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Bible Commentaries
1 Corinthians 16

Garner-Howes Baptist CommentaryGarner-Howes

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Verse 1


1) "Now concerning the collection for the saints," (peri de tes logeias eis tous hogious) "With regards to the collection with reference to the saints.’ . During Paul’s third missionary journey, he did deputation

work in travel and correspondence to solicit and secure funds for the Jerusalem saints who were chronic sufferers of poverty in the non-industrial center of Jerusalem 2 Corinthians 8:9; Galatians 2:10.

2) "As I have given order to the churches of Galatia;” (hosper dietaksa tais ekklesiais tes; galatias) "Just as I charged, or set in order, the churches of Galatia," concerning the benevolent gathering for the needy saints in Jerusalem -- This alludes to an association of colleague churches Paul had visited in Asia Minor, Acts 18:23.

3) "Even so do ye." (houtos kai humeis poiesate) "Even so do ye or make your contribution also. Paul later refers to the response to these appeals as satisfactory, Romans 15:25-32; Acts 24:17; Acts 20:4 indicates Ephesian area brethren assisted and accompanied Paul in securing and delivering funds to the Jerusalem saints.

Verse 2

1) "Upon the first day of the week" (kata mian sabbaton) "On the first day of every week," or "upon the first of every seven days."

2) ".Let every one of you lay by him in store," (hekastos humon par’ heautos tithetos thesaurizon) Let each of you set or place aside, storing up or accumulating." This refers to each person’s laying away safely at home, every week, to build up a gift for delivery to the impoverished Jerusalem saints.

3) "As God hath prospered him," (ho ti ean evodotai) "Whatever he is prospered, each week." Some Corinth members were poor slaves, yet were to cultivate Christian charity to share with brethren in even greater need, 2 Corinthians 8:1; 2 Corinthians 8:12.

4) "That there be no gatherings when I come." (hina me hotan eltho tote logeiai ginontai) "in order that whenever I come collections will not have to be made up." Paul did not want people scurrying about to take up this collection after he arrived, that he might spend time with them discussing higher matters.

Verse 3

1) "And when I come," (hotan de paragenomai) And when I arrive, (of my own accord)." The language structure indicates that Paul’s time schedule was a matter of his own stewardship of judgment not directly fixed by Divine fiat.

2) "Whomsoever ye shall approve by your letters, (ous ean dokimasete di epistolon) "Whoever you all approve or certify by means of letters." The Corinth church’s absolute independency or autonomy is here recognized by Paul. He indicates that the church had both the independent right and obligation to choose their own servants or messengers to carry their gift to the Jerusalem saints; in such international travel they were to have certified credentials from the Corinth church.

3) "Them will I send." (toutous pempso) "These will I send -- assist on their way." Paul offered to "send" in the sense of "assist" Corinth church members in their securing international transit legally to deliver money and goods to brethren in need in Judea. Letters of certification for such work were necessary and still are, 2 Corinthians 3:1; Acts 15:20; Acts 15:23-31; Acts 20:1-4.

4) "To bring your liberality unto Jerusalem." (apenegkein ten charin humon eis ierousalem) “To bear your grace-gift unto Jerusalem." The liberality or grace-gift of the Corinth brethren, to be delivered to Jerusalem by brethren of the Corinth church duly elected and certified or deputized, also had the assurance of Paul that he would be willing, if possible, to accompany and vouch for them in Jerusalem, where he was known.

Verse 4

1) "And if it be meet that I go also," (ean de aksion e tou kame poruesthai) ’And if it is fitting or proper, of me also to go along of my own accord." While traveling very much, Paul offered, if the offering was substantial, to go with the Corinth brethren to Jerusalem.

2) "They shall go with me " (sun emoi poreusontai) "They shall go with me." The language indicates that Paul would take part in going with the Corinth brethren to Jerusalem, only if their offering would creditably justify his time and expense, else he would not discredit or demean himself in a matter that would raise questions of judgment of more time and money spent on transportation than the value of the gift itself.

