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Barnes' Notes on the Bible
The doctrinal part of this Epistle was closed at the end of 1 Corinthians 15; see the introduction. Before closing the Epistle, Paul adverts to some subjects of a miscellaneous nature, and particularly to the subject of a collection for the poor and persecuted Christians in Judea, on which his heart was much set, and to which he several times refers in his epistles; see the note on 1 Corinthians 16:1. This subject he had suggested to them when he was with them, and they had expressed, some time before, the utmost readiness to make the collection, and Paul had commended their readiness when he was urging the same subject in Macedonia; see 2 Corinthians 9:1-15. It is evident, however, that for some cause, perhaps owing to the divisions and contentions in the church, this collection had not yet been made. Paul, therefore, calls their attention to it, and urges them to make it, and to forward it either by him alone, or with others, whom they might designate, to Judea; 1 Corinthians 16:1-4.
In connection with this, he expresses his intention of coming to Corinth, and perhaps of passing the winter with them. He was then in Ephesus. He was expecting to go to Macedonia, probably on the business of the collection. He purposed not to visit them on his way to Macedonia, but on his return. He had formerly intended to pass through Corinth on his way to Macedonia, and had perhaps given them such an intheation of his purpose; 2 Corinthians 1:16-17. But from some cause (see the notes on 2 Corinthians 1:15-23), he tells the Corinthians that he had abandoned the purpose of seeing them on the way to Macedonia, though he still intended to go to Macedonia, and would see them on his return; 1 Corinthians 16:5-7. At that time there was a state of things in Ephesus which required his presence. His labors were greatly blessed; and, as a consequence which often attends the successful preaching of the gospel, there was much opposition.
He had resolved, therefore, to remain in Ephesus until Pentecost; 1 Corinthians 16:8-9. In the meantime, to show them his deep interest in them, he informed them that Timothy was coming among them, for whom he asked a kind and cordial reception, and assured them that he had endeavored to persuade Apollos to visit them, but was not able; 1 Corinthians 16:10-12. Paul then urges them to watch, and be firm, and live in love 1 Corinthians 16:13-14; and then besought them to show particular attention to the family of Stephanas, the first-fruits of Achaia 1 Corinthians 16:15-16; and expresses his gratitude that Stephanas, and Fortunatus, and Achaicus had come to him at Ephesus; 1 Corinthians 16:17-18. They were probably the persons by whom the Corinthians had sent their letter 1 Corinthians 8:1, and by whom Paul sent this Epistle. He then closes the whole epistle with Christian salutations; with an expression of regard in his own handwriting; with a solemn charge to love the Lord Jesus Christ, as the great thing to be done, and with the assurance that, if not done, it would expose the soul to a dreadful curse when the Lord should come; with an invocation of the grace of the Lord Jesus to be with them; and with a tender expression of his own love to them all; 1 Corinthians 16:19-24.
1Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye.
Now concerning the collection for the saints - The use of the article here shows that he had mentioned it to them before, and that it was a subject which they would readily understand. It was not new to them, but it was needful only to give some instructions in regard to the manner in which it should be done, and not in regard to the occasion for the collection, or the duty of making it. Accordingly, all his instructions relate simply to the manner in which the collection should be made. The word rendered "collection" (λογία logia) does not occur anywhere else in the New Testament, and is not found in the classic writers. It is from λέγω legō, to collect, and, undoubtedly, here refers to a contribution, or collection of money for a charitable purpose. The word "saints" (ἁγίους hagious) here refers, doubtless, to "Christians;" to the persecuted Christians in Judea. There were many there; and they were generally poor, and exposed to various trials. In regard to the meaning of this word, and the circumstances and occasion of this collection; see the notes on Romans 15:25-26.
As I have given order - (διέταξα dietaxa). As I have directed, enjoined, commanded, arranged. It does not mean that he had assumed the authority to tax them, or that he had commanded them to make a collection, but that he had left directions as to the best manner and time in which it should be done. The collection was voluntary and cheerful in all the churches Romans 15:26-27; 2 Corinthians 9:2; and Paul did not assume authority to impose it on them as a tax. Nor was it necessary. Self-denial and liberality were among the distinguishing virtues of the early Christians; and to be a Christian then implied that a man would freely impart of his property to aid the poor and the needy. The order related solely to the manner of making the collection; and as Paul had suggested one mode to the churches in Galatia, he recommended the same now to the Corinthians.
