1Co 16:1-24. Directions as
to the Collection for the Judean Christians: Paul's Future Plans: He
Commends to Them Timothy, Apollos, &C.
Salutations and Conclusions.
1. collection for the saints—at
Jerusalem (Ro 15:26)
and in Judea (Ac 11:29, 30; 24:17; compare 2Co 8:4; 9:1, 12). He says "saints" rather than "the
poor," to remind the Corinthians that in giving, it is to the Lord's
people, their own brethren in the faith. Towards the close
of the national existence of the Jews, Judea and Jerusalem were
harassed with various troubles, which in part affected the Jewish
Christians. The community of goods which existed among them for a time
gave temporary relief but tended ultimately to impoverish all by
paralyzing individual exertion (Ac 2:44), and hence was soon discontinued. A
beautiful fruit of grace it was, that he who had by persecutions robbed
many of their all (Ac 26:10),
should become the foremost in exertions for their relief.
as I have given—rather, "gave
order," namely, during my journey through Galatia, that mentioned in
18:23. The churches of
Galatia and Phrygia were the last which Paul visited before writing
this Epistle. He was now at Ephesus, and came thither immediately from
visiting them (Ac 18:23; 19:1). That he had not been silent in Galatia
on contributions for the poor, appears from the hint let fall in his
Epistle to that church (Ga 2:10): an
undesigned coincidence and mark of genuineness [Paley, Horæ Paulinæ]. He proposes
the Galatians as an example to the Corinthians, the Corinthians to the
Macedonians, the Corinthians and Macedonians to the Romans (Ro
15:26, 27; 2Co 9:2). There is
great force in example.
2. first day of … week—already
kept sacred by Christians as the day of the Lord's resurrection, the
beginning day both of the physical and of the new spiritual creations:
it gradually superseded the Jewish sabbath on the seventh day (Ps 118:22-24; Joh 20:19, 26; Ac 20:7; Re 1:10). So the beginning of the year was
changed from autumn to spring when Israel was brought out of Egypt.
Three annual feasts, all typical of Christian truths, were directed to
be kept on the first day of the week: the feast of the wave offering of
the first sheaf, answering to the Lord's resurrection; Pentecost, or
the feast of weeks, typical of the fruits of the resurrection in the
Christian Church (Le 23:11, 15, 16, 36); the feast of tabernacles at harvest,
typical of the ingathering of the full number of the elect from one end
of heaven to the other. Easter was directed to be kept as a holy
12:16). The Christian Sabbath
commemorates the respective works of the Three Persons of the Triune
God—creation, redemption (the resurrection), and sanctification
(on Pentecost the Holy Ghost being poured out). Jesus came to fulfil
the Spirit of the Law, not to cancel it, or to lower its standard. The
primary object of the sabbath is holiness, not merely rest:
"Remember that thou keep holy the sabbath day." Compare Ge 2:3, "God blessed and
sanctified it, because … in it He had rested," &c. The
word "Remember" implies that it was in existence before the
giving of the law from Sinai, and refers to its institution in Paradise
(compare Ex 16:22, 23, 26, 30). "Six days shalt thou labor": the
spirit of the command is fulfilled whether the six days' labor
be on the last six days or on the first. A perpetual sabbath would
doubtless be the highest Christian ideal; but living in a world of
business where the Christian ideal is not yet realized, if a law of
definite times was necessary in Paradise, it is still more so now.
every one of yon—even those in limited
lay by him—though there be not a
weekly public collection, each is privately to set apart
a definite proportion of his weekly income for the Lord's cause
in store—abundantly: the earnest of a
better store laid up for the giver (1Ti 6:19).
as God hath prospered
him—literally, "whatsoever he may be prospered in," or "may
by prosperity have acquired" [Alford],
(Mt 25:15-29; 2Co 8:12).
that there be no gatherings when I
come—that they may not then have to be made, when your
and my time ought to be employed m more directly spiritual things. When
men give once for all, not so much is given. But when each lays
by something every Lord's day, more is collected than one would
have given at once [Bengel].
3. approve by your letters—rather
translate, "Whomsoever ye shall approve, them will I send with
letters": namely, letters to several persons at Jerusalem, which would
be their credentials. There could be no need of letters from
them before Paul's coming, if the persons recommended were not
to be sent off before it. Literally, "by letters"; an abbreviated
expression for "I will send, recommending them by letters" [Grotius]. If English Version be
retained, the sense will be, "When I come, I will send those whom by
your letters, then to be given them, ye shall approve." But the
antithesis (opposition or contrast) to Paul himself (1Co 16:4) favors Grotius' view. So "by" means with (Ro 2:27); and the Greek for "by" is
translated, with (2Co 2:4).
or free gift (2Co 8:4).