Verse 5

1) "Now I will come unto you," (eleusomai de pros humas) "And I shall come to you, (as I purpose of my own accord)." This is an indication of Paul’s concern to help the Corinth brethren by letter and in person, See 2 Corinthians 1:15-16.

2) "When I shall pass through Macedonia:" (hotan makedonian dieltho) "Whenever I pass through Macedonia," though the exact time or date was uncertain. 2 Corinthians 1:15-16 indicates Paul had had a desire in his heart to stop by to see the brethren briefly on his way to an extended trip through Macedonia, among the churches.

3) "For I do pass through Macedonia." (makedonian gar dierchomai) "For I am passing through Macedonia," (according to my plans). This third missionary tour, marked by deputation work for benevolent needs in the Jerusalem church, took him among two continental associations of churches: 1) in Asia, 1 Corinthians 16:1; 1 Corinthians , 2) in Europe, 2 Corinthians 8:1-15; 1 Corinthians 16:1-5.

Verse 6

1) "And it may be that I will abide," (de tuchon katameno) "And possibly I will tarry, remain, or abide." Paul’s time schedule was contingent, not fixed; he extended his Macedonia trip into Illyria, beyond what he had formerly planned, Romans 15:19; ministers must be flexible to God’s will, Acts 16:6-7.

2) "Yea, and winter with you," (e kai paracheimaso pros humas) "or even spend the winter with you all," the church at Corinth. Paul planned, timed his travels to arrive in Corinth, possibly to winter with them, which he did, staying for three months, Acts 20:3.

3) "That ye may bring me on my journey," (hina humeis me propempsete) "in order that you all may help me on my way," in ways of financial help and encouragement, wherever he might go, which was not directly to Jerusalem, but back through Macedonia, Acts 20:3-4.

4) "Whithersoever I go." (ou ean poreuomai) Wherever I may choose to go." The term poreuomai" indicates a travel with an unfixed schedule, leaving one’s decisions always to be flexible, day by day, "as the Lord wills," as taught James 4:13-15; Acts 18:21; 1 Corinthians 4:19.

Verse 7


1) "For I will not see you now by the way;" (ou thelo gar humas arti en parodo idein) "For I do not strongly wish to see you all in passage, at this moment, or yet." Paul realized when he visited Corinth it should be for a considerable stay.

2) "But I trust to tarry a while with you " (elpizo gar chronon tina epimeinai pros humas) "For I am hoping to remain some time with you." The Corinth church, though filled with carnality and many wrongs, had in Paul’s judgment potentials of service to God to justify his spending considerable time with them.

Verse 8

1) "But I will tarry at Ephesus" (epimeno de en Epheso) "But I will remain, continue, or abide in Ephesus." From Ephesus in Asia Minor this letter was being completed. Though the Corinth brethren felt that he should come to them at once, though he cared for them much, he felt that he had unfinished work in Ephesus.

2) "Until Pentecost." (heos tes pentekostes) "Until the (time of) Pentecost." The fiftieth day from the 16th Nisan in the Passover feast. Paul felt that the opportunities of his labors still bound him to Ephesus.

Verse 9

1) "For a great door and effectual is opened unto me." (thura gar moi aneogen megale kai energes) "For to me (has) opened a great and effective door, entrance, or opportunity." This is perhaps an allusion to his controversies with heathen worshipers in Ephesus, 1 Corinthians 15:32; a door of enlarged influence for evangelism so often brings adversaries into the open, Acts 16:19-40; Acts 19:1-41, this revival incited a riot.

2) "And there are many adversaries." (kai antikeimenoi polloi) "And (there are) many opposers or adversaries." When righteousness exposes wickedness, especially religious wickedness, the wicked turn vicious; Cain did; Jezebel did; Nebuchadnezzar did; Herod did; (Genesis 4:5-8; 1 Kings 19:1-2; 1 Kings 21:5-16; Daniel 3:19-21; Matthew 14:1-11).

