INSTRUCTIONS RESPECTING THE COLLECTIONS FOR THE SAINTS IN JERUSALEM; INTIMATIONS OF HIS INTENDED VISIT AND OF THE TREATMENT DUE TO HIS FRIENDS AND HELPERS; FINALLY GREETINGS AND PARTING WISHES WITH EARNEST EXHORTATIONS
1 Corinthians 16
1Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to [arranged 2throughout,
] the churches of Galatia, even so do ye. Upon the [every,
] first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him [whatsoever has gone well with him,
ὅ ôé ἅí åὐïäῶôáé
], that there be no gatherings when I come. 3And when I come [am arrived,
], whomsoever ye shall approve by your letters, [om. by your letters] them will I send [with letters] to 4bring your liberality unto Jerusalem. And [But,
] if it be meet that I go [worth my going,
ἅîéïí ôïῦ ÷ἀìὲ ðïñÝõåóèáé
] also, they shall go with me. 5Now I will come unto you, when I shall pass through Macedonia: For I do pass through Macedonia. 6And it may be that I will abide, yea, and winter with you [in order,
], that ye may bring me on my journey [send me forward,
, om. on my journey] whithersoever I go. 7For I will not [I do not wish to,
] see you now by the way; but I trust [for I hope,
] to tarry a while with you, if the Lord permit [shall have permitted me,
].8But I will tarry at Ephesus until Pentecost. 9For a great door and effectual is [has been,
] opened unto me, and there are10many adversaries. Now [But,
] if Timotheus come, see that he may be with you without fear: for he worketh the work of the Lord, as I also do.11Let no man therefore despise him: but conduct him forth [send him forward] in peace, [in order,
] 12that he may come unto me: for I look for him with the brethren. [But] As touching our [the] brother Apollos, I greatly desired him [besought him much,
] 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. 13Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong. 14Let all your things [every thing you 15do] be done with charity [in love,
]. [But] I beseech you, brethren, (ye know the house of Stephanas, that it is the first fruits of Achaia, and that they have 16addicted themselves to the ministry [the service] of the saints,) That ye [also,
] submit yourselves [be subject,
] unto such, and to every oneth at helpeth 17with us, and laboureth. I am glad of the coming [But I rejoice at the presence,
÷áßñù äὲ ἐðὶ ôῃ ðáñïõóßᾳ
] of Stephanas and Fortunatus and Achaicus: for that which was lacking on your part [the want of you,
] they have [om. have,
] supplied. 18For they have [om. have,
] refreshed my spirit and yours: therefore acknowledge ye them that are such. 19The churches of Asia salute you. Aquila and Priscilla [Prisca,
] salute you much in the Lord, with the church [congregation,
] that is in their house. 20All the brethren greet you. Greet ye one another with a holy kiss. 21The salutation of me Paul with my own hand. 22If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ [om. Jesus Christ], let him be Anathema, Maranatha. 23The grace of our Lord Jesus Christbe with you. 24My love be with you all in Christ Jesus. Amen [om. Amen].
The first epistle to the Corinthians was written from Philippi by Stephanas, and Fortunatus, and Achaicus, and Timotheus. [om. this whole subscription.]
EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL
1Co_16:1-4. [“The conclusion of this Epistle, as of that to the Romans, Ephesians, Colossians, and 2 Timothy, is taken up with matters more or less personal and secular. Of these the first is the collection amongst the Gentile churches for the poorer Christians in Judea. From whatever cause, there was at this period much poverty in Palestine, compared with the other eastern provinces of the Roman Empire. The chief allusions contained in the apostolical Epistles, to the duties of the rich towards the poor, are those which we find in connection with the contribution here mentioned. And in the Epistle of St. James and that to the Hebrews, both addressed, if not to Judea, at least to Jewish communities. And with this agrees the great stress laid in the Gospels on the duty of alms-giving. We learn also, from the account of the last struggle for independence in Josephus, how deeply the feelings of the poor were embittered against the rich in Jerusalem, so as to give to the intestine factions of that time something of the character of a social war. This was, in part, occasioned by the greater density of population in Palestine, compared with the thinly inhabited tracts of Greece and Asia Minor; in part by the strongly marked distinction of rich and poor, which had been handed down to the Jews from the earlier periods of their history, where we are familiar with it from the denunciations of Isaiah, Jeremiah and Nehemiah. The Christians, besides, were, as a general rule, from the poorer classes (Jam_2:5), and would be subject to persecutions and difficulties, on account of their religion (Heb_10:24). From the mention of the poor as a distinct class in the Christian church, in Act_9:36, and in the passages relating to the contribution now in question, it would seem that the community of property at Jerusalem must have either declined or failed of its object; and may have even contributed to occasion the great poverty which we thus find prevailing in the period of twenty or thirty years after its first mention. So pressing was the necessity at the time when St. Paul first parted from the church of Jerusalem, that an express stipulation was made in behalf of this very point (Gal_2:10). ‘To remember the poor,’ was the one link by which the Apostle of the Gentiles was still bound to the churches of Judea. This pledge was given, probably, before his second journey. But it was not till his third and last journey that the preparations were made for the great contribution of which he now speaks. From this passage, confirmed indirectly by Gal_2:10; Gal_6:10, it would appear that he had first given orders for the collection in the churches of Galatia. From 2Co_8:10; 2Co_9:2, it also appears that the orders here given to the Corinthians had been received by them a year before the time of the Second Epistle, and therefore some months before this Epistle.” Stanley].