To the churches of Galatia - Galatia was a province in Asia Minor. On its situation, see the note on Acts 16:6. There were evidently several churches planted in that region; see Galatians 1:2. At what time he gave this order to the churches there is not mentioned; though it was doubtless on occasion of a visit to the churches there; see Acts 16:6.
2Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.
Upon the first day of the week - Greek, "On one of the Sabbaths." The Jews, however, used the word Sabbath to denote the week; the period of seven days; Matthew 28:1; Mark 16:9; Luke 18:12; Luke 24:1; John 20:1, John 20:19; compare Leviticus 23:15; Deuteronomy 16:9. It is universally agreed that this here denotes the first day of the week, or the Lord's Day.
Let every one of you - Let the collection be universal. Let each one esteem it his duty and his privilege to give to this object. It was not to be confined to the rich only, but was the common duty of all. The poor, as well as the rich, were expected to contribute according to their ability.
Lay by him in store - (παρ ̓ ἑαυτῷ τιθέτω θησαυρίζων par' heautō tithetō thēsaurizōn). Let him lay up at home, treasuring up as he has been prospered. The Greek phrase, "by himself," means, probably, the same as at home. Let him set it apart; let him designate a certain portion; let him do this by himself, when he is at home, when he can calmly look at the evidence of his prosperity. Let him do it not under the influence of pathetic appeals, or for the sake of display when he is with others; but let him do it as a matter of principle, and when he is by himself. The phrase in Greek, "treasuring up," may mean that each one was to put the part which he had designated into the common treasury. This interpretation seems to be demanded by the latter part of the verse. They were to lay it by, and to put it into the common treasury, that there might be no trouble of collecting when he should come. Or it may, perhaps, mean that they were individually to treasure it up, having designated in their own mind the sum which they could give, and have it in readiness when he should come. This was evidently to be done not on one Sunday only, but was to be done on each Lord's Day until he should come.
As God hath prospered him - The word "God" is not in the original, but it is evidently understood, and necessary to the sense. The word rendered "hath prospered" (εὐοδῶται euodōtai) means, properly, to set forward on one's way; to prosper one's journey; and then to prosper, or be prospered. This is the rule which Paul lays down here to guide the Christians at Corinth in giving alms, a rule that is as applicable now, and as valuable now, as it was then.
That there be no gatherings when I come - No collections λογίαι logiai, 1 Corinthians 16:1). The apostle means that there should be no trouble in collecting the small sums; that it should all be prepared; that each one might have laid by what he could give; and that all might be ready to be handed over to him, or to whomsoever they might choose to send with it to Jerusalem; 1 Corinthians 16:3 - In view of this important verse, we may remark:
(1) That there is here clear proof that the first day of the week was observed by the church at Corinth as holy time. If it was not, there can have been no propriety in selecting that day in preference to any other in which to make the collection. It was the day which was set apart to the duties of religion, and therefore an appropriate day for the exercise of charity and the bestowment of alms. There can have been no reason why this day should have been designated except that it was a day set apart to religion, and therefore deemed a proper day for the exercise of benevolence toward others.
(2) this order extended also to the churches in Galatia, proving also that the first day of the week was observed by them, and was regarded as a day proper for the exercise of charity toward the poor and the afflicted. And if the first day of the week was observed, by apostolic authority, in those churches, it is morally certain that it was observed by others. This consideration, therefore, demonstrates that it was the custom to observe this day, and that it was observed by the authority of the early founders of Christianity.
(3) Paul intended that they should be systematic in their giving, and that they should give from principle, and not merely under the impulse of feeling.
(4) Paul designed that the habit of doing good with their money should be constant. He, therefore, directed that it should be on the return of each Lord's Day, and that the subject should be constantly before their minds.
(5) it was evident that Paul in this way would obtain more for his object than he would if he waited that they should give all at once. He therefore directed them honestly to lay by each week what they could then give, and to regard it as a sacred treasure. How much would the amount of charities in the Christian churches be swelled if this were the practice now, and if all Christians would lay by in store each week what they could then devote to sacred purposes.
(6) the true rule of giving is, "as the Lord hath prospered us." If he has prospered us, we owe it to him as a debt of gratitude. And according to our prosperity and success, we should honestly devote our property to God.
(7) it is right and proper to lay by of our wealth for the purposes of benevolence on Sunday. It is right to do good then Matthew 12:12; and one of the appropriate exercises of religion is to look at the evidence of our prosperity with a view to know what we may be permitted to give to advance the kingdom of the Lord Jesus.
