I Corinthians 16. House–keeping. The Necessities of Life.

Key Notes: An international gift of money to support the Jerusalem Church. Nine words to enrich our understanding of giving. Priscilla and Aquilla. The blessing and the curse.

Next, let’s talk about money. Paul comes down from the sublime to the mundane, from victory over death to a church collection, in a breath. He is theoretical and yet totally practical. His head is in the Heavenlies; his feet are on the ground.

16:1–4 “Now concerning the collection.” “Now concerning” has introduced several previous topics that the Corinthians enquired about such as marriage and celibacy (7:1);  food offered to idols (8:1); and speaking in tongues (12:1). The Corinthians sent a letter apparently by Stephanas and others to Paul at Ephesus. 16:17

The offering made by Gentile churches was to assist the Mother Church in Jerusalem. It was probably the second international offering. The initial one was requested by the Jerusalem church (Gal.2:10) when a famine hit the region. (Acts.11:27–30). Paul considered it a moral obligation, a debt owed by Gentiles to Jerusalem. (Rom.15:27). He may have also been motivated by his previous persecution of the church.

This is not the last word to the Corinthians on this gift. In II Corinthians, Paul spends most of chapter 8 and 9 talking about this offering, suggesting that the Corinthians were reluctant givers, in contrast to the Macedonians. Must we add stinginess or financial lassitude to their other non-virtues?

Money for God’s purposes should be given in an orderly, regular fashion according to income. Paul does not want crisis-giving after he arrives. Crisis-giving is not good stewardship. It is now 55–57AD and the churches are meeting on Sunday regularly. When the offering was complete, he would go with those bonded to deliver the money. He did get to Jerusalem with the gift, intent on delivering it when he was arrested. Acts.24:17

One commentator says this was the first large-scale, international offering ever made. This gift of the Gentile churches to the Jewish church in Jerusalem was so important that Paul gives us no less than nine Greek words to describe it. He has an big emotional investment in giving and this gift in particular. Paul loves the people who will give it and those who will receive it. He will give us many words for donating money.

We use a variety of   words for things that are important to us—like cars and drinking and money---- as Eskimos have many words for snow—
Cars: heap, junker, tank, boat, bus, etc.
Drinking: booze, sauce, fizz, tippler, smashed, etc.
Money: boodle, cash, bucks, green-backs, dough, Jeffersons--

Paul uses nine words for giving, mostly in II Corinthians:
*Logia (16:1, 2). It is a rare word in classics, nowhere else in Scripture (from Gr. "lego", to speak), here translated “a collection” for the saints. A gift, however small,  speaks: " We care about you."

*Charis. (16:3; IICor.8:4)  Grace, gift, charm, delight. {Our English word “charisma" comes from it.}
 A gift is a delight to the giver and the receiver.

*Koinonia. (IICor.8:4,8,13). Fellowship, communion, sharing.
A gift expresses fellowship, a sharing in the ministry.

*Diakonia. (16:14;IICor.8:4; 9:1,12,13). Service, being a servant. {Engl. “deacon”}.
Our money gift is a substitute for our labor.

*Hadrotes (IICor.8:20). Fullness, abundance, an abundance--entrusted to Paul.

*Eulogia (IICor.9:5). A blessing, celebration, praise. {Engl. “eulogy”.}
A gift is a blessing, honoring the person or group.

*Leitourgia. (IICor.9:12). The public service of a Greek citizen paying public expenses of his city: training a chorus for a drama, outfitting a warship, or paving a street.. {Engl. “liturgy”— an act of worship}. This gift is a public service and an act of worship to God.

*Eleemosune. (Acts.24;17) Alms, pity, charity, compassion. {Engl. “eleemosynary" = charitable}
Public giving to a food-bank for instance, is called "charity".

*Prosphora. (Acts24:17) Bringing an offering, making a sacrifice.
Giving is a sacrifice.

These nine Greek words are found in studies by Barclay. (The Letters to the Corinthians. W.Barclay. Westminster,’75; p.163–165).

