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Bible Commentaries

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

1 Corinthians 16

Verse 1

Now concerning the collection for the saints (περ δε της λογιας της εις τους αγιους). Paul has discussed all the problems raised by the Corinthians. Now he has on his own heart the collection for the saints in Jerusalem (see chapters 1 Corinthians 16:2; 1 Corinthians 16:9). This word λογια (or -εια) is now known to be derived from a late verb λογευω, to collect, recently found in papyri and inscriptions (Deissmann, Bible Studies, p. 143). The word λογια is chiefly found in papyri, ostraca, and inscriptions that tell of religious collections for a god or a temple (Deissmann, Light from the Ancient East, p. 105). The introduction of this topic may seem sudden, but the Corinthians were behind with their part of it. They may even have asked further about it. Paul feels no conflict between discussion of the resurrection and the collection.

So also do ye (ουτως κα υμας ποιησατε). Paul had given orders (διεταξα) to the churches of Galatia and now gives them like commands. As a matter of fact, they had promised a long time before this (2 Corinthians 8:10; 2 Corinthians 9:1-5). Now do what you pledged.

Verse 2

Upon the first day of the week (κατα μιαν σαββατου). For the singular σαββατου (sabbath) for week see Luke 18:12; Mark 16:9. For the use of the cardinal μιαν in sense of ordinal πρωτην after Hebrew fashion in LXX (Robertson, Grammar, p. 672) as in Mark 16:2; Luke 24:1; Acts 20:7. Distributive use of κατα also.

Lay by him in store (παρ' εαυτω τιθετω θησαυριζων). By himself, in his home. Treasuring it (cf. Matthew 6:19. for θησαυριζω). Have the habit of doing it, τιθετω (present imperative).

As he may prosper (οτ εαν ευοδωτα). Old verb from ευ, well, and οδος, way or journey, to have a good journey, to prosper in general, common in LXX. In N.T. only here and Romans 1:10; 3 John 1:2. It is uncertain what form ευοδωτα is, present passive subjunctive, perfect passive indicative, or even perfect passive subjunctive (Moulton, Prolegomena, p. 54). The old MSS. had no accents. Some MSS. even have ευοδωθη (first aorist passive subjunctive). But the sense is not altered. Hοτ is accusative of general reference and εαν can occur either with the subjunctive or indicative. This rule for giving occurs also in 2 Corinthians 8:12. Paul wishes the collections to be made before he comes.

Verse 3

When I arrive (οταν παραγενωμα). Whenever I arrive, indefinite temporal conjunction οταν and second aorist middle subjunctive.

Whomsoever ye shall approve by letters (ους εαν δοκιμασητε δι' επιστολων). Indefinite relative with εαν and aorist subjunctive of δοκιμαζω (to test and so approve as in Philippians 1:10). "By letters" to make it formal and regular and Paul would approve their choice of messengers to go with him to Jerusalem (2 Corinthians 8:20). Curiously enough no names from Corinth occur in the list in Acts 20:4.

To carry (απενεγκειν). Second aorist active infinitive of αποφερω, to bear away.

Bounty (χαριν). Gift, grace, as in 2 Corinthians 8:4-7. As a matter of fact, the messengers of the churches (αποστολο εκκλησιων 2 Corinthians 8:23) went along with Paul to Jerusalem (Acts 20:4).

Verse 4

And if it be meet for me to go also (εαν δε αξιον η του καμε πορευεσθα). "If the collection be worthy of the going as to me also." Condition of third class (εαν--η) and the articular infinitive in the genitive (του) after αξιον. The accusative of general reference (καμε, me also) with the infinitive. So the awkward phrase clears up.

Verse 5

When I shall have passed through Macedonia (οταν Μακεδονιαν διελθω). "Whenever I pass through (second aorist active subjunctive of διερχομα) Macedonia" (see construction in verse 1 Corinthians 16:3).

I do pass through (διερχομα). I plan to pass through, futuristic use of present indicative.

Verse 6

It may be (τυχον). Neuter accusative of second aorist active participle of τυγχανω used as an adverb (in Plato and Xenophon, but nowhere else in N.T.).

Or even winter (η κα παραχειμασω). Future active of late verb παραχειμαζω (χειμων, winter). See on Acts 27:12; Acts 28:11; Titus 3:12. He did stay in Corinth for three months (Acts 20:3), probably the coming winter.

Whithersoever I go (ου εαν πορευωμα). Indefinite local clause with subjunctive. As a matter of fact, Paul had to flee from a conspiracy in Corinth (Acts 20:3).

Verse 7

Now by the way (αρτ εν παροδω). Like our "by the way" (παροδος), incidentally.

If the Lord permit (εαν ο Κυριος επιτρεψη). Condition of the third class. Paul did everything εν Κυριω (Cf. Acts 18:21).

Verse 8

Until Pentecost (εως της Πεντηκοστης). He writes them in the spring before pentecost. Apparently the uproar by Demetrius hurried Paul away from Ephesus (Acts 20:1).

Verse 9

For a great and effectual door is opened unto me (θυρα γαρ μο ανεωιγεν μεγαλη κα ενεργης). Second perfect active indicative of ανοιγω, to open. Intransitive, stands wide open at last after his years there (Acts 20:31). A wide open door. What does he mean by ενεργης? It is a late word in the Koine. In the papyri a medical receipt has it for "tolerably strong." The form ενεργος in the papyri is used of a mill "in working order," of "tilled land," and of "wrought iron." In the N.T. it occurs in Philemon 1:6; Hebrews 4:12 of "the word of God" as "ενεργης" (powerful). Paul means that he has at least a great opportunity for work in Ephesus.

