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Bible Commentaries
1 Corinthians 16

Alford's Greek Testament Critical Exegetical CommentaryAlford's Greek Testament Commentary

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Verse 1

1 .] The construction is as in ch. 1Co 7:1 ; 1 Corinthians 8:1 ; 1 Corinthians 12:1 ; the περὶ δὲ … rather serves to introduce the new subject than to form any constructional part of the sentence. Similarly in 1 Corinthians 16:12 .

λογίας ] λογία , συλλογή , Hesych [77] λογίαν , τὴν συλλογὴν τῶν χρημάτων καλεῖ , Theodoret (Wetst.). The word is said in the Lexx. not to be found in classic writers.

[77] Hesychius of Jerusalem, cent y . vi.

εἰς τ . ἁγ . ] = εἰς τοὺς πτωχοὺς τ . ἁγίων τῶν ἐν Ἱερουσαλήμ , ref. Rom. See also 2 Corinthians 8:1 ff; 2 Corinthians 9:1 ff.: and on the poverty of the church at Jerusalem, note on Acts 2:44 . That poverty was no doubt increased by the continual troubles with which Jerusalem was harassed in this, the distressful close of the Jewish national history. See other causes in Stanley. That the mother church of Christendom should be thus, in its need, sustained by the daughter churches, was natural; and it is at the same time an affecting circumstance, to find him the most anxious to collect and bear to them this contribution, whose former persecuting zeal had doubtless (see Act 26:10 ) made not a few of those saints widows and orphans .

ὥσπερ διέτ .] We do not find any such order in the Epistle to the Galatians: ch. 1Co 2:10 there being merely incidental. It had probably been given during his journey among them Acts 18:23 , or perhaps by message (?) from Ephesus. Not as E. V., ‘ as I have given order ,’ but as I gave order . He refers to the occasion, whatever it was, when that order was given. Bengel remarks: “Galatarum exemplum Corinthiis, Corinthiorum exemplum Macedonibus, Corinthiorum et Macedonum Romanis proponit. 2 Corinthians 9:2 .Romans 15:26; Romans 15:26 . Magna exemplorum vis.”

Verses 1-4

1 4 .] Directions respecting the collection and transmission of alms for the poor saints at Jerusalem .

Verse 2

2. ] μίαν σαββ .] For this Hebraism, and σαβ . in the singular, signifying week , see reff.

On the observance of the first day of the week, see notes, Acts 20:7 , and Romans 14:5 . 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.

παρ ʼ ἑαυτῷ τιθ .] let each of you lay up at home (reff.) in store whatsoever he may by prosperity have acquired (lit. ‘ whatsoever he may be prospered in :’ i.e. the pecuniary result of any prosperous adventure, or dispensation of Providence): not, as Bengel, al.: ‘ quod commodum sit ,’ a meaning which the word will not bear.

ἵνα μή , … ] that there may not, when I come, THEN be collections to be made . His time would be better employed in imparting to them a spiritual benefit, than in urging them to and superintending this duty.

Verse 3

3 .] “Vide quomodo vir tantus nullam suspicioni rimam aperire voluerit.” Grot.

δι ʼ ἐπιστολῶν cannot belong to δοκιμάσητε (as Beza, Calv., Wetst., E. V., for what need of letters from them ὅταν παραγένωμαι , or before his coming, if the person recommended were not to be sent off before his arrival ?), but is emphatically prefixed, as the safe and proper way of giving credentials to those sent ; τούτους πέμψω , the alternative which follows, of himself accompanying them, being already in the mind of the Apostle.

ἐπιστολῶν , plur., not of the category merely, meaning one letter , but meaning, either that each should have his letter of credentials, or more probably, that Paul would give them letters to several persons in Jerusalem.

Meyer well remarks: “Hence we see how common in Paul’s practice was the writing of Epistles. Who knows how many private letters of his, not addressed to churches have been lost? The only letter of the kind which remains to us (except the Pastoral Epistles), viz. that to Philemon, owes its preservation perhaps to the mere circumstance, that it is at the same time addressed to the church in the house of Philemon. See 1 Corinthians 16:2 .”

