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Bible Commentaries
1 Corinthians 16

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Verse 1

1Co 16:1

1 Corinthians 16:1

Now concerning the collectionThe occasion of this col­lection was the “great famine over all the world,” predicted by Agabus, “which came to pass in the days of Claudius.” (Acts 11:27-28). This fell with great severity upon Judea and Je­rusalem, and the poor Christians who were despised by their Jewish brethren as traitors to the faith, so that their lot was especially hard. In prospect of the coming calamity, the Gen­tile Christians of Antioch at once “determined to send relief unto the brethren that dwelt in Judaea: which also they did, sending it to the elders by the hand of Barnabas and Saul.” (Acts 11:29-30). Paul, intent on soothing the prejudices of his Jewish brethren against the Gentile Christians seems to have resolved on utilizing the example of the Antioch Chris­tians by gathering funds from other Gentile churches for the relief of the Christians in Judea. It is likely that he broached the proposal first at Corinth where it was taken up with great zeal. (2 Corinthians 9:1-2; 2 Corinthians 8:10). He then laid the matter before Macedonia and Achaia (Romans 15:26), and the churches of Galatia. The great object in view, over and above the tempo­ral relief which the contribution would give, being to soften the prejudices of the Jewish Christians against their Gentile brethren.

for the saints,—The saints were the poor Christians in Judea. (Romans 15:26). This would remind the Corinthians that, in giving, it was to the Lord’s people, their own brethren in the Lord.

as I gave order to the churches of Galatia, so also do ye.—This no doubt points to the detailed and explicit character of the directions given to the churches of Galatia as to the man­ner of raising the contribution. And the order is pointed out in the following verse. This order seems to have been universal.

Verses 1-4

1Co 16:1-4


1 Corinthians 16:1-4

1 Corinthians 16:1-4 This section concerns itself with the collection for the poor saints in Jerusalem (v. 4; Romans 15:26), but it also contains some principles that govern giving. Giving is, without question, a divine requirement. One could sincerely study the Scriptures long without coming to this conclusion. Jesus, the Master of our life and substance, taught it by both word and example (Acts 20:35). Giving is a requirement of every Christian (2 Corinthians 9:6); it is to be done both cheerfully and bountifully (2 Corinthians 9:6-7); it proves the sincerity of one’s love (2 Corinthians 8:8); it is to be done on the basis of equality (2 Corinthians 8:12); the amount is to be determined by one’s prosperity (v. 2); each is to purpose the amount to be given in his own heart (2 Corinthians 9:7); and its purpose is to provide for the needs of the destitute (1 Corinthians 16:2; 2 Corinthians 8:13-15; Ephesians 4:28) and aid in preaching the gospel to the whole world (Galatians 6:6). When each Christian con­ tributes into a common treasury, which is under the oversight of the church, then each is equally related to the work that is done from that treasury. The work done is a joint action. Hence all have fellowship in it. This makes giving one of the Christian’s highest privileges, one in which he helps himself (to become more unselfish), helps others, participates in the Lord’s work, and the Lord. It is no wonder the Lord said, "It is more blessed to give than to receive" (Acts 20:35).

1 Corinthians 16:1 Now concerning--With regards to (Moffett). This seems to intro­ duce another subject upon which they had submitted a question. the collec­tion--The contribution (RSV). The Greek word, appearing only here in the NT, was used for the collecting of money, usually for the gods or religious causes. for the saints, - Poor Christians at Jerusalem (1 Corinthians 16:4; Romans 15:16). The cause of their poverty is beyond our present knowledge, but had probably resulted from a famine or persecution or both. as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, As he had commanded or appointed for the Galatian churches. Since they are not found in his epistle to the Galatians, it is not known when Paul gave these instructions. The word from which order is translated appears 15 other times in the NT and is rendered command seven times (Matthew 11:1; Luke 8:55; Luke 17:9-10; Acts 18:2; Acts 23:31; Acts 24:23), appoint four times (Luke 3:13; Acts 7:44; Acts 20:13; Titus 1:5), set in order one time (1 Corinthians 11:34), and ordain three times (1 Corinthians 7:17; 1 Corinthians 9:14; Galatians 3:19). Thus the force of the word is that of a command to be obeyed or directions to be followed. The order he had given is stated in v. 2. even so do yeo That which was ordained for the churches of Galatia is now enjoined on them. That is, they were to do as the churches of Galatia were told to do.

