1 Corinthians 16
Synopsis: This passage presents the church as ONE community that is dispersed across various cities and territories. Key leaders like Paul, Timothy and Apollos traveled from place to place to evangelize, disciple, and encourage the church. The leaders at Corinth sought counsel from other mature Christians (e.g, Paul) to correct problems in their congregation. The compassion of distant churches for the persecuted saints in Jerusalem is illustrated by plans for an offering.
In more detail,
(vs 8 and19) Paul was in Ephesus with Priscilla and Aquila; they lead a house church. Recall from Acts 18 (earlier SOAP) that Paul he first sought their hospitality Corinth (Acts 18), discipled them, and recruited them as missionaries to Ephesus (Acts 18:19).
(v 15-16) Stephanus was the first convert at Corinth and has earned the right to leadership through faithful service to the church.
(vs 18) Stephanus, Fortunatus and Acaichus had come to Paul from Corinth. They are the likely source of information from the Corinthian church that Paul has answered in earlier parts of the letter. These men are described as “encouragers” who deserve recognition.
(vs 5-7) Paul wants to spend considerable time at Corinth in a future visit. His follow up ministry to them is a priority, especially given the serious problems & immaturity that Paul wrote about in earlier parts this letter.
(vs 1-4) Paul instructs the church in Corinth to save weekly for their intended gift to the Christians in Jerusalem.
(vs 11) Paul is expecting the arrival of other Christians (referred to as “the brothers”) at Ephesus and has been told they plan to travel onward to Corinth, likely returning with Stephanus, Fortunatus and Achaiucus to Corinth. Because it is inconvenient for Paul to leave Ephesus, he will send Timothy immediately, and he has wanted to send Apollos (v12), an evangelist with whom he obviously maintains a constructive relationship. (We met Apollos earlier in Acts 18).
(vs 13) Paul exhorts the church to walk in love, yet with firmness and “grown-up” strength, to correct the many problems that were reported to him.
a) Do I personally stand in solidarity, does Trinity Church stand in solidarity, with persecuted / distressed churches & leaders in other places? How is this solidarity expressed with prayer, ministries of encouragement and gifts of financial / material aid?
b) How could I participate in the broader ministries of Christ outside my own congregation – by going, by sending, by giving ?
c) Am I actively working for the maturity of the church by visiting, exhorting, praying for other individuals & churches that have spiritual needs? Do I love them enough – and love God enough – to care about their struggle?
d) Do I seek the counsel of proven servant-leaders to lead me to greater maturity? Does Trinity Church do that corporately? ( Yes, we do. )
a) In vs 12 Paul tells the church to be firm and grown up. Mature Christians pursue peace and unity by serving others with love, and are to firmly resist the childish ways centered in pleasure, pride, and personal power. There is a personal matter in which I am applying this principle to overcome temptation.
b) I know a missionary who is in pain, because his body has been broken down by difficult travel and hard physical labor as a “tentmaker”. He needs helpers and funds to complete a disciple’s dormitory on his property, and to run his side business so that he can focus on Bible translation, record broadcasts, and discipling regional leaders. Today’s passage challenged me to send him some money.
Jesus of Nazareth, Savior, Lord - center my spirit in you, and strengthen me to pursue love, peace, and unity rather than my own personal pleasure in this matter.
Heavenly Father, thank you for building up the church in Brother B’s region through your work in him. Now as he is burdened by pain, please reduce that pain and strengthen him so he can complete the tasks you are calling Him to do. Additionally, please provide laborers and funds to complete all repairs and maintenance for the disciple’s house and Brother B’s business.
Posted on Thu, April 16, 2015
by joel king