In this chapter, five areas of the civilized world where the Gospel has already gone are mentioned. It is only a partial list, but it is important to know the geography.
*Achaia is southern Greece: the cities are Corinth and Athens.
*Macedonia is northern Greece: the cities are Philippi, Thessalonica, and Berea.
*Asia is western Turkey; the cities are Ephesus, Colossae and later, the seven churches of Asia in Revelation 1–3.
*Galatia is central Turkey; the cities are Antioch, Derbe, Lystra and Iconium.
*Jerusalem is in Palestine.
Plainly the church is an international church and must be thought of in that way. The reaction of African Anglican bishops to moral decisions of the American Anglican church is a good example of how modern churches influence each other. All of these churches and more are Paul’s personal concern.

16:5–12 Paul is at Ephesus and will stay until Spring (Pentecost). He has had a fruitful ministry there over a two year span. Four events at Ephesus are mentioned in Acts.

*He baptized a dozen of John’s disciples. Acts’:1–7
*He was forced out of the synagogue after three months and taught in the Hall of Tyrannus for two years. Acts.19:8–10
*Miracles were done at his hand. He was in combat with evil spirits and magic. Books of magic were burned. Act’:11–20
*He had to leave after the riot of the silversmiths. (Acts’:21–41). I doubt that  this the time when he was fighting with beasts (ICor.15:32), since he did not enter the arena. Was he in combat with evil spirits?

He  is beginning his third missionary journey but his itinerary is not yet clear (“perhaps”, “I intend” “I hope”). Later the Corinthians will complain that he was  vacillating. IICor.1:17

Timothy is coming, as previously mentioned (4:17) and must not be despised. He later told Timothy “Let no one despise your youth but be an example to the believers….” (ITim.4:12). Timothy was still young and vulnerable.

He encouraged Apollos to visit Corinth, but he was reluctant. He had been to Corinth once before. (Acts.‘:17). Perhaps he did not want to be embroiled in the controversy about whether he or Paul or Peter or Christ was the greatest. ICor.1:12

16:13–14 Be watchful. Stand firm in faith. Be courageous. Be strong. Let everything be done in love.

The household of Stephanas were the first converts in Achaia and were devoted to service of the church. {Epaenetus was the first convert in  Asia. (Rom.16:5). Lydia was the first convert in Macedonia. (Acts 16:14)}  The Corinthians should submit to Stephanus and other workers. They visited Paul in Ephesus and refreshed his spirit.

16:19–20 Aquila and Priscilla were an outstanding couple.
They met Paul in Corinth after they had been expelled from Rome by Claudius. They worked there with Paul making tents. (Acts.18:1–4) and went with Paul to Ephesus. Acts‘:18–19
 In Ephesus they instructed Apollos fully in Christian truth. Acts‘:24-
They were in Rome again when Paul wrote to the Romans (Rom. 16:3) and Paul said they risked their necks for him. They had a house church there. All the Gentile churches owed them a vote of thanks.
Apparently they were back in Ephesus at the end of Paul’s life. IITim.4:19
They were industrious, flexible, apt to teach, knowledgeable, courageous and hospitable, the best NT couple we know about.

“Greet one another with a holy kiss.”  When men and women sat on opposite sides of the aisle, sexual overtones were less likely. For various reasons, this custom was abandoned. We shake hands, sometimes hug.

16:21 Paul signs off. Sosthenes was probably coauthor and the writing secretary. The idea that letters could have been composed by someone other than the stated author (pseudepigraphica) would have been scandalous to the NT writers although what we call "ghost-writing" was accepted in a later century.

16:22 Paul’s last word is weighty. If anyone has no love for the Lord, let him be accursed (anathema). He is not speaking to the Gentile world but to the church. One who does not love Christ is devoted to destruction. The next word is Aramaic: maranatha: "Our Lord come". Anathema maranatha. The curse and the blessing are given back to back.

Grace from Christ. Love from Paul. Grace and love to you all.

Love Christ. “Even so, come, Lord Jesus”. (Rev.22:20).