4. meet—"worth while." If your
collections be large enough to be worth an apostle's journey (a
stimulus to their liberality), I will accompany them myself
instead of giving them letters credential (1Co 16:3; compare Ac 20:1-4).
with me—to guard against all possible
suspicion of evil (2Co 8:4, 19-21).
5-7. His first intention had been (2Co 1:15,
16) to pass through them
(Corinth) to Macedonia, and again return to them from Macedonia, and so
to Judea; this he had announced in the lost epistle (1Co 5:9); now having laid aside this intention
(for which he was charged with levity, 2Co 1:17, &c., whereas it was through lenity,
1:23; 2:1), he announces his
second plan of "not seeing them now by the way," but "passing through
Macedonia" first on his way to them, and then "tarrying a while," and
even "abiding and wintering with them."
for I do pass—as much as to say, "This
is what I at last resolve upon" (not as the erroneous
subscription of the Epistle represents it, as if he was THEN at Philippi, on his way through
Macedonia); implying that there had been some previous communication
upon the subject of the journey, and also that there had been some
indecisiveness in the apostle's plan [Paley]. In accordance with his second plan, we find
him in Macedonia when Second Corinthians was written (2Co 2:13;
8:1; 9:2, 4), and on his way
to Corinth (2Co 12:14; 13:1; compare Ac 20:1, 2). "Pass through" is opposed to "abide"
16:6). He was not yet
in Macedonia (as 1Co 16:8
shows), but at Ephesus; but he was thinking of passing
through it (not abiding as he purposed to do at
6. He did "abide and even winter" for the
three WINTER months in Greece (Corinth),
6; from which passage it
seems that Paul probably left Corinth about a month before the "days of
unleavened bread" or the Passover (so as to allow time to touch at
Thessalonica and Berea, from which cities two of his companions were;
as we read he did at Philippi); so that thus the three months at
Corinth would be December, January, and February [Birks, Horæ Apostolicæ].
ye—emphatical in the Greek.
whithersoever I go—He purposed to go
to Judea (2Co 1:16)
from Corinth, but his plans were not positively fixed as yet (see on 1Co 16:4; compare Ac 19:21).
7. I will not see you now by the
way—literally, "I do not wish to see you this time in
passing"; that is, to pay you now what would have to be a merely
passing visit as I did in the second visit (2Co 12:14). In contrast to "a while," that is,
some time, as the Greek might better be translated.
but—The oldest manuscripts read
8. at Ephesus—whence Paul writes this
Epistle. Compare 1Co 16:19,
"Asia," wherein Ephesus was.
until Pentecost—He seems to have
stayed as he here purposes: for just when the tumult which drove him
away broke out, he was already intending to leave Ephesus (Ac 19:21, 22). Combined with 1Co 5:7, 8, this verse fixes the date of this
Epistle to a few weeks before Pentecost, and very soon after the
9. door—(2Co 2:12). An opening for the extension of
the Gospel. Wise men are on the watch for, and avail themselves of,
opportunities. So "door of hope," Ho 2:15. "Door of faith," Ac 14:27. "An open door," Re 3:8. "A door of utterance," Col 4:3. "Great," that is, extensive.
"Effectual," that is, requiring great labors [Estius]; or opportune for effecting great
many adversaries—who would block up
the way and prevent us from entering the open door. Not here false
teachers, but open adversaries: both Jews and heathen. After Paul, by
his now long-continued labors at Ephesus, had produced effects which
threatened the interests of those whose gains were derived from
idolatry, "many adversaries" arose (Ac 19:9-23). Where great good is, there evil is
sure to start up as its antagonist.