χάριν ] see reff. Meyer compares Plato, Def. p. 113, E: χάρις , εὐεργεσία ἑκούσιος .

Verse 4

4. ] But if it (the occasion, dependent on the magnitude of your collection) be worthy of my also taking the journey (i.e. if your collection be large enough to warrant an apostolic mission in order to carry it, not said for security , nor to procure himself a fair reception at Jerusalem, but with a sense of the dignity of an apostolic mission: “justa æstimatio sui non est superbia,” Bengel), they shall go in my company ( σὺν ἐμοὶ π . contrast to δι ʼ ἐπιστολῶν πέμψω , and observing the same order). This did apparently take place, see Acts 20:4 ff.

Verse 5

5 .] This plan was a change from his former intention , which had been (see 2 Corinthians 1:15-16 , and note), to pass through them to Macedonia , and again return to them from Macedonia , and thence to Judæa. This he had apparently announced to them in the lost Epistle alluded to ch. 1 Corinthians 5:9 (or in some other), and he now tacitly drops this scheme, and announces another. For this he was charged (2 Corinthians 1:17 ff.) with levity of purpose : but his real motive was, lenity towards them , that he might not come to them in sorrow and severity (2 Corinthians 1:23 ; 2Co 2:1 ). The second plan he adhered to : we find him already in Macedonia when 2 Cor. was written (2 Corinthians 2:13 ; 2 Corinthians 8:1 ; 2 Corinthians 9:2 ; 2Co 9:4 ), and on his way to Corinth (2 Corinthians 12:14 ; 2Co 13:1 ); and in Acts 20:1-2 , the journey is briefly narrated.

Μακεδ . γ . διέρχ . is not parenthetical, but διέρχ . is opposed (by δέ ) to παραμενῶ .

The pres. implies, as in E. V., his now matured plan , not, as in the erroneous subscription of the Epistle, that he was on his way through Macedonia, when he wrote the word.

Verses 5-9

5 9 .] Taking up ὅταν παραγένωμαι , he announces his plan of visiting them .

Verse 6

6. παραμενῶ ] This, of which he speaks uncertainly, was accomplished; he spent ( Act 20:3 ) three months, and those (ib. Act 20:6 ) the three winter months, in Greece (at Corinth).

ὑμεῖς , Meyer justly remarks, is emphatic, and conveys an affectionate preference, in his present plan, for them.

οὗ , with a verb of motion. The account of this is that the ideas of motion and rest are both involved in the verb: rest, when the motion is accomplished. So Luke 10:1 ; Soph. Trach. 40, κεῖνος δ ʼ ὅπου βέβηκεν οὐδεὶς οἶδε : Xen. Hell. vii. 1. 25, ὅπου βουληθεῖεν ἐξελθεῖν . See Kühner, § 623, Anm. 2.

Whither he should go from Corinth, was as yet uncertain, see 1 Corinthians 16:4 .

Verse 7

7. ] For I am not willing, this time to see you in passing . There is a slight, but a very slight, reference to his change of purpose (see above); but we must not take ἄρτι with θέλω (which Meyer charges Neander with doing, but clearly in error, see Pfl. u. Leit. p. 415 note): rather the ἄρτι refers to the occasion , the news from ‘them of Chloe,’ which had made it advisable that he should not now pay them a mere passing visit.

γάρ ] ground of οὐ θέλω but not the ultimate one, see above.

ἐπιτρέψῃ ] shall have permitted me , i.e. ‘if it shall so turn out, in the Lord’s direction of my work, that I shall then find my way open to do so.’

Verses 8-9

8, 9 .] His present plan regarding his stay in Ephesus (where he was writing).

τ . πεντηκ .] viz. that next coming . This probably happened so, or nearly so, notwithstanding the tumult of Acts 19:0 ; for he already (see there 1Co 16:21-22 ) was meditating his departure , and had sent on two of his company, when the tumult occurred.

