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Bible Commentaries
1 Corinthians 16

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - UnabridgedCommentary Critical Unabridged

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Verse 1

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

Collection for the saints - at Jerusalem (Romans 15:26) and in Judea (Acts 11:29-30; Acts 24:17: cf. 2 Corinthians 8:4; 2 Corinthians 9:1; 2 Corinthians 9:12). He says "saints," rather than 'the poor,' to remind them that in giving, it is to the Lord's people, their own brethren in the faith. Toward the close of the nation's existence, Judea and Jerusalem were harassed with various troubles, which in part affected the Jewish Christians. The community of goods which existed for a time gave temporary relief, but tended ultimately to impoverish all by, paralyzing individual exertion (Acts 2:44), and hence, was soon discontinued. A beautiful fruit of grace it was, that he who had by persecutions robbed many of their all (Acts 26:10) should be foremost in exertions for their relief. As all Jews contributed a half shekel to the temple, and after its destruction to the Jews residing in Palestine, so Paul urges contributions in support of the Jewish mother church-the more so, that he might show his conflict was with Judaism, not with Jewish Christians.

As I have given - rather, 'gave order'-namely, during my journey through Galatia (Acts 18:23). The churches As I have given - rather, 'gave order'-namely, during my journey through Galatia (Acts 18:23). The churches of Galatia and Phrygia were the last visited before writing this letter. He was now at Ephesus, and came there immediately from visiting them (Acts 18:23; Acts 19:1). That he had not been silent in Galatia on contributions for the poor appears from the hint in his letter to that church (Galatians 2:10) - an undesigned coincidence and mark of genuineness. He proposes them as an example to the Corinthians, the Corinthians to the Macedonians, the Corinthians and Macedonians to the Romans (Romans 15:26-27; 2 Corinthians 9:2). There is great force in example.

Verse 2

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

First day of the week - already kept sacred by Christians as the day of the Lord's resurrection, the beginning day both of the physical and of the new spiritual creations; it gradually superseded the Jewish seventh day Sabbath (Psalms 118:22-24; John 20:19; John 20:26; Acts 20:7; Revelation 1:10). So the beginning of the year was changed from autumn to spring when Israel was brought out of Egypt. Three annual feasts were kept on the FIRST day of the week; the feast of wave, offering of the first sheaf, answering to the Lord's resurrection; Pentecost, or the feast of weeks, typical of the fruits of the resurrection in the Christian Church (Leviticus 23:11; Leviticus 23:15-16; Leviticus 23:36); the feast of tabernacles at harvest, typical of the ingathering of the full number of the elect. Easter was kept as a holy Sabbath (Exodus 12:16). The Christian Sabbath commemorates the beginnings of the respective works of the Three Divine Persons-creation, redemption (the resurrection), and sanctification (on Pentecost the Holy Spirit being poured out). Jesus came to fulfill the spirit of the law, not to cancel or lower its standard. The primary object of the Sabbath is holiness, not merely rest: "Remember that thou keep holy the Sabbath day." Compare Genesis 2:3, 'God blessed and sanctified it, because that in it He had rested,' etc. "Remember" implies that it existed before the giving of the law from Sinai, and refers to its institution in Paradise (cf. Exodus 16:22-23; Exodus 16:26; Exodus 16:30). "Six days shalt thou labour:" the spirit of the command is fulfilled whether the six days' labour be on the last six days or on the first. A perpetual Sabbath would be the highest Christian ideal; but living in a world of business where this is not yet realized, if a law of definite times was necessary in Paradise, it is still more so now.

Every one of you - even those in limited circumstances.

Lay by him - though there be not a weekly public collection, each is privately to set apart a definite proportion of his weekly income for the Lord's cause. The Lord's day, reminding us of His love to us, is the best day for contributing through love to Him.

In store - abundantly: the earnest of a better store laid up for the given (1 Timothy 6:19).

As God hath prospered him - literally, 'whatsoever he may be prospered,' may by prosperity have acquired (Matthew 25:15-29; Greek, Acts 11:29; 2 Corinthians 8:12).

That there be no gathering when I come - that they may not then have to be made, when our time ought to be employed in directly spiritual things. When men give once for all, not so much is given. But when each lays by something every Lord's day, more is collected.

Verse 3

And when I come, whomsoever ye shall approve by your letters, them will I send to bring your liberality unto Jerusalem.

Approve by your letters - rather, 'whomsoever ye shall approve, them will I send with [ dia (G1223) cf. Greek, Romans 2:27; 2 Corinthians 2:4 ] letters'-namely, letters (2 Corinthians 3:1) as credentials to several at Jerusalem. There was no need of letters from them before Paul's coming, if the persons recommended were not to be sent off before it-literally, 'by letters:' abbreviated for, 'I will send, recommending them by letters.' If the English version be retained, the sense will be, 'When I come, I will send those whom by your letters, then to be given them, ye shall approve.'

