How Did the New Testament Church Spend Their Money?

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Last year the church here in Alotau decided to look at the Bible to see how the church used money.  This is what we found (does not include every verse, but enough to give us a feel for the church’s spending priorities).                Photo by monstershaq

What did the early church spend money on?

Acts 2:44-45 – common needs, common things of life, material needs of members

Acts 4:32-35 – distributed to those as they had need

Acts 6:1 – a daily distribution of food to the widows

Acts 11:29-30 – provide help for those living in Judea (famine)

Acts 13:1-2 – to send off (provide financial means to travel ?)

Acts 15:2 – appointed to go up to Jerusalem (provided financial means to travel?)

Acts 15:22-23 – sent them with the letter (provided financial means to travel?)

Romans 15:24 – assist me on my journey

1 Cor. 9:4-12, 14 – do I not have the right to food and drink?

1 Cor 16:1-4 – to send to Jerusalem (likely for famine)

2 Cor. 8:19-20 – appointed to accompany us

2 Cor. 9:12 – supplying the needs of God’s people

Phil 1:4-5 Your partnership in the gospel

Phil. 4:14-18 – Assisting ministry needs

1 Tim. 5:9-10, 16 – Widows on the list (for distribution of food and goods)

1 Tim. 5:17-18 – the one who works for the church

The three main categories from above:

1. Financial Need – helping people. When there were those who were poor and hungry the church provided, as they were able, financial assistance.

2. Missionary Travel – providing the cost of transport of those who go to do ministry in a different place. Also included in this would be travel for church business (meetings, and to pass important messages to other churches).

3. Church worker who gives himself to God. This can include both an elder or a minister who is a leader in the church who spends their time working for the church.

My one suggested additional category:

4. Ongoing funds for church activities – 1 Cor 7:10, 1 Cor 7:12

How do you think the spending in most churches compares to this list?  Do you think we are spending money in the ways that the early churches did?


  1. says


    I really appreciate the work you put into this. It is one of the best compilations of NT Scriptures from the internet I’ve seen on giving. I just wanted to let you know though, that your fourth suggested point at the end doesn’t make much sense…unless in a round about way you’re trying to say that the church should help pay for divorces. : )



  2. jesse james beauchamp says

    your suggested added category #4 uses 1 cor 7:10&12 these say nothing about the church using their money. they are speaking of divorce

  3. says

    Great stuff:
    Just a thought on Acts 2:44-45..
    How many pastors really seek this out this scripture to preach to their Sunday morning congregations? And we say we want revival …hhmmm.. do we really ?

  4. Lee says

    I believe that your post is very faithful to the heart of scripture! Praise God for that.

    Perhaps churches should utilize public places to congregate instead of carrying the weight of having their own property expenses.
    Ideas: Parks, beaches, Church members house, community center, etc. Study scripture and see where Jesus taught gathered people – interesting study.

    Or, instead of buying simply open space, invest money in living space for committed ministers of the church. These buildings could also serve as a meeting place in a large common room. It would be primarily a prophet’s chamber, but also used to be used for Church meetings when weather doesn’t permit outdoors. God blessed the widow greatly for investing her money this way.

    If the church grows in numbers too large for houses, it could be divided up into cells or small groups and have only one church wide meeting a week or even every other week. How did the early church handle this growth in connection with meeting places?

    I think that meeting in public places would also encourage evangelism and discourage complacency among the believers. Neither Jesus or the early church are said to have owned property- and I think I would say they were successful. Having a meeting place has zero bearing on the success or failure of a church. What does? Whether we are holy or not.

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