Now concerning the collection for the saints,—These words may either be connected with those immediately following, so as to be rendered, ‘as 1 gave order concerning the collection,’ etc. (comp. 12:1; 8:1; 2Co_9:1); or be taken absolutely, as in 1Co_16:12; 1Co_7:1. [“The
, now concerning, rather serves to introduce the new subject than to form any constructional part of the sentence.” Alford. “Observe the beauty of the connection with what has gone before. The Apostle had just been preaching consolation to the faithful, from the certainty of a glorious resurrection of the body; and in accordance with our Lord’s declarations concerning works of mercy (Mat_25:34-46) he had taken occasion from that doctrine to enforce the duty of laboring sted-fastly in the Lord in deeds of piety and charity, in order to a blessed immortality. He now applies that Christian doctrine and duty to a particular work, in which he himself was then engaged, and in which he desired to engage the Corinthians.” Wordsworth]. The entire form of the introduction, as well as the article before
, the collection, indicates that he had spoken before in regard to the matter, and the Corinthians had, perhaps, inquired how they were to carry it forward. The word
no where else occurs in Scripture, [“and seems to have been Hellenistical and idiotical, it being rarely found in the classical writers.” Bloomfield]. The design of the collection is indicated by the preposition
. The saints were the poor Christians in Jerusalem (1Co_16:3; Rom_15:26; comp. Act_24:17). The mother church had been impoverished in part by the community of goods that took place soon after Pentecost, and in part by persecutions, and perhaps also ‘by contributions for the mission work among the dispersed’ (Osiander); and the support of it was an act of filial piety, calculated also to promote a brotherly union between the Jewish and Gentile Christians. The supposition that Paul wished to quiet the opposition of the Jewish Christians, who had been aroused against him, by this work of love (Cath.), is to be rejected as contrary to that simplicity of purpose manifest in this Epistle.—as I gave order to the churches of Galatia,—This order was issued probably during his residence among the Galatians (Act_18:23); or it may have emanated from him at Ephesus. [Nothing of the sort appears in the Epistle to the Galatians; the allusion to it there (2:10) being only incidental]. The mention here of this order, thereby indicating what the Galatians were doing, was simply for the purpose of stimulating one church by the example of another. As Bengel remarks, “To the Corinthians he proposes the example of the Galatians; to the Macedonians, the example of the Corinthians; to the Romans that of the Corinthians and Macedonians (2Co_9:2; Rom_15:26). Great is the power of example.”—even so do ye also.—
—The aorist here imparts urgency to the exhortation. The thing is to be done at once; “bis dat, qui cito dat,” who gives quickly, gives twice.—Next comes the specific direction as to what they were to do.—Upon the first (day) of the week—
êáôὰ ìßá óáââÜôïí
, lit. “upon one of the Sabbath.”
, a designation for the week, occurring also in Luk_18:12.
, one, is for
, first; a Hebraism,
(Lightfoot on Mat_28:1). “This passage is important as the first in which there occurs any trace of a distinction put upon the first day of the week, as our Lord’s resurrection day. Certainly we cannot find here any special observance of the day, as Osiander does.” Neander. Inasmuch as he says nothing of laying by in the church assembly, it does not follow from what is here said, that the churches convened on that day. All that can be inferred is that this day of the resurrection of our Lord was for the Christians a holy day, out of which all other observances of the sort naturally develop themselves.—let each one of you lay up by himself,—
, at home (comp.
Luk_24:12); [like the French chez soi (Rob. Lex. under
), or the German bei sich selbst (as Luther’s version gives it). The phrase is therefore conclusive against the prevailing opinion that the collection was taken up in the church. It was an individual and private affair. “This is confirmed by the exhortation in allusion to the same subject, in 2Co_9:7, ‘Every man, according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity; for God loveth a cheerful giver.’ ” Stanley].—treasuring up—From the fact that something was laid aside every Sunday, there would naturally result an accumulation,
, hence the part.
