Is the Bible Marxist?

Paul took a collection from Corinth and was having it taken to Jerusalem.  Corinth was relatively wealthy and the Christians in Jerusalem were poor.  This could be labeled a redistribution of wealth.  Redistribution of wealth is often thought of as a Marxist policy.  Those who are opposed to it think of systems like welfare, where (it is argued) hard working wealthy people support lazy people who are poor because they don’t contribute.  The difference in 1 Corinthians 16 is that Paul takes a voluntary gift to people who are poor because they are genuinely oppressed.  Christians do redistribute wealth through church administration, but hopefully it does not reinforce sloth and assists those in genuine need.

1 Corinthians 16:1-4

1Now about the collection for God’s people: Do what I told the Galatian churches to do. 2On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made. 3Then, when I arrive, I will give letters of introduction to the men you approve and send them with your gift to Jerusalem. 4If it seems advisable for me to go also, they will accompany me.

Questions

  1. How is capital to be accumulated by the church at Corinth?
  2. Who will be couriers for the gifts?
  3. What was the condition of the church in Jerusalem at this time?
  4. Would you have gladly sent your money with Paul?
  5. How do you think and feel about sending your money to assist the poor in Africa, Asia, or America?

Going Deeper

Karl Marx may have drawn some of his values from his Judeo-Christian cultural surroundings.  Pure materialism would not lead anyone to many of his goals.  However, Marxism is incompatible with Christianity.  Read The Communist Manifesto ( http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1848/communist-manifesto/) and distinguish where Marxism and Christianity agree and where they differ.  Can you think of reasons that Marxism has not succeeded?

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About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
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