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1 Corinthians 16

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Verse 1

[The fraternal communism of the Jerusalem church (Acts 2:44-45; Acts 4:36-37; Acts 5:1), together with the political troubles, famines (Acts 11:28-30) and persecutions (Acts 8:1-4), all tended to impoverish the church in Judæa. To relieve this poverty and to bring about a more cordial feeling between Jews and Gentiles, Paul had set about gathering an offering in the Gentile churches for the brethren in Judæa. The church at Corinth had consented to make such offering, but had been hindered by their factions, or some other cause, from so doing. In this chapter Paul requests them to begin taking this offering at once. He also speaks of the reasons why he had postponed his visit, tells them when they may expect him, and treats of some other lesser matters.] Now concerning the collection for the saints [Christians], as I gave order to the churches of Galatia, so also do ye. [Very probably he had ordered, or arranged for, this collection on the journey mentioned at Acts 16:6; and he probably collected it on that mentioned at Acts 18:23 . "Paul," says Bengel, "holds up as an example to the Corinthians the Galatians, to the Macedonians the Corinthians (2 Corinthians 9:2), and to the Romans the Macedonians and Corinthians (Romans 15:26): great is the force of example." For other references to this collection, see Acts 11:29-30; Acts 24:17; 2 Corinthians 8:1-2]

Verse 2

Upon the first day of the week let each one of you lay by him in store, as he may prosper, that no collections be made when I come. [The word "thesaurizoon," translated "in store," means, literally, "put into the treasury;" and the phrase "par’ heauto," translated "by him," may be taken as the neuter reflexive pronoun, and may be rendered with equal correctness "by itself." Macknight thus renders these two words, and this rendering is to be preferred. If each man had laid by in his own house, all these scattered collections would have had to be gathered after Paul’s arrival, which was the very thing that he forbade. Again, had the collection been of such a private nature, it would have been gathered normally at the end instead of at the beginning of the week. But the first day of the week was evidently set apart for public worship (John 20:19-26; Acts 20:7; Revelation 1:10), and this offering was part of the service. It was put in the public treasury of the church, but kept by itself as a separate fund. The translation of the Revised Version is unfortunate, as it obscures the idea of the weekly service of the church. According to Paul’s method of collecting, each rendered a weekly account of his stewardship, and gave more and felt it less than if he had attempted to donate it all at one time. Paul had promised to take such offerings (Galatians 2:10). As a Christian he tries to relieve that distress which, as a persecutor, he had aided to inflict (Acts 26:6-10). He wished each one, rich or poor, to contribute to the offering, and he wanted the whole matter disposed of and out of the way when he came, that he might turn attention to more important matters.]

Verse 3

And when I arrive, whomsoever ye shall approve, them will I send with letters to carry your bounty unto Jerusalem:

Verse 4

and if it be meet for me to go also, they shall go with me. [Paul does not ask to be made custodian of the offering. He directs the church to appoint its own messengers to carry it, thus raising himself above all suspicion of misappropriation, and giving the church a new incentive to make a liberal offering, for it would afford the church a new joy and profit to have in its membership those who had been to Jerusalem and seen the apostles. Paul, as an apostle, and as one personally acquainted with the Jerusalem church, promises to give the bearers of the fund letters of introduction and commendation to the apostles and elders at Jerusalem; and, should the greatness of the collection and the dignity of the occasion require it, he agrees to accompany the bounty himself. The collection proved large enough to justify this, and Paul accompanied the delegates. For the names of those who left Greece with Paul, see Acts 20:4]

Verse 5

But I will come unto you, when I shall have passed through Macedonia; for I [purpose to] pass through Macedonia;

Verse 6

ut with you it may be that I shall abide, or even winter, that ye may set me forward on my journey whithersoever I go.

