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Bible Commentaries

F. B. Hole's Old and New Testament Commentary
1 Corinthians 16



Verses 1-24

THE LAST DIRECTION of the Apostle in this epistle concerns the special collection being made at that time for poor saints in Judaea. Today in many religious circles money is so often the first topic. Here it is the last. Still it comes in, and instructions of abiding value are given. In verse 1 Corinthians 16:2 systematic giving is advocated as opposed to haphazard. Proportionate giving is also what God expects—in proportion to the prosperity which God Himself may have given. In Jewish days God fixed the proportion at one tenth. He has not fixed any proportion for us who are under grace; but depend upon it we shall hear something pretty serious at the judgment seat if we fall below the standard set by the law. If all believers practised giving which is both proportionate and systematic, there would be no money problem in connection with the work of the Lord. The chapter division perhaps leads us to miss the connection between 1 Corinthians 15:58, and 1 Corinthians 16:2.

The closing messages of a personal sort begin after this, and verses 1 Corinthians 16:5-12 are illuminating if compared with the history of Acts 18:24-28; Acts 19:1-41; Acts 20:1-6. Paul wrote from Ephesus while in the midst of a great work with many adversaries, whose opposition culminated in the great riot in the theatre. Apollos had preceded Paul at Ephesus, and then after being further instructed in the way of the Lord through Aquila and Priscilla, he visited Achaia, where Corinth was situated. Paul had come to Ephesus while Apollos was at Corinth, but by this time Apollos had passed on from Corinth. Meanwhile Paul contemplated passing through Macedonia and visiting Corinth on the way. This visit to Macedonia was accomplished, as

Acts 20:1-38 records, though his second epistle shows that his visit to Corinth was delayed. He had begged Apollos to pay them another visit, but without avail.

Observe from this that if God raises up a servant he is responsible only to the Lord who commissions him, and not even to an Apostle. Paul assumed no jurisdiction over Apollos. The fact that he begged him to go shows that he entertained no feelings of jealousy towards this fresh man of gift who had suddenly appeared. The fact that Apollos felt he should not go to Corinth at this juncture probably indicates that he on his part had no wish to push himself forward lest he should fan the flames of that partisanship and rivalry which would say, “I am of Apollos.”

The Corinthians had been unwatchful. They had been vacillating as to the faith of the Gospel. They had behaved more like weak children than strong men. Hence the graphic exhortations of verse 1 Corinthians 16:13. We must keep those exhortations connected with verse 1 Corinthians 16:14, or we may go astray. All our things are to be done “with charity,” or “in love.” Otherwise our manliness and our strength will degenerate into something fleshly and almost brutal. Christian manliness and strength exercised in love is according to God and very powerful.

Verse 1 Corinthians 16:15 gives an interesting side-light on service. The household of Stephanus had “addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints,” or “devoted themselves to the saints for service.” They laid themselves out to serve the saints realizing that thus they would be serving Christ in His members on earth. There might be a lot that was commonplace and humdrum in such work, but it was rendered to Christ. Such service is not very common, we fear. It receives mention and commendation in verse 1 Corinthians 16:16. It exemplifies, we judge, what is meant by “helps,” mentioned amongst the gifts in 1 Corinthians 12:28.

The three closing verses are a blending of solemnity and grace. The Corinthians were prominent as to gift but deficient as to love. Hence verse 22. Many of us are like the Corinthians. Let us take it to heart that it is love that counts. Not to love the Lord Jesus means a curse at His coming when all profession will be tested. Maran-atha is not Greek but Aramaic, signifying “The Lord is coming.”

For those who do love the Lord there is a full supply of grace from Him, and the outflow of love from those who are His, as seen in the affectionate closing salutation of the Apostle Paul.


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Bibliography Information
Hole, Frank Binford. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 16:4". "F. B. Hole's Old and New Testament Commentary". 1947.

Lectionary Calendar
Friday, November 27th, 2020
the Week of Christ the King / Proper 29 / Ordinary 34
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