θύρα , see reff.: an opportunity of action .

μεγάλη refers to the extent of the action thus opened before him: ἐνεργής , to its requirements : neither of them (though μεγάλη may be referred to θύρα ) properly agreeing with the figure , but both with the reality . Meyer compares Plato, Phædr. p. 245, A: μουσῶν ἐπὶ ποιητικὰς θύρας ἀφίκηται .

ἀντικ . πολλ . See Acts 19:9 ; Acts 19:23 ff.

Verse 10

10. βλ . ἵνα ἀφόβ . γ . ] There must have been some special reason for this caution respecting Timothy, besides that assigned by Meyer, al., that he would naturally be depreciated as only a subordinate of Paul, whom so many of them opposed. His youth occurs to us, mentioned 1 Timothy 4:12 ; but even that is not enough, and would hardly be intended here, without some reference to it. De Wette’s conjecture may not be without foundation, that he was perhaps of a timid disposition . Meyer objects that we have no historical trace of this: but I think some are to be found in 1 Tim.: e.g. 1 Timothy 3:15 ; 1 Timothy 5:22-23 .

τὸ ἔργον κυρ .] see ref., note.

Verses 10-11

10, 11 .] Recommendation of Timothy to their good reception and offices . He had preceded Paul ( Act 19:22 ) in the journey to Macedonia. From ἐὰν ἔλθῃ , it would appear to have been probable , but not quite certain, that he would visit them. In ch. 1 Corinthians 4:17 , he is described as sent on for that purpose : so that the ἐάν may merely refer to the uncertainties of the journey.

Verse 11

11. ἐν εἰρήνῃ ] χωρὶς μάχης καὶ φιλονεικίας , Theophyl., and similarly Chrys.

ἵνα ἔλθ .] the aim of προπέμψ ..

ἐκδέχ . γὰρ αὐτ .] καὶ τοῦτο φοβοῦντος αὐτοὺς ἦν . ἵνα γὰρ εἰδότες , ὅτι πάντα εἰρήσεται πρὸς αὐτὸν ἅπερ ἂν πάθῃ , ἐπιεικέστεροι γένωνται , διὰ τοῦτο προσέθηκεν · ἐκδ . γ . αὐτ . Chrys. Hom. xliv. p. 407. Theophyl. adds, ἅμα δὲ καὶ αἰδεσιμώτερον αὐτὸν ποιῶν , εἴγε οὕτως ἀναγκαῖον τοῦτον ἔχει , ὥστε ἐκδέχεσθαι αὐτόν .

By μετὰ τῶν ἀδελφῶν it would appear, comparing 1 Corinthians 16:12 , that more brethren besides Erastus ( Act 19:22 ) accompanied Timotheus to Macedonia. It is hardly probable (as Calov. and De W., al.), that μετὰ τ . ἀδ . is to be taken with ἐκδέχομαι : ‘I and the brethren expect him.’

Verse 12

12 .] Of Apollos: that he was not willing at present to go to them . δέ , transitional.

On the construction of περὶ .… ἀδ ., see on 1 Corinthians 16:1 .

παρεκάλ . ἵνα ἔλθῃ ] ἵνα denotes the aim, not only the purport of the exhortation. See remarks on ch. 1 Corinthians 14:13 .

“Ideo excusat, ne suspicentur Corinthii ab eo fuisse impeditum.… Apud se quærere poterant: Cur hos potius quam Apollo nobis misit? Respondet, minime per so stetisse, &c.” Calvin. Meyer remarks, perhaps the Corinthians had expressly desired that Apollos should be sent to them. μετὰ τ . ἀδελφ .] perhaps, those who went with Timotheus (see above): perhaps, those who were to bear this letter ( 1Co 16:17 ).

καί ] and , not, ‘ but :’ see John 16:32 ; Romans 1:13 . It merely couples the exhortation with its result.

θέλημα ] Evidently the will of Apollos , not, as Theophyl.: τουτέστιν , ὁ θεὸς οὐκ ἤθελεν .

