A Collection to Aid Jewish Christians, 1-4
16:1 With regard to the collection for the saints, please follow the directions that I gave to the churches of Galatia: 16:2 On the first day of the week, each of you should set aside some income and save it to the extent that God has blessed you, so that a collection will not have to be made when I come. 16:3 Then, when I arrive, I will send those whom you approve with letters of explanation to carry your gift to Jerusalem. 16:4 And if it seems advisable that I should go also, they will go with me.
Noting that there were no chapter divisions in the original, some preachers make much of the abrupt transition from the discussion of the resurrection in chapter 15 to this reference to money. That shows, it is said, just how practical and this-worldly Paul’s theology was. It is an important point, of course, and one which is supported by the last verse of chapter 15 with its practical appeal. However, since it is generally thought that Paul was, in this letter, dealing with a number of questions and concerns that had been raised by the Corinthian Christians, it is reasonable to suppose that he was, at this point, simply moving on to the next question. The introductory ‘now about’ confirms this, since phrase ushers in new topics since 1 Cor 7:1, 25; 8:1; 12:1; 16:12.
The collection for God’s people – v3 clarifies that these were the believers in Jerusalem, for whom a special gift was being collected.
On the first day of every week –
A sum of money in keeping with his income – our giving should be proportionate.
Paul’s Plans to Visit, 5-12
16:5 But I will come to you after I have gone through Macedonia—for I will be going through Macedonia—16:6 and perhaps I will stay with you, or even spend the winter, so that you can send me on my journey, wherever I go. 16:7 For I do not want to see you now in passing, since I hope to spend some time with you, if the Lord allows. 16:8 But I will stay in Ephesus until Pentecost, 16:9 because a door of great opportunity stands wide open for me, but there are many opponents.
16:10 Now if Timothy comes, see that he has nothing to fear among you, for he is doing the Lord’s work, as I am too. 16:11 So then, let no one treat him with contempt. But send him on his way in peace so that he may come to me. For I am expecting him with the brothers.
16:12 With regard to our brother Apollos: I strongly encouraged him to visit you with the other brothers, but it was simply not his intention to come now. He will come when he has the opportunity.
Final Challenge and Blessing, 13-24
16:13 Stay alert, stand firm in the faith, show courage, be strong. 16:14 Everything you do should be done in love.
Show courage – Denny Burk notes that ‘the underlying Greek verb (andrizesthei) is rendered variously as “act like men” (ESV, NASB; cf. CSB, KJV) or “be courageous” (NIV, NRSV, NLT).’ But can the expression be a call to ‘man up’ (as the first group of translations imply)? Or would this be problematic, not only because of modern sensibilities, but because the words are addressed to women as well as to men? Burk suggests that although Paul is indeed addressing both women and men, in doing so he is invoking a stereotypical male quality in a way that would not be well received in our own (Western) culture. Kevin DeYoung is quoted: ‘Of course, this is a command to the whole church—men and women—but it is telling that Paul associates strength and courage with masculinity, a perspective embraced throughout Scripture.’
16:15 Now, brothers and sisters, you know about the household of Stephanus, that as the first converts of Achaia, they devoted themselves to ministry for the saints. I urge you 16:16 also to submit to people like this, and to everyone who cooperates in the work and labors hard. 16:17 I was glad about the arrival of Stephanus, Fortunatus, and Achaicus because they have supplied the fellowship with you that I lacked. 16:18 For they refreshed my spirit and yours. So then, recognize people like this.
16:19 The churches in the province of Asia send greetings to you. Aquila and Prisca greet you warmly in the Lord, with the church that meets in their house. 16:20 All the brothers and sisters send greetings. Greet one another with a holy kiss.
16:21 I, Paul, send this greeting with my own hand.
16:22 Let anyone who has no love for the Lord be accursed. Our Lord, come!
16:23 The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you.
16:24 My love be with all of you in Christ Jesus.
Greet one another with a holy kiss – ‘There is no indication here that Paul thinks of it as anything more than a sign of greeting among people who love one another. In the context of the community’s divisions at Corinth, however, the holy kiss would necessarily serve as a powerful sign of reconciliation among people who had previously been estranged. It is easy to interpret this brief imperative (“Greet one another with a holy kiss”) as a perfunctory gesture, until we try to visualize the Corinthians actually putting it into practice in a community where conflict has prevailed. Within our divided denominations can we envision the members of opposed factions and caucuses coming together and embracing in a holy kiss? As usual, Paul’s call to love is simple, radical, and embodied.’ (Hays)
In our own culture, obviously, something other than a kiss would probably be more appropriate in most settings. But the underlying significance remains the same.
A curse be on him – ‘The widely held view that in 1 Cor 16:22 the reference is to a ban excluding the unworthy from participating in the Lord’s Supper has rightly been rejected by Fee in favor of its being Paul’s final warning to his Corinthian opponents who might be tempted to disobey the injunctions he has just written them.’ (DPL)
Come, O Lord! – Lit. ‘Maranatha’, which is a transliteration of an Aramaic phrase. This ‘can be satisfactorily explained only on the assumption that is an ancient watchword which takes us back to the earliest days of the Church in Palestine where Aramaic was the spoken language, for we can hardly imagine why Paul would trouble to include a foreign Aramaic term in a letter written to those who spoke and understood Greek; perhaps, in fact, had become accepted as a liturgical term from the earliest days of the Church. The evidence of this ancient Christian invocation to Christ throws a flood of light on the way in which the Jewish Christians worshiped their Lord. Not only is the oldest recorded Christian prayer, but it also indicates that those who had previously invoked the name of their covenant God as “Lord” in the synagogue liturgy now came to apply the same divine title to Jesus the Messiah.’ (ISBE)
‘In 1 Corinthians the mention of maranatha in its context is directly related to the particular occasion and purpose of this letter. Being misled by the intruding errorists (see Opponents) into believing a realized eschatology, some of the Corinthians thought that they were already in the new age and that there was no need for a future bodily resurrection. This belief led them to many unacceptable styles of behavior, and Paul is seen making continual emphasis on a futuristic eschatology throughout the letter. (e.g., 1 Cor 1:7-8 3:13 4:5 5:5 6:14 11:26 13:12 15:50-54 ) Then when he comes to the end of the letter, the pronouncement of a curse, “anathema” (see Curse) on those who do not love the Lord (possibly Paul’s opponents) and the exclamation “maranatha!” a prayer for Christ’s coming, together serve to reinforce the key messages of the letter. In brief, Paul’s use of this liturgical acclamation at the end of his letter accomplishes three possible functions. First, it may express his sincere wish-prayer that the Lord may soon come. After writing a lengthy letter filled with confrontation, correction and instruction, Paul certainly wishes that the Lord will soon come to vindicate what he had said and done as an apostle. (cf. 1 Cor 4:3-5 ) Secondly, it may be used to correct the Corinthians’ misconception concerning their status in Christ. The Lord will come again to usher them into the new kingdom with their resurrected or transformed bodies. They are not yet in the new age here and now (1 Cor 15:50-53 6:14; cf. 1 Cor 4:8). And finally, it may function to exhort them to live worthily before the Lord. Since they will face his judgment at his coming, (1 Cor 3:11-15 ) a petition for the Lord’s coming reminds them to behave constantly in a proper manner, notably in their personal lives but also in their corporate worship. Thus in 1 Corinthians, maranatha is placed in its context for specific purposes and to suit the particular needs of the Corinthian congregation.’ (DPL)