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Bible Commentaries

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments
1 Corinthians 16

 

 

Verse 1-2

1 Corinthians 16:1-2. Now concerning the collection — During the apostle’s eighteen months’ abode at Corinth, he had exhorted the brethren there to undertake the making a collection for the poor saints in Judea. But the divisions in their church, it seems, had hitherto hindered them from beginning it. The apostle therefore here requests them to set about it immediately, and directs them as to the mode of proceeding. The saints in Judea were, it appears, at this time, in great straits, both on account of a famine, and the persecution to which they were exposed. As I have given order, or a charge, Greek, διεταξα, to the churches of Galatia — It is probable the apostle gave these orders to the churches of Galatia when he went throughout Phrygia and the region of Galatia, establishing the churches, as mentioned Acts 16:6. And he may have received the collections made by these churches when, in his way to Ephesus, where he now was, he went through all the churches of those parts in order, as related Acts 18:23.


Verses 2-4

1 Corinthians 16:2-4. Upon the first day of the week — So κατα μιαν σαββατων

here signifies, the Hebrews using the numeral for the ordinal numbers, as Genesis 1:5, The evening and the morning were one day; that is, the first day; and also using the word sabbath to denote the week, as Luke 18:12. I fast twice, του σαββατου, in the week. So Mark 16:2, πρωι της μιας σαββατων, early the first day of the week. Let every one of you lay by him in store, &c. — Not the rich only: let him also that hath little gladly give of that little, as God hath prospered him — Increasing his alms as God increases his substance. According to this lowest rule of Christian prudence, if a man, when he has or gains one pound, give a tenth to God, when he has or gains ten pounds, he will give a tenth to God; when he has or gains a hundred, he will give the tenth of this also. “And yet,” says Mr. Wesley, “I show unto you a more excellent way. He that hath ears to hear let him hear: Stint yourself to no proportion at all; but lend to God all you can.” That there be no gatherings — No necessity of making any particular collections; when I come — From these last words it is inferred that θησαυριζων, here rendered laying by him in store, signifies to put his charity into a common box; because, if they had kept it at home, there would have been need of gathering it when the apostle came. But the words εκαστος παρεαυτω τιθετω, let every one place it with himself, admit not of this sense; nor, when each of them had done this, could there be any necessity of making collections; or, as that expression imports, soliciting the charities of others, but only of receiving the contributions thus laid by for the use of the saints. We may observe here, that from the beginning, the Christians were wont to assemble on the first day of the week, called by them the Lord’s day, to perform their religious worship. “This day being the Lord’s day,” saith Dionysius, bishop of Corinth, “we keep it holy.” “On Sunday,” saith Justin, “all Christians in the city or country meet together, because that is the day of our Lord’s resurrection; and then we read the writings of the prophets and apostles. This being done, the president makes an oration to the assembly, to exhort them to imitate and do the things they heard: then we all join in prayer, and after that we celebrate the Lord’s supper.” — See Whitby. And when 1 come — When I am arrived at Corinth; whomsoever ye shall approve by letters — Signed by the members of your church, or their representatives; them will I send to bring your liberality — Greek, την χαριν υμων; literally, your grace; that is, the fruit of your grace, or, your free gift, to Jerusalem, to be there distributed among the poor Christians. And if it be meet — If it be thought proper; that I also should go — Thither on this occasion; they shall go with me — That they may witness for me that no part of the money received has been withheld, but that the whole of it has been delivered with the greatest fidelity, to be employed solely for the purposes for which it was contributed.