1 Corinthians 16:2 Upon the first day of the week On the first day of every week (RSV, NIV, NASV, Goodspeed, and others). That is, on every Sunday, the day appointed for Christians to assemble themselves together for worship. The NT attaches a great deal of significance to the first day of the week, significance that does not pertain to other days. It was the resurrection day (Matthew 28:1), the day the HS descended on the apostles and the church began (Acts 2), the day the early church assembled, took the Lord’s Supper, and engaged in the other divinely appointed acts of worship (Acts 20:7), and the day the apostle John called the Lord’s day (Revelation 1:10). Since the Lord’s people met on the Lord’s day to take the Lord’s Supper, it was logical that while they were gathered together to remember the suffering of Christ for their sins, His glorious resurrection for their justification, and His promise to come again to receive them unto Himself they should express their love to Him by making a sacrifice of material things. When the Scriptural significance of the first day of the week is understood, it makes giving far more meaningful; separated from the first day of the week, much of its significance is lost. By giving on the Lord’s day, Christians are constantly reminded that their giving is to the Lord. let everyone of you ­ Each one of you (NIV). His order was not confined to the rich alone, but to every Christian. All could have blessed fellowship in the work done when all made a contribution. lay by him in store, Lay by in a common treasury, one to which every Christian contributed. Many interpret this to mean to put something aside from his income at home, meaning nothing more than a personal fund from which he could draw when a need arose. But this view does not take into account the impact of the whole statement. Paul’s instructions pertain to a regular contribution laid by in such a manner so that a hurried collection would not be necessary when he came. If it had been stored by each at home, rather than in a common treasury, a collection would still be mandatory. Hodge says, "The words do not mean to lay by at home, but to lay by himself ... i.e., let him take by himself what he means to give." MacKnight adds, "The apos­tle’s meaning that every first day of the week each of the Corinthians was to separate, from the gains of the preceding week, such a sum as he could spare, and put it into the treasury.” In view of this, I think there can be no question but that the contribution was made by each Christian into a common treasury which was under the oversight and control of the church. As God hath prospered him,—In proportion to his prosperity, that every first day of the week each of the Corinthians was to give “According as he puroseth in his heart” (2 Corinthians 9:7). was bound (Leviticus 27:30; Deuteronomy 12:6; Deuteronomy 14:22), but no such stipulations are found in the NT. The instruction is give as prospered and as purposed places the responsibility for determining the amount (the percentage) squarely upon the individual. He must make this determination, not by a command that specifies the exact percentage, but by adhering to certain Biblical principles, such as the fellowship of ministering (2 Corinthians 8:4), the sincerity of love (2 Corinthians 8:8), sowing and reaping (2 Corinthians 9:6), etc. In Christianity the attitude of the heart, from which the gift must come, is the deter­ mining factor. that there be no gatherings - No collecting. when I come. The collection was to be made before his arrival. In fact, the purpose of laying by in store on the first day of the week was to have it ready for him when he came. When each Christian contributes weekly to the common treasury, the church has on hand the means to carry on the Lord’s work without the frustration and confusion often caused by going from person to person and place to place to make an appeal for the needed resources. The weekly contribution into a common treasury simplifies the whole procedure. And besides that, it is God’s order.

1 Corinthians 16:3 And when I come-- He had plans to go to Corinth, but he would remain at Ephesus at least until Pentecost (1 Corinthians 16:5-9). whomsoever ye shall approve by your letters, them will I send to bring your liberality unto Jerusalem. Whomsoever ye shall approve, them will I send with let­ ters to carry your bounty unto Jerusalem (ASV). Paul himself was not to receive the collection. They were to choose their own messenger to carry their gift. Paul’s role was to see that the messengers were received by the brethren in Jerusalem. Here we must make a choice between the KJV and the ASV. Were they to approve messengers by their letters, as in the KJV, or were they to approve the messengers and Paul send letters of introduction with them to Jerusalem, as in the ASV? The latter is far more likely. The church was to select those who would carry the contribution to Jerusalem and Paul would either send letters of introduction with them or, if circumstance permitted, accompany them on their journey (v. 4). Messengers from other areas are men­tioned in Acts 20:4, some of all of whom were probably approved by Corinth.

1 Corinthians 16:4 And if it be meet that I go also,-- And if it seems proper for me to go too (Williams). If the church thought it advisable, and if circumstance per­ mitted, Paul himself would go. they shall go with me. - They will accompany me (NIV). As it turned out, Paul did go (Acts 24:17).

Verse 2

1Co 16:2

1 Corinthians 16:2

Upon the first day of the weekUnto the apostles and early disciples the first day of the week was very significant and important. Christ was raised from the dead on the first day of the week. He met with his disciples on three succeed­ing first days of the week after his resurrection, and there is no evidence that he met with them at any other time. The Holy Spirit descended on Pentecost, the first day of the week, The disciples met together on the first day of the week, under apostolic teaching, “to break bread.” (Acts 20:7). Paul said: “Not forsaking our own assembling together, as the cus­tom of some is.” (Hebrews 10:25). That the assembly on the first day of the week was to engage in “the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of bread and the prayers” (Acts 2:42), is clearly set forth. It is the only regular service for which there is precept or example in the New Testament.

let each one of you lay by him in store,—On the first day of the week, each should separate or lay by itself something, casting it into the treasury. Some contend that the storing was to be at home, but that would be incompatible with the idea “that no collections be made when I come,” for if stored at home, it would have to be gathered when he came. It was to be separated at home from the amount not given, then cast into the treasury. [The collection was directed to be made weekly, because it is easier to contribute in small amounts than all at once; and on the Lord’s day when the thought of the Lord’s resurrection should touch every man’s heart to peculiar gratitude. Each one was to esteem it his duty and privilege to give to the Lord’s work. It was not to be confined to the rich only, but was the common duty of all.]

as he may prosper,—[The amount is to be fixed by each one in proportion to his weekly gains, remembering that “he that soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he that sow­eth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Let each man do according as he hath purposed in his heart: not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.” (2 Corinthians 9:6-7). The words do not imply that only in case of exceptional prosperity was a man to contribute, but every one was to give out of whatever fruits he had from his labors.]

that no collections be made when I come.—[The object of this measure is that the collection may be ready when Paul comes, and that there may be nothing to do except to lift it, which will be done quickly and easily, and will give an am­pler sum than if the gift were all bestowed at one time.]

Verse 3

1Co 16:3

1 Corinthians 16:3

And when I arrive, whomsoever ye shall approve, them will I send with letters to carry your bounty unto Jerusalem:—Paul was not to receive the money himself. It was to be given to men selected and approved by the church, whom Paul would send, furnished with letters from himself, to the church in Jerusalem. There were no facilities for commercial exchange, the money was bulky and heavy, and a company would be a protection against robbers. So a number was se­lected to carry this fund to Jerusalem. A list of those who accompanied Paul to Jerusalem is given in Acts 20:4. He went through Asia where it is likely that this number was in­creased, as there were contributions from Asia for the same purpose and some brethren from Asia were with him after he reached Jerusalem.

[If Paul deemed it wise to place himself above suspicion, and to avoid giving even the most malicious the opportunity of calling his integrity and honesty in question, as is inti­mated here, and expressly stated in 2 Corinthians 8:19-21, it must be wise for other men to act with equal caution. If called upon to disburse the money of others, or of the church, let that money, if possible, be disbursed in cooperation with others, that they may know that it is handled honestly and used as directed.]