Verse 10

1) "Now if Timotheus come," (ean de ethe Timotheus) "Now if Timothy comes, (to you all)." His coming was uncertain. He and Erastus had previously been sent into Macedonia, Acts 19:22.

2) "See that he may be with you without fear:" (blepete hina aphobos genetai pros humas)Watch carefully in order that he may be among you unafraid," or help him to be at ease, without, or keeping down, timidity. Timothy’s disposition was one of timidity, fear, inferiority complex, perhaps caused by experiences of his early life and his being half Jew and half Greek, yet chosen and used of God, Acts 16:1-6; 1 Timothy 1:5-8; Romans 8:15; 1 John 4:18.

3) "For he worketh the work of the Lord " (to gar ergon kuriou ergazetai) "For the work of the Lord he works." "He energetically extends himself in doing the work of the Master." Paul asserted that Timothy had an inner drive of the Spirit that caused him to "care for the state" or welfare of others, Philippians 2:19-22.

4) "As I also do." (hos kaga) "As, or even as, I also do." Up in Philippi Paul had seen the labors and fruit of Timothy’s ministry and he yearned to have the Corinth brethren to receive him with helpful understanding. This indicates Paul’s care for his own companions in labor, in looking on the welfare of others, Philippians 2:4.

Verse 11

1) "Let no man therefore despise him:" (me tis oun auton eksouthenese) "Let not anyone therefore despise him or take him lightly," though a young minister of youthful years, and an offspring of interracial marriage, called of God; he was not to be treated with contempt, Luke 10:16, 1 Thessalonians 4:8.

2) "But conduct him forth in peace (propempsate de auton en eirene) "But help him on his way in a peaceful manner," in a helpful manner, supporting him, Galatians 6:6.

3) "That he may come unto me:" (hina elthe pros me) "In order that he may come to me according to his own will." Paul indicated that Timothy needed their help to come to him, 1 Corinthians 9:10-11.

4) "For I look for him with the brethren." (ekdechomai gar auton meta ton adelphon) "For I am awaiting (expecting) him with the brethren," the same brethren who had brought over the Corinth letter; Stephanus, Fortunatus, and Achaicus 1 Corinthians 16:15-18.

Verse 12

1) "As touching our brother Apollos," (peri de apollo tou adelphou) "Now concerning our brother Apollos," Acts 19:1; a party of ministerial contention, 1 Corinthians 1:11-12; 1 Corinthians 3:4-6. He was an eloquent Christian Jew of Alexandria, Egypt, Acts 18:24.

2) "I greatly desired him to come unto you with the brethren” (polla -parekalesa auton hina elthe pros humas meta ton adelphon) "I pleaded with him to come to you with the brethren." This shows greatness of Spirit on the part of Paul.

3) "But his will was not at all to come at this time;" (kai pantos ouk en thelema hina nun elthe) "But it was not his strong will now or hereafter to come," Apollos with strong modesty and delicacy declined at this time to return to Corinth.

4) "But he will come" (eleusetai) "But he will come." was convinced that, with passing of time and tempered tongues and judgment in the Corinth church, Apollos would return.

5) "When he shall have convenient time." (hotan eukairese) "Whenever he has an opportune time or season." Apollos as an orator was a popular and busy orator for God and good down in Egypt, Acts 18:24 where he and John Mark labored till death.

Verse 13

1) "Watch ye, stand fast in the faith," (gregoreite, stekete en te pistei) ’ Watch ye, stand ye in the faith." This is a Pauline imperative of fatherly instruction in a long farewell letter in which he advises caution in morals and doctrine, 1 Peter 5:8; 2 Thessalonians 2:15

2) "Quit you like men," (andrizesthe) "Play the man, or act in your own behalf like a man," not a child. Be done with fickleness of a child and exert energy with mature judgment; it is a parting reproof for their contentious, immoral, divisive behavior before the world.

