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Friday, July 12th, 2024
the Week of Proper 9 / Ordinary 14
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Bible Commentaries
1 Corinthians 16

Contending for the FaithContending for the Faith

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Verse 1

Collection for the Needy Saints in Jerusalem

Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye.

Now concerning the collection: There does not seem to have been a problem in the Corinthian church over the "collection." Instead, after dealing with some of their other problems, Paul decides to close this letter by reminding them of a financial need in Judea and Jerusalem.

Paul directs his readers’ attention to a new subject by beginning with the word "concerning" (peri), meaning "as to" (Thayer 501-1-4012). (Compare 6:12; 7:1; 8:11.)

Paul’s final subject is the "collection," translated "gathering" in verse 2. The word "collection" (logia) means "contribution" (Strong #3048) or "a collection...of money" (Robinson 432).

The apostle apparently had spoken to the Corinthians about this need in a previous letter, and they had requested more information about it. This same need is mentioned again in 2 Corinthians chapters eight and nine where he says, "And herein I give my advice: for this is expedient for you, who have begun before, not only to do, but also to be forward a year ago" (2 Corinthians 8:10).

for the saints: This collection of money is "for the saints." The word "saints" (hagios) means "sacred; blameless; (or) consecrated" (Strong #40). It is also translated "holy" in verse 20. This "was a special collection to meet the immediate need of ’the poor among the saints at Jerusalem’" (Vine 229). This collection was not a different collection from the regular weekly collection, but Paul did have a special situation in mind for its use. The saints in Jerusalem were suffering because of a famine in the land. Peter refers to this situation when he says,

And in these days came prophets from Jerusalem unto Antioch. And there stood up one of them named Agabus, and signified by the Spirit that there should be great dearth throughout all the world: which came to pass in the days of Claudius Caesar. Then the disciples, every man according to his ability, determined to send relief unto the brethren which dwelt in Judaea: Which also they did, and sent it to the elders by the hands of Barnabas and Saul (Acts 11:27-30).

Paul mentions the Jerusalem situation in his letter to the church at Rome when he says, "For it hath pleased them of Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor saints which are at Jerusalem" (Romans 15:26).

The scriptures do not instruct congregations to spend the collection to help orphan homes and hospitals, but they do instruct congregations to help needy "saints."

The church was never designed to be a hospital or orphan home. Its mission was primarily evangelistic in nature. Its benevolent charge was for those who had already become Christians. Benevolence was not used to win people to Christ. Instead, benevolence was used to relieve the sufferings of those who had already been won to Christ (Willis 596).

as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye: The words "have given order" (diatasso) indicate that Paul has already "arrange(d), appoint(ed), ordain(ed), (or) prescribe(d)" (Thayer 142-2-1299) this collection in Galatia; and now he is instructing the Corinthians to do the same thing--have a collection for the saints. This collection is not only a suggestion but a mandate for all Christians.

The New International Version says, "Do what I told the Galatian churches to do." Paul often names other congregations as examples of doing what he instructs.

Paul 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 (McGarvey 160).

Verse 2

Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.

Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store: Paul answers four questions about the "collection": When? Who? How? and Why?

The first question is: "When are Christians to give?" Paul says that the collection is to take place "Upon the first day of the week." The word "upon" (kata) is used distributively (Vincent, Vol. III 288). The word "week" (sabbaton) means "the first day after the sabbath," indicating "the first day of every week" (Thayer 566-1-4521). MacKnight says, "...as kata polin signifies every city; and kata mena, every month; and, Acts 14:23, kata ekklesian, in every church: So kata mian sabbaton signifies the first day of every week" (291). The first day of the week became very significant after Christ died. It was on this day that Christ arose from the dead. It was on this day that He met with His disciples. It was on this day that God sent the Holy Spirit to Jerusalem (Acts 2). It was on this day that the disciples came together to "break bread" (Acts 20:7), and now Paul says that it is on this day that Christians are commanded to "lay by him in store."

The second question is: "Who is to give?" Paul answers, "let every one of you" lay by in store. This responsibility goes not only to the rich but also to the poor. "Every one" is to give as he is prospered by God and as he purposes in his heart.