, [rendered in the E. V. “in store. ”].—whatever he has been prospered in,—
ôé ἅí åὐùäῶôáé
, according as, or, in respect to whatever. The addition of
gives it a general and potential character;
, lit. ‘to be set forward on a journey’]; hence, ‘what he has gained by the success of business.’ This he regards as a devine blessing, which he would have redound to the benefit of their needy brethren [as may be seen from the use of the passive implying the reception of some good from a source too obvious to require mention]. The object of this gradual accumulation was, as he says,—in order that there may be no gatherings when I come.—By this preliminary work, the whole business of collection would be lightened, the voluntariness of the contribution be preserved, a greater amount perhaps collected, and time gained. [The order of the Greek would indicate an emphasis not observed in the English translation], ‘in order that when I come, then there may be no collections made,’ as though he wanted the time of his next visit for something more important. The taking up of the collection, though a very important part of his business, was still only incidental to the far greater one of preaching the Gospel. Hodge draws another argument from this, in favor of the position that this passage is proof of an early observance of the Lord’s day for worship. “But if every man had his money laid by at home, the collection would be still to be made. The probability is, therefore, Paul intended to direct the Corinthians to make a collection every Lord’s day for the poor, when they met for worship.” There is some force in this. But must not this be interpreted in consistency with the settled meaning of
, and it be supposed to mean, as Barnes says, “that there should be no trouble in collecting the small sums; that it should all be prepared; and all persons be ready to hand over to him what he had laid by?” Or, while the “laying by” was to be at home weekly, may not “the treasuring up “refer to the depositing of the sum in the church treasury at some time previous to Paul’s arrival, so that it should be there ready for him. This seems the fairest method of interpretation].—And when I have arrived—He here goes on to mention some further arrangements respecting the guardianship of the collection, [as it were to pledge in advance the utmost care of what might be bestowed, and to preclude any allegations on the part of his enemies of any personal interest in the matter].—whomsoever ye may approve—(
, ‘approve after suitable examination.’ [“The Corinthians themselves were to choose their agents, probably to prevent the possibility of misappropriation, as others had been chosen for a like purpose by the other churches. See 2Co_8:18-20, ‘And we have sent with him the brother avoiding this that no man should blame us in this abundance which is administered by us.’ ” Stanley]. Thus all suspicion would be obviated.—by letters, them will I send—
is not to be joined with what precedes [as in E. V. and by Beza, Calvin, and Chrys.] (quos Hierosolymitanis per epistolas commendaveritis), but with what follows. It is prefixed by way of emphasis; also perhaps in allusion to the other possible alternative mentioned in the next verse, which was already in mind. These letters would be for the purpose of accrediting the messengers, and commending them and their object to friends at Jerusalem. [“Hence, we see how common Paul’s practice was of writing epistles. And who knows how many private letters of his, not addressed to churches, have been lost? The only letter of the kind, which remains to us (except the Pastoral Epistles), viz., that to Philemon, owes its preservation perhaps to the mere circumstance that it is at the same time addressed to the church in the house of Philemon (1Co_16:2).” Meyer].—to convey your favor.—
, used by metonymy for your ‘charity,’ or ‘token of love.’ (Plato:
); likewise in 2Co_8:4; 2Co_8:6; 2Co_8:19. To this he adds another proposal, conditioned upon the magnitude of the collection, is making the thing worth while.—But if it should be worth my going also,—i.e., ‘the collection, or its gross amount be large enough to warrant my taking such a journey in person;’ for only this would justify his participating in the thing. He says this from a just sense of his dignity as an apostle; and it by no means conflicts with a real humility. [“A just estimate of one’s self is not pride.” Bengel]. To ascribe his readiness to accompany the gift to a desire, either to look after its distribution, or to secure for himself by means of it a kind reception, is altogether gratuitous. He intimates nothing of the sort. But it were reasonable to suppose that he took this as a delicate way of stimulating them to make the collection as large as possible. That he actually carried out this purpose, may be seen from Rom_15:25; comp. Acts 21 (although nothing is said here of the collection).
1Co_16:5-9. Taking up his declaration in 1Co_16:3, about being present with them, he here explains himself more fully in regard to his purpose, especially as to the time of his visit. His earlier plan, which he did not carry out (2Co_1:23), was, as we see from 2Co_1:15, a very different one. [It was to go to Macedonia by way of Corinth, and then to return to them at Corinth. This he had made known to them either by the lost Epistle, or by an oral message. But now he tacitly drops this, (thereby exposing himself to a charge of levity of purpose, 2Co_1:17 ff.), and proceeds to state another, reversing the order of his going, to Corinth round by way of Macedonia]. That here announced he did execute (comp. 2Co_2:13; 2Co_8:1; 2Co_9:2; 2Co_9:4; 2Co_2:1; 2Co_12:14; 2Co_13:1). [Here we find him already in Macedonia, when the 2 Epistle to them was written; and in Act_20:1 ff. there is an account of his journey].—Now I will come to you when I have passed through Macedonia;—[And this he was to do without stopping by the way, as may be seen in the next sentence, which is not to be read, as it often is, parenthetically, as though repeating in a positive manner what had been just mentioned as a condition of time].—For I shall pass through Macedonia.—
is here present for the future; [and it must be read in its strictest ‘sense, q. d., I am going right through, as] it stands in contrast with the
of the next clause as indicated by
.—But with you,—[
ð ñὸò ὑìᾶò
comes first, because designed to express the antithesis to
].—it may be,—
shows his determination was not settled. He takes into account circumstances which might possibly prevent his doing as he desired.—I shall tarry, or even pass the winter,—As his language in speaking of his plan breathes an affectionate and winning spirit, so he goes on in what follows, where the position of the words is expressive of feeling.—in order that ye—in preference to every other church,—may send me forward whithersoever I may go.—In this way he shows how very close to his heart they stood. It was a custom, as may be learned from many passages, (Rom_15:24; Act_15:3; Act_17:15; 3Jn_1:6), for members of the Church to show their respect and love by accompanying the ministers that went from them, a little way on their journey, probably by a deputation chosen from their number,
[with a verb of motion], for
, Luk_10:1. [The adverb of rest is joined with a verb of motion in a pregnant way, to signify the place of rest after the motion is accomplished. See Jelf. Gr. Gram., § 647, 6, 3, a.
