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Bible Commentaries
1 Corinthians 16

Utley's You Can Understand the BibleUtley Commentary

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1 Corinthians 16:0


The Contribution for the SaintsCollection for the SaintsFinal MessagesThe Offering for Needy BelieversCommendations, Greetings
1 Corinthians 16:1-41 Corinthians 16:1-41 Corinthians 16:1-41 Corinthians 16:1-41 Corinthians 16:1-4
Plans for TravelPersonal Plans Paul's Plans
1 Corinthians 16:5-91 Corinthians 16:5-121 Corinthians 16:5-91 Corinthians 16:5-71 Corinthians 16:5-9
1 Corinthians 16:8-9
1 Corinthians 16:10-11 1 Corinthians 16:10-111 Corinthians 16:10-111 Corinthians 16:10-12
1 Corinthians 16:12 1 Corinthians 16:121 Corinthians 16:12
Final Request and GreetingsFinal Exhortations Final Words
1 Corinthians 16:13-141 Corinthians 16:13-181 Corinthians 16:13-141 Corinthians 16:13-141 Corinthians 16:13-14
1 Corinthians 16:15-18 1 Corinthians 16:15-181 Corinthians 16:15-161 Corinthians 16:15-18
Greetings and a Solemn Farewell 1 Corinthians 16:17-18
1 Corinthians 16:19-201 Corinthians 16:19-241 Corinthians 16:19-201 Corinthians 16:19-20a1 Corinthians 16:19-20
1 Corinthians 16:20b
1 Corinthians 16:21-24 1 Corinthians 16:21-241 Corinthians 16:211 Corinthians 16:21
1 Corinthians 16:22a1 Corinthians 16:22
1 Corinthians 16:22b
1 Corinthians 16:231 Corinthians 16:23
1 Corinthians 16:241 Corinthians 16:24

READING CYCLE THREE (from "A Guide to Good Bible Reading")


This is a study guide commentary, which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

Read the chapter in one sitting. Identify the subjects. Compare your subject divisions with the five modern translations. Paragraphing is not inspired, but it is the key to following the original author's intent, which is the heart of interpretation. Every paragraph has one and only one main subject.

1. First paragraph

2. Second paragraph

3. Third paragraph

4. Etc.


A. Chapter 15 is a highly developed theological argument dealing with the reality of resurrection, while chapter 16 is related to daily practical Christianity. Paul has no problem moving between truth and life. They must be held together. This type of sudden shift from one subject to another characterizes Paul's writings.

B. Brief Outline:

1. 1 Corinthians 16:1-4, collection for Judean poor

2. 1 Corinthians 16:5-9, tentative travel plans to Corinth

3. 1 Corinthians 16:10-12, other Christian workers

4. 1 Corinthians 16:13-18, final admonitions

5. 1 Corinthians 16:19-24, closing greetings

C. Paul's relationship with Aquila and Prisca:

1. They were Jewish tent makers (or leather workers) in Rome. Claudius' edict of A.D. 49-50, which banned all Jewish worship practices (which at this period included church activities), forced them to move.

2. They met Paul in Corinth, Acts 18:2; Acts 18:2.

3. They later moved to Ephesus and began a house church, 1 Corinthians 16:19.

4. They moved back to Rome after Claudius died in A.D. 54 and the edict was rescinded, Romans 16:6.


This is a study guide commentary, which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

These discussion questions are provided to help you think through the major issues of this section of the book. They are meant to be thought-provoking, not definitive.

1. list the questions which the Church at Corinth had written to Paul.

2. What were the different sources of Paul's information about current conditions in the Corinthian Church?

3. List the guidelines for New Testament giving.

4. Why was Paul so interested in the contribution to the Church at Jerusalem?

5. Why did Paul still keep the Jewish feast days after he was saved?

6. How is 1 Corinthians 16:15 reconciled with Acts 17:34?

7. Who were Aquila and Prisca?

8. Why did Paul use an Aramaic phrase in a letter to a Greek church?

Verses 1-4

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: 1 Corinthians 16:1-4 1Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I directed the churches of Galatia, so do you also. 2On the first day of every week each one of you is to put aside and save, as he may prosper, so that no collections be made when I come. 3When I arrive, whomever you may approve, I will send them with letters to carry your gift to Jerusalem; 4and if it is fitting for me to go also, they will go with me.