The third question is: "How is this collection to be done?" Paul answers, "lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him." To "lay by" (tithemi) means to "let him put" (Vine 229) or "to lay aside money" (Thayer 623-2-5087).

The term "him" (heauton), often translated "himself" (Berry’s interlinear), has brought forth much confusion because of the definitions and comments of some writers. For example:

1. "Each one is to put aside at home 1 Corinthians 16:2" (Bauer, Arndt, and Gingrich 36).

2. "Note that the contribution is not paid into a common fund, but laid by at home" (Cambridge Greek Testament 246).

3. "Lay by him i.e. at home, not in the assembly, as is generally supposed" (The Cambridge Bible 164).

4. "On every first (day) of the week let each of you by himself (at home) lay up, making a store (of it), whatever he may be prospered in" (The Expositor’s Greek Testament, Vol. II 945).

5. "Here there is no mention of their assembling, which we have in Acts 20:7, but a plain indication that the day was already considered as a special one, and one more than others fitting for the performance of a religious duty....let each of you lay up at home...whatsoever he may by prosperity have acquired (literally ’whatsoever he may be prospered in:’ that is the pecuniary result of any prosperous adventure, or dispensation of Providence)" (Alford, Vol. II 621).

6. "The words ’lay by him in store’ indicate ’By himself, in his home’" (Robertson, Vol. IV 200).

7. "Literally, put by himself treasuring. Put by at home" (Vincent, Vol. III 288).

8. "...by or with oneself, in one’s house, at home" (Robinson 199).

9. "...lay by him in store meaning at his home" (Thayer 163-1-1438).

10. "...at home" (Kittel, Vol. V 731).

11. "1 Corinthians 16:2; pros heauton, to one’s self, to one’s home" (Green 51).

12. "...with one’s self, at home, 1 Corinthians 16:2" (The Analytical Greek Lexicon by Baxter 110)

13. "...at his own house, 1 Corinthians 16:2" (Abbott-Smith 126).

14. "...with one’s self, at home, 1 Corinthians 16:2" (Harper’s Analytical Greek Lexicon 110).

Because of these (and other) writers many believe that the collection is to be taken care of at home instead of in the assembly. However, Paul’s fourth question--"Why are we to give?"--proves this assumption to be wrong. Paul teaches that Christians are to lay by him in "store." The word "store" (thesaurizo) means "to gather and lay up, to heap up, (or) to store up" (Thayer 290-2-2343), indicating to accumulate riches.

as God hath prospered him: The word "prospered" (euodoo) means "gains" (Thayer 261-1-2137). Christians are to store aside a portion of the money they have gained through God’s blessing them. There is no set amount stated to be given. Paul says to give "as God hath prospered him"; however, Paul further teaches,

He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver (2 Corinthians 9:6-7).

that there be no gatherings when I come: The purpose of Christians "lay(ing) by him in store" is that there be no "gatherings" later. That there "be no gatherings when I (Paul) come" is the answer to the fourth question--"Why are Christians to give?" (See comments on "collection" in verse 1 for explanation of the word "gatherings.")

Paul is teaching that Christians must always be prepared to help the needy among God’s people. His instruction "...that there be no gatherings" when he returns to Corinth indicates that the "collection" was not at home but was all together. The purposing in the heart (2 Corinthians 9:6-7) is to be done beforehand, at home; however, the collection of money is to be in a common treasury. Any other conclusion would mandate "gatherings" when Paul returns to Corinth; and this is precisely what he wanted to avoid.

"The word ’thesaurizoon,’ translated ’in store,’ means ’put into the treasury’" (McGarvey 161). The money was to be separated at home from the money that was not given and then contributed into a common collection that would already be together when Paul came.

Verses 3-4

And when I come, whomsoever ye shall approve by your letters, them will I send to bring your liberality unto Jerusalem. And if it be meet that I go also, they shall go with me.

