Instruction about Collection for the Saints: 16:1-4.
(Read 1 Cor 16:1-4)
In this last concluding chapter, Paul reminds Corinthians about the contribution for the Jerusalem church. They inquired how they could participate in the collection for the saints in Jerusalem. Paul instructs that they should follow the same procedure he gave to the churches in Galatia. When believers gather for corporate worship on the Lord’s Day, they should give generously (1 Cor 16: 1-3). It is not an optional matter but the Christian’s obligation. Our motivation for worship and generosity is the life and death of Jesus Christ (2 Cor 8:9). He has blessed us generously with all spiritual blessings (Ephesians 1:3). Our giving is a fragrant and acceptable sacrifice pleasing to God (Phil 4:18). We give because we love Christ (John 12:1-8). Only those who know Christ and appreciate his great work on Calvary give generously. On the first day of the week each believer should give certain amount proportional to their income. Their giving is to be systematic. Paul wanted that this collection be taken before his arrival in Corinth. Paul did not want to apply any pressure on them when he comes. Since Paul was not sure when he would visit Corinth, he reminds them that they should be prepared with the collection at any time. Also Paul suggests that they should appoint stewards to carry their gift to Jerusalem. Paul suggests that he will write a letter of recommendation for the stewards. Paul was also willing to accompany the stewards to Jerusalem. Because of Christ’s great generosity toward us, Christians should show generosity toward those who are in need.
Paul’s Personal Plan: 16:5-12.
(Read 1 Cor 16:5-12)
Paul planned to visit Corinth after visiting Macedonia and spend the winter with them. But he was waiting for God’s timing (1 Cor 16:7). In the meantime Paul decided to stay in Ephesus until Pentecost because a wide door for effective ministry has opened to him. There are many adversaries also (1 Cor 16:9). God’s servant should avail all the opportunities to serve God. Paul spent three years in the ministry at Ephesus. Though the Corinthian church had many flaws, Paul loved them dearly. It is important that the servants of God must graciously endure many challenges for the sake of the spiritual growth of fellow believers. Paul models Christ-like patience and commitment to serve others. At this time Timothy was traveling to Corinth. Paul afraid that Timothy may be intimidated, being young, timid and physically weak (1 Tim 4:12; 5:21-23; 2 Tim 1:7). Paul requests that they should treat Timothy with respect and do not despise him because he is doing the work of the Lord. He asks them to send him on his way with their blessing when he returns to Paul (1 Cor 16:11). Paul is expecting Timothy along with other brothers. Paul urged Apollos to visit Corinth with other brothers to encourage them. At that time he was not able go. Paul is confident that Apollos will visit Corinth when it is convenient. Our ability to serve God is fueled Christ’s love for us.
Final Greetings: 16:13-20.
(Read 1 Cor 16:13-20)
Paul gives practical advice to the Corinthian church. Be on guard, stand firm in the faith, be courageous and do all things with love (1 Cor 16:13). The believers must be alert because Satan is out there to destroy them. Also the Lord’s return is at hand. They should stand true to what they believe. Faith, conviction, courage and love are essential qualities of Christian life. The believers should stand firm in the faith (16:13). Paul urges them to respect the household of Stephanas. They are the first converts in Achaia and devote themselves serving other Christians. Paul was rejoicing at the coming of Stephanas and Fortunatus and Achiaus, because they ministered to Paul’s need when he was in Ephesus. He exhorts believers to honor all who serve Christ. The churches in Asia send greetings to Corinthians. Aquila and Priscilla with the church in their house send greetings. Paul met them when they were exiled from Rome and moved to Corinth (Acts 18:2). They have since moved on to Ephesus (Rom 16:3-5). Paul asks Corinthians to greet one another with holy kiss. In those days it was a custom to express mutual love and friendship. These days Christians don’t practice this custom.
(Read 1 Cor 16:21-24)
Paul writes greetings to Corinthian church with his own hand. Paul says “If anyone does not love the Lord, let him be cursed” (1 Cor 16:22). Only personal relationship with Christ provides freedom from the curse of sin. Our Lord, come. “Maranatha” is an Aramaic expression used by early Christians to signify the second coming of Christ. Paul concludes the letter by writing “May the grace of the Lord Jesus be with you” (1 Cor 16:23). Salvation from A to Z is by grace. Grace leads to love all who are in Christ. Paul extends his deep love not only to those who agree with him but also to all in the church (1 Cor 16:24). Our understanding of God is the result of his gracious revelation to us. Pray that the Holy Spirit gives you insight into the things of Christ to follow the example of Christ. Amen!