1 Corinthians 16

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Now concerning the collection for the saints: as I directed the churches of Galatia, so you also are to do. On the first day of every week, each of you is to put something aside and store it up, as he may prosper, so that there will be no collecting when I come. And when I arrive, I will send those whom you accredit by letter to carry your gift to Jerusalem. If it seems advisable that I should go also, they will accompany me.

I will visit you after passing through Macedonia, for I intend to pass through Macedonia, and perhaps I will stay with you or even spend the winter, so that you may help me on my journey, wherever I go. For I do not want to see you now just in passing. I hope to spend some time with you, if the Lord permits. But I will stay in Ephesus until Pentecost, for a wide door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.

When Timothy comes, see that you put him at ease among you, for he is doing the work of the Lord, as I am. So let no one despise him. Help him on his way in peace, that he may return to me, for I am expecting him with the brothers.

Now concerning our brother Apollos, I strongly urged him to visit you with the other brothers, but it was not at all his will to come now. He will come when he has opportunity.

Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.

Now I urge you, brothers—you know that the household of Stephanas were the first converts in Achaia, and that they have devoted themselves to the service of the saints— be subject to such as these, and to every fellow worker and laborer. I rejoice at the coming of Stephanas and Fortunatus and Achaicus, because they have made up for your absence, for they refreshed my spirit as well as yours. Give recognition to such people.

The churches of Asia send you greetings. Aquila and Prisca, together with the church in their house, send you hearty greetings in the Lord. All the brothers send you greetings. Greet one another with a holy kiss.

I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand. If anyone has no love for the Lord, let him be accursed. Our Lord, come! The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you. My love be with you all in Christ Jesus. Amen.

Observation

  • Paul directed both the church of Corinth and Galatia to take up a collection for the church in Jerusalem.
  • They were to take up a collection the first day of the every week so there would not be a need to take a collection once Paul arrived.
  • The Corinthians were to send the people of their choosing to Jerusalem with the money.
  • Paul would go with the ones they sent to Jerusalem, if the Corinthians desired.
  • Those taking the offering would accompany Paul, not the other way around.
  • Paul would visit Corinth after going through Macedonia.
  • Paul thought he would stay with the Corinthians through the winter.
  • Paul would stay with the Corinthians so they could help him with his journey to his next stop.
  • Paul did not want to simply pass through Corinth but spend time with the Corinthians.
  • Paul would stay in Ephesus until Pentecost.
  • There was an great opportunity for Paul to minister in Ephesus.
  • There were many adversaries in Ephesus.
  • Timothy was coming to the Corinthians.
  • When Timothy came to the Corinthians they were to receive him, make him comfortable and help him.
  • Timothy was doing the work of the Lord.
  • Paul was doing the work of the Lord.
  • No one was to despise Timothy.
  • Timothy was on his was to Paul.
  • Paul was expecting Timothy and other brothers.
  • Paul encouraged Apollos to visit the Corinthians.
  • The Corinthians were to stand firm strong and act like men.
  • The Corinthians were to do everything in love.
  • The household of Stephanas were the first converts in Achaia
  • The household of Stephanas had devoted themselves to the service of the saints.
  • The Corinthians were to be subject to the servants of the saints, and fellow workers.
  • Stephanas, Fortunatus and Achaicus had arrived where Paul was and represented the Corinthians well.
  • Stephanas, Fortunatus and Achaicus refreshed Paul and the Corinthians.
  • The Corinthians were to give recognition to people like Stephanas, Fortunatus and Achaicus.
  • The churches of Asia, Aquila and Prisca, and the church that met in Aquila and Prsica’s home all sent a greeting to the Corinthians.
  • The Corinthians were to greet each other with a holy kiss.
  • Paul wrote the final words with his own hand.
  • Anyone who does not love the Lord is accursed.

Interpretation.

Paul instructed the Corinthians and the Galatians to take up a collection to send to Jerusalem on the first day of every week. We can infer from this that believers have always had a certain day where they came together for worship. The giving to those in need is a common and consistent theme throughout scripture. “Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed.” (Proverbs 19:17)

“Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.” Matthew (25:40)

“but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.” Matthew (6:20)

Paul tells the Corinthians he will remain in Ephesus until Pentecost. This is not because of any celebration of the old covenant. Paul makes clear in other writings we are completely clear and free of the law and celebrations of the old covenant. Rather there will be a large audience in Ephesus on Pentecost. Paul says there is a great opportunity for him to preach the gospel. While other are presenting goats to be sacrificed. Paul is preaching the lamb has already been sacrificed once and for all.

Paul turns to the arrival of Timothy in Corinth. The Corinthians are to receive and protect Timothy. Not that his life was in danger but that they were to care for him. The reason they were to do so is he was doing the Lord’s work. We can easily infer from this that the Church is to be concerned for the health and welfare of ministers. Timothy was a young man they were not to discriminate against him because of his age. In our culture we may discriminate the opposite direction. We tend to discriminate against the elder minister.

Paul tells the Corinthians to man up, do not be wimps. Standing firm in the truth is not easy. It requires courage strength and fortitude. Giving in, going along, surrender requires nothing. But, there is a danger. Strength unchecked by love can become harsh, abusive, and oppressive. That is why Paul does not simply say man up. He adds do everything in love.

The practice of kissing was very common among Jews and is expressed in Scripture. The Greeks did not commonly practice it. The probability is that Paul is speaking of a solemn kiss they used to greet each other in sacred assembly. This was a token of mutual love. Paul is exhorting them to cultivate good will among themselves. What this means is that they were to go beyond mere service to each other. They were to cultivate a deep and enduring love for each other.

When Paul says “If anyone has no love for the Lord, let him be accursed,” he speaking against those who falsely take on the name Christian. They say they are Christian but do not love Christ. They are hypocrites. When I was a young man, I was part of a team surveying a town to understand how people understood what it meant to be Christian. When one lady was asked if she was a Christian, with indignation she said, “I will have you know I have a bible in my house that is over 100 years old.”  She believed having a bible made her a Christian. Just last week I heard one of the 10 worst sermons I have ever heard. I expressed my concerns, to members of my extended family, that I could have gotten everything I got from the sermon on Oprah. One person claimed that if someone heard me say that they might not ever go back to that church again. As if salvation came through church attendance. Salvation comes from faith. Faith comes from hearing the word of God. My reply was not returning to that church would be a good thing. They were not going to hear the word of God if they attended there. While my words were considered harsh, Paul speaks even more harshly.

An Application

Do you call yourself a Christian? Do you love the Lord? How do you express it? Do you express it? Is it possible to love someone and not express it?

Are you to be accursed?

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