, to send forward, a common expression for denoting that helpful attendance on departing guests which was wont to be done in token of regard].—For I am not willing at this time to see you by the way;—i.e., ‘only make you a flying visit. Inasmuch as
does not stand before
, it is evident, he is not here speaking of any change of plan in regard to his journey, as though his previous wish had been to see them only in passing. And since it reads
, there is nothing to warrant the inference that he made a brief earlier visit. The reason of the determination just expressed he next gives.—for I hope to tarry a while with you,—An expectation which the appearance of things, as they then were, seemed to warrant.
, as in 1Co_16:6; comp. 11, 3.—if the Lord permit.—An expression of that pious feeling which always led him to realize his dependence on the will of the Lord in whatsoever he undertook. [Comp. Jam_4:15. “For that ye ought to say, if the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that”—a condition which the early Christians were wont to append to all expressions of their determination in reference to anything future, in the deep consciousness that all events were under the direction of that God to whose will it was their purpose ever to submit. With finite creatures no resolution can or ought to be absolute. Every act is conditioned on Him who is the sole absolute Sovereign]. He now states his plans still further.—But I will tarry at Ephesus until Pentecost.—[In this revelation of his intentions Chrysostom detects an indication of his confidence and affection toward the Corinthians]. There is no reason to infer from Act_20:1, as Osiander does, that he left Ephesus earlier than the time mentioned in consequence of the uproar occasioned by Demetrius. Two reasons are assigned for his tarrying.—For a door has been opened before me,—By the open door (comp. 2Co_2:12; Col_4:3; Rev_3:8), he signifies the opportunity that was given him for laboring in the cause of Christ.—large—By this he indicates the extent of the opportunity before him. It was a wide field,—and effectual—By this he denotes the intensive aspect of it, or perhaps also the influence which his activity seemed destined to exert (Meyer). He here passes out from the figure to the real aspects of the case, and that, too, not in a logically consistent manner. Hence the reading
(also in Phm_1:6) which appears in the Latin authorities, and so the Vulgate has evidens [and the Rheims version, evident]. The meaning is, that there was a rich opportunity for labor, and that, too, of the most abundant and energetic sort. And is there not an intimation here also of the power of divine grace in opening the door (Osiander)? A second reason for lingering at Ephesus is,—and there (are) many adversaries.—The great success of the Apostle provoked strong opposition against Him. This only stimulated the Apostle, who felt himself strong in the Lord, to remain rather than to leave. [Besides, his presence was the more needful for the strength and support of the infant church, which he had gathered]. Neander, however, thinks that no motive is here assigned for a longer stay, but only that the Apostle intended to have the Corinthians infer from it that matters were not going so very comfortably with him, and that he was obliged to struggle with many obstacles. [“The opponents of the Gospel varied very much in character in different places. Those in Ephesus were principally men interested in the worship of Diana. The pressure of the heathen seemed to have driven the Jews and Christians to make common cause (Act_19:22). Whereas, in Corinth Paul’s most bitter opposers were judaizers.” Hodge].
1Co_16:10-11. Now if Timothy come,—Timothy’s visit to Corinth was to precede his own (comp. 4:17). He, together with Erastus, had contemplated making a visitorial journey first to Macedonia (Act_19:22). Him, therefore, he here commends to their friendly and re-spectful reception, and to their peaceful furtherance of him on his way. Instead of, “if he come,” he might have written ‘when’ he comes, thereby simply indicating the time of his arrival but in using the conditional form, he expresses some doubt in reference to his coming, in consequence of the uncertainties of the journey [“And though Paul had sent him forward thither, yet he had many churches in Macedonia to visit by the way.” Bloomfield].—see—
, to look to something, is generally followed by
; but here by a clause beginning with
, signifying intention.—that he may be with you without fear:—This request refers not to protection from unbelievers, still less is it a warning against hostile attacks from opponents (Mosheim); but it is aimed rather a the haughty, overbearing conduct of proud partisan leaders, and their followers. He may also have had in mind Timothy’s timid nature. This request is supported by a reference to the high calling of Timothy.—for he worketh the I work of the Lord,—
ἕñãïí ôïῦ êõïßïõ
. as in 15:58; it may mean either the work in which the Lord himself is engaged, or that which He has prescribed.—as I also do.—By this he expresses either a similarity of office, or that Timothy evinced the same zeal and fidelity to the cause of Christ which he also felt (Osiander). The first explanation would perhaps be the more correct. [Hodge combines them both]. Hereupon follows a more definite injunction.—Let no man therefore despise him:—whether it be on account of his youth (Tim. 4:12), or on account of his natural modesty (Burger, refering to 2Ti_1:6-7), or out of party zeal because he came from Paul.—but send him on—[In regard to the manner of sending on, see above, 1Co_16:6],—in peace,—These words are not to be connected with what follows (Flatt). They do not mean, simply, in safety and in good condition, but still more, ‘without annoyance,’ ‘with good understanding and kindly affection.’ And the object of this is,—that he may come to me:—And the reason for his coming to him, and not going elsewhere is,—for I am waiting for him with the brethren.—These brethren were not with the waiting Apostle, but with Timothy, who must have had other companions besides Erastus (comp. 1Co_16:12). It was common to send several (Meyer).
