1 CORINTHIANS - PROBLEMS OF A LOCAL CHURCH
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Charts from Jensen's Survey of the NT - used by permission
1 Corinthians 16:1 Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I directed the churches of Galatia, so do you also. (NASB 1995 - Lockman)
- concerning: Ac 11:28,30 Acts 24:17 Ro 15:25-26 2Co 8:1-9:15 Ga 2:10
- the saints: Ac 9:41 Ro 12:13 2Co 9:12-15 Phm 1:5,7 Heb 6:10 1Jn 3:17
- the churches: Ac 16:6 18:23 Ga 1:2
- 1 Corinthians 16 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries
Acts 11:28; 30+ (SEVERAL YEARS EARLIER THIS FAMINE OCCURRED AND PRESUMABLY THE ADVERSE EFFECTS WERE STILL BE EXPERIENCED IN JERUSALEM) One of them named Agabus stood up and began to indicate by the Spirit that there would certainly be a great famine all over the world. And this took place in the reign of Claudius. (11:30) And this they did, sending it in charge of Barnabas and Saul to the elders.
Acts 6:1+ Now at this time while the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint arose on the part of the Hellenistic Jews against the native Hebrews, because their widows were being overlooked in the daily serving of food.
2 Corinthians 8:1-5 (CONTEXT IS COLLECTION FOR POOR SAINTS IN JERUSALEM - cf 1 Cor 16:3+) Now, brethren, we wish to make known to you the grace of God which has been given in the churches of Macedonia, 2 that in a great ordeal of affliction their abundance of joy and their deep poverty overflowed in the wealth of their liberality. 3 For I testify that according to their ability, and beyond their ability, they gave of their own accord, 4 begging us with much urging for the favor of participation in the support of the saints, 5 and this, not as we had expected, but they first gave themselves to the Lord and to us by the will of God.
Romans 15:25-27+ but now, I am going to Jerusalem serving the saints (MOST OF THE BELIEVERS THERE WERE JEWISH). 26 For Macedonia and Achaia have been pleased to make a contribution for the poor (ptochos = GREEK WORD FOR ABSOLUTE POVERTY) among the saints in Jerusalem. 27 Yes, they were pleased to do so, and they are indebted to them. For if the Gentiles (MACEDONIA AND ACHAIA [CORINTH] PRIMARILY GENTILE BELIEVERS) have shared in their spiritual things, they are indebted to minister to them also in material things.
Acts 24:17+ (REFERS TO THE COLLECTION HE IS DESCRIBING IN THIS SECTION) “Now after several years I came to bring alms to my nation and to present offerings;
FOR GOD'S PEOPLE
Alan Redpath has a good word as Paul comes down from the mountaintop truths of the "Resurrection Chapter" - These opening verses might appear an anticlimax to what has gone before. We have been given a glimpse of the glory that awaits us, and an assurance of the victory even over death that is ours through Jesus Christ our Lord. The sound of the trumpet with its call to resurrection has seemed wonderfully real. Surely, anything beyond that must be somewhat reactionary. “Now concerning the collection.” What a coming down to earth! Well, of course — because a Christian is a man whose heart is in heaven, but whose feet are on the ground. Every glimpse of future glory is given to the child of God in order to encourage him to present-day growth in consecration and responsibility. Certainly we do come down to earth here, but I trust we have been refreshed and greatly challenged by all that God has been saying to us in the course of our journey along the royal route to heaven.
Every glimpse of future glory is given to the child of God
in order to encourage him to present-day growth in consecration and responsibility.
- Alan Redpath
Now concerning -(with regard to, now regarding) - MIT = "Now for a word about offerings." This exact phrase is found only 7x in the NAS and 5 of the uses are in this book - Ex. 23:13; Deut. 4:32; 1 Co. 7:1; 1 Co. 7:25; 1 Co. 8:1; 1 Co. 12:1; 1 Co. 16:1. This phrase introduces another topic that Paul is to deal with.
Brian Bell - When it comes to finances each individual church is usually guilty of talking about it too much, or not enough!. These principles apply to special offerings (logeia an extra piece of giving) as well as our regular giving. PROBLEM! A severe famine in Jerusalem. Luke described the problem in Acts 11:27-29 "Now at this time some prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. 28 One of them named Agabus stood up and began to indicate by the Spirit that there would certainly be a great famine all over the world. And this took place in the reign of Claudius. 29 And in the proportion that any of the disciples had means, each of them determined to send a contribution for the relief of the brethren living in Judea." Paul did his part in organizing a relief effort. Luther, “God doesn’t need our good works, but our neighbor does!”. Spurgeon, “If you want to give a hungry man a tract, then wrap it in a sandwich.” He mentions this in: Romans, 1st & 2nd Cor., Galatians, & Acts.. We also note it is not wrong to let your needs be known.
The collection for the saints (God's people, holy ones) - Amplified - "CONCERNING the money contributed for [the relief of] the saints." The definite article before collection speaks of a specific (known) collection so apparently he had made them aware of this, possibly in the letter in 1 Cor 5:9 "I wrote you in my letter not to associate with immoral people." Alternatively this could be an issue raised in their letter to him (cf 1 Cor 7:1). This collection refers to the contribution for the saints in Jerusalem and represented a special collection to meet the immediate need of “the poor among the saints at Jerusalem” (Ro. 15:26+, 1 Cor 16:3+).
John MacArthur - Besides meeting the economic needs of the Jerusalem believers, Paul also wanted the collection to express the spiritual oneness of the church....Gentiles giving an offering to Jews would help strengthen the spiritual bond between the two groups (cf. Eph. 2:11–18). Giving and receiving in love always form a bond between the giver and receiver. You cannot share gifts without sharing fellowship. The association between Christians’ economic sharing and personal sharing is so close in Paul’s mind that three times he uses the term koinonia (usually translated “fellowship”) to represent offerings (Rom. 15:26+; 2 Cor. 8:4; 9:13). The primary purpose of giving, as taught in the New Testament, is for the support of the saints, the church. A Christian’s first obligation is to support fellow believers, individually and collectively. The church’s first financial responsibility is to invest in its own life and its own people (cf. 2 Cor. 8:1–5; 9:12–15; Phil. 4:14–16). (MNTC- 1 Corinthians)
Paul had used saints to describe the Corinthians in 1 Cor 1:2 (saints by calling), describing their position more than than practice, for the rest of his letter was occupied in correcting their errant behavior and thinking. The Corinthian saints were acting more like "ain'ts".
THOUGHT - This is a good reminder to all of us because if any of us "thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall." (1Cor 10:12). We may be doing just fine spiritually today, but every day brings the potential that we might fall into errors similar to the Corinthians. And yet despite that potential reality, we are still saints by calling. As Paul later said "He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus." (Php 1:6).
Robertson and Plummer have an interesting note that "Paul uses seven words in speaking of this collection; logia (v. 1); charis (gift, favor)(1 Cor 16:3; 2 Cor. 8:4); koinonia (participation, contribution)(2 Cor. 8:4, 9:13; Ro. 15:26); diakonia (support, ministry)(2 Cor. 8:4, 2 Cor 9:1, 12, 13);hadrotes (generous) (2 Cor. 8:20); eulogia (bountiful - 2 Cor. 9:5); leitourgia (service) 2 Cor. 9:12); to which may be added eleemosunas (alms)(Acts 24:17, in the report of his speech before Felix) and prospsorai (offerings)(Acts 24:17). (Critical and Exegetical Commentary)
Collection (3048)(logeia from lego = to gather, collect) is a collection usually of money, a receiving of money voluntarily contributed. Liddell-Scott - collection of taxes or voluntary contributions. The word appears in the papyri in the sense of collection, particularly in the sense of religious collection for a god or temple. The secular usage the word may refer to all kinds of contributions and sometimes to special tax levies, but it is used frequently of collections and levies made for religious purposes. Kittel adds "While the word can denote an extraordinary tax, there is here no thought of an assessment. Accompanying terms such as ministry and fellowship show that it is a gift comparable to the voluntary love offerings of the diaspora to Jerusalem rather than to the obligatory temple tax (cf. Ro 15:26, 31; 2 Cor. 8:4ff.; 9:1ff.)."
Saints (40) hagios = set apart ones, separated ones, sanctified ones, holy ones) is literally a holy one and properly means different, set apart, distinct, set apart for or by God and can be brought near or into God's holy presence. "Its fundamental idea is separation, consecration, devotion to the service of Deity, sharing in God's purity and abstaining from earth's defilement." (Zodhiates) Uses in 1-2 Cor - 1 Co. 1:2; 1 Co. 3:17; 1 Co. 6:1; 1 Co. 6:2; 1 Co. 6:19; 1 Co. 7:14; 1 Co. 7:34; 1 Co. 12:3; 1 Co. 14:33; 1 Co. 16:1; 1 Co. 16:15; 1 Co. 16:20; 2 Co. 1:1; 2 Co. 6:6; 2 Co. 8:4; 2 Co. 9:1; 2 Co. 9:12; 2 Co. 13:12; 2 Co. 13:13; 2 Co. 13:14;
As I directed the churches (assemblies, ekklesia) of Galatia, so do you also - NIV "Do what I told" Do is a command in the aorist imperative calling for their immediate attention to his directive and as with most of the NT commands calls for them to depend on the Holy Spirit to obey.
Robertson and Plummer - ‘The Churches of Galatia’ are mentioned to show the Corinthians that they are not the only Gentiles who are asked to contribute to the support of Jewish Christians, and also to move them to imitate such good examples. (Critical and Exegetical Commentary)
Directed (arranged, gave orders or instructions) (1299) diatasso rom dia = through + tasso = order) means literally to arrange thoroughly, to arrange in its proper order, to issue orderly and detailed instructions as to what must be done. Diatasso was a technical word for carrying out laws and sometimes used by military and government officials (cf Acts 18:2+, Lk 3:13+). It was a word that denoted a command given from an authority. Moulton and Milligan add that diatasso was a technical term used in connection with wills, as well as a general word for commanding. Note also the derivative tágma (5001), anything arranged in an orderly fashion as a body of troops, a band of soldiers, order, succession of the resurrection as in 1 Cor. 15:23;
- the first: Lu 24:1 Joh 20:19,26 Ac 20:7 Rev 1:10
- as : Ge 26:12 30:27,30 32:10 33:11 De 8:18 15:11-14 2Ch 31:10 Hag 2:16-19 Mal 3:9,10 Mk 12:41-44 14:8 Lu 16:10 2Co 8:1-3,12-15
- so that: 2Co 8:11 2 Cor 9:3-5
- 1 Corinthians 16 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries
John 20:19; 26 So when it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and when the doors were shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.”....(20:26) After eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus *came, the doors having been shut, and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.”
Revelation 1:10+ I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like the sound of a trumpet,
COMMENT - While not everyone agrees most writers (Morris; Newell, Johnson, Mounce, Beasley-Murray, Aune, Ladd, Constable, MacArthur, ESV SB, NIV SB) feel this phrase refers to the first day of the week, our modern Sunday. Christian congregations evidently had been worshipping on the first day of the week for many years by this time. MacArthur adds that "Some have suggested this phrase refers to "the Day of the Lord," but the context doesn't support that interpretation." (MacArthur Study Bible)
Acts 20:7+ On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul began talking to them, intending to leave the next day, and he prolonged his message until midnight.
2 Corinthians 8:12 For if the readiness is present, it is acceptable according to what a person has, not according to what he does not have.
On the first day of every week - This phrase is a Hebraism (cf Mk 16:2; Lk 24:1; Jn 20:1, 19; Acts 20:7) Sunday appears to be the day the early church gathered to worship, not Saturday (the Sabbath), but the "Lord's day." (Rev 1:10+) Acts 20:7+ indicates "On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread." Don't miss the point that Paul considered giving to be an integral component of worship and why not, because what better "barometer" is there of the spiritual status of our heart. If our heart is far from the Lord, our pocketbook probably also is far away. Given that worship is one of the spiritual aspects of worship reminds us of Peter's words
You also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 2:5+)
Robertson and Plummer - Apparently, the name ‘Lord’s Day’ was not yet in use, and the first day of the week is never called ‘the sabbath’ in Scripture. If it was right to do good on the Jewish sabbath (Matt. 12:12; Mark 3:4), how much more on the Lord’s Day? (Critical and Exegetical Commentary)
Week (4521) sabbaton rom shabath - 07676 = to cease from work, intermission - see note on shabath) has two main meanings: (1) Sabbath, the seventh day of the week, held sacred by the Jews and week , Singular = Mk 16:2, 9; Lk 18:12; 1 Cor 16:2 and Plural = of a single week Mt 28:1b; Mk 16:2; Lk 24:1; Jn 20:1, 19; Acts 20:7; 1 Cor 16:2
Each one of you is to put aside (command to continually set something aside, have the habit of putting aside) and (present tense - continually) save (treasuring up), as (in keeping with how) he (present tense) may prosper (in keeping with his income, whatever success he may have) - Each one is all-inclusive. because we are stewards of God's gifts and will each give account for how we handled this stewardship. Each one speaks of each one personally should determine in their heart to do this (read 2 Cor 8:3-5) but is not given to be compulsory or to be oppressive (some of the saints were slaves and were themselves poor). However clearly Paul expected all saints to participate in this offering.
Put aside is a command in the present imperative calling for them to depend on the Holy Spirit to obey this command in the present tense calling on them to make their giving habitual. Note the phrase as he may prosper, (literally as he may have a good journey) which is not a specific percentage of their income (such as a tithe) (cf 2 Cor 8:12). Continually laying some contribution aside would keep them from having to make a sudden offering if they had received an appeal for help. The idea is giving in proportion to prosperity. "A tenth is little for some, impossible for others; but week by week each would see how much or how little he had got, and would act accordingly." (R & P).
Jesus used the same verb translated save (thesaurizo) in this verse, encouraging storing up treasure in Heaven...
Matthew 6:19-21+ “Do not store up (thesaurizo in present imperative with a negative = STOP DOING THIS!) for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 “But store up (thesaurizo in present imperative - MAKE THIS YOUR HABIT! ETERNITY IS A LONG TIME - SEND YOUR "INVESTMENTS" ON AHEAD TO THE "BANK OF HEAVEN" AND YOU WILL ACCRUE ETERNAL DIVIDENDS! NOTE ACTIVE VOICE = SPEAKS OF A PERSONAL, VOLITIONAL CHOICE OF ONE'S WILL) for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; 21 for (TERM OF EXPLANATION - HELPS UNDERSTAND WHY ONE STORES UP TREASURE ON THIS EARTH WHICH IS PASSING AWAY VERSUS IN HEAVEN WHICH ENDURES FOREVER!) where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (WHERE IS YOUR HEART? SHOW ME YOUR CHECKBOOK!)
And just in case you missed the import of Jesus' preceding command
Luke 12:20-21+ “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?’ “So is the man who stores up (thesaurizo) treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.” (cf thesaurizo in Jas 5:3+)
Notice also that may prosper (not a tithe) is in the passive voice (cf divine passive) which clearly implies that God is the true Source of all their (and our) prosperity and success (Thank You Lord. Amen!).
In summary, our giving should be regular (first day of the week), individual (each one), systematic (put aside continually) and proportionate (as he may prosper).
Robertson and Plummer - Each is to lay by something weekly ‘in his own house, forming a little hoard, which will become a heavenly treasure’ (Matt. 6:19–21; Luke 12:21). Chrysostom says that the accumulation was to be made in private, because the additions might be so small that the donor would be ashamed to make them in the congregation. The Apostle virtually says, ‘Become a guardian of holy possessions, a self-elected steward of the poor (Critical and Exegetical Commentary)
MacArthur - The basic principle for voluntary giving in the Old Testament is reflected in Proverbs: “Honor the Lord from your wealth, and from the first of all your produce; so your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will overflow with new wine” (Proverbs 3:9–10). The idea was to give to the Lord generously and to give to the Lord first. Again we are told, “There is one who scatters, yet increases all the more, and there is one who withholds what is justly due, but it results only in want” (Proverbs 11:24). In other words, if you want to increase your money, share it generously; if you want to lose your money, hoard it....No amount or percentage is ever required in the New Testament. Rather, each believer is to give from his heart. (see Lk 6:38+, 2 Cor 9:6-8) (MNTC- 1 Corinthians)
G Campbell Morgan - In the first sentences important principles are revealed as to the true method of Christian giving. It is to be regular and systematic rather than occasional and spasmodic. It is to be personal and alone, for laying by in store does not mean placing in a collection basket in a meeting, but privately apportioning and guarding.
Save (lay up, store, treasure) (2343) thesaurizo from thesaurós = treasure > thesaurus, a collection or treasury of words) originally meant to amass or reserve, keep in store, lay, store or treasure up goods for future use. Later thesaurizo was expanded to denote a chamber or chest in which treasure was kept. Throughout the ancient Middle East it was especially applied to a temple storehouse, where temple taxes were stored. People were required to give a portion of their produce to the temple, and this was stored in a treasury. Finally thesaurizo also meant private money boxes, the early versions of home safes. 8v - Mt. 6:19-20; Lk. 12:21; Ro 2:5; 1 Co. 16:2; 2 Co. 12:14; Jas. 5:3; 2 Pet. 3:7
Prosper (succeed) (2137) euodoo from eu = good, well + hodos = journey) is literally to have a good journey or lead along on a good path, guide well, have things turn out well. It means to send well on one’s way, to be led along a good road. It then has the meaning “to get along well,” “to prosper,” “to succeed,” and was used of having success in business. Vine "to help on one's way." Euodoo is found far more often in the Septuagint (see some of the uses below, e.g., Nehemiah's prayer in Neh 1:11). 3v - Rom. 1:10; 1 Co. 16:2; 3 Jn. 1:2
So that (purpose clause) no collections (logeia) be made when I come - "Each will have his contribution ready, instead of having to decide at the last moment how much he ought to give, and how the money is to be found. St Paul does not wish to go round begging, when he comes; he will have other things to do. Moreover, he does not wish to put pressure upon them by asking in person (2 Cor. 9:7): he desires to leave them quite free." (R & P).
- What does the Bible say about Christian tithing? Should a Christian tithe? | GotQuestions.org
- Should a Christian tithe off miscellaneous income, e.g. inheritance, gifts, winnings, tax refunds, legal settlements, etc.? | GotQuestions.org
- Why is giving so emphasized in the Christian faith? | GotQuestions.org
- Should we tithe off our gross or net income? | GotQuestions.org
- Should a church tithe 10% of the offerings it receives? | GotQuestions.org
- How should I decide how much to tithe? | GotQuestions.org
- Does our tithe all have to go to our church or can part of it go to a Christian ministry? | GotQuestions.org
- Does the teaching on tithing in Malachi 3:9-10 apply to us today? | GotQuestions.org
- What is the difference between tithes and offerings? | GotQuestions.org
- If you have a lot of debt, can you temporarily stop tithing while paying off the debt? | GotQuestions.org
Question - Why do Christians worship on Sunday?
Answer: Most Christians traditionally worship on Sunday. Sunday worship is partly attributed to Sabbatarianism, the view that one day of the week should be reserved for religious observance and worship, as required by Old Testament laws regarding the Sabbath (Exodus 20:8, 31:12–18). In this view, man is to abstain from all labor except that which is necessary for the welfare of family and society. This interpretation of the law contends that only on the literal Sabbath, the seventh day of the week (Saturday), can the requirements of the law be met.
Semi-Sabbatarianism followers, as early as the fourth century AD, believed essentially as the Sabbatarians did, with the exception that they transferred its demands from Saturday to Sunday, the first day of the week (the day on which Christ arose from the dead). Theologians of that period, particularly in the Eastern Church, were teaching the practical identity of the Jewish Sabbath (Saturday) and the Christian Sunday.
Interestingly, a legend recounted in the so-called Apocalypse of Peter, which dates back to the 2nd century AD and is generally accepted as a false writing, transfers to Sunday all of the requirements of Sabbath worship. A man named Albertus Magnus added momentum to this growing movement by suggesting semi-Sabbatarianism be divided into two parts: the moral command to observe a day of rest after laboring the previous six days, and the ceremonial symbol that applied only to the Jews in a literal sense. Thomas Aquinas elevated this proposal to the status of official Roman Catholic doctrine, which in time also gained favor with many Reformed theologians.
Scripture never mentions any Sabbath (Saturday) gatherings by believers for fellowship or worship. However, there are clear passages that mention the first day of the week, Sunday. For instance, Acts 20:7+ states that “on the first day of the week we came together to break bread.” Paul also urges the Corinthian believers, “On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income” (1 Corinthians 16:2). Since Paul designates this offering as “service” in 2 Corinthians 9:12, this collection may have been linked with the Sunday worship service of the Christian assembly. Historically, Sunday, not Saturday, was the normal meeting day for Christians in the church, and its practice dates back to the first century.
Christians worship on Sundays in celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is very important to remember, though, Sunday worship is not commanded in the Bible, and Sunday has not replaced Saturday and become the Christian Sabbath. (Is Sunday the Christian Sabbath? | GotQuestions.org) While the New Testament describes Christians gathering and worshiping on Sundays, it nowhere states that Sunday has replaced Saturday as the Sabbath. The key point in all of this is that we are not to limit our worship to any particular day of the week. We are to rest in the Lord every day. We are to worship the Lord every day. GotQuestions.org
Brian Bell - PRINCIPLES! 5 of them.
Maybe the reason Paul uses words like, given orders & must do, is because of the indebtedness he talked about in Rom.15:25-27?
1. Prearranged (2a) – 1st day of the week.
1. Giving shouldn’t be done haphazardly, but thoughtful, & regular planning.
2. How careful are you about planning in this area?
3. How do you communicate this to your children?
2. Personal (2b) – each one of you.
1. Everybody is involved here. [S.S.worker, deacon/elder, new convert, oldest convert, rich/poor]
2. The poor?…Yep!
1. See 2 Cor.8:2, & then see how they were able to give vs.5!
2. I’ve seen the widow’s-mite given in Haiti. And it’s beautiful!
3. Are you contributing to needs you hear of, & to your church?
4. Do you see your individual gift as significant? Was the little widow & her penny she gave significant?
3. Prepared (2c) – lay something aside. [Lit. “keep putting aside & saving”]
4. Proportionate (2d) – as he may prosper.
1. The amount is going to differ from person to person, but we can all have the same attitude in giving in common.
2. 2 Cor.9:7 So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.
3. Story – A lady brought $50 as a gift one Sunday morning to church & she asked the pastor if it was satisfactory? He answered her, “Does the gift represent you”? She left & returned with $5000 & asked if it was satisfactory? Again he responded,“Does the gift represent you”?She again left & returned w/$50,000 this time she said, "After earnest, prayerful thought, I have come to the conclusion that this gift does represent me and I am happy to give it." Do you give cheerfully? Or do you have to peal your fingers off your checkbook 1 x 1?
5. Private (2e) - no collections when I come.
1. Paul didn’t want them to give because Paul the Apostle was there!
- Is Sunday the Christian Sabbath? | GotQuestions.org
- What day is the Sabbath, Saturday or Sunday? Do Christians have to observe the Sabbath day? | GotQuestions.org
- Did Constantine change the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday? | GotQuestions.org
- Is working on Sunday a sin? | GotQuestions.org
- when: 1Co 4:19-21 11:34
- whomever: Ac 6:1-6 2Co 8:18-24
- gift, 2Co 8:4,6,19
- 1 Corinthians 16 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries
Acts 4:35+ and lay them at the apostles’ feet, and they would be distributed to each as any had need.
Comment - The gifts of the early Christians were first entrusted to the apostles
1 Corinthians 4:19-21+ But I will come to you soon, if the Lord wills, and I shall find out, not the words of those who are arrogant but their power. 20 For the kingdom of God does not consist in words but in power. 21 What do you desire? Shall I come to you with a rod, or with love and a spirit of gentleness?
2 Corinthians 8:4-7 begging us with much urging for the favor of participation in the support of the saints, 5 and this, not as we had expected, but they first gave themselves to the Lord and to us by the will of God. 6 So we urged Titus that as he had previously made a beginning, so he would also complete in you this gracious work (charis) as well. 7 But just as you abound in everything, in faith and utterance and knowledge and in all earnestness and in the love we inspired in you, see that you abound in this gracious work (charis) also.
2 Corinthians 8:18-24 We have sent along with him the brother whose fame in the things of the gospel has spread through all the churches; 19 and not only this, but he has also been appointed by the churches to travel with us in this gracious work (charis), which is being administered by us for the glory of the Lord Himself, and to show our readiness, 20 taking precaution so that no one will discredit us in our administration of this generous gift; 21 for we have regard for what is honorable, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men. 22 We have sent with them our brother, whom we have often tested (dokimazo) and found diligent in many things, but now even more diligent because of his great confidence in you. 23 As for Titus, he is my partner and fellow worker among you; as for our brethren, they are messengers of the churches, a glory to Christ. 24 Therefore openly before the churches, show them the proof (endeixis) of your love (agape - PUT YOUR MONEY WHERE YOUR MOUTH IS OR BETTER "WHERE YOUR HEART IS") and of our reason for boasting about you.
Illustration of Charity
IN CHURCH FINANCES
Fiscal accountability is very important in a church, and also important for the world to see
When I arrive - Earlier Paul had written " I will come to you soon, if the Lord wills," (1 Corinthians 4:19+)
Arrive (3854) paraginomai from para = beside + ginomai = to come to exist) means literally to become near and hence to come on the scene with various nuances - most commonly as in the present context it means to come or arrive at a place, reach a place, be present.
Whomever you may approve - Whomever is plural (and masculine - men not women) so the thought is more than one person would transport the gift which was wise for it would impede one person from being tempted to "take the money and run." Paul played no role in this choice but trusts the Corinthians to "test" those they want to carry the cash, and the Greek word approve indicates they passed the test. They are trustworthy and reliable.
Roberson and Plummer note that Paul does "not select the bearers of the fund, still less claim to have charge of it himself. In no case will he do that, to avoid all suspicion of enriching himself out of it." (Critical and Exegetical Commentary)
Brian Bell on the significance of giving to another church - And a positive reminder that it is not only about “our church”! This helped the Corinthian church view themselves not only as members of a congregation…but of The Church!
I will send them (those you accredit) with (commendatory) letters (epistole - of introduction/explanation/recommendation/credentials) to carry your (kindhearted, gracious) gift (of charity, generosity) to Jerusalem - Commendatory letters were well known in antiquity. So this refers to letters accompanying the grace gift from the saints in Macedonia (predominantly Gentiles) to the saints in Jerusalem who are predominantly Jewish believers. The word gift is translated grace in the beginning of the letter where Paul writes " Grace (charis) to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ." (1 Cor 1:3+) As recipients of spiritual grace they (and we) had the privilege of bestowing "tangible grace" on their brothers and sisters in Jerusalem (cf charis translated gracious gift in 1 Cor 8:6, 7, 19).