Verse 4

1Co 16:4

1 Corinthians 16:4

and if it be meet for me to go also, they shall go with me.—He wrote the church that, if it was best, he would accom­pany their messengers. This was to be determined after he reached Corinth and consulted with them. He went, and it was his last trip to Jerusalem. In his defense before Felix, he said: “Now after some years I came to bring alms to my na­tion, and offerings.” (Acts 24:17).

Verse 5

1Co 16:5

1 Corinthians 16:5

But I will come unto you, when I shall have passed through Macedonia; for I pass through Macedonia;—His pre­vious intention was to go direct to Corinth (2 Corinthians 1:15-16), and proceed from there to Macedonia, then return from Mace­donia to Corinth, and thence on to Jerusalem. This plan, however, he had altered. (2 Corinthians 1:15; 2 Corinthians 1:23). [He now in­tends to journey first through Macedonia and then to Corinth. In the Second Epistle we see him actually engaged on this journey in Macedonia (1 Corinthians 2:13; 1 Corinthians 8:1; 1 Corinthians 9:2-4); and upon the way to Corinth (1 Corinthians 2:1; 1 Corinthians 12:14; 1 Corinthians 13:1). The account given in Acts 20:1-2 agrees with this. This change was made in order to spare them. (2 Corinthians 1:23). He wishes to give them time, while he would be in Macedonia, to heal their divisions, to de­liver to Satan the incestuous man, and amend their conduct in the assemblies of the church.]

Verses 5-9

1Co 16:5-9


1 Corinthians 16:5-9

1 Corinthians 16:5 Now I will come unto you, when I shall pass through Mace­donia:--He had originally planned to go from Ephesus through Corinth, on to Macedonia, and then back to Corinth (2 Corinthians 1:15-16), but he had, in order to spare them, changed his plans and now meant to go to Macedonia first and then back to Corinth (2 Corinthians 1:23-24). It was 110t his desire to go until they had time, after receiving this epistle, to set their house in order (2 Corinthians 2:1). for I do pass through Macedonia. - For I will be going through Macedonia (NIV). They could therefore expect him sometime before winter (v. 6).

1 Corinthians 16:6 And it may be that I will abide, yea, and winter with you,--When he came to them from Macedonia (v. 5) he would pay them more than just a passing visit. He would spend some time with them and it might work out so that he could spend the whole winter. From Acts 20:2-3 we learn that after leaving Macedonia he came into Greece (undoubtedly Corinth) where he spent three months. that ye may bring me on my journey whithersoever I go. - It is difficult to decide which of two possible meanings should be understood here: (1) So that they might go a short distance with him and thus send him off with their approval and moral support, as in Acts 20:38; or (2) that they might supply his needs for the journey, either by means of traveling companions, arrangements for the travel, or financial support. The latter seems more likely to me.

1 Corinthians 16:7 For I will not see you now by the way; It was not his desire just to pay them a passing visit on his way to Macedonia, as originally planned (1 Corinthians 16:5; 2 Corinthians 1:15-16). Thus he would go to Macedonia first, and then he could come to Corinth for possibly a more extended stay (1 Corinthians 16:6). After hearing of the disorder in Corinth he evidently decided that a short visit would furnish inadequate time to correct all the problems among them (2 Corinthians 1:23). Thus he wrote this epistle instead of making them a passing visit. His trip into Macedonia would give them time to digest the epistle and correct the problems. It would also enable Paul to determine their attitude toward his stern rebukes and sting­ ing corrections. From 2 Corinthians 1 we learn that he was overjoyed when he learned that they had humbly accepted his words and had corrected the disorders by repentance. He could then visit them with joy rather than in heaviness (2 Corinthians 2:1). but I trust to tarry a while with you, I hope to spend some time with you (NIV). See v. 6. if the Lord permit. His whole schedule, indeed his whole life, was at the Lord’s disposal (cf. Acts 16:6-10). See note on 1 Corinthians 4:19.

1 Corinthians 16:8 But I will tarry at Ephesus until Pentecost.--He would be staying on at Ephesus, where he had opening to him some great opportunities (1 Corinthians 16:9) and from which he is writing this letter, until Pentecost (corresponding to our late May and early June), the annual feast of the Jews which fell on the 50th day after the Passover. Thus it is spring in Ephesus, he plans to spend the summer months in Macedonia, and then will be in Corinth in the fall and perhaps spend the winter there (the next spring will find him in Jerusalem, Acts 20-21). By mentioning Pentecost, he does not mean to attach religious significance to it, but rather it is a vehicle to mark time, as we would say, "I will remain here until the middle of June."

1 Corinthians 16:9 For a great door and effectual is opened unto me,--For a door for effective work has opened to me (RSV). Precisely what that door was we are not informed, but it presented him with a great opportunity to effectively do his work of reaching the lost with the saving truth of the gospel (Acts 19:10; Acts 19:26-27). and there are many adversaries. - Many opposers of the work (2 Corinthians 1:8-11). No opportunity to effective work has ever presented itself but that there were many obstacles in the way. Obstacles may defeat or challenge, depending on which one of two attitudes one may take toward them: (1) He may see them as the cause of defeat, a sufficient reason for not taking ad­ vantage of the opportunity. He thinks the work cannot be done because the obstacles obstruct the way. (2) He may see them as part of the reason for taking advantage of the opened door a challenge to defeat the adversary by doing the work. Many of us have the former attitude; Paul had the latter. There were thus two reason for him to stay in Ephesus: (1) there were many opportunities for effective work; and (2) there were many adversaries to battle. Both were a challenge to him. He would run from neither.