1Co_16:12.—As touching our brother Apollos,—
, stands absolutely as 1Co_16:1. Each of the new topics of this Epistle being introduced by
. In reference to Apollos see Int. No. 2; and also, i. 12; iii. 5 ff.; iv. 6 ff. That which he said in regard to the coming of Timothy prompts him to give information now respecting Apollos, because perhaps, of a wish that had been expressed in regard to him by the Corinthians.—I greatly exhorted him to come to you—He here wards off in advance all suspicion in regard to any reluctance of his own about the visit of Apollos at Corinth, and gives them to understand his perfect confidence in him, and the brotherly relations” which they mutually sustained, [notwithstanding the party strife that was waged under their names at Corinth. So far was he from desiring him to stay on this account, that he was urgent he should go; it may be in the hope that he might contribute something towards settling the difficulties. And here we have another illustration of the nobility of Paul’s spirit, his entire freedom from all petty jealousy and the loving confidence which he reposed in his fellow-workers]. Apollos must have been at this time at Ephesus.—
denotes not only the purport, but also the aim of his exhortation to Apollos. with the brethren:—These brethren are the ones mentioned in 1Co_16:11. [“Besides the mission of Timothy there was another later mission despatched at the time of his writing this Epistle with the view partly of carrying the Epistle and enforcing the observance of its contents, partly of urging upon the church the necessity of completing their contribution before the Apostle’s arrival (2Co_8:6; 2Co_12:18). This mission was composed of Titus and two other brethren (2Co_8:18; 2Co_8:22-23), whose names are not mentioned; Titus having been chosen for this, as Timothy for the other, probably from his greater energy and firmness of character. That the mission thus described is the one to which he here alludes can hardly be doubted. The words “exhort” and “brother” are used in the same emphatic and recognized sense in both passages; and as the mission there spoken of was previous to his writing the second Epistle, it can be referred to no occasion so obviously as that which is here described. These accordingly are “the brethren” who would, as he expected, find or wait for Timothy at Corinth, and return with him. It would seem, however, that the Apostle’s original wish had been, that the head of this mission should have been not Titus, but Apollos. Apollos, since his visit to Corinth (Act_18:27, comp. with 1Co_3:6) must have returned to Ephesus; and he, both from the distinction which he enjoyed in the opinion of his fellow Christians, and from his previous acquaintance with the church at Corinth, would have been a natural person to send on such a mission. It is a slight confirmation of the identity of this mission with that of Titus, that the only later occasion on which the name of Apollos occurs in the New Testament is in the Epistle to Titus Tit_3:13, where they are spoken of as living together.” Stanley].—but (his) will was not at all to come at this time;—Some here take the word “will,” which stands without further designation, to mean ‘the will of God,’ appealing for support to the inconvenience mentioned in the next clause, and to the analogy of Rom. 12:28; but the context clearly shows the will of Apollos to have been meant. Here, too,
is not to be taken in the strict telic sense, but it simply indicates a degree of determination in the resolve taken. The reason of the unwillingness of Apollos to go to Corinth may have lain, partly, in his fear of encouraging the factions at Corinth, and, partly, in other duties which he regarded as more pressing. The latter seems to be indicated in the next clause.—but he will come when he shall have convenient time.—
, a word of later Greek, meaning to have opportunity, leisure, or occasion, for anything. Here, it refers, not to the removal of difficulties at Corinth, as though it meant, ‘when you have become united again’—but to other circumstances and engagements which were then holding him back.