A T Robertson - Curiously enough no names from Corinth occur in the list in Acts 20:4. (Word Pictures in the New Testament)
Note that Paul twice went to Jerusalem with money for the poor (Acts 11:29-30, Acts 24:17).
Bell - Giving should be Grace Giving!. Paul who spoke most freely on this topic in the NT never mentioned tithing (10%).. We aren’t obligated to tithe, instead we have the opportunity to give as the Lord lays it on our hearts.. Grace-giving not tithing! (though tithing is a great principle, even pre-law) our motivation is Grace…not Law! Jesus said, Freely you have received, freely give. Don’t give emotionally, but pray & ask God, Lord can I participate in this?
Approve (1381) dokimazo from dokimos = tested, proved or approved, tried as metals by fire and thus purified from dechomai = to accept, receive) means to assay, to test, to prove, to put to the test, to make a trial of, to verify, to discern to approve. Dokimazo involves not only testing but determining the genuineness or value of an event or object. That which has been tested is demonstrated to be genuine and trustworthy. In an inscription (Moulton and Milligan) the verb is almost a technical term for passing as fit for a public office. It was also used to indicate a government approved doctor. Dokimazo was used in classic Greek to describe the assaying of precious metals (especially gold or silver coins), usually by fire, to prove the whether they were authentic and whether they measured up to the stated worth. That which endures the test was called dokimos and that which fails is called adokimos. 20v - Lk. 12:56; Lk. 14:19; Rom. 1:28; Rom. 2:18; Rom. 12:2; Rom. 14:22; 1 Co. 3:13; 1 Co. 11:28; 1 Co. 16:3; 2 Co. 8:8; 2 Co. 8:22; 2 Co. 13:5; Gal. 6:4; Eph. 5:10; Phil. 1:10; 1 Thess. 2:4; 1 Thess. 5:21; 1 Tim. 3:10; 1 Pet. 1:7; 1 Jn. 4:1
Paul had used dokimazo to describe the testing of believer's works - "each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work." (1 Cor 3:13)
In 1 Cor 11:28 in the context of communion Paul said " a man must examine himself, and in so doing he is to eat of the bread and drink of the cup."
Carry (667)(apophero from apo = away from + phero = to bear, carry) means to carry off, take away or transport ( Lk 16:22 = Lazarus "was carried away by the angels"; 1 Cor 16:3; Rev 17:3, 21:10 = "he carried me away in the Spirit"). To lead away a prisoner (by force) (Mk 15:1 = "they led Him away", Jn 21:18). To take or bring things from one place to another (Acts 19:12 = = "handkerchiefs or aprons were even carried from his body to the sick,). Apophero is used 6x in NT - ; Mk. 15:1; Lk. 16:22; Acts 19:12; 1 Co. 16:3; Rev. 17:3; Rev. 21:10. Uses in Septuagint - Lev. 20:19; Num. 16:46; 2 Sam. 13:13; 2 Chr. 36:7; Ezr. 5:5; Ezr. 5:14; Est. 3:13; Job 3:6; Job 15:28; Job 21:32; Ps. 45:14; Ps. 45:15; Eccl. 10:20; Isa. 57:13; Jer. 52:17; Ezek. 32:30; Ezek. 38:13; Dan. 1:2; Dan. 11:8; Hos. 10:6; Zech. 5:10;
Gift (favor) (5485)(charis rom from chairo = to rejoice. English = charity. Beggars need "charity" even as sinners need grace, for we are all spiritual paupers outside of Christ, but "God gives where he finds empty hands"-Augustine [cp Mt 5:3-note]) is a word which defies a simple definition but at its core conveys the sense of favor while the specific nuances of charis depend on the context in which it is used. Someone has written that the word grace is probably the greatest word in the Scriptures, even greater even than “love,” because grace is love in action, and therefore includes it. It is hardly too much to say that God has in no word uttered Himself and all that was in His heart more distinctly than in this word grace (charis)! Adrian Rogers says the best definition of grace that he has ever heard is that God's grace is "both the desire and the ability to do the will of God." A T Robertson writes that charis has "a variety of applied meanings. They all come from the notion of sweetness, charm, loveliness, joy, delight. Grace in simple terms is God's unmerited favor and supernatural enablement and empowerment for salvation and for daily sanctification. Grace is everything for nothing to those who don't deserve anything. Grace is what every man needs, what none can earn and what God Alone can and does freely give (see Ro 8:32+ where "freely give" is charizomai from charis = a grace gift!). Grace addresses man's sin, while mercy addresses man's misery.Charis in 1-2 Cor - 1 Co. 1:3; 1 Co. 1:4; 1 Co. 3:10; 1 Co. 10:30; 1 Co. 15:10; 1 Co. 15:57; 1 Co. 16:3; 1 Co. 16:23; 2 Co. 1:2; 2 Co. 1:12; 2 Co. 1:15; 2 Co. 2:14; 2 Co. 4:15; 2 Co. 6:1; 2 Co. 8:1; 2 Co. 8:4; 2 Co. 8:6; 2 Co. 8:7; 2 Co. 8:9; 2 Co. 8:16; 2 Co. 8:19; 2 Co. 9:8; 2 Co. 9:14; 2 Co. 9:15; 2 Co. 12:9; 2 Co. 13:14;
- Ro 15:25 2Co 8:4,19
- 1 Corinthians 16 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries
and if it is fitting (worthwhile) for me to go also, they will go (poreuo) with me - The IF is introduces a third class conditional statements, which describes a potential action or probability. He is speaking about going to Jerusalem with the collection. The question is what does "fitting" (which literally is that which is equal in weight) mean in this context? Utley writes "This seems to relate to (1) the size of the offering; (2) the one who started this offering accompanying it; or (3) Paul’ wanting this church, which had such problems with his authority, to recognize his proper role and trustworthiness."
Pratt - Paul could not anticipate the circumstances they might face upon his arrival in Corinth. So he left the matter open-ended. Once again, Paul demonstrated great practical wisdom. (Holman New Testament Commentary – I & II Corinthians)
Wuest on "if it is fitting" sees this as referring to the amount of the gift and so translates it "And if it [the gift] be sufficiently large so as to warrant me also going, they shall go with me." Paul would make the journey if circumstances were such that the work demanded him going
As it came to pass Paul decided to go to Jerusalem as he recorded in Romans writing "I am going to Jerusalem serving the saints.(Ro 15:25+)
Fitting (adjective) (514) áxios from ágō = to weigh) strictly speaking means bringing up the other beam of the scales. Having the weight of another thing of like value, worth as much. Bringing into balance and hence equivalent or equal value/similar worth. Counterbalancing - weighing as much (of like value, worth as much). Bringing into balance and hence equivalent or equal value/similar worth (Ro 8:18, see use in Lxx of Pr 3:15, 8:11). Other nuances of axios include describing that which is fitting or appropriate (1Cor 16:2), that which is deserving (Mt 10:10), that which "deserves" to be considered or accepted (1Ti 1:15), that which is worthy of praise (Rev 4:11), that which corresponds to or is congruent with something else (Mt 3:8, Luke 3:8, 23:41, 26:20). Worthy or deserving of evil (Rev 16:6).
- after: Ac 19:21 Acts 20:1-3 2Co 1:15-17
- 1 Corinthians 16 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries
2 Corinthians 1:15-17 (DESCRIBES PAUL'S ORIGINAL PLAN TO MAKE TWO TRIPS TO CORINTH) In this confidence I intended at first to come to you, so that you might twice receive a blessing; 16 that is, to pass your way into Macedonia, and again from Macedonia to come to you, and by you to be helped on my journey to Judea. 17 Therefore, I was not vacillating when I intended to do this, was I? Or what I purpose, do I purpose according to the flesh, so that with me there will be yes, yes and no, no at the same time?
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PAUL'S PLANS TO
Keep the context in mind - Paul is writing 1 Corinthians from Ephesus on his Third Missionary Journey (see map above). He was later vilified by some in the church at Corinth because of his aborted (and to them "fickle") travel plans (2 Cor. 1:15-20). He first was going to take the sea route to Corinth and pass through Macedonia then back to Corinth, but since he wanted to stay longer, he decided to go by land route through Macedonia first and then to Corinth. He stayed the winter there (Acts 20:2-3+). Some in the church used Paul’s indecision (to them "vacillation") in his travel plans to attack his gospel.
But I will come to you after I go through Macedonia (which I plan to pass through), for I am going through Macedonia - Paul's itinerary was to depart Ephesus, go north to Macedonia and then southward to Achaia, location of Corinth.
Acts 19:21-22+ Now after these things were finished, Paul purposed in the Spirit (or "his spirit") to go to Jerusalem after he had passed through Macedonia and Achaia (aka GREECE - location of CORINTH), saying, “After I have been there, I must also see Rome.” 22 And having sent into Macedonia two of those who ministered to him, Timothy and Erastus, he himself stayed in Asia for a while.
Acts 20:1-3+ After the uproar had ceased (DESCRIBED IN Acts 19:23-41), Paul sent for the disciples, and when he had exhorted them and taken his leave of them, he left to go to Macedonia (NORTHWARD, PROBABLY TO TROAS AND ACROSS THE AEGEAN SEA TO MACEDONIA). 2 When he had gone through (dierchomai) those districts (CHURCHES INCLUDED PHILIPPI, THESSALONICA, BEREA) and had given them much exhortation, he came to Greece (aka ACHAIA). 3 And there he spent three months (MOST OF THIS TIME APPARENTLY IN CORINTH), and when a plot was formed against him by the Jews as he was about to set sail for Syria, he decided to return through Macedonia.
Go through (pass through)(1330)(dierchomai from dia = through + erchomai = come, go) means to go through, to pass through, to move through an area and seems to be almost a technical term for a missionary tour or evangelistic journey. Dierchomai seems to be almost a technical term for a missionary tour or evangelistic journey, the district traversed being in the accusative without a preposition: Ramsay, St Paul, pp. 72, 384; Knowling on Acts 13:6. In contrast to this tour through Macedonia he intends making a long stay (παραμενῶ) at Corinth.
Summary of the Third Missionary Journey
- Antioch Acts 18:23+
- Phrygia/Galatia Acts 18:23-28+
- Ephesus Acts 19:1-41+
- Macedonia Acts 20:1+ -- This is the visit to which Paul alludes here in 1 Cor 16:5.
- Greece (PROBABLY CORINTH) Acts 20:2-3+
- Macedonia Acts 20:3-5+
- Philippi Acts 20:6+
- Troas Acts 20:6-12+
- Assos Acts 20:13+
- Mitylene Acts 20:14+
- Samos Acts 20:15+
- Miletus Acts 20:15-38+
- Cos Acts 21:1+
- Rhodes Acts 21:1+
- Patara Acts 21:1+
- Tyre Acts 21:3-6+
- Ptolemais Acts 21:7+
- Caesarea Acts 21:8-14+
- winter: Ac 27:12 Acts 28:11 Tit 3:12
- that: Ac 15:3 17:15 20:38 21:5 Ro 15:24 2Co 1:16 3Jn 1:6,7
- 1 Corinthians 16 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries
and perhaps (quite possibly, perchance) I will stay with you (for a while), or even spend the winter - Once winter is past ships can sail again. The winter season would thus compel Paul to sojourn at Corinth (Grosheide). Land travel was generally closed from Nov. 11 to Mar. 10. Sea travel was considered very dangerous during this time
A T Robertson - He did stay in Corinth for three months (Acts 20:3), probably the coming winter. (Word Pictures in the New Testament)
Robertson and Plummer - His remaining at Corinth through the winter might be necessary, because navigation then would be perilous or impossible. After 14th Sept. navigation was considered dangerous; after 11th Nov. it ceased till 5th March (Critical and Exegetical Commentary)
Spend the winter (3914)(paracheimazo from para = by the side of + cheimazo = to expose to winter cold, to drive with storm, from cheima = winter cold) means spend the winter, stay in a place during the stormy season. Used of the ship’s captain who decided not to “winter” in the harbor at Fair Havens (Acts 27:12). It is also used in reference to another ship that “wintered” for 3 months at Melita (Acts 28:11), of Paul’s desire to “spend the winter” in Corinth (1 Corinthians 16:6), and of Paul’s decision to “winter” at Nicopolis (Titus 3:12). Acts 27:12+; Acts 28:11+; 1 Co. 16:6+; Titus 3:12+
So that (hina - purpose clause) you may send me on my way wherever I may go (to my next destination) - He would rather have his ‘send-off’ from them. Send me on my way means accompanying or escorting him to his point of departure with the additional nuance of giving him food and provisions for his journey. They certainly "sent him on his way" because he literally had to flee for his life, Luke recording "And there (PROBABLY MOST OF THE TIME AT CORINTH) he spent three months, and when a plot was formed against him by the Jews as he was about to set sail for Syria, he decided to return through Macedonia." (Acts 20:3+)
Send me on my way (help on journey/way) (4311) propempo literally means to send before. In the NT the idea is to send forward on one’s journey, to bring someone on his way, especially to accompany for some distance in token of respect and honor (as in the present passage). Propempo is a technical term for supplying the travel needs of God’s itinerant ministers and thus conveys the idea of to help one forward on his journey, including furnishing things necessary for one's travel (see Acts 15:3; Ro 15:24; 2 Cor 1:16; Titus 3:13; 3 Jn 6). BDAG: (1) to conduct someone who has a destination in mind, accompany, escort... (2) to assist someone in making a journey, send on one’s way with food, money, by arranging for companions, means of travel, etc 9v - Acts 15:3; Acts 20:38; Acts 21:5; Ro 15:24; 1 Co. 16:6; 1 Co. 16:11; 2 Co. 1:16; Titus 3:13; 3 Jn. 1:6
- If the Lord wills - 1Co 4:19 Pr 19:21 Jer 10:23 Ac 18:21 Ro 1:10 Jas 4:15
- 1 Corinthians 16 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries
Proverbs 19:21 Many plans are in a man’s heart, But the counsel of the LORD will stand.
Jeremiah 10:23 I know, O LORD, that a man’s way is not in himself, Nor is it in a man who walks to direct his steps.
1 Corinthians 4:19 But I will come to you soon, if the Lord wills, and I shall find out, not the words of those who are arrogant but their power.
Acts 18:21 but taking leave of them and saying, “I will return to you again if God wills,” he set sail from Ephesus.
Romans 1:10 always in my prayers making request, if perhaps now at last by the will of God I may succeed in coming to you.
James 4:15 Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.”
Hebrews 6:3 And this we will do, if God permits.
PAUL'S HOPEFUL PLAN
IF THE LORD WILLS
For I do not wish (thelo) to see you now just in passing - NLT picks up the tenor of Paul's words to the Corinthians = "This time I don't want to make just a short visit and then go right on. I want to come and stay awhile, if the Lord will let me."
Robertson and Plummer- In the case of such friends as they are, a mere passing visit would be very unsatisfying; all the more so, because there is much to be arranged at Corinth (1 Cor 11:34+). (Critical and Exegetical Commentary)
Alan Redpath - Here you see Paul as a worker, called into fellowship with the Lord and His people, opening his heart to the church at Corinth. There is a glorious uncertainty about his own future in these verses. To those of us who are bound to a program, this is a refreshing breeze from heaven! It would be a wonderful thing if sometimes the Holy Spirit just broke through our little plans and opened our eyes to the far greater purposes of our wonderful Lord. When will we give Him opportunity to do something new in our churches? Paul did not know when he would get to Corinth or how long he would stay. He did not know when he would leave, nor where he would go next. What a wonderful thing for a missionary to be in a position like that! The one great steadying factor, the source of authority and assurance, was that he was under the command of the Lord: “If the Lord permits.”(The Road to Heaven)
In passing (3938)(parodos from para = by or through + hodos = road, way, journey) generally denotes a “passage.” And thus a passby or passing through. BDAG says parodos was (1) a "traveling term a way for travelers, passage, thoroughfare. (2) the act of moving to a point of reference and continuing on one’s course, but with possibility of a stopover, passing by." (BDAG) Liddell - Scott - LS] a by-way, passage, Thuc. 2. a going by, passing, Id.; as they passed by, Id. II. a side-entrance, a narrow entrance or approach, Xen (of Thermopylae), Dem. III. a coming forward, esp. before the assembly to speak, Id. 2. the first entrance of the chorus, their first song, Arist.; traveller, passer-by. In NT only in 1 Cor 16:7. Uses in Septuagint - Gen. 38:14; 2 Sam. 12:4; 2 Ki. 25:24; Ezek. 16:15; Ezek. 16:25
For I hope to remain (epimeno - stay for a while) with you for some time (spend some time time with you), if the Lord permits (allows) - This was Paul's hope but in this case it was not a certainty as described in Acts 20:3. Notice Paul is continually obedient to the directives of his Lord Jesus Christ, providing a great example for each of us to imitate (1 Cor 4:16, 1 Cor 11:1).
Robertson and Plummer - ‘For I am hoping to stay on in intercourse with you for some little time.’ He is looking forward to living among them. He does not say ‘to stay on at Corinth’: it is the people, not the place, that he cares about. (Critical and Exegetical Commentary)
Bob Utley has a good point on if the Lord permits - This is a THIRD CLASS CONDITIONAL sentence, which means potential action. This was not a trite phrase with the NT Christians. They believed their steps were providentially guided by the Lord (see passages above) (ED: THE SPIRIT GUIDES OUR "STEPS" AND OUR "STOPS!")
Hope (1679) elpizo from noun elpis = hope, absolute assurance of future good) means to look forward with confidence to that which is good and beneficial. To express desire for some good with the expectation of obtaining it. Some of the NT uses of elpizo convey the sense of "to expect" (to look forward, to consider as probable, or even as obligated) (Lk 6:34, 2Co 8:5). Elpizo means a firm conviction based on the Jesus' resurrection, that we too can have confidence as we face the future (Ro 8:24, 25-note, 1Co 15:18). We can have confident expectation (He 11:1+. Elpizo in 1-2 Cor- 1 Co. 13:7; 1 Co. 15:19; 1 Co. 16:7; 2 Co. 1:10; 2 Co. 1:13; 2 Co. 5:11; 2 Co. 8:5; 2 Co. 13:6;
Lord (master, owner)(2962) kurios from kuros = might or power, related to kuroo = to give authority) primarily means the possessor, owner, master, the supreme one, one who is sovereign and possesses absolute authority, absolute ownership rights and uncontested power. Kurios is use 5x in 1 Cor 16:7, 10, 19, 22, 23.
Permits (gives permission)(2010) epitrepo from epi = upon + trepo = to turn) means to turn to, entrust, hence to permit, let someone do something. In Mark 5:13, John 19:38, and Acts 21:39 it carries the sense of release from restraint in order to have freedom of choice. 17v in the NT - Matt. 8:21; Matt. 19:8; Mk. 5:13; Mk. 10:4; Lk. 8:32; Lk. 9:59; Lk. 9:61; Jn. 19:38; Acts 21:39; Acts 21:40; Acts 26:1; Acts 27:3; Acts 28:16; 1 Co. 14:34; 1 Co. 16:7; 1 Tim. 2:12; Heb. 6:3
- 1Co 15:32
- Pentecost: Ex 23:16 Lev 23:15-21 Ac 2:1
- 1 Corinthians 16 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries
PLAN FOR THE PRESENT
But - Term of contrast. Paul has just been talking about coming to Corinth, but now he says "Not yet."
I will (propose to) remain (epimeno) in Ephesus until Pentecost - Paul writes he stay in Ephesus instead of coming to Corinth at this time and in the next verse he explains why he makes this decision.
Robertson comments that Paul "writes them in the spring before pentecost. Apparently the uproar by Demetrius hurried Paul away from Ephesus (Acts 20:1)." (Word Pictures in the New Testament)
Robertson and Plummer - Evidently he is writing in or near Ephesus, and probably about Easter (5:7; 15:20). At that time navigation would have begun again, and therefore it would be possible for him to come. Pentecost is probably mentioned as a rough indication of time, a few weeks later. He does not mean that he must keep the Feast of Pentecost at Ephesus. His reasons for staying on are quite different. There is a grand opening for effectual work, and there is a powerful opposition: he must utilize the one and check the other. (Critical and Exegetical Commentary)
- wide Ac 19:8-10
- wide door: Ac 14:27 2Co 2:12 Col 4:3 Rev 3:7-8
- there: 1Co 15:32 Ac 19:9-10 2Co 1:8-10 Php 3:18
- 1 Corinthians 16 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries
Acts 19:8-10+ (PAUL'S EARLY DAYS IN EPHESUS - cf Acts 19:1+) And he entered the synagogue and continued speaking out boldly for three months, reasoning and persuading them about the kingdom of God. 9 But when some were becoming hardened and disobedient, speaking evil of the Way before the people, he withdrew from them and took away the disciples, reasoning daily in the school of Tyrannus. 10 This took place for two years, so that all who lived in Asia heard the word of the Lord, both Jews and Greeks.
Acts 19:20+ (DESCRIBES THE EFFECTS OF THE FIERCE OPPOSITION IN EPHESUS) So the word of the Lord was growing mightily and prevailing.
Colossians 4:3+ praying at the same time for us as well, that God will open up (anoigo) to us a DOOR for the word, so that we may speak forth the mystery of Christ, for which I have also been imprisoned;
Revelation 3:7-8+ “And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: He who is holy, who is true, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, and who shuts and no one opens (anoigo), says this: 8 ‘I know your deeds. Behold, I have put before you an open (anoigo) DOOR which no one can shut, because you have a little power, and have kept My word, and have not denied My name.
2 Corinthians 1:8-11 (PAUL DESCRIBES THE MANY ADVERSARIES IN EPHESUS) For we do not want you to be unaware, brethren, of our affliction which came to us in Asia (LOCATION OF EPHESUS) that we were burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of life; 9 indeed, we had the sentence of death within ourselves so that we would not trust in ourselves, but in God Who raises the dead; 10 Who delivered us from so great a peril of death, and will deliver us, He on Whom we have set our hope. And He will yet deliver us, 11 you also joining in helping us through your prayers, so that thanks may be given by many persons on our behalf for the favor bestowed on us through the prayers of many. (FOR MORE DESCRIPTION OF THE OPPOSITION HE EXPERIENCED IN EPHESUS READ 2 Cor. 4:8–11).
AN OPEN DOOR OF
OPPORTUNITY & OPPOSITION
Richard Pratt - His reasoning provides a valuable lesson for those seeking to determine the will of God in a ministry situation. Paul wanted to remain in Ephesus temporarily because a great door for effective work had opened for him. In other words, Paul saw that his efforts in Ephesus were succeeding. He recognized his success as an indication that he should continue to work in Ephesus.
Robertson and Plummer - ‘There are many opposing my entrance, hindering him from making use of the great opportunity (Phil. 1:20). Among these are the wild beasts of 1 Cor 15:32, and they would include both Jews and heathen. Acts 19:1-41+ shows how true this estimate of the situation proved. “The superstition of all Asia was concentrated at Ephesus. Throughout the early centuries the city mob, superstitious, frivolous, swayed by the most common-place motives, was everywhere the most dangerous and unfailing enemy of Christianity, and often carried the imperial officials further than they wished in the way of persecution” (Ramsay, St Paul, p. 277). But this determines St Paul, not to fly, but to stay (Critical and Exegetical Commentary)
Here the term door is used as a metaphor (see above passages describing the DOOR), the very picture Jesus used to describe Himself testifying "I am the DOOR; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture." (Jn 10:9) Indeed Paul saw the opened door as an opportunity to lead lost "sheep" through the saving "DOOR" of Jesus Christ! He perceived that this was a supernatural situation which God had placed before him, and that he should remain in Ephesus to take full advantage of it.
The DOOR is effective (energes) or capable of making something happen. The related word energeia is that which enables one to accomplish what he sets out to accomplish. Paul used the related noun energema to describe the effects or workings energized by God’s grace in 1 Cor 12:6,10+.
Energes is used to describe the Word of God as "living and active (operative, energizing, effective = energes) and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart." (Heb 4:12+). The point is (pun intended) that the Word of God is supernatural and should be wielded confidently without hesitation or reservation, rejecting any notion of its ineffectiveness. By the same token, the DOOR before Paul was to be seen as one that was capable of introducing him to supernatural happenings. Of course, open doors are only of value if one walks through them!
THOUGHT - Has God placed a door of opportunity before you? Do you have eyes to see it? Or are you so enamored with the glitzy "trinkets" of this fallen, passing world (1 Jn 2:17+), that you cannot even see the open door that God has placed before you? If you have time and inclination read the discussion of Redeem the Time (Seize the Opportunity)! Our life is short (1 Cor 7:29+, Jas 4:13+). Eternity is long. Don't miss your divine opportunities, your "once in a lifetime opportunities!"
Opened is in the perfect tense. Opened to me shows that Paul recognized it was not he who had opened the door, but that it had been opened for him. God had flung the door wide open at some point and it remained open! Paul was not about to pass up this opportunity, for he knew "opportunity only knocked once," even as he implied in Eph 5:16NLT+ writing "redeem the opportunity." The idea is to buy up or seize the opportunity while the opportunity was still present! In Acts 19:10+ Luke records Paul's ministry in Ephesus "took place for two years, so that all who lived in Asia heard the word of the Lord, both Jews and Greeks." That is a wide door! Yes, a wide door of opportunity but with many lined up against him! Paul knew that the battle was the Lord's!
Great opportunities will bring great oppostion.
Adversaries is actually a verb (antikeimai) in the present tense depicting many enemies continually lined up, as it were" against Paul! I love the use of antikeimai in the Septuagint of Exodus 23:22+, Moses recording that "“if you truly obey his voice and do all that I say, then I (JEHOVAH) will be an enemy to your enemies and an adversary (Lxx - antikeimai) to your adversaries (Lxx - antikeimai)." One has to believe that Paul was familiar with this OT passage!
Jesus had encouraged His disciples declaring
“So make up (aorist imperative) your minds (kardia - hearts) not to prepare beforehand to defend ( apologeomai) yourselves; 15 (WHY NOT?) FOR (TERM OF EXPLANATION) I will give you utterance and wisdom which (ABSOLUTELY) none of your opponents (antikeimai) will be able to resist (anthistemi) or refute (anteipon). (Lk 21:14-15+)
Comment - Paul certainly experienced the realization of this promise of His Lord!
Effective (1756) energes from en = in + érgon = work) describes that which is working, efficient, effective, operative or powerful. Energes describes activity which produces results or which is effective in causing something to happen or to come about. The somber warnings that have reverberated through Hebrews 3-4 are working and effective words which are able to accomplish their purpose. Robertson on energes - "In the papyri a medical receipt has it for “tolerably strong.” The form energos in the papyri is used of a mill “in working order,” of “tilled land,” and of “wrought iron.” In the N. T. it occurs in Philemon 6 and Heb. 4:12 of “the word of God” as “energēs” (powerful). Paul means that he has at least a great opportunity for work in Ephesus."
