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Bible Commentaries
1 Corinthians 16

Dunagan's Commentary on the BibleDunagan's Commentary

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I. The Collection For The Saints: 16:1-4

II. Personal Travel Plans: 16:5-9

III. Timothy And Apollos: 16:10-12

IV. Exhortation/Respect Those Who Labor Among You: 16:13-18

V. Final Greetings: 16:19-24


A. 'Apparently they have written for further instructions as to their part in the collection for the poor in Jerusalem, especially how they are to go about it and how it is to get to Jerusalem.' (Fee p. 809)

B. 'There is nothing more typical of Paul than the abrupt change between chapter 15 and chapter 16..There is no reach of thought too high for Paul to scale, and there is no practical detail of administration too small for Paul to remember. He was very far from being one of these dreamers and visionaries, who are at home in the realms of theological speculation, and who are quite lost in practical matters..' (Barclay pp. 180-181)

C. 'As Paul concluded Chapter 15, he reminded the Corinthians that whatever service they rendered to God was not in vain (15:58). Perhaps he stated that to prepare them for the words about giving to relieve the suffering of the poor.' (Willis p. 594)


Verse 1

1Co_16:1 Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I gave order to the churches of Galatia, so also do ye.

'Now concerning' -(7:1; 8:1; 12:1; 16:12). Indicating this was subject matter in which they wished for Paul to give additional instruction concerning.

'collection for the saints'

Points to Note:

1. Paul had participated in previous benevolent projects. ( Act_11:29-30 ; Act_12:25 )

2. The leadership in the Jerusalem Church and the other Apostles had requested that Paul 'remember the poor'. ( Gal_2:10 )

3. This collection for the poor saints in Jerusalem (16:3; Rom_15:26 ), had been started some time previous to this letter. The churches in the Galatian region had already been instructed. (16:1)

4. 'He didn't even have to say which saints. What does that tell you? (1) That they had prior knowledge of which saints, and (2) They had agreed to do something about it.' (McGuiggan p. 212)

5. There is quite a bit of speculation concerning why the church in Jerusalem found itself in such a condition of poverty. Some say that the voluntary selling of property and possessions recorded in Act_2:44-45 ; Act_4:32-37 , had been a bad idea, which had only brought Christians into a worse condition. We must reject this view, seeing that such giving was done with God's approval and distribution of such funds were under the supervision of the Apostles. In contrast a more reasonable view...'The more probable and permanent cause was the persecution and social ostracism suffered by Christians in Jerusalem...In a city of which the prosperity depended in large measure upon Jewish rites and ceremonies, converts to Christianity would have peculiar difficulty in securing employment and obtaining financial support..' (Erdman p. 170)

'With little natural or commercial wealth, the city (Jerusalem) lived mainly upon its religious character--on the attractions of the Temple and the Feasts thronged by Jews from the whole world..' (Gr.Ex. N.T. p. 944)

We should also remember that famine had also hit this region in the past. ( Act_11:28 )

6. Involved in this collection were also other concerns, besides just meeting the needs of the saints: (1) That the congregations outside of Palestine, which included a large Gentile membership, were indebted to the sacrifices made by the Jerusalem congregation in spreading the gospel. ( Rom_15:27 ) (2) That such a contribution would demonstrate that the members in the churches that Paul had established were obedient to God. ( 2Co_9:11-15 ) (3) And that such would bring closer together the congregations which were made up of predominantly Jewish Christians and those which were mainly composed of Gentile Christians.

'Else where Paul speaks of this collection in terms that are full of theological content: "fellowship" ( 2Co_8:4 ; 2Co_9:13 ); "service" ( 2Co_8:4 ; 2Co_9:1 ; 2Co_9:12-13 ); "grace" ( 2Co_8:4 ; 2Co_8:6-7 ); "blessing" ( 2Co_9:5 ); "divine service" ( 2Co_9:12 ). All of this together suggests that the "collection" was not some mere matter of money, but was for Paul an active response to the grace of God that not only ministered to the needs of God's people but also became a kind of ministry to God himself, which resulted in thanksgiving toward God and in a bond a fellowship between "God's people" across the Empire.' (Fee p. 812)

'collection' -3048. logia log-ee'-ah; from 3056 (in the commercial sense); a contribution: -collection, gathering.

