1 Corinthians 16 – 2020-01-06
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1 CORINTHIANS 16 – COMMENTARY
“With the grand conclusion of chapter 15, Paul has finished responding to the various contested issues at Corinth. The final chapter deals with some practical loose ends, gives the Corinthians information about Paul’s travel plans, and closes, like all Paul’s letters, with a few admonitions and greetings. […] At the same time, chapter 16 gives us a glimpse of Paul’s larger missionary work. One of the most important functions of this closing chapter is to remind the Corinthians that their church belongs to a wider network of communities (note the references to Galatia, Jerusalem, Macedonia, Ephesus, and the ‘the churches of Asia’) and that their life in Christ necessarily involves them in a mission that links them with the wider world. The ‘work of the Lord’ (v.10) is an urgent matter, and the church at Corinth must learn to see themselves as participants in the larger missionary enterprise.”
- 1-4 “From the information in Paul’s other letters, we know that the collection was for ‘the poor among the saints in Jerusalem’ (Romans 15:26) […] He interpreted this financial offering as a way for the Gentile churches to be of service for the spiritual blessings that had come to them through the witness of the Jerusalem community (Romans 15:27)…”
vv.5-7 “Paul’s desire in verses 5-7 reflect his concern to spend ‘quantity’ and not just ‘quality’ time with his spiritual children. As he consistently did in his ministry, he wants to revisit this church he has founded, so that he can minister by way of follow-up, training them in discipleship. Paul was never merely content to evangelize, make converts, and move on, even when it meant risking his life to return to the cities in which he previously ministered.”
v.5 “[Paul’s] goal of coming to Corinth after revisiting Macedonia (v.5) did eventually materialize (Acts 20:1-6), but not as quickly as he had first hoped.”
v.9 “Paul’s interpretation of opposition as a sign that he is on the right track may seem strange to the modern reader who is concerned with not causing any distress, with not making any waves. Jesus clearly warns that those who pursue righteousness for his sake will experience opposition and affliction, even though they are simultaneously promised blessedness and a share in God’s reign (Matthew 5:10).”
v.10 “Paul is plainly worried about the reception that Timothy will find among the Corinthians, for he advises them to provide an atmosphere in which Timothy can work ‘without fear’ and pointedly warns them not to ‘despise’ him. […] Timothy has been sent as Paul’s surrogate into a situation where influential factions in the community have become disenchanted with Paul.”
v.12 “The Corinthians may also be disappointed that it is Timothy rather than Apollos who is coming to visit them[…]. The political crosscurrents here are treacherous, for some members of the community seem to be acclaiming Apollos as a leader in opposition to Paul (1:12)[…] Paul ‘strongly urged’ Apollos to go to Corinth, since Apollos might be able to defuse some of the internal conflict in the church.”
v.13 “As the letter concludes, we are reminded again that Paul’s gospel interprets the world comprehensively within an apocalyptic narrative that moves from the cross (1:18-2:16) to the coming of the Lord and the resurrection of the dead (15:1-58). We should ask ourselves first whether we too return again and again to this story to interpret our vocation; if not, why not? Second, we should ask how the particular forms of our obedience might be affected by living with the lively expectation of the coming of the Lord.”
vv.19-20 “In verses 19-20, Paul continues ‘networking,’ passing along greetings from ‘the churches in Asia,’ and especially from his missionary associates Aquila and Prisca, who had formerly resided in Corinth at the time of Paul’s first arrival there (Acts 18:2-3). These words of greeting remind the Corinthians again that they are not an autonomous club for the promotion of knowledge and spirituality, but that they belong to a larger fellowship of communities under the authority of Jesus Christ. More precisely, they belong to a new family in Christ; by addressing them as ‘brothers and sisters’ throughout his letter, he seeks to reinforce this sense of familial intimacy, and he now urges them to symbolize this deep relatedness through the practice of the ‘holy kiss’ (v.20; cf. Rom 16:16; 2 Cor. 13:12; 1 Thess. 5:26; 1 Peter 5:14).”
vv.22-24 “In the final three verses of the letter, Paul himself takes up the pen to sign his name and add a postscript. Paul characteristically dictated his letter to a scribe (see Rom. 16:22), but he sometimes authenticated and personalized the letter by adding a few words at the end in his own hand.”
