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Bible Commentaries
1 Corinthians 16

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New TestamentsSutcliffe's Commentary

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Verses 1-24

1 Corinthians 16:1 . The collection for the saints, chiefly for the poor ministers of the word. This was to be done once a week, and it is the ancient and best way for poor people to support the gospel by a mite from their weekly earnings. If a man cannot save a trifle every week by serving God, religion has done little for him.

1 Corinthians 16:2 . Upon the first day of the week, the christian sabbath, which was appointed on the first day of the week by Christ himself, after his resurrection, and is in sacred language called the Lord’s day. Acts 20:7. Revelation 1:10. On this head christians never had any dispute; and though a few rigorous jewish converts observed two sabbaths, their scruples gradually gave way to an institution of divine authority. Genesis 2:0. Ezekiel 20:0. Isaiah 58:13.

1 Corinthians 16:8-9 . But I will tarry at Ephesus till Pentecost, for a great and effectual door is opened to me. When the doors of the amphitheatres, and of the circus were opened for public shows and games, the multitude rushed in; and these popular occurrences suggested figures of speech. The storm of persecution raised against Paul at Ephesus by Demetrius, and the trade, had caused Paul to be known as the first of characters; and vast numbers, both in the city and the provinces, hung upon his lips for the word of life.

1 Corinthians 16:10-12 . Now, if Timotheus come, see that he be with you without fear. Both Timothy and Apollos were known at Corinth, but by naming them in this handsome manner it shows that they persevered in the work of the Lord, and entertained kindly feelings towards the christians of Greece. Love is full of good offices.

1 Corinthians 16:15 . Ye know the house of Stephanas, the firstfruits of Achaia, a notable family, which became a sort of key to the peninsula of Greece. He being now absent in the work of the Lord, the numerous branches of that houshold would on that account need the more attention and affectionate regard. Such respects are the just obligations of the church to a paternal family.

1 Corinthians 16:19 . The churches of Asia salute you; that is, the Roman province of Proconsular Asia; a maritime district, comprising the seven churches to which St. John wrote; a province very dense in population, and rich in commerce. As Paul passed through those churches he found abundance of enquiries and salutations for the Greeks in Macedonia, Thessalia, and Greece; for love makes the family all one in Christ. So Paul wrote this epistle in Asia, but being engaged in constant journies, he did not forward it to Corinth till he had reached Philippi in Macedonia. See the map of Paul’s travels.

The church that is in their house. This is a full proof, in my judgment, that meetings for prayer, and for christian fellowship in private houses have apostolic sanction. The great church at Corinth, having so many ministers, could not meet in a private house; therefore it must be a select party or class of saints, who meet to edify one another, which the apostle here greets.

1 Corinthians 16:21 . The salutation of Paul, with my own hand. The sacred writings, professing inspiration, were beautifully engrossed on parchments for public reading in the churches. Tertullian, at the distance of a hundred and fifty years from this time, mentions those epistles, as containing the autographs of Paul, and unquestionably pure; and further, that they had been preserved with the greatest care in the churches to which they were written.

1 Corinthians 16:22 . Anathema Maran-atha. The former is a Greek, and the latter a Syriac word then used by the jews. Maran, Lord, and atha, he cometh. They agreed with the Hebrew words Cherem and Shammatha, and are obviously a curse on the unbelieving jews; and we have only to read the history of that people to see its accomplishment, as foretold by Isaiah 65:15. They apply also to apostates, and all men should read them with reverence and awe. And if we take it duly into consideration that Athanasius meant his imprecatory clauses against enlightened men only, there is no objection against his creed which does not lie against St. Paul’s Epistle. They are only disguised deists who make complaint. Lord, teach me to love thy appearing, that I may be found approved at thy bar. Amen.


By these salutations we learn how the saints love one another, and that it is in their hearts to live and die together. The recollections how they first met in the courts of the Lord, heard his word, and sought his face, are all held sacred. The communion of saints, in its early stages, is fragrant as the flowers of the field; and in hoary age, it mellows and ripens into the richer fruits of experimental piety. We recal their personal virtues, their excellence of character, and zeal for the cause of God. Though absent, they are still present; we love them, we talk with them, we get good from their shining countenance, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. There we shall meet again, recount the histories of providence and grace, and join in ceaseless worship and praise.

But if believers are all brethren, all one in the Lord, it is their duty freely to communicate to their brethren in any part of the world who may be in trouble, poverty, and distress. Diversities of language and colour form no barriers in the kingdom of grace. No christians in the world were ever more hated and afflicted than the poor saints in Judea. The whole temple of priests and levites were their oppressors, and would rarely show them any kindness, or even do them justice; and had it not been for seasonable and annual supplies from proconsular Asia, and Greece, they must have fainted beneath their load. In such cases, the giver to others gives most to himself. It is done to Him who says, I will repay.

But let the admonitory words of this apostle in 1 Corinthians 16:13, speak most to our hearts. Watch ye, as a city when besieged, lest the enemy should enter at some unguarded avenue. Stand fast in the faith, like a column against the assailants, and unmoved as a pillar against the tempest. Quit yourselves like men, covered with the shield of faith, so that no missile shall wound you, and by which you shall quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one, repelling them into the ditch full of water. Be strong in the Lord, to bear down all your foes, to confound them with argument, to shame them with charity, and cover them with the obloquy of their crimes. For that end, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all; Amen. To this last word we all agree, and say amen to this double prayer, that the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the mutual love of all saints may ever subsist in the church, and with all the encrease of God. Amen.

Bibliographical Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 16". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jsc/1-corinthians-16.html. 1835.
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