10. Now—rather, "But." Therefore Timothy
was not the bearer of the Epistle; for it would not then be
said, "IF Timothy come." He must therefore have been sent by
Paul from Ephesus before this Epistle was written, to accord
4:17-19; and yet the passage
here implies that Paul did not expect him to arrive at Corinth till
after the letter was received. He tells them how to treat him
"if" he should arrive. Ac 19:21, 22 clears up the difficulty: Timothy, when
sent from Ephesus, where this Epistle was written, did not proceed
direct to Corinth, but went first to Macedonia; thus though sent
before the letter, he might not reach Corinth till after it was
received in that city. The undesigned coincidence between the Epistle
and the history, and the clearing up of the meaning of the former
(which does not mention the journey to Macedonia at all) by the latter,
is a sure mark of genuineness [Paley,
Horæ Paulinæ]. It is not certain that Timothy actually
reached Corinth; for in Ac 19:22
only Macedonia is mentioned; but it does not follow that though
Macedonia was the immediate object of his mission, Corinth was not the
ultimate object. The "IF Timothy come,"
implies uncertainty. 2Co 1:1
represents him with Paul in Macedonia; and 2Co 12:18, speaking of Titus and others
sent to Corinth, does not mention Timothy, which it would have probably
done, had one so closely connected with the apostle as Timothy was,
stayed as his delegate at Corinth. The mission of Titus then took
place, when it became uncertain whether Timothy could go forward from
Macedonia to Corinth, Paul being anxious for immediate tidings
of the state of the Corinthian Church. Alford argues that if so, Paul's adversaries would
have charged him with fickleness in this case also (2Co 1:17), as in the case of his own change of
purpose. But Titus was sent directly to Corinth, so as to arrive
there before Timothy could by the route through Macedonia. Titus'
presence would thus make amends for the disappointment as to the
intended visit of Timothy and would disarm adversaries of a charge in
this respect (2Co 7:6, 7).
without fear—Referring perhaps to a
nervous timidity in Timothy's character (1Ti 3:15; 5:22, 24). His youth would add to this
feeling, as well as his country, Lystra, likely to be despised in
11. despise—This charge is not given
concerning any other of the many messengers whom Paul sent. 1Ti 4:12 accounts for it (compare Ps 119:141). He was a young man,
younger probably than those usually employed in the Christian missions;
whence Paul apprehending lest he should, on that account, be exposed to
contempt, cautions him, "Let no man despise thy youth" [Paley, Horæ Paulinæ].
conduct—set him on his way with every
mark of respect, and with whatever he needs (Tit 3:13).
in peace—(Ac 15:33; Heb
11:31). "Peace" is the
salutation of kindness and respect in the East; and so it stands for
every blessing. Perhaps here there is too a contrast between "peace"
and the "contentions" prevalent at Corinth (1Co 1:11).
I look for him—He and Titus were
appointed to meet Paul in Troas, whither the apostle purposed
proceeding from Ephesus (2Co 2:12, 13). Paul thus claims their respect for
Timothy as one whom he felt so necessary to himself as "look for" to
with the brethren—Others besides
Erastus accompanied Timothy to Macedonia (compare 1Co 16:12; Ac
12. Apollos, I greatly desired … to come
unto you—He says this lest they should suspect that he from
jealousy prevented Apollos' coming to them; perhaps they had expressly
requested Apollos to be sent to them. Apollos was not at Ephesus when
Paul wrote (compare 1Co 16:19, and 1Co 1:1). Probably Apollos' unwillingness to go
to Corinth at this time was because, being aware of the undue
admiration of his rhetorical style which led astray many at Corinth, he
did not wish to sanction it (1Co 1:12; 3:4). Paul's noble freedom from all selfish
jealousy led him to urge Apollos to go; and, on the other hand,
Apollos, having heard of the abuse of his name at Corinth to party
purposes, perseveringly refused to go. Paul, of course, could not state
in his letter particularly these reasons in the existing state of
division prevalent there. He calls Apollos "brother" to mark the unity
that was between the two.
with the brethren—who bear this letter
16:17). (See 1Co 16:24, subscription added to the Epistle).
Conybeare thinks Titus was one of the
bearers of this first letter (2Co 8:6, 16-24; 12:18). Alford thinks "the brethren" here may be the same as
convenient time—Apollos did return to
Corinth when their divisions were moderated [Jerome], and so it was a more seasonable time.
13. He shows that they ought to make their
hopes of salvation to depend not on Apollos or any other teacher; that
it rests with themselves. "Watch ye": for ye are slumbering. "Stand":
for ye are like men tottering. "Quit you like men; be strong": for ye
are effeminate (1Co 16:14).
"Let all your things be done with charity" (1Co 8:1; 13:1): not with strifes as at present
[Chrysostom]. "In the faith" which was
assailed by some (1Co 15:1, 2, 12-17).
15. first-fruits of Achaia—the first
Achæan converts (compare Ro 16:5). The image is from the
first-fruits offered to the Lord (Le 23:10; compare 1Co 15:20). The members of this family had been
baptized by Paul himself (1Co 1:16).
addicted themselves to the ministry of the
saints—Translate, "Set themselves, (that is, voluntarily) to
minister unto the saints" (compare 2Co 8:4).
16. That ye—Translate, "That ye also,"
namely, in your turn … in return for their self-devotion [Alford].
