1 Corinthians Chapter Sixteen
1 Corinthians 16
The apostle, in his letter, had treated of the disorder that reigned among these believers, and his spirit was to a certain degree relieved by fulfilling this duty towards them; for, after all, they were Christians and an assembly of God. In the last chapter he speaks to them in the sense of this, although he could not make up his mind to go to Corinth, for he had intended to visit them in going to Macedonia, and a second time in returning thence. He does not say here why he did not go thither on his way to Macedonia, and he speaks with uncertainty as to his sojourn at Corinth when he should arrive there on his return from Macedonia; if the Lord permitted, he would tarry awhile with them. The second epistle will explain all this. In their existing state his heart would not allow him to visit them. But he treats them tenderly, nevertheless, as still beloved Christians, giving them directions suited to the circumstances of the moment. They were to make a collection for the poor saints at Jerusalem, as had been arranged with the apostles when Paul left Jerusalem as the recognised apostle of the Gentiles. This was not to be done in haste when he came, but by laying up every week in proportion to their prosperity. He would send persons chosen by the Corinthians, or take them with him if he went himself to Jerusalem. He thought of remaining till Pentecost at Ephesus, where a great door was opened to him and there were many adversaries. If these two things go together, it is a motive for remaining; the open door is an inducement on the part of God, the activity of adversaries makes it necessary with regard to the enemy. A closed door is a different thing from opposition. People do not hearken if the door is shut; God does not act to draw attention. If God is acting, the assiduity of the enemy is but a reason for not abandoning the work. It appears (chap. 15:32) that Paul had already suffered much at Ephesus, but he still continued his work there. He could not pour out his heart on the subject to the Corinthians, seeing the state they were in. He does it in the second Epistle, when the first had produced the effect he desired. There was a tumult afterwards at Ephesus, stirred up by the craftsmen, in consequence of which Paul left the city (Acts 19). Verses 21, 22, of this chapter in Acts shew us the period at which he wrote this letter. The danger to his life had preceded it, but he remained at Ephesus after that. The tumult closed the door and sent him away.
In Acts 19:22 we see that he had sent Timothy into Macedonia. In our epistle he supposes that he might go on as far as Corinth. If he came, the Corinthians were to receive him as they would have received Paul. He had begged Apollos to go to them; he had already been made a blessing to them; and Paul thought he might be so again. He did not fear that Apollos would displace him in the heart of the Corinthians. But Apollos shared the apostle's feeling; he was not inclined to recognise, or by his presence to have the appearance of upholding, that which prevented Paul going thither; and the more so because there were some in the assembly at Corinth who wished to use his name as the standard of a party. Free in his movements, he would act according to the judgment which the Lord would enable him to form.
After speaking of Apollos, the apostle's mind turns again to his children in the faith, dear to him, whatever their faults might be. Verses 13, 14, are the effusion of a heart which forgot these faults in the ardent desire of a charity that only thought of their blessingaccording to the Spirit. Three Corinthians had brought him supplies; it does not appear to have been on the part of the assembly, nor that it was any testimony of its love which had refreshed the apostle's heart. He would have the Corinthians to rejoice at it. He does not doubt that they loved him enough to be refreshed because it was so. Their charity had not thought of it beforehand; but he expresses his conviction that they took pleasure in the thought of his heart being refreshed. It is touching to see here, that the apostle's charity suggests that which grace would produce on the heart of the Corinthians, communicating that which they probably would not otherwise have known of-the active charity of three brethren of the assembly; and, in love uniting them to his joy, if they had not been united to that which occasioned it. The flame of charity communicates itself by rising above coldness, and reaching the depths of divine life in the heart; and, once communicated, the soul, before unkindled, glows now with the same fire.
