In the business end of the letter, Paul explains his travel plans and gives his final admonitions. We’ll also reflect on two important themes we learned from the letter as a whole.
16:1Now concerning the collection for the saints: as I directed the churches of Galatia, so you also are to do. 2On 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. 3And when I arrive, I will send those whom you accredit by letter to carry your gift to Jerusalem. 4If it seems advisable that I should go also, they will accompany me. -1Corinthians 16:1-4
- Paul mentions taking a collection for the poor of Jerusalem in several of his letters.
- This gift may be related to the prophecy of the famine in Acts 11:27-30 and/or the charge to remember the poor (Galatians 2:10).
16:5I will visit you after passing through Macedonia, for I intend to pass through Macedonia, 6and perhaps I will stay with you or even spend the winter, so that you may help me on my journey, wherever I go. 7For I do not want to see you now just in passing. I hope to spend some time with you, if the Lord permits. 8But I will stay in Ephesus until Pentecost, 9for a wide door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many adversaries. -1Corinthians 16:5-9
- Paul describes his time in Ephesus as so difficult he expected to be killed (2Corinthians 1:8-9).
- We have one example of the difficulties he faced in Ephesus in Acts 19.
- To get to Corinth from Ephesus, Paul can take the faster sea route or go up to Troas and cross into Macedonia and come down to Corinth.
- Paul tells them he plans to take the longer land route, but his plans did not work out.
16:10When Timothy comes, see that you put him at ease among you, for he is doing the work of the Lord, as I am. 11So let no one despise him. Help him on his way in peace, that he may return to me, for I am expecting him with the brothers. 12Now concerning our brother Apollos, I strongly urged him to visit you with the other brothers, but it was not at all his will to come now. He will come when he has opportunity. -1Corinthians 16:10-12
- Paul is concerned that some members of the Corinthian church are not going to treat Timothy well because of their hostility to Paul.
- The news Timothy brought back caused Paul to jump on a ship to Corinth and rebuke them in what is called the sorrowful visit. We don’t know what the problem was.
- Apollos was part of the divisions and factions discussed in 1Corinthians 1-4.
- While there appears to be no problems between Paul and Apollos, Apollos is reluctant to return to Ephesus, probably for fear of causing more strife.
16:13Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. 14Let all that you do be done in love. 15Now I urge you, brothers—you know that the household of Stephanas were the first converts in Achaia, and that they have devoted themselves to the service of the saints— 16be subject to such as these, and to every fellow worker and laborer. 17I rejoice at the coming of Stephanas and Fortunatus and Achaicus, because they have made up for your absence, 18for they refreshed my spirit as well as yours. Give recognition to such people. 19The churches of Asia send you greetings. Aquila and Prisca, together with the church in their house, send you hearty greetings in the Lord. 20All the brothers send you greetings. Greet one another with a holy kiss. 21I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand. 22If anyone has no love for the Lord, let him be accursed. Our Lord, come! 23The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you. 24My love be with you all in Christ Jesus. Amen. -1Corinthians 16:13-24
- We can be metaphorically asleep or metaphorically drunk forgetting what’s really important because we’re too focused on ourselves and the cares of today.
- Paul’s admonition against that is be on the alert. Stay sharp and focused on what you know to be true.
- “Act like men” has the idea of act like adults as opposed to child-like. Be wise, mature and grounded.
- Presumably Stephanus is one of the faithful followers of Jesus and Paul recommends they follow his advice as they sort out their difficulties.
- Paul dictated this letter and then signed in his own hand at the end.
- 16:22 “If anyone does not love the Lord, he is to be accursed” – The word for accursed is anathema or forbidden. The idea is to stay away from those who would lead you astray.
- Underlying all the issues and topics in this letter is this basic problem of worldliness – a worldview that pushes God out of the picture, elevates myself over my neighbors and focuses on the here and now.
- 1Corinthians is the textbook case for understanding the larger flow of thought, the historical background and specific occasion of the letter.
For more detail and explanation, please listen to the podcast.