Open (455) anoigo from ana = again + oigo = to open) means to open, to open up, to open again, to give access to. Figuratively, to open a "door" meaning to make possible (Col 4:3). In Acts 14:27 the ‘door’ is opened to the hearers, not to the preachers.
Anoigo 78x in 76v - Matt. 2:11; Matt. 3:16; Matt. 5:2; Matt. 7:7; Matt. 7:8; Matt. 9:30; Matt. 13:35; Matt. 17:27; Matt. 20:33; Matt. 25:11; Matt. 27:52; Mk. 7:35; Lk. 1:64; Lk. 3:21; Lk. 4:17; Lk. 11:9; Lk. 11:10; Lk. 12:36; Lk. 13:25; Jn. 1:51; Jn. 9:10; Jn. 9:14; Jn. 9:17; Jn. 9:21; Jn. 9:26; Jn. 9:30; Jn. 9:32; Jn. 10:3; Jn. 10:21; Jn. 11:37; Acts 5:19; Acts 5:23; Acts 8:32; Acts 8:35; Acts 9:8; Acts 9:40; Acts 10:11; Acts 10:34; Acts 12:10; Acts 12:14; Acts 12:16; Acts 14:27; Acts 16:26; Acts 16:27; Acts 18:14; Acts 26:18; Rom. 3:13; 1 Co. 16:9; 2 Co. 2:12; 2 Co. 6:11; Col. 4:3; Rev. 3:7; Rev. 3:8; Rev. 3:20; Rev. 4:1; Rev. 5:2; Rev. 5:3; Rev. 5:4; Rev. 5:5; Rev. 5:9; Rev. 6:1; Rev. 6:3; Rev. 6:5; Rev. 6:7; Rev. 6:9; Rev. 6:12; Rev. 8:1; Rev. 9:2; Rev. 10:2; Rev. 10:8; Rev. 11:19; Rev. 12:16; Rev. 13:6; Rev. 15:5; Rev. 19:11; Rev. 20:12
Adversaires (opponents, enemies) (480) antikeimai from antí = against, opposite + keimai = to be placed, to lie or be laid down) means literally to line up against or to lie opposite to, both ideas giving us a vivid picture of the conflict Paul describes! This same verb describes the believer's continual battle that rages between the fallen flesh and the Holy Spirit (Gal 5:16+) 6v in NT - Lk. 13:17; Lk. 21:15; 1 Co. 16:9; Gal. 5:17; Phil. 1:28; 2 Thess. 2:4; 1 Tim. 1:10; 1 Tim. 5:14. Uses in the Septuagint - Ex. 23:22; 2 Sa 8:10; Est. 8:11; Est. 9:1; Job 13:25; Isa. 41:11; Isa. 45:16; Isa. 51:19; Isa. 66:6; Zech. 3:1
ILLUSTRATION OF THE TRUTH OF 1 Corinthians 16:9 - While John Paton was a university student in Scotland, God called him to missionary work in the New Hebrides. After graduation he and his bride sailed to the southwest Pacific and began work among the savage cannibals on the island of Tanna. His wife and infant son died a few months later, and Paton slept on their graves for several nights to prevent the cannibals from digging up the bodies and eating them. After almost four years of faithful work he left without seeing a single convert. Many years later his son by another marriage resumed work on Tanna and eventually saw the entire island come to Christ. When the elder Paton revisited the island, the chief of the former cannibals asked the missionary who the great army was that had surrounded his hut every night when he first came among them. God’s angels had protected him. Because of his faithful work and that of his son, when he left the New Hebrides for the last time, after ministering on another island as well, it is reported that he said with tearful eyes, “I don’t know of one native on these islands who has not made a profession of faith in Jesus Christ.” (John MacArthur MNTC- 1 Corinthians)
- if: 1Co 4:17 Ac 19:22
- without: 1Co 16:11 1Th 4:12
- for: 1Co 15:58 Ro 16:21 2Co 6:1 Php 2:19-22 1Th 3:2
- 1 Corinthians 16 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries
Philippians 2:19-22+ But I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you shortly, so that I also may be encouraged when I learn of your condition. 20 For I have no one else of kindred spirit who will genuinely be concerned for your welfare. 21 For they all seek after their own interests, not those of Christ Jesus. 22 But you know of his proven worth, that he served with me in the furtherance of the gospel like a child serving his father.
1 Corinthians 4:17+ For this reason I have sent to you Timothy, (AS DESCRIBED IN Acts 19:22+) who is my beloved and faithful child in the Lord, and he will remind you of my ways which are in Christ, just as I teach everywhere in every church.
Robertson and Plummer suggest "His intended stay at Corinth reminds him of the visit which Timothy is to pay in preparation for his (1 Cor 4:17); and the thought of the helper who has already started reminds him of another helper, Apollos, who refuses to start at present." (Critical and Exegetical Commentary)
Now if Timothy comes - The IF introduces a third class conditional statement, which describes a potential action, a probability, a reality and possibility. In Acts 19:22+ we read "having sent into Macedonia two of those who ministered to him, Timothy and Erastus, he himself stayed in Asia for a while." And in 1 Cor 4:17+ "For this reason I have sent to you Timothy," so apparently Timothy was on his way to Corinth. Some think that Timothy was the one who actually delivered the letter of First Corinthians. Of all Paul's coworkers there was likely no one closer to him than Timothy, who he considered his child in the faith (1 Cor. 4:17; 1 Ti 1:2, 18; 2 Ti 1:2). Not only is he found in the company of Paul, assisting him, but we find him sent on different missions by Paul (Acts 17:14, 15; 18:5; 19:22; 20:4; Ro 16:21; 1 Cor. 16:10; 2 Cor. 1:19; Phil. 2:19; 1 Th. 3:2, 6). When trouble broke out in Corinth, we find Paul thinking of sending Timothy to the Corinthians as his own worthy representative (1 Cor 4:17-18+). Do you have a "Timothy" you can trust in handling spiritual matters that might take time you should be spending elsewhere?
See that he is with you without cause to be afraid, for he is (present tense - continually, habitually) doing the Lord's work, as I also am - See is present imperative calling for their continual attention to "put him at ease." (ESV) NLT says "don't intimidate him." Why was Paul concerned? Recall that in 1 Cor 4:18+ Paul wrote "some have become arrogant (phusioo - puffed up, inflated) as though I were not coming to you." Paul fears that they would make it difficult for Timothy to minister in Corinth. Indeed Timothy may have been a bit timid as implied by Paul's words in 2 Ti 1:7+ that "God has not given us a spirit of timidity (deilia), but of power (dunamis) and love (agape) and discipline (sophronismos ~ literally "a saved mind!")." Recall that they had apparently treated Paul himself in a similar way as he alludes to in 1 Corinthians 2:3+ writing "I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling."
Paul then gives the reason the Corinthians should not attempt to intimidate Timothy explaining that he is doing the Lord's work. The implication of course is that to interfere with Timothy's work would be tantamount to interfering with the work of the Lord Jesus Christ! Their realization of this sobering truth should hopefully serve to put a touch of "holy fear" in the hearts and minds of those in Corinth who might otherwise be predisposed to make it hard on Timothy.
Robertson and Plummer - They are to take care that there is no painful awkwardness in Timothy’s intercourse with them. Was Timothy timid? There are passages which agree with such a supposition, although they do not necessarily imply it (1 Tim. 5:21–23; 2 Tim. 1:6–8, 2:1, 3, 15, 4:1, 2). He was certainly young, for some eight years later St Paul still speaks of his youthfulness (neotes 1 Tim. 4:12); and the Corinthians could certainly be rude, even to the Apostle himself (2 Cor. 10:10). (Critical and Exegetical Commentary)
Doing the Lord's work is the supernatural work Timothy did for the Lord Jesus, work that the Lord's Spirit enabled Timothy to perform, works "which God prepared beforehand so that (Timothy) would walk in them." (Eph 2:10+). The Lord's work bears fruit that will endure throughout eternity. This is is "abiding in the Vine" type work (Jn 15:5). This phrase also reminds us of 1 Cor 15:58+ "Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord."
Robertson and Plummer - Therefore, if they put difficulties in Timothy’s way, they will be hindering the work which God has given to the Apostle to do: 1 Cor 4:17; Phil. 2:19–21. (Critical and Exegetical Commentary)
What is the Lord's work? It is winning souls and discipling converts. Jesus Himself said "the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost" (Lk 19:10+) and "Go therefore and make disciples..." (Mt 28:19+)
THOUGHT- Are you doing the Lord's work? How are you accomplishing the Lord's work? Are you doing it supernaturally enabled by His Spirit or attempting to accomplish it in your own natural energy? How you answer will make all the difference in in time and eternity! In Jn 15:16 Jesus desired the disciples to bear fruit adding His desire that their "fruit would [present tense - continually] remain," not just in this life but in the one to come! Applying this truth to our lives, when we play a part in someone coming to Christ [by praying, giving, proclaiming, etc], that "fruit" will remain forever! When we disciple another believer, that "fruit" will remain throughout eternity. If you are a mature believer who knows God's Word and you are older (let's say 60+) and you are not actively discipling a younger believer, then you are in direct disobedience to Jesus' parting command to "make disciples (aorist imperative = "Just Do It!")!" On the other hand if you are obeying your Lord Jesus, you can rest assured "that your toil (kopos = exhausting physical and mental exertion to the point of weariness) is not [in] vain in the Lord." (just make sure it is "in the Lord" and not "in your flesh!") (1 Cor 15:58+)
John MacArthur adds "There can easily be a lot of activity without much work of the Lord genuinely being done. When the work we do is of little importance, is done in the flesh, or is done halfheartedly, it will never be fruitful for the Lord. That sort of work, though in the Lord’s name, is “in vain.” (cf 1 Cor 3:12+ = "wood, hay, straw") (MNTC- 1 Corinthians)
G. Campbell Morgan “Paul has in mind the kind of toil that has in it the red blood of sacrifice, the kind of toil that wearies and weakens along the way.”
Did you see the little phrase as I also am? There is no verb "am" in Greek but it is implied that Paul is doing the Lord's work. Paul provided the perfect model to imitate and here we see Timothy was doing just that! (1 Cor 4:16+, 1 Cor 11:1+). Are you seeking to imitate Paul by doing the Lord's work, just as he did?
One is reminded of Jesus' words to Paul at his conversion "As he was traveling, it happened that he was approaching Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him; and he fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” 5 And he said, “Who are You, Lord?” And He said, “I am Jesus whom you are persecuting, (Acts 9:3-4+) And by analogy, Timothy was in covenant with the Lord Jesus and to persecute Timothy would be to persecute Christ! (See the great truth of Christ as our Covenant Defender)
See (look, take care, take heed) (991) blepo basically means to have sight, to see, to look at, then to observe, to discern, to perceive with the eye, and frequently implies special contemplation (e.g., often in the sense of “keep your eyes open,” or “beware." Vine says blepo expresses "a more intentional, earnest contemplation." Uses in 1-2 Cor - 1 Co. 1:26; 1 Co. 3:10; 1 Co. 8:9; 1 Co. 10:12; 1 Co. 10:18; 1 Co. 13:12; 1 Co. 16:10; 2 Co. 4:18; 2 Co. 7:8; 2 Co. 10:7; 2 Co. 12:6;
Without cause to be afraid (870) aphobos from a = without + phobos = fear) has a positive sense meaning without cause to be afraid, without fear of what might happen (Lk 1:74, Php 1:14 = "courage to speak the word of God without fear."). In Jude 1:12+ aphobos describes those men who live shamelessly, without a sense of reverence, "men who are hidden reefs in your love feasts when they feast with you without fear, caring for themselves." The last use here in 1 Cor 16:10 means do not intimidate him you Corinthians!
Doing (2038) (ergazomai from ergon = work) means to engage in an activity involving considerable exertion or expenditure of effort. To work effectively, emphasizing the process of an action, carrying with it the idea of continuity and repetition. Ergazomai is often used to describe work in a spiritual sense, implying supernatural work, work that God does, work that God (His Spirit indwelling believers) energizes in and through His children, work that lasts for all eternity! Uses by Paul - Ro 2:10; Ro 4:4; Ro 4:5; Ro 4:21; Ro 13:10; 1 Co. 4:12; 1 Co. 9:6; 1 Co. 9:13; 1 Co. 16:10; 2 Co. 7:10; Gal. 6:10; Eph. 4:28; Col. 3:23; 1 Th. 2:9; 1 Th 4:11; 2 Th 3:8; 2 Th 3:10; 2 Th 3:11; 2 Th 3:12;
- no one: 1Co 16:10 Lu 10:16 1Th 4:8 1Ti 4:12 Titus 2:15
- but: 1Co 16:6 Ac 15:33 3Jn 1:6
- 1 Corinthians 16 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries
1 Timothy 4:12 Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe.
Titus 2:15 These things speak and exhort and reprove with all authority. Let no one disregard you.
Let no one despise him - Let no one treat Timothy with contempt and disdain. Paul warns them not to treat Timothy or his work as if it were of no account, for to do so would in effect be treating the Lord's work as no account for that is the work Timothy was carrying out! When one despises another he is like the arrogant Pharisee in Jesus' parable (Lk 18:9-14+). And not surprisingly Jesus' adversaries treated Him this way (Lk 23:11+; Acts 4:11+), so if Timothy is despised he is in good company. The Corinthians needed to remember what Paul had stated earlier in this very letter writing that "the base things of the world and the despised (exoutheneo) God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are,(1Co. 1:28) In Paul's second letter he uses this same word to describe what some were saying about him writing "they say, “His letters are weighty and strong, but his personal presence is unimpressive and his speech contemptible (exoutheneo).” (2 Co. 10:10)
Despise (regard, treat or view with contempt) (1848) exoutheneo from ek = an intensifies + outhenéo = bring to naught) is a strong verb which means to despise someone or something on basis that it is worthless or of no value. To consider as nothing. To treat someone contemptuously as if completely worthless or despicable. 11v - Lk. 18:9; Lk. 23:11; Acts 4:11; Ro 14:3; Rom. 14:10; 1Co. 1:28; 1Co. 6:4; 1 Co. 16:11; 2 Co. 10:10; Gal. 4:14; 1 Thess. 5:20
But send (propempo) him on his way in peace (eirene), so that he may come to me - NLT = "Send him on his way with your blessing when he returns to me." Paul gives them a command in the aorist imperative ("Just do it!) to send Timothy on his way in peace. or as the Hebrews would say in "shalom." So they were commanded in essence to receive him in peace and to send him off in peace. Sending him off included the idea of giving him help on his way, including the necessary requisites for travel in order that he could have an expeditious journey back to Ephesus.
Robertson and Plummer - ‘When he departs, let him see that he has your good will, and that he leaves no bad feeling in any of you.’ ‘In peace’ at the conclusion of his intercourse with them will be a fitting result of ‘without fear’ at the beginning of it. The last clause shows why they ought to set Timothy forward on his journey with peace and good will; he will be on his way to the Apostle, who is expecting him. (Critical and Exegetical Commentary)
Send on way (Accompany, help on journey/way) (4311) propempo from pró = before, + pémpo = to send) literally means to send before. In the NT the idea is to send forward on one’s journey, to bring someone on his way, especially to accompany for some distance in token of respect and honor (as in the present passage). Propempo also conveys the idea of to help one forward on his journey, including furnishing things necessary for one's travel. John Polhill writes that "Propempō is used of accompanying or escorting people to their point of departure and often has the additional nuance of giving them food and provisions for their journey. That may well have been the case in this instance. (New American Commentary – Volume 26: Acts)
Peace (1515) eirene from verb eiro = to join or bind together that which has been separated) literally pictures the binding or joining together again of that which had been separated or divided and thus setting at one again, a meaning convey by the common expression of one “having it all together”. It follows that peace is the opposite of division or dissension. Peace as a state of concord and harmony is the opposite of war. Peace was used as a greeting or farewell corresponding to the Hebrew word shalom - "peace to you".
For - Term of explanation. Explaining why the Corinthians are to send Timothy off with peace and provisions.
I (present tense - continually) expect him with the brethren (adelphos - fellow believers) - Expect indicates Paul was (continually) looking forward to and watching for Timothy's arrival in Ephesus with a sense of expectation. Who the brethren are is not clear. Certainly Erastus may have been one, for Paul had sent this duo into Macedonia (Acts 19:22+).
Expect (1551) ekdechomai from ek = from + dechomai = receive kindly, accept deliberately and readily) means literally to receive or accept from some source. The idea is to look or tarry for, to watch for, expect, be about to receive. In regard to of future events it means to wait for them expecting them to happen.Jn. 5:3 (only Textus Receptus); Acts 17:16; 1 Co. 11:33 - "So then, my brethren, when you come together to eat, wait for one another."; 1 Co. 16:11; Heb. 10:13; Heb. 11:10 = "he was looking for the city which has foundations"; Jas. 5:7
1 Corinthians 16:12 But 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.
- our: 1Co 1:12 3:5,22 Ac 18:24-28 19:1 Tit 3:4
- when: Ec 3:1 Mk 6:21 Ac 24:25
- 1 Corinthians 16 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries
Acts 18:24+ Now a Jew named Apollos, an Alexandrian by birth, an eloquent man, came to Ephesus; and he was mighty in the Scriptures.
Acts 19:1+ It happened that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul passed through the upper country and came to Ephesus, and found some disciples.
1 Corinthians 1:12+ Now I mean this, that each one of you is saying, “I am of Paul,” and “I of Apollos,” and “I of Cephas,” and “I of Christ.”
1 Corinthians 3:4+ For when one says, “I am of Paul,” and another, “I am of Apollos,” are you not mere men?
1 Corinthians 3:6+ I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth.
1 Corinthians 4:6+ Now these things, brethren, I have figuratively applied to myself and Apollos for your sakes, so that in us you may learn not to exceed what is written, so that no one of you will become arrogant in behalf of one against the other.
Titus 3:13+ Diligently help Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their way so that nothing is lacking for them.
But (now) concerning Apollos our brother - But (or now) concerning is the same Greek phrase (peri de) used in 1 Cor 7:1+ which introduced the section on questions from the Corinthians (cf similar introductions - "Now concerning [peri de] virgins" 1 Cor 7:25+, "now concerning [peri de] things sacrificed to idols" = 1 Cor 8:1+; "Now concerning [peri de] spiritual gifts" = 1 Cor 12:1+; "Now concerning [peri de] the collection" = 1 Cor 16:1+). Therefore it seems likely that Paul is addressing a question the Corinthians had asked about Apollos in their letter and specifically their request that he visit them again.
Brother (adelphos) is Paul's affectionate term for his spiritual relationship with Apollos, for they both belonged to the same family, the family of God (Jn 1:12+, 1 Jn 3:1+). Do you consider and treat your fellow believers as your "closest kin" on earth? And recall that Paul might have had an urge to think less of Apollos or be jealous or envious in light of 1 Corinthians 1:12+. And yet Paul did not give in to his fleshly lusts, because he was a man who continually walked in the Spirit, and the Spirit enabled him to not carry out the desires of the flesh. (Gal 5:16+).
Apollos - 10x in NT - Acts 18:24; Acts 19:1; 1 Co. 1:12; 1 Co. 3:4; 1 Co. 3:5; 1 Co. 3:6; 1 Co. 3:22; 1 Co. 4:6; 1 Co. 16:12; Titus 3:13
Brother (80) adelphos from a = denotes unity + delphus = a womb) literally means brother referring to a physical brother, literally, male sibling with at least one parent in common, or figuratively can refer to a brother in the spiritual sense, members of the Christian community, fellow Christian, fellow believer. Used 4x in 1 Cor 16 - 1 Cor 16:11 1 Cor 16:12 1 Cor 16:15 1 Cor 16:20
I encouraged him greatly (strongly, earnestly) to come to (visit) you with the brethren - Amplified has "urgently encouraged." ‘And, in spite of all I could say, he had no wish to come now; but he will come whenever the right time arrives. Clearly Paul thought this is what Apollos should do, but as noted below it was not his desire (or possibly the Lord's will) at this time.
Vine has an interesting comment on Paul and Apollos writing that "evidently the assembly wanted Apollos to come, and Paul makes clear that he earnestly shared their desire, that he had no feelings of jealousy or rivalry concerning him and entertained no fear of his joining the Apollos party (1 Cor 1:12; 3:4, 6; 4:6 and Titus 3:13), but that, on the contrary, there was happy unity between himself and Apollos and therefore there was nothing on the part of either of them to give occasion for, or to sanction the use of, their names for party purposes. (Collected Writings) (ED: IN SHORT PAUL HOLDS NO ILL WILL TOWARD APOLLOS).
Encouraged (3870) parakaleo from para = side of, alongside, beside + kaleo = call) means literally to call one alongside, to call someone to oneself, to call for, to summon. Parakaleo can include the idea of giving help or aid but the primary sense in the NT is to urge someone to take some action, especially some ethical course of action. Uses in 1-2 Cor - 1 Co. 1:10; 1 Co. 4:13; 1 Co. 4:16; 1 Co. 14:31; 1 Co. 16:12; 1 Co. 16:15; 2 Co. 1:4; 2 Co. 1:6; 2 Co. 2:7; 2 Co. 2:8; 2 Co. 5:20; 2 Co. 6:1; 2 Co. 7:6; 2 Co. 7:7; 2 Co. 7:13; 2 Co. 8:6; 2 Co. 9:5; 2 Co. 10:1; 2 Co. 12:8; 2 Co. 12:18; 2 Co. 13:11
And it was (simply) not at all his desire to come now, but he will come when he has opportunity - Note that desire could be translated "will" and some writers think this could refer to either the will of Apollos or God's will. Note that although these two brothers disagree on this issue, Paul makes no negative comments regarding their differences.
THOUGHT - This is a good example for all of us in ministry (and for life in general), because we all encounter similar situations where we disagree with others (brethren or not), so may the Lord enable each of us to do it amicably like Paul. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
Bob Utley - The text can be interpreted in two ways: (1) it was not Apollos’ will to come or (2) it was not God’s will for him to come.
Zodhiates adds "Observe that Paul not only recognizes this as the prerogative of Apollos to choose when to go to Corinth, but he does not presume to know better what is the best time. When we assume the choosing of the time that someone else should do something, we give the impression that he is not mature enough to make a wise choice or that God cannot lead him directly, but only through us. Although Paul was an apostle, he did not want to infringe upon Apollos' freedom to do as he felt the Lord was leading him. The verb eukairḗsē, good or opportune time, is in the active voice, meaning that it was the right of the individual to choose for himself. For this reason, Paul only requested Apollos to go to Corinth when he wanted him to go, but he left the execution of the plan to Apollos' judgment." (1 Corinthians Commentary)
Desire (2307) (thelema from thelo = to will with the "-ma" suffix indicating the result of the will = "a thing willed") generally speaks of the result of what one has decided. One sees this root word in the feminine name "Thelma." In its most basic form, thelema refers to a wish, a strong desire, and the willing of some event. (Note: See also the discussion of the preceding word boule for comments relating to thelema). Zodhiates says that thelema is the "Will, not to be conceived as a demand, but as an expression or inclination of pleasure towards that which is liked, that which pleases and creates joy. When it denotes God's will, it signifies His gracious disposition toward something. Used to designate what God Himself does of His own good pleasure. (Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament)
Has opportunity (has time)(2119) eukaireo from eukairos - from eu = good + kairos = opportunity) to have convenient time or opportunity (Mk 6:31 = "have time to eat"). "To have a favorable opportunity, time, or leisure." To take advantage of the element of time as providing an opportunity. To enjoy doing, spend time enjoying. To experience a favorable time or occasion for some activity. (BDAG) Accompanied by the prep. it means “to devote one’s leisure to”. Used on 3x - Mk 6:31, Acts 17:21, 1 Cor 16:12 (have time(1), opportunity(1), spend...time(1).)
Question - . Who was Apollos?
Answer: Apollos was an evangelist, apologist, church leader, and friend of the apostle Paul. Apollos was a Jew from Alexandria, Egypt, described as “eloquent,” “mighty in the Scriptures,” “fervent in the spirit” and “instructed in the way of the Lord” (Acts 18:24). In A.D. 54, he traveled to Ephesus, where he taught boldly in the synagogue. However, at that time, Apollos’ understanding of the gospel was incomplete, since he was “acquainted only with the baptism of John” (Acts 18:25). This probably means that Apollos preached repentance and faith in the Messiah—he maybe even believed that Jesus of Nazareth was the Messiah—but he did not know the full magnitude of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Aquila and Priscilla, friends of Paul, spent some time with Apollos and filled in the gaps in his understanding of Jesus Christ (Acts 18:26). Apollos, now armed with the complete message, immediately began a preaching ministry and was used of God as an effective apologist for the gospel (Acts 18:28).
Apollos traveled through Achaia and eventually found his way to Corinth (Acts 19:1), where he “watered” where Paul had “sown” (1 Corinthians 3:6). This is important to remember when studying the first Epistle to Corinth. Apollos, with his natural gifts, had attracted a following among the church in Corinth, but simple admiration was growing into divisiveness. Against Apollos’ wishes, there was a faction in Corinth that claimed him as their spiritual mentor, to the exclusion of Paul and Peter. Paul deals with this partisanship in 1 Corinthians 1:12-13. Christ is not divided, and neither should we be. We cannot love personality over truth.
The last mention of Apollos in the Bible comes in Paul’s letter to Titus: “Do everything you can to help Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their way and see that they have everything they need” (Titus 3:13). Obviously, Apollos was on his way through Crete (where Titus was) at this time. And, just as obviously, Paul still considered Apollos to be a valuable co-laborer and friend.
Some believe that Apollos eventually returned to Ephesus to serve the church there. It’s very possible that he did, although there’s no biblical confirmation of this detail. Also, some identify Apollos as the unknown author of the book of Hebrews; again, there is no biblical support for such an identification. The author of Hebrews remains unknown.