(8) if every Christian would honestly do this every week, it would do much to keep down the spirit of worldliness that now prevails everywhere in the Christian church; and if every Christian would conscientiously follow the direction of Paul here, there would be no lack of funds for any well-directed plan for the conversion of the world.
3And when I come, whomsoever ye shall approve by your letters, them will I send to bring your liberality unto Jerusalem.
Whomsoever ye shall approve by your letters - There has been great variety of opinion in regard to the proper construction of this verse. Macknight supposes that the "letters" here referred to were not letters either to or from the apostle, but letters signed and sent by the congregation at Corinth, designating their appointment and their authority. With this interpretation Doddridge coincides; and this is required by the usual pointing of the Greektext, where the comma is inserted after the word letters, as in our translation. But a different interpretation has been proposed by inserting the comma after the word "approve," so that it shall read, "Whom you approve, or designate, them I will send with letters to convey your charity to Jerusalem." This is followed by Griesbach, Locke, Rosenmuller, Bloomfield, Beza, Hammond, Grotius, Whitby, etc. Certainly this accords better with the design of the passage. For it is evident (see 1 Corinthians 16:4) that, though Paul was willing to go, yet he was not expecting to go. If he did not go, what was more natural than that he should offer to give them letters of commendation to his brethren in Judea? Mill has doubted whether this construction is in accordance with Greek usage, but the names above cited are sufficient authority on that subject. The proper construction, therefore, is, that Paul would give them letters to his friends in Jerusalem, and certify their appointment to dispense the charity, and commend the persons sent to the favor and hospitality of the church there. "Your liberality." Margin, "Gift." Your donation; your alms. The Greek word χάριν charin, usually signifies grace, or favor. Here it means an act of grace or favor; kindness; a favor conferred; benefaction: compare 2 Corinthians 8:4, 2 Corinthians 8:6-7, 2 Corinthians 8:19.
4And if it be meet that I go also, they shall go with me.
And if it be meet ... - If it be judged desirable and best. If my presence can further the object; or will satisfy you better; or will be deemed necessary to guide and aid those who may be sent, I will be willing to go also. For some appropriate and valuable remarks in regard to the apostle Paul's management of pecuniary matters, so as not to excite suspicion, and to preserve a blameless reputation, see Paley's Horae Paulinae, chapter iv. No. 1, 3. Note.
5Now I will come unto you, when I shall pass through Macedonia: for I do pass through Macedonia.
Now I will come unto you - I purpose to come unto you. He had expected to see them on his way to Macedonia, but, on some account, had been induced to abandon that design. See the notes at 2 Corinthians 1:15-17.
When I shall pass through Macedonia - When I shall have passed through Macedonia. He proposed to go to Macedonia first, and, having passed through that country, visiting the churches, to go to Corinth. For the situation of Macedonia, see the notes at Acts 16:9.
For I do pass through Macedonia - I design to do it. It is my present intention. Though he had abandoned, from some cause, the design of passing through Corinth on his way to Macedonia, yet he had not given up the design itself. It was still his intention to go there.
6And it may be that I will abide, yea, and winter with you, that ye may bring me on my journey whithersoever I go.
That ye may bring me on my journey - That you may accompany me, or aid me, and furnish me the means of going on my journey. It was customary for the apostles to be attended by some members of the churches and friends in their travels. See the note at Acts 10:23.
On my journey ... - Probably to Judea. This was evidently his intention. But wherever he should go, it would be gratifying to him to have their aid and companionship.
7For I will not see you now by the way; but I trust to tarry a while with you, if the Lord permit.
For I will not see you now by the way - On the way to Macedonia. Something had occurred to change his mind, and to induce him to go to Macedonia by another way.
But I trust to tarry a while with you - That is, on my return from Macedonia, 1 Corinthians 16:5. Greek, "I hope to remain with you a little while.
If the Lord permit - The apostle did not use the language of certainty and of confidence. He felt his dependence on God, and regarded all as under his direction; see the same form of expression in 1 Corinthians 4:19, and the note on that place.
8But I will tarry at Ephesus until Pentecost.
But I will tarry at Ephesus - This passage proves that this letter was written from Ephesus. It is by such indications as this usually that we are able to determine the place where the Epistles were written. In regard to the situation of Ephesus, see the note on Acts 18:19.