Verse 6

1Co 16:6

1 Corinthians 16:6

but with you it may be that I shall abide, or even winter, He expresses the probability of remaining with them through the winter. From Acts 20:2-3 we learn that he came into Greece (Corinth), and abode there three months, [which were winter months. The summer months of that year he had spent in Macedonia, and he “was hastening, if it were possible for him, to be at Jerusalem the day of Pentecost” (Acts 20:16); but as the Aegean Sea was not favorable for navigation till spring, he spent the intervening winter at Cor­inth.]

that ye may set me forward on my journeyWhether this means help forward with money, conveyance, or merely en­courage him with their company, is not certain. [This accom­panying forward the teachers of the gospel was an established custom in the early days of the church. (Acts 15:3; Acts 20:38; Acts 21:5; Romans 15:24; 2 Corinthians 1:16; Titus 3:13; 3 John 1:6).]

whithersoever I go.—[Paul well knew that some uncer­tainty must attach to his plans. As it was, he had to change his plans at the last moment. His intention was to sail from Corinth, but, owing to a plot to assassinate him, he changed his plan and went the overland route through Macedonia. (Acts 20:3).]

Verse 7

1Co 16:7

1 Corinthians 16:7

For I do not wish to see you now by the way;—He did not expect to see them on his trip to Macedonia, but would see them as he returned. [It seems that the information which Paul received in Ephesus concerning the disorders in the Corinthian church caused him to write this letter, instead of making them a passing visit, and to defer his visit for some months in order that this letter might have time to produce its effect. The same reason caused him, when he did go to Cor­inth, to remain there some time, that he might correct the abuses which had sprung up in his absence. The Second Epis­tle shows how anxious he was about the effects of this letter, and how overjoyed he was when Titus brought him word that it had brought them to repentance.]

for I hope to tarry a while with you,—[As things were be­tween them and him time was necessary to make everything clear, and consequently he defers his future visit until he shall be able to prolong the visit as much as necessary.]

if the Lord permit.— [Paul regarded the entering on a jour­ney as dependent on the will of the Lord, and felt that he had all in his hands. Christians ought to follow up all their plans and deliberations with this thought in mind; for it is rashness to undertake and determine things of the future while we have not even a moment in our power. The main thing in­deed is that, in the affection of the heart, we submit to the Lord and his providence in everything that we undertake and resolve upon—that whenever we have to do with what is fu­ture we should make everything dependent upon the divine will.]

Verse 8

1Co 16:8

1 Corinthians 16:8

But I will tarry at Ephesus until Pentecost;—This was be­fore the Pentecost in the year preceding his last journey to Je­rusalem. Pentecost was fifty days after the Passover. The Passover of the next year, he was in Jerusalem. This letter was written between the Passover and Pentecost the year pre­vious to this last trip to Jerusalem.

Verse 9

1Co 16:9

1 Corinthians 16:9

for a great door and effectual is opened unto me,—The reason given for remaining was that there was a good opening for preaching the gospel, and many ready to hear and obey. [The metaphor of an open door to represent the access of the preacher to the hearts of the people was a favorite with Paul. When he and Barnabas returned to Antioch from the first mission ever sent to the heathen world, “they rehearsed all things that God had done with them, and that he had opened a door of faith unto the Gentiles” (Acts 14:27); reporting the favorable outlook at Troas, he said: “When I came to Troas for the gospel of Christ, and when a door was opened unto me in the Lord, I had no relief for my spirit” (2 Corinthians 2:12-13); unto the Colossians he said “Continue steadfastly in prayer, watching therein with thanksgiving; withal praying for us also, that God may open unto us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds” (Colossians 4:2-3); and of the Thessalonians he requested: “Finally, breth­ren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may run and be glorified” (2 Thessalonians 3:1). The account of the great and ef­fectual opening for the gospel, and the virulence of the adver­saries, is given in Acts 19:8-20.]

and there are many adversaries.—It was necessary for him to stay and refute them. The much opposition made him leave a place when none would obey; but when many obeyed, it was needful that he should stay and reap the harvest and meet the adversaries. [But Satan would not suffer the great success of the gospel without great opposition. There was no small stir which ended in the dangerous riot in the theatre, and Paul’s departure to Macedonia.]

Verse 10

1Co 16:10

1 Corinthians 16:10

Now if Timothy come,—[We learn from Acts 19:22 that Paul had dispatched Timothy, accompanied by Erastus, to Macedonia, and desired him to continue his journey to Cor­inth; but as his time was limited, he did not feel sure that he would reach there. His route took him through the churches which he had assisted in founding. It is probable that, after accomplishing the special work assigned to him, he was inter­cepted by Titus who prevented his reaching Corinth, and this seems to have happened, for Titus and Timothy returning, met Paul, possibly at Thessalonica where Paul wrote the Sec­ond Epistle to the Corinthians, and join him in the greeting to the church; but only Titus is spoken of as having brought any report from Corinth. (2 Corinthians 7:6-7; 2 Corinthians 7:13).]

see that he be with you without fear;—Timothy was young and an ardent friend of Paul, who had some strong enemies in Corinth. These were liable to mistreat Timothy.

for he worketh the work of the Lord, as I also do:—If they put difficulties in Timothy’s way, they will be hindering the work which God has given Paul to do. (1 Corinthians 4:17; Philemon 1:19-21).]

Verses 10-12

1Co 16:10-12


1 Corinthians 16:10-12

1 Corinthians 16:10 Now if Timotheus come, Now if Timothy comes (ASV). Paul expected this letter to be in their hands before Timothy arrived. From Acts 19:22 we learn that Paul had sent Timothy into Macedonia, undoubtedly with plans to go on to Corinth from there (1 Corinthians 4:17), but since he was with Paul when he wrote the second epistle (2 Corinthians 1:1) it would appear that there had been a change in his plans (he may have met Titus somewhere along the way, 2 Corinthians 7:6-13, and decided that since the problems had been corrected his going was unnecessary). see that he may be with you without fear: - Timothy evidently feared rejection, probably because of his youth (v. 11), Thus Paul ex­ horts them to relieve his fears by a hearty reception and to put him at ease among them by respecting him for what he was. for he worketh the work of the Lord, - He was a faithful servant with Paul in preaching the gospel and in caring for the saints (Philippians 2:19-23). as I also do. Just as I am (NIV). In the Lord’s work, Paul and Timothy were of the same mind (Philippians 2:20). No higher commendation than this could be given.

