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Bible Commentaries

William Godbey's Commentary on the New Testament

1 Corinthians 16

Verse 1

1. Concerning the contributions to the saints, as I command the saints at Galatia so also you do.” As the Jerusalem saints had impoverished themselves by selling out their homes in order to support the great Pentecostal revival which had so suddenly and unexpectedly swept down from Heaven, catching in its mighty sweep thousands of Jewish pilgrims who had come thither from “every nation under Heaven” to attend the great annual festival of Pentecost, the churches dispersed from the Gentile world in oncoming years kindly remembering them with their benefactions.

Verse 2

THE FIRST DAY OF THE WEEK KEPT BY THE APOSTLES

2. Let each one of you, treasuring up as to whatsoever he may be prospered, deposit with himself on the first day of the week, in order that when I may come there may be no collections.” The very fact of their making their weekly contributions to the poor saints on the first day of the week is a recognition of their regular weekly worship on that day. The Christian Church began all Jews, gradually absorbing the Gentile element and eliminating the Jewish till it underwent a radical revolution in about one century, ultimating a Gentile body. In the beginning, of course, they all kept the old Jewish Sabbath, as well as the Lord’s Day commemorative of His resurrection on the first day of the week. Justin Martyr, a disciple of Polycarp, who was a disciple of the Apostle John, has left, in his own writing, his personal testimony that they held their weekly meetings on Sunday. In vain do the Seventh-day Adventists claim that the Pope made the change, when we have it in the New Testament, and continuously on in the writings of the Christian Fathers and in the Roman histories of the early centuries, whereas there never was a pope till the seventh century, when Procas, the king of Italy, crowned Boniface, the third bishop of Rome, spiritual autocrat of all the churches. Suetonius, Pliny, Sallust, and other Roman historians in the early centuries, give accounts of Christianity among the current events of the times. Those were the memorable martyr ages inaugurated by the Emperor Nero, A. D. 58, when he beheaded Paul and turned loose the demons of blood indiscriminately to exterminate the Christians. When a student in college, reading the Latin course, I remember well the statements of the historians in reference to the efforts of the emperors to subjugate the Christians and make them loyal to the Roman gods. They describe the trial of a Christian preparatory to martyrdom, when the magistrate propounded the question: “ Dominicum servasti?” Have you kept the Lord’s Day? The answer followed: “ Christianus sum ” I am a Christian; “ intermittere non possum ” I can not omit it. This is a positive proof that they did rigidly keep the first day of the week during those primitive ages when the bloody fire of persecution tried men’s souls.

If they had kept the Jewish Sabbath instead of Sunday, i. e., the Lord’s Day, the question would have been asked: “ Sabbaticum servasti?” Have you kept the Sabbath Day? The very fact that this question was never asked is demonstrative proof that it was not the day they kept, as the term “Lord’s Day” never was applied to the old Jewish Sabbath, but to the first day of the week from the resurrection of our Lord. While such are matters of fact and indisputable, we have no controversy with any one who feels it to be a duty to keep the Jewish Sabbath. Let them satisfy their consciences. But while you keep the Jewish Sabbath for the sake of your own conscience, remember that God requires you to keep the Christian Sabbath for the sake of the conscience of Christendom ch. 1 Corinthians 8:12: “When you thus sin against the brethren, wounding their weak conscience, you sin against Christ.” You can not ignore our Sunday without sinning against the conscience of millions. In so doing, you sin against God. Hence the safe side is to satisfy your own conscience, and that of Christendom, too, whether it requires you to keep one day or two.

Verse 8

8. But I abide in Ephesus until Pentecost.” This verse shows that he wrote this letter in Ephesus, the metropolis of Lydia in Asia. Do not forget that the postscripts to all these letters are utterly devoid of Divine authenticity, none of them appearing in the original. They were not only added by an uninspired hand, but by persons who were very ignorant of the Scriptures, and hence, as in this case, sometimes flatly contradict the epistle itself.

Verse 9

9. For there is a great and effectual door opened to me, and there are many opposers.” It is pertinent that we note the Pauline estimation of a grand and effectual door opened for the work of the Lord. The only index he here gives is that the opposition was great. As a rule, where the devil works powerfully God is working too. These excarnate demons have access to information frequently beyond the reach of us mortals. My grandest success has been achieved amid the most formidable opposition. Satan is no fool, he does not waste his ammunition. The very fact that he is stirring earth and Hell to oppose the Lord’s work is a prima facie evidence that a great victory is coming. Paul so regarded it.