Verse 7

For I do not wish to see you now by the way [merely as I pass through]; for I hope to tarry a while with you, if the Lord permit. [James 4:15; Acts 18:21; Hebrews 6:3; 1 Corinthians 4:19]

Verse 8

But I will tarry at Ephesus until Pentecost;

Verse 9

for a great door [the common metaphor expressing opportunity-- Acts 14:27; 2 Corinthians 2:12; Colossians 4:3; Revelation 3:8; Hosea 2:15] and effectual is opened unto me, and there are many adversaries. [For this success and the adversaries which it aroused see Acts 19:1-20 . For the riot which it afterwards stirred up see Acts 19:23-41 . From this paragraph it appears that it had been Paul’s plan to visit Corinth, going thither from Ephesus by direct course across the Ægean Sea; and after a brief sojourn there to pass up into Macedonia, and visit Corinth again on the return. This plan he evidently communicated to the Corinthians in that first epistle which is lost (1 Corinthians 5:9). But the evil reports which came to him concerning the conduct of the Corinthian church caused him to change his purpose, and delay his visit, that they might have time to repent, and so escape the severe correction which he would otherwise have felt constrained to administer to them (2 Corinthians 1:23; 2 Corinthians 2:1). Moreover, he reversed his route; coming by Macedonia (Acts 19:21-22), and intending to depart by sea (Acts 20:3). To help bring about a state of repentance, he sent Timothy as a forerunner (1 Corinthians 4:16-21), and sent him by way of Macedonia (Acts 19:22). He now writes that he has thus altered his plans, and that he is coming through Macedonia, and that he will not pay them two cursory visits, but will make them one long one, and probably stay all winter. However, he will not begin this journey until after Pentecost, for the work in Ephesus has become so fruitful as to demand at present all his attention. Paul carried out his plan as here outlined (2 Corinthians 2:13; 2 Corinthians 8:1; 2 Corinthians 9:2; 2 Corinthians 9:4; 2 Corinthians 12:14; 2 Corinthians 13:1; Acts 20:3-6). He suggests their forwarding him on his journey, thus showing his confidence in them, that they would give him this customary proof of affection (Romans 15:24; Acts 15:3; Acts 17:15; Titus 3:13); but intimates, by using "whithersoever," that his course beyond them is uncertain. We find later that he was compelled to change his plan-- Acts 20:3]

Verse 10

Now if Timothy come, see that he be with you without fear; for he worketh the work of the Lord, as I also do [1 Corinthians 14:17]:

Verse 11

let no man therefore despise him [1 Timothy 4:12]. But set him forward on his journey in peace, that he may come unto me: for I expect him with the brethren. [Timothy, as we have seen, went the long route by way of Macedonia, no doubt visiting the churches as he journeyed. Soon after his departure the messengers from Corinth arrived, bringing the letter from that church, and Paul sends this answer to it by Titus. Now, Titus was evidently despatched by the short route across the sea, with instructions to return by way of Macedonia. Therefore Paul uses "if," for he supposes that Titus may reach Corinth, discharge his errand, start through Macedonia, and there intercept Timothy so as to prevent his ever reaching Corinth. And this very thing seems to have happened, for Titus and Timothy, returning, evidently met Paul at Philippi, where he wrote his second Corinthian letter (2 Corinthians 1:1); yet only Titus is spoken of as having brought any report of the condition of affairs at Corinth (2 Corinthians 7:6-7). The Corinthians, therefore, had no chance to show their love for Paul by their welcome of Timothy. Paul’s words with regard to him remind us that he was at that time a young man and liable to be intimidated by the factious, arrogant spirit of the Corinthians. Timothy seems to have been of a diffident and sensitive nature (1 Timothy 5:21-23; 2 Timothy 1:6-8). Paul warns them that any unkindness shown to this young man will soon be reported him, for he expects Timothy to return with Titus, Erastus and those with them-- Acts 19:22; 2 Corinthians 12:17-18; 2 Corinthians 8:18; 2 Corinthians 8:23]

Verse 12

But as touching Apollos the brother, I besought him much to come unto you with the brethren [with Titus, etc.]: and it was not at all his will to come now; but he will come when he shall have opportunity [Apollos first comes to our notice at Ephesus (Acts 18:24-28) whence he went to Corinth just before Paul came to Ephesus (Acts 19:1). From Corinth Apollos returned to and was now at Ephesus. The old Latin commentators say that he left Corinth on account of the violence of the factions, and now declined to return because of them, but it is not likely that they knew anything more about the facts than we do. Jerome tells us that after the factious spirit subsided, Apollos returned to Corinth, and became bishop or elder of the church; but he gives us no authority for his statement. Paul’s words are important, because they show that neither he nor Apollos gave any countenance or encouragement to the factions. Paul has no fear that Apollos will do wrong intentionally, yet Apollos fears that he may do wrong by his presence unintentionally. It did not seem to Apollos that it was a fit season for him to show himself in Corinth.]