In his commentary William Barclay makes the following observations concerning the words that Paul chose to call this "collection": (1) 'Here he calls it a 'logia'. The word means an extra collection. A logia was something which was the opposite of a tax which a man had to pay; it was an extra piece of giving. A man never satisfies his Christian duty by discharging the obligations which he can legally be compelled to fulfill.... ( Mat_5:47 )..(2) Sometimes he calls it a 'charis' (grace)...that it describes a free gift freely given. The really lovely thing is not something which is extracted from a man, however large it may be, but something which is given in the overflowing love of a man's heart, however small it may be....(3) Sometimes he uses the word 'koinonia'...means fellowship and the essence of fellowship is sharing...It's dominating question is not. "What can I keep?" but, "What can I give?" (4) Sometimes he uses the word 'diakonia'..means practical Christian service..It may sometimes happen that the limitations of life prevent us from rendering personal service, and it may often happen that our money can go where we cannot go..' (pp. 182-183)

'for the saints' -Something that is repeatedly mentioned about this collection. ( Rom_15:25-27 ; 2Co_8:4 ; 2Co_9:1 ; 2Co_9:12 )

Points to Note:

1. Poor non-Christians also existed in the First Century. But we never find the church taking up a collection for the poor outside of Christ.

2. Evidently, the Apostles didn't look upon the church as a welfare agency for all who were in need.

'It's 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 p. 596)

3. While individual members could assist non-Christians ( Gal_6:10 ; Jam_1:27 ), resources pooled at the congregational level were only used for relieving the needs of other Christians. ( Act_2:44-45 ; Act_4:32-37 ; Act_11:29-30 ; 1 Timothy 5:16; 9-10 )

4. Unfortunately, some have ridiculed the above truth. Churches of Christ who refuse to relieve the needs of non-Christians out of the treasury are viewed as uncaring, unsympathetic, and just looking for a scripture to hide behind so they don't have to spend their money.

But let me offer the following observations: (a) The Denominations, aren't as giving and liberal with their funds, as we have been led to believe. Often I receive phone calls from non-Christians looking for help with rent, utility bills, etc..who have been turned down by many other religious bodies. (b) Every religious body, must limit who it will help (for no religious body has unlimited resources). Yes, even liberal Churches of Christ turn down the requests of non-Christians. (c) So, instead of using a human standard of who we will help, i.e. do they look sincere, will they do something for us in return for the money, do they look like a good prospect for conversion, etc..Why not use God's standard-i.e. from the collected funds, only Christians are to be helped?

So don't let anyone make you feel ashamed, because the congregation you attend refuses to use it's collected funds to help non-Christians. Brethren, every religious group, turn's down many requests that various non-Christians present for financial help on a daily basis!

'as I gave order' -'as I directed' (NASV); 'carry out the same arrangements as I made for the churches of Galatia' (Mof) The word translated 'order' here, can range in meaning from "command" to "arrange". Considering what Paul will tell them later, this must be viewed as a command. ( 2Co_9:1-6 )

'to the churches of Galatia' -'Since Paul had just recently come through Galatia on his way to Ephesus ( Act_18:23 ), most likely at that time he also informed them of the collection and how they could best go about laying it aside. And since he did not plan to return to Jerusalem by way of these churches, the contribution was probably to be brought to him by one of their own.' (Fee pp. 812-813)

'so also do ye' -'you should follow my directions to our congregations in Galatia.' (NEB)

Points to Note:

1. Uniformity in practice existed in the First Century congregations. (4:17; 7:17; 11:16; 14:33-34)

2. Therefore, the letter to one congregation, equally applied to all congregations. Regardless of what continent or culture it found itself situated in. ( Col_4:16 )

3. Hence, the letters to the churches of the First Century, serve as blueprints or patterns for churches that will exist until the end of time.

4. 'Paul..holds up as an example to the Corinthians the Galatians, to the Macedonians the Corinthians ( 2Co_9:2 ), and to the Romans the Macedonians and Corinthians ( Rom_15:26 ): great is the force of example.' (Bengel, quoted by McGarvey p. 160)

Since the subject of the collection for the saints is introduced without any background, apparently the Corinthians already knew about this collection...'The matter had been proposed to the Corinthians, but little had been done.' (Erdman p. 170)

Verse 2

1Co_16:2 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.

'Upon the first day of the week' -'On the first day of every week' (NASV); 'kata is distributive so that we may translate: "Sunday by Sunday let each of you lay by.' (Lenski p. 759); 'Kata has a distributive force, every first day' (Vincent p. 288)

Points to Note:

1. We know that Christians were commanded to assemble ( Heb_10:25 ). We know that they assembled on the First Day of the Week ( Act_20:7 ). We know that they partook of the Lord's Supper when they assembled ( Act_20:7 ; 1Co_11:18 ff). Since Paul was trying to avoid the waste of time that would be involved if the money wasn't gathered when he came to town. (16:2) We must infer that the members were to bring their 'set aside' contribution every first day of the week to the assembly, and it was placed in a special fund, not to be spent on other things.

2. Therefore: Christians assembled 'every first day of the week' and they partook of the Lord's Supper every first day of the week.

'The fact that Paul makes such a reference at all implies that there is some significance to their setting money aside on this day rather than, for example, "once a week."....This is verified further by the note in Act_20:7 , which implies most strongly that Paul and the others waited in Troas until the "first day of the week" precisely because that is when the Christians gathered for the breaking of bread..' (Fee pp. 813-814)

'let each one of you' -every Christian had an obligation to give something. God intended that every Christian participate. Compare with singing ( Col_3:16 ), the Lord's Supper ( 1Co_11:26 ); public prayers ( 1Co_14:16 ); and preaching (14:26, 29-31).