17. Fortunatus … Achaicus—probably
of Stephanas' household.
that … lacking on your part—So
far as you were unable yourselves to "refresh my spirit,"
in that you are absent from me, "they have supplied" by coming to me
from you, and so supplying the means of intercourse between you and me.
They seem to have carried this letter back; see the subscription below:
hence the exhortations, 1Co 16:16, 18, as though they would be at Corinth when
the Epistle arrived.
18. refreshed my spirit and
yours—"yours" will be refreshed on receiving this letter, by
knowing that "my spirit is refreshed" by their having come to me from
you; and (perhaps) by the good report they gave of many of you (1Co 1:4-8); my refreshment of spirit
redounds to yours, as being my disciples (2Co 7:13; compare Zec 6:8).
acknowledge—render them due
acknowledgments by a kind reception of them: 1Th 5:12, "know" them in their true worth and
treat them accordingly.
19. Asia—not all Asia Minor, but
Lydian Asia only, of which Ephesus was the capital.
much—with especial affection.
Aquila … Priscilla—(Compare
18:2; Ro 16:3, 4). Originally
driven out of Italy by Claudius, they had come to Corinth (whence their
salutation of the Corinthians is appropriate here), and then had
removed with Paul from Corinth to Ephesus (Ac 18:2, 18,
19, 26); here, as at Rome
subsequently, they set up a Church (or assembly of believers) at their
16:3, 5). A pattern to
Christian husbands and wives. Their Christian self-devoting love
appears wherever they were (Ro 16:3, 4). Even the gifted Apollos, so highly
admired at Corinth, owed much of his knowledge to them (Ac 18:24-26). In 1Co 16:20, "All the brethren" (that is, the whole
Church) seem to be distinguished from "the church that is in their
house," which was but a partial and private assembly out of the general
Church at Corinth. Neander thinks Ro 16:23 refers to "the whole
Church" meeting at the house of Gaius (compare Col 4:15). "Synagogue" implies an assembly in
general, without reference to the character or motives of its members.
"Church," like the Hebrew Kahal, implies an assembly
legally convened; as, for instance, the Jews met as a body
politic to receive the law (hence Stephen calls it "the Church
in the wilderness," Ac 7:38), and
having a legal bond of union. Christ's followers when dispersed from
one another cease to be a congregation (synagogue), but still
are a Church, having the common bond of union to the same Head
by the same faith and hope [Vitringa,
Synagogue and Temple]. From this we may explain Paul's entering
"into every house and haling men and women": he would in
searching for Christians go to their several "houses"' of prayer.
in the Lord—They pray for all
blessings on you from the Lord, the source of every good [Grotius]. Alford explains, "in a Christian manner," as mindful
of your common Lord. "In the Lord" seems to me to refer to their
union together in Christ, their prayers for one another's good
being in virtue of that union.
20. holy kiss—the token of the mutual
love of Christians, especially at the Lord's Supper (compare Ro
16:16; 1Th 5:26), "in which
all the dissensions of the Corinthians would be swallowed up" [Bengel].
21. salutation … with mine own
hand—He therefore dictated all the rest of the Epistle.
22. A solemn closing warning added in his
own hand as in Eph 6:24; Col 4:18.
the Lord—who ought to be "loved" above
Paul, Apollos, and all other teachers. Love to one another is to be in
connection with love to Him above all. Ignatius [Epistle to the Romans, 7] writes of
Christ, "My love, has been crucified" (compare So 2:7).
Jesus Christ—omitted in the oldest
let him be Anathema—accursed
with that curse which the Jews who call Jesus "accursed" (1Co 12:3) are bringing righteously on their own
heads [Bengel]. So far from "saluting"
him, I bid him be accursed.
Maranatha—Syriac for, "the Lord
cometh." A motto or watchword to urge them to preparedness for the
Lord's coming; as in Php 4:5, "The
Lord is at hand."
23. The grace, &c.—This is the
salutation meant in 1Co 16:21;
and from which unbelievers (1Co 16:22;
compare 2Jo 10:11)
are excluded [Bengel].
24. My love, &c.—After having
administered some severe rebukes, he closes with expressions of "love":
his very rebukes were prompted by love, and therefore are
altogether in harmony with the profession of love here made: it was
love in Christ Jesus, and therefore embraced "all" who
The subscription represents the Epistle as written
from Philippi. 1Co 16:8
shows it was written at Ephesus. Bengel conjectures that perhaps, however, it was
sent from Philippi (1Co 16:5),
because the deputies of the Corinthians had accompanied Paul thither.
From Ephesus there was a road to Corinth above Philippi.