In summary, Apollos was a man of letters with a zeal for the Lord and a talent for preaching. He labored in the Lord’s work, aiding the ministry of the apostles and faithfully building up the church. His life should encourage each of us to “grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord” (2 Peter 3:18) and to use our God-given gifts to promote truth. GotQuestions.org
Naves - Apollos
- An eloquent, Christian convert at Corinth Acts 18:24-28; 19:1; 1 Corinthians 1:12; 3:4-7
- Refuses to return to Rome 1 Corinthians 16:12
- Paul writes Titus about Titus 3:13
Whyte's Bible Characters Apollos - THE founding and the naming of Alexandria, its matchless situation, its architectural beauty, the rare wisdom of its statesmanship, and the splendid catholicity of its sacred scholarship,-all these things greatly interest us and greatly impress us. And all these things tell at once upon the text and serve richly to illustrate the text. For Apollos, though a Jew, was born in Alexandria, and received his education in Alexandria. The repeated dispersions of the Jewish people had filled the Jewish quarter of Alexandria with tens of thousands of that expatriated people, but everywhere an industrious, enterprising, and successful, people. By that time the Jews of Alexandria had almost the half of the whole city given up to themselves, and the Jewish merchants, and bankers, and scholars of Alexandria were, in all their several walks of life, in the very foremost rank. And, without in any way forsaking or forgetting the faith of their fathers, the Jews of Alexandria had opened their own minds, and the minds of their children, to the best learning of that eminently learned city. Apollos, when an inquiring boy, would be taken up by his father to the famous synagogue every Sabbath day, where he would see the seventy elders sitting on their seventy thrones of gold, and where he would watch for the waving of the far-off flag that summoned the immense congregation to fall down at the same moment on their knees to say their Amen. On the week-days, and in spite of the fierce anathemas of the fanatical scribes of Jerusalem, young Apollos would be sent to school where he would learn to read Homer and Plato, as well as Moses and Isaiah. And in his holidays he would be taken out of the city to walk along the seven furlong mole to the famous lighthouse island, on which the Sacred Septuagint had received its finishing touches. And as the talented boy became a student he would often find his way to the world-renowned library of Alexandria, into which had been collected the whole literature of the ancient world, sacred and profane; all the best books of Israel, as well as all the best books of Greece and Rome and Egypt and India.
It is not in our power to fix down the exact date of Apollos's birth, but we are quite sure of this, that he was a contemporary, and almost certainly a schoolfellow, of Philo the famous Hellenistic Hebrew of Alexandria. We possess no book of Apollos's authorship, unless Luther's bold guess is also a correct guess that Apollos wrote the Epistle to the Hebrews in his mature years. And unless that other guess is also correct that he wrote the Book of Wisdom in his Alexandrian years. These, to be sure, are only guesses at his authorship, but the guesses of men of learning and genius have often far more truth in them than the proofs and certainties that satisfy less learned and less imaginative men. At the same time, if it is but an illuminating guess that we possess anything at all from Apollos's pen, we are quite sure about the many extant works of Philo. And so much alike were those two great contemporaneous men, that we can almost transfer to the one what we are told about the other. For, just as of Philo it may with absolute certainty be said that "he was a Jew, born in Alexandria, an eloquent man, and mighty in the Scriptures," so, on the other hand, it is no great stretch of the imagination to picture Apollos to ourselves as the author of The Allegories of the Sacred Laws, The Theology of Moses, and The Indictment of Flaccus.
Paul was not what we would call an eloquent preacher. The Apostle's detractors were wont to set Paul aside with this contemptuous sentence, that his bodily presence was weak, and his speech contemptible. But his greatest enemies could not say that about Apollos. Depth of mind and fluency of speech do not always go together. They did not go together in Moses and Paul, the two greatest men of the Hebrew race. But Apollos was both a man of a deep mind and of great oratorical genius. Quintilian, another contemporary of Apollos, has a fine chapter on this theme, that a great orator is just a good man well skilled in speaking. Now, Apollos satisfied both parts of that excellent definition also. For Apollos was first a good man, and then he was a skilful speaker. No man in the Apostolic Church was nearly such a skilful speaker as Apollos was. And the sacred writer is careful to add concerning Apollos that he was "mighty in the Scriptures" also. In saying that the sacred writer intends what he says to be all but the very highest praise that can possibly be given to Apollos. A great mind alone will not make a man mighty in the Scriptures. A great gift of oratory alone will not do it. It is the moral and spiritual qualities of the sacred orator, when they are added to his intellectual qualities, that make men confess his might when he handles the Holy Scriptures. The acknowledged might of Apollos in the pulpit was the might of conviction and of character; it was the might that has its seat in the conscience and the heart of a good man, taken together with that other might of a great intellect and real eloquence. The great might of Aristotle and Quintilian combined would still have left Apollos weak as other men in the things of God, unless there had been united with all that the might of a conscience on fire against all unrighteousness, and of a heart on fire with the love of all truth and all goodness. Apollos has much still to learn, but this is a right noble foundation on which to build up a great preacher of the Gospel: "a Jew, born in Alexandria, an eloquent man, and mighty in the Scriptures"; so far, that is, as he as yet understands the Scriptures.
This then was the Alexandrian scholar and orator who came to Ephesus on an Old Testament mission immediately after Paul had left that city. Paul and Apollos had no acquaintance as yet with one another. They had never met, and though they were both great preachers, they did not at all preach the same Gospel. With all his Alexandrian learning, and with all his finished eloquence, and with all his knowledge of Moses and Isaiah and John the Baptist, Apollos knew nothing, or next to nothing, of Jesus Christ. How Apollos had come to know so much as he did know, we are not told; but we are told distinctly that his knowledge came to an end with the preaching and the baptism of John, the son of Zacharias and Elisabeth. It perplexes us to be told that about such a man as Apollos was. That such a universal student, and such a lover of all kinds of truth, and especially of revealed truth, should have lived so long in the very metropolis of all intelligence, and not have got beyond the school of John-that quite staggers us about Apollos. At the same time, we must remember that with all his marvellous activity and success, Paul had never been so far as Alexandria. If Paul had preached Christ even once in that magnificent synagogue, what a chapter we would have had in the Acts of the Apostles about Paul's conversations with Apollos. But as it was, Apollos was still preaching just as John had both preached and baptized twenty years before at Bethabara beyond Jordan. John's doctrines and exhortations were preached by Apollos with tremendous passion and impressiveness; with all John's own tremendous passion and impressiveness; and with a polish of manner and a perfection of style to which John was an utter stranger. But that was all the preaching that Aquila and Priscilla listened to Sabbath after Sabbath, as Apollos stood up in the pulpit of Ephesus. Sabbath day after Sabbath day, Aquila and Priscilla came up to the synagogue and listened to Apollos preaching John; and every returning Sabbath day they listened to him with increasing regret that he had not come to Ephesus in time to have heard Paul preaching Christ. With a weekly increasing distress they listened to what they heard, or rather, did not hear, till, at last, they took Apollos and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly.
Such then is this so beautiful passage, and so full of all manner of lessons for students, for young preachers, and for old people. And first, for old people, and for people far on in the spiritual life. I can overhear Aquila and Priscilla on their way home from the synagogue Sabbath after Sabbath; or, rather, I can overhear them after their children are asleep. For you may depend upon it, Aquila and Priscilla did not discuss Apollos's sermons at the church door or at the dinner table. Was that a good sermon today, father? asked young Keble. All sermons are good, my son, answered his wise father. And Aquila was like old Keble. All the way home from church Aquila talked to his sons and daughters about Alexandria and her schools; about the Septuagint; about Apollos's great learning and great eloquence; about the work that he had laid out on that sermon; about his noble style; about his commanding manner, and about the great lessons to be learned from every sermon of his. And then, when the Sabbath was over, and they were alone, Aquila and Priscilla would open their minds quite freely to one another about the young preacher. Now how would we have done had we been in Aquila's and Priscilla's place? This is what we would have done. We would have let the whole congregation see what we thought of Apollos. We would have shifted about in our seat. We would have looked at the clock. We would have held down our head. We would have covered our eyes with our hands. We would have glanced at our neighbours to see how they were taking it all. We would have smiled sadly, so that all might see us. And then, at the door-"How did you like him? Poor boy! he does not know the very A B C of the Gospel!" And so on, till it would all have been told to Apollos, and till we had ruined our influence with him, and his influence with us and with our children for ever. How Aquila and Priscilla managed it I cannot imagine. But manage it they did, for "they took Apollos unto them," says the sacred writer, "and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly." "An old and simple woman, if she loves Jesus, may be greater than our brother Bonaventure."
I admire all the three so much, that I really do not know which to admire the most; Aquila and Priscilla in their quite extraordinary wisdom and tact and courage, and especially love; or Apollos in his still more extraordinary humility, modesty, and mind of Christ. A shining student of Alexandria, a popular and successful preacher, not standing-room when he preached in the synagogue, followed about by admiring crowds, and with many seals to his ministry among them; such a famous man to be taken to task about his pulpit work by two old workers in sail-cloth and carpets, and to be instructed by them how to preach, and how not to preach-"the whole thing is laughable, if it were not for its impudence." So I would have said had I been in Apollos's place. But like the true Alexandrian he was, and the true preacher, and the true coming colleague and successor of Paul, Apollos instantly saw who and what he had in Aquila and Priscilla. In a moment he felt they were by far his superiors in the things of the pulpit at any rate, and he at once made it both easy and successful for them to say to him all that was in their minds and hearts. I would far rather have Apollos's humble mind and quiet heart at that supreme moment of his life than all his gold medals, first-class certificates, and all his crowds to boot; the noble young Christian gentleman that Apollos at that moment proved himself to be.
It was their own experience of the way of God that enabled and authorised Aquila and Priscilla to take Apollos and teach him that way more perfectly. It was not Paul's preaching that did it. Their own experience, in their case, went before Paul's preaching, accompanied it, and came after it. They knew the doctrine of Christ perfectly because they had lived the life of Christ perfectly. Tent-makers as they were, and wholly unlettered as they were, they received it as soon as it was written, and read and quite well understood the Epistle to the Ephesians, because they had all its deep mysteries already in their own hearts. Paul in his best preaching had only told Aquila and Priscilla, with all his authority, what they knew to a certainty before. Every true preacher comes on the same thing continually among his people. And every wide reader of such literature knows where to find illustrations of the same thing. Brother Lawrence, the humble cook, instructing the theologians of his day about the practice of the presence of God; Jacob Behmen enlightening William Law; Thomas Boston's old soldier giving his minister a loan of "The Marrow"; and Cowper's poor Cottager. But the classical passage is in Grace Abounding. "Upon a day the good providence of God did cast me to Bedford to work on my calling; and in one of the streets of that town I came where there were three or four poor women sitting at a door in the sun, and talking about the things of God; and being now willing to hear their discourse, I drew near to hear what they said, for I was now a brisk talker myself in the matters of religion. But I may say, I heard, but I understood not; for they were far above, out of my reach. Their talk was about a new birth, the work of God in their hearts, also how they were convinced of their miserable state by nature. They talked how God had visited their souls with His love in the Lord Jesus, and with what words and promises they had been refreshed, comforted, and supported against the temptations of the devil. And, methought, they spoke as if joy did make them speak; they spoke with such pleasantness of Scripture language, and with such an appearance of grace in all they said, that they were to me, as if they had found a new world, as if they were people that dwelt alone, and were not to be reckoned among their neighbours. Therefore I should often make it my business to be going again and again into the company of these poor people, for I could not stay away. And presently I found two things within me at which I did sometimes marvel; the one was a very great softness and tenderness of heart; and the other was a great bending of my mind to a continual meditating on them, and on all other good things which at any time I had read or heard of." All that might have been found in the best Alexandrian Greek among Apollos's papers after his death. Better Greek he could not have written, nor a better description of his experiences as he came and went to Aquila's and Priscilla's house in Ephesus. "By these things," adds Bunyan, "my mind was now so turned that it lay like a horse-leech at the vein, still crying out, give, give."
They complain that there threatens to be a dearth of candidates for the Christian ministry. But that can never be. For where can the flower of our youth find a field for their scholarship and for their eloquence like the evangelical pulpit? What other calling open to a talented young man can compete with spiritual preaching? What other occupation can possess and satisfy a pure mind and a noble heart, and that more and more, to the end of life? Where will our intellectual youth find a literature for one moment to compare with the literature of Jerusalem and Alexandria? And a sphere of work like a congregation full of such people as Aquila and Priscilla? How long halt the flower of our Scottish youth between two opinions? If the Lord be God, follow Him. But if Baal, then follow him. Choose ye this day whom ye will serve. Will ye also go away? Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life.
- What happened on Paul’s third missionary journey? | GotQuestions.org
- American Tract Society Apollos
- Bridgeway Bible Dictionary Apollos
- Easton's Bible Dictionary Apollos
- Fausset Bible Dictionary Apollos
- Holman Bible Dictionary Apollos
- Hitchcock Bible Names Apollos
- Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible Apollos
- Hastings' Dictionary of the NT Apollos
- Morrish Bible Dictionary Apollos
- Smith Bible Dictionary Apollos
- Webster Dictionary Apollo
- Watson's Theological Dictionary Apollos
- 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica Apollos
- International Standard Bible Encyclopedia Apollos
- Kitto Biblical Cyclopedia Apollos
- McClintock and Strong's Bible Encyclopedia Apollos
- The Jewish Encyclopedia Apollos
- Be on the alert: Mt 24:42-44 25:13 26:41 Mk 13:33-37 14:37,38 Lu 12:35-40 21:36 Eph 6:18 Col 4:2 1Th 5:6 2Ti 4:5 1Pe 4:7 5:8 Rev 3:2,3 16:15
- stand firm: 1Co 15:1,2,58 2Co 1:24 Ga 5:1 Php 1:27 4:1 Col 1:23 4:12 1Th 3:8 2Th 2:15
- act like men: 1Co 9:25-27 1 Cor 14:20 1Sa 4:9 2Sa 10:12 1Ch 19:13 Eph 6:13-17 1Ti 6:12 2Ti 2:3-5 4:7 Heb 11:32-34
- be strong: Jos 1:6,7,9,18 1Ki 2:2 1Ch 28:10 Ps 27:14 Isa 35:4 Da 10:19 Da 11:32 Hag 2:4 Zec 8:9,13 2Co 12:9,10 Eph 6:10 Php 4:13 Col 1:11,12 2Ti 2:1
- 1 Corinthians 16 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries
A GREAT CHRISTIAN "TETRAD"
FOR ALL GOD'S CHILDREN
Tetrad describes a set of four things, especially four things regarded as a similar object or thought.
W E Vine - these four exhortations have a military tone; the believers must be as sentinels on guard, must maintain their position, must manifest courage, and must become strong. And the exhortations were evidently needed, against insensibility to spiritual dangers, against desertion from the truth, against moral weakening.(Collected Writings)
Spiros Zodhiates has an interesting title for this verse = Imperatives for a Victorious Christian Life. The Corinthian church was replete with problems. Paul had sent spiritual leaders and teachers among them with mixed results. He now gives a few final exhortations which are concise but poignant. In simple words, Paul is telling the Corinthian Christians to grow up and behave like men.
Swindoll - Paul’s commands (1 Cor 16:13-14) were not merely to be memorized or written down—they were meant to be put into practice immediately and lived out continually. (Swindoll's Living Insights New Testament Commentary – 1 & 2 Corinthians)
Robertson and Plummer - In five clear and crisp charges he gathers together the duties which he has been inculcating, the duties of a Christian soldier. Four of these have reference to spiritual foes and perils, while the last sums up their duty to one another. They are an army in the field, and they must be alert, steadfast, courageous, strong; and in all things united. “The four imperatives are directed respectively against the heedlessness, fickleness, childishness, and moral enervation of the Corinthians” (Findlay). Comp. 1 Cor 7:29–31, 10:12, 13, 15:1, 14:20, 9:24, 13. (Critical and Exegetical Commentary)
Be on the alert (be on guard, be watchful, be vigilant, stay awake spiritually, watch out) - This great exhortation from Paul to the Corinthians who needed correction has four "staccato-like" commands, each one in the present imperative giving four "opportunities" (necessities) to depend on the Holy Spirit to obey.
Matthew Henry on Be on the alert - That they should watch (KJV), be wakeful and upon their guard. A Christian is always in danger, and therefore should ever be on the watch; but the danger is greater at some times and under some circumstances. The Corinthians were in manifest danger upon many accounts: their feuds ran high, the irregularities among them were very great, there were deceivers among them, who endeavored to corrupt their faith in the most important articles, those without which the practice of virtue and piety could never subsist. And surely in such dangerous circumstances it was their concern to watch. If a Christian would be secure, he must be on his or her guard; and the more his or her danger the greater vigilance is needful for security.
THOUGHT - In the USA an alert system was established with five color-coded levels of terrorist threat: green = low; blue = guarded; yellow = elevated; orange = high; red = severe. Given the fact that Christians (some more than others) are continually "in danger every hour," (1 Cor 15:30+, cf Ro 8:36+ = Christians are "being put to death all day long."), we should continually consider ourselves at threat level red. Therefore it behooves us to NEVER let down our guard, but to remain vigilant against our mortal enemies, the world, the flesh and the devil, for they NEVER take a FURLOUGH (leave of absence) and neither can we, beloved! Are you taking a furlough from the spiritual battle because it is just too intense? If so, rest assured that you are vulnerable and potentially placing yourself in danger of "being wounded" by the enemy. And because our enemy is largely invisible, we falsely conclude there is a "ceasefire" in the battle, but that is not sound nor sober thinking!
Charles Simeon writes that "Unwatchfulness, even in a victorious army, exposes it to defeat: much more must it subject us to the power of our subtle enemy."
Zodhiates notes that "the Christian life is one of constant danger and trouble, and if we are going to be victorious, we must always be alert. "
Robertson and Plummer - Watchfulness against various enemies and dangers and watchfulness for the coming of Christ are specially meant here. (Critical and Exegetical Commentary)
Utley - Paul is admonishing them to be alert and watchful against a factious spirit, heresy, debauchery, and pride!
Thomas Constable on Be on the alert - Paul urged his somewhat unstable readers to be watchful regarding danger from inside as well as outside the church (cf. Acts 20:29-30). Most of the problems in this church evidently arose from within the congregation. This expression sometimes occurs with anticipation of the Lord's coming, so that may have been in Paul's thinking as well (e.g., Matt. 24:42). (Commentary)
Hunter & McShane on Be on the alert - The sense here is to watch, be vigilant against all the evils that he had exposed amongst them, the evils of dissension, fornication, litigation, fellowship with demons, abuses at the Supper etc. We in our day cannot afford to be self-satisfied, for many dangers lurk all around us, and only vigilance will detect the danger early enough to enable us to raise the warning.(What the Bible teaches – 1 and 2 Corinthians)
Be on the alert (1127)(gregoreuo from egeiro = to arise, arouse) means to be watchful or to refrain from physical sleep. Later gregoreuo came to used in the moral and religious sphere and was used to call for one to be on the alert, in a constant state of readiness and vigilant (alertly watchful especially to avoid danger this word suggesting intense, unremitting, wary watchfulness; keenly alert to or heedful of trouble or danger as others are sleeping or unsuspicious). We are to be be watchful and ready to respond to external influences, focused, alert for the winds of temptation or overt attacks of evil. We are to remained alert lest we be deceived by the devil the deceiver or sin which is deceitful (Heb 3:13). The first use of gregoreuo by our Lord is in relation to His Second Coming. He wants us to be alert for we do not know the hour when He will return, but we know He will return.
Most of the NT uses are in reference to the Christians’ being spiritually awake and alert, as opposed to being spiritually indifferent and listless. Gregoreuo conveys the idea of alertness. It is like a sleeping man rousing himself. It means to give strict attention to, to be active, to take heed lest through remissness and indolence some destructive calamity suddenly overtake one. Secular Greek used gregoreuo to describe people carefully crossing a river while stepping on slippery stones. If they did not pay strict attention to their steps, they would end up in the water. So the idea of vigilance is to stay alert and cautious. Gregoreuo, is used of mental alertness, the condition of the mind opposite to that which characterizes it in sleep. Gregoreuo means to to take heed lest through remission and indolence some destructive calamity suddenly overtake one. "Confidence in God must not lead to slackness; the spiritual warfare that they wage demands vigilance" (Beare) 22v in NT - lert, 10; awake, 1; keep, 1; keep watch, 4; keep watching, 1; keeping alert, 1; stay on the alert, 1; stays awake, 1; wake, 2 Matt. 24:42; Matt. 24:43; Matt. 25:13; Matt. 26:38; Matt. 26:40; Matt. 26:41; Mk. 13:34; Mk. 13:35; Mk. 13:37; Mk. 14:34; Mk. 14:37; Mk. 14:38; Lk. 12:37; Acts 20:31; 1 Co. 16:13; Col. 4:2; 1 Th 5:6; 1 Th 5:10; 1 Pet. 5:8; Rev. 3:2-3; Rev. 16:15
Matthew 26:41+ (Mark 14:38) (THIS PASSAGE HELPS US KNOW HOW WE CAN REMAIN SPIRITUALLY ALERT - PRAYING!) “Keep watching (gregoreuo in the present imperative see need to depend on the Holy Spirit to obey) and praying (present imperative) that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
Acts 20:31+ (PAUL ADDRESSING THE EPHESIAN ELDERS) “Therefore be on the alert (gregoreuo - present imperative), remembering that night and day for a period of three years I did not cease to admonish each one with tears.
1 Peter 5:8+ Be of sober spirit (nepho in aorist imperative), be on the alert (gregoreuo - present imperative) (WHY???). Your adversary, the devil, (present tense - continually) prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
Revelation 3:2-3 ‘Wake up (gregoreuo - present imperative), and strengthen (aorist imperative) the things that remain, which were about to die; for I have not found your deeds completed in the sight of My God. 3‘So remember (present imperative) what you have received and heard; and keep it (present imperative),, and repent (aorist imperative)). Therefore if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come to you.
Paul had warned of the danger of prideful "standing" writing "Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed present imperative see need to depend on the Holy Spirit to obey) that he does not fall.." (1 Cor 10:12+)
In giving the "definition" of the Gospel Paul alluded to "standing" - "Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, (perfect tense - took their stand by grace through faith and still standing) 2by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain." (1 Cor 15:1-2+)
Stand firm (be unmoved) in the faith - This command parallels 1 Cor 15:58+ for them to be steadfast, immovable. Keep standing firm. Make this the habit of your life. The only way to "stand firm" is to be standing on a rock solid, unshakeable foundation and here the foundation is the faith, not subjective faith (believing) but objective faith (the object believed) (Amplified Version is not correct as it renders "the faith" as subjective). "The faith of which Paul speaks here is not the faith of trusting but the faith of truth, the content of the gospel." (MacArthur) Indeed, most often in the NT, the faith refers to the sound Christian doctrine, especially the Gospel. Paul had just written "Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand (perfect tense = your state) " (1 Cor 15:1) In other words, Paul is saying in essence keep standing firm in the Gospel of your salvation. The Gospel saved you in the past (justification - past tense salvation), it continues to save you daily (progressive sanctification) and will "save" you into Heaven (glorification - future tense salvation) when you receive your new resurrection body. In sum, the faith refers not to the ACT of believing but rather to WHAT is believed.
The phrase stand firm has three modifiers in the NT and all are critical if one is to stand firm - (1) stand firm in the faith (1 Cor 16:13), (2) standing firm in one spirit (or Spirit) (Php 1:27+), and (3) stand firm in the Lord (Php 4:1+, 1 Th 3:8+).
Robertson and Plummer - ‘The faith’ means belief in the Gospel as a whole, and especially in the atonement won by Christ’s death on the Cross (1) and in the life guaranteed by His Resurrection (1 Cor 15:1-58). There must be no desertion, no λειποταξία, with regard to that. These first two charges have reference to the Christian warrior awaiting attack; the next two refer to the actual combat. (Critical and Exegetical Commentary)
Matthew Henry on "Stand firm in the faith, to keep their ground, adhere to the revelation of God, and not give it up for the wisdom of the world, nor suffer oneself to be corrupted by it. Stand for the faith of the gospel, and maintain it even to death; and stand in it, so as to abide in the profession of it, and feel and yield to its influence. A Christian should be fixed in the faith of the gospel, and never desert nor renounce it. It is by this faith alone that he will be able to keep his ground in an hour of temptation; it is by faith (HE IS NOW SWITCHING TO SUBJECTIVE FAITH) that we stand (2 Co 1:24); it is by this that we must overcome the world (1 Jn 5:4), both when it fawns and when it frowns, when it tempts and when it terrifies. We must stand therefore in the faith of the gospel, if we would maintain our integrity.
Stand firm is used by Paul in similar contexts calling for believers.
1 Th 3:8+ for now we really live, if you stand firm in the Lord.
Galatians 5:1+ It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm (present imperative calling for us to depend on the Holy Spirit to obey) and do not be subject (present imperative with a negative) again to a yoke of slavery.
Stand firm (4739) steko can mean to stand literally ("whenever you stand praying… " Mk 11:25) but in the other NT uses steko is used figuratively meaning in a positive sense of to stand firm in faith and duty, to be constant, to persevere, to remain steadfast, to continue in a state. It can mean to be firmly committed in conviction or belief. In Jn 8:44 Jesus uses steko in a negative sense describing the fact that the devil absolutely does not stand in the truth. 11 times in the NT - Mark 3:31; 11:25; John 8:44; Ro 14:4; 1 Cor 16:13; Gal 5:1+; Phil 1:27+; Php 4:1; 1 Th 3:8; 2 Th 2:15; Rev 12:4) and is translated: stand, 2; stand firm, 4; standing, 1; standing firm, 2; stands, 2.
The Psalmist writes "Those who trust in the LORD are as Mount Zion (God's holy city firmly set by Him on the hill), which cannot be moved, but abides forever." (Ps 125:1)
Spurgeon's comment - They that trust in the LORD shall be as mount Zion. The emphasis lies upon the object of their trust, namely, Jehovah the Lord. What a privilege to be allowed to repose in God] How condescending is Jehovah to become the confidence of his people! To trust elsewhere is vanity; and the more implicit such misplaced trust becomes the more bitter will be the ensuing disappointment; but to trust in the living God is sanctified common sense which needs no excuse, its result shall be its best vindication. There is no conceivable reason why we should not trust in Jehovah, and there is every possible argument for so doing; but, apart from all argument, the end will prove the wisdom of the confidence. The result of faith is not occasional and accidental; its blessing comes, not to some who trust, but to all who trust in the Lord. Trusters in Jehovah shall be as fixed, firm, and stable as the mount where David dwelt, and where the ark abode. To move mount Zion was impossible: the mere supposition was absurd.
John MacArthur - Satan cannot take saving faith away from us, but he can, and often does, obscure the content of our faith, the sound doctrines of God’s Word. If we do not hold fast to right interpretations of Scripture, we are certain to slip into wrong thinking, wrong belief, and wrong behavior. (MNTC- 1 Corinthians)
Here is an illustration of a man who was standing firm - At the height of WWII, Protestant theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer was imprisoned for taking a stand against Hitler. Yet he continued to urge fellow believers to resist Nazi tyranny. A group of Christians, believing that Hitler was the Antichrist, asked Bonhoeffer, “Why do you expose yourself to all this danger? Jesus will return any day, and all your work and suffering will be for nothing.” Bonhoeffer replied, “If Jesus returns tomorrow, then tomorrow I’ll rest from my labor. But today I have work to do. I must continue the struggle until it’s finished.