Until Pentecost - This was a Jewish festival occurring fifty days after the Passover, and hence called the Pentecost. See the note at Acts 2:1. As there were Jews at Corinth, and doubtless in the church, they would understand the time which Paul referred to; and as he was a Jew, he naturally used their mode of reckoning time where it would be understood. Doubtless the great festivals of the Jews were well known among most of the cities of Greece, as there were Jews in them all who were scrupulous in their observances. It is no improbable supposition, also, that Christians everywhere regarded this day with deep interest, as being the day on which the Holy Spirit descended on the apostles and on the people of Jerusalem, Acts 2.
9For a great door and effectual is opened unto me, and there are many adversaries.
For a great door - There is abundant opportunity for usefulness. The word "door" is used evidently to denote an occasion or an opportunity for doing anything. It is the means by which we have entrance or access; and hence denotes facility in doing anything when there is no obstruction; see Acts 14:27; 2 Corinthians 2:12; Colossians 4:3.
And effectual - That is, effective, or adapted to success; presenting opportunity for great effects. There is abundant opportunity to preach the gospel; there is attention to what is spoken, and great interest in it; there is great encouragement to labor. It is possible that this was one of the reasons why Paul had changed his mind about Macedonia. It would require time to visit Corinth, as he would wish to remain there; and an unexpected opportunity having arisen for doing good, he judged it best to remain at Ephesus as long as practicable, and then to go at once to Macedonia.
And there are many adversaries - Many opposers; many who resist the gospel. These were doubtless in part Jews who excited opposition to him, and in part the friends of Demetrius; see Acts 19. That Paul had great success in Ephesus, and that his labors were attended with a great revival of religion there, is manifest from that chapter. We may remark here:
(1) That such a work of grace, such a setting open a great and effectual door, is often the occasion of increased opposition to the gospel. It is no uncommon thing that the adversaries of Christ should be excited at such times; and we are not to be surprised if the same thing should occur now which occurred in the time of Paul.
(2) this was regarded by Paul as no reason why he should leave Ephesus, but rather as a reason why he should remain there. It was regarded by him as an evidence that the Holy Spirit was there. It was proof that the enemies of God were alarmed, and that the kingdom of Christ was advancing. His presence, also, would be needed there, to encourage and strengthen the young converts who would be attacked and opposed; and he deemed it his duty to remain. A minister should never wish to make enemies to the gospel, nor seek to excite them to make opposition; but such opposition is often evidence that the Spirit of God is among a people; that the consciences of sinners are aroused and alarmed; and that the great enemy of God and man is making, as he was at Ephesus, a desperate effort to preserve his kingdom from being destroyed.
(3) a minister should regard it as his duty in a special manner to be among his people when there is such opposition excited. His presence is needed to comfort and encourage the church; and when the minds of people are excited, it is often the best time to present truth, and to defend successfully the great doctrines of the Bible.
(4) ministers should not be discouraged because there is opposition to the gospel. It is one ground of encouragement. It is an indication of the presence of God in awakening the conscience. And it is far more favorable as a season to do good than a dead calm, and when there is universal stagnation and unconcern.
10Now if Timotheus come, see that he may be with you without fear: for he worketh the work of the Lord, as I also do.
Now if Timotheus come - Paul had sent Timothy to them (see the note at 1 Corinthians 4:17-18), but as he had many churches to visit, it was not absolutely certain that he would go to Corinth.
May be with you without fear - Let him be received kindly and affectionately. Timothy was then a young man; Acts 16:1-3; 1 Timothy 4:12. There might be some danger that he might feel himself embarrassed among the rich, the frivilous, and the great. Paul, therefore, asks them to encourage him, to receive him kindly, and not to embarrass him. Perhaps, also, there may be some reference to the false teachers whom Timothy might be called on to oppose. They were powerful, and they might endeavor to intimidate and alarm him. Paul, therefore, asks the church to sustain him in his efforts to defend the truth.
For he worketh the work of the Lord - He is engaged in the service of the Lord; and he is worthy of your confidence, and worthy to be sustained by you.
11Let no man therefore despise him: but conduct him forth in peace, that he may come unto me: for I look for him with the brethren.
Let no man, therefore, despise him - Let no one despise him on account of his youth and inexperience. It is probable that some of the more wealthy and proud, some who valued themselves on their wisdom and experience, would be disposed to look upon him with contempt. On another occasion, he directed Timothy so to live as that no one should have occasion to despise him on account of his youth 1 Timothy 4:12; and he here urges on the Corinthians, that they should not despise him because be was a young man, and comparatively inexperienced. A minister of the gospel, though young, should receive the respect that is due to his office; and if he conducts himself in accordance with his high calling, his youth should be no barrier to the confidence and affection of even aged and experienced Christians. It should be rather a reason why they should treat him with affection, and encourage him in his work.
