corner graphic

Bible Commentaries

Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges

1 Corinthians 16



Verse 1

1. περὶ δὲ τῆς λογίας. The same subject is mentioned in ch. 8, 9 of the second Epistle. The disorganized state of Judaea at this time, as described in the pages of Josephus, may account for the systematic efforts which were then being made throughout the Gentile Churches for the aid of the Churches of Judaea. This collection is mentioned in Romans 15:26, written after the Apostle’s arrival at Corinth. Another reason for this Gentile liberality is given there. Jerusalem was the source whence all the blessings of the Gospel had flowed. It was fitting that some recompense, however inadequate, should be made. Cf. ch. 1 Corinthians 9:11. St Paul says here that he had instructed the Galatian Churches to send their contribution, and in Galatians 2:10 we find that it was a special matter of agreement between himself and the other Apostles that he should ‘remember the poor,’ i.e. of the Church at Jerusalem. St Luke does not mention the collection in its proper place in the Acts, but the incidental reference to it in a speech made long after by the Apostle, and recorded in Acts 24:17, is adduced by Paley in his Horae Paulinae, as a remarkable instance of undesigned agreement between this Epistle and the narrative in the Acts, and as strong evidence of the authenticity of both.

εἰς τοὺς ἁγίους. The ‘poor saints’ (see for saints note on ch. 1 Corinthians 1:2) at Jerusalem mentioned in Romans 15:26.

ὥσπερ διἑταξα. As I gave order. This order could not have been given when St Paul last visited the Galatian Churches, for though (see Paley, Horae Paulinae) they are the last Churches he is recorded to have visited, that visit took place nearly three years previously (Acts 20:31; cf. Acts 19:10; cf. Acts 19:21-22), but either in some visit not recorded, or more probably by letter or message. The Corinthians had received their instructions a year before the date of the second Epistle (2 Corinthians 8:10; 2 Corinthians 9:2), and therefore several months before the first was written. Were those instructions given in ‘the Epistle’ mentioned in ch. 1 Corinthians 5:9?

Γαλατίας. A portion of Asia Minor, between Cappadocia and Bithynia, to which the Gauls who overran Europe and Asia in 279 B.C. were ultimately reduced.

Verses 1-24


Verse 2

2. κατὰ μίαν σαββάτου. This verse, Acts 20:7, and Revelation 1:10, are the only passages in Scripture which notice the practice, universal among Christians, of observing the day of the Lord’s Resurrection. But though it is clear enough, from other evidence, that the Christian Church was from the first accustomed to meet for worship on the first day of the week, it cannot (see note on next verse) be inferred from this passage. The rec. σαββάτων has given rise to Tyndale’s rendering in some saboth daye, and Calvin’s on one of the sabbaths.

παρ' ἑαυτῷ. At home. Apud se, Vulg. Not, as is generally supposed, in the assembly. ‘He does not say “bring it at once,” lest the giver should be ashamed of the smallness of his contribution, but first lay it up by thyself, and when it is worthy of collection, then bring it.’ Chrysostom. This Father mentions a custom prevalent in his time of placing a small box by the bed-side into which an offering was to be put whenever prayer was made.

θησαυρίζων, treasuring up.

ὅ τι ἂν εὐοδῶται. Literally, in whatsoever he may be prospered, not, as A.V., as God hath prospered him. εὐοδῶμαι means literally to have an easy journey. See Romans 1:10; 3 John 1:2. Hence it comes to mean generally to prosper. The feeling of brotherhood between men of different nationalities, and widely separated from one another, which this precept was calculated to strengthen, was altogether the creation of the Gospel. This age has seen a vast extension of it.

ἵνα μή. The Greek is somewhat stronger than the A.V. in the emphasis it gives to the undesirableness of delaying the collection until St Paul’s arrival.

Verse 3

3. δι' ἐπιστολῶν. Most modern editors punctuate so as to connect δι' ἐπιστολῶν with what follows. So Chrysostom, and also Wiclif. St Paul would give letters of commendation (cf. Acts 18:27; Romans 16:1; 2 Corinthians 3:1) to the bearers of the Corinthian contribution. The A.V., following the Vulgate and Tyndale, connects the words with δοκιμάσητε. It is worthy of notice [1] that while on matters of grave moment St Paul gives authoritative directions to the Churches he has founded, on matters of lesser consequence he prefers to leave them free to govern themselves; and also [2] that as Chrysostom remarks, he is very anxious to avoid even the possibility of a charge of dishonesty in money matters, and therefore he will not undertake the custody of the money himself. Cf. ch. 1 Corinthians 9:18-19; 2 Corinthians 11:7-9; 2 Corinthians 12:16-18.