Act like men - "Play the man." This command is "short hand" for "Grow up," stop acting like little children! The thought is for them (enabled by the Spirit) to be courageous like men as opposed to little children, which is how Paul had characterized many of them (this was when he was actually present with them the first time) writing they were "men of flesh, as to infants in Christ." (1 Cor 3:1+). And in 1 Corinthians 14:20+ Paul had written "Brethren, do not be children in your thinking; yet in evil be infants, but in your thinking be mature."
Swindoll - They needed to set aside their fussiness, whining, and complaining and instead progress toward maturity in Christ, but they had failed to shed their dependence on the blankies, bottles, and binkies that had soothed them in their baby Christian days. These “props” of comfort were closely connected to the secular world around them. How easy it was for them to slip back into the secular crib of their infancy rather than learn to walk on their own two feet by the grace of God and through the power of the Spirit! (Swindoll's Living Insights New Testament Commentary – 1 & 2 Corinthians)
Matthew Henry on Act like men - "Act the manly, firm, and resolved part: behave strenuously, in opposition to the bad men who would divide and corrupt you, those who would split you into factions or seduce you from the faith: be not terrified nor inveigled (won over by coaxing) by them; but show yourselves men in Christ, by your steadiness, by your sound judgment and firm resolution. Christians should be manly and firm in all their contests with their enemies, in defending their faith, and maintaining their integrity. They should, in an especial manner, be so in those points of faith that lie at the foundation of sound and practical religion, such as were attacked among the Corinthians: these must be maintained with solid judgment and strong resolution.
Act like men (407)(andrizo from aner = man) act in a valiant or courageous way, be brave, conduct oneself in a courageous way, behave oneself (middle voice) with the wisdom and courage of a man, as opposed to a babe or child in Christ. Aristotle uses the word to indicate the display of courage which he describes as the mean between fear and confidence. The word was also used in the papyri in the exhortation, “therefore do not be fainthearted, but be courageous as a man." “to act like a good man” as used in a letter to a philosopher telling him to finish his task and not be distracted by wealth or the charm of youth. Josephus uses the term to describe the courageous fighting of the Jewish defenders of Jotapatha (Jos., Jewish Wars 3:268) and in his description of Roman General Titus telling his troops to be courageous, but using forethought and not running personal risks (Jos., JW, 5:316). It also appears in the General Titus' speech of encouragement to his soldiers as they are discouraged in their siege of Jerusalem (Jos., JW, 6:50).
In the Septuagint, andrizo is repeatedly in Moses' exhortational commands to Joshua to Be Strong! (Dt 31:6-7+) and to be courageous (Joshua 1:6, 7, 9, 18). It is not surprising that Joshua issued the same command to those under his leadership in Joshua 10:25. All 7 uses of andrizo in Deuteronomy and Joshua are in the present imperative and middle voice (calling for one to do it yourself but I submit Joshua could only to do it as he was enabled by the Holy Spirit - yes, even in the OT the Spirit was active in enabling godly behavior albeit exactly how He worked is somewhat mysterious since He did not permanently indwell the OT saints).
1 Cor 16:13 is the only use of andrizo in the NT but it is used 22x in the Septuagint (take a moment and meditate on these uses to give you a better sense of what Paul is commanding of the saints at Corinth)- Deut. 31:6; Deut. 31:7; Deut. 31:23; Jos. 1:6; Jos. 1:7; Jos. 1:9; Jos. 1:18; Jos. 10:25; 2 Sa 10:12; 2 Sa 13:28; 1 Chr. 19:13; 1 Chr. 22:13; 1 Chr. 28:20; 2 Chr. 32:7; Ps. 27:14; Ps. 31:24; Jer. 2:25; Jer. 18:12; Dan. 10:19; Dan. 11:1; Mic. 4:10; Nah. 2:1;
Gilbrant - This verb is derived from the noun stem andr-(from anēr), “man.” The added verb ending, -omai, is a middle-voice verb (often showing action by and relating to oneself) and represents the idea of acting like a man, showing manly characteristics (such as bravery). Andrizomai appears a number of times in the Septuagint. It is commonly paired with one of two other verbs suggesting strength, translating the Hebrew word pair chizqû wᵉ’imtsû, “be strong and show strength.” Andrizomai translates either of the two words, usually the latter when the pair occurs. The Greek words paired with andrizomai in the Septuagint translation are ischuō or compounds of it (Deut 31:6,7,23; Josh 1:6,7,9,18; 10:25; 1 Chr 19:13; 22:13; 28:20; 2 Chr 32:7; Da 10:19; 11:1; 1 Maccabees 2:64; cf. Nah 2:2) and krataioō (2 Sa 10:12 [LXX 2 Kings 10:12]; Ps 27:14 [LXX 26:14]; Ps 31:24 [30:24]). Andrizomai appears only once in the New Testament, in 1 Corinthians 16:13. It is paired with krataioō as the climax of the fourfold command, “Be alert, stand firm in the faith, be men, be strong!” (Complete Biblical Library - Incredible Resource)
PRAY IT UP!
Paul taught that one should pray for spiritual strengthening even as he prayed for the saints in Ephesus asking the Father to "grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened (krataioo - note passive voice = divine passive) with power through His Spirit in the inner man (Eph 3:16+).
Robertson and Plummer - ‘Be not only manly but mighty; gain the mastery’ (Eph. 3:16): κραταιός (1 Pet. 5:6) and κράτος (Eph. 1:19, 6:10; Col. 1:2; 1 Tim. 6:16) are uniformly used of God. (Critical and Exegetical Commentary)
Be strong - Paul is calling for spiritual, not physical strengthening. In the physical world one might lift weights and so strengthen themselves, but in the spiritual world, believers cannot strengthen themselves for that task belongs solely to the Lord! However, don't forget that believers do have a role/responsibility in this spiritual strengthening -- we are not just to "Let go and let God". The believer's "job" is to submit [yield, surrender] himself or herself to God's Spirit [believers can resist, quench and grieve the Spirit] in order for Him to strengthen us. We can only “be [passive voice] strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might” (Eph 6:10+), and “be [passive voice] strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus” (2 Ti 2:1+).
Swindoll nails it - The strength to obey the Lord is not connected to an Olympian physique. It comes by the power of God to the inner person—the unseen character, attitudes, affections, and passions that drive us toward the good and away from the bad. In Philippians 2:13NLT+, Paul lets us in on a secret about the inner power that transforms our outer lifestyle: “It is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” Our responsibility is to take on the world’s challenges with strength, but we must do so knowing that our strength comes from the Lord, not from ourselves. (Swindoll's Living Insights New Testament Commentary – 1 & 2 Corinthians)
MacArthur - The person who thinks he is strong in himself is in the greatest danger of falling (1 Cor 10:12)....The supreme source of all spiritual strength, of course, is Christ Himself. “I can do all things through Him Who (present tense - continually) strengthens (endunamoo) me,” Paul declared (Phil. 4:13+ - ED: PAUL HAD TO LEARN THIS TRUTH - See Php 4:11-12+). “I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened (endunamoo) me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service” (1 Tim. 1:12). (MNTC- 1 Corinthians)
Strengthen (2901) krataioo from krataios = strong from kratos) refers to strength or might, but especially that which is manifested. It means to be empowered, to be increased in vigor, to strengthen with the implied meaning of to establish (active voice), to grow strong (active voice), to be made strong (passive voice), to be braced (as when the Gulf Coast states to "brace" for an incoming Category 5 hurricane!), to be invigorated, to be fortified (I like that word for it pictures the saint in a "spiritual fort"). All the NT uses are in the passive voice which indicates the strengthening comes not from man himself but from God's indwelling Spirit (divine passive). Krataioo is frequent in the Septuagint and is used with andrizo in 2 Sa 10:12 "“Be strong and let us show ourselves courageous for the sake of our people and for the cities of our God; and may the LORD do what is good in His sight.”
Krataioo used only 4x in NT - Lk. 1:80; Lk. 2:40; 1 Co. 16:13; Eph. 3:16+.
Krataioo used over 50x in the Septuagint - Jdg. 3:10 (Heb = "prevailed against"; Lxx = "hand was made strong" [divine passive] upon the enemy); Ruth 1:18; 1 Sa 4:9; 1 Sam. 23:16; 1 Sam. 30:6; 2 Sam. 1:23; 2 Sam. 2:7; 2 Sam. 3:1; 2 Sam. 10:11; 2 Sam. 10:12; 2 Sam. 11:23; 2 Sam. 11:25; 2 Sam. 13:14; 2 Sam. 22:18; 2 Sam. 23:3; 1 Ki. 20:22; 1 Ki. 20:23; 1 Ki. 20:25; 2 Ki. 3:26; 2 Ki. 12:6; 2 Ki. 12:7; 2 Ki. 12:12; 2 Ki. 12:14; 2 Ki. 22:6; 1 Chr. 21:4; 2 Chr. 21:4; 2 Chr. 23:1; 2 Chr. 34:8; 2 Chr. 35:22; Ezr. 6:22; Ezr. 7:28; Neh. 2:18; Neh. 6:9; Job 36:19; Job 36:22; Ps. 9:19; Ps. 27:14; Ps. 31:24; Ps. 38:19; Ps. 64:5; Ps. 69:4; Ps. 74:13; Ps. 80:15; Ps. 80:17; Ps. 89:13; Ps. 103:11; Ps. 105:4; Ps. 105:24; Ps. 117:2; Ps. 139:6; Ps. 139:17; Ps. 142:6; Lam. 1:16; Dan. 4:36; Dan. 5:20. Here are two encouraging uses of krataioo in the Septuagint of the Psalms...
Psalm 27:14 Wait for the LORD; Be strong (Lxx = andrizomai = act like a man!) and let your heart take courage (Lxx = krataioo in divine passive, = be strengthened in your heart - cf perfect parallel with use in Eph 3:16+!); Yes, wait for the LORD.
Psalm 31:24 Be strong and let your heart take courage, All you who hope in the LORD.
Charles Swindoll -Get your “stuff” together. Act like a man. Be brave and courageous as a lady. You’re the only one on the sales force who’s telling the truth? Good for you! Keep it up. God honors integrity, which is another sign of maturity. When other people are responsible for good things happening, always give them the credit. That’s what mature adults do. Servant-hearted leadership is wonderful to behold.
A W Tozer - Do Not Hope to Win the Lost by Being Agreeable
Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong. 1 Corinthians 16:13
In our day, religion may be very precious to some persons, but hardly important enough to cause division or risk hurting anyone’s feelings!
In all our discussions there must never be any trace of intolerance, we are reminded; but obviously we forget that the most fervent devotees of tolerance are invariably intolerant of everyone who speaks about God with certainty. And there must be no bigotry—which is the name given to spiritual assurance by those who do not enjoy it!
The desire to please may be commendable enough under certain circumstances, but when pleasing men means displeasing God it is an unqualified evil and should have no place in the Christian’s heart. To be right with God has often meant to be in trouble with men. This is such a common truth that one hesitates to mention it, yet it appears to have been overlooked by the majority of Christians today.
There is a notion abroad that to win a man we must agree with him. Actually, the exact opposite is true!
The man who is going in a wrong direction will never be set right by the affable religionist who falls into step beside him and goes the same way. Someone must place himself across the path and insist that the straying man turn around and go in the right direction. (Evenings with Tozer)
Irresistible Discipleship - Oswald Chambers (Approved to God)
Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong. 1 Corinthians 16:13
By a “disciple” we mean one who continues to be concentrated on our Lord. Concentration is of much more value than consecration, because consecration is apt to end in mere religious sentiment. Concentration is the gist of the Sermon on the Mount—“Be carefully careless about everything saving your relationship to Me,” our Lord says.
“Irresistible,” not in the sense of being exquisitely charming, or of being irresistible in war, but irresistible in the sense of not being deflected.
The Practice of Alert Detachment Watch ye . . .
There is a detachment that is fanatical. Detachment without discretion is delusive, so when the New Testament uses the term “watch” (and the New Testament has a great deal to say about watching), it means an alert detachment which comes from a discreet understanding of the Lord’s will (see Romans 12:1-2).
One continually finds an encroachment of beliefs and of attachment to things which is so much spiritual overloading. Every now and again the Spirit of God calls on us to take a spiritual stock-taking in order to see what beliefs we can do without. The things our Lord asks us to believe are remarkably few, and John 14:1 seems to sum them up—“Ye believe in God, believe also in Me.” We have to keep ourselves alertly detached from everything that would encroach on that belief; we all have intellectual and affectionate affinities that keep us detached from Jesus Christ instead of attached to Him. We have to maintain an alert spiritual fighting trim.
“Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us” (Hebrews 12:1). This does not refer to indwelling sin, but to the spirit of the age, literally—the sin “which doth closely cling to us,” or “which is admired of many” (rv mg), the thing that hinders us in running and keeps us attached. We have to see that we run alertly and run watching, run with patience, continually readjusting ourselves and determinedly holding loosely to all other things. Detachment without discretion leads us astray, but detachment with the discretion that is able to discern the Lord’s will in daily occurrences will make us irresistible disciples. Our Lord said to His disciples, “Behold, we go up to Jerusalem.”† There are a great many things that are quite legitimate, but if they are not on our way to Jerusalem, we do not do them.
The Practice of Attentive Decisiveness stand fast in the faith . . .
We hear a great deal about decision of character; in irresistible discipleship we have to learn an attentive decisiveness. There is a decisiveness that is destructive, a pig-headed decisiveness that decides without deliberation. “Stand fast in the faith” gives the idea of deliberate attentive decisiveness—“I will take the time to go through the drill in order to understand what it means to stand fast” (cf. Ephesians 6:13). It is a great deal easier to fight than to stand, but Paul says our conflict is not so much a fight as a standing on guard. Our Lord requires us to believe very few things, because the nature of belief is not mathematical, but something that must be tested, and there are a number of insidious things that work against our faith. A famous preacher once said he found in his actual circumstances he did not believe half so much as he did when he was preaching. He meant he found it difficult to “stand fast in the faith” in daily circumstances.
It is possible to preach and to encourage our own souls and to appear to have a very strong faith, while in actual circumstances we do not stand fast at all, but rather prove what Herbert Spencer said to be true. Herbert Spencer said people were trained to think like pagans six days a week and like Christians the remaining day; consequently in the actual things of life we decide as pagans, not as Christians at all. The way of irresistible discipleship is to practise not only alert detachment, but also attentive decisiveness; after having deliberated on the relationship of our faith to certain things, we decide. Jesus said that the Holy Spirit would “bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” We hear some word of our Lord’s and it sinks into the unconscious mind; then we come into certain circumstances and the Holy Spirit suddenly brings back that word to our conscious minds. Are we going to obey our Lord in that particular, or take the ordinary common-sense way of moral decisiveness? Are we going to stand fast in the faith, or take the easier way of decision without deliberation? To think along this line will give the death blow to the dangerous method of making principles out of our Lord’s statements. To do that we do not need to maintain a detached life with Him; all we need is, to gain an intellectual grasp of His principles and endeavour to live our life in accordance with them.
We can never tell how we shall have to decide in certain circumstances, but we have to see that we stand fast in the faith. We know what “the faith” is when we have gone through with God in any particular. “The faith” is faith in the Redemption and in the indwelling Spirit of God; faith that God is love, and that He will see after us if we stand steadfast to our confidence in Him. It is easy to stand fast in the big things, but very difficult in the small things. If we do stand fast in faith in Him we shall become irresistible disciples.
The Practice of Comprehending Determination quit you like men . . .
When we are children we are impulsive. Impulsiveness grows up with us from childhood’s state; we do not quit ourselves like men. If we have been in the habit of discerning the Lord’s will and love and have to decide on the spur of the moment, our determination will be comprehending, that is, we shall decide not from the point of view of self-interest, or because of the good of a cause, but entirely from our Lord’s point of view.
One of the finest characteristics of a noble humanity is that of mature patience, not that of impulsive action. It is easy to be determined, and the curious thing is that the more small-minded a man is the more easily he makes up his mind. If he cannot see the various sides of a question, he decides by the ox-like quality of obstinacy. Obstinacy simply means—“I will not allow any discernment in this matter; I refuse to be enlightened.” We wrongly call this strong-mindedness. Strength of mind is the whole man active, not discernment merely from an individual standpoint. The determination in a disciple is a comprehending one. “For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and Him crucified,” says Paul.
The Practice of Actual Dependability . . . be strong.
We can depend on the man or woman who has been disciplined in character, and we become strong in their strength. When we depend on someone who has had no discipline, we both degenerate. We are always in danger of depending on people who are undisciplined, and the consequence is that in the actual strain of life they break down and we do too. We have to be actually dependable.
When we are young a hurricane or thunderstorm impresses us as being very powerful, yet the strength of a rock is infinitely greater than that of a hurricane. The same is true with regard to discipleship. The strength there is not the strength of activity but the strength of being. Activity may be a disease of weariness, or of degeneration; to be dependable means to be strong in the sense of disciplined reliability. To convey “stayability” is the work of the Spirit of God, not the product of convincing controversy.
These considerations convey the characteristics that the Apostle wanted the Corinthian Christians to develop in themselves. If we keep practising, what we practise becomes our second nature, then in a crisis and in the details of life we shall find that not only will the grace of God stand by us, but also our own nature. Whereas if we refuse to practise, it is not God’s grace but our own nature that fails when the crisis comes, because we have not been practising in actual life. We may ask God to help us but He cannot, unless we have made our nature our ally. The practising is ours, not God’s. He puts the Holy Spirit into us, He regenerates us, and puts us in contact with all His Divine resources, but He cannot make us walk and decide in the way He wants; we must do that ourselves. Paul says“I do not frustrate [i.e., make void, rv] the grace of God.”
The standing fast, the quitting ourselves like men, is the duty that God has laid upon us.
In the days of the Roman persecutions, the edict went forth from the emperor that every soldier in all the army should be submitted to a test as to his loyalty. He should pour the libation to the emperor, or die such death as his commander should pass upon him. In the northern part of Gaul there was a Julian legion of 100 men, with their centurion. They had become knit together in the dangers and self-sacrifices and hardships of a lonely, arduous, desperate service. The very flower of this band were Christians, who, it was known, would not worship the emperor. But the centurion set up the emperor’s image and the libation was prepared. One by one the members of the band filed up, and either poured the libation, or said, “I am a Christian,” and turned off to the left. When the test was over, there stood forty men, the very bravest and the best, the most self-sacrificing, and the best-beloved of all that band of men. Sorrowfully the commander sentenced them to death from exposure upon the frozen surface of the lake. As they went forth, a mighty song broke forth, “Forty wrestlers, wrestling for Thee, O Christ, claim for Thee the victory, and from Thee the crown.” Far out on the ice they knelt down and raised their voices in thanksgiving to Christ Who had elected them to die for His honor and glory. The centurion caused a great fire to be built on the shore and dismissed the guard, while he, their well-beloved friend, strode up and down, keeping guard, in the hope that they might repent them of this strange faith which he did not understand, but which made them loyal, and true, and gentle, and good beyond their comrades. By and by he saw one dark form separating itself from the rest and come stumbling, creeping up the bank, intent on saving its life by the sacrifice of its soul, but as the traitor fell down before the image of the emperor, the helmet and shield of the centurion clanged upon the ground, and he strode forth and joined himself unto them. Once again the cry went up, “Forty wrestlers, wrestling for Thee, O Christ, claim for Thee the victory, and from Thee the crown.”
YOUR LIFE: GOD’S PROJECT
Those who cleanse themselves from the latter will be instruments for special purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work. 2 TIMOTHY 2:21
“Fan into flame” (2 Timothy 1:6). “Stand firm” (1 Corinthians 16:13). “Be strong” (1 Corinthians 16:13). “Endure hardship” (2 Timothy 4:5). “Avoid” (2 Timothy 2:16). “Flee” (1 Corinthians 6:18).
At first glance the Christian life might appear to be a do-it-yourself project—until you try it and discover how inadequate your own strength is.
But God never asks of you what he has not first empowered you to do—a truth John Calvin understood.
WALK WITH JOHN CALVIN
“It is clear beyond contradiction that we are called to holiness. But the calling and duty of Christians is one thing, and it is another to have the power to make it happen.
“We do not deny that the faithful are required to purify themselves; but that this is a matter which belongs to the Lord he declares himself, when through the prophet Ezekiel he promises to send forth the Holy Spirit that we may be cleansed (see Ezekiel 36:25–26).
“Therefore, we should beseech the Lord to purge us rather than vainly attempt such a matter in our own strength without his aid.”
WALK CLOSER TO GOD
It is one thing to read the Word of God; it is another to live it.
Enthusiasm is easier than obedience. But it takes more than zeal and grim determination for believers to become “instruments … useful to the Master.”
For that to happen you need strength that only the Master can supply, and strength to stay morally clean and spiritually sensitive.
The world would label such a lifestyle “narrow.” God calls it “holy.”
And he is calling you to it—today! (NIV-Once a Day - Walk with Jesus)
Streams in the Desert - “Quit you like men, be strong.” (1 Cor. 16:13.)
DO not pray for easy lives! Pray to be stronger men. Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers. Pray for powers equal to your tasks. Then the doing of your work shall be no miracle, but you shall be a miracle.—Phillips Brooks.
We must remember that it is not in any easy or self-indulgent life that Christ will lead us to greatness. The easy life leads not upward, but downward. Heaven always is above us, and we must ever be looking up toward it. There are some people who always avoid things that are costly, that require self-denial, or self-restraint and sacrifice, but toil and hardship show us the only way to nobleness. Greatness comes not by having a mossy path made for you through the meadow, but by being sent to hew out a roadway by your own hands. Are you going to reach the mountain splendors? —Selected.
We are not here to play, to dream, to drift;
We have hard work to do, and loads to lift.
Shun not the struggle; face it.
’Tis God’s gift.
Say not the days are evil—Who’s to blame?
And fold the hands and acquiesce—O shame!
Stand up, speak out, and bravely,
In God’s name.
It matters not how deep entrenched the wrong,
How hard the battle goes, the day how long,
Faint not, fight on!
Tomorrow comes the song.
—Maltbie D. Babcock.
Strong to the End By Mary Wilder Tileston
Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong. 1 CORINTHIANS 16:13
STAND then in His great might,
With all His strength endued;
But take, to arm you for the fight,
The panoply of God.
Leave no unguarded place,
No weakness of the soul;
Take every virtue, every grace,
And fortify the whole.
LET every one consider what his weak point is; in that is his trial. His trial is not in those things which are easy to him, but in that one thing, in those several things, whatever they are, in which to do his duty is against his nature. Never think yourself safe because you do your duty in ninety-nine points; it is the hundredth which is to be the ground of your self-denial. It is with reference to this you must watch and pray; pray continually for God's grace to help you, and watch with fear and trembling lest you fall. Oh that you may (as it were) sweep the house diligently to discover what you lack of the full measure of obedience! for, be quite sure, that this apparently small defect will influence your whole spirit and judgment in all things. J H NEWMAN
The hymn below was written by Dr. Isaac Watts to follow a sermon on the text "Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong” (1 Cor. 16:13). Am I a Soldier of the Cross. (watch the graphics with this video if you dare! I pray it convicts you as it did me! Powerful!) (Read short biography of Isaac Watts - it will bless your heart!) (More on Isaac Watts)
Am I a soldier of the cross,
A follow’r of the Lamb?
And shall I fear to own His cause,
Or blush to speak His name?
Must I be carried to the skies
On flow’ry beds of ease,
While others fought to win the prize,
And sailed through bloody seas?
Are there no foes for me to face?
Must I not stem the flood?
Is this vile world a friend to grace,
To help me on to God?
Sure I must fight if I would reign;
Increase my courage, Lord;
I’ll bear the toil, endure the pain,
Supported by Thy Word.
Thy saints in all this glorious war
Shall conquer, though they die;
They see the triumph from afar,
By faith’s discerning eye.
When that illustrious day shall rise,
And all Thy armies shine
In robes of vict’ry through the skies,
The glory shall be Thine.
1 Corinthians 16 Strength Of A Man
Read: 1 Corinthians 16:9-13 |
Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong. —1 Corinthians 16:13
Some years ago I found myself in an elevator with a couple of men. It was late at night, and we all looked weary. The elevator came to a stop, and a larger-than-life cowboy ambled in, wearing a battered hat, an old, stained sheepskin coat, and rundown logger boots. He looked us up and down, met our eyes, and growled, “Good evening, men.” All of us straightened up and squared our shoulders. We were trying to live up to the name.
On this day, which is given over to honoring guys, let’s talk about living up to the name man. We try to be strong and macho, but often it’s just a façade. For all our effort, we realize we don’t measure up. Underneath the bravado we harbor a host of fears, insecurities, and shortcomings. Much of our manliness is pure bluff.
Paul was man enough to admit it: “We also are weak,” he said (2 Cor. 13:4). That’s not pious chatter; it’s a humbling fact. Yet in what seems to be a contradiction, Paul insisted that we are to be “men of courage” (1 Cor. 16:13NIV).
How can we be the strong person that God meant for us to be? Only by putting ourselves in God’s hands and asking Him to make us that way through His power and enablement. (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
Come, Lord, and give me courage,
Thy conquering Spirit give;
Make me an overcomer—
In power within me live.
True strength is the power of God in the soul.
Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer. Behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried, and ye shall have tribulation ten days; be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life. Revelation 2:10
One winter when the Roman emperor Licinius was persecuting the Christians, his Thundering Legion was stationed at Sebaste. Because 40 men in that company had declared themselves believers, they were sen¬tenced to spend the night naked on a frozen pool. A large fire was kindled in a house nearby, and food and a warm bath were prepared for any who would renounce their faith. As daylight faded, 40 warriors continued to resist in spite of the bitter cold—some walking quickly to and fro, some already sleeping that sleep which ends in death, and some standing, lost in prayer. These words arose to heaven, "0 Lord, 40 wrestlers have come forth to fight for Thee. Grant that 40 wrestlers may gain the victory!" Finally, one of them could endure the suffering no longer. He left the others and went into the house where Sempronius and his men were on guard. But still the petition went up from those able to speak, "0 Lord, 40 wrestlers have come forth to fight for Thee. Grant that 40 wrestlers may gain the victory!" Their prayer was answered. Sempronius the centurion was touched by his comrades' bravery, and the Holy Spirit moved upon his heart. Declaring him¬self a Christian, he went to the frozen pond and took the place of the one defector. When the long night was over, 40 glorious spirits, Sempronius among them, had entered into the presence of Christ.
