In Acts 2 Christians were selling their property and giving to those in need. Were these individuals giving to individuals or individuals giving to the church and the church giving? If it was the church giving, were they giving to non-Christians or Christians only? I've heard this scripture used for the church giving to non-Christians. And I've heard that the money was used to help those who had come, were added to the church, and by staying longer than expected, they needed help.


"Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need" (Acts 2:44-45).

"Nor was there anyone among them who lacked; for all who were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold, and laid them at the apostles' feet; and they distributed to each as anyone had need" (Acts 4:34-35).

Acts 2 doesn't tell us how the funds were being divided. Acts 4 tells us that it was being done through the church. Individual Christians were selling some of their excess to help support those in need. By the context those being helped were the needed within the church. It was "all who believed" who were distributing to "all." These passages cannot be used to justify a church helping the poor in the general population. This doesn't mean that individual Christians are not to help the poor as they have opportunities; it is just that these verses don't justify a church doing these things.