1 Corinthians 16:11 Let no man therefore despise him: - Because he was a faithful co-worker with Paul (v. 10), he should not be rejected, slighted, refused, or treated with contempt by anyone. This expression reminds us of 1 Timothy 4:12 and thus leads me to think that these instructions were given to prevent the Corinthians, some of whom prided themselves on their wisdom, from rejecting Timothy because of his youth and inexperience, but conduct him forth in peace, - Send him off in a cordial way. See note on v. 6. that he may come unto me: for I look for him - The plans called for Timothy to return to Paul after he had visited Corinth. As noted in v. 10, he probably returned before the visit was made, but of this we cannot be certain. with the brethren. ­ Just who they were, I know of no means of knowing, but probably Titus and those who delivered the letter (v. 12) are included.

1 Corinthians 16:12 As touching-- This may indicate that they had requested Apollos to come. our brother Apollos, - He was a favorite among some of the Cor­inthians (1 Corinthians 1:12; 1 Corinthians 3:4-6; 1 Corinthians 4:6) and would certainly not have had the reception problem which Timothy feared (v. 10). I greatly desired him to come unto you - Paul had often and strongly urged Apollos to come. with the brethren: - Probably those who carried the epistle. but his will was not at all to come at this time; - He had a will of his own as to what God would then have him to do. but he will come when he shall have convenient time.--He planned to come when the opportunity presented itself.

Verse 11

1Co 16:11

1 Corinthians 16:11

let no man therefore despise him.—Paul exhorted Timothy to “let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an ensample to them that believe, in word, in manner of life, in love, in faith, in purity.” (1 Timothy 4:12). The admonition here is that the Corinthians should not despise him or lightly esteem him on account of his youth, or hinder his work.

But set him forward on his journey in peace, that he may come unto me:—Set him on his way with every mark of re­spect, and with whatever he needs.

for I expect him with the brethren.—[Erastus is mentioned by Luke as being with Timothy (Acts 19:22); but this by no means excludes the possibility of others having gone with them, or of expecting that Timothy be joined by Titus and others on his return fulfilling his mission.]

Verse 12

1Co 16:12

1 Corinthians 16:12

But as touching Apollos the brother,—Apollos is pre­sented to us at Ephesus as a man, mighty in the Old Testa­ment Scriptures, knowing only John’s baptism, whom Priscilla and Aquila took to themselves, “and expounded unto him the way of God more accurately. And when he was minded to pass over into Achaia, the brethren encouraged him, and wrote to the disciples to receive him: and when he was come, he helped them much that had believed through grace; for he powerfully confuted the Jews, and that publicly, showing by the scriptures that Jesus was the Christ.” (Acts 18:24-28). One of the parties at Corinth claimed him as their leader. For this and some other reasons, it has been claimed that he was the opponent of Paul at Corinth mentioned in this letter. (1 Corinthians 1:12; 1 Corinthians 3:4-6).

I besought him much to come unto you with the brethren: Paul besought Apollos to go to Corinth to use his influence to correct the evils at work there, and this shows the close re­lation that existed between them and the unreasonableness of regarding them as representatives of rival parties.

and it was not at all his will to come now; but he will come when he shall have opportunity.—He declined going at that time, but promised that he would go at a convenient time. Paul always spoke of Apollos with brotherly love. There was no conflict between them.

Verse 13

1Co 16:13

1 Corinthians 16:13

Watch ye,—Be watchful and careful in deportment. [They were to watch or be vigilant, against the evils of which they had been admonished—of dissensions, of erroneous teaching, and of disorders. They were to watch lest their souls should be ruined, and their salvation endangered; lest the enemy of the truth and of holiness should steal silently upon them, and surprise them.]

stand fast in the faith,—[“The faith” is a synonym for the gospel. They were to surrender themselves in mind and heart in obedience to the gospel, and abide in it in their daily life. So many are the impulses within, so many are the forces with­out, opposing the work, that nothing but an invincible deter­mination could carry them through. They must be strong enough to bend and subordinate everything to the fruit. Paul said; “One thing I do, forgetting the things which are behind, and stretching forward to the things which are before, I press on toward the goal unto the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Let us, therefore, as many as are perfect, be thus minded:... only, whereunto we have attained, by that same rule let us walk.” (Philippians 3:13-16).]

quit you like men,—Discharge the duties like true men. [Be not cowards, or timid, or alarmed at enemies, but be bold and brave.]

be strong.—Trust God, and go forth doing his will, and his strength will be with you.

Verses 13-14

1Co 16:13-14


1 Corinthians 16:13-14

1 Corinthians 16:13 Watch ye, --Keep awake or constantly alert (1 Thessalonians 5:6; 1 Peter 5:8; Revelation 3:2), the opposite of sleeping on the job. There were many dangers around them and they should never be caught off guard by temptation (10:13; Mark 14:28), false teachers (Matthew 7:15), worldly possessions (1 Timothy 6:6-11), or any other device of Satan (2 Corinthians 2:11). But not only were they to guard against evil, they should also watch for the Lord’s second coming (Matthew 25:13). stand fast in the faith, ­ Stand firm in the gospel (Judges 1:3; 2 Timothy 1:14), that is, objective faith. Some however (e.g., RSV, Goodspeed, Williams) translate faith as subjective. While either makes good sense, the former is far more likely since the thrust of Paul’s thought is that they stand firm for the truth in the presence of false doctrines, such as the denial of the resurrection (15). quit you like men, - Act like men, that is, conduct yourselves in a bold and courageous manner. Do not give up when the bat­ tle is fierce. In short, your conduct should be that of brave men rather than coward­ ly children. be strong. - Grow in strength, be stedfast (1 Corinthians 15:58; Ephesians 6:10-17).