If we suffer, we shall also reign with Him; if we deny Him, He also will deny us. 2 Timothy 2:12
In the 17th century a girl named Maria Durant lived in southern France. She was attractive and intelligent, and life beckoned joyously to her. She was also deeply spiritual, and she was not ashamed to speak out for Christ. The persecution of Christians in that area, however, became so severe that her witness was no longer tolerated by the authorities. She refused to be silent and as a result was imprisoned. For 38 years, while life with its pleasures passed her by, she main¬tained a shining testimony. Her valiant stand for the truth was costly. Rather than yield to pressure and renounce her Lord, she stood firm. Knowing full well that her imprisonment was denying her the joys of marriage and a family, she would not compromise her faith. The years of privation finally sapped her strength, and she died a martyr's death. Maria Durant had not only lived a life of inward holiness, but she had also "resisted unto blood" the outward tide of iniquity. It is said that tourists still go and look with respect and sadness at the slogan scratched on the dungeon wall. It was this one word: RESIST!
Yet, if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God on this behalf 1 Peter 4:16
In a magazine called The Teacher, Pastor Harold Dye wrote about an 8-year-old Mexican boy named Pedro. One Sunday, after hearing the minister preach on Simon of Cyrene, the lad came up to speak to him. "You asked what we'd do if we had been in the crowd when Jesus fell under the weight of His cross," said the youngster earnestly. "I'm sure I would have been happy to help carry it!" The boy had recently accepted Christ, although his parents were antagonistic to the gospel. To test him, the minister said, "Yes, but if you had helped the Lord, the cruel Roman soldiers would probably have beaten you with whips." Without hesitation, the boy answered, "I don't care! I love Him! I'd have done it just the same."
Two weeks later, Pastor Dye stood at the door of the church, greeting the people as they left the service. When Pedro came by, he patted him affectionately on his shoulder. Shrinking back with a little cry, the 8¬year-old pleaded, "Please don't do that. My back is very sore." Since he had barely touched him, the minis¬ter was puzzled. He took the youngster to a nearby cloakroom and asked him to remove his shirt. Criss-crossing his back from his neck to his waist were huge red welts. "Who did that?" the preacher asked angrily. "My mother," said Pedro. "She whipped me because I came to church!" That Mexican boy proved he was willing to stand up for the One in whom he had put his trust.
For whosoever would save his life shall lose it; but whosoever will lose his life for My sake, the same shall save it. Luke 9:24
John Huss, the Bohemian reformer, was burned at the stake in 1415. Before his accusers lit the fire, they placed on his head a paper crown with devils painted on it. He answered this mockery by saying, "Jesus Christ, my Lord, wore a crown of thorns for my sake; why should not I then, for His sake, wear this light crown, be it ever so ignominious? Truly I will do it willingly." After the wood was stacked up to Huss' neck, the Duke of Bavaria asked him to renounce his preaching. Trust¬ing completely in God's Word, Huss replied, "In the truth of the gospel which I preached, I die willingly and joyfully today." The wood was ignited, and Huss died while singing, "Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God, have mercy on me."
Watch, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong. 1 Corinthians 16:13
George Whitefield, who lived about 200 years ago, exhibited an unflinching devotion to Christ. After preaching several times one day, he went to his room completely exhausted. As he was preparing for bed, he was informed that a large crowd had gathered and wanted him to speak just once more. Summoning his remaining strength, he took a candle with him and said he would preach till it was burned out. The taper flick-ered its last about an hour later, and Whitefield closed in prayer and went inside. The next morning they found him on his knees beside his bed—the flame of his earthly existence had glimmered and died. "Faithful unto death," he now awaits the promised crown!
Moreover, it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful. 1 Corinthians 4:2
An elderly Scottish preacher was rebuked by one of his deacons one Sunday morning before the service. "Pastor," said the man, "something must be wrong with your preaching and your work. There's been only one person added to the church in a whole year, and he's just a boy." The minister listened, his eyes moistening and his thin hand trembling. "I feel it all," he replied, "but God knows I've tried to do my duty." On that day the minister's heart was heavy as he stood before his flock. As he finished the message, he felt a strong inclination to resign. After everyone else had left, that one boy came to him and asked, "Do you think if I worked hard for an education, I could become a preacher, or maybe a missionary?" Again tears welled up in the minister's eyes. "Ah, this heals the ache I feel," he said. "Robert, I see the Divine hand now. May God bless you, my boy. Yes, I think you will become a preacher."
Many years later an aged missionary returned to London from Africa. His name was spoken with reverence. Nobles invited him to their homes. Many souls had been added to the church of Jesus Christ, and he had reached even some of Africa's most savage chiefs. His name was Robert Moffat, the same Robert who years before had spoken to the pastor that Sunday morning in the old Scottish kirk.
J R Miller - "Be men of courage; be strong." 1 Corinthians 16:13
Gentleness and good temper are not all. One may have these qualities, and yet be lacking in the completeness of well-rounded Christian character. There must be strength as well as beauty. Love is the fulfilling of the law; all the commandments being summed up in one, "You shall love." But love is a large word. It is like one of those composite pictures, into which many pictures are blended. All the elements of duty to God and to our fellows—are wrapped up in the divine conception of loving.
It will not do, therefore, for us to take merely the things that belong to the gentle side, and think of these as the whole of Christian character. Christ was infinitely gentle. The warmth of his heart made a tropical summer all about him. But behind the gentleness, was also infinite strength. We must be like him, not only in gentle warmth—but also in truth and strength and righteousness. We must be to others, not only tenderness—but also strength to lean upon, and stability in which they may find refuge.
Charles Stanley - SPIRITUAL ALERTNESS SCRIPTURE READING: James 4:1–8 KEY VERSE: 1 Corinthians 16:13 Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong.
During the Persian Gulf War, surprise was an effective tool of the Allied Forces. Both the air and the ground offensives used the element of surprise in their tactical maneuvers, catching the Iraqi military off guard on numerous occasions.
Some of our success, however, can be attributed to a lack of alertness on behalf of the Iraqi soldiers. Those soldiers, buried deep in bunkers, were mentally lulled into tactical lethargy.
Alertness to the strategy and presence of the enemy is always a fundamental part of winning a war, including the spiritual war Christians fight against the forces of the devil, the world, and sin. Alertness is dulled by pride or self–reliance.
The more confident you are in your abilities, the more complacent you are about sin and the less attentive you are to the enemy’s efforts. Do you know that you wake up to a spiritual war each morning? Are you aware that the power of the evil one is set against you?
Simply stepping out into the day with a smile and a hearty breakfast may make you feel good but does not prepare you for spiritual combat. Alertness begins with awareness of the conflict and the identity of the enemy. Steeled against his schemes, you will not be caught by surprise.
Heavenly Father, remove my complacency. Let me be spiritually alert. Make me aware of the power of the evil one. Don’t let his schemes catch me by surprise.
God’s Delay - The rapture of the church, the second coming of Christ, and the judgment seat of Christ have long been subjects of much debate among Christians. Varying thoughts about when the church will be raptured abound.
However, you can trust this fact: Jesus will do exactly what He promised. He will return for you. It is easy to see how misconstrued theologies often obscure the impact of God’s will for our lives.
Immediately following Paul’s clarification of the rapture to the Thessalonian church is an exhortation for them to return to faithful, vibrant, sober living. The Thessalonians had been focused on the rapture and were worried that they might have missed it. Many of them had stopped working. In essence, Paul wrote to tell them to go back to work—to be watchful and not lazy.
Paul was not the only apostle to encounter this type of error concerning future events. Peter dealt with false teaching and realized the deadly threat it presented to the young church. In his second letter, Peter admonished his readers to be diligent in their faith and to remember that God is not slow in keeping His promise (2 Peter 3:9).
Warren Wiersbe observed, “God’s ‘delay’ is actually an indication that He has a plan for this world and that He is working His plan.” Remain watchful and prayerful in all you do.
Lord, help me remain watchful and prayerful as I await Your return. Help me live faithfully, vibrantly, and soberly while I wait. (Charles Stanley)
Jerry Bridges - THE BEST DEFENSE
Be watchful. (1 CORINTHIANS 16:13)
With all the enemies from the world and from Satan arrayed against us, and a guerrilla army of flesh within our own hearts, how can we effectively watch against the temptations that constantly beset us? The old adage “The best defense is a good offense” is good advice for watching against temptation. The best offense is meditation on the Word of God and prayer. It’s surely no coincidence that they’re the only two spiritual exercises that we are encouraged to do continually. We’re to meditate on God’s Word “day and night” (Psalm 1:2), and Paul exhorted us to “pray continually” (1 Thessalonians 5:17NIV).
There is power in the Word of God to keep us from sin: “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you” (Psalm 119:11). For every temptation that you face, there are specific passages of Scripture that address that issue. If you’re not aware of some, ask your pastor or another mature Christian to help you find them. Then memorize those verses, meditate on them, and pray over them every day, asking the Holy Spirit to bring them to your mind in times of need. Ask, also, that He will strengthen your will to enable you to obey the word that He brings to your mind. All of us are being influenced by sinful society, so we want to do all we can to continually bring the Word of God to bear upon our thinking.
Also remember that Jesus told us to watch and pray against temptation (Matthew 26:41). We aren’t capable of watching by ourselves. “Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain” (Psalm 127:1). Even with our best diligence, we need the extra dimension of the Lord watching for us. (Holiness Day By Day)
Stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong. 1 CORINTHIANS 16:13
1863: “Arm of Stonewall Jackson, May 3, 1863.” So reads a small granite marker in a Virginia cemetery. The marker is a reminder of the reverence that many people felt for the devout and eccentric Confederate general Thomas J. Jackson.
On May 2, 1863, Jackson led his troops to a smashing victory at a site called Chancellorsville. Then, around twilight, Jackson and some aides rode out to reconnoiter the Union army’s position. Some Confederate lookouts mistakenly fired on the party, thinking they were Union men. Jackson was struck with three bullets and was taken to a nearby farm. The next day his wounded left arm was amputated. An admirer of Jackson reverently buried the arm. Confederate general Robert E. Lee, hearing of the incident, said of Jackson, “He has lost his left arm, but I have lost my right arm.”
Jackson lingered for several days, often delirious from infection. Southerners thought back on the general’s quirks, such as his obsession with diet and exercise, his hypochondria, his off-key singing voice, his humorlessness. They thought about his fearlessness and steadfastness in battle, which earned him the nickname “Stonewall.” And they thought about his unwavering devotion to his faith, his unquestioning belief that the New Testament was to be obeyed fully. Jackson held a place in people’s affections because he was not only devout but a general who won battles, and a real “character” to boot. In two years of Civil War fighting, he had made a reputation for himself. As he lay prostrated with fever, thousands of Southerners prayed for his recovery, knowing his death would be a blow to Confederate morale.
On May 10, 1863, Jackson was mumbling deliriously. Suddenly he spoke clearly: “Let us cross over the river and rest under the shade of the trees.” He was dead at age thirty-nine, but no one doubted he had “crossed over the river” to a better place.
Why Is It So Many Believers Grow Cold, Lose The Fire, And Peak Out Spiritually? (from Facts of the Matter)
This was part of a conversation I had this morning with a 74 year old war horse of the faith who is still going strong for God. My mind reflected back on my early morning meditation on the passage in Revelation where Jesus admonished the Asian churches to stay on track spiritually. In effect he told them:
" WAKE UP!"
That is, stay vigilant like a person anticipating a thief: " Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong." (1 Corinthians 16:13) Don't be lulled into the spiritual doldrums.
" HOLD ON!"
Seize what is already yours! Retain it. Don't let it go! Don't go back on what God has already given you! " If he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him." (Hebrews 10:38)
" KEEP YOUR FIRST LOVE!"
Recently I received an e-mail from a Christian friend of long-standing. Anticipating a spiritual challenge, my heart sank in disappointment as he launched into a discussion of his twin passions of soccer and the stock market. Scant mention was made of the things of God. Retaining his " first love"? One wonders. (Jeremiah 2:2; Matthew 24:12)
"DON'T COMPROMISE WITH SIN!"
In two areas: (1) Idolatry: " Is there anything that commands your affections more than the Lord Jesus Christ?" (2) Sexual impurity: " Is the trend in your thought life and actions moving toward increased purity, or increased enslavement?" (2 Corinthians 11:3; 1 Thessalonians 4:3-7)
"BE FAITHFUL TO THE DEATH!"
Tough times lay ahead, warned Jesus, so be prepared to suffer, even to the point of death. Many times I have rehearsed what I would do if it came down to a choice between preserving my life or confessing Christ. If pressed, I would, by His grace, point to my forehead and say, " Put the bullet right here!"
QUESTION: Music scores are often characterized by the diminuendo and the crescendo. With that metaphor in mind, are you moving toward a diminuendo-type existence of selfish refuge, self-indulgence and limited vision, or toward a crescendo of faith, sacrificial service, and investment in that which is eternal?
Charles Swindoll - STANDING FIRM 1 Corinthians 15–16
I heard a statistic the other day that blew my mind. Anna Sklar, the author of a book called Runaway Wives, was a guest on a local talk show. In the course of the discussion, she cited that ten years ago, for every wife or mother who walked away from her home and responsibilities, six hundred husbands and fathers walked out. Today for each man who walks away, two women do.
Pause and let that sink in.
Understand, I’m not advocating either, nor am I taking sides. I’m just amazed at the unbelievably rapid rise in the number of women who choose escape as the favorite method of coping.
Contrary to our great American heritage, many of today’s citizens would rather quit than stick. That which was once not even an option is now standard operating procedure. Now, it’s “if you start to sink, jump, don’t bail” . . . or “if it’s hard, quit, don’t bother.”
Every achievement worth remembering is stained with the blood of diligence and scarred by the wounds of disappointment. To quit, to run, to escape, to hide—none of these options solve anything. They only postpone the acceptance of, and reckoning with, reality.
Churchill put it well: “Wars are not won by evacuations.”
No, battles are won in the trenches . . . in the grit and grime of courageous determination . . . in the arena of life, day in and day out, amidst the smell of sweat and the cry of anguish.
The apostle Paul, the man who bore on his body “the brandmarks of Jesus” (Gal. 6:17), was a living example of his own counsel: “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord. . . . Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong” (1 Cor. 15:58; 16:13).
Giving thought to giving up?
Considering the possibility of quitting?
Looking for an easy way out?
Entertaining the idea of running away . . . stopping before it’s finished . . . escaping from reality?
Don’t! The Lord never promised you a Disneyland.
In fact, the only time He ever used the word “easy” was when He referred to a yoke.
Horatius Bonar - Stand Fast
“Stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.”—1 COR. 16:13.
IN the last days many shall be as “clouds without water, carried about of winds.” And this is one of the special perils of these “perilous times.” The winds are let loose, and are now performing their awful work of tossing hither and thither these empty clouds.
Hence the instability that prevails. Men are “carried about with every wind of doctrine.” They are not “rooted and grounded in love;” and having never “tasted that the Lord is gracious,” nor rested their weary souls upon Him, they go about seeking they know not what. They want something that will fill them, but not going to the Livine fulness of the incarnate Word for it, they wander on in sadness of spirit, vainly trying to soothe their uneasy souls with every new doctrine or device that meets them in the way! All in vain. For what can be a substitute for God and His free love?
Amid all this instability, let us “stand fast in the faith.” Let us be “strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.” Let us beware of novelties in religion. Let us guard against fickleness of opinion and hastiness of decision. Satan will let loose his blasts and call up his storms; let us only moor our vessel firmer, and keep faster hold of the anchor, which is sure and steadfast, “and which entereth into that which is within the veil.” Thus, in patience shall we possess our souls, for “he that believeth doth not make haste.”
Stephen Olford - “Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong.” – 1 Corinthians 16:13
These four commands have a definite order and lead up to the last one – “Be strong.” The fulfilling of these four commands was, no doubt, the secret of Paul's strength.
Be Watchful. He merely emphasizes the words of the Lord Jesus, when He said, “Watch and pray – lest you enter into temptation” (Matt. 26:41). Spiritual vigilance enables the Christian to prepare for victorious battles.
Be Stable. Here is a call to consistency, to establishment, to stability – holding the profession of faith without wavering.
Be Manlike. To be a real man, the spirit, soul, and body must be equally nourished.
Be Strong. This is the natural outcome of watchfulness, stability, and manliness. It results in being strong for God, strong against the powers of evil, and strong in the Lord.
Lord, may these commands be characteristic of my walk with You.
Gregg Laurie - STANDING STRONG
Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong. (1 Corinthians 16:13)
There will come times in all of our lives when we will be tested in our faith. There will be times when what we believe will be challenged. There will be temptations to do the wrong thing.
We might ask ourselves, Will I be able to stand strong spiritually when this happens? That is entirely up to you. It isn’t up to God. It is up to you. God wants you to stand. But He is not going to force you to stand. He will give you all the resources you need. He will give you the power to resist. He will even give you a way out. But you have to cooperate. There are some things only God can do. And there are some things only you can do.
Only God can forgive sin. But only you can fall into sin. Only God can give you the power to change your life. But you need to be willing to have your life changed. You need to cooperate with Him. He is not going to force you to resist what is evil. You have to be willing to resist it on your own, then take hold of the resources that He gives you. You decide today whether or not you will fall tomorrow. The stand you make today will determine what kind of stand you make tomorrow.
When you are building a house, the most important time is not when you lay carpet or paint; it’s when you lay the foundation. If you don’t do that well, then all of your decorative additions will be for nothing. You have to get the foundation right.
Therefore, you determine today what kind of situation you will be in tomorrow.
- 1Co 8:1 12:31 1Cor 13:1-13 14:1 Joh 13:34,35 15:17 Ro 13:8-10 14:15 Ga 5:13,14,22 Eph 4:1-3 Php 2:1-3 1Th 3:6,12 4:9,10 2Th 1:3 1Ti 1:5 Heb 13:4 1Pe 4:8 2Pe 1:7 1Jn 4:7,8
- 1 Corinthians 16 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries
This command serves to balance the four commands in the previous passage.
Robertson and Plummer - He is glancing back at the party-divisions, at the selfish disorder at the Lord’s Supper, and at their jealousy in the possession of special charismata, and is recalling 1 Cor 13:1-13+. (Critical and Exegetical Commentary)
MacArthur explains that love "keeps our firmness from becoming hardness and our strength from becoming domineering. It keeps our maturity gentle and considerate. It keeps our right doctrine from becoming obstinate dogmatism and our right living from becoming smug self-righteousness." (MNTC- 1 Corinthians)
Let all that you do be done in love - This command in the present imperative (see need to depend on the Holy Spirit to obey) and in the middle voice calling for the keeping of all four commands in 1 Cor 16:13 and everything (let all) else they do in an atmosphere of love. This ingredient was in "short supply" among the believers in Corinth! Thus one is immediately reminded of Paul's warning against doing anything without love writing "And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing." (1 Cor 13:3+).
It is worth noting the small preposition "IN" instead of "WITH" love. In is the locative of sphere and pictures love as the very atmosphere in which the other four commands are to be exercised. "Love must be very atmosphere in which their lives move." (Robertson and Plummer) In other words Paul is not saying do the previous 4 commands and then do this one "with" love or accompanied by love. No, the previous commands are to be carried out in the atmosphere of unconditional, God-like, God enabled love.
Vine explains the vital importance of all things to be done in love - This (DOING ALL THINGS IN LOVE) was impossible if party divisions existed, if meetings for the breaking of bread were characterized by selfishness, and if rivalry and jealousy manifested themselves. Love that counteracts all such things can only be in true exercise where the love of Christ has full control and the hearts of believers are subject to the constant ministry of the Holy Spirit (ED: cf Ro 5:5, Gal 5:22). (Collected Writings)
Matthew Henry on be done in love - Our zeal and constancy must be consistent with charity (love). When the apostle would have us play the man for our faith or religion, he puts in a caution against playing the devil for it. We may defend our faith, but we must, at the same time, maintain our innocence, and not devour and destroy, and think with ourselves that the wrath of man will work the righteousness of God, James 1:24. Christians should be careful that charity not only reign in their hearts, but shine out in their lives, nay, in their most manly defences of the faith of the gospel. There is a great difference between constancy and cruelty, between Christian firmness and feverish wrath and transport. Christianity never appears to so much advantage as when the charity of Christians is most conspicuous when they can bear with their mistaken brethren, and oppose the open enemies of their holy faith in love, when everything is done in charity, when they behave towards one another, and towards all men, with a spirit of meekness and good will.
Love (noun) (26) (agape) is unconditional and sacrificial, describing the love that God is (1Jn 4:8+ 1 Jn 4:16+), that God shows (Jn 3:16+, 1Jn 4:9+) and that God enables in His children by His Spirit (Gal 5:22+; cf Ro 5:5+) Agape in 1-2 Cor - 1 Co. 4:21; 1 Co. 8:1; 1 Co. 13:1; 1 Co. 13:2; 1 Co. 13:3; 1 Co. 13:4; 1 Co. 13:8; 1 Co. 13:13; 1 Co. 14:1; 1 Co. 16:14; 1 Co. 16:24; 2 Co. 2:4; 2 Co. 2:8; 2 Co. 5:14; 2 Co. 6:6; 2 Co. 8:7; 2 Co. 8:8; 2 Co. 8:24; 2 Co. 13:11; 2 Co. 13:14
Henry Blackaby - Everything in Love
Do everything in love. 1 Corinthians 16:14
Christians play by a different set of rules than the world does. The world says it’s good to be honest, moral, and loving, but there are certain times when it’s OK to make an exception. When you are threatened or mistreated, the world gives permission to respond in anger. The world accepts revenge when someone hurts you first. It tolerates immorality as long as you don’t hurt anyone else. In the world there are lots of gray areas that are left up to the individual’s discretion. The standard for Christians, however, is straightforward. Do everything in love. No qualifiers. No exceptions.
“How is that possible?” you ask. “After all, aren’t there times when people hurt you and take advantage of you? Don’t you have to look out for yourself? Why does it matter as long as no one gets hurt?” The Bible doesn’t give a single example where acting with love is inappropriate. If anyone ever had an excuse to make an exception, it was Jesus. People hated him so much they tortured him and killed him. Jesus loved them and forgave them. People ridiculed him and betrayed him. In return, he loved them. No one else in human history was as powerful as Jesus, yet not once did he take advantage of another person. Jesus never based his actions on what others did to him or around him. He lived by one truth: love.
As Christ’s followers, we too must base our lives on Jesus’ standard. A Christian should never be known as an angry or selfish person. The one thing that should characterize each one of us is that we love (John 13:35). (The Experience)
John MacArthur - THE ANTIDOTE FOR SIN “Let all that you do be done in love” (1 Cor. 16:14).
The more you love God, the less you will sin.
Scripture and personal experience teach us that sin always has its consequences. When you harbor unconfessed sin, you dishonor God and forfeit the blessings and joy He desires for you. Prolonged sin might even bring His chastening through pain or illness.
That’s what happened to Corinthian believers who partook of the Lord’s Table in a sinful manner (1 Cor. 11:27–30). Paul warned the rest of the congregation to take careful spiritual inventory of themselves to avoid incurring a similar punishment. In chapter 13 he reveals the root of their problem, saying in effect, “Some of you are physically ill because you’re sinning. Start loving God and one another as you should and your ailments will disappear.”
Love is the antidote for sin. When a Pharisee asked Jesus which of the commandments was greatest, Jesus replied, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets” (Matt. 22:37–40). If you love the Lord and your fellow men, you won’t sin against them. That’s why Paul said, “He who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. For this, ‘You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,’ and if there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ Love does no wrong to a neighbor; love therefore is the fulfillment of the law” (Rom. 13:8–10).
Love is your highest calling and the greatest contribution you can make to others. But it’s possible to neglect it or misunderstand its characteristics. That’s why we’re going to spend this month exploring true love and how it functions. As we do, pray that your love for God and others will increase each day. (Drawing Near)
- the household of Stephanas: 1Co 16:17 1 Cor 1:16
- the first fruits: Ro 16:5 Rev 14:4
- to the: Ac 9:36-41 Ro 12:13 15:25 16:2 2Co 8:4 9:1,12-15 1Ti 5:10 Phm 1:7 Heb 6:10 1Pe 4:10
- 1 Corinthians 16 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries
1 Corinthians 1:16+ Now I did baptize also the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized any other.
James 1:18+ In the exercise of His will He brought us forth by the word of truth, so that we would be a kind of first fruits among His creatures.
Constable prefaces this next section with a good word - The Corinthians had a special problem with submission to authority, as we have seen. Many in the church wanted to do their own thing. 1 Cor 16:16-18 would have encouraged them to appreciate some less flashy servants of the Lord. (Commentary)
Robertson and Plummer - He now says a word in commendation of some among themselves whose services to the Church ought to command esteem and deference as well as love. Perhaps he had heard that those whom he mentions had been treated with disrespect. (Critical and Exegetical Commentary)
Now I (present tense - continually) urge (parakaleo) you, brethren (adelphos) (you know the household of Stephanas, that they were the first fruits of Achaia (Corinth is in Achaia - see red area in map) - The believers in the household of Stephanas were the "first crop harvested in Achaia." First fruits refers to new believers in Jesus Christ, Who Himself is called "the first fruits of those who are asleep (dead)." Jesus' resurrection was a type of fulfillment of the feast of first fruits and as such was the promise and the pledge of a greater harvest of "first fruits" to follow. Paul is setting forth shining the shining example of Stephanas for the Corinthians to emulate. One can only imagine the courage it took for Stephanas and his household to step out in faith in the midst of the Corinthian cesspool of immorality, idolatry, injustice and worldliness.
Rick Renner - Although the word diakonos emphatically speaks of their servant attitude, it also shows us that they were addicted to serving others with the highest possible standard of excellence.
John MacArthur has an interesting comment on first fruits - The first fruits were the part of a crop that was planted first and therefore ripened and was harvested first. Its appearance was a sign to the farmer that the remainder of the crop would also soon be ready to harvest. The conversion of Stephanas and his household was a sign that God was ready to reap an even greater harvest of souls in Corinth and the rest of Achaia. The believers to whom Paul wrote this letter were all a part of that harvest. (MNTC- 1 Corinthians)
Robertson and Plummer - Dionysius the Areopagite, Damaris, and possibly others (Acts 17:34+) had been won over before Stephanas, but his was the first Christian household, and as such was the foundation of the Church in those parts. It began with ‘the Church in his house.’ In a similar sense Epaenetus was ἀπαρχὴ τῆς Ἀσίας (Rom. 16:5). It was no doubt on account of this important fact that St Paul made an exception in his usual practice and baptized Stephanas and his household (1:16). What follows shows their devotion to the cause. (Critical and Exegetical Commentary)
First fruits (536) aparche from apó = away from + árchomai = to begin) is the OT technical term used to describe the first portion of a grain harvest or fruit harvest. The first portion of the harvest was regarded both as a first installment and as a pledge of the final delivery of the whole and were offered to God in thanksgiving for His goodness in providing them. Here in 1 Cor 16:16 and in James 1:18+ the term refers to new converts, born again believers. Paul used this same word of Christ "But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep." (1 Cor 15:20+) "But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ’s at His coming,: (1 Cor 15:23+) (see chart depicting First Fruits, Christ - As OT Prophecy of His Resurrection)
And that they have devoted (committed, appointed, diligently gave) themselves for ministry to the saints (hagios) - Wuest has "that they took upon themselves the responsibility of a ministering service to the saints," Devoted themselves is translated "addicted themselves" in the KJV! The idea is that they had "put themselves in position for service." Devoted is the verb tasso picturing the household of Stephanas as "appointing themselves" or "assigning themselves," setting themselves out to the ministry to the other saints. Clearly it was it was a self-imposed duty they gladly, willingly and voluntarily undertook and not a burdensome or onerous task. They did it for the sole purpose of benefiting their brethren, the saints (hagios).