Verses 5-9

1 Corinthians 16:5-9. Now I will come unto you — If Providence permit; when I shall pass — Or rather, when I shall have passed; through Macedonia; for I do pass through Macedonia — I purpose going that way, that I may visit the churches there, and receive their collections. And it may be that I will abide, &c. — That I shall continue some time; yea, and winter with you — Having spent the summer and autumn in my progress through Macedonia. That ye may bring me on my journey — That some of you may accompany me a little way, and help me forward toward Jerusalem, or whithersoever else I go — Through whatever parts I may pass thither. For, &c. — As if he had said, I speak of coming at some future time; for I will not see you now — In my way from hence to Macedonia. But I trust — That the little delay, which this plan may occasion, will be made up to your satisfaction; for I purpose to tarry a while with you — When I come, which the necessities of the churches of Macedonia will not at present give me leave to do. But I will tarry at Ephesus until Pentecost — A plain intimation this that he was now at Ephesus, and consequently that the inscription added at the end of this epistle, which tells us it was written from Philippi, is far from being authentic. Indeed, this may be gathered also from the salutations in the close of this epistle, which are not from the churches of Macedonia, but from Asia. And, it may be affirmed in general, that, as Dr. Doddridge justly observes, no credit is to be given to these additions, which have been presumptuously made to the epistles, and very imprudently retained. For a great door and effectual is opened to me — “The door of a house being a passage into it, the opening of a door, in the eastern phrase, signified the affording a person an opportunity of doing a thing. See Colossians 4:3; Hosea 2:15. The apostle’s long abode at Ephesus was owing to his great success in converting the Ephesians, and such strangers as had occasion to resort to that metropolis. But about the time this letter was written, his success was greater than common. For many, who used curious arts, the arts of magic and divination, were converted, and burned their books, containing the secrets of these arts, Acts 19:17-20. This so enraged the idolaters at Ephesus, but especially the craftsmen, that they raised the great tumult described Acts 19:23-41.” — Macknight. Therefore the apostle adds, and there are many adversaries — Many opposers, who, (he hereby insinuates,) if he were to leave Ephesus immediately, might perhaps take advantage of his absence, to the great injury of the new-planted church there.


Verses 10-12

1 Corinthians 16:10-12. Now if — In the mean time; Timotheus come, see that he may be with you without fear — Of any one’s despising him for his youth. Encourage him in his labours; for he worketh the work of the Lord — The true ground of reverence and love to pastors: those who do so, none ought to despise or discourage; but conduct him forth — Bring him forward on his journey; in peace — And do all that you can to make it commodious and agreeable to him; that he may come unto me — At Ephesus, as soon as possible; for I look for him with the brethren — Namely, Erastus, who had been sent with Timothy to Corinth, (Acts 19:22,) and Titus, who carried this letter, and another brother, whose name is not mentioned; (see 2 Corinthians 12:17-18;) perhaps also some of the Corinthian brethren, whom the apostle had desired Titus to bring with him to Ephesus, having need of their assistance. As touching Apollos — For whom many of you have so high a regard; I greatly desired him to come to you with Timothy and the other brethren — Having an entire confidence in his friendship, prudence, and fidelity, and hoping that his presence among you might have been particularly useful at this crisis; but his will was not to come at this time — Perhaps lest his coming should increase the divisions among them; but he will come when he shall have convenient time — Jerome says, Apollos actually went to Corinth, after the disturbances had ceased. But whether in this, Jerome delivered his own opinion only, or some ancient tradition, is uncertain.


Verse 13-14

1 Corinthians 16:13-14. To conclude. Watch ye — Against all your seen and unseen enemies; stand fast in the faith — Seeing and trusting in Him that is invisible: quit you like men — With courage and patience; be strong — To do and suffer his will. Let all your things be done with charity — Namely, your differences about worldly affairs, mentioned chap. 6., your disputes concerning marriage and a single state; (chap. 8.;) your eating things sacrificed to idols; (chapters 8., 10;) your eating the Lord’s supper; (chap. 11.;) and your method of exercising your gifts, chapters 12., 14. In all these ye ought to have a regard to the good of your neighbours, that ye may not occasion each other to sin.


Verse 15-16

1 Corinthians 16:15-16. Ye know the house, or family, of Stephanas, that it is the first-fruits of Achaia — That he and they were the first converts in that province; and that they have addicted themselves — According to the rank in which Providence has placed them, and the abilities which God hath given them; to the ministry of the saints — To the supplying of their temporal and spiritual wants, both in promoting the progress of the gospel, and succouring the afflicted. That ye also — In your turn; submit yourselves to the admonitions of such; so repaying their free service. And to every one that helpeth with us, and laboureth — That labours in the gospel, either with or without a fellow-labourer.


Verse 17-18

1 Corinthians 16:17-18. I am glad of the coming of Stephanas, &c. — This Stephanas is supposed by many to have been the son of Stephanas mentioned 1 Corinthians 16:15. He, with Fortunatus and Achaicus, are supposed to have been the messengers sent, by the sincere part of the Corinthian church, with the letter mentioned 1 Corinthians 7:1. For that which was lacking on your part they have supplied — They have performed the offices of love which you could not supply, by reason of your absence. For they have refreshed my spirit — By their obliging behaviour and edifying conversation, as I doubt not they have often refreshed yours, by their ministrations among you; or will refresh yours by informing you of my success in preaching the gospel.