And there are many adversaries (κα αντικειμενο πολλο). "And many are lying opposed to me," lined up against me. These Paul mentions as a reason for staying in, not for leaving, Ephesus. Read 1 Corinthians 16:19 and see the opposition from Jews and Gentiles with the explosion under the lead of Demetrius. And yet Paul suddenly leaves. He hints of much of which we should like to know more (1 Corinthians 15:32; 2 Corinthians 1:8).

Verse 10

That he be without fear (ινα αφοβως γενητα). Evidently he had reason to fear the treatment that Timothy might receive in Corinth as shown in 1 Corinthians 4:17-21.

Verse 11

For I expect him (εκδεχομα γαρ αυτον). Apparently later Timothy had to return to Ephesus without much success before Paul left and was sent on to Macedonia with Erastus (Acts 19:22) and Titus sent to Corinth whom Paul then arranged to meet in Troas (2 Corinthians 2:12).

Verse 12

And it was not at all his will to come now (κα παντως ουκ ην θελημα ινα νυν ελθη). Adversative use of κα = "but." Apollos had left Corinth in disgust over the strife there which involved him and Paul (1 Corinthians 16:1). He had had enough of partisan strife over preachers.

Verse 13

Watch ye (γρηγορειτε). Stay awake. Late present from εγρηγορα second perfect of εγειρω, to awake.

Quit you like men (ανδριζεσθε). Play the man. Middle voice, show yourselves men. From ανηρ, a man.

Verse 15

Ye know (οιδατε). Koine form for second perfect indicative used as present of οραω. Parenthetic clause through rest of the verse. Stephanas is mentioned also in 1 Corinthians 1:16 and in 1 Corinthians 16:17. For απαρχη see on 1 Corinthians 15:20; 1 Corinthians 15:23.

They have set themselves (εταξαν εαυτους). Remarkable statement worthy of attention today. This noble family appointed themselves to be ministers to the saints that needed it (the poor and needy). Personal work for Christ is still the only way to win the world for Christ, voluntary personal work. If all Christians did it!

Verse 16

That ye also be in subjection unto such (ινα κα υμεις υποτασσησθε τοις τοιουτοις). This is the exhortation begun in verse 1 Corinthians 16:15. The family of Stephanas took the lead in good works. Do ye also follow such leaders. This is our great problem today, to find great leaders and many loyal followers. This would solve all church problems, great leadership and great following. Lend a hand.

Verse 17

At the coming (επ τη παρουσια). At the coming here of Stephanas, etc., the very word used of the παρουσια of Christ (1 Corinthians 15:23).

That which was lacking on your part they supplied (το υμετερον υστερημα ουτο ανεπληρωσαν). Either "these filled up my lack of you" or "these filled up your lack of me." Either makes perfectly good sense and both were true. Which Paul meant we cannot tell.

Verse 18

For they refreshed my spirit and yours (ανεπαυσαν γαρ το εμον πνευμα κα το υμων). They did both. The very verb used by Jesus in Matthew 11:28 for the refreshment offered by him to those who come to him, fellowship with Jesus, and here fellowship with each other.

Verse 19

The churches of Asia (α εκκλησια της Ασιας). True of the Roman province (Acts 10:10; Acts 10:26; Colossians 1:6; Colossians 2:1; Colossians 4:13; Colossians 4:16). The gospel spread rapidly from Ephesus.

With the church that is in their house (συν τη κατ' οικον αυτων εκκλησια). Paul had long ago left the synagogue for the school house of Tyrannus (Acts 19:9). But Aquila and Prisca opened their house here for the services. The churches had to meet where they could. Paul had laboured and lived with this family in Corinth (Acts 18:2) and now again in Ephesus (Acts 18:19; Acts 20:34). It was their habit wherever they lived (Romans 16:5).

Verse 20

With a holy kiss (εν φιληματ αγιω). In the synagogue men kissed men and women kissed women. This was the Christian custom at a later date and apparently so here. See 1 Thessalonians 5:26; 2 Corinthians 13:12; Romans 3:8; 1 Peter 5:14. It seems never to have been promiscuous between the sexes.

Verse 21

Of me Paul with mine own hand (τη εμη χειρ Παυλου). Literally, "With the hand of me Paul." The genitive Παυλου is in apposition with the possessive pronoun εμη which is in the instrumental case just as in 2 Thessalonians 3:17, the sign in every Epistle. He dictated, but signed at the end. If we only had that signature on that scrap of paper.

Verse 22

Αναθεμα. The word seems a bit harsh to us, but the refusal to love Christ (ου φιλε) on the part of a nominal Christian deserves αναθεμα (see on 1 Corinthians 12:3 for this word). Μαραν αθα. This Aramaic phrase means "Our Lord (μαραν) cometh (αθα)" or, used as a proleptic perfect, "has come." It seems to be a sort of watchword (cf. 1 Thessalonians 4:14; James 5:7; Philippians 4:5; Revelation 1:7; Revelation 3:11; Revelation 22:20), expressing the lively hope that the Lord will come. It was a curious blunder in the King James Version that connected Μαραν αθα with Αναθεμα.

Copyright Statement
The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright © Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)
Bibliographical Information
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 16". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/rwp/1-corinthians-16.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.