THE TREASURY

If I have not overlooked any passage, the word treasury (or some form thereof) is used some twelve times in what we call the Old Testament, and six times in what we call the New Testament.

One of the treasuries of the Bible is found in Psalms 135:7, where we learn that lightnings and wind, and things of this nature come from the treasury of Jehovah.

Another of the Bible treasuries pertains to the personal and private treasures. For example, Hezekiah had his own personal treasury (2 Chron. 32:27). Other kings also had their own treasuries (cf. Ezra 3:9). You will note upon further investigation that other translations tendered the word treasury by the word storehouse. One of these treasuries (storehouses) had the house of the king under it, i.e., on a lower level, and a subsequent prison where Jeremiah was kept prisoner (Jer. 38:11).

Plans for the treasuries (storehouses) were given to Solomon by David (I Chron. 28:11), when considering these treasuries connected to the temple in Solomon's time. So, "the need of a 'treasury' in connection with the house of Jehovah would early be felt for the reception of the offerings of the people, of tithes, and of the spoils of war dedicated to Jehovah" (I.S.B.E., Vol. 5, Pg. 3008). Spoils of war, such as gold, silver, brass and iron, which were taken from Jericho, were brought and "put into the treasury of the house of the Lord" (Josh. 6:24ff).

Jesus was found teaching in the temple treasury (John 8:20). This was a large room, we are told, where the people cast their money into the treasury. This is also the place where Jesus positioned himself, so he could see the people casting in their copper coins (chalkon) into the treasury (Mk. 12:41; Lk. 21:1). The chief priests said that the thirty pieces of silver used to buy Judas could not be put into this treasury (Mt. 27:6).

At this point, one is made to wonder a couple of things. First, who had charge of these funds deposited into this treasury, the elders of Israel, or the priesthood? Second, why there are not other scriptures in the Bible that deal with treasuries, especially a "church treasury?" It is surprising, is it not, that these are the only passages that refer to a treasury (as the Bible uses the word), of one kind or another, anywhere in the word of God.

It is stated that "our church treasuries have for their example the treasuries in the synagogues, both in the Old Testament days and in the days of the apostles." However, let it be carefully noted that THERE IS NO SUCH SCRIPTURE IN THE BIBLE. NO, NOT ONE, THAT DEALS WITH A TREASURY OF A "LOCAL SYNAGOGUE!"

So, since we cannot find the synagogues with a treasury, and because we need to prove we can have a "church treasury" today, we then go to the New Testament passage that we assume deals with a weekly church contribution; which we also assume is commanded to be gathered together each week, in the assembly; and where we are to "lay by in store as we have been prospered." Obviously, I Cor. 16:1-4 is used to substantiate this claim. However, note just a few things concerning this assertion.

First, we quote it (or read it) and leave out the word "him" (if we are using the King James translation), and thereby distort the meaning of the verse which Greek scholars affirm the meaning to be, "lay by himself (at home)." Check this out with the Greek scholarly language work to which you have access.

Second, we say this has reference to an assembly, but the word "assembly'' is nowhere to be found in the text or context. Are we guilty of adding to the word of God, just to suit our own purposes?

Third, we say this collection goes into a common fund, called the "church treasury," but nowhere in the passage do we find the word treasury, much less a "church treasury." Furthermore, when the "laying by in store" is completed the funds belong to the individual, not to the church.

Fourth, this was not a commandment (2 Cor. 8:4), but good advice, for the good of the Corinthian Christians (2 Cor. 8:8, 10); and in which they had begged Paul for the opportunity of participation in this gift. The NAS translation might help a little here, if we will take the time to read it.

Fifth, as we asked of the temple treasury, who has charge of this so-called "church treasury," the elders of spiritual Israel, or the priesthood (all the believers)?

Enough said about something the Bible knows nothing about!!

However, let it be said, there are many passages in the word of God that teach us that we are to give to people in need and support elders and preachers who do what is required of them by His word. So, why should we not quit trying to justify ourselves by practicing an unscriptural thing, and doing so little, and really commit ourselves as individuals to saving our money and giving it away to needy people or worthy causes of your personal choice. We will be extremely blessed in so doing, because God loveth a cheerful giver.

If we seriously consider what the Bible teaches (as well as what it does not teach), we probably will be surprised, and say, "Well...

I. B. John Brown."