Verses 10-11

10, 11. While in Ephesus Paul sent Timothy, his favorite preacher, over to Corinth to preach to them, that they might by the grace of God receive the beautiful curriculum of doctrines and the terrible disciplinary strictures in this wonderful letter.

Verse 12

12. Here he states that he had exhorted Apollos to come to them, but it does not now suit his convenience, hence he postpones his visit. Apollos was much esteemed and commended by Paul, like himself, an apostle “ born out of due time.”

Verse 13

13. Watch, stand in the faith, be courageous, be strong.

Verse 14

14. Let all your affairs be transacted in Divine love.” This is certainly a grand and blessed admonition. See how prominently courage stands in this exhortation. A soldier without courage is a coward and not worth his rations. Hence the Christian soldier without the courage of perfect love is a deplorable failure.

Verses 15-16

15, 16. He here commends unto them all the household of Stephenas, whom he had baptized with his own hands in the beginning of his work at Corinth, and so they became the first fruit of Achaia.

Verse 17

17. Doubtless Stephenas, Fortunatus and Achaicus, who had come from Corinth to see him, and thus bring him word in reference to the state of the church, became the bearers of this epistle.

Verse 18

18. For they refreshed my spirit and yours.” They brought him contributions from the Corinthian saints, supplying his temporal wants and filling his heart with holy gratitude.

Verse 19

19. we find that Aquila and Priscilla, who had been his associate laborers, not only building tents, but saving souls, eighteen months at Corinth and had accompanied him to Asia three years previously, are still over there and have a church in their house, i. e., a little Holiness band worshipping in their humble cottage, an ordinary sample of an apostolic church.

Verse 20

20. Salute one another with a holy kiss.” The original meaning of phileoma, translated “kiss,” is “a love-token.” This gives it a considerable latitude. The cordial grip of the hand or embrace in the arms is a love-token, as well as a kiss with the lips. Some Holiness people are very explicit in this commandment to salute with a holy kiss. That is all right. These love- tokens are well pleasing to the Lord, who wants us all to love one another. The only point to be guarded is that you do not run into bondage over this or anything else. The Lord does not want you to legalize, but to enjoy perfect spiritual freedom. When He sanctified you wholly, He broke every yoke which Satan, sin and self had ever put on your neck. Now be sure that you abide steadfast in this glorious freedom. The devil will use Holiness people to put a yoke on you if he can, now that you have gotten out of the reach of sinners and dead churches. Keep your eye on Jesus, follow Him only, and He will keep His hand on you. “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty,” is a maxim as true in religion as in politics.

Verse 21

21. The salutation of Paul with my own hand.” Owing to ocular feebleness, Luke and others wrote for him. But we see that to this letter he appends his personal autograph.

Verse 22

22. If any one does not love the Lord, let him be accursed. The Lord cometh.” The word “love” here is phileo, and means “human love.” This mitigates the imprecation, as no one can exercise Divine love till it is poured out into the heart by the Holy Ghost (Romans 5:5). Not so with human love, as we are all born with it in us. While it has no salvation like Divine love, it is a universal demarcation of human beings from demons. Hence a person destitute of human love is already dehumanized and demonized, and as Paul here says deservedly anathematized. In view of the fact that the Lord Jesus Christ came to this world and bled and died for every human being, the person destitute of every emotion of gratitude as reciprocation for this stupendous philanthropy has just about passed the bourne of humanity and become demonized. Maranatha, in E.V. left untranslated, is Aramaic for “the Lord cometh” a fact which Paul constantly holds up in all of his epistles as an inspiration, both to the righteous and the wicked. And it is certainly a most potent incentive, moving the righteous with thrilling anticipations of translation and glory, and the wicked with awful forebodings of doom, judgment and eternity.

Verse 23

23. The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you.” A beautiful benediction, short and sweet.

Verse 24

24. My Divine love be with you all in Christ Jesus.”

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Bibliographical Information
Godbey, William. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 16". "William Godbey's Commentary on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ges/1-corinthians-16.html.