Verses 19-21

1 Corinthians 16:19-21. The churches of Asia — Especially those of Ephesus and its neighbourhood; salute you — With all Christian affection, heartily wishing you peace and prosperity. Aquila and Priscilla — Formerly members of your church, (Acts 18:2; Acts 18:18,) but who at present are with me; salute you much — With singular Christian love; in the Lord — In his grace and Spirit. These worthy persons lived in Corinth all the time the apostle was there. And when he departed, they accompanied him to Ephesus, (Acts 18:18,) where they remained till after he left Ephesus to go to Jerusalem. For when he returned to Ephesus, he found them there, as is plain from their salutation sent to the Corinthians in this letter, which was written from Ephesus. But they seem to have left Ephesus about the time the apostle departed to go into Macedonia. For in the letter which he wrote to the Romans from Corinth, they are saluted as then residing in Rome. With the church which is in their house — The Christian congregation which assembles there. All the brethren — Who labour with me in the gospel, or are members of the church here; greet you — Wish you all felicity. Greet ye one another with a holy kiss — See on Romans 16:16. The salutation of me Paul with mine own hand — What precedes having been written by an amanuensis. See 2 Thessalonians 3:17; Colossians 4:18.


Verse 22

1 Corinthians 16:22. If any man love not the Lord Jesus — In sincerity, but is secretly alienated from him in heart, while he calls himself his servant, preferring some secular interest of his own to that of his Divine Master; if any one be an enemy to Christ’s person, offices, doctrines, or commands; let him be Anathema Maranatha — Anathema signifies a thing devoted to destruction, and it seems to have been customary with the Jews of that age, when they had pronounced any man anathema, to add the Syriac expression, Maranatha, that is, the Lord cometh; namely, to execute vengeance upon him. See note on Romans 9:3. We may add further here, “Anathema Maranatha, were the words with which the Jews began their greatest excommunications, whereby they not only excluded sinners from their society, but delivered them to the divine Cherem, or Anathema; that is, to eternal perdition. This form they used, because Enoch’s prophecy concerning the coming of God to judge and punish the wicked, began with these words, as we learn from Jude, who quotes the first sentence of that prophecy, 1 Corinthians 16:14. Wherefore, since the apostle denounced this curse against the man, who, while he professed subjection to Christ, was secretly alienated from him in his heart, it is as if he had said, Though such a person’s wickedness cannot be discovered and punished by the church, yet the Lord, at his coming, will find it out, and punish him with eternal perdition. This terrible curse the apostle wrote in his epistle to the Corinthians, because many of the faction, but especially their leader, had shown great alienation of mind from Christ. And he wrote it with his own hand, to show how serious he was in the denunciation;” and he inserted it between his salutation and solemn benediction, that it might be the more attentively regarded. “Estius says, from his example, and from the anathemas pronounced Galatians 1:8-9, arose the practice of the ancient general councils, of adding to their decisions, or definitions of doctrine, anathemas against them who denied these doctrines.” Be this as it may, let it ever be remembered that professing Christians, who do not sincerely love their Master, lie under the heaviest curse which an apostle could pronounce, or God inflict. Let the unhappy creatures take the alarm, and labour to obtain a more ingenuous temper, ere the Lord, whom they neglect, and against whom they entertain a secret enmity, descend from heaven with unsupportable terror, and pronounce the anathema with his own lips, in circumstances which shall for ever cut off all hope, and all possibility of its being reversed! See Macknight and Doddridge.


Verse 23-24

1 Corinthians 16:23-24. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ — All the blessed tokens and effects of his favour; be with you — And rest upon you for time and eternity! My love — My most sincere, tender, and affectionate regards; be with you all in Christ Jesus — Who is our peace, and the bond of our union with God and one another. There is a great propriety and beauty in this manner of ending an epistle, in which the apostle had so sharply reproved the Corinthians. By assuring them of his love, he showed them that all the severe things he had written proceeded from his anxiety for their eternal welfare, and thereby removed the prejudices which his reproofs might otherwise have raised in their minds. Amen — An expression which I add in testimony of my sincerity and seriousness in this and in all the things I have written.

 


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Bibliography Information
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 16:4". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/1-corinthians-16.html. 1857.

Lectionary Calendar
Monday, October 21st, 2019
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29
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