'lay by him' -'personally set aside' (Ber). Some are under the impression that 'lay by him', demands the interpretation of 'lay by him at home'. But consider the following points: Such 'laying up at home' would defeat the purpose of this instruction. Paul was giving instructions that would prevent a mass gathering when he arrived. (16:2)

'Let me just observe that whatever Paul did not want to be done when he came is precisely what was to be taken care of on the first day of every week...we are forced to conclude that the activity of vs. 1-2 is a public, first-day-of-the week collection.' (Willis p. 601)

'But it certainly seems to me that if they were keeping it at home (1) the stipulation of the day (every first day) makes no sense (why would it not be just as acceptable and effective to do it on Thursday?), and (2) Paul would be defeating his own desire of having no collections when he came since they'd have to bring the money in from homes all over the city.' (McGuiggan p. 212)

'in store' -2343. thesaurizo thay-sow-rid'-zo; from 2344; to amass or reserve (literally or figuratively): -lay up (treasure), (keep) in store, (heap) treasure (together, up).

'The word "thesaurizoon", translated "in store", means, literally, "put into the treasury"..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..It was put in the public treasury of the church, but kept by itself as a separate fund.' (McGarvey p. 161)

Points to Note:

1. First Century Churches did have the modern equivalent of a bank account. They did have a safe place where they could put their money.

2. It has be argued that these passages refer to a specific collection for a specific need and therefore they can't be used as passages to authorize a first day of the week collection for other works of the church, such as edification and evangelism.

The problem with such an argument, is that is proves too much. If such an argument is true, then the local church can't support it's own needy members out of the first day of the week contribution, seeing that this contribution was specifically designated for members in another congregation. In addition, those who make this argument either end up using this same method or another, which happens to be devoid of all bible authority (as in the case of those who say, 'well when a bill for the church comes in, everyone should just pitch in to pay it.') As if a bible verse existed for that method!

'Some have argued that this passage only authorizes a collection for relieving the needs of the poor among the saints and not for general purposes (such as for buying and maintaining a building, supporting a preacher, etc..). This passage has never been used to show all of the scriptural usages of the first-day-of-the-week collection. Instead, it has been used, and properly so, as the only passage in the Bible to tell how churches raised their funds in the New Testament. Other passages imply a common treasury ( 2Co_11:8 ; Php_4:14-16 ; 1Ti_5:9 ; 1Ti_5:16 ). We can know how the money in those treasuries was raised only from this passage. We must consult other New Testament passages to understand all of the things for which the collection can be scripturally spent.' (Willis pp. 596-597)

'as he may prosper' -'in proportion to his gains' (NEB); 'according to his financial ability.' (Nor)

Points to Note:

1. There is no hint of tithing. Which infers that Christians aren't under the O.T. system of justification. (7:19)

2. Nothing is said here about church leaders investigating the personal incomes of it's members, and then legislating how much each individual or family must give to remain in fellowship with God.

3. A tremendous amount of misinformation exists in the religious world concerning the topic of giving. Almost as much as exists concerning the Holy Spirit (Chapters 12-14).

(a) God doesn't expect us to give everything we own to the church. Supporting our families ( 1Ti_5:8 ); paying honest debts ( Rom_13:8 ); taking care of relatives ( 1Ti_5:16 ); paying our taxes ( Rom_13:7 ) are important matters too! I still like McGuiggan's comment:

'There are few things more galling to hear than that preachers will not pay their debts. I have known of those who make large donations to Church treasuries while they leave unforgiven creditors to beg for the money the Christian owes them. There is a foolish idea abroad that money given into Church treasuries is more appreciated by God than the paying of honest debts...We're doing God no favors if we drive the unforgiven creditor to believe that God approves of thieves as long as they contribute to some Church budget.' (Romans pp. 384-385)

(b) In addition, neither are you doing God or the local congregation any favors, by disregarding proper and necessarily insurance, so you can "give" more to the church.

'that no collections be made when I come' -'No last minute appeals to whip up what they had agreed already to do.' (McGuiggan p. 214)

Points to Note:

1. More important things existed than even the collection of this money. Paul isn't coming to Corinth, with emotional appeals, so he can whip up the Corinthian's into an emotional frenzy to give. There will be no 'God will give you a cadillac..if you just give until it hurts', or 'test the faithfulness of God, by right now giving everything you own to this ministry..' or, 'for a limited time, if you give 1000.00, we will include as a bonus gift... an actual page from this letter signed by all the apostles...'

