1 Corinthians 16:1 MEANING

1 Corinthians 16:1

(1) Now concerning the collection for the saints.--This chapter deals briefly with the following subjects:--

1 Corinthians 16:1-4. The collection for the poor at Jerusalem.

1 Corinthians 16:5-9. The Apostle's prospective arrangement, as to his journey.

1 Corinthians 16:10-18. Commendation of various individuals.

1 Corinthians 16:19-20. The salutation of the Church.

1 Corinthians 16:21-24. The salutation of Paul himself.

From the fact of a necessity existing for a collection for the poor Christians at Jerusalem, it is clear that the community of goods (see Acts 2:44) which had at the beginning been established in that Church had not proved successful. Christianity was largely recruited from the lower classes, especially in Jerusalem (James 2:6), and a common fund would not long have flourished with so few contributors and such a multitude of sharers. Moreover, the many who were shut up in prison had perhaps by this time been released in abject poverty, and would naturally be the subject of anxious solicitation to one who was identical with "persecuting Saul," who "had given his voice against them," and against others now dead. (See Acts 26:10.) It is to be noticed that the Apostle does not speak of them as "the poor," but as "saints." That was the true ground of their claim upon their brethren.

As I have given order to the churches of Galatia.--Better, As I gave order to the churches of Galatia. The order was definitely given by the Apostle in person when visiting these churches (Acts 18:23). It does not occur in his Epistle to that Church. On this passage Bengel's Note is worth quoting--"He proposes the Galatians as an example to the Corinthians, the Corinthians to the Macedonians, and the Corinthians and Macedonians to the Romans (2 Corinthians 9:2; Romans 15:26). Great is the power of examples."

Verses 1-18. - Directions and arrangements. Verse 1. - Now concerning the collection for the saints. "The saints" are here the poor Christians at Jerusalem (Romans 15:26). The subject weighed much on St. Paul's mind. First, there was real need for their charity, for at Jerusalem there was as sharp a contrast between the lots of the rich and poor as there is in London, and the "poor saints," being the poorest of the poor (James 2:5), must have often been in deep distress. Not many years before this time, in the famine of Claudius, (Acts 11:27-30), Queen Helena of Adiabene had kept the paupers of Jerusalem alive by importing cargoes of dried grapes and figs. Besides the periodical famines, the political troubles of Judaea had recently increased the general distress. Secondly, the tender heart of St. Paul was keenly alive to this distress. Thirdly, it was the only way in which the Gentile Churches could show their gratitude to the mother Church. Lastly, the Apostle St. Paul had solemnly promised the apostles at Jerusalem that he would remember the poor (Galatians 2:10). Hence he frequently alludes to this collection (2 Corinthians 8, 9 Romans 15:26; Acts 24:17, etc.). The enthusiastic communism of the earliest Christian society in Jerusalem had soon ceased, being, as all experience proves, an impossible experiment under the conditions which regulate all human life, and it may have aggravated the chronic distress. As I have given order; rather, as I arranged. To the Churches of Galatia. Not in his extant letter to the Galatians, but either in a visit three years before this time (Acts 18:28), or by letter. It appears from 2 Corinthians 8:10 that St. Paul had already asked for the contributions of the Corinthians. "To the Corinthians he proposes the example of the Galatians; to the Macedonians the example of the Corinthians; to the Romans that of the Macedonians and Corinthians. Great is the power of example" (Bengel). Even so do ye. The aorist implies that they should do it at once.

16:1-9 The good examples of other Christians and churches should rouse us. It is good to lay up in store for good uses. Those who are rich in this world, should be rich in good works, 1Ti 6:17,18. The diligent hand will not make rich, without the Divine blessing, Pr 10:4,22. And what more proper to stir us up to charity to the people and children of God, than to look at all we have as his gift? Works of mercy are real fruits of true love to God, and are therefore proper services on his own day. Ministers are doing their proper business, when putting forward, or helping works of charity. The heart of a Christian minister must be towards the people among whom he has laboured long, and with success. All our purposes must be made with submission to the Divine providence, Jas 4:15. Adversaries and opposition do not break the spirits of faithful and successful ministers, but warm their zeal, and inspire them with fresh courage. A faithful minister is more discouraged by the hardness of his hearers' hearts, and the backslidings of professors, than by the enemies' attempts.Now concerning the collection for the saints,.... Not at Corinth, but at Jerusalem, as appears from 1 Corinthians 16:3 for the poor saints there, who were reduced to poverty, either through the spoiling of their goods by their persecuting countrymen; or through the selling of their possessions, and putting their substance into one common stock, which was now exhausted, partly by their living upon it, and partly by the expending of it for the enlargement of the interest of Christ, and the spread of his Gospel among the Gentiles; so that it was but fit and reasonable that they should assist them in their necessitous circumstances: wherefore the apostle, after he had gone through the various subjects he thought fit to write upon, relating both to doctrine and practice, proceeds to give some orders, directions, and instructions, concerning this matter.

As I have given orders to the churches of Galatia, so also do ye. The churches of Galatia were those he wrote an epistle to, which bears their name, and in which he takes notice of the request of the apostles at Jerusalem to him, that he would remember the poor as he travelled through the Gentile countries, and which, no doubt, he mentions, as a hint unto them to collect for them. Galatians 2:10 though the order he here speaks of was doubtless given them when he passed through the region of Galatia, Acts 16:6. This he observes by way of example to the church at Corinth, and to show them, that what he ordered them was no other than what he enjoined other churches, and which they were ready to come into, as these in Galatia, and also in Macedonia; and designs this as a spur unto them, that if the Galatians, who were a more rude and uncultivated people, being now called by grace, were ready to such a good work, they who were a more polite people, and used to civility, humanity, and tenderness, would not be backward to it.

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