Liberality - literally, gracious gift (2 Corinthians 8:4)

Verse 4

And if it be meet that I go also, they shall go with me.

Meet - `worth while.' If your collections be large enough to be worth an apostle's journey (a stimulus to their liberality), I will accompany them myself, instead of giving them letters credential (1 Corinthians 16:3: cf. Acts 20:1-4).

With me - to guard against all possible suspicion of evil (2 Corinthians 8:4; 2 Corinthians 8:19-21).

Verses 5-7

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

His first intention had been (2 Corinthians 1:15-16) to pass through Corinth to Macedonia, and again return to them from Macedonia, and so to Judea; this he had announced in the lost letter (1 Corinthians 5:9); now having laid aside his intention (for which he was charged with levity, 2 Corinthians 1:17, etc., whereas it was through lenity, 2 Corinthians 1:23; 2 Corinthians 2:1), he announces his second plan of 'not seeing them now by the way,' but 'passing through Macedonia' first on his way to them, and then 'tarrying a while,' even 'abiding and wintering with them.'

For I do pass. 'This is what I at last resolve upon' (not as the erroneous subscription represents, as if he was THEN at Philippi, on his way through Macedonia): implying that there had been previous communication upon the subject of the journey, and that there had been some indecisiveness in the apostle's plan (Paley). In accordance with his second plan, we find him in Macedonia when 2 Corinthians was written (2 Corinthians 2:13; 2 Corinthians 8:1; 2 Corinthians 9:2; 2 Corinthians 9:4), and on his way to Corinth (2 Corinthians 12:14; 2 Corinthians 13:1: cf. Acts 20:1-2). "Pass through" is opposed to "abide" (1 Corinthians 16:6). He was not yet in Macedonia (as 1 Corinthians 16:8 shows), but at Ephesus; but he was thinking of passing through it (not abiding, as he proposed to do at Corinth).

Verse 6. He did 'abide, and even winter,' for the three WINTER months in Greece (Corinth) (Acts 20:3; Acts 20:6). Paul probably left Corinth about a month before the "days of unleavened bread," the Passover (to allow time to touch at Thessalonica and Berea, from which cities two of his companions were; as we read he did at Philippi); thus the three months at Corinth would be December, January, and February.

Ye - emphatic.

Whithersoever I go. He purposed to go to Judea (2 Corinthians 1:16) from Corinth, but his plans were not positively fixed as yet (note, 1 Corinthians 16:4: cf. Acts 19:21).

Verse 7. I will not see you now by the way - literally, 'I do not wish to see you this time in passing;' i:e., to pay you now what would have to be a merely passing visit, as in the second visit (2 Corinthians 12:14). In contrast to "awhile;" i:e., some time, as the Greek.

But. 'Aleph (') A B C Delta G f g, Vulgate, read "for."

Verse 8

But I will tarry at Ephesus until Pentecost.

At, Ephesus - whence Paul writes. Compare 1 Corinthians 16:19. "Asia," wherein Ephesus was.

Until Pentecost. He seems to have stayed as he here purposes; for, just when the tumult which drove him away broke out, he was already intending to leave Ephesus (Acts 19:21-22). Combined with 1 Corinthians 5:7-8, this fixes the date of this letter to a few weeks before Pentecost, very soon after the Passover.

Verse 9

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

Door (2 Corinthians 2:12) - an opening for extending the Gospel. Wise men watch for, and avail themselves of, opportunities. So "door" of hope (Hosea 2:15) "door of faith" (Acts 14:27), "an open door" (Revelation 3:8), "a door of utterance." (Colossians 4:3). "Great" - i:e., extensive. "Effectual" - i:e., opportune for effective working. Many adversaries - who would block up the open door, whence my presence is needed to check them. Not here false teachers, but open adversaries-Jews and pagan. After Paul, by long-continued labours at Ephesus, had produced effects threatening the gains derived from idolatry, "many adversaries" arose (Acts 19:9-23). Where great good is, evil is sure to start up its antagonist.

Verse 10

Now if Timotheus come, see that he may be with you without fear: for he worketh the work of the Lord, as I also do.

