Confraternity Bible: New Testament and Supplemental Commentary

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1 CORINTHIANS - Chapter 16

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1 Corinthians 16

Supplemental Commentary:

Conclusion  16, 1-24

16, 1-4:  The Collection.    1.  The Apostles requested a remembrance of the poor in Jerusalem (Gal. 2, 10).  No particulars of the collection in Galatia are known.  The collection is referred to in 2 Cor. 8-9; Rom. 15, 26; Acts 24, 17.    2.  On the first day of the week: Sunday was already the Christian sabbath (cf. Act 20, 7).  Every Sunday, besides contributing to local current needs at the liturgical meeting, the Christians well set aside a certain sum for this special collection.  Instead of whatever he has a mind to the Greek reads "to whatever extent he prospers" or "whatever he can afford."    4.  If it is important enough: Paul urges them to generosity by promising to bear their offering himself if it is sufficiently large.  Note that travel in those days was more of a burden than a pleasure, and that Paul was accustomed to meet his own expenses (cf. 9, 15-18).  The offerings were abundant (2 Cor. 8-9) and Paul did take them to Jerusalem himself (Acts 20-21; 24, 17).

16, 5-12:  St. Paul's Plans.    5 f.  Paul did pass through Macedonia, staying in Greece (Corinth) for "three months" (Acts 20, 1-3).  Wherever I may be going: he was not sure at this time that he would be going to Jerusalem (4).    7.  Paul could have gone directly from Ephesus to Corinth, but he chose rather to wait so as to have more time with them.    8.  Paul is writing from Ephesus.    9.  Instead of evident the Greek has "effective."  Paul is speaking both of his opportunities for good and the Ephesians' need of him in the present opposition.  The opposition eventually led to a violent uprising (Acts 19, 23 ff).    11.  Let no one despise him: ten years later Paul wrote to Timothy, "Let no man despise thy youth" (1 Tim. 4, 12).  Timothy was now scarcely more than twenty-five.    12.  The Corinthians had requested the return of Apollos.  He was a favorite at Corinth (1, 12; 3, 4-6; Acts 18, 24-28).  There is no jealousy or rivalry between him and Paul.  Apollos' insistence on delaying his return to Corinth indicates that he was quite vexed that his name should be used in the Corinthian factions (1, 12).  With the brethren: i.e., with those who had brought the message from Corinth and were now returning with Paul's letter.

16, 13-24:  Final Directions and Greetings.    13 f.  The allusion to the party division in the previous verse suggests the exhortation to set aside childish strife and to be united in charity.    15.  Some manuscripts add the name of Achaicus here as in 17; but the best Greek manuscripts omit both Fortunatus and Achaicus in 15.  The first converts of Achaia were the household of Stephanas (1, 16).  They had volunteered special service to their fellow-Christians.    16.  St. Paul asks for their deference and recognition and service.    17 f.  Fortunatus and Achaicus are not mentioned elsewhere.  Paul feels that these three, who probably are visiting with him now, make up the void created in his heart by the absence of the Corinthians.    19.  Proconsular Asia is the western extremity of Asia Minor.  Ephesus is its capital.  At Corinth on his first visit Paul stayed with Aquila, a Jewish tent-maker, and his wife Priscilla (Acts 18, 2 f).  They accompanied Paul to Ephesus (Acts 18, 18).  They are later found at Rome (Rom. 16, 3-5).  Their house at Ephesus was used for Christian worship.    20.  A holy kiss: our liturgy still keeps this in the "kiss of peace."    21.  The last verses are written by Paul personally; for the rest he used a scribe.  This was a sign of the genuineness of his letter (2 Thess. 3, 17; cp. 2 Thess. 2, 2).    22.  Anathema: cf. 12, 3.  Maranatha: an Aramaic expression current in the early Church, like alleluia.  It may be derived from Maran atha, "the Lord comes," or from Marana tha, "our Lord, come."  It expressed a warning of the coming of Christ the Judge, whose coming is the hope and wish of the just.    24.  Concerning the last words, St. John Chrysostom writes, "The Apostle shows that he has written not from anger or indignation, but from the care he has for them, since after so great an accusation he does not turn away from them, but loves them and esteems them."  Amen is probably a liturgical addition.

Edward H. Donze, S.M.

Confraternity Bible:

The Collection  1* Now concerning the collection being made for the saints, as I have ordered the churches of Galatia, do you also.  2 On the first day of the week, let each one of you put aside at home and lay up whatever he has a mind to, so that the collections may not have to be made after I have come.  3 But when I am with you, whomever you may authorize by giving credentials, them I will send to carry your gift to Jerusalem.  4 And if it is important enough for me also to go, they shall go with me.

St. Paul's Plans  5 But I shall come to you after passing through Macedonia (for I mean to pass through Macedonia); 6 but with you I shall perhaps remain or even winter, so that you may speed me wherever I may be going.  7 For I do not wish to see you just now in passing by, for I hope to stay some time with you, if the Lord permits.  8 But I shall stay on at Ephesus until Pentecost.  9 For a door has been opened to me, great and evident, and there are many adversaries.

10 Now if Timothy comes, see that he be with you without fear, for he works the work of the Lord just as I do.  11 Therefore, let no one despise him, but speed him on his way in peace that he may come to me, for I am awaiting him with the brethren.

12 With regard to our brother Apollos, I earnestly besought him to come to you with the brethren, and he was quite unwilling to come at present; but he will come when he has leisure.

Final Directions and Greetings  13 Watch, stand fast in the faith, act like men, be strong.  14 Let all that you do be done in charity.  15 Now I beseech you, brethren---you know that the household of Stephanas and of Fortunatus are the first-fruits of Achaia, and have devoted themselves to the service of the saints--- 16 to such as these do you also be subject, and to every helper and worker.  17 I rejoice at the presence of Stephanas and Fortunatus and Achaicus, because what was lacking on your part they have supplied; 18 for they have refreshed both my spirit and yours.  To such as these, therefore, give recognition.

19 The churches of Asia greet you.  Aquila and Priscilla with the church at their house greet you heartily in the Lord.  20 All the brethren greet you.  Greet one another with a holy kiss.

21 I Paul greet you, with my own hand.  22* If any man does not love the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be anathema.  Maranatha.  23 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.  24 My love is with you all in Christ Jesus.  Amen.


1: The collection for the poor Christians of Jerusalem was requested by the other Apostles (Gal. 2, 10).

22: Maranatha: the Aramaic Maran atha means, "The Lord comes."  By another division of the letter, Marana tha, one gets, "Our Lord, come."