1 Corinthians 16:3 MEANING

1 Corinthians 16:3
(3) Whomsoever ye shall approve by your letters.--Better, whomsoever ye shall approve, them will I send by letters to bring your gifts to Jerusalem. The Apostle had not made up his mind finally whether he would take the gift himself or send it by messengers, whom he would accredit with letters, to the Church at Jerusalem. He would probably be influenced by the amount collected, and by the urgency, or otherwise, of the needs of those at Jerusalem at the time. The Apostle was, in one sense, the humblest of men; but he valued highly the dignity of his apostolic office, and if but a very small sum were ready for the Church at Jerusalem, he would have felt it to be beneath the dignity of his office, though not of himself, to be the bearer of such an offering. The course finally adopted was that the Apostle went himself, and the selected brethren with him (Acts 21:15).

Verse 3. - Whomsoever ye shall approve by your letters, them will I send. It is difficult to see why the translators rendered the clause thus, unless they disliked to face the certainty that the apostle must have written many letters which are no longer extant. The true rendering is, Whomsoever ye approve, these I will send with letters. The letters would be letters of introduction or commendation (Acts 18:27; Romans 16:1; 2 Corinthians 3:1) to the apostles at Jerusalem. Your liberality; literally, your grace or favour; i.e. the token of your voluntary affection.

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.And when I come,.... To Corinth, as he intended very quickly:

whomsoever you shall approve by your letters; that is, such persons as this church should approve, and choose, and fix upon as proper persons to go with their collection; which approbation and choice they would signify by letters to the church, and principal men of it in Jerusalem, giving them a character as men of probity and faithfulness:

them will I send. The Syriac, Arabic, and Ethiopic versions join the phrase, "by letters", to this clause; according to which reading the sense is, such as the church should choose for this service, the apostle would send with letters of commendation from him, to the elders and church at Jerusalem, recommending them as brethren in the Lord, and to be had in respect, and treated in a Christian manner by them; to which their being messengers from such a church, and having letters from so great an apostle; besides, the business they should come about would entitle them to, which was

to bring your liberality, or "grace",

unto Jerusalem; meaning the money collected for the poor saints there; which he calls grace, because it was owing to the goodness of God, that they were in a capacity to contribute to others, and to the grace of God that they had a heart to do it; and because it was in a free and gracious manner, and in the exercise of grace, of faith in Christ, and love to the saints, that they did it, and with a view to the glory of the grace of God, of which this was a fruit and evidence.

Courtesy of Open Bible