3) "Be strong." (krataiousthe) "Be strong," In order to bear, share, and endure the childish, fickle weakness others, the Corinthians are called to manly strength, See Romans 15:1.

Verse 14

1) "Let all your things" (panta humon) "Let all things of you, your behavior, attitude, and conduct." The entire church is called to carry on its work in love, with regards, respect for their influence over each other and the lost. 1 Corinthians 8:1 to 1 Corinthians 9:27.

2) "Be done with charity." (en agape ginestho) "Let (them) be in love, outwardly manifested, or in charity." This final desire of Paul for the Corinth church is so much like the new commandment our Lord gave His church in His latter hours on earth before His betrayal, John 13:34-35.

Verse 15

1) "I beseech you, brethren," (parakelo de huma delphoi) "Now I beseech you (as) brothers," Brotherly love was Paul’s motivating basis of appeal for kind treatment toward their returning messengers, Ephesians 4:32.

2) "Ye know the house of Step” (oidate ten oikian Stephana) "Recognize ye, or you all recognize the household of Stephanas," 1 Corinthians 1:15, a family wholly given to God is so unusual, yet desirable that they are known and respected by all in the church.

3) "That it is the firstfruits of Achaia," (hoti estin aparche tes Achaias) "it, (the household) is a firstfruit of Achaia." The firstfruit is considered of the sweetest, best quality, desirable.

4) "And that they have addicted themselves" (kai etaksan heautous) "They addicted or voluntarily appointed themselves responsibly." They had surrendered wholly to the work of the church, as called of the Lord, Mark 8:34-38.

5) "To the ministry of the saints " (eis diakomian tois hagiois) "Into the deacon-like labor of the saints." These had physically entered into labors of charity to see that the necessities of life were provided for missionaries and the impoverished saints in Jerusalem, recognizing that the "laborer is worthy of his hire," 1 Corinthians 9:11-14; 1 Timothy 5:17-18.

Verse 16

1) "That ye submit yourselves unto such," (hina kai humeis hupotassesthe toioutois) “ln order that you all also may submit to such ones," or follow their example of surrender to the Lord in everything, Matthew 6:33; 1 Corinthians 11:1.

2) "And to every one that helpeth with us, and Laboureth." (kai panti to sunergounti kai kopionti) "And to everyone working and laboring in close association with us," on the mission field. Responsible commitment to the work of Christ, as to a family responsibility, entails daily commitment to labors of love, Luke 9:23.

Verse 17

1) "I am glad of the coming of :" (chairo de epi te parousia) "Now I rejoice at the body presence." The three church emissaries had brought personal joy to Paul on their arrival and mission stay.

a) "Stephanas” (Stephana) "of Stephanas," meaning "crowned."

b) "And Fortunatas" (kai phortounatou) "And of Fortunatas" (kai phortounatou) "And of Fortunatus." The word means "prosperous."

c) "And Achaicus:" (kai achaikou) "and of Achaicus, meaning "belonging to Achaia.-

2) "For that which was lacking on your part," (hoti to humerteron husterema) "That of your lacking," the joy that the presence, visit of a friend brings and the token love gifts that they bear, always helps the laborer.

3) "They have supplied," (houtoi aneplerosan) "These brethren supplied." These of Corinth had brought physical supplies to their field missionaries, to share in their labors, show their care for these who had formerly taught them the Word, Galatians 6:6.

Verse 18

1) "For they have refreshed my spirit and yours (anepausan gar ta emon pneuma kai to humon) "For they refreshed (both) my spirit and yours." Paul recognized that the comfort and refreshment that he had received would be reflected in and cause joy through the return of Stephanas, Fortunatus, and Achaicus and their report to the Corinth church.

2) "Therefore acknowledge ye them that are such." (epiginoskete oun tous toioutous) "Recognize ye therefore such ones." Paul desired that the Corinth church give open respect to those who had brought cheer and deputation help to him in Ephesus; such esteem and respect is due to devout men, 1 Thessalonians 5:12.