1Co_16:13-14.—Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, act like men, be strong.—Hastening now to the close, he aims to impress upon his readers briefly and earnestly the duty of devoting themselves to the service of the Lord—whether he or Apollos were present to observe them, or not. This exhortation—called out; as Burger thinks, by the mention of Apollos, whose name might serve to awaken the recollection of matters already rebuked (1–3)—revolves around two main points, faith and love. Stedfastness in the faith essentially presupposes watchfulness—that Christian circumspection which keeps on the look-out for all attacks of treacherous foes, both from without and from within, abandons itself to no false security, and fortifies itself against temptation from whatsoever source (comp. 10:12). And this watchfulness is even associated with a wakeful, courageous, manly attitude, and with a summoning up of strength to resist the might of every foe. These two qualities are no less anevidence of faith, than they are the conditions of a true steadfastness. The expressions used, all imply the figure of a spiritual combat in which they are supposed to be engaged. The “standing” (
) here does not denote a standing in readiness for the fight, but a standing firm in it, and not suffering one’s self to be forced aside from that faith which is the basis of the Christian life—the fixed attitude of the warrior in the ranks or at his post (comp. 15:1, 58).—
, to be manly, in deportment and action, occurs only here in the New Testament; elsewhere in he Classics and LXX. Josh. 1:21; 1Ma_2:64.—
, be strong (comp. Eph_3:16. “Be strong in might through his spirit in the inward man”); in the older Greek, the word for this was
. The word is suggestive of conflicts with open enemies, such as Jews and Heathen and also, of persecutions endured on account of the faith (Osiander).—Let all your things be done in love. After what he has said already, on the duty of love he needed only to express himself briefly on this point in concluding. The allusion is primarily to their divisions and strifes, q. d., ‘in all you do, instead of being governed by a selfish partisanship, suffer yourselves to be actuated by a love which looks to the well being of the brotherhood’ (comp. 13:1, 11; 11:18; 8:1; 10:24, 33). [“He says, ‘watch ye,’ as though they were sleeping; ‘stand fast,’ as though they were wavering; ‘be manly and strong,’ as though they were effeminate and delicate; ‘let all your things be done in love,’ as though they were at strife.” Chrys.]
1Co_16:15-18. After the above concluding exhortation he turns to speak of some personal matters. And first he enjoins a respectful behavior towards certain prominent members of the church and one in particular.—And I beseech you, brethren,—The particular point of his exhortation is introduced by
in the 16th verse; and what follows must be treated as a parenthesis, referring to what was already known by them and formed the motive for their complying with his request.—ye know,—
; this cannot be a part of his exhortation, for the simple reason that it cannot be shown to be the imperative form for
.—the house of Stephanas that it is the first fruits of Achaia,—i. e., the first in that province who were brought to the faith (comp. Rom_16:5, where the words “unto Christ” are added). From 1:16 we learn that Paul himself baptized this family, It was the first sheaf of a great spiritual harvest in Corinth, indeed in that whole region; hence a family most readily disposed toward the Gospel, and from which no doubt a saving influence emanated. As it distinguished itself in respect to faith, so also in respect to love.—and that they have addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints.—The plural here occurs, because the term “house” is a collective noun. By “ministry” we are not to understand any official action such as is carried on in the capacity of a presbyter, for which indeed such first fruits were as a general thing preëminently fitted. There is nothing in the following verb “submit yourselves” to constrain us to this supposition, as though the meaning here were that the Corinthians should subject themselves to these persons just as other churches submit themselves to their rulers; rather the injunction here—That ye submit yourselves unto such—corresponds to what has just been said of the household of Stephanas: ‘as these had addicted themselves unto the ministry for the saints—a thing which involved a sort of submission so also do ye devote yourselves to them.’ In what way this ministry had been exercised is uncertain; probably in services of love to individuals such as the poor, the sick, in hospitality towards brethren visiting from abroad, and in the undertaking of various responsibilities in behalf of the church, as for example, the journey of Stephenas to Ephesus for the purpose of seeing Paul. The word
denotes not simply the showing of respect in general but like obsequi, following a person’s advice or opinion, conducting in accordance with their wishes. [“Nothing is more natural than submission to the good.” Hodge]. By the expression
he brings to view more prominently the excellent qualities of the parties referred to, q. d., ‘to persons of like excellence with these.’ That it does not refer to a class is evident from the clause appended,—and to every one that helpeth with us and laboreth.—It is debated to what the
, with, in
is to be referred. There is nothing in the context to justify our referring it to God. Rather we are led to refer it to the apostle, and, next, to those just mentioned. The participle
implies that this coöperation was an carnest and laborious one. [“Those who serve should be served.” Hodge]. He enforces his injunction in relation to the family of Stephanas by mentioning what he and the Corinthian brethren with him, Fortunatus and Achaicus, had done for himself, thereby enchancing their respect for these worthy men.—I am glad of the coming of Stephanas and Fortunatus and Achaicus:—These men had been sent as a deputation to him from Corinth, and had brought the letter alluded to in 7:1. In regard to them we can determine nothing more definitely. Whether it was the same Stephanas of whose family he had just spoken (as is probable), or a son of his; and whether the two others belonged to this family or not; and whether this Fortunatus was the same as the one mentioned in the first Epistle of Clemens to the Corinthians or another of the same name, is all uncertain. The reason of his joy at their presence was,—because your want they have supplied.—For a like expression see Php_2:30. But what are we to understand by the expression to