1 Corinthians 16:1 "Now concerning" "Peri de" is a Greek phrase which introduces Paul's answers to questions which the Corinthian church had sent Paul (cf. 1 Corinthians 7:1, 1 Corinthians 7:25; 1 Corinthians 8:1; 1 Corinthians 12:1; 1 Corinthians 16:1, 1 Corinthians 16:12).

"the collection" Logia is a term which has been found in the Greek papyri in Egypt as a gift of money for a religious purpose, but not related to a regular tax (cf. Moulton, Milligan, The Vocabulary of the Greek Testament, p. 377). Paul first mentioned this concern for the poor in Judea in a conversation with James, Peter, John, and Barnabas in Galatians 2:10; Galatians 6:10. This specific offering was begun by the church at Antioch where Paul and Barnabas served, Acts 11:27-30. This offering is mentioned in several NT books (cf. Romans 15:26; Romans 2:0 Cor. 8-9; 1 Corinthians 16:1). It was an attempt to seal the relationship between the Hebrew mother church and the Gentile churches.

Paul calls this one-time contribution by several names.

1. almsgiving (gifts of charity), Acts 24:17

2. fellowship, Romans 15:26, Romans 15:27; 2 Corinthians 8:4; 2 Corinthians 9:13

3. an indebtedness, Romans 15:27

4. service, Romans 15:27; 2 Corinthians 9:12

"for the saints" "Saints" (hogioi) is from the OT term "holy," (kadosh) which meant "set apart for God's service" (cf. 1 Corinthians 1:2; 2 Corinthians 1:1; Romans 1:1; Ephesians 1:1; Philippians 1:1; Colossians 1:2). It is always plural in the NT except for one time in Philippians (1 Corinthians 4:21), but even there, it is used corporately. To be saved is to be part of the covenant community of faith, the family of believers.

God's people are holy because of the imputed righteousness of Jesus (cf. Romans 4:0; 2 Corinthians 5:21). It is God's will that they live holy lives (cf. 1 Corinthians 1:4; 1 Corinthians 4:1; 5:27; Colossians 1:22; Colossians 3:12). Believers are both declared holy (positional sanctification) and called to lifestyle holiness (progressive sanctification). Justification and sanctification must be firmly held together! See Special Topics: Saints at 1 Corinthians 1:2 and Sanctification at 1 Corinthians 1:2.

"as I directed the churches of Galatia" Paul was not treating the church at Corinth differently. There was a standard procedure (cf. 1 Corinthians 4:17; 1 Corinthians 7:17; 1 Corinthians 11:34; 1 Corinthians 14:33; Titus 1:5) in this offering. We do not know how Paul communicated this to the Galatian churches. As a matter of fact we are not sure to which churches this term refers. Some think this refers to the Roman province while others think it is to a language or ethnic group.

"churches" See Special Topic at 1 Corinthians 1:2

1 Corinthians 16:2 "On the first day of every week" This pattern of worship was set by Jesus' early post-resurrection appearances on Sunday night (cf. John 20:19, John 20:20). It developed into the regular worship day for the assembled church (cf. Acts 20:7; Revelation 1:10). Sunday was the first work day of the week up until the time of Constantine (Emperor of the Roman Empire from A.D. 306-337). The Christians met before work on Sundays for worship, preaching, and the Lord's Supper.

The Jewish leaders reorganized after the fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 and inaugurated several reforms. One of them was an oath which cursed and rejected Jesus as the Messiah. The early believers met with the synagogue on the Sabbath and with the church on Sunday. However, this oath forced a split and believers made Sunday their designated worship day.

"each one of you is to put aside and save" This is a present active imperative followed by a Present active participle used as an imperative. This text seems to imply that as the first of the week came, each individual put an offering in a safe place at home, later to be taken to the church. However, the fact that it was on Sunday implies that they deposited the funds collected daily at the weekly worship service (cf. Justin Martyr, Apology 1.67-68). Notice that this brief verse combined with 2 Corinthians 8:0 and 9 gives us the basic guidelines for NT giving: (1) regularly; (2) as a priority; (3) voluntarily; (4) joyfully; and (5) proportionally.