The precise nature of their ministry is not described but as the origin of the word diakonia implies, they undertook even the most menial tasks for their brethren. Jesus used the related noun teaching that "the greatest among you shall be your servant (diakonos)." (Mt 23:11) In Mark 10:45+ Jesus modeled the meaning of this word group when He taught the disciples an important lesson of servanthood declaring that "the Son of Man did not come to be served (diakoneo), but to serve (diakoneo), and to give His life a ransom for many.” Paul used the word diakonos in 1 Cor 3:5+ asking "What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? Servants (diakonos) through whom you believed, even as the Lord gave opportunity to each one." The household of Stephanas in devoting themselves to ministry (diakonia) were in effect imitating Paul (diakonos) who himself had imitated Christ's example of service (1 Cor 11:1+).
Robertson and Plummer on have devoted - here it is evident that the Apostle had not appointed Stephanas and his household to any διακονία. They had spontaneously taken this service upon themselves. Just as the brethren appointed (ἔταξαν) that Paul and Barnabas and others should go to Jerusalem about the question of circumcision (Acts 15:2+- tasso), so Stephanas and his household appointed (devoted) themselves to the service of their fellow-Christians. It was a self-imposed duty. (Critical and Exegetical Commentary)
Barclay - “In the early church willing and spontaneous service was the beginning of official office. A man became a leader of the church not so much by any man-made appointment as because his life and work marked him out as one whom all men must respect. All those who share the work and toil of the gospel command respect, not because they have been appointed by a man to an office but because they are doing the work of Christ.” (Commentary)
Have devoted (5021) tasso means to arrange in place, assign or dispose to a certain position, order or lot or to a particular task. In the context of 1 Cor 16:15 it means they assigned themselves to doing something regularly and thus devotedly. Tasso was a common verb in classical Greek for arranging troops or ships in proper position for battle.
Ministry (service, relief) (1248)(diakonia > "deacon") means the rendering or assistance or help by performing certain duties, often of a humble or menial nature, like waiting tables (cf Acts 6:2+ = "serve [diakoneo] tables"). The main idea which lies behind diakonia is that of with humble, submissive, personal service, not simply with an office (deacon). Diakonia is not the activity of a lesser to a greater, but is the lifestyle of a follower of the Lord Jesus. “Serving” in the form of diakonia pervades the NT, not merely in the frequency of the word’s usage but in the constant recurrence of attitudes and examples of service. Moule says of this word, “Almost any work other than that of inspired utterance or miracle-working may be included in it here.” Godet says; “An activity of the practical nature exerted in action, not in word.” Trench says that this word represents the servant in his activity. The word therefore refers to one who serves. Paul had earlier used diakonia describing "varieties of ministries and the same Lord." (1 Cor 12:5+). Diakonia in 1-2 Cor - 1 Co. 12:5; 1 Co. 16:15; 2 Co. 3:7; 2 Co. 3:8; 2 Co. 3:9; 2 Co. 4:1; 2 Co. 5:18; 2 Co. 6:3; 2 Co. 8:4; 2 Co. 9:1; 2 Co. 9:12; 2 Co. 9:13; 2 Co. 11:8;
Read: 1 Corinthians 16:15-21
They have devoted themselves to the ministry of the saints. —1 Corinthians 16:15
As long as we have had our family cabin on Piatt Lake in Michigan’s beautiful Upper Peninsula, Lyle Hopper has been caretaker for our Christian association of property owners. Now Lyle is nearing retirement, and I was thinking about the years of work he and his wife Pauline have given the lake community.
Because we don’t have a phone in our cabin, Lyle or Pauline has driven to our cabin numerous times to give us or our guests telephone messages. Some were urgent—news of illness or emergencies back home requiring immediate attention. The Hoppers have always done this graciously, refusing any kind of compensation.
When something broke and I needed a part, Lyle always seemed to have one somewhere. If I needed advice on how to fix something, Lyle always had time to explain it to me.
While reading 1 Corinthians 16 recently, I was reminded of Lyle and Pauline. The apostle Paul expressed thanks to those in the household of Stephanus who had “devoted themselves to the ministry of the saints” (v.15).
Are there faithful servants of God in your life who have been a refreshment to your spirit? Be sure to acknowledge them (v.18). Thanks, Lyle and Pauline. (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
Lord, help us to appreciate
The work that others do,
The service given from their hearts,
Their sacrifice for You.
Those who serve deserve our thanks.
IN America's Cup yacht has a crew of sixteen people, including the navigator, the helmsman, and the mast men. But the boat could not compete without the relentless work of the five "grinders"—the men who turn the heavy cranks that control the sails.
A grinder described his role this way in a USA Today article:
"A grinder at the America's Cup level is similar to a tight end in football. We need strength to provide the physical energy to power the boat around the race course. Essentially, our job is to turn the handles to raise and lower the sails and jibe/tack the sails from one side of the boat to the other."
In the work of Christ, the jobs that get noticed have to do with determining strategy and steering the course. But unless there are a lot of grinders—people willing to work behind the scenes—His work cannot go forward.
The people in the household of Stephanas were the grinders of the early church. We know little about what they did, but Paul commended their diligent work for the cause of Christ.
Our faithful and diligent service is more important than we realize. We impede Christ's work when we refuse to do our part. —D C E (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
Thank You, Lord, for allowing me to do important work that doesn't require visibility. May I do my work with diligence and faithfulness and never get jealous of those whose work is more visible and whose acclaim is widespread.
Amplified - I urge you to pay all deference to such leaders and to enlist under them and be subject to them, as well as to everyone who joins and cooperates [with you] and labors earnestly.
Wuest - that you yourselves also put yourselves under the leadership of such as these and everyone who works with us and labors to the point of exhaustion.
- that you also: Eph 5:21 Heb 13:17 1Pe 5:5
- be in subjection to such men: 1Co 12:28 1Ch 12:18 Ro 16:3,9 Php 4:3 3Jn 1:8
- and labors.: 1Co 3:9 Ro 16:6,12 1Th 1:3 2:9 5:12 1Ti 5:17 Heb 6:10 Rev 2:3
- 1 Corinthians 16 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries
Hebrews 13:17+ Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you.
1 Peter 5:5+ You younger men, likewise, be subject (aorist imperative) to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE.
1 Th 5:12-13 But we request of you, brethren, that you appreciate those who diligently labor among you, and have charge over you in the Lord and give you instruction, 13 and that you esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Live in peace with one another.
Here Paul continues the exhortation he began in 1 Cor 16:15.
Swindoll adds that "The first four commands (16:13) sound like abrupt orders shouted by a platoon commander on a battlefield: Wake up! Stand firm! Be a man! Be strong! If we stopped reading there, we might think Paul was urging us to grit our teeth, square our jaws, puff out our chests, and take on the world with a militant, combative demeanor. The next imperative, however, puts everything in perspective: Do everything in love. (Swindoll's Living Insights New Testament Commentary – 1 & 2 Corinthians)
That (hina) Purpose clause.
You also (present tense - continually) be in subjection to such men (as Stephanas) - Wuest - "put yourselves under the leadership of such as these (household of Stephanas - 1 Cor 16:15)." Amplified - "pay all deference to such leaders" where deference refers to the respect and esteem due one's superior. Be in subjection is in the passive voice with a middle sense which signifies the voluntary subjection of oneself to the will of another. This is quite a challenging exhortation to the Corinthians who Paul has repeatedly described as arrogant (1 Cor 4:6-8+, 1 Cor 4:18, 19+, 1 Cor 5:2, 6+, 1 Cor 8:1+)!
Robertson and Plummer - That ye also be in subjection to such men as these’—to such excellent Christians.....They have taken the lead in good works; do you also follow such leadership.’ (Critical and Exegetical Commentary)
A T Robertson - The family of Stephanas took the lead in good works. Do ye also follow such leaders. This is our great problem today, to find great leaders and many loyal followers. This would solve all church problems, great leadership and great following. Lend a hand. (Word Pictures in the New Testament)
Be in subjection (5293) hupotasso from hupó = under + tasso = arrange in orderly manner) means literally to place under in an orderly fashion. In the active voice hupotasso means to subject, bring under firm control. Hupotásso meant that troop divisions were to be arranged in a military fashion under the command of the leader. In this state of subordination they were now subject to the orders of their commander. Thus, it speaks of the subjection of one individual under or to another. In non-military use, hupotasso described a voluntary attitude of giving in, cooperating, assuming responsibility, or carrying a burden. Hupotasso in 1 Cor - 1 Co. 14:32; 1 Co. 14:34; 1 Co. 15:27; 1 Co. 15:28; 1 Co. 16:16;
And to everyone (fellow worker) who (present tense - continually) helps (cooperates) in the work and (present tense - continually) labors - Helps in the work means engaging in a cooperative endeavor. Labors describes continual intense, hard, wearisome toil even to the point of utter exhaustion if necessary. It describes not so much the actual exertion as the weariness which follows the straining of all one's powers to the utmost. Labors is the very word Paul used to describe himself writing "But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored (kopiao) even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me." (1 Cor 15:10+). Clearly the work Paul is calling the saints to carry out will require dependence on the same grace that enabled him to carry out the work!
Helps in the work (4903) sunergeo rom sun = together with, speaks of an intimate relationship + érgon = work; English - synergy) means literally to work together, to be a partner in work, to co-labor, to engage in cooperative endeavor, to assist.
Labors (2872) kopiao rom kopos = labor, fatigue) This root word kopos (word study) is used in secular Greek of “a beating,” “weariness” (as though one had been beaten) and “exertion,” was the proper word for physical tiredness induced by work, exertion or heat. Kopiao means to to exhibit great effort and exertion, to the point of sweat and exhaustion. To physically become worn out, weary or faint. To engage in hard work with the implication of difficulty and trouble. The work described by kopiao was left one so weary it was as if the person had taken a beating. Kopiao in 1 Cor - 1 Co. 4:12; 1 Co. 15:10; 1 Co. 16:16;
- Stephanas: 1Co 16:15
- because: 2Co 11:9 Php 2:30 Phm 1:13
- 1 Corinthians 16 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries
I (present tense - continually) rejoice (was glad, pleased) over the coming of Stephanas and Fortunatus and Achaicus (cf Pr 25:25) - The word for coming (parousia) is the same word Paul had just used in 1 Cor 15:23+ "But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ’s at His coming (parousia)." Parousia conveys the thought of an arrival (advent or coming) of a person to a place plus the idea of their presence at that place.
Robertson and Plummer on coming of Stephanas and Fortunatus and Achaicus - They had probably brought the Corinthian letter and were waiting to take this letter in reply to it. They were a little bit of Corinth, and as such a delight to the Apostle. That Fortunatus and Achaicus were members of the household of Stephanas is unlikely; they would have been mentioned in a different way, if they had been; and it is improbable that all the delegates would be taken from one household. (Critical and Exegetical Commentary)
Rejoice (5463) chairo means to be "cheer" full, calmly happy or well-off. Chairo implies and imparts joy. Chairo is used in a whole range of situations in which the emotion of joy is evoked. To be in a state of happiness and well being (often independent of what is happening when the Source is the Spirit!). Several Greek lexicons (Zodhiates, Liddell-Scott, et al) associate the origin of chairo with charis or grace as follows - Chairo is from the root char-, "favorably disposed, leaning towards" and cognate with cháris, "grace" and so properly means to delight in God's grace ("rejoice") and literally, to experience God's grace (favor) or be conscious (glad) for His grace. It follows that rejoicing ("glad by grace") is principally internal and eternal because it depends only on grace. In contrast, "happiness" is external and temporal (requiring pleasant "happenings"). Thus Zodhiates writes "The word charis is related to chairo, to rejoice, and chara, joy, delight, the result of the activity of the grace of God in man."
Coming (3952) parousia is a combination of two Greek words para = with, alongside + ousia = being (ousia is the participial form of the verb eimi = to be) which together literally mean to be alongside. Perhaps the best English translation would be “arrival.” 1 Co. 15:23; 1 Co. 16:17; 2 Co. 7:6; 2 Co. 7:7; 2 Co. 10:10;
because they have supplied what was lacking on your part - Wuest - "because that which was lacking on your part, these filled up." Amplified - "for they have made up for your absence." What was lacking? In context these three men provided spiritual refreshment!
Have supplied (fulfill, complete, made up) (378) anapleroo from aná = up or as an emphatic + pleroo = to fill) means to fill up, spoken of a measure. Anapleroo means the making up of what is lacking to perfect fulness. Anapleroo is the filling of a partial void. In this context it speaks of filling or taking someone's place replace, make up for someone's absence. Matt. 13:14; 1 Co. 14:16; 1 Co. 16:17; Gal. 6:2; Phil. 2:30; 1 Th. 2:16
Lacking (5303)(husterema) is that which is comes behind, that which is left or that which is deficient. The root verb hustereo pictures someone in a company marching together with others who march faster than he can. He cannot keep up, so he falls behind (he is "lacks" in the sense he cannot keep up). Summary of husterema - (a) the lack of what is needed or desirable, frequently in contrast to abundance (need, want, shortcoming, deficiency, poverty, destitution - Lk 21:4) (b) a defect that must be removed so that perfection can be attained = lack, shortcoming (1Th 3:10+) (c) With a person as the object = absence, not being present (1Cor 16.17) Vine denotes (a) “that which is lacking, deficiency, shortcoming” (akin to hustereo, “to be behind, in want”), 1Cor. 16:17; Phil. 2:30; Col. 1:24, rv, “that which is lacking” [kjv, “that which is behind” (of the afflictions of Christ)], where the reference is not to the vicarious sufferings of Christ but to those which He endured previously, and those which must be endured by His faithful servants; 1Th 3:10, where “that which is lacking” means that which Paul had not been able to impart to them, owing to the interruption of his spiritual instruction among them; (b) “need, want, poverty,” Luke 21:4, rv, “want” (kjv, “penury”); 2 Cor. 8:14 (twice) “want;” 9:12, “wants” (kjv, “want”); 11:9, rv, “(the measure of my) want” [kjv, “that which was lacking (to me)”]. (Vine's Expository Dictionary) Husterema - 8v in NT - Lk. 21:4; 1 Co. 16:17; 2 Co. 8:14; 2 Co. 9:12; 2 Co. 11:9; Php 2:30; Col. 1:24; 1 Th 3:10. Uses in Septuagint - Jdg. 18:10; Jdg. 19:19; Jdg. 19:20; Ezra 6:9; Ps. 34:9; Eccl. 1:15
Amplified - For they gave me respite from labor and rested me and refreshed my spirit as well as yours. Deeply appreciate and thoroughly know and fully recognize such men.
- they: Pr 25:13,25 Ro 15:32 2Co 7:6,7,13 Php 2:28 Col 4:8 1Th 3:6,7 3Jn 1:4
- therefore: 1Th 5:12 Php 2:29 Heb 13:7 3Jn 1:11,12
- 1 Corinthians 16 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries
For (gar) term of explanation. Paul explains what Stephanas and Fortunatus and Achaicus "supplied." Robertson and Plummer add that Paul is "explaining how these three men were sufficiently representative of the Corinthian Church. It was a great comfort to him to learn from their delegates how anxious they were for his direction and advice (referring to the letter they wrote - 1 Cor 7:1), and to have their assurance about matters which had greatly disturbed him respecting his ‘brothers’ in Corinth." (Critical and Exegetical Commentary)
They have refreshed (greatly encouraged, comforted) my spirit and yours - These three men ministered to Paul's needs. The phrase and yours means they had had the same effect on the saints at Corinth These were good men to be around! May their tribe increase! These men were true imitators of their Lord, for they did the very thing which Jesus Himself promised declaring "Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest (anapauo)." (Mt 11:28+)
THOUGHT God uses men to refresh the spirits of other men, so this begs the question "Am I generally a "refresher" or do I tend to be a "depleter"?" Spirit filled, Word filled/centered men (and women) are the only ones who can consistently be "refreshers."
Refresh (373) anapauo from ana = again, back, or even as intensifying the meaning of the verb + pauo = to cease or give rest) means to cause someone to gain relief (by resting), refreshment, intermission from toil. to give intermission from labor. The idea of spiritual rest is also seen in the refreshment (refresh in English = to restore or give new strength or energy to, to invigorate, to relieve after fatigue, to reanimate after depression, to revive what is drooping, to restore or maintain by renewing supply) in one's life by other believers (1Co 16:17, 18, 2Co 7:13, Philemon 1:7, 20). "The verb is a technical term of agriculture, to rest land by sowing light crops upon it.
Vine has an interesting comment on Stephanas and Fortunatus and Achaicus - they relieved Paul of anxiety by the news from Corinth, and relieved the Corinthian assembly from fear of being misrepresented to Paul. Underneath the divisions in the assembly there was a united loyalty to the apostle. (Collected Writings)
Therefore - Term of conclusion. In light of their refreshing impact.
Acknowledge (recognize the value of) such men (for what they are) - NIV = "Such men deserve recognition." ESV = "Give recognition to such people." Acknowledge is in the present imperative calling for the Corinthians to continually recognize these men. They deserve generous recognition. Recognize them for who they are, faithful, godly workers for the Lord.
Robertson and Plummer - ‘Such services as theirs ought to meet with a generous recognition. They have undertaken a long and perilous journey on your behalf, and they have brought great relief and refreshment to me as well as to you.’ (Critical and Exegetical Commentary)
Acknowledge (recognize) (1921) epiginosko from epí means upon but is used here to intensify the force of the following verb + ginosko = to know) (See related noun epignosis) means to know fully, to know with certainty, to become thoroughly acquainted with or to know thoroughly, exactly, fully, or completely. Epiginosko means to possess more or less definite information about, and can imply a degree of thoroughness. It speaks of full or added knowledge. To be fully acquainted in a discerning, recognizing manner. (e.g., 1Co 13:12 twice uses "fully known," Lk 1:4; Col 1:6; 2Cor 6:9, et al) To ascertain (find out with certainty) (Acts 23:28, 24:8). To recognize a thing to be what it really is.
- Is a home church a true biblical church? | GotQuestions.org
- What is the simple church movement? Is it biblical? | GotQuestions.org
- churches: Ac 19:10 1Pe 1:1 Rev 1:11
- Aquila: Ac 18:2,18,26 Ro 16:3,4 2Ti 4:19, Prisca
- the church: Ro 16:5,15 Col 4:15 Phm 1:2
- 1 Corinthians 16 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries
Robertson and Plummer summarize this last section - Solemn conclusion to the Epistle with Salutations, Warning, and Benediction. The collective salutations are in three groups. First, those of all the Churches in the proconsular province of Asia, with which St Paul was constantly in touch. Then, from Ephesus in particular, a specially affectionate one from Prisca and Aquila and their household; and finally, a more general one from all the Christians in Ephesus. To these, with his own hand, St Paul adds his own personal salutation, with a farewell warning and blessing. (Critical and Exegetical Commentary)
Aquila and Prisca greet you heartily (warmly) in the Lord, with the church that is in their house - Heartily in the Lord "add to the impressiveness of the salutation: it is sent in a devout spirit of fellowship in Christ, and in affectionate earnestness....In the Lord speaks of the sphere or element in which anything exists or takes place, is frequent in all groups of the Pauline Epistles." (R & P)
This speaks of the hospitality that was an integral component of the early Christianity.
Robertson and Plummer - Prisca would hardly be mentioned as well as her husband, if she were not a prominent Christian; and this prominence is still more marked in Rom. 16:3 and 2 Tim. 4:19. “Plainly the woman was the leading figure of the two, so far as regards Christian activity at least. She was a fellow-labourer of St Paul, i.e. a missionary, and she could not take part in missionary work or in teaching, unless she had been inspired and set apart by the Spirit. Otherwise, St Paul would not have recognized her. (Critical and Exegetical Commentary)
Vine on Aquila and Prisca - they came from Corinth with Paul to Ephesus; see Acts 18:2, 11, 18; for the assembly in their house, cp. Romans 16:5, and cp. 2 Timothy 4:19, when they were again at Ephesus (Collected Writings)
Greet (salute, embrace, take leave, pay respects) (782) aspazomai rom a + spao = draw out as a sword, pull, breathe) means to enfold in arms, to welcome, to embrace. To salute one (not in a military sense), greet, bid, wish well to. In classical literature aspazomai can also be used of physical expressions of welcome, such as “embrace” and “kiss.”
Question - Who were Priscilla and Aquila?
Answer - The story of these two friends of the apostle Paul is told in Acts 18. Aquila, a Jewish Christian, and his wife, Priscilla, first met Paul in Corinth, became good friends of his, and shared in his work. These two remarkable people belong in the pantheon of Christian heroes, and their ministry is both an encouragement and an example for us.
When we first meet Aquila and Priscilla, we are told that they had come to Corinth from Italy as victims of Roman persecution, not for their Christian faith but because Aquila was a Jew. The Emperor Claudius expelled all Jews from Rome, and no doubt Jews deemed it unsafe to remain in any part of Italy. Aquila and Priscilla found their way to Corinth and settled there, pursuing their trade as tentmakers. When Paul, a tentmaker himself, came to Corinth, he went to see them, no doubt having heard of their faith in Christ. Paul lived and worked with them while founding the Corinthian church.
After a year and a half, Paul left for Ephesus and took Aquila and Priscilla with him. The couple stayed in Ephesus when Paul left and established a church in their home (1 Corinthians 16:19). Then an eloquent preacher named Apollos came through Ephesus. Apollos was mighty in the Scriptures, but he only knew the baptism of John. This means Apollos knew Christ had come and fulfilled John’s prophecies, but he didn’t know the significance of Christ’s death and resurrection, the ministry of the indwelling Holy Spirit, or the mystery of the church containing both Jews and Gentiles. Priscilla and her husband took Apollos aside and explained these things to him (Acts 18:24-26). Both Aquila and Priscilla possessed an in-depth understanding of doctrine learned from Paul, and this husband and wife team was able to pass it on to another Christian and build him up in the faith.
These two remarkable people set an example for us of hospitality, seen in opening their home to Paul and using their house as a meeting place for the church. We are also impressed by their passion for Christ and their hunger for knowledge of Him.
Another hallmark of the lives of Priscilla and Aquila is their desire to build others in the faith. Paul’s last reference to them is in his last letter. Paul was imprisoned in Rome and writing to Timothy one last time. Timothy was pastoring the church at Ephesus, and Aquila and Priscilla are there with him, still faithfully ministering (2 Timothy 4:19). To the end, Aquila and Priscilla were offering hospitality to other Christians, spreading the gospel they had learned from Paul, and rendering faithful service to the Master. GotQuestions.org
QUESTION - What does the Bible say about hospitality?
ANSWER Hospitality can be defined as “the quality or disposition of receiving and treating guests and strangers in a warm, friendly, generous way.” In the New Testament, the Greek word translated “hospitality” literally means “love of strangers.” Hospitality is a virtue that is both commanded and commended throughout Scripture. In the Old Testament, it was specifically commanded by God: “When an alien lives with you in your land, do not mistreat him. The alien living with you must be treated as one of your native-born. Love him as yourself, for you were aliens in Egypt” (Leviticus 19:33-34, emphasis added).
During His public ministry, Jesus and His disciples depended entirely on the hospitality of others as they ministered from town to town (Matthew 10:9-10). Likewise, the early Christians also depended on and received hospitality from others (Acts 2:44-45; 28:7). In fact, travelers in ancient times depended heavily on the hospitality of strangers as traveling could be dangerous and there were very few inns, and poor Christians could not afford to stay at them, anyway. This generous provision to strangers also included opening one’s home for church services. Hospitality was indeed a highly regarded virtue in ancient times, especially for Christian leaders (Titus 1:8; 1 Timothy 3:2).
The writer of Hebrews reminds us not to forget to “entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it” (Hebrews 13:2). Indeed, in the book of Genesis we read of Abraham’s humble and generous display of hospitality to three strangers. Wealthy and aged, Abraham could have called on one of his many servants to tend to the three unannounced visitors. Yet the hospitable and righteous Abraham generously gave them the best he had. And, as it turned out, he had entertained the Lord and two angels (Genesis 18:1-8).
Christians are “God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works” (Ephesians 2:10). As followers of Christ, we emulate His love and compassion when we show hospitality, not only to fellow Christians, but even more so to strangers and the less fortunate. In fact, we honor God when we are kind to the needy (Proverbs 14:31; 19:17). As Jesus said, “When you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed” (Luke 14:13). Christ also taught us the second greatest commandment, to “love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:39), and the Parable of the Good Samaritan teaches us that “neighbor” has nothing to do with geography, citizenship, or race. Wherever and whenever people need us, there we can be neighbors and, like Christ, show mercy. This is the essence of hospitality.
In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus discusses the hospitable behavior of those who will inherit the kingdom: “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me” (Matthew 25:34-36). In these days we often don’t think much about entertaining strangers, but hospitality is still an important part of Christian ministry (Romans 12:13; 1 Peter 4:9). By serving others we serve Christ (Matthew 25:40) and we promote the spread of God’s truth (3 John 5-8). GotQuestions.org
- the brethren: Ro 16:16,21,23 2Co 13:13 Php 4:22 Phm 1:23,24 Heb 13:24
- Greet: 2Co 13:12 1Th 5:26 1Pe 5:14
- 1 Corinthians 16 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries
A HOLY KISS
All the brethren (adelphos) greet (aspazomai - salute) you. Greet (aspazomai) one another with a holy (hagios) kiss - All refers to all the members of the Church in Ephesus. Holy speaks of the spiritual character of this sign of brotherly love. It is not emotional. John Trapp adds it is “Not hollow, as Joab and Judas; not carnal, as that harlot, Proverbs 7:13.” This act is clearly a manifestation of love in a Christian fellowship, even though in our culture it may be displayed differently.
