1 Corinthians Chapter 16
1 Corinthians 16:1 “Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye.”
It seems this is the same directions as (in Galatians10:2). Paul was concerned about the poverty stricken in Jerusalem. It seemed they had somewhat of an obligation to Jerusalem, since the beginning of the church was there.
The “Collection for the saints” is an offering for destitute believers in the over populated famine stricken city of Jerusalem. Paul had previously solicited funds from the churches of Galatia, Macedonia, and Achaia.
1 Corinthians 16:2 “Upon the first [day] of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as [God] hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.”
The church of the Lord Jesus Christ met on the first day of the week. The Christians practice firstfruits. This is just saying, take up a collection when you meet and have it ready. Each person should give according to what they can afford to give.
This evidences that the early church met on Sunday (Acts 20:7). The point is that giving must occur regularly, not just when one feels generous, particularly led to do so, or instructed to do so for some special purpose.
“As he may prosper”: No required amount or percentage for giving to the Lord’s work is specified in the New Testament. All giving to the Lord is to be free will giving and completely discretionary (see Luke 6:38; 2 Cor. 9:6-8).
This is not to be confused with the Old Testament required giving of 3 tithes which totaled about 23 percent annually to fund the national government of Israel, take care of public festivals, and provide welfare. Modern parallels to the Old Testament tithe are found in the taxation system of countries. Old Testament giving to God was not regulated as to amount.
1 Corinthians 16:3 “And when I come, whomsoever ye shall approve by [your] letters, them will I send to bring your liberality unto Jerusalem.”
Paul did not want to handle the money himself, so he asked that they choose some honorable member, who would go and take the offering to the poor in Jerusalem. Paul is praising them for their help, in the word “liberality”.
1 Corinthians 16:4 “And if it be meet that I go also, they shall go with me.”
Paul had not planned to go with them. He said it did not matter if he were going; he still wanted someone else to carry the offering. He would let the chosen person travel with him, but he did not want to carry the offering himself.
1 Corinthians 16:5 “Now I will come unto you, when I shall pass through Macedonia: for I do pass through Macedonia.”
Paul tried to go back to the churches he had started to check and see how they were doing. Paul wanted to wait a short time to let them get the problems in their church taken care of before he came. He loved these people and would come as soon as he was in their vicinity.
At the end of a 3 year stay in Ephesus, Paul wrote his letter and probably gave it to Timothy to deliver, (verse 10). Paul originally planned to follow Timothy a short while after, visiting Corinth on the way to and from Macedonia. He had to change his plan and visit only after a longer stay in Ephesus, then on to Corinth after Macedonia, to stay for a while.
1 Corinthians 16:6 “And it may be that I will abide, yea, and winter with you, that ye may bring me on my journey whithersoever I go.”
Paul did come and stay with them for a while. They loved Paul and many of them would probably travel with him as he left. This would show how badly they felt about his leaving.
1 Corinthians 16:7 “For I will not see you now by the way; but I trust to tarry a while with you, if the Lord permit.”
Notice that Paul says, “if the Lord permit”. He went where the Lord sent him. He stayed until the Lord said it is time to move on. Paul wanted to stay in Corinth for a while, but would be subject to the wishes of God.
1 Corinthians 16:8 “But I will tarry at Ephesus until Pentecost.”
Paul had spent a great deal of time at Ephesus. This could have been the trip when Paul had trouble with the silversmiths. Pentecost meant a great deal to the Christians, as well as the Jews. At Pentecost was when the Holy Spirit fell on 120, and they were all baptized in the Holy Ghost.
1 Corinthians 16:9 “For a great door and effectual is opened unto me, and [there are] many adversaries.”
Paul was travelling from place to place and establishing churches along the way. He faced much opposition from the Jews during these trips. He was not only fighting all types of idol worship, but his greatest opposition was from the Jewish leaders themselves. The opportunities were great, but the “adversaries” (enemies), were many as well.