But conduct him forth in peace - That is, when he leaves you. Attend him on his way, and help him forward on his journey to me; see the note on 1 Corinthians 16:6.
For I look for him with the brethren - Erastus accompanied Timothy in this journey Acts 19:22, and probably there were others with him. Titus also had been sent to 1 Corinthians 2 1 Corinthians 12:17-18, and it is not improbable that Paul had desired Titus to bring with him to Ephesus some of the Corinthian brethren, as he might need their assistance there - Grotius.
12As touching our brother Apollos, I greatly desired him to come unto you with the brethren: but his will was not at all to come at this time; but he will come when he shall have convenient time.
As touching our brother Apollos - Tyndale renders this, "To speak of brother Apollo." In regard to Apollos, see the note at 1 Corinthians 1:12.
His will was not at all to come at this time - It is probable that there were matters which detained him, or which required his presence in Ephesus. It is not known why Apollos had left Corinth, but it has been supposed that it was on account of the dissensions which existed there. For the same reason he might not be induced to return there while those dissensions lasted and there might be employment which he had where he then was which rendered his presence there important. The Latin fathers say that Apollos did after this return to Corinth, when the religious differences had been settled - Bloomfield. It is probable that the Corinthians had requested, by the messengers who carried their letter to Paul, that either he or Apollos would come and visit them. Paul states, in reply, that he had endeavored to prevail on Apollos to go, but had not succeeded.
He will come when he shall have convenient thee - The Greek word means, when he should have leisure, or a good opportunity. He might then be engaged; or he might be unwilling to go while their contentions lasted. They had probably 1 Corinthians 1:12 endeavored to make him the head of a party, and on that account he might have been unwilling to return at present among them. But Paul assures them that he designed to come among them at some future time. This was said probably to show them that he still retained his affection for them, and had a tender solicitude for their peace and prosperity. Had this not been said, they might, perhaps, have inferred that he was offended, and had no desire to come among them.
13Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.
Watch ye - The exhortation in this and the following verse is given evidently in view of the special dangers and temptations which surrounded them. The word used here (Γρηγορεῖτε Grēgoreite) means, to keep awake, to be vigilant, etc.; and this may, perhaps, be a military metaphor derived from the duty of those who are stationed as sentinels to guard a camp, or to observe the motions of an enemy. The term is frequently used in the New Testament, and the duty frequently enjoined; Matthew 24:41-42; Matthew 25:13; Mark 13:35; Luke 21:36; Acts 20:31; 1 Thessalonians 5:6; 2 Timothy 4:5. The sense here is, that they were to watch, or be vigilant, against all the evils of which he had admonished them, the evils of dissension, or erroneous doctrines, of disorder, of false teachers, etc. They were to watch lest their souls should be ruined, and their salvation endangered; lest the enemies of the truth and of holiness should steal silently upon them, and surprise them. They were to watch with the same vigilance that is required of a sentinel who guards a camp, lest an enemy should come suddenly upon them, and surprise the camp when the army was locked in sleep.
Stand fast in the faith - Be firm in holding and defending the truths of the gospel. Do not yield to any foe, but maintain the truth, and adhere to your confidence in God and to the doctrines of the gospel with unwavering constancy; see the note at 1 Corinthians 15:1. Be firm in maintaining what you believe to be true, and in holding on to your personal confidence in God, notwithstanding all the arts, insinuations, and teachings of seducers and the friends of false doctrine.
Quit you like men - (ἀνδρίζεσθε andrizesthe, from ἀνήρ anēr, a man). The word occurs no where else in the New Testament. In the Septuagint it occurs in Joshua 1:6-7, Joshua 1:9,Joshua 1:18; 1 Chronicles 28:20; 2 Chronicles 32:7; Nehemiah 2:1; and in 18 other places. See Trommius' Concordance. It occurs also in the classic authors; see Xenophon, Oec. Nehemiah 5:4. It means, to render one manly or brave; to show oneself a man; that is, not to be a coward, or timid, or alarmed at enemies, but to be bold and brave. We have a similar phrase in common use: "Be a man," or "Show yourself a man;" that is, be not mean, or be not cowardly.