ôὸ ὑìÝôåñïí ὑóôÝñçìá
, your want? It would be inconsistent with the whole spirit of this paragraph to suppose the Apostle to imply a bitter charge against them by translating the words, [as in the E. V.] “that which was lacking on your part,” as though they had failed in suitable tokens of love, or the like. It is better to take
as the objective genitive (comp. 15:31), and translate ‘the want of you,’ i. e., your absence. This it is which was in part made up by the presence of these brethren. This is more fully explained in what follows—For they have refreshed my spirit and yours:—
, lit. to cause to rest, to relieve from care or trouble, and in general, to refresh (2Co_7:13; Mat_11:28; Phm_1:20). But how far did they refresh his spirit, and that of the Corinthians? The latter certainly, does not refer to any earlier services of love which these men had shown to the Corinthians; and just as little, to the assurances of love from the apostle which they carried back with them; since this was not contemporaneous with their refreshment of his spirit: hence, also, not to the influence which the information and assurances they had conveyed to him had had upon the shaping of this Epistle. The point is best explained upon the ground of a fellowship between the apostle and the church (comp. 2 Corinthians 11, 3), q. d., ‘while they refreshed me, they also refreshed you.’ The quieting of his spirit by the information they had brought and by their personal presence which served to exhibit anew the love of the church toward him and awaken in him the hope of their improvement, must also have been beneficial for them; and the consciousness of a fellowship thereby renewed and strengthened must have proved exceedingly refreshing alike for them and for him (comp. Osiander and Meyer ed. 3, who remarks, “that their interview with the Apostle must have been refreshing to the feelings of the whole church, inasmuch as they had come to him as representatives of the whole church.” As they through their presence had provided for Paul a sweet refreshment they had also done it for the church, which, by their means, had come into communion with him and was indebted to them for this refreshment, which must have been felt by it in the consciousness of this communion. [“However understood it is one of the examples of urbanity with which this Apostle’s writings abound.” Hodge]. To this he adds the exhortation—therefore acknowledge ye them that are such.—
does not mean precisely to highly value, but to rightly recognize, viz.: in their true worth and according to their deserts, from which indeed esteem naturally follows. The reason for this is the thing of which he has just spoken—their services and the refreshment which had been administered by them both to himself and the church.
1Co_16:19-20. He presents a three-fold greeting whereby Christian fellowship is expressed and confirmed.—The churches of Asia salute you.—Asia is here to be understood, either in the narrowest sense as designating Ionia and the region round about Ephesus; or suitably to Roman usage then current, as applying to the whole region of Asia Minor bordering on the western coast, including Caria, Lydia, Mysia (Asia proconsularis). Since a regular intercourse was maintained between Ephesus and those regions, and since the apostle stood in living relations to the churches here planted, both by personal visits and by means of brethren visiting him from thence, it is probable that they sent greetings by him to the Corinthian church on his giving them information respecting it and announcing his intention of writing. Next comes a greeting from that excellent Christian couple who formerly tarried with him at Corinth, and were intimately connected with the Christian church there, but who had left and come to Ephesus (Act_18:2; Act_18:26). The greeting here is a hearty one, and founded upon a Christian fellowship.—Aquilla and Priscilla salute you much in the Lord,—As bound together by faith in a common Lord, they here send the benedictions of a fervent love.—and the Church that is in their house,—i. e., not simply their numerous household, but that portion of the Ephesian church which was wont to assemble under their roof. Owing to the lack of accommodations, the larger churches, like those of Ephesus and Rome were obliged to divide, and meet in several rooms furnished by the more wealthy members.—All the brethren greet you.—i. e., the Ephesian Christians collectively, apart from those just mentioned specifically. The fellowship thus extended from church to church, he next insists on their maintaining among themselves.—Greet ye one another with an holy kiss.—[“This was the conventional token of Christian affection. In the East the kiss was a sign either of friendship among equals, or of reverence and submission on the part of an inferior. The people kissed the images of their gods and the hands of princes.” Hodge]. This token the apostle would have them give to each other immediately upon their hearing the Epistle, as a pledge of their freshly awakened brotherly love, and in connection with the assurances of love conveyed to them in the salutations from abroad.—
, to manifest a cordial love, especially at times of meeting and parting. “A holy kiss” means the token of Christian fellowship and holy love, as contrasted with that prompted by natural or impure affections. The expression occurs also in Rom_16:16; 2Co_13:12; 1Pe_5:14. In the century following Christians were wont to welcome each other after prayers and at the love feasts and before the communion of the Lord’s Supper, men greeting men, and women women, as brethren and sisters. “The kiss which they were to give,” as Bengel observes, “was one in which all discord and dissention must be swallowed up.”