v.22 “[T]hese sentences will strike many present-day readers as needlessly abrasive. Why, at the conclusion of a letter appealing for love in the community, does Paul feel the need to pronounce a curse on those who do not share his passion for the Lord Jesus? The question is an important one, because it reminds us of the substantial attention that Paul gives in this letter to the call for community discipline. The Christian community as a community of love is not infinitely inclusive: those who reject Jesus are not and cannot be a part of it. […] Similarly, those who ‘do not love the Lord’ (16:22a) are those who willfully reject the proclamation of Christ’s lordship and place themselves outside the community of faith. It should also be noted, however, that in 1 Corinthians love for the Lord is closely tied to love for all the members of the body of Christ. Those who love the Lord will necessarily seek to build up the community. Those who destroy the community are, virtually be definition, not loving the Lord. Thus, the curse of 16:22 is a thinly veiled threat against those Corinthians who have turned spirituality into a competitive sport, a way of aggrandizing themselves rather than adoring their Lord and maker.”
“The second sentence (‘Come, O Lord’) is actually a fervent prayer, written in Aramaic rather than Greek: Marana tha (‘Our Lord, come’). The prayer addresses the risen Lord and implores him to return—thus bringing about the consummation that Paul sketched in 15:20-28: the resurrection of the dead, the subjugation of all hostile powers, and the final triumph of God.”
v.23 “[…]1 Corinthians opened with thanks for ‘the grace of God that has been given you in Christ Jesus’ (1:4); here the letter seems to have come full circle to the end with a wish for that grace to be continually bestowed on the community. God’s grace seemingly has encompassed everything—a fitting conclusion for Paul’s message.”
v.24 “Yet there is more[…] In the midst of a stormy and still unresolved relationship with the Corinthian community, in the midst of stern rebukes and incredulous protests against their behavior, Paul nonetheless reaches out to them with this final word. He affirms not only that God still loves them through the grace of the Lord Jesus (v.23), but that he, Paul, does too. The grace and love of God has created between Paul and these aggravating Gentiles an unlikely but unbreakable bond of love in Christ Jesus. In that love, which reaches out to overcome conflict, lies a sign of hope for the ultimate healing of their divisions.”
 Richard B. Hays, “1 Corinthians,” Interpretation (Louisville, KY: John Knox Press, 1997) 283.
 Richard B. Hays, “1 Corinthians,” Interpretation (Louisville, KY: John Knox Press, 1997) 284.
 Craig L. Blomberg, 1 Corinthians, NIV Life Application Commentary Series (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1995) 333.
 Craig L. Blomberg, 1 Corinthians, NIV Life Application Commentary Series (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1995) 331.
 Paul J. Sampley, “The First Letter to the Corinthians,” The New Interpreter’s Bible, Vol. X (Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 2002) 997.
 Richard B. Hays, “1 Corinthians,” Interpretation (Louisville, KY: John Knox Press, 1997) 286-87.
 Richard B. Hays, “1 Corinthians,” Interpretation (Louisville, KY: John Knox Press, 1997) 287.
 Richard B. Hays, “1 Corinthians,” Interpretation (Louisville, KY: John Knox Press, 1997) 295.
 Richard B. Hays, “1 Corinthians,” Interpretation (Louisville, KY: John Knox Press, 1997) 290-291.
 Richard B. Hays, “1 Corinthians,” Interpretation (Louisville, KY: John Knox Press, 1997) 291.
 Richard B. Hays, “1 Corinthians,” Interpretation (Louisville, KY: John Knox Press, 1997) 291-292.
 Richard B. Hays, “1 Corinthians,” Interpretation (Louisville, KY: John Knox Press, 1997) 292.
 Richard B. Hays, “1 Corinthians,” Interpretation (Louisville, KY: John Knox Press, 1997) 293.
 Richard B. Hays, “1 Corinthians,” Interpretation (Louisville, KY: John Knox Press, 1997) 293.
BIBLE TEXT: 1 Corinthians 16:1-9 (ESV)
1 Now concerning the collection for the saints: as I directed the churches of Galatia, so you also are to do. 2 On the first day of every week, each of you is to put something aside and store it up, as he may prosper, so that there will be no collecting when I come. 3 And when I arrive, I will send those whom you accredit by letter to carry your gift to Jerusalem. 4 If it seems advisable that I should go also, they will accompany me.
5 I will visit you after passing through Macedonia, for I intend to pass through Macedonia, 6 and perhaps I will stay with you or even spend the winter, so that you may help me on my journey, wherever I go. 7 For I do not want to see you now just in passing. I hope to spend some time with you, if the Lord permits. 8 But I will stay in Ephesus until Pentecost, 9 for a wide door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.
God [What truths about God’s person, activity or character does the text reveal?]
Apply and obey [How does today’s text apply to me? How will I obey or respond to the truths from today’s text?]