2. 'He wished to devote himself to the instruction of the Corinthians, and not to occupy his time with this matter of the collection when he reached Corinth...he wished this matter to be disposed of before his arrival.' (Erdman p. 171)

3. They could get this collection together on their own (it wasn't that difficult). Paul wanted to focus his attention on correcting whatever problems were remaining when he arrived (11:34).

Note the difference between Paul ( the other Apostles) and many of the religious leaders in the world today. For many religious groups, a 'physical project' gets all the focus. Sermon after sermon exhorts the members to give to some new "ministry", or for a new complex that the community will have to respect. For Paul, even this collection wasn't top priority. Other matters need to be attended to. ( Act_6:1-4 ) Neither did Paul start or advocate a separate ministry for poor Christians outside the local congregation. Land wasn't purchased, a building wasn't bought, a fancy name wasn't invented, staff weren't hired, and a newsletter (which always contained some appeal for funds) wasn't started. Paul simply used God's own organization (local congregations) to meet this need. Why can't people be content to do the same today?

Verse 3

1Co_16:3 And when I arrive, whomsoever ye shall approve, them will I send with letters to carry your bounty unto Jerusalem:

'And when I arrive' -(4:19)

'whomsoever ye shall approve' -'to the persons you have selected' (Nor) Approve means more than "select" or "determine". ( 2Co_8:19-22 ) Evidently, this collection would contain a large sum of money. Those who would transport it, needed to be trustworthy.

Point to Note:

The Apostles allowed congregations to make their own decisions in area's of judgement. Paul refused to decide every single matter for the church in Corinth. Those in the disciplining movement need to pay attention to Paul's example.

'them will I send with letters' -Letters of introduction or commendation. ( Act_18:27 ) 'I will give letters of introduction to persons approved by you.' (NEB) 'Such letters of introduction, or commendation, were a regular part of business dealings in antiquity ( Act_15:23-29 ; Rom_16:1-2 ; 2Co_8:16-24 )' (Fee p. 815)

Point to Note:

Someone might ask, 'why was each congregation to select it's own messengers?' In response we could point out: (1) This collection was probably a large sum and all in coin! (2) There is some safety in numbers. (3) Each congregation's offering remained it's own, the independence of each congregation was respected. Note: The sums weren't all sent to some "sponsoring church" or headquarters, and then distributed from that point onward. (4) This also told the various congregations, that their particular offering would be handled with the highest level of integrity.

Verse 4

1Co_16:4 and if it be meet for me to go also, they shall go with me.

'if it be meet for me to go' -'and if it is fitting for me to go also' (NASV); 'If it seems right for me to go as well' (Phi); 'he may mean that circumstances at Jerusalem and elsewhere will indicate whether it is advisable ..for him to accompany..By the beginning of A.D. 57 he had decided to go..( Rom_15:25-27 )..' (F.F. Bruce p. 159)

'meet' -514. axios ax'-ee-os; probably from 71; deserving, comparable or suitable (as if drawing praise): -due reward, meet, [un-]worthy.

'Most commentators understand Paul to be saying that if the contribution is large enough to be worthy of an apostle, he would go with it...' (Willis p. 603)

'a hint that Paul would only take part in presenting the collection if the character of the aid sent made it credible..he will not associate himself with a mean charity.' (Gr. Ex. N.T. p. 946)

But I think Willis is right, when he says, 'but rather: if circumstances are such that the mission work demands my journeying..they shall go with me.' (p. 603)

Point to Note:

Paul doesn't want to have anything to do with personally carrying any of the money. Unfortunately, it appears that some Christians had questioned Paul's motives. ( 2Co_8:20-21 )

'Paul is very careful about maintaining an honorable appearance..It isn't enough, at times, to be honest, we must be seen to be honest when the occasion warrants it.' (McGuiggan p. 214)

Our study of 2 Corinthians, will reveal other developments in this collection for the poor saints in Jerusalem.

In closing this section, Fee offers a good comment: 'On a weekly basis they should set money aside, as the Lord has prospered them. No pressure, no gimmicks, no emotion. A need had to be met, and the Corinthians were capable to playing a role in it. In a day of highly visible campaigns for money on every side, there is something to be said for the more consistent, purposeful approach outlined here.' (p. 817)


Verse 5

1Co_16:5 But I will come unto you, when I shall have passed through Macedonia; for I pass through Macedonia;

'I will come unto you' -a detail that he has already mentioned in this letter. (4:18-19) In fact, earlier Paul had said that he was coming "soon" (4:19). Paul often mentions his travel plans to congregations and individuals. ( Rom_15:22-33 ; Php_2:24 ; Phm_1:22 ; Tit_3:12 )

'when I shall have passed through Macedonia' -when this letter was being written Paul was in Ephesus (16:8). According to this verse, he wasn't going to take the direct route (by sea), rather he would take the overland route, which would involve a journey through Macedonia (coming down from the north-look at a map).