We find in this chapter four channels, so to speak, of ministry. Firstly, the apostle, sent direct from the Lord and by the Holy Ghost. Secondly, persons associated with the apostle in his work, and acting at his desire, and (in the case of Timothy) one pointed out by prophecy. Thirdly, an entirely independent labourer, partly instructed by others (see Acts 18:26), but acting where he saw fit, according to the Lord and to the gift he had received. Fourthly, one who gives himself to the service of the saints, as well as others who helped the apostle and laboured. Paul exhorts the faithful to submit themselves to such, and to all those who helped in the work and laboured. He would also have them acknowledge those who refreshed his heart by their service of devotedness. Thus we find the simple and important principle according to which all the best affections of the heart are developed, namely, the acknowledgment of every one according to the manifestation of grace and of the power of the Holy Ghost in him. The christian man submits to those who addict themselves to the service of the saints; he acknowledges those who manifest grace in a special way. They are not persons officially nominated and consecrated who are spoken of here. It is the conscience and the spiritual affection of Christians which acknowledges them according to their work-a principle valid at all times, which does not permit this respect to be demanded, but which requires it to be paid.
We may remark, here, that this epistle, although entering into all the details of the interior conduct of an assembly, does not speak of elders or of any formally established officers at all. It is certain, that in general there were such; but God has provided in the word for the walk of an assembly at all times, and, as we see, principles which oblige us to acknowledge those who serve in it through personal devotedness without being officially appointed. General unfaithfulness, or the absence of such established officers, will not prevent those who obey the word from following it in all that is needful for christian order. We see moreover that, whatever might be the disorder, the apostle recognises the members of the assembly as being all real Christians; he desires them to acknowledge one another by the kiss of love, the universal expression of brotherly affection. This is so entirely the case that he pronounces a solemn anathema on every one who loved not the Lord Jesus. There might be such, but he would in no way recognise them. If there were any, let them be anathema. Is this an allowed mixture? He will not believe it, and he embraces them all in the bonds of christian love (v. 24).
The last point is important. The state of the assembly at Corinth might give room for some uncertainty as to the Christianity of certain members, or persons in connection with them although not dwelling at Corinth. He admonishes them; but in fact, in cases of the most grievous sin where the discipline of God was exercised, or that of man was required, the guilty are looked upon as Christians. (See chap. 10 for the warning; chap. 11:32 for the Lord's discipline; for that of man, chap. 5:5 in this epistle; for the principle, 2 Cor. 2:8). Besides, he denounces with an anathema those who do not love the Lord Jesus. Discipline is exercised towards the wicked man who is called a brother. He who calls himself a Christian, yet does not really love the Lord-for there may be such-is the subject of the most terrible anathema.
It is sweet to see that, after faithfully (although with anguish of heart) correcting every abuse, the spirit of the apostle returns by grace into the enjoyments of charity in his relationship with the Corinthians. The terrible verse 22 was not felt to be inconsistent with the love that dictated the other verses. It was the same spirit, for Christ was the sole spring of his charity.
We may notice (v. 21) that the apostle, as other passages testify, employed some one to write for him. The Epistle to the Galatians is an exception. He verified his epistles to the assemblies by writing the salutation at the end with his own hand, marking the importance he attached to the exactitude of the verbal contents, and confirming the principle of an exact inspiration. His heart flows out (v. 24), and he comforts himself in being able to acknowledge them all in love.
── John Darby《Synopsis of 1 Corinthians》
1 Corinthians 16
A collection for the poor at Jerusalem. (1-9) Timothy and Apollos commended. (10-12) Exhortation to watchfulness in faith and love. (13-18) Christian salutations. (19-24)
Commentary on 1 Corinthians 16:1-9
(Read 1 Corinthians 16:1-9)
The good examples of other Christians and churches should rouse us. It is good to lay up in store for good uses. Those who are rich in this world, should be rich in good works, 1 Timothy 6:17,18. The diligent hand will not make rich, without the Divine blessing, Proverbs 10:4,22. And what more proper to stir us up to charity to the people and children of God, than to look at all we have as his gift? Works of mercy are real fruits of true love to God, and are therefore proper services on his own day. Ministers are doing their proper business, when putting forward, or helping works of charity. The heart of a Christian minister must be towards the people among whom he has laboured long, and with success. All our purposes must be made with submission to the Divine providence, James 4:15. Adversaries and opposition do not break the spirits of faithful and successful ministers, but warm their zeal, and inspire them with fresh courage. A faithful minister is more discouraged by the hardness of his hearers' hearts, and the backslidings of professors, than by the enemies' attempts.