Be strong - Be firm, fixed, steadfast; compare Ephesians 6:10, "Be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might."
14Let all your things be done with charity.
Let all your things ... - All that you do. This direction is repeated on account of its great importance, and because it is a summing up of all that he had said in this Epistle; see 1 Corinthians 13:1-13; 1 Corinthians 14:1. Here he says, that charity, or love, was to regulate all that they did. This was a simple rule; and if this was observed, every thing would be done well.
15I beseech you, brethren, (ye know the house of Stephanas, that it is the firstfruits of Achaia, and that they have addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints,)
I beseech you, brethren - The construction here is somewhat involved, but the sense is plain. The words, "I beseech you," in this verse, are evidently to be taken in connection with 1 Corinthians 16:16, "I beseech you that ye submit yourselves unto such," etc. The design is to exhort them to pay proper deference to Stephanas, and to all who sustained the same rank and character; and the remainder of 1 Corinthians 16:15 is designed to state the reason why they should show respect and kindness to the household of Stephanas.
Ye know the house - You are acquainted with the household, or family. Probably a considerable portion, or all, of the family of Stephanas had been converted to the Christian faith.
Of Stephanas - See the note at 1 Corinthians 1:16. Paul there says that he had baptized his family. That it is the first-fruits of Achaia. They were the first converted to the Christian religion in Achaia; see the note at Romans 16:5. Respecting Achaia, see the note at Acts 18:12.
That they have addicted themselves ... - That they have devoted themselves to the service of Christians. That is, by aiding the ministry; by showing hospitality; by providing for their needs; by attending and aiding the apostles in their journeys, etc.
16That ye submit yourselves unto such, and to every one that helpeth with us, and laboureth.
That ye submit yourselves ... - The word used here means evidently that you would show them proper deference and regard; that you would treat them with distinguished respect and honor for what they have done.
And to everyone that helpeth with us ... - Everyone who aids us in the ministry, or provides for our needs, etc. It is possible that Stephanas lived among them at this time (Note, 1 Corinthians 1:16), though he had been converted in Achaia; and it is probable that, as Corinth was a central place and a thoroughfare, others might come among them who were the personal friends of Paul, and who had aided him in the ministry. Towards all such he bespeaks their kind, and tender, and respectful regards.
17I am glad of the coming of Stephanas and Fortunatus and Achaicus: for that which was lacking on your part they have supplied.
I am glad of the coming - That is, I am glad that they have come to me at Ephesus. I rejoice that he who was converted by my ministry in Achaia, and who has so long shown himself to be a personal friend to me, and an aid in my work, came where Iam.
Stephanas - The same person evidently mentioned in the previous verses. Probably he, as one of the oldest and most respected members of the church, had been selected to carry the letter of the 1 Corinthians 1 1 Corinthians 7:1 to Paul, and to consult with him respecting the affairs of the church there.
Fortunatus and Achaieus - These persons are not referred to anywhere else in the New Testament. It appears that Fortunatus survived Paul, for he was subsequently the messenger of the church at Corinth to that at Rome, and bore back to the Corinthians the Epistle which Clement of Rome sent to them. See that epistle, Section 59.
For that which was lacking ... - The word which is used here, and rendered "that which was lacking" (ὑστέρημα husterēma), does not occur in the Classic writers. It means properly that which is missing, want, lack - Robinson. It may be used to denote a want or lack of any kind, whether of support, sustenance, aid, consolation, information, or counsel; see Luke 21:4; Philippians 2:30; 1 Thessalonians 3:10. What this was which the Corinthians had neglected or failed to furnish Paul, and which had been supplied by the presence of these persons, can be only a matter of conjecture; and different commentators have supposed different things. It might be a neglect to provide for his needs, or a defect of informing him about their affairs in the letter which they had sent him; or it might be that these persons had furnished, by their presence and conversation, those consolations and friendly offices which the church at Corinth would have rendered had they been all present; and Paul may mean to say, that he had enjoyed with them that friendly contact and Christian communion which he had desired with them, but which was lacking, that is, which he had not been permitted to enjoy by reason of his absence. This is the view which is given by Rosenmuller, Doddridge, Bloomfield; and as Paul does not seem here inclined to blame them, this view is most in accordance with the general strain of the passage.
18For they have refreshed my spirit and yours: therefore acknowledge ye them that are such.
For they have refreshed my spirit - By their presence and conversation. They have given me information respecting the state of things in the church; and their society has been with me of the most gratifying and cheering kind.
