The Agora
Bible Commentary
1 Corinthians

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1 Corinthians 16

1Co 16:1

Here, Paul exercises his apostolic authority, in response to their own question, by giving a command. But, in 2Co 8:8, he speaks: "not by commandment..." but rather in mild entreaty. Between the 1st letter and the 2nd, Paul's apostolic authority has been seriously questioned.

"Speak to us, Lord, till, shamed by Thy great giving,
Our hands unclasp to set our treasures free;
Our wills, our love, our dear ones, our possessions
All gladly yielded, gracious Lord, to Thee."

Vv 1-4: The collection. Each course of priests in Temple brought a contribution on Sabbath when they began a new week's service (Temple 188).

The giving of money to those in need is part of the service that the brethren and sisters could do for others. In Jerusalem there were many brethren and sisters who were destitute because of their faith in Jesus. Jewish brethren, who accepted Jesus, were "put out of the synagogue". The implication of this is that they were ostracized by their Jewish brethren, and thus would not be able to work in a Jewish environment. They would lose all their friends as well. With no social security they were truly destitute.

1Co 16:2

The rule of the collection: (1) Regularly ("on the first day of every week"), (2) Individually ("each one of you"), and (3) Proportionately ("in keeping with his income").

FIRST DAY: Day of Christ's resurrection AND day of collection.

This is one of the few places where scripture actually gives us an instruction to do something regularly on the first day of the week. There is no specific instruction about breaking bread weekly. But there were plainly practical reasons for the use of the first day for a regularly-scheduled breaking of bread: (1) Slaves of the Romans had the first day of the week off. (2) The synagogues were vacant on the first day, for the Jews met on the sabbath. (3) Christ rose on the first day, and the early Christians were preaching the resurrection.

1Co 16:7

IF THE LORD PERMITS: Cp 1Co 4:19; Jam 4:15; Act 18:21.

1Co 16:9

Open doors: for restored communion (2Ch 29:3); deliverance from prison (Act 5:19); surrender and welcome (Rev 3:20); answered prayer (Mat 7:7); and opportunity for service (1Co 16:9; Rev 3:8).

Shut doors: for safety (Gen 7:16; Isa 26:20); privacy and communion (Mat 6:6); faith and prayer (2Ki 4:5,21,33); and separation and rejection (Mat 25:10).

1Co 16:10

SEE TO IT THAT HE HAS NOTHING TO FEAR: It seems to be a problem wherever Timothy goes, that he is despised, or discounted, because of his youth (1Ti 4:12; 2Ti 1:7). There were serious problems at Corinth, doubtlessly Timothy would have had hard things to say to them. Paul, it seems, was conscious of the possibility that the brethren might well have been hostile towards Timothy because of his message. His comment here would let it be known to the Corinthians that he was aware of that possibility. Such knowledge may well have tempered their response to Timothy.

1Co 16:12

Poss Apollos was staying away so as not to undermine Paul's message (1Co 1:12).

1Co 16:13

Cp 1Sa 4:9, where the Philistines are encouraged not to become servants to Hebrews.

1Co 16:15

THEY HAVE DEVOTED THEMSELVES TO THE SERVICE OF THE SAINTS: "If someone were to call us an addict, no doubt our first reaction would be to feel insulted. This need not be the case for the word addict means to devote, to give oneself up habitually. It is certainly in this sense that Paul tells us that 'the house of Stephanas had addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints.'

"Unfortunately the word today is used mostly to describe those who are slaves to a bad habit such as tobacco, liquor or drugs. These people certainly are devoted to serving these vices and so the word aptly describes their slavery. We are all a slave to something, as Paul tells us, either to Christ or to sin. What are you addicted to? How wonderful to be addicted to ministering to the saints of God. This is the kind of addiction we need" (MM).

1Co 16:17

Notice the effect that a pastoral visit had on Paul. We tend to think of spiritual giants as being self sufficient. This should show us that they are not. Even to a very strong (and apparently self-sufficient) brother or sister, he fellowship of a likeminded brother or sister can be invaluable.

1Co 16:22

A CURSE BE ON HIM. COME, O LORD: In KJV, "Anathema Maranatha" = "A curse (or let him be cursed) at the Lord's coming!" (But "Come, O Lord" should perhaps -- as in NIV -- be a new sentence.)
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