Now - rather, But. Timothy was not the bearer of the letter: for, it would not then be said, 'IF Timothy come.' He must have been sent by Paul from Ephesus before this letter was written, to accord with 1 Corinthians 4:17-19; yet the passage here implies that Paul did not expect him to arrive at Corinth until after the letter was received. He tells them how to treat him "if" he should arrive. Acts 19:21-22 clears up the difficulty: Timothy, when sent from Ephesus, where this letter was written, did not proceed direct to Corinth, but went first to Macedonia; thus though sent before the letter, he might not reach Corinth until after it was received in that city. The undesigned coincidence, and the clearing up of the letter (which does not mention the journey to Macedonia at all) by the history, is a sure mark of genuineness. It is not certain that Timothy actually reached Corinth; for in Acts 19:22 only Macedonia is mentioned; but it does not follow that though Macedonia was the immediate object of his mission, Corinth was not the ultimate object. The 'IF Timothy come,' implies uncertainty. 2 Corinthians 1:1 represents him with Paul in Macedonia; and 2 Corinthians 12:18, speaking of Titus and others sent to Corinth, does not mention Timothy. But as Timothy is associated with Paul in writing the second letter, a notice of his own mission in the third person would have been inapposite. The mission of Titus direct to Corinth then took place, when it became uncertain whether Timothy could go forward from Macedonia to Corinth, Paul being anxious for immediate tidings of the state of the Corinthian church. Titus' presence would thus make amends for the disappointment as to the intended visit of Timothy, and would disarm adversaries of a charge of fickleness in this respect (2 Corinthians 1:17; 2 Corinthians 7:6-7).

Without fear - referring to the Corinthians' party violence, and perhaps to a nervous timidity in Timothy (1 Timothy 3:15; 1 Timothy 5:22-23). His youth would add to this, as well as his country, Lystra, despised in refined Corinth.

Verse 11

Let no man therefore despise him: but conduct him forth in peace, that he may come unto me: for I look for him with the brethren.

Despise. This charge is not given concerning any other of the messengers whom Paul sent (cf. Psalms 119:1-176; Psalms 141:1-10.) He was young, younger probably than those usually sent forth (1 Timothy 4:12); whence Paul, apprehending lest he should be exposed to contempt, cautions him, "Let no man despise thy youth."

Conduct - set him on his way with all respect, and with whatever he needs (Titus 3:13).

In peace (Acts 15:33; Hebrews 11:31). "Peace" is the salutation of respect in the East, and so stands for every blessing. Perhaps there is, too, a contrast between "peace" and the "contentions" at Corinth (1 Corinthians 1:11).

I look for him. He and Titus were to meet Paul in Troas, where the apostle purposed proceeding from Ephesus (2 Corinthians 2:12-13). Paul thus claims their respect for Timothy as one whom he felt so necessary to himself as to "look for" him.

With the brethren. Others besides Erastus accompanied Timothy to Macedonia (cf. 1 Corinthians 16:12; Acts 19:22).

Verse 12

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

Apollos, I greatly desired him to come unto you. He says this, lest they should suspect that he from jealousy prevented Apollos' coming to them. Perhaps they expressly requested Apollos to be sent to them. Apollos was not at Ephesus when Paul wrote (cf. 1 Corinthians 16:19 and 1 Corinthians 1:1). Probably Apollos' unwillingness to go to Corinth at this time was because he did not wish to sanction his name being made a party cry by those Corinthians who admired his oratory (1 Corinthians 1:12; 1 Corinthians 3:4). Paul's freedom from all selfish jealousy led him to urge Apollos to go: he, of course, could not state in his letter particularly these reasons in the existing divisions there. He calls Apollos "brother," to mark the unity between the two.

With the brethren - who bear this letter (1 Corinthians 16:12; 1 Corinthians 16:17). Conybeare thinks Titus was one of the bearers (2 Corinthians 8:6; 2 Corinthians 8:16-24; 2 Corinthians 12:18).

Convenient (seasonable) time. Apollos did return to Corinth when their divisions were moderated (Jerome).

Verses 13-14

Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.

Their hopes of salvation ought to depend not on Apollos or any teacher: it rests with themselves.

Watch ye - for ye are slumbering.

Stand - for ye are tottering. In the faith - which is assailed by some (1 Corinthians 15:1-2; 1 Corinthians 15:12-17).

Quit you like men, be strong - for ye are effeminate.

Let all your things be done with charity (1 Corinthians 8:1; 1 Corinthians 13:1) - not with strife, as at present.

Verse 15

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

First-fruits of Achaia - the first Achaean converts. Epenetus was the first convert of this "house," if the Received Text be right; but oldest manuscripts read Asia for Achaia in Romans 16:5. The image is from first-fruits offered to the Lord (Leviticus 23:10: cf. 1 Corinthians 15:20). This family was baptized by Paul himself (1 Corinthians 1:16).

Addicted (set) themselves to the ministry of (to) the saints - voluntarily (cf. 2 Corinthians 8:4).