1Co_16:21-24. The salutation of (me) Paul with mine own hand.—As Paul commonly wrote by an amanuensis, he was accustomed to write with his own hand the concluding sentences of his Epistle by way of authenticating them (2Th_3:17; Col_4:18). Accordingly he here appends his own greeting with his own hand in token of the genuineness of the Epistle. “The salutation,” as it were the main one—the greeting pareminence. Next follows, in the first place, an earnest word of warning, written still undoubtedly with his own hand.—If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ,—He here excludes all formal Christians from any part in his salutation and blessing. Since his language does not apply to those who are not Christians professedly, and nothing can be said about positive hatred to the Lord among Christians, the expression “love not” cannot be interpreted as equivalent to hate; but it is to be understood of decayed affection, which betrayed itself in party strife, as well as in fostering other carnal tendencies; and in doubting or denying different portions of Christian truth. “Wherefore does the Apostle speak thus here? Because in his view love to Christ is the very soul of the entire Christian life; and the Corinthians needed to be specially reminded of this love; for their divisions originated in the fact that the love of Christ did not sufficiently unite them.” Neander.
means to love with a peculiar intensity of affection, and the word is used by Paul only in this place in relation to Christ. (John designates by it, Joh_5:20, the love of the Father to the Son, and also the believer’s love to Jesus, 16:27; 21:15, 17). In Eph_6:24, Paul employs the word
, which is the term common with him to denote the love of God and Christ, and also our love to God, and to the brethren, and to wives. While the latter word which properly means to highly esteem, is never used to express a sensuous, passionate affection,
is found in this sense, yet rarely however. It here means to value highly, to regard in the light of a dear friend, a token of which regard was a kiss,
, which probably suggested the use of
. Short and sharp is the denunciation pronounced.—let him be Anathema,—Not simply, ‘let him be expelled from the church, but let him be devoted to God’s wrath and judgment,’—let him become a curse, accursed. The word
correspond to the Hebrew
, a ban, i. e.., one put under the ban—irrevocably devoted to destruction—to be given up to God without power of redemption, which, if the thing were animated, involved a putting to death (comp. 12:3; Gal_1:8, and Meyer on Rom_9:3). This imprecation or malediction is confirmed by an allusion to the judgment which will introduce it.—Maranatha.—Syriac for “our Lord comes (
); “not, ‘he has come,’ so that obstinate hatred and conflict with him are all useless” (Jerome). Why Paul here employs the Syriac can only be conjectured. It can hardly be said that it was for a stronger confirmation of the genuineness of his Epistle by the use of Hebrew letters; such extraordinary confirmation when his Epistle was to be in charge of trusted friends, is wholly superfluous. Or was it because this formula was one current among the Jews as expressing their strongest ban? Meyer says, “perhaps it conveyed an important reminiscence to his readers from the period of his residence at Corinth; or it was only the thought of the moment to give a more solemn character to his declaration.” Bisping says: “perhaps Maranatha was the mysterious password of the early Christians (comp. Rev. 20:22).” For other improbable conjectures see Meyer and Osiander. Luther’s Maharam Motha, meaning maledictus ad mortem, is a groundless alteration. Heubner says: “that Luther appended this as the Hebrew formula for excommunication.” [By translating the expression into Greek,
ὁ êýñéïò ἕñ÷åôáé
, we are at once reminded of the epithet
, coming One, as applied to the Messiah in Mat_11:3; Luk_17:19-20; Joh_6:14; Joh_11:27; and also as constantly recurring in Revelation, where the coming of Christ forms the refrain of the whole book, and where at the close John winds up the canon of Scripture with a reference to the solemn fact, “He that testifieth of these things, saith, Behold I come quickly. Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.” Here in fact is the key-note of the Apostle’s constant mood. In all the changes of thought and feeling we hear it ever returning; and what is more natural than that in uttering it, he should use the very terms in which the thought was always ringing through his soul? They had acquired with him the character of a solemn formula, for which nothing else could be substituted]. After this severe exclusion of the unworthy there follows a benediction.—The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ (be) with you.—As to be anathema from Christ is everlasting perdition so His favor is eternal life. The prayer here is therefore a prayer for all good. To this he adds assurance of his own love as felt toward all in Christ Jesus.—My love be with you all in Christ Jesus.—As in the previous clause
is to be supplied, so here we must insert
, is, as a positive declaration of what he actually cherished toward them.
, with you, a designation of communion with them, or of the presence of his spirit in the midst of them, q. d., ‘is among you all’—a harmonizing, reconciling expression used in view of his strong rebukes and of their partisan distrust. “The expression forms a striking contrast to the strifes and divisions among the Corinthians which the Apostle here is resolved to ignore.” Neander. [The closing word in the Rec., “Amen,” was an after-addition. It being originally a word of response, the Apostle could not well have appended it to his own production. The adoption of it falls in with the current inconsistent usage of closing one’s own prayer with an Amen—a thing which ought to be left to the congregation at large. But though the word forms no part of the Epistle, it still fitly comes in at the end to express the cordial, emphatic assent which every Christian heart must feel constrained to utter as he finishes an epistle so replete with Divine Wisdom and Love issuing from one of the noblest spirits that ever wrought on earth in the cause of Heaven, with whom it has been good to hold communion. Yes, let the Amen stand the abiding testimony of the faith of the Church in the teachings of the greatest of the apostles; and the whole world come at last to say as they read verse after verse, chapter after chapter, epistle after epistle, in accent strong and clear, Amen]
The subscription is later. The statement of the letter being sent from Philippi arose from a misunderstanding of what is said in 1Co_16:5 about his passing through Macedonia.