It is surprising that NT authors do not discuss regular Christian giving. Paul's words of encouragement and procedure for the one-time gift of the Gentile churches to the mother church in Jerusalem are the only guidelines related to this subject. Christians realized that they were owners of nothing and stewards of all their resources. This understanding supercedes the OT concept of "tithing." It is surely true that you can tell a person's priorities by his checkbook and his calendar! Christian giving is an issue of an overflowing heart, not a calculator!


NASB, NKJV "as he may prosper" NRSV"whatever extra you can" TEV"in proportion to what you have earned" NJB"as much as each can spare"

This is literally "whatever if he may be prospered" (A. T. Robertson, Word Pictures In the New Testament, says, "it is uncertain what grammatical form eudô tai is, present passive subjunctive, perfect passive indicative, or even perfect passive subjunctive" p. 200). This was a Greek idiom wishing one a happy, successful journey (for commercial purposes). Paul is using it as a principle of Christian giving (i.e., according to your ability, cf. 2 Corinthians 8:3, 2 Corinthians 8:11).

"so that no collection be made when I come" Paul was always cautious about the proper handling of money. Probably he had (1) seen problems develop in this area or (2) been personally accused in this area. He will take no money from the churches he was currently working with and also when this gift is taken to Jerusalem he wants representatives of the various churches to accompany him. He is not even sure he will go himself (cf. 1 Corinthians 16:4).

1 Corinthians 16:3 "whomever you approve, I will send them with letters to carry your gift" This verse is an interesting mixture of apostolic authority and congregational authority. It has been debated as to who wrote the letters of recommendation, Paul or the church (cf. Acts 18:27). Both are grammatically possible. The King James Version and RSV assume it was the church while the Williams NT, TEV, NIV, NJB, and REB assume Paul. Paul wants the church to pick out representatives to accompany the offering lest he be accused of wrong motives, as he so often was by this church (cf. 1 Corinthians 9:3-18).

Paul often wrote letters of recommendation for his co-workers (cf. Romans 16:1; 2 Corinthians 3:1; ; 2 Corinthians 8:18-24; and other examples, Acts 9:2; Acts 22:5; Acts 3:0 John). Paul uses this concept metaphorically in 2 Corinthians 3:1 in the sense that his functioning churches were his letter of recommendation. Apparently the Apostle John also employed this same type of letter (cf. 3 John 1:9). In a sense this was the method by which early churches affirmed their itinerant gospel ministers.

1 Corinthians 16:4 "if" This is a third class conditional sentence, which meant potential action.

NASB"it is fitting for me to go" NKJV"it is fitting that I go" NRSV"it seems advisable" TEV"it seems worthwhile" NJB"it is worth my going"

This seems to relate to (1) the size of the offering; (2) the one who started this offering accompanying it; or (3) Paul' wanting this church, which had such problems with his authority, to recognize his proper role and trustworthiness.

Verses 5-9

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: 1 Corinthians 16:5-9 5But I will come to you after I go through Macedonia, for I am going through Macedonia; 6and perhaps I will stay with you, or even spend the winter, so that you may send me on my way wherever I may go. 7For I do not wish to see you now just in passing; for I hope to remain with you for some time, if the Lord permits. 8But I will remain in Ephesus until Pentecost; 9for a wide door for effective service has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.

1 Corinthians 16:5-9 Paul was writing from Ephesus on his third missionary journey. He was later attacked by a group within the church at Corinth because of his supposed "fickle" travel plans (cf. 2 Corinthians 1:15ff). He first was going to take the sea route to Corinth and then pass through Macedonia, but since he wanted to stay longer, he decided to go by land route through Macedonia first and then to Corinth. He stayed the winter there (cf. Acts 20:2, Acts 20:3). Some in the church used Paul's indecision in his travel plans to attack his theology (i.e., gospel).

1 Corinthians 16:6 "so that you may send me on my way wherever I may go" The verb propempô is used as a technical term for supplying the travel needs of God's itinerant ministers (cf. 1 Corinthians 16:11, "send him on," cf. Acts 15:3; Romans 15:24; 2 Corinthians 1:16; Titus 3:13; 3 John 1:6).

1 Corinthians 16:7 "if the Lord permits" This is a third class conditional sentence, which means potential action. This was not a trite phrase with the NT Christians. They believed their steps were providentially guided by the Lord (cf. Acts 18:21; 1 Corinthians 4:19; James 4:14; Hebrews 6:3).