And when I come, whomsoever ye shall approve: The term "approve" (dokimazo) means "to recognize as genuine after examination, to approve, deem worthy" (Thayer 154-2-1381).

by your letters: There are two views about these "letters." The first view is that these are "letters" written by Paul to introduce the chosen person to the Christians in Jerusalem. The New International Version holds this view, saying, "Then, when I arrive, I will give letters of introduction to the men you approve and send them with your gift to Jerusalem."

The second view about the "letters" is that they are letters of approval written by the Corinthian brethren. The Revised Standard Version holds this view: "And when I arrive, I will send those whom you accredit by letter to carry your gift to Jerusalem." This second view seems correct. The Corinthians would make the choice of who would deliver their own money; therefore, they would naturally write the "letters" to introduce this individual to the other congregation.

them will I send to bring your liberality unto Jerusalem: After the Corinthians decide who among them is trustworthy enough to deliver their "liberality," Paul says he would send them to Jerusalem. The word "liberality" (charis) means "gift of grace; benefaction, bounty" (Thayer 666-2-5485).

And if it be meet that I go also, they shall go with me: The term "meet" (axios) means "worth the while" (Thayer 52-2-514), indicating that if it is necessary for Paul to go to Jerusalem at that time the chosen brethren could go with him. Paul does not state the reason why it may be necessary for him to go to Jerusalem--he says only if it is necessary to go. Most writers assume Paul is indicating that if the amount of money is large enough to warrant his going, he would go; otherwise, he would not go. However, likely Paul has reference to whether he is needed in the work in Jerusalem. Grosheide says,

Verse 4 does not mean: if the collection is large enough I myself shall go with the delegation, but rather: if circumstances are such that the mission work demands my journeying to Jerusalem they shall go with me (398).

Paul did, in fact, go to Jerusalem as is recorded in Acts: "Now after many years I came to bring alms to my nation, and offerings" (24:17). Several men made this journey with him: "And there accompanied him into Asia Sopater of Berea; and of the Thessalonians, Aristarchus and Secundus; and Gaius of Derbe, and Timotheus; and of Asia, Tychicus and Trophimus" (Acts 20:4).

The message Paul presents in these two verses is well worthy of our consideration today. He deemed it best for more than one brother to go together to deliver the money; he would not even go by himself, but he asks the Corinthians to decide who among them would make the delivery.

In all financial affairs of an assembly matters should be in the hands of more than one brother, and every care should be taken to avoid the slightest suspicion of injudicious handling or of personally interested motives (Vine 230).

Verse 5

Paul’s Plans to Go to Corinth

Now I will come unto you, when I shall pass through Macedonia: for I do pass through Macedonia.

Paul reconfirms his intention of visiting Corinth after his visit in Macedonia, a Roman province now called Greece. Paul’s missionary journeys took him there to spread the gospel. Originally, he had planned to go to Corinth first, then to Macedonia, and possibly return to Corinth; but these plans changed. He says,

And in this confidence I was minded to come unto you before, that ye might have a second benefit; And to pass by you into Macedonia, and to come again out of Macedonia unto you, and of you to be brought on my way toward Judaea (2 Corinthians 1:15-16).

Verse 6

And it may be that I will abide, yea, and winter with you, that ye may bring me on my journey whithersoever I go.

And it may be that I will abide, yea, and winter with you: To "abide" (parameno) means to "remain beside, (or) to continue always near" (Thayer 485-1-3887). Paul’s desire was to stay near Corinth during the winter months.

that ye may bring me on my journey whithersoever I go: After winter is over Paul is counting on the Corinthians to assist him in his journeys. The type of assistance is often misunderstood. Some think that Paul refers to financial assistance; however, such is not likely because he wrote of problems that arise from such actions when he says, "But I have used none of these things: neither have I written these things, that it should be so done unto me: for it were better for me to die, than that any man should make my glorying void" (9:15). The definition of the word "bring" (propempo) explains that Paul means "to accompany or escort" (Thayer 541-1-4311). Paul means that he hopes they will "send him forward" (The Cambridge Bible 165) or accompany him to other places after the winter. The same expression is found in Acts 15:3, Acts 20:38, Acts 21:5, and other places.