Commentary on 1 Corinthians 16:10-12
(Read 1 Corinthians 16:10-12)
Timothy came to do the work of the Lord. Therefore to vex his spirit, would be to grieve the Holy Spirit; to despise him, would be to despise Him that sent him. Those who work the work of the Lord, should be treated with tenderness and respect. Faithful ministers will not be jealous of each other. It becomes the ministers of the gospel to show concern for each other's reputation and usefulness.
Commentary on 1 Corinthians 16:13-18
(Read 1 Corinthians 16:13-18)
A Christian is always in danger, therefore should ever be on the watch. He should be fixed in the faith of the gospel, and never desert or give it up. By this faith alone he will be able to keep his ground in an hour of temptation. Christians should be careful that charity not only reigns in their hearts, but shines in their lives. There is a great difference between Christian firmness and feverish warmth and transport. The apostle gave particular directions as to some who served the cause of Christ among them. Those who serve the saints, those who desire the honour of the churches, and to remove reproaches from them, are to be thought much of, and loved. They should willingly acknowledge the worth of such, and all who laboured with or helped the apostle.
Commentary on 1 Corinthians 16:19-24
(Read 1 Corinthians 16:19-24)
Christianity by no means destroys civility. Religion should promote a courteous and obliging temper towards all. Those give a false idea of religion, and reproach it, who would take encouragement from it to be sour and morose. And Christian salutations are not mere empty compliments; but are real expressions of good-will to others, and commend them to the Divine grace and blessing. Every Christian family should be as a Christian church. Wherever two or three are gathered together in the name of Christ, and he is among them, there is a church. Here is a solemn warning. Many who have Christ's name much in their mouths, have no true love to him in their hearts. None love him in truth, who do not love his laws, and keep his commandments. Many are Christians in name, who do not love Christ Jesus the Lord in sincerity. Such are separated from the people of God, and the favour of God. Those who love not the Lord Jesus Christ, must perish without remedy. Let us not rest in any religious profession where there is not the love of Christ, earnest desires for his salvation, gratitude for his mercies, and obedience to his commandments. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ has in it all that is good, for time and for eternity. To wish that our friends may have this grace with them, is wishing them the utmost good. And this we should wish all our friends and brethren in Christ. We can wish them nothing greater, and we should wish them nothing less. True Christianity makes us wish those whom we love, the blessings of both worlds; this is meant in wishing the grace of Christ to be with them. The apostle had dealt plainly with the Corinthians, and told them of their faults with just severity; but he parts in love, and with a solemn profession of his love to them for Christ's sake. May our love be with all who are in Christ Jesus. Let us try whether all things appear worthless to us, when compared with Christ and his righteousness. Do we allow ourselves in any known sin, or in the neglect of any known duty? By such inquiries, faithfully made, we may judge of the state of our souls.
── Matthew Henry《Concise Commentary on 1 Corinthians》
1 Corinthians 16
 Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye.
The saints — A more solemn and a more affecting word, than if he had said, the poor.
 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.
Let every one — Not the rich only: let him also that hath little, gladly give of that little.
According as he hath been prospered — Increasing his alms as God increases his substance. According to this lowest rule of Christian prudence, if a man when he has or gains one pound give a tenth to God, when he has or gains an hundred he will give the tenth of this also. And yet I show unto you a more excellent way. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear. Stint yourself to no proportion at all. But lend to God all you can.