ὅταν εὐκαιρ .] The present καιρός not seeming to him a suitable one: apparently on account of the divisions hinted at in the beginning of the Epistle.

Verse 13

13 .] εἶτα δεικνὺς ὅτι οὐκ ἐν τοῖς διδασκάλοις , ἀλλὰ καὶ ἐν ἑαυτοῖς ὀφείλουσι τὰς ἐλπίδας ἔχειν τῆς σωτηρίας , φησί · γρηγ . κ . τ . λ . Chrys., who adds: διὸ λέγει , γρηγορεῖτε , ὡς καθευδόντων · στήκετε , ὡς σαλευομένων · ἀνδρίζεσθε , κραταιοῦσθε , ὡς μαλακιζομένων . πάντα ὑμ . ἐν ἀγάπῃ γινέσθω , ὡς στασιαζόντων . p. 407 f.

ἀνδρίζ .] Aristot. Eth. iii. 6. 12: ἅμα δὲ καὶ ἀνδρίζονται , ἐν οἷς ἐστιν ἡ ἀλκή , ἢ καλὸν τὸ ἀποθανεῖν . Wetst.: where see other examples.

Verse 15

15 .] Some expositors (Erasm., Wolf, al.) take οἴδατε as imperative , and regard it as the command: but the imperative use of οἴδατε for ἴστε ) seems to be without example. We must therefore understand it as indicative, and the construction is the well-known attraction, οἶδά σε τίς εἶ (Meyer).

ἀπαρχή ] See Romans 16:5 ; the first Achæan, converts .

ἔταξαν , plur., referring to the noun of number, οἰκία . This family were among the few baptized by Paul , see ch. 1 Corinthians 1:16 .

ἔταξαν ἑαυτούς ] So Demosth. de falsa legat.: βούλομαι δὲ ὑπομνῆσαι εἰς τίνα τάξιν ἔταξεν ἑαυτὸν Αἰσχίνης , Wetst.: where see other examples. The ἑαυτούς is not without meaning they voluntarily devoted their services.

εἰς διακ . τοῖς ἁγίοις ] to service for the saints : in what way, does not appear: but perhaps, from the fact of Stephanas being at that time in Ephesus, for journeys and missions.

Verses 15-18

15 18 .] Recommendation of the family of Stephanas to their honourable regard: and bg occasion, expression of his own joy at the presence of Stephanas and his companions .

Verse 16

16. ] καὶ ὑμεῖς , you in your turn, in return for their self-devotion.

ὑποτάσσ .] viz. in honouring their advice and being ready to be directed by them: there is an allusion to ἔταξαν ἑαυτούς above.

τοῖς τοιούτοις ] to such persons , meaning the individuals of Stephanas’s family, whom they knew. See the usage of ὁ τοιοῦτος in reff.

συνεργοῦντι ] viz. with τοῖς τοιούτοις .

Verse 17

17 .] Perhaps Fortunatus and Achaicus were members of the family of Stephanas. The Fortunatus mentioned by Clement at the end of his Ep. i. to the Corinthians (c. 59, p. 328) may be the same.

παρουσίᾳ ] viz. in Ephesus.

τὸ ὑμέτερον ὑστ .] The want of you (ref.): i.e. of your society. Grotius interprets it, “Quod vos omnes facere oportuit, id illi fecerunt: certiorem me fecere de vestris morbis,” and holds them to have been οἱ Χλοῆς of chap. 1 Corinthians 1:11 . But it is very improbable that he should mention thus a family so distinguished as this: he names them just after, ch. 1 Corinthians 1:16 , as the household of Stephanas: and still more improbable that one of so fine feeling should add of the bearers of such tidings, ἀνέπαυσαν κ . τ . λ ., which would on that hypothesis be almost ironical.