Verse 13

Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.

Verse 14

Let all that ye do be done in love. [In these brief, nervous phrases, Paul sums up the burden of his entire Epistle. The Corinthians were to be wakeful and not asleep (1 Corinthians 11:30; 1 Corinthians 15:33). They were to be steadfast, manly and strong (1 Corinthians 15:2; 1 Corinthians 15:58); they were to do all things in love (chs. 7, 8, 10, 11, 12 and 14), not show their lack of love in bringing lawsuits, wrangling about marriage, eating things sacrificed to idols, behaving selfishly at the Lord’s Supper, and vaunting themselves on account of their gifts.]

Verse 15

Now I beseech you, brethren (ye know the house of Stephanas, that it is the firstfruits of Achaia [i. e., my first converts in Greece-- 1 Corinthians 1:16], and that they have set themselves to minister unto the saints),

Verse 16

that ye also be in subjection unto such, and to every one that helpeth in the work and laboreth. [The apostle asks the Corinthians to be subject to their truly religious teachers, and picks out the family of Stephanas as a sample. This family was the first converted, and, consequently, probably the best instructed in the church.]

Verse 17

And I rejoice at the coming of Stephanas and Fortunatus and Achaicus: for that which was lacking on your part they supplied.

Verse 18

For they refreshed my spirit and yours: acknowledge ye therefore them that are such. [These were the messengers which bore the Corinthian letter to Paul. Of them we know nothing more. What Paul says of them here was probably written to keep the Corinthians from showing resentment toward them for having told him the sad condition of the church. The thought seems to be that they refreshed the apostle by partially filling the void caused by the absence of the Corinthians, and they caused Paul to refresh the church at Corinth both by receiving personal messages from him, and causing him to write the letter. He asks that they be received as a refreshment from him, just as he had received them as such from them.]

Verse 19

The churches of Asia salute you. [These were the churches in the Roman province of Asia, of which Ephesus was the capital. Seven churches of this province are mentioned in the opening chapters of the Book of Revelation. They were in the western coast lands of Asia Minor.] Aquila and Priscilla salute you much in the Lord, with the church that is in their house. [This devoted couple had been with Paul in Corinth, and were now in Ephesus (Acts 18:1-2; Acts 18:18; Acts 18:26). Soon after we find them in Rome (Romans 16:3), where they also had, as here, a church in their house (Romans 16:5). It was yet a day of small congregations, worshipping in private houses-- Romans 16:4; Romans 16:15; Colossians 4:15; Philemon 1:2]

Verse 20

All the brethren [in Ephesus] salute you. Salute one another with a holy kiss. [See commentary on Thessalonians, page 27. "He rightly enjoins the kiss of peace upon those who were in danger of being rent to pieces by schisms."--Grotius.]

Verse 21

The salutation of me Paul with mine own hand. [All of Paul’s letters save Galatians appear to have been written by an amanuensis (Galatians 6:11). Inspired Scripture was too important to be wanting in authenticity, or to be subjected to suspicion as forgery.]

Verse 22

If any man loveth not the Lord, let him be anathema. Maranatha. [Literally, "Let him be devoted to destruction. O Lord, come!" They were the words with which the Jews began their greatest excommunication. Here Paul pronounces a curse against the man who, professing to be a Christian, had really no love for Christ. Though the church can not always detect and punish such, yet the Lord at his coming will find them out. This, therefore, is Paul’s appeal to the Lord to do this thing, and he writes the words with his own hand to show how seriously he meant them. For use of the word "anathema," see 1 Corinthians 12:3; Acts 23:14; Romans 9:3; Galatians 1:8-9]

Verse 23

The grace [the reverse of the anathema] of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

Verse 24

My love be with you all in Christ Jesus. Amen. [The apostle closes with this thought, lest any should misconstrue his letter. Though it contained severe rebukes, it was dictated by love, and not by hatred.]

Bibliographical Information
McGarvey, J. W. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 16". "J. W. McGarvey's Original Commentary on Acts". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/oca/1-corinthians-16.html. Transylvania Printing and Publishing Co. Lexington, KY. 1872.