Verse 16

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

That ye. Translate, 'That ye also'-namely, on your part ... in return for their voluntary ministry to you.

Helpeth with us - rather, with them.

Laboureth - by himself.

Verse 17

I am glad of the coming of Stephanas and Fortunatus and Achaicus: for that which was lacking on your part they have supplied.

Fortunatus and Achaicus - probably of Stephanas' household. Fortunatus and Achaicus - probably of Stephanas' household.

That which was lacking on your part. So far as you were unable yourselves to 'refresh my spirit,' being absent from me, "they have supplied" by coming to me, and so supplying means of conversation between you and me. They probably carried this letter back; see the subscription below: hence, the exhortations 1 Corinthians 16:16; 1 Corinthians 16:18, as though they would be at Corinth when the letter arrived.

Verse 18

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

Refreshed my spirit and yours. "Yours" will be refreshed on receiving this letter, by knowing that 'my spirit is refreshed' by their having come to me; and (perhaps) by the good report they give of many of you (1 Corinthians 1:4-8; 2 Corinthians 7:13: cf. Zechariah 6:8).

Acknowledge ye them - by a kind reception (1 Thessalonians 5:12). "Know" them in their true worth, and treat them accordingly.

Verse 19

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

Asia - not all Asia Minor, but Lydian Asia only, of which Ephesus was capital.

Much - with especial affection.

Aquila and Priscilla (cf. Acts 18:2; Romans 16:3-4). Originally driven out of Italy by Claudius, they had come to Corinth (whence their salutation of the Corinthians is appropriate), then had removed with Paul from Corinth to Ephesus (Acts 18:2; Acts 18:18-20); here, as at Rome subsequently, they set up a church (assembly of believers) at their house (Romans 16:3-5). A pattern to Christian husbands and wives. Their Christian self-devoting love appears whereever they were. Even the gifted Apollos, so highly admired at Corinth, owed much of his knowledge to them (Acts 18:24-26). In 1 Corinthians 16:20, "All the brethren" (i:e., the whole church) seem to be distinguished from "the church that is in their house," which was but a private assembly out of the general church at Corinth. Romans 16:23 may refer to "the whole church" meeting at the house of Gaius (cf. Colossians 4:15). Christ's followers when dispersed ceased to be a congregation (synagogue), but still are a church, having the common union to the same Head by the same faith and hope. This explains Paul's entering "into every house (namely, to search for the Christians met for worship there), and haling men and women."

In the Lord. They pray for all blessings on you from the common Lord, the source of every good, IN whom they and you are one. "In the Lord" refers to their union in Christ, their prayers for one another's good being in virtue of that union.

Verse 20

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

Holy kiss - the token of Christians' love ("kiss of charity," 1 Peter 5:14), especially at the Lord's supper (cf. Romans 16:16; 1 Thessalonians 5:26), in which all their dissensions would be forgotten.

Verse 21

The salutation of me Paul with mine own hand.

Salutation ... with mine own hand. He therefore dictated the rest of the letter. Even already spurious letters were circulated (2 Thessalonians 2:2).

Verse 22

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

A solemn closing warning added in his own hand: as in Ephesians 6:24; Colossians 4:18.

The Lord - who ought to be 'loved' above Paul, Apollos, and all other teachers. Love to one another is to flow from love to Him above all. Ignatius, 'Epistola. ad Romanos,' 7, writes, 'My love has been crucified' (cf. Song of Solomon 2:7).

Jesus Christ. So C Delta G f g, Vulgate. But omitted in 'Aleph (').

Let him be Anathema - accursed with that curse which the Jews who call Jesus "accursed" (1 Corinthians 12:3) are bringing righteously on their own heads: doomed to Satan's power. So far from 'saluting,' I bid him be accursed.

Maran-atha - Syriac, the Lord cometh. A watchword to urge to immediate decision for Christ before it is too late; and preparedness in love (1 Thessalonians 3:12-13) for His coming, as in Philippians 4:5.

Verse 23

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

The grace ... This is the salutation meant in 1 Corinthians 16:21; from which unbelievers (1 Corinthians 16:22: cf. 2 John 1:10:11 ) are excluded.

Verse 24

My love ... After having administered severe rebukes, he closes with "love:" his very rebukes were prompted by love, and therefore are in harmony with the profession here: love in Christ Jesus embraced "all" who loved Him.

The subscription represents the letter as written from Philipi. 1 Corinthians 16:8 shows it was written at Ephesus. Bengel conjectures that it was sent from Philippi (1 Corinthians 16:5), because the deputies of the Corinthians accompanied Paul there. From Ephesus there was a road to Corinth above Philippi.

Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 16". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jfu/1-corinthians-16.html. 1871-8.
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