Robertson and Plummer on all - The Corinthians are not to think that only Aquila and Priscilla with their circle take an interest in them. St Paul can answer for every Christian at Ephesus. ‘The affection which the Christians in Ephesus and Asia manifest towards you must kindle in all of you affection for one another, which should be expressed by a hallowed use of the common mark of affection. The solemn kiss was a token of the love for one another which all Christians ought to regard as a debt (Rom. 13:8). This φίλημα ἅγιον (1 Thess. 5:26; Rom. 16:16), or ἅγιον φίλημα (2 Cor. 13:12), or φίλημα ἀγάπης (1 Pet. 5:14), very soon became part of the ritual of public worship....From England the custom spread in the thirteenth century of passing round a tablet (pax, instrumentum pacis, tabella pacis, asser ad pacem, oculatorium) to be kissed as a substitute for the kiss of peace. The passing of this through the congregation led to so much confusion that at last it was confined to the clergy (Critical and Exegetical Commentary)
John MacArthur - Paul was speaking of the genuine and spontaneous expression of brotherly or sisterly love, which in that day often was expressed by a kiss. A warm, affectionate handshake or an arm around the shoulder can express the same affection. In most of the church today the danger is in showing too little affection rather than too much.One of the dangers of large churches is that they easily allow strangers to remain strangers. A shy person is often not noticed, and some Christians, unfortunately, do not want to get involved in the fellowship. But where there is genuine love, Christians will find ways to make friends with strangers and to show affection to Christian brothers and sisters. (MNTC- 1 Corinthians) (ED: GUESS WHO MAJORS SO TO SPEAK IN GIVING ATTENTION TO VISITORS? YOU GUESSED IT - THE CULTS! HOW CONVICTED THE CHURCH SHOULD BE!)
A T Robertson - In the synagogue men kissed men and women kissed women. This was the Christian custom at a later date and apparently so here. See 1 Thes. 5:26; 2 Cor. 13:12; Romans 3:8; 1 Peter 5:14. It seems never to have been promiscuous between the sexes. (Word Pictures in the New Testament)
Cleon Rogers - In the ancient world it was customary to give a kiss as a greeting both at the meeting and at the departure. The kiss as symbol of love, fellowship, and thankfulness may have been at this time a liturgical act indicating the forgiveness which had been received and the willingness to partake of the Lord’s Supper
- greeting: Ga 6:11 Col 4:18 2Th 3:17
- 1 Corinthians 16 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries
Galatians 6:11+ See with what large letters I am writing to you with my own hand.
Colossians 4:18+ I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand. Remember my imprisonment. Grace be with you.
2 Thessalonians 3:17 I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand, and this is a distinguishing mark in every letter; this is the way I write.
Penning is the act of creating a written work.
The greeting is in my own hand--Paul - Literally, "With the hand of me Paul." This means that the letter to this point has been inscribed by someone else, probably Sosthenes, and the rest by Paul.
Robertson and Plummer - The Apostle takes the pen from his amanuensis and himself finishes the letter, to authenticate it as coming from him: it must not be possible for his opponents in Corinth to question whether this letter is really St Paul’s: 2 Thess. 3:17; Col. 4:18. Up to this point he had been dictating (Rom. 16:22), but he finishes the letter himself. In the papyri, the signature is sometimes in quite a different hand from the rest of the writing (Milligan, Thessalonians, p. 125). The Apostle’s handwriting would be known at Corinth; but we cannot safely infer from Gal. 6:11 that it was unusually large: like other people, he sometimes wrote large, as we use large type, for emphasis (Critical and Exegetical Commentary)
Robertson - The genitive Paulou is in apposition with the possessive pronoun emēi which is in the instrumental case just as in 2 Thes. 3:17, the sign in every Epistle. He dictated, but signed at the end. If we only had that signature on that scrap of paper. (Word Pictures in the New Testament)
Greeting (salutation)(783) aspasmos from aspazomai = welcome, greet, to salute) describes the use of set words or phrases to express a welcome or farewell -- salutation, greeting, either orally or by letter. Acknowledgement or expression of good will on meeting. Louw-Nida = "employ certain set phrases as a part of the process of greeting, whether communicated directly or indirectly." Liddell-Scott adds an embrace.
- love: Song 1:3,4,7 3:1-3 5:16 Isa 5:1 Mt 10:37 25:40,45 Joh 8:42 Joh 14:15,21,23 15:24 16:14 21:15-17 2Co 5:14,15 8:8,9 Ga 5:6 Eph 6:24 Heb 6:10 1Pe 1:8 2:7 1Jn 4:19 5:1
- Anathema: Mt 25:41,46 Ac 23:14 Ro 9:3 Ga 1:8,9 *Gr: 1Co 12:3 2Th 1:8,9 Jude 1:14,15
- 1 Corinthians 16 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries
If (first class conditional - assumes the reality that) anyone does not (present tense - continually) love the Lord, he is to be accursed (doomed). Maranatha - Be accursed means "dedicated to destruction!" The love Paul calls for here is tender affection. You might be surprised he does not use the word agapao, but clearly if one does not phileo the Lord, it is highly unlikely he will agapao the Lord! Three times Jesus asked Peter if he loved Him, the first two times using agapao and the final question using phileo. Peter answered all three of the Lord's questions with phileo (see John 21:15-17+), answers which Jesus deemed acceptable to Himself.
The Apostle John gave a similar strong warning writing
Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son. 10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house, and do not give him a greeting; 11 for the one who gives him a greeting participates in his evil deeds. (2 John 1:9-11)
John MacArthur has an interesting comment on the juxtaposition of accursed and Maranatha - The two seemingly inconsistent parts of Paul's closing words are related to the same truth, the theme of the epistle itself: love. The warning is against those whose lack of love for the Lord proves their lostness. The gracious affection is expressed to those who, with Paul, do love the Lord and each other. I believe that in this context maranatha, an Aramaic term meaning "Our Lord, come," is Paul's appeal for the Lord to come and take away those who are accursed, the nominal, false Christians who are always such a great threat to the true church. The idea is, "God, come and remove them" before they cause more harm. Maranatha thus contains an implied invitation to those lost church members to receive Christ before God takes them away and the opportunity for salvation is forever gone. (MNTC- 1 Corinthians)
Robertson and Plummer on accursed Maranatha - the saying, though in no way a malediction, is monitory in tone. It warns them that at any moment they may have to answer for their shortcomings. Why St Paul gives this warning in Aramaic rather than in Greek, is unknown. The most probable conjecture is that in this language it had become a sort of motto or password among Christians, and familiar in that shape, like ‘Alleluia’ with ourselves. (Critical and Exegetical Commentary)
Robertson writes that the word accursed "seems a bit harsh to us, but the refusal to love Christ (ou philei) on the part of a nominal Christian deserves anathema. This Aramaic phrase means "Our Lord (maran) cometh (atha)" or, used as a proleptic perfect, "has come." It seems to be a sort of watchword (cf. 1 Thes. 4:14ff.; James 5:7-8; Phil. 4:5; Rev. 1:7; Rev. 3:11; Rev. 22:20), expressing the lively hope that the Lord will come. It was a curious blunder in the King James Version that connected Maran atha with Anathema. (Word Pictures in the New Testament)
Love (5368) phileo from phílos = loved, dear, friend) means to be a friend to another, to be fond of (have a liking for) an individual or an object, to have or show affection for. Phileo denotes personal attachment and is more a matter of sentiment or feeling. It is devotion based in the emotions distinguished from agapao which represents devotion based in the will. Phileo is friendship love. Phileo love is basically emotional. Phileo is a fellowship type love manifested in a living and growing relationship between two friends.
Accursed (331) anathema from anatíthemi = to place, lay up) means strictly speaking something set up or placed so as to be kept, such as a votive [free will] offering which is "set up" in the temple. Most of the NT uses are by Paul who uses anathema in a negative sense of delivering ("setting up" or "placing") someone under divine wrath or a curse. BDAG notes that anathema in the Septuagint (Lxx) as a rule (signifies) what is ‘devoted to the divinity’ (which) can be either consecrated or accursed. Paul had used this same word earlier in 1 Cor 12:3+ writing "Therefore I make known to you, that no one speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus is accursed”; and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit." 6v in NT - Acts 23:14; Rom. 9:3; 1 Co. 12:3; 1 Co. 16:22; Gal. 1:8; Gal. 1:9
Maranatha (3134) Maranatha is transliterated into English from two Aramaic words which are rendered either as "Marana and tha," which is translated as a prayer "Our Lord, come" (מָרַנָא תָא) or alternatively as "Maran and atha" (מָרַן אֲתָא) which is translated as a declarative statement "Our Lord comes" or "Our Lord has come." Gromacki writes that “Mar” means “Lord”; “an” is “our”; and “atha” is the verb “to come.” Jamieson writes that Maranatha was "A motto or watchword to urge them (Ed: The Church) to preparedness for the Lord’s coming; as in Php 4:5, “The Lord is at hand.” As to which is the correct translation of the Aramaic, there is not a clear consensus and the arguments favoring one or the other are much too detailed for this discussion.
Unger writes that Maranatha - is thought to have been used as a watchword, common to all believers in the first age. Coupled here with an anathema, or curse, it is the Christian’s reminder as he waits the advent of the judge to execute the anathema. (The New Unger's Bible Dictionary)
- Maranatha - in depth discussion
- Play one of my favorite choruses from the old Maranatha Singers - Maranatha. And we cry "O Lord Come!" Amen
Anathema or Maranatha? - Vance Havner
If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maranatha. I Corinthians 16:22.
The great apostle in a day when unbelieving Jews were calling Jesus accursed throws back the anathema with power. Then he takes an Aramaic term, which the scholars have argued over as to whether it means the Lord has come or "May he come!"
These two words, spelled with almost the same letters, set forth two viewpoints poles apart. There are millions today whose mark might well be anathema. They blaspheme the Lord and they are accursed. False preachers of "another Gospel" are anathema. The bitter hostility of long ago boiled over in that word.
Over against that is the love that said instead, "Jesus is Lord," and, looking for His return, cried, "Maranatha." Looking for the Lord was a distinguishing mark of first-century Christianity. Strange and sad it is that so many who claim to love Him today do not thrill to "The Lord cometh."
Are you Anathema or Maranatha? Which is the cry of your soul?
Except Ye Repent"
Alexander Whyte used to say something about the type of church listener who on Sunday morning is glad to have the preacher tell "when the Gospels were writ," or explain the meaning of Euroclydon or Anathema Maranatha; but who, if the minister dwells on such subjects as affects his living, cannot bear to be thus instructed. Was it Coleridge who spoke of those truths which are regarded as so true that they lose the power of truth and lie bedridden in the dormitory of the soul? And what about the pronouncement of Alexander Maclaren that "familiarity with Jesus Christ can be our ruin"?
The gospel often fares better with people who fight it than with people who trifle with it. G. Campbell Morgan said the church patronized is the church in peril and often paralyzed. Our Lord told the people of His hometown, Capernaum, that Sodom and Gomorrah would fare better in the judgment than the city that took Him for granted, that lived in the Light and paid no attention to it, that refused to repent.
No other gospel doctrine is more neglected today than is repentance. In the present self-centered generation old-fashioned conviction of sin is generally unheard of because sin is no longer sin. The new pulpit pitch is not geared to repentance. We bemoan the moral putridity of Sodom and well we may, but we had better weep over polite Capernaumites who wouldn't harm Jesus for anything but will never come to Him in repentance.
Warren Wiersbe - IN CONCLUSION. . .
Paul's closing words need not detain us. The "holy kiss" (1 Cor 16:20) was a common mode of greeting, the men kissing the men and the women kissing the women. If Paul were writing to Western churches, he would say, "Shake hands with one another."
Paul usually dictated his letters and then took the pen and added his signature. He also added his "benediction of grace" as a mark that the letter was authentic. The word anathema (1 Cor 16:22, KJV) is Aramaic and means "accursed." Not to love Christ means not to believe in Him, and unbelievers are accursed (John 3:16-21). The word maran-atha is Greek and means "our Lord comes" or (as a prayer) "our Lord, come!" If a person loves Jesus Christ, he will also love His appearing (2 Tim. 4:8).
Paul had been stern with the Corinthian believers, but he closed his letter by assuring them of his love. After all, wounds from a friend can be trusted (Prov. 27:6).
Paul has shared a great deal of spiritual wisdom with us. May we receive it with meekness and put it into practice to the glory of God!
Will Durant, one of last century's most able historians, had planned to serve in ministry. His faith foundered, however, when he discovered authors anathema to his Christian faith, like Darwin and Huxley. Later, when writing The Story of Civilization, he rejected the divinity of Christ, found in Him hypocrisy, and attributed to Him “no new moral ideas.” Durant had wandered far from his childhood faith. (AND IF HE NEVER REPENTED HE DIED A TRAGIC DEATH AS AN ANATHEMA!)
H A Ironside - ANATHEMA MARANATHA
IF ANY MAN LOVE NOT the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maranatha" (1 Corinthians 16:22). This is one of the most incisive and challenging statements in all the Bible. Incisive because there is no possibility of misunderstanding it. In the fewest possible words, it declares the inevitable doom of all who do not love the Lord Jesus. Challenging, first because of its very incisiveness; and second, because of the fact that it contains two untranslated foreign words, Anathema Maranatha, taken from two different languages, and which by their very strangeness compel our attention.
Anathema is Greek and means "accursed" or "devoted to judgment." It is the same word that the apostle uses in Galatians 1:8-9: "But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed." The man or angel who misleads others with a false gospel is under the ban of eternal God - Anathema, "accursed," "devoted to judgment." He uses the same word again when speaking of himself: he says, "I could wish that I myself were accursed (Anathema) from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh." It implies, then, clearly a definite separation from Christ, banishment from God, without any hope of restoration.
The other word, Maranatha, is a compound word, an Aramaic expression of Chaldean origin, translated "our Lord come!" or "the Lord comes!" It is a vivid reminder that the rejected Christ is to return in glory as judge of the living and the dead.
So, then, the strange compound expression, this Greco-Aramaic term, "Anathema Maranatha," might really be rendered, "devoted to judgment; our Lord cometh." Slightly paraphrasing the entire sentence, it would read, "If any man love not our Lord Jesus Christ, he will be devoted to judgment at the coming of the Lord." What a tremendously solemn statement and how seriously we should consider it.
Spurgeon - And when he comes in the latter days, you know what will happen to those that loved not Christ: they will be Anathema Maranatha, cursed at his coming. (or ACCURSED WHEN THE LORD COMETH).
Our God is love, and all his saints
His image bear below;
The heart with love to God inspired,
With love to man will glow.
Oh, may we love each other, Lord,
As we are loved of thee:
For none are truly born of God,
Who live in enmity.
QUESTION - What is the definition of anathema?
ANSWER - Anathema, as used in the New Testament, comes from the Greek ana’thema, meaning “a person or thing accursed or consigned to damnation or destruction.” Used only six times in the Bible, the word anathema is usually translated as “accursed,” “cursed,” or “eternally condemned” in the more modern translations. Young’s Literal Translation, the American Standard Version, and the King James Version transliterate it as “anathema.”
The NIV translates Romans 9:3 as “For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, those of my own race.” Here, the meaning conveyed has to do more with one being consigned to eternal condemnation. It carries with it the idea of complete separation from Christ and His salvation.
Another example of the use of the word anathema is Galatians 1:8–9. The American Standard Version (1901) renders this passage as “But though we, or an angel from heaven, should preach unto you any gospel other than that which we preached unto you, let him be anathema. As we have said before, so say I now again, if any man preacheth unto you any gospel other than that which ye received, let him be anathema.” In the NIV, the words “eternally condemned” replace “anathema.”
Another use of the word anathema has to do with placing an oath or a vow upon oneself. For example, in Acts 23:12 we read of certain Jews who had “banded together, and bound themselves under a curse, saying that they would neither eat nor drink till they had killed Paul” (ASV). These Jews had determined that Paul was to be killed and believed it was their duty to put him away. As such, they “anathematized” themselves or, as the NIV renders it, “bound themselves with an oath” to fast until they had done the deed.
Anathema is also used in conjunction with the word maranatha, found only in 1 Corinthians 16:22: “If anyone does not love the Lord, he is to be accursed. Maranatha” (1 Corinthians 16:22, NASB, 1995 Update). Maranatha expresses the hope of Christ’s second coming. Other modern versions translate this passage as “If anyone does not love the Lord—a curse be on him. Come, O Lord!” 1 Corinthians 16:22, NIV). The word anathema is related to the Old Testament Hebrew word haram or herem, which was often used in referencing the total annihilation of idolatrous people or nations (Numbers 21:2–3; Joshua 6:17). Haram sometimes pertained to a person or object forever devoted to God (Leviticus 27:21).
Generally speaking, most Bible scholars agree that the word anathema is best understood to mean that which is to be accursed, condemned, or destroyed. When the Lord says something is “anathema,” it is a serious matter. GotQuestions.org
1 Corinthians 16:22 If any man loveth not the Lord, let him be anathema. (R.V.)
This sentence reminds us of the saintly Samuel Rutherford, of whose Letters the holy Richard Baxter said: “Hold off the Bible, such a book the world never saw.” And the late revered and beloved C. H. Spurgeon said of them: “When we are dead and gone, let the world know that Spurgeon held Rutherford’s Letters to be the nearest thing to inspiration which can be found in all the writings of mere men.”
Take this extract, because it indicates how you may come to love the Lord Jesus as he did:—
“Strive to make prayer, and reading, and holy company, and holy conference, your delight; and when delight cometh in, you shall, by little and little, find the sweetness of Christ, till at length your soul be over head and ears in Christ’s sweetness. Then shall you be taken up to the top of the mountain with the Lord, to know the delights of spiritual love, and the glory and excellency of a seen, revealed, felt, and embraced Christ; and then you shall not be able to loose yourself off from Christ, and to bind your soul to old lovers; then, and never till then, are all the paces, motions, and wheels of your soul in a right tune and in a spiritual temper.
“But if this world and the lusts thereof be your delight, I know not what Christ can make of you; you cannot be metal for a vessel of glory and mercy. My desire is that my Lord would give me broader and deeper thoughts to feed myself with wondering at his love. I would I could weigh it, but I have no balance for it. When I have worn my tongue to the stump in praising Christ, I have done nothing to Him. What remaineth then, but that my debt to the love of Christ lie unpaid for all eternity!”
John Piper - WILL WE LOVE CHRIST AT THE END OF THE YEAR? Meditation on 1 Corinthians 16:22
Will we love Christ at the end of the year? It is an absolutely crucial question because Paul says, in 1 Corinthians 16:22, “If anyone does not love the Lord, he is to be accursed.” If we do not love Christ we will be cursed and not saved. The same urgency of love is expressed in Matthew 24:12–13. “Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved.” Some kinds of love can grow cold and die. That is not a love that “endures to the end” and is “saved.” So again we must love Christ in order to be saved. It is serious and essential. It is not a matter of options or icing on the cake of Christianity. Eternity is at stake. But how do you know you will love Christ to the end of this year, let alone to the end of your life? What is your hope and plan to sustain love to Christ?
I found help with this in a 350-year-old book by Thomas Shepard, the founder of Harvard University and pastor in Cambridge, Massachusetts, who had been exiled from England as a Puritan. The Parable of the Ten Virgins (Morgan, Pa.: Soli Deo Gloria Publications, 1997) is 635 pages of rich biblical meditations on the difference between two kinds of Christians—the real and the false: the virgins with oil, who go in to the Bridegroom, and the virgins without oil, who are shut out of the marriage feast of eternity.
One section is titled “True Saving Grace in the Hearts of Believers Can Never Fail.” The great thing about this book and this section is that it is so permeated with Scripture. Reading a book like this is like reading the Bible through the eyes of a great saint who has learned to fight unbelief with the weapon of the Bible and win a thousand battles.
Here is a glimpse into how he answers our question. He addresses one fear after another that might take away our confidence in the perseverance of our love for Christ. Do you fear Satan? he asks. Then consider Matthew 16:18 (“I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it” [emphasis added]). He shall not prevail against thee, but thou shalt give the last blow and wound (357).
Do you fear the world, the deceits of it? He counsels, consider Matthew 24:24 (“For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect” [emphasis added]). It is not possible, take heart. Do you fear the evil or the good things of the world? Then consider John 17:15 (“I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one”). Jesus has prayed for you that the Father will guard you from the evil in the world. How much more the dangerous good!
Do you fear that your sin will separate you from God? Consider Romans 6:2 (“How shall we who died to sin still live in it?”). “It is a strong, but a wounded, but a dying enemy” (358). Do you fear the Lord, that you have walked unworthily of him? Consider Matthew 12:20 (“A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench, till he send forth judgment unto victory” [KJV]). “Oh, therefore, be comforted against this in these times, which are declining evil days, and bless the Lord” (358).
This is very serious business. “If anyone does not love the Lord, he is to be accursed.” Do you love the Lord? Not just believe things about him. But love him. Does your family love the Lord? Do your Christian friends love Christ? And just as crucial is the question: Will you keep on loving him? What Thomas Shepard teaches us is that knowing the Word of God is essential to fighting the fight to stay in love with Jesus. I beg of you all: Don’t assume that love for Christ is self-perpetuating. It isn’t. It must be nurtured by the Word again and again. Its enemies are countless in this world. But “he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4, RSV). And the Word of God is greater than all the love-killing promises of sin. Let us read it often, study it deeply, memorize it wisely, and wield it decisively against every foe of love to Christ. Stir yourself up to this with warnings like 1 Corinthians 16:22, and with promises like 1 Corinthians 2:9, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man conceived … God has prepared for those who love him” (RSV). Love him. Love him.
- Ro 16:20,24
- 1 Corinthians 16 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries
A benediction is a blessing, usually at the end of a church service, but here at the end of the letter.
The grace (charis) of the Lord (kurios) Jesus be with you - This is a benediction this church really needed not just to hear but to live out! Paul used grace like a "divine bookends," for in his introduction he wrote (1 Cor 1:3+) " Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ." And this chapter began with discussion of their grace gift to the church at Jerusalem (1 Cor 16:3+). Note that the source of grace is the Lord Jesus as Paul explained to Timothy "You therefore, my son, be strong (endunamoo in the present imperative; divine passive) in the grace that is in Christ Jesus." (2 Ti 2:1+). This grace is dispensed (so to speak) by the Spirit of grace (Heb 10:29+). Peter ends his second epistle with a command that would be apropos for the Corinthians to "grow (present imperative) in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen. (2 Peter 3:18+) Notice grace "trumps" knowledge. You may know a lot of theology, but if you are deficient in grace, you have missed the primary impetus of the Gospel of the grace of God (Acts 20:24+)!
Robertson and Plummer - The Apostle will not end with a word of warning or severity, but adds the usual benediction. Like a true teacher, as Chrysostom says, he helps not only with counsels, but with prayers. (Critical and Exegetical Commentary)
Vine - as “grace” is part of the greeting in all Paul’s epistles, so “grace” occurs in the final benediction in each. That the Lord Jesus should be presented as the source of grace (free, unmerited favor), either alone, as here, or in association with God the Father, as in 2 Thessalonians 1:12, is a significant testimony to His Deity. (Collected Writings)
Jon Courson - I Corinthians 16:23–24
There could have been those in Corinth who said, ‘If you care so much about us, Paul, why did you point out our carnality and rebuke us for our immorality? Why were you so rough on us?’
Yet, under the inspiration of the Spirit, Paul simply says, ‘I do love you.’
Because open rebuke is better than secret love (Proverbs 27:5), the rebukes and exhortations which come our way should be embraced as friends. It’s much more comfortable for me to ignore a prickly situation or issue. But that’s not love. Love says, ‘I care more about your excelling and your succeeding than about what you think of me. If you think I’m not a nice guy, that’s OK if what I’m saying will provoke you to love and to good works, to think through what you’re doing and perhaps repent from the direction you’re heading.’ Faithful are the wounds of a friend (Proverbs 27:6). But make sure your correction is done in love...
As the disciples sat at the Last Supper, under the table were 24 dirty, stinky feet. To remedy the situation, Jesus didn’t give a lecture on foot washing. No, He girded Himself with a towel and washed feet Himself (John 13:4–5).
I have the right and responsibility to give admonition, exhortation, and correction; to openly rebuke and wound if necessary only if I am willing to wash the feet of the people with whom I deal. If I’m not willing to walk with them through their difficulty, stand by them in their trouble, kneel with them in prayer, it would be wiser for me to keep silent.
Paul was one who had the right to correct, admonish, and rebuke the Corinthian Christians because he worked with his hands to support himself, put up with their insults and risked his life to be with them. Thus, it was truly from his heart that Paul said to the church at Corinth, ‘My love be with you all in Christ Jesus.’
- love: 1Co 16:14 4:14,15 2Co 11:11 12:15 Php 1:8 Rev 3:19
- Amen: 1Co 14:16 Mt 6:13 28:20
- 1 Corinthians 16 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries
LOVE FOR THE SAINTS
Robertson and Plummer - To make his farewell words still more tender, he adds to the Apostolic Benediction a message of personal affection. He sends his love in the form of a blessing, to help them to correct what he has blamed, and to prove to them that, as regards his attitude towards them....It embraces all of them, even the most faulty. (Critical and Exegetical Commentary)
This tender ending is a beautiful example of the words he had penned in 1 Cor 13:8+ that "Love never fails!"
My love (agape) be with you all in Christ Jesus. Amen - This statement by Paul is unique and not recorded at the end of any of his other epistles. It is as if Paul wanted the saints at Corinth to fully comprehend his deep (agape) love for them, love that would not allow him to overlook their manifold spiritual problems, but one which spoke truth to correct, thus speaking the truth with love. Truth without love can be harsh. Love without truth is a lie. Once again Paul reminds us that he imitated Christ Jesus (1 Cor 11:1+) Who Himself declared "Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous (present imperative see our need to depend on the Holy Spirit to obey) and repent (aorist imperative see our need to depend on the Holy Spirit to obey). (Rev 3:19+) Note also Paul used the adjective ALL, so that there were no exceptions regarding those who he intended to be recipients of his supernatural love. Given their many sins, individually and corporately, as a church, Paul's ALL is a manifestation of a man filled with God's amazing grace, indeed filled with the Spirit of grace! However notice the important qualifying preposition IN (locative of sphere), which refers only to those IN covenant with Christ Jesus by grace through faith.
Vine - It would help them to take to heart his warnings and teachings concerning their evildoings and to amend their ways. His Christlike love embraced them all, even the most flagrant delinquents; and being “in Christ Jesus,” the risen and exalted Savior, the love would not be that of mere human emotion. (Collected Writings)
Amen (281) amen [OT = Amen (0543) amen] is a transliteration from the Hebrew word amen which in turn is from the Hebrew verb aman = to be firm, to believe, this word conveying the idea of certainty) Amen is transliterated into Latin and English and many other languages, so that it is practically a universal word. In fact amen has been called the best-known word in human speech. To say “Amen” confirms a statement by someone else. Renn notes that Amen "indicates the solemn affirmation of the divine will and purpose in about one-third of the nearly 150 occurrences of the term. The remaining uses of the term yield the adverbial meaning "truly." (Expository Dictionary of Bible Words)