1 Corinthians 16:8 "Pentecost" This term usually means "fiftieth." It refers to the wheat harvest festival (i.e., Feast of Weeks, cf. Numbers 28:26) of the Jews that occurred 50 days after the second day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread (i.e., Nisan 16). In this context it seems it is used as a method of dating Paul's travel plans and not asserting that Paul still kept these Jewish feast days.

1 Corinthians 16:9

NASB"for a wide door for effective service has opened to me" NKJV"For a great and effective door has opened to me" NRSV"For a wide door for effective work has opened to me" TEV"There is a real opportunity here for great and worthwhile work" NJB"a very promising door is standing wide open to me"

This is a perfect active indicative. The use of the term "door" as a metaphor for opportunity is common in the NT (cf. Acts 14:27; 2 Corinthians 2:12; Colossians 4:3; Revelation 3:8).


"there are many adversaries" God's opportunities are often accompanied by opposition. For the specific historical setting read Acts 19:19-20; Acts 20:19, Acts 20:23.

Verses 10-11

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: 1 Corinthians 16:10-11 10Now if Timothy comes, see that he is with you without cause to be afraid, for he is doing the Lord's work, as I also Amos 1:0; Amos 1:01So let no one despise him. But send him on his way in peace, so that he may come to me; for I expect him with the brethren.

1 Corinthians 16:10 "if" This is a third class conditional sentence, meaning potential action. It seems that Paul had already sent Timothy and Erastus (cf. Acts 19:22), and possibly Titus (cf. 2 Corinthians 2:13; 2 Corinthians 7:6, 2 Corinthians 7:7) on to Corinth by the land route. He was sending his letter by sea and it would arrive quicker.

"see that he is with you without cause to be afraid" Paul puts this in the form of a command (i.e., present active imperative). He knew personally how unloving the church could be. He did not want his young assistant to be slighted because of (1) his age; (2) his personality; or (3) their anger toward Paul (cf. 1 Corinthians 16:11).

1 Corinthians 16:11

NASB, NKJV, NRSV"So let no one despise him" TEV"No one should look down on him" NJB"nobody is to underrate him"

This is an aorist active subjunctive, which literally means "to make absolute nothing of" (cf. 1 Corinthians 1:28; 1 Timothy 4:12; Titus 2:15).

"with the brethren" We are not sure who this involved. It may possibly be Erastus (cf. Acts 19:22, and Titus, 2 Corinthians 2:13; 2 Corinthians 7:6-7), but who else, if anyone, is uncertain.

Verse 12

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: 1 Corinthians 16:12 12 But concerning Apollos our brother, I encouraged him greatly to come to you with the brethren; and it was not at all his desire to come now, but he will come when he has opportunity.

1 Corinthians 16:12 "But concerning" This is another answer to a question asked by the Corinthian church (cf. 1 Corinthians 7:1, 1 Corinthians 7:25; 1 Corinthians 8:1; 1 Corinthians 12:1; 1 Corinthians 16:1, 1 Corinthians 16:12).

"Apollos" This was a highly educated and eloquent preacher from Alexandria, Egypt. He was in Corinth earlier (cf. Acts 18:24-1), but he refused to go back (cf. 1 Corinthians 16:12).

"and it was not at all his desire to come now" The text can be interpreted in two ways: (1) it was not Apollos' will to come or (2) it was not God's will for him to come. From this verse it seems that Apollos had left Ephesus between the time Paul talked to him and the writing of this letter.

Verses 13-14

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: 1 Corinthians 16:13-14 13Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. 14Let all that you do be done in love.

1 Corinthians 16:13-14 This is a series of five present imperatives. They are very similar to the practical admonitions of 1 Corinthians 15:58. The first four are third person plural and have a military background. The last is second person singular and seems to address the corporate church.

1 Corinthians 16:13

NASB"Be on the alert" NKJV"watch" NRSV"keep alert" TEV"be alert" NJB"be vigilant"

This is a Present active imperative. Its basic meaning is to awake, used in the sense of "watch out" (cf. Matthew 24:42; Matthew 25:13; Matthew 26:38, Matthew 26:40, Matthew 26:48; Mark 13:35, Mark 13:37; Mark 14:34, Mark 14:37, Mark 14:38). Paul is admonishing them to be alert and watchful against a factious spirit, heresy, debauchery, and pride!