Verse 18

18. καὶ ὑμῶν ] this is a beautiful expression of true affection used in consciousness of the effect of this epistle on them: q. d. ‘it is to their presence here that you owe much of that in this my letter which I know will refresh and cheer your spirits.’ Theophyl. explains it: ἔδειξεν αὐτοῖς ὅτι ἡ αὐτοῦ ἀνάπαυσις , αὐτῶν ἐστιν . ὥστε ἐπεί , ἐμοῦ ἀναπαυθέντος περὶ αὐτῶν , καὶ ὑμεῖς ἐκερδήσατε αὐτὸ τοῦτο , τὴν ἐμὴν ἀνάπαυσιν , μηδὲν ἄχαρι πρὸς αὐτοὺς τούτους ἐνδείξησθε : Grot., of the announcement which they would make on their return of Paul’s love for the Corinthians. But this last can hardly be.

ἐπιγινώσκετε ] know , the prep. giving force, and slightly altering the meaning to that of recognition . Grot, and Theophyl., ἐν τιμῇ αὐτοὺς ἔχετε .

Verse 19

19. ἐν κυρίῳ ] see note, Romans 16:2 . On Aquila and Priscilla, see Romans 16:3-4 ; Acts 18:2 . They had removed from Corinth ( Act 18:1 ) to Ephesus ( Act 18:26 ), and had there, as subsequently at Rome (Romans 16:3 ; Rom 16:5 ), an assembly of the faithful meeting in their dwelling.

οἱ ἀδ . πάντες the whole Ephesian church.

ἐν φιλ . ἁγ .] see Romans 16:16 , note.

Verses 19-20

19, 20 .] Salutations .

Verses 21-24

21 24 .] Autograph conclusion . ὁ ἀσπασμός is the final greeting , which, according to ref. 2 Thess., was always in his own hand , the rest having been written (see Rom 16:22 ) by an amanuensis.

Παύλου is in apposition with ἐμοῦ implied in ἐμῇ , as Il. ρ . 226, ὑμέτερον δὲ ἑκάστου θυμὸν ἀέξω : ἐμὸς τοῦ ἀθλίου βίος , and the like. See Kühner, § 499. 4.

Verse 22

22 .] He adds, as in Colossians 4:18 ; Ephesians 6:24 , some exhortation, or solemn sentence, in his own hand , as having especial weight.

On the distinction between φιλεῖν and ἀγαπᾷν see notes on John 21:15 . The negation here of the feeling of personal affection, “has no love in his heart for,” is worthy of note, as connected with the curse which follows.

ἤτω ἀνάθ .] On ἀνάθεμα , see note, Romans 9:3 : let him be accursed.

μαραναθά ] An Aramaic expression, מָרַן אֲתָא or מָרָנָא אֲתָא the (or our ) Lord cometh (or, is come , as Chrys., al., ὁ κυρ . ἡμ . ἦλθε : in 1Jn 4:2 the same Syriac form is used to express ἐληλυθότα ): probably unconnected with ἀνάθεμα : and added perhaps (Mey.) as recalling some remembrance of the time when Paul was among them: at all events, as a weighty watchword tending to recall to them the nearness of His coming, and the duty of being found ready for it: not added, as Rückert, to stamp genuineness on the letter, for why here rather than in other Epistles, especially as those who were to bear it were so well known? See Stanley’s note.

Verse 24

24. ἡ ἀγ . μου ] Because the Epistle had contained so much that was of a severe character, he concludes it with an expression of affection; so Chrys.: μετὰ τοσαύτην κατηγορίαν οὐκ ἀποστρέθεται , ἀλλὰ καὶ φιλεῖ καὶ περιλαμβάνει πόῤῥωθεν αὐτοὺς ὄντας . Hom. xliv. p. 411.

ἐν χρ . Ἰησ .] τουτέστιν , οὐδὲν ἀνθρώπινον ἢ σαρκικὸν ἡ ἀγάπη μου ἔχει , ἀλλὰ πνευματική ἐστι καὶ ἐν χριστῷ . Theophyl.

Bibliographical Information
Alford, Henry. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 16". Alford's Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/hac/1-corinthians-16.html. 1863-1878.
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