'for I pass through Macedonia' -( Act_19:21 ) 'This verb is used frequently in Acts to describe missionary activity in places where they did not stay an extended period of time (cf. 8:4,40: 11:19; 13:6,14)' (Fee p. 818)

After leaving the Macedonian region on his second journey, Paul had spent over 18 months in Corinth ( Act_18:11 ; Act_18:18 ) and three years in Ephesus (19:10; 20:31). Hence, it had been about five years since Paul had visited congregations in Macedonia (Philippi, Thessalonica, and Berea).

Verse 6

1Co_16:6 but with you it may be that I shall abide, or even winter, that ye may set me forward on my journey whithersoever I go.

'or even winter' -'spend the winter' (NASV) 'He planned to leave Ephesus sometime after Pentecost (16:8). He would spend the summer in visiting the various churches in Macedonia..He would arrive in Corinth sometime during the later summer or fall with the intention of staying there all winter. The ships usually quit sailing in late fall because of the weather. Knowing that he could not travel during that period anyway, Paul desired to spend that time with the church in Corinth.' (Willis p. 604)

Point to Note:

1. Paul did winter at Corinth. ( Act_20:1-3 ; Rom_15:25-27 ; Rom_16:23 ). From which he would write the letter to the Romans.

2. 'Or even winter'-Paul knows that circumstances can change his travel plans. In fact a conspiracy in Corinth will eventually drive him out of that city. ( Act_20:3 )

3. Paul doesn't desire to immediately come to Corinth. Great opportunities in Ephesus exist (16:8-9).

'that ye may set me forward on my journey' -'means more than merely to send along a few friends to see Paul safely aboard ship or to travel a short distance with him on the journey by land. It includes advance preparations for the journey..ship connections, perhaps some travel equipment, a store of food, some clothes, etc..' (Lenski pp. 764-765) See: Rom_15:24 ; Tit_3:13 ; Rom_16:2 .

'for providing a person with food, money, and traveling companions so as to ensure a safe and successful arrival at his or her destination...Although he has refused to take money while with them..he now offers them the opportunity to assist him on his further journeys..' (Fee p. 819)

'whithersoever I go' -'whatever it be' (Knox); 'on to whatever points I may visit' (Wms). He might accompany the messengers to Jerusalem and he also had desires to visit Spain. ( Rom_15:28 )

Verse 7

1Co_16:7 For I do not wish to see you now by the way; for I hope to tarry a while with you, if the Lord permit.

'For I do not wish to see you now by the way' -'I don't wish to see you now, for it would merely be in passing' (Phi)

'by the way' -'just in passing' (NASV) At the present time, a visit to Corinth would have to be a brief one and Paul desires to spend more time with them.

'for I hope to tarry a while with you' -Hence the reason why he plans to come in late summer or fall. (16:6)

'if the Lord permit' -( Jam_4:13-15 )

Verse 8

1Co_16:8 But I will tarry at Ephesus until Pentecost;

'Pentecost' -'The mention of Pentecost does not imply that the early church kept that day as a religious holiday. Instead, it marks it as a time period in the same way as does this sentence: "I will wait until Labor Day."' (Willis p. 606)

'As the second of the three great pilgrimage feasts in Israel it concluded a cycle of time begun at Passover..It was named Pentecost because it fell on the fiftieth day after the offering of the barley sheaf during the Passover celebration.' (Zond. Ency. p. 692)

Looking at a modern calender, the general time of year that this festival was held would be late May.

Verse 9

1Co_16:9 for a great door and effectual is opened unto me, and there are many adversaries.

'for' -This explains why Paul will tarry in Ephesus, even though he is greatly needed in both Corinth and Macedonia.

'a great door' -'a great opportunity lies open to me' (Knox); 'for I have wide opportunities here for active service' (Mof) A metaphor for opportunity ( 2Co_2:12 ; Col_4:3 )

'effectual' -1756. energes en-er-gace'; from 1722 and 2041; active, operative: -effectual, powerful.

'The word stresses the eventfulness of the opportunity. In modern slang one might say that things were "cooking".' (McGuiggan p. 215)

'is opened' -'perfect active-stands open' (McGuiggan p. 215)

Luke records in the book of Acts that Paul had tremendous success in Ephesus. ( Act_19:10-20 'So the word of the Lord was growing mightily and prevailing'; 26 '..Paul had persuaded and turned away a considerable number of people..')

'and there are many adversaries' -which we also find mentioned in the book of Acts. (19:24-41)

Points to Note:

1. Paul doesn't say, 'I must leave Ephesus because many adversaries to the gospel exist'.


3. 'He doesn't say, " But there are many adversaries." He says, "and" ...Almost as if they too were a good reason for him to stay around in Ephesus. It also brings to my mind that having many adversaries to contend with was so common an occurrence that it didn't warrant a "but".' (McGuiggan p. 215)

4. Paul knew that he was stepping on toes in Ephesus with his preaching.


Verse 10

1Co_16:10 Now if Timothy come, see that he be with you without fear; for he worketh the work of the Lord, as I also do:

'if Timothy come' -from 4:17 we learned that Timothy was already on the way. Fee argues that the "if" of this verse doesn't intend to imply doubt as to whether he would come or not. But rather, it expresses uncertainty as to his actual time of arrival. From Act_19:22 we learn that Timothy had been sent through Macedonia (the long overland route), probably to strengthen the congregations in that area, before he came to Corinth.