And yours - "By removing," says Locke, "those suspicions and fears that were on both sides." "By thus supplying your absence, they have benefited us both. For Paul gained information of those absent, and they gained in the counsel afforded to them by the apostle" - Bloomfield. "For they refreshed my spirit by their obliging behavior and edifying conversation, as, I doubt not, they have often refreshed yours by their ministrations among you" - Doddridge. The sense seems to be, that their visit to him would be a benefit to both; would result in imparting comfort, a good understanding, an increase of their mutual attachment, and ultimately a large accession to their mutual joy when they should again meet.
Therefore acknowledge ye them that are such - Receive affectionately; recognize as brethren; cherish, treat kindly all that evince such a spirit; see the notes on 1 Corinthians 16:15-16. The apostle here designs, evidently, that the Corinthians should receive them kindly on their return, and regard with deference and respect the counsel which they might offer, and the message which they might bear from him.
19The churches of Asia salute you. Aquila and Priscilla salute you much in the Lord, with the church that is in their house.
The churches of Asia - The word "Asia" in the New Testament usually denotes Asia Minor in general; see the note on Acts 2:9. It was sometimes used in a more limited sense, to denote the region around Ephesus, and of which Ephesus was the center and capital; see note, Acts 16:6. This is the region undoubtedly which is intended here.
Salute you - Greet you; send respectful and affectionate Christian regards; see the note at Romans 16:3.
Aquila and Priscilla - See the note on Acts 18:26.
Much in the Lord - With affectionate Christian salutations; or as Christians. Wishing the blessing and favor of the Lord.
With the church that is in their house - See the note at Romans 16:5.
20All the brethren greet you. Greet ye one another with an holy kiss.
All the brethren ... - All the Christians with whom Paul was connected in Ephesus. They felt a deep interest in the church at Corinth, and sent to them Christian salutations. "With a holy kiss; see the note on Romans 16:16.
21The salutation of me Paul with mine own hand.
The salutation of me, Paul, with mine own hand - It is evident that Paul was accustomed to employ an amanuensis (copyist) in penning his epistles (see the note on Romans 16:22), though he signed his own name, and expressed his Christian salutation in every epistle, 2 Thessalonians 3:17; compare Colossians 4:18. This gave a sanction to what was written; was a proof that it was his own, and was a valuable token of affectionate regard. It was a proof that there was no fraud or imposition. Why he employed an amanuensis is not known.
22If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maranatha.
If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ - This is a most solemn and affecting close of the whole epistle. It was designed to direct them to the great and essential matter of religion, the love of the Lord Jesus; and was intended, doubtless, to turn away their minds from the subjects which had agitated them, the disputes and dissensions which had rent the church into factions, to the great inquiry whether they truly loved the Saviour. It is implied that there was danger, in their disputes and strifes about minor matters, of neglecting the love of the Lord Jesus, or of substituting attachment to a party in the place of that love to the Saviour which alone could be connected with eternal life.
Let him be anathema - On the meaning of the word anathema, see the note at 1 Corinthians 12:3. The word properly means accursed, or devoted to destruction; and the idea here is, that he who did not believe in the Lord Jesus, and love him, would be, and ought to be, devoted to destruction, or accursed of God. It expresses what ought to be done; it expresses a truth in regard to God's dealings, not the desire of the apostle. No matter what any man's endowments might be; no matter what might be his wealth, his standing, or his talent; no matter if he were regarded as a ruler in the church, or at the head of a party; yet if he had not true love to the Lord Jesus, he could not be saved. This sentiment is in accordance with the declaration of the Scripture everywhere. See particularly, John 3:31; Micah 6:16, and the note on the latter place.
Maran-atha - These are Syriac words, Moran Etho - "the Lord comes;" that is, will come. The reason why this expression is added may be:
(1) To give the greater solemnity to the declaration of the apostle; that is, to give it an emphatic form.