NASB, TEV"stand firm in the faith" NKJV"stand fast in the faith" NRSV"stand firm in your faith" NJB"stay firm in the faith"

This is another present active imperative. This is a military term for holding one's position. "In the faith" refers to Christian truth or Christian doctrine (cf. Jude 1:3, Jude 1:20).

See Special Topic: Stand (Histçmi) at 1 Corinthians 15:1.

"act like men" This is a present middle (deponent) imperative. This is the only NT use of the term. It is the verb form of the term ançr, which meant a mature man or a husband. It appears in the LXX in Joshua 1:6. It is not generic (i.e., referring only to males), but encourages the whole church to act appropriately as mature and brave believers.

"be strong" This is a present passive imperative.


1 Corinthians 16:14 "Let all that you do be done in love" Notice "all" is fronted in the Greek text for emphasis. In a religious and cultural situation as dynamic, diverse, and problematic as Corinth, love is crucial. This is another present middle (deponent) imperative. Orthodoxy and orthopraxy without love is not God's will or way (cf. 1 Corinthians 14:1)! It is hard to realize that the means (for Christians) is as crucial as the ends.

Verses 15-18

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: 1 Corinthians 16:15-18 15Now I urge you, brethren (you know the household of Stephanas, that they were the first fruits of Achaia, and that they have devoted themselves for ministry to the saints), 16that you also be in subjection to such men and to everyone who helps in the work and labors. 17I rejoice over the coming of Stephanas and Fortunatus and Achaicus, because they have supplied what was lacking on your part. 18For they have refreshed my spirit and yours. Therefore acknowledge such men.

1 Corinthians 16:15 "I urge you" This goes with 1 Corinthians 16:16. Paul has inserted a parenthetical thought about the household of Stephanas.

"brethren" The NRSV has "brothers and sisters," which is Paul's intent to address the entire church. Paul uses this word in his letters to introduce a new subject or a development of his presentation.

"the household of Stephanas" These early converts (i.e., first fruits) were apparently leaders in the local church. Paul mentions other early believers in Acts 17:34.

The concept of "households" converting all at once when the head of the family converts (cf. Cornelius, Acts 11:14-17; Lydia, Acts 16:14-15; Philippian jailer, Acts 16:31-33) is often difficult for evangelicals who emphasize individual conversions. Yet the culture is crucial in understanding not only how family faith works, but also tribal faith. God is not limited to or unduly impressed by modern western individualism! This is so painful for our parochial thinking and dogmatism.

The concept of "household" conversions is used by denominations to affirm infant baptism. Usually Israel's circumcision rites are also noted as incorporating eight-day old children into the family of Israel. Probably biblically the beginning must be viewed from the end. True faith grows, repents, believes, obeys, and perseveres. True faith is seen by its fruits, not only its initiating rites (cf. 1 Corinthians 16:16b and James and 1 John).

"they devoted themselves for ministry" This is a very interesting phrase. The term "devoted" is tassô, which usually means "to appoint." Faith, true faith, sees its purpose in service! To understand the gospel demands a willingness to give ourselves away in service for others as Jesus gave Himself away for us (cf. 1 John 3:16). This is the normal development of faith, not the exceptional. As the factions (i.e., Corinthian elite) pursued self-interest, self-promotion, self-direction, true faith pursues love (cf. 1 Corinthians 14:4; 1 Corinthians 16:14). Believers are saved and gifted for the Great Commission (cf. Matthew 28:19-20; Luke 24:47; Acts 1:8) and the common good of the body of Christ, the church (cf. 1 Corinthians 12:7).

Stephanas and his household decided to use their resources for the kingdom. If Stephanas was a wealthy member of the elite social class then his actions modeled Paul's teachings. He became the model for other wealthy elite members of the church (cf. Bruce W. Winter, After Paul Left Corinth, pp. 184-205). See Special Topic at 1 Corinthians 4:1.

"ministry" See SPECIAL TOPIC: SERVANT LEADERSHIP at 1 Corinthians 4:1.