'see that he be with you without fear' -But what concerns Paul most about Timothy's visit, is the reception he would receive from the Corinthians.

'see that' -'take care' (TCNT). Or, see to it.

'without fear' -'be careful to give him no cause of fear' (Con); 'take care that he has no cause for feeling anxious while he is with you.' (TCNT); ' make him feel quite at home ' (Mof)

Points to Note:

1. This letter to the Corinthians would reach them before Timothy had arrived.

2. Timothy's task was to instruct the Corinthians in what Paul taught in every church. (4:17) Timothy was also a young man. ( 1Ti_4:12 ) Paul was concerned about the type of reception that some in Corinth might give Timothy. Some members might feel that they can intimidate this young man or that since he is young they don't have to listen to what he says. Other's might be tempted to vent their hurt feelings caused by Paul's letter upon this young man. And whatever group in Corinth didn't like Paul, certainly wouldn't like Timothy either.

'for he worketh the work of the Lord, as I also do' -'He is doing the Master's work no less than I am' (TCNT)

Verse 11

1Co_16:11 let no man therefore despise him. But set him forward on his journey in peace, that he may come unto me: for I expect him with the brethren.

'despise him' -'slight him' (Ber); 'He is not to be treated with disrespect' (Knox). Because of his age? ( 1Ti_4:12 )

Points to Note:

1. Paul was concerned about how his fellow-workers were treated by the various congregations.

2. A warning here exists for us. Unfortunately, some members seem to think that elders, deacons, preachers, song-leaders, and bible class teachers exist to be abused. The attitude is almost, 'Well it's their job to take a lot of flak, criticism comes with the territory, those people are supposed to be thick-skinned.' Paul doesn't agree. 16:10-11 are a warning to the Corinthians. If they try to intimidate Timothy or treat him with disrespect, their going to have to answer to Paul! ( 2Co_13:2 )

3. From other verses we learn that Timothy might of had a problem with confrontation. ( 2Ti_1:7-8 ; 1Ti_4:12 -'Paul urges him not to be afraid and to "stop allowing anyone contemptuously to be pushing you aside."' (McGuiggan p. 216)

Sometimes a preacher resigns from a difficult work (where the members are difficult to work with) and some of the members justify themselves and their own disagreeable attitudes by saying, 'Well he wasn't cut out for the work here'. Paul disagrees. Just because some people might try to push Timothy around and even if they succeeded, it doesn't mean that Timothy is the one with the big problem!

'But set him forward on his journey in peace' -i.e. with the same type of considerations and assistance that Paul hoped they would give him. (16:6)

'that he may come unto me' -When Paul writes the Second Corinthian letter from Macedonia, Timothy is with him. ( 2Co_1:1 )

'for I expect him with the brethren' -the brethren probably traveling with him. ( Act_19:22 )

Verse 12

1Co_16:12 But as touching Apollos the brother, I besought him much to come unto you with the brethren: and it was not all his will to come now; but he will come when he shall have opportunity.

'But as touching Apollos the brother' -'now about' with which this sentence begins implies that this passage is also in response to their letter.' (Fee p. 823) It seems that the Corinthians had written Paul, requesting that Apollos come back to Corinth.

'I besought him much' -'I have repeatedly urged him' (Wey). Seeing that Apollos was much loved in Corinth, Paul urged him to return.

'with the brethren' -probably those mentioned in 16:17, who would bring this letter back to Corinth.

'it was not all his will to come now' -'He hadn't said he didn't want to come, only that he didn't want to come now .' (McGuiggan p. 216)

'but he will come when he shall have opportunity' -which seems to imply that Apollos is involved in such work that must take precedence over the situation in Corinth. From this verse we also learn that Paul didn't coordinate the movements of all First Century preachers.


Verse 13

1Co_16:13 Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.

'Watch ye' -'Keep your eyes open for spiritual danger' (Tay) 'The five tenses are present to express durative and continuous action..means..be not careless, indifferent, or easily deceived!' (Lenski pp. 772,773) Watchful in regard to the enemy ( 1Pe_5:8 ) and corrupting influences ( Act_20:31 ). 'Stay awake' (Robertson p. 202)

'stand fast in the faith' -'stand firm in your faith' (Gspd). Stop wavering between belief and unbelief, sound doctrine and false doctrine, righteousness and immorality. Stand for Christ and don't move! Faith here is probably 'the faith', the contents of Christian teaching. (15:1) 'Its opposite is to depart from or to fall way from the faith, 1Ti_4:1 ' (Lenski p. 773)

'quit you like men' -'act like men' (NASV) 'Be men constantly..Show yourselves men always' (Lenski p. 774) When confronting sin and error, we cannot be fearful or timid.