It was a standard practice for brethren in a certain area to accompany a loved one or friend a few miles on his trip when he left for a long journey. When Paul left Ephesus, some of the members accompanied him: "Sorrowing most of all for the words which he spake, that they should see his face no more. And they accompanied him unto the ship" (Acts 20:38). The term "accompanied" comes from the same term translated "bring" in this verse.

Verse 7

For I will not see you now by the way; but I trust to tarry a while with you, if the Lord permit.

For I will not see you now by the way; but I trust to tarry a while with you: Paul now explains why he will not go to Corinth at the present time: he wants to spend more time with them than he could now; therefore, he postpones his visit until near winter, planning or "trust(ing)" or "expect(ing)" (Strong #1679) to stay all winter with them.

if the Lord permit: Even though Paul is making plans to stay in Corinth during the winter months, he realizes this plan may have to be altered again. Therefore, he explains that all of his plans are based upon "if the Lord permit." The term "permit" (epitrepo) means if the Lord "allows" (Strong #2010).

Verse 8

But I will tarry at Ephesus until Pentecost.

Paul is writing this letter from Ephesus and says that he plans to "tarry" (elpizo) or to "remain" (Strong #1961) there until Pentecost. The apostle, in fact, did leave Ephesus later as recorded in Acts:

And after the uproar was ceased, Paul called unto him the disciples, and embraced them, and departed for to go into Macedonia. And when he had gone over those parts, and had given them much exhortation, he came into Greece (20:1-2).

Verse 9

For a great door and effectual is opened unto me, and there are many adversaries.

For a great door and effectual is opened unto me: Paul desires to go to Corinth at the present time; however, he knows that it was needful for him to stay in Ephesus for two reasons. First, he needs to stay because "a great door and effectual is opened" for him, meaning that opportunities are "effectual" (energes) or "active" in Ephesus (Thayer 215-2-1756).

The use of the word "door" in the sense of opportunity in the New Testament is a favorite word of Paul. For example he says, "Furthermore, when I came to Troas to preach Christ’s gospel, and a door was opened unto me of the Lord" (2 Corinthians 2:12). Writing to the church in Colosse he says, "Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds" (Colossians 4:3). Luke also uses this term: "And when they were come, and had gathered the church together, they rehearsed all that God had done with them, and how he had opened the door of faith unto the Gentiles" (Acts 14:27).

and there are many adversaries: A second reason Paul needs to stay in Ephesus is that there are "many adversaries," indicating there are adverse conditions there. The mentioning of the "many adversaries" indicates that Paul fears if he leaves Ephesus at that time while the "door" is open for him to teach the true gospel, the "adversaries" would take advantage of the opportunity during his absence. We learn from this verse that having "adversaries" in one area is not a reason to leave but is the reason for remaining.

Verses 10-11

Laborers Worthy of Paul’s Attention


Now if Timotheus come, see that he may be with you without fear: for he worketh the work of the Lord, as I also do. Let no man therefore despise him: but conduct him forth in peace, that he may come unto me: for I look for him with the brethren.

Now if Timotheus come, see that he may be with you without fear: Timotheus, more often called Timothy, was sent from Ephesus to Macedonia accompanied by Erastus (Acts 19:22). Paul speaks of Timothy’s coming earlier in this letter when he says,

For this cause have I sent unto you Timotheus, who is my beloved son, and faithful in the Lord, who shall bring you into remembrance of my ways which be in Christ, as I teach every where in every church (4:17).