χάριν. Grace. As Estius says, St Paul studiously refrains from using the word alms.

Verse 4

4. τοῦ κἀμὲ πορεύεσθαι. See Mr Carr’s note on Matthew 2:13. Not only would St Paul avoid all possibility of accusation, but it was fitting that those who had collected the money should have the satisfaction of presenting it. Such minute touches as these display to us the tact and polish of the true Christian gentleman, a character unknown to the world until the Word made Flesh came among us. See 2 Corinthians 8:19-20.

Verse 5

5. ὅταν ΄ακεδονίαν διέλθω. When I have passed through Macedonia. Here the Apostle announces his resolution to change his purpose previously intimated—whether in the lost Epistle, or in some other manner, it is impossible to say—of coming first to Corinth, passing on to Macedonia, and returning to Corinth. See 2 Corinthians 1:15-16. The reason of this change of purpose is given in 2 Corinthians 1:23; 2 Corinthians 2:1; 2 Corinthians 7:8-12; 2 Corinthians 12:20-21; 2 Corinthians 13:2; 2 Corinthians 13:10. For the imputations cast upon the Apostle in consequence, see 2 Corinthians 1:17.

΄ακεδονίαν γὰρ διέρχομαι. For I intend to pass through Macedonia. This use of the present to indicate a purpose is not uncommon; see John 14:18; John 16:28; John 20:17, &c. The translation I am passing through Macedonia has led to the incorrect subscription of the Epistle in the A.V., which states that the Epistle was written at Philippi. This, however, is directly negatived by 1 Corinthians 16:8. See Introduction.

Verse 6

6. πρὸς ὑμᾶς. Observe the combination of two constructions. ‘I shall come to you and abide with you.’

τυχὸν παραμενῶ. Perhaps I shall abide. The Apostle (Acts 20:3) was enabled to carry out this half promise.

παραχειμάσω. The navigation of the Aegaean was dangerous in winter (Acts 27:9; Acts 27:12).

προπέμψητε. ‘The recognized word for helping forward on a journey or on a mission.’ Stanley. See Acts 15:3; Acts 20:38; Acts 21:5; Romans 15:24, and 1 Corinthians 16:16.

Verse 7

7. οὐ θέλω γάρ. For the reason of this, see passages cited on 1 Corinthians 16:5. St Paul feared that he might have to adopt some strong measures against those who resisted his authority, and he was anxious to remain long enough to remove any feelings of resentment his course of action might have produced.

ἐὰν ὁ κύριος ἐπιτρέψῃ. See James 4:15, and cf. ch. 1 Corinthians 4:19 and Hebrews 6:3.

Verse 8

8. ἕως τῆς πεντηκοστῆς. Observe the minute, yet undesigned agreement of this passage with the narrative in the Acts. We find (Acts 19:21) that St Paul had decided on visiting Greece some time before he was able to set out; that he sent Timothy to Macedonia (Acts 19:22), whence (see 1 Corinthians 16:10, and cf. ch. 1 Corinthians 4:17) it was intended that he should proceed to Corinth; and that the ‘many adversaries’ of the next verse (cf. Acts 19:23-41) hindered the Apostle from following him as soon as he had intended.

Verse 9

9. θύρα. The use of the word θύρα in the sense of opportunity in the N. T. is noticeable. And it is further remarkable that it is not confined to any one writer. See 2 Corinthians 2:12; Colossians 4:3; Acts 14:27; Revelation 3:8.

καὶ ἐνεργής. This, combined with θύρα, is a somewhat bold metaphor. The result of the opportunity is here taken in conjunction with the opportunity itself. ἐνεργής is used in Classical Greek for productive, as for instance Xen. Oec. IV. 8 ἐνεργὸν (for the later ἐνεργῆ) οὖσαν τὴν γῆν καὶ πλήρη δένδρων. Here, however, we in English might say not altogether incorrectly, an effective opportunity, i.e. an opportunity for acting effectively. We may observe here also how these words of the Apostle corroborate Acts 19:19-20.

