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Bible Commentaries

Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible
1 Corinthians 16

 

 

Verses 1-24

1 Corinthians 16. Various Business and Personal Matters. Salutation.—First (1 Corinthians 16:1-4) he gives instructions as to the collection for the poor Christians at Jerusalem (2 Corinthians 8 f.*, Romans 15:25-28, Acts 24:17, p. 771). The Church had apparently consulted him on the matter. We have no information as to the injunctions given to the Galatian churches. Every Sunday something should be laid by at home for the purpose. This is the first indication we have of any special importance being attached to Sunday. The term "the Lord's day" (Revelation 1:10) had not apparently as yet come into use. The term "Day of the Sun," which is used by Justin Martyr in his Apology, is naturally avoided on account of its heathen associations. The practice of systematic weekly giving would do away with the necessity of collections when Paul came, and the amount would be larger. Nothing more would then be necessary than for each to bring what he had saved. Paul may have wished to avoid any suspicion created by personal participation in the collection, or perhaps any appearance of pressure, or perhaps to devote the whole time to spiritual work. When he arrives he will send with the money to Jerusalem those whom the Corinthians approve by letters of commendation as their delegates. If the Church rises to the occasion and collects an offering worthy of it, he will himself go to Jerusalem and take the deputation with him. This leads to a statement as to his plans (1 Corinthians 16:5-9). Assuming that 1 Corinthians 16:5-8 f. belong to the same letter, Paul is writing from Ephesus. He cannot leave Ephesus immediately because a great opportunity has opened before him which he can turn to effective account. When he leaves he will come to Corinth by the land route through Macedonia, not taking the short sea-route across the Ægean. It will accordingly be some time before he reaches Corinth, for he has work to do on the way. But he does not wish to pay them a flying visit under the present circumstances, so he will compensate by a longer stay for the delay in reaching them. Perhaps he will winter with them and then receive a send-off from the Church.

Next (1 Corinthians 16:10 f.) he gives instructions with reference to Timothy, of whose mission he had spoken in 1 Corinthians 4:17*. He seems to have been of a timid disposition, and in view of this and the factious character of the Church, Paul makes a special appeal for a good reception when he arrives, good treatment while he is with them, and a peaceable send-off when he returns to Paul, who was longing to have him back.

The Corinthians had apparently asked that Apollos might come. In spite of Paul's earnest entreaties he had refused to come at the present juncture; he probably preferred to remain away since a party in Corinth was setting him up as Paul's rival. He hopes to come later when he has a good opportunity—perhaps an intentionally vague phrase (1 Corinthians 16:12).

A series of concise warnings follows in 1 Corinthians 16:13 f. against special failings in the Church. The exhortation to watchfulness may be directed against lethargy or, more probably, against self-confidence; that to firmness in the faith against speculation radically incompatible with the Gospel; that to manliness and strength against their childish wranglings and moral weakness; while that to love reiterates the call to that spirit in presence of which all their evils will vanish of themselves.

Stephanas (1 Corinthians 16:15) is mentioned in 1 Corinthians 1:16. There had been other converts in the province of Achaia, namely those at Athens, but Paul may regard these as not sufficiently an omen of an abundant harvest to speak of them as firstfruits. They were individual cases. Here we have a whole household, and a household giving itself up to the work. The self-renouncing labours of such workers should be honoured by submission to their direction. There seems to have been no settled church organisation in Corinth at this time. Nothing is known of Fortunatus and Achaicus. They and Stephanas had, by their coming, compensated Paul for the absence of his Corinthian converts. The Corinthians themselves will share the refreshment of spirit which the arrival of these members of it has produced, though in what way is not said. Perhaps the Church found happiness in the thought that their representatives had cheered Paul.

Salutations follow in 1 Corinthians 16:19-24. Asia is the Roman province of Proconsular Asia embracing the western coast lands of Asia Minor and the adjacent islands. Ephesus was its capital. Aquila and Prisca are mentioned also in Romans 16:3*, 2 Timothy 4:19, Acts 18:2; Acts 18:18; Acts 18:26. The form Priscilla is used only in Ac. In four of the instances where they are mentioned in the NT the wife's name is placed first. They had a house-church at Ephesus and also at Rome if Romans 16 was really addressed to Rome (cf. p. 818).

Up to this point, Paul had dictated the letter. He adds the closing words in his own handwriting, thus authenticating it. He pronounces an anathema on anyone who, while professing to be a Christian, has not a personal affection for Christ; thus the curse said in 1 Corinthians 12:3 to be invoked on Jesus is here retorted on those who do not love Him. Maran atha has nothing to do with the preceding words. It is an Aramaic expression found also in the Didach and the Apostolic Constitutions. It is disputed how it should be divided. Maran atha means "our Lord is come." The reference to the coming of the Lord as already past is not, however, very probable, since the thought of the early Church was concentrated on His Second Coming. Accordingly, many scholars have tried to make the tense a prophetic perfect, "our Lord cometh"; this is grammatically questionable. We should probably read Marana tha "our Lord, come!" as in Revelation 22:20 (see EBi, HDB).

 


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Bibliography Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 16:4". "Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pfc/1-corinthians-16.html. 1919.

Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, June 26th, 2019
the Week of Proper 7 / Ordinary 12
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