It seems that Paul is unsure whether Timothy would be able to stop in Corinth on this journey. In case he is, however, Paul wants him to be treated well and "without fear." Paul is concerned about Timothy’s treatment in Corinth, possibly, because of the partisanship in the church or because of Timothy’s young age and inexperience.

for he worketh the work of the Lord, as I also do. Let no man therefore despise him: but conduct him forth in peace: Regardless of why Paul is concerned about Timothy, he introduces him as one who "worketh the work of the Lord" as he does. On this ground, Paul says, "Let no man...despise him...." The term "despise" (exoutheneo) means "to make of no account" (Thayer 225-1-1848) or "to treat him with disrespect" (Bratcher 161). If he does come to Corinth when he leaves, Paul asks the Corinthians to "conduct him forth in peace." To "conduct forth" (propempo) is the same as to "bring me on my journey" in verse 6, meaning to accompany him as he exits the city.

that he may come unto me: for I look for him with the brethren: Paul expects Timotheus to return to him with the "brethren" who deliver the letters, so he will know soon whether the Corinthians treated him well or not and what conditions are in Corinth. The New International Version reads:

If Timothy comes, see to it that he has nothing to fear while he is with you, for he is carrying on the work of the Lord, just as I am. No one, then, should refuse to accept him. Send him on his way in peace so that he may return to me. I am expecting him along with the brothers.

We are not told whether he made this visit or not. The next time we hear of Timothy is several months later when he is with Paul as he writes the second letter to the Corinthians. Paul refers to him in the introduction of this second letter by saying,

Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, unto the church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints which are in all Achaia (2 Corinthians 1:1).

Verse 12


As touching our brother Apollos, I greatly desired him to come unto you with the brethren: but his will was not at all to come at this time; but he will come when he shall have convenient time.

It appears the Corinthians had sent word, asking Paul to have Apollos visit them. Apollos, however, did not desire to go to Corinth at this time. Paul says it was not Apollos’ "will" (thelema) or his "choice" (Strong #2307) to come at this time.

No more definite reason for Apollos’ not going is given. The words "at all" (pantos) "suggests that he felt he had every ground for refusing" (Vine 233). It is generally thought that he chose not to go to Corinth because of those who were attempting to follow him instead of Paul or Peter (1:12). Even though he refuses to go now, he promises to visit them at a more "convenient time" (eukaireo) or when he had the "opportunity" (Thayer 259-1-2119).

Verses 13-14

Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong. Let all your things be done with charity.

The five exhortations found in these two verses are in the present continuous tense, indicating that true Christians are always to be concerned about these matters. Paul gives these imperative military-type instructions to sum up this letter, and they are the same ones found in other scriptures. As a good soldier for Christ, they were always to watch or be alert. They were to show their faithfulness by standing fast in their service. And as dedicated servants they were always to conduct themselves as men. In the closing remarks of his second letter to the Corinthians, Paul writes similar words: "Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you" (2 Corinthians 13:11).

Watch ye: "Watch" (gregoreuo) means to "give strict attention to, be cautious, (and) active" (Thayer 122-2-1127). The indication is to be careful unless through negligence they are overtaken in sudden misfortunes. (Compare Colossians 4:2; 1 Thessalonians 5:6; 1 Thessalonians 5:10 --"wake"; 1 Peter 5:8 --"vigilant.")

stand fast in the faith: "Stand fast" (steko) means to "stand firm" (Thayer 588-1-4739) or to persevere in the faith. The "faith" (pistis) refers to their religious persuasion in the gospel of Jesus Christ. (Compare Romans 5:2; Romans 11:20; Ephesians 4:13; 2 Thessalonians 2:15.)

quit you like men: The expression "quit you like men" (andrizomai) means "to make a man of or make brave, to show one’s self a man" (Thayer 43-2-407) or to "act manly" (Strong #407). (Compare Deuteronomy 31:6-7; Deuteronomy 31:23; Joshua 1:6-7; Joshua 1:9; Joshua 1:18.) Paul means to be courageous in the Lord’s work.

be strong: "Be strong" (krataioo) indicates "to increase in strength (or) to grow strong" (Thayer 358-2-2901) in the Lord. (Compare Ephesians 3:16 --"strengthened"; Colossians 1:11 --"power"; 1 Timothy 6:16 --"power.")

Let all your things be done with charity: The better reading is "in charity," not "with charity." This instruction was impossible to obey with the problems in Corinth; therefore, they must remedy their problems so that they may do all things in love. Paul speaks of "love" earlier when he says,

When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things....And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity (13:11, 13).