Verse 10

10. ἐὰν δέ. As in A.V. Now if.

ἕλθῃ Τιμόθεος. See note on 1 Corinthians 4:17. The question whether Timothy arrived at Corinth before the Apostle, or whether he was detained in Macedonia until St Paul came thither, is one which admits of no certain decision. Dean Alford thinks Timothy arrived there first, and supports his view by the considerations, [1] that his mission is announced in terms too precise to be lightly given up, and [2] that its abandonment would have exposed the Apostle to an additional charge of inconsistency of which we never hear. But, on the other hand, it is remarkable that while we hear a good deal in the second Epistle of Titus’ mission and the report he brought back (ch. 2 Corinthians 2:13, 2 Corinthians 7:6; 2 Corinthians 7:13, 2 Corinthians 8:6; 2 Corinthians 8:16-18, 2 Corinthians 12:18), there is not a word said about Timothy’s arrival at Corinth, or of his return to St Paul, although (ch. 1 Corinthians 1:1) he was with St Paul when that Epistle was written. It may be added that we learn from Acts 19:22 that Timothy was sent, at least as far as Macedonia. And the uncertainty here expressed (ἐάν, not ὅταν) gives at least some ground for the supposition that he did not get so far as Corinth, and this without any possible imputation upon the consistency of the Apostle. See Paley, Horae Paulinae, in loc.

βλέπετε ἵνα ἀφόβως γένηται. Paley and Professor Blunt remark here on the singular yet undesigned agreement between the various notices of the character of Timothy. For [1] we find that he was young (1 Timothy 4:12) and [2] deficient, apparently, in courage or energy, or both (1 Timothy 5:21-23; 2 Timothy 1:6-8; 2 Timothy 2:1; 2 Timothy 2:3; 2 Timothy 2:15; 2 Timothy 4:1-2). It has been thought from some of these expressions that he was even culpably timid. If this were the case, how much more must the injunction in the text have been needed [1] when Timothy was about ten years younger than when he received St Paul’s Epistles, and [2] in the then state of the Corinthian Church?

πρὸς ὑμᾶς. When he comes to you. See note on 1 Corinthians 16:6.

Verse 11

11. προπέμψατε. See 1 Corinthians 16:6.

μετὰ τῶν ἀδελφῶν, i.e. those who took charge of this Epistle. See passages cited in the second note on 1 Corinthians 16:10, and 2 Corinthians 8:22-23; 2 Corinthians 9:3; 2 Corinthians 9:5. They were no doubt sent straight from Ephesus, and they might either find Timothy there, or he might reach Corinth after them. In either case he was to return with them.

Verse 12

12. περὶ δὲ Ἀπολλὼ τοῦ ἀδελφοῦ. See note on ch. 1 Corinthians 1:12. St Paul was anxious to have put Apollos, as a man of weight in the Corinthian Church, in charge of his letter. But Apollos stedfastly declined to go, fearing that his presence might foment, instead of allaying, the disorders. Titus, who was sent with this Epistle, and Apollos are found in close intercourse with each other and with St Paul many years later in Titus 3:13.

καὶ πάντως οὐκ ἦν θέλημα. But it was not at all his will to come now, or, with Bishop Lightfoot in his work On a fresh Revision of the N. T., But it was not at all God’s Will that he should come now.

ὅταν εὐκαιρήσῃ. Whensoever he shall have a favourable opportunity, i.e. when he shall have what he considers a suitable opportunity.

Verse 13

13. ἀνδρίζεσθε. Be manly, or behave like men. It is quite a mistake to insist exclusively on the softer characteristics of the Christian character. In the Christian, as in the soldier, endurance is of little use unless combined with courage. Courage is one of the most marked features of the character of Christ. ‘If you think Christianity a feeble, soft thing, ill-adapted to call out the manlier features of character, read here.’ Robertson.

κραταιοῦσθε. Grow strong, or be strengthened. The former is preferable, nor does it ignore the consideration which the latter makes prominent, that the source of our strength is not in ourselves, but in Christ. The classical form for κραταιοῦμαι is κρατύνομαι.