 And if it be meet that I go also, they shall go with me.
They shall go with me — To remove any possible suspicion.
 Now I will come unto you, when I shall pass through Macedonia: for I do pass through Macedonia.
I pass through Macedonia — I purpose going that way.
 For I will not see you now by the way; but I trust to tarry a while with you, if the Lord permit.
I will not see you now — Not till I have been in Macedonia.
 But I will tarry at Ephesus until Pentecost.
I will stay at Ephesus — Where he was at this time.
 For a great door and effectual is opened unto me, and there are many adversaries.
A great door — As to the number of hearers.
And effectual — As to the effects wrought upon them.
And there are many adversaries — As there must always be where Satan's kingdom shakes. This was another reason for his staying there.
 Now if Timotheus come, see that he may be with you without fear: for he worketh the work of the Lord, as I also do.
Without fear — Of any one's despising him for his youth.
For he worketh the work of the Lord — The true ground of reverence to pastors. Those who do so, none ought to despise.
 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.
I look for him with the brethren — That accompany him.
 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.
I besought him much — To come to you.
With the brethren — Who were then going to Corinth.
Yet he was by no means willing to come now — Perhaps lest his coming should increase the divisions among them.
 Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.
Watch ye — Against all your seen and unseen enemies.
Stand fast in the faith — Seeing and trusting him that is invisible.
Acquit yourselves like men — With courage and patience.
Be strong — To do and suffer all his will.
 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,)
The first fruits of Achaia — The first converts in that province.
 That ye submit yourselves unto such, and to every one that helpeth with us, and laboureth.
That ye also — In your turn.
Submit to such — So repaying their free service.
And to every one that worketh with us and laboureth — That labours in the gospel either with or without a fellow-labourer.
 I am glad of the coming of Stephanas and Fortunatus and Achaicus: for that which was lacking on your part they have supplied.
I rejoice at the coming of Stephanas, and Fortunatus, and Achaiacus — Who were now returned to Corinth but the joy which their arrival had occasioned remained still in his heart.
They have supplied what was wanting on your part — They have performed the offices of love, which you could not, by reason of your absence.
 For they have refreshed my spirit and yours: therefore acknowledge ye them that are such.
For they have refreshed my spirit and yours — Inasmuch as you share in my comfort.
Such therefore acknowledge — With suitable love and respect.
 The churches of Asia salute you. Aquila and Priscilla salute you much in the Lord, with the church that is in their house.
Aquila and Priscilla had formerly made some abode at Corinth, and there St. Paul's acquaintance with them began, Acts 18:1,2.
 The salutation of me Paul with mine own hand.
With my own hand — What precedes having been wrote by an amanuensis.
 If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maranatha.
If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ — If any be an enemy to his person, offices, doctrines, or commands. Let him be Anathema. Maran-atha-Anathema signifies a thing devoted to destruction. It seems to have been customary with the Jews of that age, when they had pronounced any man an Anathema, to add the Syriac expression, Maran-atha, that is, "The Lord cometh;" namely, to execute vengeance upon him. This weighty sentence the apostle chose to write with his own hand; and to insert it between his salutation and solemn benediction, that it might be the more attentively regarded.