'be strong' -'show strength' (Lenski p. 774) And the Corinthians had been demonstrating "weakness" and not strength. Don't demonstrate fickleness, heedlessness, impatience, immaturity, childishness..DEMONSTRATE STRENGTH! (See Eph_6:10-18 )

'He calls them to vigilance. Be watching! He calls them to doctrinal steadfastness. Be standing! Be standing in the faith! He calls them to the courage of manhood and the response of manhood. Be playing the man! (How babyish they had been)..In all of this there is the picture of a warrior, bent on battle. Someone who will not give an inch to the Devil. Someone who will guard and stand in the faith without retreating an inch...But such people can become as unapproachable and as unyielding as a mount Sinai and will blast the transgressor with a blot of righteous indignation at the slightest provocation. So Paul adds: "Be letting everything that you do be done in love!"' (McGuiggan p. 217)

Verse 14

1Co_16:14 Let all that ye do be done in love.

Lovelessness was one of the radical faults of this congregation.

'all' -'all things would include the quarrels in the name of leaders in chaps. 1-3, their attitude toward him in chaps. 4 and 9, the lawsuits in 6:1-11, husband-wife relationships in chap. 7, the abuse of the weak by those with "knowledge" in 8:1-10:22, the abuse of the "have-nots" at the Lord's Supper, and the failure to edify the church in worship in chaps. 12-14. If they were to "do all things in love", then these other things would not be happening. It is therefore no surprise that this is the final expression of parenesis in the letter .' (Fee p. 828) (See Col_3:14 )

Verse 15

1Co_16:15 Now I beseech you, brethren (ye know the house of Stephanas, that it is the firstfruits of Achaia, and that they have set themselves to minister unto the saints),

'I beseech you' -'I urge you' (NASV)

'house of Stephanas' -'household' (NASV)

'firstfruits of Achaia' -the first converts in the whole of Greece, and not only Corinth. Which makes some think that they were probably converted in Athens.

'they have set themselves to minister unto the saints' -'put themselves in line..they made a regular business of it' (Lenski p. 776) 'Devoted themselves' (NASV)

'set themselves' -personal initiative and voluntary service. Nobody had to push this family to "find something to do". They sought out opportunities to serve the Christians in Corinth. When this letter was being written, Stephanas himself had come to Ephesus to assist Paul. (16:17)

'Here are people who in self-dedication took it upon themselves to minister to others in Corinth.' (Fee pp. 829-830)

'minister' -the precise areas they served in, and what they actually did aren't given.

Verse 16

1Co_16:16 that ye also be in subjection unto such, and to every one that helpeth in the work and laboreth.

'in subjection unto such' -'that you also be in subjection to such men' (NASV); 'I beg you to put yourselves under leaders like these.' (Wms)

'and to every one that helpeth in the work and laboreth' -i.e. others like Stephanas and his household.

Points to Note:

1. Nothing is said about the congregation here having elders. It doesn't appear that Stephanas was one of the elders.

2. Yet, Paul commands the Corinthians to appreciate, respect and cooperate with such members who are working hard in the cause of Christ. ( 1Th_5:12-14 )

3. The subjection of this verse would seem to include respect, appreciation and whatever cooperation one could give. God expects us to cooperate with and lend whatever assistance we can give to those in the local congregation who are diligently serving God.

Verse 17

1Co_16:17 And I rejoice at the coming of Stephanas and Fortunatus and Achaicus: for that which was lacking on your part they supplied.

'Fortunatus' -(for chuh NAY tus) (fortunate).

'Achaicus' -(uh KAY ih cus) (belonging to Achaia). Apparently these three men brought the letter (7:1) from Corinth to Paul.

'for that which was lacking on your part they supplied' -'because they have done what you had no chance to do' (NEB); 'for they have made up for your absence' (Ber) ( Php_2:30 ) 'These filled up my lack of you' (Robertson p. 203)

Most take this as meaning, that these three men filled a void which had been caused by Paul's absence from Corinth. He couldn't see the Corinthians at this time, but he could see these three faithful Christians from Corinth.

Verse 18

1Co_16:18 For they refreshed my spirit and yours: acknowledge ye therefore them that are such.

'For' -seems to explain the "lack" mentioned in the previous verse.

'refreshed my spirit' -'This sentence scarcely needs comment for any who have ever been thus visited by longtime friends in the faith, especially those with whom one has worked.' (Fee p. 832) 'The arrival of people like Stephanas, Fortunatus and Achaicus is a source of joy to the beleaguered warrior..They offered refreshment of soul..' (McGuiggan p. 218)

'They have cheered my heart' (Gspd); 'for they have lightened my spirit' (Con) (See Col_4:11 )

'and yours' -they had greatly encouraged the Corinthians in time past also.

