Romans, 103–4, 134, 214–15; Dunn, Romans, 150. See also William Pauck, ed., Luther: Lectures on Romans (London: Westminster, 1961), 119–20.

[83] John Murray, The Epistle to the Romans, NICNT (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1965), 123, 218; Douglas J. Moo, The Epistle to the Romans, NICNT (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1996), 902.

[84] Blomberg, From Pentecost to Patmos, 223. See also Paul W. Barnett, The Second Epistle to the Corinthians, NICNT (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1997) 443.

[85] Ralph P. Martin, ‘Theology and Mission in 2 Corinthians’, in The Gospel to the Nations: Perspectives on Paul’s Mission, ed. Peter Bolt and Mark Thompson (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2000), 74–75.

[86] For Pauline churches as extensions of Jewish Diaspora synagogues and Graeco-Roman ecclésia, see the cases of Salamis (Acts 13:5–12), Pisidian Antioch (Acts 13:5–42), Iconium (Acts 14:1), Philippi (Acts 16:11–40), Thessalonica (Acts 17:10–15), Beroea (Acts 18:1–8), and Corinth (Acts 18:1–8). See also the case of Titius Justus, Paul’s first Gentile convert in Corinth, who lived next door to a synagogue (Acts 18:7–8). For Paul’s Jewishness generally, see Alan F. Segal, ‘Paul’s Jewish Presuppositions’, in The Cambridge Companion to St. Paul, ed. James D. G. Dunn (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003), 159–72; Paul McKechnie, ‘Paul Among the Jews’, in All Things to All Cultures: Paul Among Jews, Greeks, and Romans, ed. Mark Harding and Alanna Nobbs (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2013), 103–23. On Paul’s Graeco-Roman heritage, see Luke Timothy Johnson, ‘Paul’s Ecclesiology’, in The Cambridge Companion to St. Paul, ed. James D. G. Dunn (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003), 199–211; Christopher Forbes, ‘Paul Among the Greeks’, in All Things to All Cultures: Paul Among Jews, Greeks, and Romans, ed. Mark Harding and Alanna Nobbs (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2013), 124–42. See also John S. Kloppenborg, ‘Greco-Roman Thiasoi, the Corinthian Ekklesia at Corinth, and Conflict Management’, in Early Christianity and Its Literature, ed. Merrill Miller (Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2011), 5:197–98.

[87] A. J. M. Wedderburn, The Reasons for Romans (London: T&T Clark, 1988), 70–75; Jeffrey A. D. Weima, ‘Preaching the Gospel in Rome. A Study of the Epistolary Framework of Romans’, in Gospel in Paul: Studies in Corinthians, Galatians and Romans for Richard N. Longenecker, ed. L. Ann Jervis and Peter Richardson (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic, 1994), 357; James C. Miller, The Obedience of Faith, The Eschatological People of God, and the Purpose of Romans (Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2007), 16; A. Andrew Das, Solving the Romans Debate (Minneapolis: Fortress, 2007), 32; Bird, ‘The Letter to the Romans’, 189.

[88] C. K. Barrett, The Epistle to the Romans, BNTC (London: Black, 1975), 278; Murphy-O’Connor, ‘1 and 2 Corinthians’, 76; Frank J. Matera, Romans, Paideia (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2010), 337; Bird, ‘The Letter to the Romans’, 203.

[89] Francis Watson, ‘The Two Romans Congregations: Romans 14:1–15:13’, in The Romans Debate, ed. Karl P. Donfried (Minneapolis: Augsburg, 1977), 214–15; Francis Watson, Paul, Judaism and the Gentiles: A Sociological Approach, SNTSMS 56 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986), 176; Das, Solving the Romans Debate, 32–52.

Daryn Graham

Daryn Graham is a PhD graduate from Macquarie University and lives in Sydney, Australia.

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