"saints" See SPECIAL TOPIC: SAINTS at 1 Corinthians 1:2.

1 Corinthians 16:16 "that you also be in subjection to such men" This is a present passive subjunctive. "Subjection" (hupotassô) is a military term for aligning oneself within a chain of command. In Paul's letters to the Corinthians it is used of

1. the spirits of prophets in subject to prophets, 1 Corinthians 14:32

2. all things subject to Jesus, 1 Corinthians 15:27

3. Jesus subject to the Father, 1 Corinthians 15:28

4. believers subject to godly leaders, 1 Corinthians 16:16

There may be a word play between leaders "devoted themselves to service" (from tassô) and "believers submitting themselves (hupo plus tassô) to the godly leaders" (cf. 2 Corinthians 9:12-13). See Special Topic: Submission at 2 Corinthians 9:13.

This church had problems in the area of the proper treatment and respect of its true leaders (cf. 1 Corinthians 16:18; 1 Thessalonians 5:12; Hebrews 13:17). Clement of Rome's letter, written to this same church 40 years later, shows that they still had the same problem.

1 Corinthians 16:17 "Stephanas and Fortunatus and Achaicus" Some have asserted that the last two names, of whom we hear nothing else in the NT, were members of Stephanas' family. Some assert that they were all three slaves, but this cannot be substantiated. They seem to have brought the letter from the Corinthian church to Paul. Paul had received some information about the church from Chloe's people. Clement of Rome wrote to Corinth about 40 years later and he mentions a presbyter named Fortunatus.

"they have supplied what was lacking on your part" This phrase sounds negative in English, but it is not meant that way. Their report brought Paul news from this church which he loved, even with all of its problems (cf. 1 Corinthians 16:24). They functioned as the churches' representatives to Paul. Exactly what they did for Paul, besides bring him joy (cf. 1 Corinthians 16:18) with their presence, is uncertain.

1 Corinthians 16:18 "my spirit and yours" It is obvious from the context Paul is using "spirit" as a way of referring to himself (cf. 1 Corinthians 2:11; 1 Corinthians 5:4; 2 Corinthians 2:13; 2 Corinthians 7:13; Romans 1:9; Romans 8:16; Philippians 4:23).

NASB, NKJV "acknowledge such men" NRSV"So give recognition to such persons" TEV"Such men as these deserve notice" NJB"you should appreciate people like them"

This is a present active imperative of "ginôskô" in the sense of acknowledge (cf. 2 Corinthians 3:2) or to know so as to accept (cf. 1 Corinthians 8:3).

Verses 19-20

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: 1 Corinthians 16:19-20 19The churches of Asia greet you. Aquila and Prisca greet you heartily in the Lord, with the church that is in their house. 20 All the brethren greet you. Greet one another with a holy kiss.

1 Corinthians 16:19 "The churches of Asia" This refers to the first century Roman province of the western one-third of the modern country of Turkey.

"Aquila and Prisca" Aquila was a Jewish tentmaker (or leather worker), like Paul. All Jews, even rabbis, were taught a trade so that they would not take money for their teaching. Aquila's wife, Priscilla or Prisca, is listed first four times out of the six that they are mentioned (cf. Acts 18:2, Acts 18:18, Acts 18:26; Romans 16:3; 1 Corinthians 16:19; 2 Timothy 4:19). Many have noticed that her name was a Roman noble name (gens Prisca). Since she is mentioned first, which is highly unusual for Jewish people, many have seen in them a great love story of a Roman wealthy lady and an itinerant Jewish tentmaker!

The Textus Receptus has Priscilla, which is her name in Acts 18:2, Acts 18:18, Acts 18:26. It also appears in Romans 16:3 and here. This follows the Greek manuscripts A, C, D, F, G, K, L, the Syriac translations, and most later minuscule manuscripts. However, Paul calls her Prisca, which is found in manuscripts P46, א, B, M, and the Vulgate and Coptic translations. See Bruce Metzger, A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament, p. 570.

"the church that is in their house" The early church had no buildings. They met in homes. This was because of

1. lack of money

2. need for secrecy, since Christianity became an illegal religion in the Roman Empire at a very early time

3. the need for an appearance of legality since the early churches organized like Roman social societies

The house church concept begins in Acts 2:46; Acts 5:4. It is continued and developed in Romans 16:5, Romans 16:23, Colossians 4:15; Philemon 1:2.

