1 Corinthians 16
1Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I directed the churches of Galatia, so do you also.
2On the first day of every week each one of you is to put aside and save, as he may prosper, so that no collections be made when I come.
3When I arrive, whomever you may approve, I will send them with letters to carry your gift to Jerusalem;
4and if it is fitting for me to go also, they will go with me.
The church was to take up collections for the needs of the body (in this case, the church at Jerusalem) and in order to support those who worked full time in the ministry, though Paul excluded himself from this right. Just as he instructed the Galatian church, so he instructs the Corinthian church, being consistent to all the churches because of the consistency of the Word of God. The first principle in giving to the Lord is that it should be a regular putting aside of funds for the Lord. When the church gathered on the first day of the week (Sunday), it was to put aside and save (as a church) for when the opportunity to give would come. This would allow Paul to focus on his reason for visiting when he came, which was not primarily to get money for other churches. So giving is to be regular and according to how a person prospers financially. Each must give as he or she is able to do so joyfully before the Lord as the Lord leads, not under compulsion but freely (Luke 6:38, 2 Corinthians 9:6-8). If God blesses, we might be able to freely give more. If we are in a tight financial period, we must have to give less. But a good minimal point to set is ten percent, because it is what Abraham gave to Melchizedek (Genesis 14:20) even before the Law was given. Thus, there seems to be a tithing principle in the Bible regardless of the fact that we are no longer under the law but under grace. When Paul arrives at Corinth, the Corinthians will select a trustworthy person to be the letter carrier to take the gift to Jerusalem. If Paul needs to go along, he will do so.
5But I will come to you after I go through Macedonia, for I am going through Macedonia;
6and perhaps I will stay with you, or even spend the winter, so that you may send me on my way wherever I may go.
7For I do not wish to see you now just in passing; for I hope to remain with you for some time, if the Lord permits.
8But I will remain in Ephesus until Pentecost;
9for a wide door for effective service has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.
Paul’s plan was to stay in Ephesus until Pentecost because the Lord had opened a great door for effective ministry there despite the many adversaries. Often times when there is an open door, there will be challenge from the enemy. But Paul had the courage to press on and keep ministering. After his time at Ephesus, his plan was to go to Macedonia and then to Corinth. He would then send a messenger or accompany the messenger back to Jerusalem with the gift (v. 3).
10Now if Timothy comes, see that he is with you without cause to be afraid, for he is doing the Lord's work, as I also am.
11So let no one despise him But send him on his way in peace, so that he may come to me; for I expect him with the brethren.
Evidently, the churches were prone to disrespect Timothy simply because he was relatively young (1 Timothy 4:12). Yet Paul wanted to make sure that the Corinthians gave him the respect due him as a fellow servant of Paul because of the vast help Timothy could provide them. After Timothy spent time with the Corinthians to encourage and edify them, he was to return to Paul.
12But concerning Apollos our brother, I encouraged him greatly to come to you with the brethren; and it was not at all his desire to come now, but he will come when he has opportunity.
Apollos, the gifted teacher (Acts 18:24-28), didn’t want to come and visit Corinth at this time, but he would when he had an opportunity. Obviously, he didn’t sense the Lord leading him to go at this point.
13Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.
14Let all that you do be done in love.
Paul desires that the believers be on the alert, expecting attacks from the devil. He wants them to stop sinning and to walk in purity, not falling prey to false teaching or bad examples in the church or outside of it. They need to act like men, in that they need to be strong and courageous, standing for truth and being willing to resist the devil. They need to be strong in the Lord by faith because His might is powerful (Ephesians 6:10). As he instructed in chapter 13, love must guide all that is done such that nothing is done that is not motivated by love. Whether confronting a sinning brother, being true to one’s mate, not reviling when reviled, ceasing to have divisions, or being careful not to cause a weaker brother to stumble, all issues which he has addressed so far, love must reign supreme.
15Now I urge you, brethren (you know the household of Stephanas, that they were the first fruits of Achaia, and that they have devoted themselves for ministry to the saints),
16that you also be in subjection to such men and to everyone who helps in the work and labors.
Stephanas’ household, which Paul said that he had baptized after they received the gospel, were the first conversions in Achaia in which Corinth was located in southern Greece (1 Corinthians 1:16). They were demonstrating the fruit of conversion in that they were devoting themselves to ministry to the saints. Such men need to be respected and honored because of their service as do those who help in the work and labor of ministry. Service is evidence of a devoted follower of Christ, and their example should be imitated. And just because they may not have been in leadership in the church as elders or deacons does not mean that their insight and opinions should not be respected. Paul affirms that their opinions before the Lord do matter.
17I rejoice over the coming of Stephanas and Fortunatus and Achaicus, because they have supplied what was lacking on your part.
18For they have refreshed my spirit and yours Therefore acknowledge such men.
It seems as though Stephanas, Achaicus, and Fortunatus left Corinth to visit and support Paul while in Ephesus. What the Corinthians couldn’t do because they were separated from Paul, these three men did in coming to visit Paul and meeting his needs. They were an encouragement to him, and thus to the Corinthians as well. When we serve one member of the body, the rest benefit also. These faithful servants should be acknowledged and appreciated for their service (1 Thessalonians 5:12-13), and the greatest form of appreciation is to respect them and try to learn as much from them as possible concerning the way of the Lord.
19The churches of Asia greet you Aquila and Prisca greet you heartily in the Lord, with the church that is in their house.
20All the brethren greet you. Greet one another with a holy kiss.
Paul passes on greetings from the churches of Asia and from Priscilla and Aquila (Acts 18) along with the church in their home. Paul extends greetings from all of the brothers who are with him and possibly also any whom he might have failed to mention by name. The point is that the church cares about its own even miles away and in different cultures and countries. The Corinthians were to greet one another with a holy kiss, which was done between men and also between women as a custom of the day, much like our hugs or handshakes of today. There was nothing sexual or immoral about this greeting.
21The greeting is in my own hand--Paul.
22If anyone does not love the Lord, he is to be accursed Maranatha.
23The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you.
24My love be with you all in Christ Jesus. Amen.
Paul signed the end of the letter himself. His conclusion is powerful saying that any who do not know Christ as evidenced by their lack of love for Him are destined to be accursed, meaning that they will be devoted to destruction. Paul says “Maranatha” which means “The Lord will come.” Thus, those who do not love the Lord need to remember this and repent while they still have time. For believers, Paul included, the Lord’s coming is an event they want to happen soon because justice will finally be served and rewards will be had for the faithful. Finally, he prays for the grace of God to be with them, just as he began the letter (1 Corinthians 1:3), which proves how we are all dependent on the grace of God. Paul expresses his love for the believers and concludes his letter saying “Amen,” or “May it be done” or “So be it.” What Paul has said he hopes will be put into practice such that obedience is the result of his labor on behalf of the Corinthians whom he loves deeply.