1 Corinthians 16:14 Let all your things be done with charity.-- Let all that you do be done in love (ASV). All the affairs of life, whether in matters of faith or mat­ ters indifferent, whether in worship, in the home, at work, or in recreation, should be transacted by the principle of love (1 Peter 4:8). See chapter 13.

Verse 14

1Co 16:14

1 Corinthians 16:14

Let all that ye do be done in love.—All their affairs were to be conducted in a spirit of love to God and man.

Verse 15

1Co 16:15

1 Corinthians 16:15

Now I beseech you, brethren (ye know the house of Stephanas, that it is the firstfruitsThe house of Stephanas was among the first who became Christians in Achaia. They were among the few baptized by the hands of Paul, probably before Silas and Timothy reached Corinth.

of Achaia,—[Originally Achaia was a state of Greece situ­ated in the northern part of the Peloponnesus, and compre­hended Corinth and its isthmus. After Greece had been con­quered by the Romans, the emperor Augustus Caesar divided the country, with the adjacent regions into two regions, Mace­donia and Achaia. The latter comprehended the whole of the Peloponnesus, with continental Greece south of Illyricum, Epirus, and Thessaly. Corinth was the capital, and was the residence of the proconsul by whom the province was ruled. It is in the second or comprehensive sense that the word Achaia is used in the New Testament. (Acts 18:12; Acts 18:27; Acts 19:21; Romans 15:26; 2 Corinthians 1:1; 2 Corinthians 9:2; 1 Thessalonians 1:7-8).]

and that they have set themselves to minister unto the saints),—They gave themselves to ministering to the poor, af­flicted saints, and helping those who preached the gospel.

Verses 15-18

1Co 16:15-18



1 Corinthians 16:15-18

1 Corinthians 16:15 I beseech you, brethren,-- An urgent appeal to them as brothers in Christ to submit themselves to all who labor with him (1 Corinthians 16:16). (ye know the house of Stephanas, - See 1 Corinthians 1:16. that it is the firstfruits of Achaia, ­ The first to be converted to Christ in Achaia. There is no conflict here with Romans 16:5. The true reading there is undoubtedly Asia, as in ASV, rather than Achaia, as in KJV. and that they have addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints,) - And that they have set themselves to minister unto the saints (ASV). They had devoted their lives to hospitality, to supplying the needs of God’s people. This was their work in the Lord’s service. It is not possible for everyone to do everything the Lord wants done. He thus sets some in the body for one purpose and some for another (1 Corinthians 12:12-27). Paul was devoted to preaching ... and that where Christ had not been named (Romans 15:20). But he did not expect everyone to set himself to that particular phase of the work. The family of Stephanas had devoted itself to ministering to the saints. That is, each member was engaged in that particular aspect of the work. From this we should learn that God has work for every Christian and He had prepared every Christian for a work. Each then should find his work, accept the responsibility for it, and devote himself to doing it.

1 Corinthians 16:16 That ye submit yourselves unto such,-- You should yield obe­ dience to their kind (BV). He exhorts them (v. 15) to respect, honor, support, and put yourselves under (that is, obey. d. Hebrews 13:7; Hebrews 13:17; Ephesians 5:21) such men of integrity as Stephanas who were older in the faith and who were devoted to the service of the saints. and to everyone that helpeth with us, - And under anyone who joins with you (Goodspeed). That is, submit to every fellow helper who by his work proves himself faithful and trustworthy. and laboureth. - One who works hard or toils to the point of exhaustion.

1 Corinthians 16:17 I am glad of the coming of Stephanas and Fortunatus and Achaicus: - All three were evidently messengers of the church to Paul and probably carried the letter to him which contained the questions he replies to throughout the epistle (1 Corinthians 7:1). Of Fortunatus and Achaicus nothing more is known from the inspired record. for that which was lacking on your part they have supplied. - For they have supplied your deficiency (MacKnight). Many translators (e.g., RSV, BV, Beck, Goodspeed) and commentators (e.g., Willis, Hodge, Coffman) see this deficiency as the absence of the Corinthians themselves. Hence these men had filled his longing for fellowship with them. And this may well be the case but I am inclined to think that it was either the encouragement they gave him by their being true to the gospel which he preached (a thing of which he could not be sure of the Corinthians as a whole) or, since Stephanas was probably rather wealthy, to supply his financial needs, a thing the Corinthians had never done (1 Corinthians 9:15). At any rate, their coming had been a soothing tonic to Paul’s spirit (1 Corinthians 16:18).

1 Corinthians 16:18 For they have refreshed my spirit-- By supplying Paul with that which was lacking on the part of the Corinthians (see 1 Corinthians 16:17), the messengers had encouraged him and cheered his heart. and your’s: He probably has in view the cheer they would bring the Corinthians when they ar­ rived with this epistle and gave a personal report of their visit with Paul and the assurance of his love for them. But regardless of how it is viewed, the messengers brought benefit and refreshment to the spirits of both Paul and the Corinthians. therefore acknowledge ye them that are such. You must deeply appreciate such men (Williams). That is, they should dually respect them and recognize them for what they were.

Verse 16

1Co 16:16

1 Corinthians 16:16

that ye also be in subjection unto such,—The church should pay deference to such as were the oldest of the mem­bers and who gave themselves to the service of the Lord as well as to all who were helpers and laborers with the apostles.

and to every one that helpeth in the work and laboreth.— Experience and association with the apostles made them able to advise wisely. [To every faithful toiler for Christ the Christian should give earnest and hearty support.]

Verse 17

1Co 16:17

1 Corinthians 16:17

And I rejoice at the coming of Stephanas and Fortunatus and Achaicus:—Of Fortunatus and Achaicus nothing is known further than that which is here given.

for that which was lacking on your part they supplied.— The deficiency felt by Paul from the absence of the Corin­thians, and the impossibility of communicating directly with them, had been supplied by their messengers, because it seemed to him as if in these three men he had the whole church with him.