Verse 14

14. πάντα ὑμῶν ἐν ἀγάπῃ γινέσθω, i.e. let everything you do (literally, everything of yours) be done in love.

Verse 15

15. οἴδατε. Cf. 1 Thessalonians 5:12. οἴδατε may be either indicative or imperative. 1 Corinthians 16:18 makes the latter more probable. See note on ἐπιγινώσκετε there. In the first case the succeeding ὅτι must be translated ‘that,’ in the second it may have the signification ‘because.’

Στεφανᾶ. See note on ch. 1 Corinthians 1:16.

ἀπαρχή. Not necessarily the very first converts, but among the very first. See Romans 16:5. ‘Achaia’ is used by St Paul to denote the Peloponnesus, now called the Morea.

εἰς διακονίαν τοῖς ἁγίοις. To service for the saints. The context would imply that they had not confined themselves to ministering to the temporal necessities of the saints, but had given valuable assistance to St Paul in his spiritual ministrations. See next verse.

Verse 16

16. ἵνα καὶ ὑμεῖς ὑποτάσσησθε τοῖς τοιούτοις. The duty of mutual submission is frequently recommended in Scripture. But inasmuch as in every community there must be those who are entitled to lead, as well as those whose duty it is to follow, it may not be amiss to notice the kind of persons to whom St Paul inculcates submission. They were [1] disciples of long standing (the ‘first-fruits of Achaia,’ 1 Corinthians 16:15), [2] they had devoted themselves to the task of ministering to the saints. Every one who took his share in such labour and toil was deserving of the respect and deference of the brethren. See also Ephesians 5:21; 1 Peter 5:5. ἴνα may either be expressive of purpose or result, according as we take οἴδατε as imperative or indicative. ‘Know the house of Stephanas … in order that ye may be subject to such,’ or ‘I beseech you, since ye know the house of Stephanas, that ye would be subject.’

συνεργοῦντι. There is no us as in A.V. A general assistance in the work of the Church seems to be what is meant by the Apostle. Some would connect it with ‘such,’ and regard it as a direction to be willing to submit to the authority of all who were willing to work with the household of Stephanas.

κοπιῶντι. The word implies toil, i.e. the exertion which labour entails.

Verse 17

17. Φορτουνάτου καὶ Ἀχαϊκοῦ. Fortunatus is referred to by Clement as the bearer of his Epistle. See Introduction, Ch. 3. Nothing is known of Achaicus.

τὸ ὑμέτερον ὑστέρημα, i.e. the void occasioned by your absence, not the pecuniary need of the Apostle as in 2 Corinthians 11:9 (cf. Philippians 2:25; Philippians 2:30). For the Apostle there says that it is his boast, of which no man shall deprive him, that he has never cast any of the burden of his maintenance upon the Corinthian Church. See also ch. 9.

Verse 18

18. ἀνέπαυσαν γὰρ τὸ ἐμὸν πνεῦμα καὶ τὸ ὑμῶν. This ‘is a concise expression of the same consciousness of identity of feelings and interests which expresses itself so strongly in 2 Corinthians 1:3-7.’ Stanley. These Corinthians are reinvigorated, through a perfect interchange of sympathy, by the joy that is imparted to St Paul by the presence of one of their number. For the expression itself Stanley refers to 2 Corinthians 7:13, and Meyer to Philemon 1:7; Philemon 1:20.

ἐπιγινώσκετε. See again 1 Thessalonians 5:12, cited on 1 Corinthians 16:15. ἐπιγινώσκετε here, like εἴδεναι there, relates to the due recognition of the value and importance of the position and work of such persons as are here referred to. ‘Schätzet sie hoch,’ Meyer, i.e. prize them highly.

Verse 19

19. αἱ ἐκκλησίαι τῆς Ἀσίας. See Introduction, Ch. 3 p. 15.

Ἀκύλας καὶ Πρίσκα. See Acts 18:2; Acts 18:18; Acts 18:26. From Romans 16:3 we find that they returned to Rome as soon as it was safe to do so. The message of Aquila and Priscilla to the members of the Church which had received them in their necessity, is one of the minute points of agreement which do so much to establish the authenticity of the various books of Scripture. So is the fact that it is sent from Ephesus.