'acknowledge ye therefore them that are such' -'for which cause give respect to such' (Bas); 'Such men deserve your recognition' (Knox); 'Recognize the worth of such men as these' (TCNT)

'In the interest of the brethren at Corinth, these three men had taken a long journey, probably at their own expense and had faced certain hazards.' (Willis p. 616)

'These were the messengers which bore the Corinthian letter to Paul....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 ..' (McGarvey p. 165)


Verse 19

1Co_16:19 The churches of Asia salute you. Aquila and Prisca salute you much in the Lord, with the church that is in their house.

'churches of Asia' -such as Ephesus, Colossae and those mentioned in the book of Revelation. Paul's stay in Ephesus had resulted in the establishment of other congregations, besides the one at Ephesus. ( Act_19:10 ; Act_19:26 )

'Aquila and Prisca' -Who had first met Paul at Corinth. ( Act_18:1 ) When he had left Corinth, they left with him ( Act_18:18 ). They were still with him in Ephesus when this letter was written

'One of the interesting things about Aquila and Priscilla is that they show us how easy and natural travel was even at that time. These two followed their trade from Palestine to Rome, from Rome to Corinth, from Corinth to Ephesus, and from Ephesus back to Rome ( Rom_16:3-5 )' (Barclay pp. 186-187)

'salute you much in the Lord' -'send really warm greetings' (McGuiggan p. 218) 'salute you most heartily' (Ber)

'with the church that is in their house' -most think this refers to the Christians that met in their home. ( Rom_16:5 ) But other passages seem to indicate that this expression could also refer to those members of the household who are Christians. ( Col_4:15 )

Verse 20

1Co_16:20 All the brethren salute you. Salute one another with a holy kiss.

'All the brethren' -probably all the brethren in Ephesus.

'with a holy kiss' -'the equivalent of a western hug or handshake.' (McGuiggan p. 218) Jesus himself had placed this practice in the "custom" category. ( Luk_7:44-46 )

Verse 21

1Co_16:21 The salutation of me Paul with mine own hand.

'The salutation' -'The greeting is in my own hand--Paul' (NASV); 'I, Paul, add this greeting in my own handwriting' (TCNT)

Points to Note:

1. The rest of the letter was written by a professional scribe. ( Rom_16:22 ; Col_4:18 )

2. That the letter was personally signed by Paul, indicated that it was genuine. ( 2Th_3:17 ; 2Th_2:2 ) Paul had made it a practice to personally sign his letters to authenticate them.

3. 'Can you imagine how much a manuscript with that name on it would sell for?' (McGuiggan p. 218)

Verse 22

1Co_16:22 If any man loveth not the Lord, let him be anathema. Maranatha.

'If any man loveth not the Lord' -'And for Paul, the ultimate issue is: Do you love Jesus Christ?' (McGuiggan p. 218) This truth applies to all, professed Christians and non-Christian. If there is any "Christian" at Corinth who doesn't really love Jesus Christ, then there is only one word Paul has to say about them.

'let him be anathema' -'God's curse be on him' (Mof); 'let him be accursed' (RSV); 'Lit., let him be devoted to destruction' (McGarvey p. 166)

This is the VERDICT against all who remain obstinate and continue on their evil course in the Corinthian congregation. Paul feels (God feels) that the person who remains unmoved after hearing the gospel, deserves to be eternally cut off from God.

Failure to love the Lord, would be demonstrated on their rejection of this letter. (14:37= Joh_14:15 )

'To insist on human wisdom over against the gospel of the Crucified One is to "not love the Lord"; so with living in incest, attendance at idol feasts, and so forth...Failure to obey him is lack of love for him; to reject him in this way is to place oneself under anathema.' (Fee p. 838)

'Maranatha' -(mar a NATH a) (Our Lord, come!). In the context the idea would be that the Lord is coming and He will judge those who don't love Him. ( Rev_22:20 ) 'That is, the Lord cometh' (Rhm)

Verse 23

1Co_16:23 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

Grace was available for those who would repent, the situation in Corinth wasn't hopeless. ( 1Jn_1:8-10 ) Every member in Corinth had access to God's grace, if only they would humble themselves.

Verse 24

1Co_16:24 My love be with you all in Christ Jesus. Amen.

Despite all their problems, and all the heartache that they have caused Paul, Paul does still love them. The question to be answered is, after reading this letter of rebuke, do they still love Paul?

'Though it contained severe rebukes, it was dictated by love, and not by hatred.' (McGarvey p. 166)

Bibliographical Information
Dunagan, Mark. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 16". "Dunagan's Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/dun/1-corinthians-16.html. 1999-2014.
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