Verse 18

1Co 16:18

1 Corinthians 16:18

For they refreshed my spiritThey had refreshed him by the help rendered. [They had dispelled the uneasiness which filled Paul’s heart in regard to them, by telling him of the church, and perhaps, by showing him many things in a less distressing light than he had supposed, they had given him real comfort.]

and yours:—The information carried back to Corinth was encouraging to the church, for it would be a great comfort to them to learn what a comfort their messengers had been to Paul.

acknowledge ye therefore them that are such.—They should acknowledge and show the regard due them for their valuable work.

Verse 19

1Co 16:19

1 Corinthians 16:19

The churches of Asia salute you.—The Roman province of Asia embraced Mysia, Lydia, Phrygia, and Caria, with Ephesus as its capital. In the New Testament, Asia always de­notes the Roman province. To salute any one in the Lord is to salute him as a Christian. The salutations were, “God be with and bless you.” It seems that the writing of this letter was discussed in his meeting with the churches wherever he was and they desired that their greetings should be sent to the Corinthian church.

Aquila and Prisca salute you much in the Lord,—Aquila and Prisca were born in Pontus, lived in Rome for a time, but were compelled to leave that city when Emperor Claudius commanded all its Jewish inhabitants to depart. He removed to Corinth, where he worked at his craft of tent-making. Paul, who was of the same occupation, lodged with them, and formed strong attachments to them. They were his fellow passengers from Corinth as far as Ephesus, on his way to Syria. At Ephesus they met Apollos, “and expounded unto him the way of God more accurately.” (Acts 18:1-4; Acts 18:18-19; Acts 18:26). Now they have a church meeting in their house. Soon after this they are in Rome again where they also have a church in their house. Paul calls them his “fellow-workers in Christ Jesus, who for my life laid down their own necks; unto whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles.” (Romans 16:3-5). They had rendered great service in spreading the gospel among the Gentiles.

with the church that is in their house.—They, as old labor­ers at Corinth, with the church in their house, join in sending salutations of love to the Corinthian brethren.

Verses 19-20

1Co 16:19-20


1 Corinthians 16:19-20

1 Corinthians 16:19 The churches of Asia salute you.--The churches in the Roman province of Asia (ef. Revelation 1:4; Revelation 1:11), of which Ephesus was the capital, desired to send their greetings to the Corinthians through Paul. Aquila and Priscilla - Aquila and Prisca (ASY). See note on Romans 16:3. salute you much in the Lord,-- They sent their warm, hearty, and special greeting to them as Christians to Christians. Because they were in Corinth when Paul first arrived in that city (Acts 18:1-3), and because Paul, being of the same trade as they, lived with them while preaching the gospel and planting the church (1 Corinthians 3:6), they had a very special place in their hearts for the Corinthians. They had been involved with them in the struggle for truth and in their change from paganism to Christiani­ty. Because of their deep concern for them and the welfare of their faith, they were eager to add the weight of their names to that which Paul had written. with the church that is in their house. - The congregation which met in their home. See note on Romans 16:5.

1 Corinthians 16:20 All the brethren greet you. --Probably meaning all the Christians at Ephesus, including both the church and those who were in Paul’s company. Greet ye one another with an holy kiss. The customary manner of greeting among the early Christians (Romans 16:16; 2 Corinthians 13:12; 1 Thessalonians 5:26). See note on Romans 16:16.

Verse 20

1Co 16:20

1 Corinthians 16:20

All the brethren salute you.—All the Christians with whom Paul was connected in Ephesus. They felt deep inter­est in the Christians at Corinth, and sent to them Christian salutations.

Salute one another with a holy kiss.—Some regard this as ordaining a manner of salutation that was to be perpetual and universal among the disciples; but no ordinance of God was so treated. All the commands and ordinances were com­manded by Jesus Christ, repeated by the apostles, and re­corded in his life and teachings as part of his work; not left simply to the salutations and greetings at the close of the epistles to the churches. Take baptism: it was introduced by John, approved by Jesus during his personal ministry, com­manded in the commission (Matthew 28:19; Mark 16:16), and in the first sermon by the Holy Spirit on Pentecost, is con­stantly presented in Acts of Apostles, then through the epistles to the churches. Or, take the Lord’s Supper: it was solemnly instituted by Jesus, with the command to the disciples to do it in remembrance of him. Then the Holy Spirit pre­sents it (Acts 2:42); it is observed by the disciples, with apostolic approval (Acts 20:7); then it was commanded, in the main body of the epistles, to be observed by the disciples. On the other hand, Jesus did not practice or command kissing, so far as recorded. We have no example of the apostles prac­ticing it. It is mentioned only when the apostles were send­ing salutations to others, being thereby reminded of their method of salutation. If it was intended as an ordinance of God, I do not see why it was treated so differently from his other ordinances and commands.

Verse 21

1Co 16:21

1 Corinthians 16:21

The salutation of me Paul with mine own hand.—Some one wrote the body of the epistle for the apostle, but this closing salutation was done by his own hand, which was an en­dorsement of the epistle as his own.

Verses 21-24

1Co 16:21-24


1 Corinthians 16:21-24

1 Corinthians 16:21 The salutation of me Paul - The final greeting is mine (Wil­ liams). He concludes by sending them his personal greetings, but in a special way: with mine own hand. - He adds this greeting in his own handwriting, which serves as his signature to prove that it is from him. It is thus obvious that he dictated this letter to an amanuensis (some think Sosthenes, 1 Corinthians 1:1) who wrote it for him. It was his policy, probably to prevent forgery in his name ( 2 Thessalonians 2:2), to close each epistle with a sentence or two from his own hand (Romans 16:22; Galatians 6:11; Colossians 4:18; 2 Thessalonians 3:17).