Actions, as mentioned in verses 13 and 14, will allow us to live as Paul says he lived:

Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you. Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing (Philippians 3:13-16).

Verse 15

I beseech you, brethren, (ye know the house of Stephanas, that it is the firstfruits of Achaia, and that they have addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints,)

By I "beseech" (parakaleo) Paul is issuing an "admonition" or "exhortation" to do something. The "firstfruits of Achaia" refer to the house of Stephanas as being among the earliest believers in Christ in that area. Paul speaks of the house of Stephanas earlier in this letter: "And I baptized also the household of Stephanas: besides, I know not whether I baptized any other" (1:16).

Concerning this family, Paul says they have "addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints." By "addicted" (tasso), Paul means they have "appointed" (Thayer 615-2-5021) themselves to the ministry of the saints. The indication is that they have given valuable assistance to them. The word "ministry" (diakonia) means "the ministration of those who render to others the offices of Christian affection" (Thayer 137-2-1248). They took it upon themselves to assist those who labored in preaching the gospel of Christ. Certainly this is a statement worthy of our attention today. May God help us to follow the traits of this family.

Verse 16

That ye submit yourselves unto such, and to every one that helpeth with us, and laboureth.

That ye submit yourselves unto such: In verse 15, Paul interrupts his thought by reminding the Corinthians who Stephanas was. He is in the process of issuing an admonition: "I beseech you, brethren...That ye submit yourselves unto such, and to every one that helpeth with us, and laboureth." Paul’s instruction is to "submit" (hupotasso)--be "in subjection" (Thayer 645-2-5293)--to those who help and labour in the Lord’s vineyard.

and to every one that helpeth with us, and laboureth: The words "helpeth with us" (sunergeo) mean "to work together, help in work, be a partner in labor" (Thayer 603-2-4903). The term "laboureth" (kopiao) refers to those who "feel fatigue" (Strong #2872). Paul is instructing the Corinthians to follow the example of Stephanas in helping others who labor in the gospel by giving general assistance to them in their work as well as assisting them when they are in need of physical rest.

The King James Version includes Paul by inserting the pronoun "us," even though it is not found in the Greek; however, Paul would also be among those who do need assistance from time to time. This verse teaches that, as God’s children, we are to work together to save souls.

Verses 17-18

I am glad of the coming of Stephanas and Fortunatus and Achaicus: for that which was lacking on your part they have supplied. For they have refreshed my spirit and yours: therefore acknowledge ye them that are such.

Paul says there is a specific reason for giving the instructions in verses 15-16. The Corinthians obviously were not fulfilling their duties in helping him and other laborers.

Paul expresses that he is "glad" (chairo) or "rejoicing" (Thayer 663-1-5463) that Stephanas, Fortunatus, and Achaicus are coming to be with him to assist in the things the Corinthians are "lacking" (husterema), referring to their "deficiency" (Thayer 646-2-5302).

The specific help to which Paul has reference is they have "refreshed" his spirit and theirs. The term "refreshed" (anapauo) means "to cause or permit one to cease from any movement or labor in order to recover and collect his strength" (Thayer 40-2-373). Paul has obviously reached a point of physical exhaustion, and they are there to relieve his labors. He mentions this Christian act and then encourages the Corinthians to "acknowledge" (epiginosko) or "become thoroughly acquainted with" (Thayer 237-1-1921) these Christians (Stephanas, Fortunatus, and Achaicus).

Stephanas: Stephanas was first mentioned in 1 Corinthians 1:16 (see comments).

Fortunatus: Fortunatus is not mentioned again in the scriptures; however, Clement of Rome, who lived between 30 A.D. and 100 A.D., indicates that he was one of the messengers who delivered a letter to Corinth.

Achaicus: Nothing more is known of this individual.

Verse 19

Paul’s Closing Words

The churches of Asia salute you. Aquila and Priscilla salute you much in the Lord, with the church that is in their house.

The churches of Asia salute you: Paul is referring to the Province of Asia with Ephesus as its capital. Asia is mentioned again in Acts:

And this continued by the space of two years; so that all they which dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks....Moreover ye see and hear, that not alone at Ephesus, but almost throughout all Asia, this Paul hath persuaded and turned away much people, saying that they be no gods, which are made with hands (19:10, 26).