"All the brethren greet you" This obviously refers to the whole church, not just the males.

1 Corinthians 16:20 "Greet one another with a holy kiss" This form of public greeting (kissing on one or both cheeks) and sign of fellowship can be seen in the OT in Exodus 4:27. It can be seen in the Gospels in Mark 14:45. It became standardized in the early church (cf. Romans 16:16; 2 Corinthians 13:12; 1 Thessalonians 5:26; 1 Peter 5:14), which followed the pattern of the Synagogue. Men kissed men and women kissed women. It came to be abused by some Christians and misunderstood by unbelievers and was dropped by the early church. However, it still continues on special occasions in the eastern churches. Its modern equivalent western would be a warm handshake or hug.

Verses 21-24

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: 1 Corinthians 16:21-24 21The greeting is in my own hand- Paul. 22If anyone does not love the Lord, he is to be accursed. Maranatha. 23Thegrace of the Lord Jesus be with you. 24My love be with you all in Christ Jesus. Amen.

1 Corinthians 16:21 "The greeting is in my own hand- Paul" This was the common practice of Paul after dictating his correspondence. It was a way of assuring its genuineness (cf. Galatians 6:11; 2 Thessalonians 2:2; 2 Thessalonians 3:17; Colossians 4:18; Philemon 1:19).

1 Corinthians 16:22 "If" This is a first class conditional sentence. Apparently some in the Corinthian church did not love the Lord!

"does not love" This is the Greek word "phileô." Paul does not use this term for love very often (cf. Titus 3:15). Because of this, many have assumed that he is quoting a hymn or liturgical formula. It is the same root as "kiss" (philçma). "Phileô" in Koine Greek became synonymous with "agapaô" (cf. John 5:20; John 16:27), but at times there can still be a contextual distinction (cf. John 21:15-17).

"accursed" "Anathema" is a Greek word which reflects the Hebrew term "herem" or something dedicated to God, which then becomes holy and must be destroyed (ex. Jericho in Joshua 6:17-19). It came to be used in the sense of a divine curse (cf. Acts 22:12, Acts 22:14; Romans 9:31; 1 Corinthians 12:3; 1 Corinthians 16:22; Galatians 1:8-9). This strong statement may reflect the presence of the false teachers at Corinth (cf. 1 Corinthians 12:3). It is possible that it reflects a current practice in Corinth. See note on the term at 1 Corinthians 12:3.

"Maranatha" Jesus and the early apostles spoke Aramiac (not Hebrew). It had become the common language since the Perisan Empire. There are several Aramaic words/phrases recorded in the NT.

1. talitha kum - Mark 5:41

2. ephphatha - Mark 7:34

3. abba - Mark 14:36; Romans 8:15

4. maranatha - 1 Corinthians 16:22.

See Special Topic below.


1 Corinthians 16:23 "the grace of the Lord Jesus" The first step in interpreting the Bible is to establish the original wording. A helpful resource for this is the United Bible Societies' A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament, by Bruce M. Metzger. To show how helpful it can be let me quote the paragraph on this verse.

"The Textus Receptus, following אc A C D F G K L M most minuscules, including 6 424c 920 1739, itd,g,r syrp,h cop8a,bo arm eth, reads Ίησοῡ Χρισκοῡ. The shorter reading Ίησοῡ, which is supported by א* B 2 33 35 226 356 442 823 1611 1908 2002 vg goth al, is to be preferred. In view of the presence of the longer reading in other Pauline benedictions (Romans 16:24; 2 Corinthians 13:13; Galatians 6:18; Philippians 4:23; 1 Thessalonians 5:28; 2 Thessalonians 3:18; Philemon 1:25), as well as the natural proclivity of scribes to expand the sacred name, it is perhaps remarkable that any witnesses should have resisted such pressures" (p. 570).

1 Corinthians 16:24 "My love be with you all" This is one of the rare expressions of Paul's personal love. Notice his expressed love to all in a church which had been so factious and hateful.

"Amen" See note at 1 Corinthians 14:16.

Bibliographical Information
Utley. Dr. Robert. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 16". "Utley's You Can Understand the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ubc/1-corinthians-16.html. 2021.
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