1 Corinthians 16

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1 Corinthians 16

Post  dove on Fri 28 Nov 2008, 5:42 pm

First Corinthians Chapter Sixteen By Paul George1 Corinthians 16:1-24
Quotes from World English Bible unless noted otherwise
Chapter sixteen begins with the familiar phrase, "now concerning" indicating a response to a question. The subject is "the collection." Paul's instructions imply that the question in the Corinthian letter was about how to best get their money together. Paul advises the Corinthians to receive what money they could for the collection each Sunday they came together for worship. The purpose of the weekly offerings is so that no offering need be taken when he returns to Corinth. His goal was for the Corinthians to have finished their giving for the poor believers in Jerusalem by the time he arrived.

Verses three and four illustrate the wisdom of Paul in financial matters. The two greatest charges against the Christian faith throughout church history have been incidents of sexual immorality by the clergy and suspicious handling of finances. Paul took care to see to it that there could be no charge made against him of mishandling the offering or it was diverted to his personal use.

In verses three and four, we have the disposal of the offering. The offering was theirs, and it was fitting they should dispose of it in their own way as long as it was applied to the right use. The members of the church were to appoint a committee to take the offering to Jerusalem. This would be a testimony of brotherly love to their distressed brethren, to send their gift by members of their own body, who would have compassion on their suffering brethren, and a Christian concern for them.

Paul offers to go with their committee, if they think proper. As an apostle, it was not Paul's responsibility to serve tables, but to give himself to the preaching of the Word of God and prayer; yet he was always involved in a work of charity, when an opportunity offered. It was no hindrance to his preaching, but added to it.

In verses five through nine Paul explains his purpose of visiting them. He had labored long and hard in this church. He had done much good among them, and had his heart set upon doing much more, if God saw fit.

Though some among this people despised him, doubtless many loved him and paid him all the respect due to an apostle and their spiritual father. He loved them so much that he longed for an opportunity to stay with them, take up his abode among them for some length of time.

Paul had a purpose in returning to Corinth. This was not a purpose proceeding from any extraordinary motion or impulse of the Spirit of God; it was not the effect of inspiration; for had it been he could not have spoken of it in this manner, "if it is fitting." Concerning everything we plan to do it is fitting we say, "If the Lord permit." Everything we do must be done with submission to the will of God. It is by God's power and permission, and under His direction, that we must do every thing.

Paul told the Corinthians, he would remain in Ephesus until Pentecost. Paul's reason for staying in Ephesus until Pentecost, a great door was opened to him and many were prepared to receive the gospel at Ephesus, and God gave him great success among them; he had brought over many to Christ, and he had great hope of bringing many more. Success, and a prospect of more, was a just reason for Paul remaining in Ephesus even though there were many adversaries and they were determined to ruin him, and prevent the effect of his ministry at Ephesus. Paul was determined to stand his ground; he would not desert his post and disgrace his character and doctrine. The opposition of adversaries only increased his determination. The more they opposed the more he exerted himself.

In these last days, we need to be aware that great success in the work of the gospel commonly creates many enemies. The devil opposes those who are determined to do whatever it takes to destroy his kingdom.

In verses ten through twelve Paul tells the Corinthians that Timothy may come to Corinth to correct the problems that arose following his leaving Corinth. Because of the proud spirit of the Corinthians Paul had reason to believe Timothy would be mistreated this is why he warns them not to do anything that would discourage Timothy or oppose him because he is doing the Lord's work. Paul knew that Timothy would do nothing to bring contempt upon Paul's character or upon Timothy's character. Paul sends this earning because of the proud spirit of the Corinthians.

Following the information that Apollos was returning to Corinth; Paul advised the faithful in Corinth, because of the division and immoral behavior in the church, to stand fast in the faith even to death. This is good advice to all the faithful in all churches because by this faith alone we are able to overcome temptations and the world. We must stand in the faith and oppose those who divide and corrupt and not be terrified by them but steadiness in defending the faith with solid judgment and strong resolution. We must be careful that love not only reigns in our hearts, but also our lives. There is a great difference between constancy and cruelty, between Christian firmness and wrath. Christianity is most conspicuous when Christians oppose the enemies of their faith in love, when every thing is done in charity, when they behave towards one another, and towards all men, with a spirit of meekness and good will.

In verse fifteen Paul mentions the household of Stephanas and their character; they were the first fruits of Achaia, the first converts to Christianity in that region of Greece in which Corinth was. The household of Stephanas devoted themselves to the ministry of the saints, supplying their needs, helping and assisting them both in their temporal and spiritual concerns. The family of Stephanas seems to have been a family of rank and importance in those parts, and yet they willingly offered themselves to this service. The family of Stephanas set an example of devotion and love.

In verse seventeen we find a clue to why Timothy may come to Corinth and why Apollos will return to Corinth; Stephanas, Fortunatus, and Achaicus, brought news from Corinth and it was not good news. The condition of the church was worse than the information contained in the letter, Paul had received from Corinth. Stephanas, Fortunatus, and Achaicus came to Paul with a truly Christian intention, as peacemakers. Those who serve the saints, those who defend the honor and good esteem of the church, and oppose the enemies of the church, both interior and exterior, are to be valued and loved.

Paul's advice to the Corinthians, they should submit to those who serve the saints, defend the honor and good esteem of the churches, and oppose the enemies of the church (v 16). This is not to be understood of subjection to superiors. Instead this should be a voluntary acknowledgment of their worth. Those that serve the saints and labor hard to help the success of the gospel, encourage the faithful ministers of Christ, and endeavor to promote their usefulness, should be held in honorable esteem.

Verse twenty-two is difficult to understand. Paul pronounces a curse on any who do not love the Lord. It is immediately followed by an Aramaic sentence, "Maranatha" which means, "Our Lord come." This expression was used in early Christianity as a prayer for Christ's presence in the Communion meal. However, Paul's benediction (v 23) is more characteristic of Paul.

In verse twenty-four Paul extends his love to the unruly, fractious, members of the church at Corinth. This verse is an appropriate ending to this letter of such puzzling problems and strong feelings.

May God grant us the grace to conclude our communication with our most frustrating opponents with such words of love?Retired pastor,Church of the Nazarene
Author of web site Exploring God's Word


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