── John Wesley《Explanatory Notes on 1 Corinthians》
Chapter 16. Offerings
Devote to the
Service of the Saints
Submit to Fellow Workers
I. The Collection for God's People
II. Inform Itinerary Beforehand
III. Greetings, Warnings and Blessings
── Chih-Hsin Chang《An Outline of The New Testament》
Chapter Sixteen General Review
OBJECTIVES IN STUDYING THIS CHAPTER
1) To understand the basis and purpose underlying the collection taken
on the first day of the week
2) To note the love accompanying the writing of this epistle which is
filled with so much correction of error
In this final chapter, Paul discusses one last subject before making
his concluding remarks. It concerns the collection for the saints, for
which Paul gives instructions as to the manner in which the funds are
to be gathered and then sent to
(1-4). He then writes Jerusalem
briefly of his plans to see them and makes a few comments concerning
Timothy and Apollos (5-12). His final exhortations, greetings and
solemn warning are marked with a tone of love: the need to love one
another, a warning to love the Lord, and a declaration of his love for
I. THE COLLECTION FOR THE SAINTS (1-4)
A. INSTRUCTIONS CONCERNING TAKING UP THE COLLECTION (1-2)
1. The same as those given the churches of
2. To be gathered each first day of the week, people giving as
they have been prospered, to avoid last minute collections (2)
B. INSTRUCTIONS CONCERNING SENDING THE COLLECTION (3-4)
1. To be sent along with an approved representative of the church
2. If deemed appropriate, Paul will join them in going to
II. PERSONAL PLANS AND RELATED COMMENTS (5-12)
A. PAUL'S PLANS (5-9)
1. To see them after passing through
2. To remain in
until Pentecost, for a door of Ephesus
opportunity has been opened for him (8-9)
B. CONCERNING TIMOTHY (10-11)
1. Allow him to come without fear (10)
2. Do not despise him, but send him to Paul in peace (11)
C. CONCERNING APOLLOS (12)
1. Though urged by Paul, he chose not to go to
at the Corinth
present time (
2. But he will at a more convenient time (12b)
III. CONCLUDING EXHORTATIONS, GREETINGS, AND A SOLEMN FAREWELL (13-24)
A. FINAL EXHORTATIONS (13-18)
1. Exhortation to steadfastness and love (13-14)
2. Exhortation to submit to the household of Stephanus and others
like them, who refresh the spirits of those who know them
B. GREETINGS (19-21)
1. From the churches of Asia,
Aquilaand Priscilla, and others
2. Greet one another with a holy kiss (20b)
3. Paul's own personal salutation in his own handwriting (21)
C. A SOLEMN FAREWELL (22-24)
1. A grave warning about not loving the Lord Jesus , with a plea
for His coming (22)
2. A prayer for grace and an expression of love for those in
Christ Jesus (23)
REVIEW QUESTIONS FOR THE CHAPTER
1) List the main points of this chapter
- The Collection For The Saints (1-4)
- Personal Plans And Related Comments (5-12)
- Concluding Exhortations, Greetings, And A Solemn Farewell (13-24)
2) What was the purpose of the collection? (1)
- For the needy saints in
(Romans 15:26) Jerusalem
3) When was the collection to be taken? (2)
- On the first day of the week
4) What was the purpose of doing it this way? (2)
- To avoid a last minute collection
5) What principle concerning giving is taught in verse two?
- To give as one may prosper
6) When did Paul plan to go to
? (5-8) Corinth
- After staying in
till Pentecost, and then after passing Ephesus
7) Who would likely see them in the meantime? (10-11)
8) What noble comments are made concerning Stephanus, Fortunatus, and
- They devoted themselves to the ministry of the saints
- They refreshed the spirits of Paul and those at
9) What husband and wife team joined Paul in greeting the church at
? (19) Corinth
10) What grave warning does Paul give in this chapter? (22)
- If anyone does not love the Lord Jesus, let him be accursed
11) What earnest wish does Paul express in this chapter? (22)
- That the Lord might come
12) How does Paul close this epistle which is filled with so much
rebuke for the error that existed in the church at
? (24) Corinth
- My love be with you all in Christ Jesus
Devote to the Service of the Saints
Submit to Fellow Workers
I. The Collection for God’s People
1. Every Sunday
2. Set Aside in Advance
3. Send the Approved Men
II.Inform Itinerary Beforehand
1. A Great Door Opened
2. Opponents Are Many
3. Care for Fellow Workers
III. Greetings, Warnings and Blessings
1. Deserve Recognition
2. Be Holy
3. Love the Lord
－－ Chih-Hsin Chang《An Outline of The New Testament》