(2) to intimate that, though there were no earthly power to punish a lack of love to the Saviour; though the state could not, and ought not to punish it; and though the church could not exclude all who did not love the Lord Jesus from its bosom, yet they could not escape. For, the Lord would himself come to take vengeance on his enemies; and no one could escape. Though, therefore, those who did not love the Lord Jesus could not be punished by people, yet they could not escape divine condemnation. The Lord would come to execute vengeance himself, and they could not escape. It is probable (see Lightfoot in loco) that the Jews were accustomed to use such a form in their greater excommunication, and that they meant by it, that the person who was thus devoted to destruction, and excommunicated, must be destroyed; for the Lord would come to take vengeance on all his enemies. "It certainly was not now, for the first time, used as a new kind of cursing by the apostle; but was the application of a current mode of speech to the purpose he had in contemplation. Perhaps, therefore, by inspecting the manners of the East, we may illustrate the import of this singular passage. The nearest approach to it that I have been able to discover is in the following extract from Mr. Bruce; and though, perhaps, this does not come up to the full power of the apostle's meaning, yet, probably, it gives the idea which was commonly attached to the phrase among the public. Mr. Bruce had been forced by a pretended saint, in Egypt, to take him on board his vessel, as if to carry him to a certain place - whereas, Mr. Bruce meant no such thing; but, having set him on shore at some little distance from whence he came, 'we slacked our vessel down the stream a few yards, filling our sails, and stretching away.
On seeing this, our saint fell into a desperate passion, cursing, blaspheming, and stamping with his feet; at every word crying "Shar Ullah!" that is, "May God send and do justice!" This appears to be the strongest execration this passionate Arab could use, that is, To punish you adequately is out of my power: I remit you to the vengeance of God.' Is not this the import of anathema maranatha?" - Taylor in Calmet. This solemn declaration, or denunciation, the apostle wrote with his own hand, as the summary of all that he had said, in order that it might be attentively regarded. There is not a more solemn declaration in the Bible; there is not a more fearful denunciation; there is no one that will be more certainly executed. No matter what we may have - be it wealth, or beauty, or vigor, or accomplishment, or adorning, or the praise and flattery of the world; no matter if we are elevated high in office and in rank; no matter if we are honored by the present age, or gain a reputation to be transmitted to future times; yet if we have not love to the Saviour, we cannot be saved.
We must be devoted to the curse; and the Lord Jesus will soon return to execute the tremendous sentence on a guilty world. How important then to ask whether we have that love? Whether we are attached to the Lord Jesus in such a manner as to secure his approbation? Whether we so love him as to be prepared to hail his coming with joy, and to be received into his everlasting kingdom - In the close of the notes on this Epistle, I may ask anyone who shall read these pages whether he has this love? And I may press it upon the attention of each one, though I may never see their faces in the flesh, as the great inquiry which is to determine their everlasting destiny. The solemn declaration stands here, that if they do not love the Lord Jesus, they will be, and they ought to be, devoted to destruction. The Lord Jesus will soon return to make investigation, and to judge the world. There will be no escape; and no tongue can express the awful horrors of an eternal curse pronounced by the lips of the Son of God!
23The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
The grace ... - See the note at Romans 16:20.
24My love be with you all in Christ Jesus. Amen. ‹‹The first epistle to the Corinthians was written from Philippi by Stephanas, and Fortunatus, and Achaicus, and Timotheus.
In Christ Jesus - Through Christ Jesus; or in connection with your love to him; that is, as Christians. This is an expression of tender regard to them as Christian brethren; of his love for the church; and his earnest desire for their welfare. It is in accordance with the usual manner in which he closes his epistles; and it is especially tender, affectionate, and beautiful here, when we consider the manner in which he had been treated by many of the Corinthians; and as following the solemn declaration in 1 Corinthians 16:22. Paul loved them; loved them intensely, and was ever ready to express his affectionate regard for them all, and his earnest desire for their salvation.
The subscription to the Epistle, "The first epistle to the Corinthians," etc., was evidently written by some other hand than that of Paul, and has no claim to be regarded as inspired. Probably these subscriptions were added a considerable time after the Epistles were first written; and in some instances evidently by some person who was not well informed on the subject; see the note at the end of the Epistle to the Romans. In this instance, the subscription is evidently in its main statement false. The Epistle bears internal marks that it was written from Ephesus, though there is every probability that it was sent by three of the persons who are mentioned here. It is absurd, however, to suppose that Timothy was concerned in bearing the Epistle to them, since it is evident that when it was written he was already on a visit to the churches, and on his way to Corinth; see the notes on 1 Corinthians 16:10-11; 1 Corinthians 4:17. There is not the slightest internal evidence that it was written from Philippi; but everything in the Epistle concurs in the supposition that it was sent from Ephesus. See the introduction to that Epistle. There is, however, a considerable variety among the manuscripts in regard to the subscription; and they are evidently none of them of any authority, and as these subscriptions generally mislead the reader of the Bible, it would have been better had they been omitted.