Many adversaries: The apostle seems to have in mind his pending trip through Macedonia and is accounting for why he is staying a little longer in Ephesus.
Perhaps no New Testament church had such fierce opposition as the one in Ephesus (see 2 Cor. 1:8-10), where he described his experience in Ephesus (Acts 19:1-21). Despite that opposition, the door for the gospel was open wide (2 Cor. 2:12-13, where Paul also had an open door, but no heart to remain and preach), and Paul stayed. At the end of the experience of opposition described (in 2 Cor. 1:8-10), he wrote 1 Corinthians.
1 Corinthians 16:10 “Now if Timothy come, see that he may be with you without fear: for he worketh the work of the Lord, as I also [do].”
Timothy had been trained in the ways of the Lord by his mother and his grandmother, but a great deal of his ministry training had been from Paul. Paul thought of Timothy as his son in the spirit. When Timothy ministered, it was as if Paul were ministering. Timothy was an extension of the teachings of Paul. Paul is saying, it was the next best thing to him being with them himself.
Paul had sent him with Erastus to Macedonia (Acts 19:22), and then he was to travel to Corinth, perhaps to carry this epistle. “Without fear”: i.e. intimidation or frustration by believers in Corinth.
1 Corinthians 16:11 “Let no man therefore despise him: but conduct him forth in peace, that he may come unto me: for I look for him with the brethren.”
This is just Paul giving the highest recommendation to Timothy to those in Corinth. Paul tells them not to hate him. Perhaps, Paul was afraid they would be jealous, because he thought so much of Timothy.
1 Corinthians 16:12 “As touching [our] brother Apollos, I greatly desired him to come unto you with the brethren: but his will was not at all to come at this time; but he will come when he shall have convenient time.”
We must remember again, that they had written a letter to Paul, and this is an answer to that letter. These Christians here at Corinth had probably asked in the letter for Apollos to come and minister to them. He was, possibly, one of their favorite ministers. It also seems that he was ministering somewhere else at the time and could not come.
Paul felt Apollos should accompany the other brothers, Timothy and Erastus, to Corinth. Apollos refused, staying in Ephesus longer. Paul respected his convictions.
Verses 13 and 14, Paul gives 5 final commands. The Corinthians are to be alert, firm, mature, strong and loving.
1 Corinthians 16:13 “Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.”
This is a subject that I suppose I dwell on quite a lot. It is just as important to remain in the salvation you have received as it is to be saved in the first place. To “stand fast”, means not to be blown by every wind of doctrine. Be strong as men.
“The faith”: The Christian faith, i.e., sound doctrine as in Phil. 1:27, 1 Tim. 6:12; Jude 3.
1 Corinthians 16:14 “Let all your things be done with charity.”
“Charity”, here, is speaking of love. Paul is trying to teach them that Christianity is a relationship with the Lord in your heart. He is explaining to do things, because you love and not because of necessity.
1 Corinthians 16:15 “I beseech you, brethren, (ye know the house of Stephanas, that it is the firstfruits of Achaia, and [that] they have addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints,)”
Paul is reminding them here that these were some of the very first Christians. They also had totally dedicated themselves to the work of the Lord. Paul possibly was saying, even though they wrote me of these problems in the church, you must not have hard feelings about them. These things needed to be settled once for all.
The members of the household of Stephanas were among the first converts in Corinth, which is located in Achaia, the southern province of Greece. Stephanas was one of the Corinthians believers Paul baptized personally, and was visiting with Paul in Ephesus at the time this epistle was written. With Fortunatus and Achaicus, he probably delivered the earlier letter from Corinth mentioned (in 7:1).
1 Corinthians 16:16 “That ye submit yourselves unto such, and to every one that helpeth with [us], and laboreth.”
Paul is explaining that the new converts should listen to those who had been in the work longer and who had dedicated their lives to the work of the Lord.
1 Corinthians 16:17 “I am glad of the coming of Stephanas and Fortunatus and Achaicus: for that which was lacking on your part they have supplied.”