The term "salute" (aspazomai) is a way to "greet, bid welcome to, (or) to wish well" (Thayer 81-1-782).

Aquila and Priscilla salute you much in the Lord: To "salute you much in the Lord" indicates that Aquila and Priscilla knew of these brethren only through the church and were greeting them as Christians. Aquila and Priscilla are the couple with whom Paul worked when he first came to Corinth (Acts 18:1-4); and when he left Corinth, they went with him on his journey to Ephesus as is mentioned in Acts:

And Paul after this tarried there yet a good while, and then took his leave of the brethren, and sailed thence into Syria, and with him Priscilla and Aquila; having shorn his head in Cenchrea: for he had a vow (18:18).

with the church that is in their house: Aquila and Priscilla used their home as a regular meeting place for the church of Christ. This is also the same couple who "...expounded unto (Apollos) the way of God more perfectly" (Acts 18:26).

Verse 20

All the brethren greet you. Greet ye one another with an holy kiss.

All the brethren greet you: These are all the brethren associated with Paul in the church in Ephesus.

Greet ye one another with an holy kiss: It was an Eastern custom to greet each other with "an holy kiss." The term "holy" (hagios) means "pure, sinless, and upright" (Thayer 7-1-40). The "kiss" (philema) was a common form of salutation. It is called a "holy kiss" to distinguish it from something unholy. (Compare 1 Thessalonians 5:26; 2 Corinthians 13:12; and 1 Peter 5:14 --"kiss of charity.")

This custom was not a formal act of worship. It was simply a warm greeting from one another.

What he is legislating is a warm salutation whether by a warm handshake, bowing to each other (as Orientals did at one time) or through a kiss. We should greet each other warmly, regardless of what our national customs may be (Willis 618).

Verse 21

The salutation of me Paul with mine own hand.

In writing letters, Paul often dictated the entire letter and closed it with his signature. His purpose was to avoid counterfeit letters as he says in 2 Thessalonians 2:2: "That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand." Another example of this practice is found in Paul’s letter to the church at Rome: "I Tertius, who wrote this epistle, salute you in the Lord" (Romans 16:22). By signing the letter or even writing the closing remarks, Paul made the letter authentic. Paul mentions this practice again in writing to the church in Thessalonica: "The salutation of Paul with mine own hand, which is the token in every epistle: so I write" (2 Thessalonians 3:17).

Verse 22

If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maranatha.

"Anathema" is not a translation but an actual Aramaic term meaning "a man accursed, devoted to the direst woes" (Thayer 37-2-331). Likewise, "Maranatha," an Aramaic term, means "our Lord cometh or will come" (Thayer 389-2-3134).

(These) 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 (McGarvey 166).

Paul’s warning is to those who do not love the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul is saying to beware because the Lord is coming soon to execute vengeance upon those who do not love Him. The New International Version says, "If anyone does not love the Lord--a curse be on him. come, O Lord!" It seems the purpose of this warning is to cause the Corinthians to take special attention to the directions given in this letter.

Verse 23

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

The subject of "grace" (charis) is found at the beginning and the end of nearly all of Paul’s letters. (See 1:3 for explanation of "grace.") This letter begins and ends with Paul’s prayer for God’s unmerited favor to be upon the Corinthians.

Verse 24

My love be with you all in Christ Jesus. Amen.

Paul closes this letter with a touch of personal affection and proves, as he states in 1 Corinthians 13:8, "charity (love) never faileth." In this letter Paul issues strong teachings and rebukes, but he still has a strong love for the Corinthians.

A unique and beautiful conclusion, springing out of the last two verses, and giving the motive and power in which the whole epistle, in all its various tones, has been written, and including all to whom and of whom he has been writing (Cambridge Greek Testament 251).

Bibliographical Information
Editor Charles Baily, "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 16". "Contending for the Faith". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ctf/1-corinthians-16.html. 1993-2022.
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