σὺν τῇ κατ' οἶκον αὐτῶν ἐκκλησίᾳ. Cf. Romans 16:5. The expression may mean [1] their family, or [2] less probably, the congregation which was accustomed to meet there for worship. See also Colossians 4:15; Philemon 1:2.

Verse 20

20. οἱ ἀδελφοὶ πάντες, i.e. ‘the whole Ephesian Church.’ Alford.

ἐν φιλήματι ἁγίῳ. The word holy is added to guard against misconception in an impure age. The spirit in which it was to be given was that which was to regulate the intercourse of Timothy with the other sex (1 Timothy 5:2). The kiss of peace (see Romans 16:16; 2 Corinthians 13:12; 1 Thessalonians 5:26; 1 Peter 5:14) once formed a prominent part in the ritual of the Church. It is still retained in the East, where the men and women sit, and salute each other, apart. In the Roman ritual the pax, a small piece of metal or wood, which the priest kissed, and afterwards sent round for the congregation to kiss in turn, was substituted for it. In our own Reformed Liturgy this custom has been abolished.

Verse 21

21. τῇ ἐμῇ χειρί. It was the custom of St Paul to employ an amanuensis. See Romans 16:22. But in order that the Epistle should be recognized as his, it was his custom to add a salutation in his own handwriting, which he wished to be regarded as a token of genuineness. 2 Thessalonians 3:17. See also Colossians 4:18 and Galatians 6:11 (where it seems to be implied that St Paul wrote the whole of that particular Epistle himself).

Verse 22

22. εἴ τις οὐ φιλεῖ τὸν κύριον. φιλέω signifies the intimate and familiar personal affection subsisting between individuals, rather than the wider and more general feeling of love usually enjoined in the N.T. It is the word used when our Lord for the third time asks St Peter the question ‘Lovest thou me?’ (John 21:17). Christians are to cultivate a feeling of personal loyalty and affection for Jesus Christ, such as a soldier feels for his general, or a disciple for his master. And this though they have never seen Him. As the natural precedes the spiritual (ch. 1 Corinthians 15:46), so the love for Christ as Man must precede, and lead up to, the love for Him as God. See notes on ch. 1 Corinthians 15:23; 1 Corinthians 15:28.

ἀνάθεμα. The word is derived from two Greek words signifying to set apart, and is equivalent to the Hebrew cherem, which denotes something devoted to destruction for God’s honour’s sake, as the city and spoil at Jericho, Joshua 6:17. See also Leviticus 27:28-29.

μαρὰν ἀθά. Two Syriac words, signifying ‘our Lord is come.’ The meaning is ‘our Lord is come, beware how you treat Him.’ Cf. Philippians 4:5; James 5:8-9. Lightfoot cites Malachi 4:6, the last words of the last prophet, ‘Lest I come and smite the earth with a curse’ (cherem). It is difficult to account for the Aramaic form of the word, unless we suppose with some that the utterance of the formula in the Apostle’s own language was likely to be more impressive. For the foregoing word as well as these consult Smith’s Dictionary of the Bible. These words must not be regarded as a part of the anathema. The meaning is Let him be anathema. The Lord is come. It is possible, though less agreeable to the context, that they signify ‘Come Thou, O Lord.’

Verse 23

23. ἡ ἀγάπη μου μετὰ πάντων ὑμῶν ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ. See note on ch. 1 Corinthians 4:17. This affectionate commendation of the Corinthians to the favour of Christ, coupled with the assurance of his own unchanging affection, must have sounded very striking in the ears of a community accustomed to Gentile modes of thought. Compare the curt and cold ‘Farewell’ at the end of Claudius Lysias’ letter in Acts 23:30 (if genuine). Much of the beauty and significance of this conclusion is lost to us by over-familiarity. It is worthy of note that the Epistle begins and ends with Jesus Christ. See note on ch. 1 Corinthians 1:10.

Verse 24

24. Rec. adds ἀμήν at end with א ACDE Vulg. Peshito. Text BF.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
"Commentary on 1 Corinthians 16:4". "Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges". 1896.

Commentary Navigator
Search This Commentary
Enter query in the box below
To report dead links, typos, or html errors or suggestions about making these resources more useful use our convenient contact form
Powered by Lightspeed Technology