These were people who had come to minister to them in the things they were weak in. They had filled in the gaps in your spiritual learning.
Paul was glad about the arrival of his 3 friends in Ephesus who went there to be with him. The Corinthians were to give those men respect or their service to the Lord.
1 Corinthians 16:18 “For they have refreshed my spirit and yours: therefore acknowledge ye them that are such.”
One great thing that happens when a group of old seasoned ministers get together, is that they refresh each other’s spirit. There is no room for jealousy in the ministry. Meet with other ministers, and share what God has shown you, and all will benefit by it.
1 Corinthians 16:19 “The churches of Asia salute you. Aquila and Priscilla salute you much in the Lord, with the church that is in their house.”
We remember that Priscilla and Aquila were a husband and wife that Paul had lived with. In fact, Paul had been a tent maker with them to make a living. They were both teachers of the Word of God and they also, opened their home as a church. They were all three responsible for founding the church in Corinth and in Ephesus.
The following Scripture shows that both of them taught.
Acts 18:26 “And he began to speak boldly in the synagogue: whom when Aquila and Priscilla had heard, they took him unto [them], and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly.”
They had become good friends with Paul, since he stayed in their house during his first ministry in Corinth (Acts 18:1-3). He may have stayed with them the entire year and a half.
“In their house”: The early church used homes of believers for worship and many other activities.
1 Corinthians 16:20 “All the brethren greet you. Greet ye one another with a holy kiss.”
It was not unusual in these days for a man to kiss another man in greeting. He did not kiss him on the lips, but on the cheek. Notice the type of this kiss (holy). Paul is saying; do not be distant to your brothers in Christ. Show that you care for each other.
This was a pure expression of Christian love between men with men and women with women, with no sexual overtones.
1 Corinthians 16:21 “The salutation of [me] Paul with mine own hand.”
Paul is just saying that this is not second-hand information, but from him personally. He greets them personally.
Paul dictated the main part of the letter to a scribe, but finished and signed it himself.
1 Corinthians 16:22 “If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maranatha.”
“Anathema” seems to mean excommunicated. Love of the Lord and the Lord’s people is the essence of Christianity. To not love the Lord would mean that you had rejected the Lord. You would just automatically cut yourself off, if you did not love the Lord. Of course, I think that is terribly important.
1 Corinthians 16:23 “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ [be] with you.”
This statement is a trademark of Paul. This is like speaking a benediction on them. It is a prayer of Paul’s for them to continue in the unmerited favor of the Lord.
1 Corinthians 16:24 “My love [be] with you all in Christ Jesus. Amen.”
Paul is just saying I love you, you are my spiritual children. Paul knows the only way to truly love people is to allow the Lord to love them through you. Amen just means, so be it.
1 Corinthians Chapter 16 Questions
1. What other church had Paul spoken to about the collection for the saints?
2. What saints was Paul speaking of?
3. Why did they have somewhat of an obligation there?
4. What day of the week did the church of the Lord Jesus meet?
5. Christians practice ______________.
6. How much should each person give?
7. Who was to take the money to Jerusalem?
8. What does the word “liberality” show us?
9. Would Paul be willing to carry the offering?
10. When was Paul planning to come to Corinth?
11. Why did Paul not want to come immediately?
12. What would show how badly they felt about Paul leaving?
13. What were the 4 important words in verse 7?
14. How long would Paul tarry at Ephesus?
15. What young man did Paul train and even think of him as his spiritual son?
16. Who had they wished would come and minister?
17. Stand fast in the ______.
18. Let all your things be done with _______.
19. Who had refreshed Paul’s spirit?
20. Who were Aquila and Priscilla?
21. Which one of them taught the Word of God?
22. How did Paul tell them to greet each other?
23. What does “Anathema Maranatha” mean?
24. What benediction did Paul speak on them?
25. How is the only way to truly love others?
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