1 Corinthians 16:22 If any man love not--The word for love here (phileo) is unusual for PauL He uses it only one other time (Titus 3:15) in all his writings. When distinguished from agapao, it means affections which have their seat in the emotions rather than the will. We are certainly to love (agapao) Christ with the will (John 14:15; John 14:23; Ephesians 6:24), love separate and apart from all personal attachments and conditions, but here Paul goes even further and says, because of what Christ has done for us, that we must also love Him emotionally. This means that we are to love Christ with both our mind and emotions, that is, love Him with our whole being (Matthew 22:35-40). the Lord Jesus Christ,--The Lord of glory, the Redeemer of the world. If Jesus is God manifest in the flesh (Matthew 1:23), if He died to save men from their sins (Romans 5:8-9), if He rose from the dead (1 Corinthians 15:20), if He gave the great commission and offered salvation to the whole world (Mark 16:15-16), if He ascended (Acts 1:9-11) and took His seat at the right hand of the Majesty on high (Hebrews 1:3), if God has exalted His name above every name (Philippians 2:5-11), if He is coming again to claim His own (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18), if He is now Lord of all (Acts 2:36), to fail to love Him (with both mind and emotion), to follow Him, to obey Him, would make one an enemy of God, a disgrace to himself, and well deserving of the awful curse that follows. let him be Anathema--Let him be accursed (RSV). Let him be under the strongest disfavor and judgment of God, without the benefit of redemption, and thus doomed to destruction (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9). This is the exact opposite of the state of grace (1 Corinthians 16:23) and thus a state in which the gospel (and consequently the death of Christ) is nullified (Galatians 1:8-9). As some author, unknown to me, has well said, "If anyone by profligacy, by contentiousness, by covetousness, by idolatry, by arrogance, by heresy, evinces an utter lack of love to the Lord Jesus, he must abide the consequences of his moral status: there is no outlook in the future for such a man, but the perdition from the presence of the Lord at His coming." Maranatha. - An Aramaic term meaning either the Lord has come or the Lord is coming. The latter is far more likely (supported by nearly all translations). Thus the Lord is coming to call into judgment all those who refuse His love and spurn His grace. This word should not be connected with Anathema as in the KJV. Robertson (WP) says, "It was a curious blunder in the King James Version that connected Maranatha with Anathema." ASV corrects this by putting a period after Anathema.

16:23 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.-- This, with only slight variations, is the blessing with which Paul usually concludes his epistles (e.g., Romans 16:20; 2 Corinthians 13:14; Galatians 6:18). His fervent desire was that, in sharp contrast to the Anathema of v. 22, the divine but unmerited favor of the Lord would continue with them. That is, he wanted them to be in a state of full possession of all spiritual blessings (Ephesians 1:3).

1 Corinthians 16:24 My love be with you all in Christ Jesus. - Even though he had been stern in dealing with their many errors, he closes by reminding them of his tender love for them. He had rebuked them, corrected them, shamed them, and exhorted them, but he had done it all in love. Amen. - So may it be - that is, may that which is written in this epistle stand confirmed. Omission by some manuscripts may indicate that this word was added by a later hand. If so, it loses its inspiration but still retains a wholesome sentiment.

Verse 22

1Co 16:22

1 Corinthians 16:22

If any man loveth not the Lord, let him be anathema.— The refusal to love Christ on the part of a professed Christian deserves anathema, “for this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments.” (1 John 5:3). [The word anathema solemnly pronounces that which the Lord at his coming will confirm and ratify. This sentence is a stern epitome of the whole epistle: If any one by profligacy, by contentiousness, by covetousness, by idolatry, by arrogance, by heresy, evinces an utter lack of the love of the Lord Jesus Christ, he must abide the consequences of his moral status—there is no outlook in the future for such a man, he “shall suffer punishment, even eternal destruction from the face of the Lord and from the glory of his might” (2 Thessalonians 1:9), hence the words that fol­low.]

Maranatha.—[This is an Aramaic expression on which scholars are not agreed as to whether it means “the Lord has come,” or “our Lord has come,” or “our Lord cometh,” or “our Lord, come.” With “our Lord cometh” compare James 5:8; Revelation 1:7; Revelation 3:11; and this agrees with the context and the substance of the epistle. If this be right, the saying is ad­monitory. It warns them that at any moment they may have to answer for their shortcomings. Why this warning is given in Aramaic rather than in Greek is unknown.]

Verse 23

1Co 16:23

1 Corinthians 16:23

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you.—[Paul calmly passes to the closing prayer that the grace of Christ should abide with them. The risen Christ is the source of all spiritual blessings. (2 Corinthians 12:9). The prayer is for the ever-abiding intercourse, which is the strongest possible con­trast to the utter rejection implied in the anathema, and the anticipation by faith of the coming of the Lord. It is the grace of Jesus Christ, inasmuch as the love of God becomes an actual gift to man through Christ.]

Verse 24

1Co 16:24

1 Corinthians 16:24

My love be with you all in Christ Jesus.—He assures them of the continuance of his love towards them. [Though he had much occasion to rebuke, and even threaten, he sends his love to all, even to those who caused division, who called themselves by the names of men, who had abetted the fornica­tor, and who had denied the resurrection. They had none of them sinned so far as to be out of reach of the love of God, and so he sends to them his love. His love would be the love of one who had them ever in his heart, his prayers, and his sympathy. This is a suitable conclusion to an epistle contain­ing so much reproof and ending with so tremendous a curse. For every word had been prompted by genuine love for every one of them. Thus Paul himself is an example of that which he prescribes for others (verse 14). His affection goes out after, and rests upon, and remains with, all of them. It is well to note that the epistle begins and ends with Jesus Christ.]

Amen.—[So be it, may it be as has been asked, said, prom­ised, or threatened. (Deuteronomy 27:15-26; 2 Corinthians 1:20). To render it more emphatic, it is sometimes repeated. (Numbers 5:22). Jesus begins many of his sayings with this word, which is then translated “verily.” This idiom is peculiar to him. The proper signification of it here is to confirm the words of this epistle and invoke the fulfillment of them.]

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on 1 Corinthians 16". "Old & New Testament Restoration Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/onr/1-corinthians-16.html.
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