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Bible Commentaries
1 Corinthians 16

Orchard's Catholic Commentary on Holy ScriptureOrchard's Catholic Commentary

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Verses 1-24

XVI 1-18 Directions about the Immediate Future — In twelve verses he deals rapidly with four practical matters, the collection for Jerusalem Christians, his coming visit to Corinth, Timothy’s visit, and Apollos’ plans.

1-4 The Collection —At this time Paul was organizing a collection to be made in all the churches he had founded (in four provinces: Achaea, Macedonia, Asia and Galatia) for the mother-church at Jerusalem. (See Introd. E and § 889a ff.) Besides relieving their needs, it was to be a practical proof of his own loyalty and that of his converts to the teaching of Christ, and an answer to the slanders of Judaizers. It had evidently been spoken of in some previous communication. A good deal more is said about it later in 2 Cor 8 and 9. 1. ’Galatia’: we do not know when these instructions were sent.

2. ’First day’, i.e. Sunday. ’With himself’: by him, in his own keeping. It was not therefore to be handed in at Mass, apparently. ’Laying up what he can afford’.

3. More likely: ’I will send them with letters (from myself) to carry your gift’.

4. ’That I . . . go’. He did in fact accompany them, Ac 20.

5-9 His Coming Visit —His promised visit had apparently been already postponed: see 4:18 and Introd. E. He now announces a further delay, caused partly by a postponement of his departure from Ephesus and partly by a change, as it seems, in his route—he was going throush Macedonia instead of crossing directly by sea. This delay (which in fact amounted to some months) was a deliberate act, in order to give the Corinthians time to decide whether they would be loyal to him, 2 Corinthians 1:23-2Co_2:3: see Introd. F.5. ’When . . .’: best interpreted as a change of route, the same change as is referred to in 2 Corinthians 1:15-17, which his enemies used against him (§§ 883b),

5-6. ’For I . . . abide’: ’for I am (only) passing through Macedonia, but with you I shall stay some time perhaps’. 6. ’That you . . .’: the ’you’ is emphasized. ’Bring me . . .’: probably included the idea of helping him with necessaries for his journey. If he did not go to Jerusalem, he meant to go to Italy and Spain, Romans 15:23-24.

7. ’Not . . . now . . by the way’. These words might imply that he had once already ’seen them by the way’, i.e. paid them a short visit since his long stay with them. Such a short visit may have taken place—see 2 Cor Introd. D 3. But ’not . . . now’ may have another sense, e.g. ’not as I originally intended’ or ’not now, whatever may happen in future’ (for he perhaps regarded this as his last visit— f see Acts 20:25) ’Some time’: he spent three months in Achaea, most of it at Corinth no doubt, Acts 20:3.8. ’Until Pentecost’. This implies that he was writing some time in March or April, for Pentecost is generally about the end of May.

9. ’A great and effective door’,i.e. opportunity (for spreading the Gospel). ’Door’ is a Jewish expression. ’And there are many adversaries’. The riot stirred up by the pagan shrine-makers at Ephesus probably took place in May of that year, and Paul no doubt could already see signs of coming trouble, Acts 19:23

10-11 Timothy’s Visit to Corinth —This proposed visit has been mentioned in 4:17. ’If Timothy come’. Probably: ’Whenever Timothy comes’. ’Without fear . . . despise him’. Five years before this, when Timothy first came to Corinth with Paul, he would have been hardly more than a boy. Paul feared they would still treat him as a boy.

11. ’Conduct him . . .’: same term as bring in v 6. ’The brethren’. Erastus was one of Timothy’s companions, Acts 19:22.

12 Apollos’s Plans —Probably the loyal Corinthians had asked for Apollos, if Paul could not come. St Paul’s desire that Apollos should go over to Corinth is a clear proof of his confidence in this friend. He knew that Apollos was not supporting the ’party of Apollos’ at Corinth and that he was the best man to restore harmony there. ’The brethren’, i.e. the three visitors from Corinth, see v 17. Not his will’: Or perhaps: ’Not God’s will’.

13-18 Last Messages —These relate largely to the three visitors, whose presence has not hitherto been mentioned, though one of them, Stephanas, was named in 1:16. About the purpose of their visit see Introd. E. Stephanas was probably a priest, and the other two may have been.

13. ’Watch’: ’Keep awake’. ’Be strengthened’: summon up all your energy, pull yourselves together.

14. ’Things’: ’Actions’.15. The best texts have only the name of Stephanas here. The other two have slipped in by mistake from v 17. ’The house’ may include not only relatives but also freedmen and slaves. ’Firstfruits of Achaea’ (cf. 15:20). They were among the first converts made in the province, not necessarily the very first, for these seem to have been Athenians, Acts 17:34. Perhaps they were the first at Corinth.

16. This probably means that Stephanas and one or two members of his household were priests. Cf. similar language in 1 Thessalonians 5:12.

17. Fortunatus and Achaicus may or may not have been members of Stephanas’s household. ’Because . . .’: i.e. they have brought messages of loyalty (and perhaps gifts) which ought to have come sooner. This seems however an ungracious thing to say at the end of a letter, and another meaning is possible: ’They have satisfied the need which you felt’—the desire felt by the better Corinthians to send their good wishes and perhaps gifts to Paul.

18. ’They have cheered my heart and yours’,i.e. the faithful at Corinth have derived as much happiness from sending the messengers as Paul has had from receiving them, a kind and affectionate thought. ’Know . . .’: ’Therefore pay them all respect’.

19-24 Conclusion—19. ’ Asia’: the Roman province called Asia, the western part of Asia Minor. Aquila and Prisca (as Paul always calls her) were well-known at Corinth, for they had been there with Paul, Acts 18:2-3. They had lived at Ephesus during Paul’s long stay there. ’With whom . . .’: Erroneous addition, not in the Greek.

22. ’Kiss’ common salutation among friends in ancient times, Matthew 27:49. Here it perhaps refers to the solemn kiss given at Mass, of which the Pax is a relic.

21-24. He writes the last few lines with his own hand, after dictating the rest. He had adopted this practice as a proof of the genuineness of the letters, as he explains in 2 Thessalonians 3:17. ’Anathema’: i.e. accursed, cf. 12:3. There should be a full stop after this. ’Maran atha’: an Aramaic sentence: ’The Lord is coming’. Paul gives the same thing in Greek in Philippians 4:5. Evidently it was one of those short Hebrew and Aramaic expressions which had become familiar even to converts from paganism, like Amen, Alleluia, Pascha.

24. Either ’My love is with you all’, or ’May my love be with you all’. The second would be a wish that even the most hostile of the Corinthians should be reconciled to him.

Bibliographical Information
Orchard, Bernard, "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 16". Orchard's Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/boc/1-corinthians-16.html. 1951.
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