Verse 19

1) "The churches of Asia salute you." (aspazontai humas kai ekklesiai tes asias) "The churches of Asia salute you." A plurality of churches, a continental Asian association of churches, sent greetings to the Corinth church.

2) "Aquila and Priscilla salute you much in the Lord," (akulas kai Priska aspazetai humas –en kuno polla) "Aquila and Priscilla greet you very much in the Lord." These were happy, devout saints who had endangered, or risked their lives to care for and protect Paul, Romans 16:4-5.

3) "With the church that is in their house." (sun te kat oikon auton ekklesia) "In close concord with the church in their house." The church that assembled for worship, study, and fellowship in Aquilla’s home, together with the continental churches of Asia, knew of the Corinth church’s interest in them and of Paul’s writing this letter. All therefore joined in sending Christian greetings by Paul to Corinth.

Verse 20

1) "All the brethren greet you:" (aspazontai humas oi adelphoi pantes) "The brethren (at Ephesus) all greet you (at Corinth)." This phrase seems to affirm that all brothers in Christ both in Ephesus and from among the churches of Asia sent direct greetings to Corinth, their sister church, and brethren on the European continent.

2) "Greet ye one another with an holy kiss." (aspasasthe allelous en philemati hagio) "Greet ye one another (of your own affections) with an holy kiss." Upon receiving this letter, perhaps returned and delivered by the three brethren who had come to Paul from Corinth, the Corinth brethren were asked to express personal affection and approving joy to each other in response to their communication and fellowship with Paul and the Asian brethren and churches by means of the customary holy kiss.

Verse 21

1) "The salutation of me Paul," (ho aspasmos) "The greeting (of me, Paul)." Paul’s autographed salutation authenticates his having written the letter, though Sosthenes, as believed by many, may have been the scribe who prepared the delivered copy, Acts 18:17; 1 Corinthians 1:1.

2) "With mine own hand." (te eme cheiri Paulou) "(Is) with the hand of me, Paul." Paul’s own signature seems to have been considered authentication, certification, or as a seal verifying his claim to inspiration for the letter’s release, Romans 16:22; 2 Thessalonians 3:17.

Verse 22

1) "If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ," (ei tis ou philei ton kurion) “ If anyone loves not the Lord," or has not affection for the Lord.

2) "Let him be Anathema Maranatha." (heto anathema marana tha) "Let him be a curse, the Lord cometh, or as a curse." Be not identified with him in his way. This expresses Paul’s strong feelings against any friendly sanction toward those who showed no affection, friendship, toward the Lord and His work. Paul abhorred a cold, hypocritical, calculated claim of love for the Lord, without evidence of some fruit of service, Galatians 6:12-17.

Verse 23

1) "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you." (he charis to kuriou iesou meth’ humon) "The grace of the Lord Jesus (be) with you all," (at Corinth). Fitting Paul’s concern for the Corinth brethren he had severely censured in the letter, He approached his farewell with a benediction for God’s grace to be on all of them, which he enlarged into the rinitarian benediction of grace in his second letter, 2 Corinthians 13:13-14.

Verse 24

1) " My love be with you all" (he agape mou meta panton humon) "The love of me (my love) be with all of you (at Corinth)." Though some members in the Corinth church had openly renounced Paul and claimed Apollos or Cephas as their leader, Paul, who had threatened to come to them with the rod (1 Corinthians 4:21), here asserted his holy love for every one of them.

2) "In Christ Jesus. Amen." (en christo iesou) "In Christ Jesus." Paul cared for all the Corinth members and asserted his love did abide in earnest with all In Christ Jesus!! His love is not with those who "love not the Lord," or "destroyed the temple of God," 1 Corinthians 3:15, or the moral culprit of 1 Corinthians 5:1-5 or those who denied the resurrection, 1 Corinthians 15:1-58. The basis of a bond of love for brethren of the church must always be "in Christ Jesus."

Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 16". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/1-corinthians-16.html. 1985.
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