1 Corinthians 16
1. Now I will write about the collection of money for God’s people. Do the same thing that I told the Galatian churches to do:
At least 5000 Christians in Jerusalem had a lot of trouble. They were being treated badly by the Jews, and many could not find a job, and there was a famine and so there was not enough food. Acts 11:28, Acts 4:4
2. On the first day of every week, each one of you should put aside as much money as you can from what you are blessed with. You should save it up, so that you will not have to collect money after I come.
Some teachers use this verse to say that everybody needs to give God money every week. We do not build our teaching on one verse in the Bible. We do not live in Old Testament days when God was teaching the people how to support the ministry. The Holy Spirit teaches us now, so we do not support the ministry because we have to but because we want to! We do not think that only a certain percent is set aside for the Lord but we know that 100% of all we have belongs to God.
So Paul says, “Put aside some gift from what God has blessed you with.” God will bless you so that you will be able to give something. You do not give something to make God have to bless you.
Too many churches now are teaching that God owes you something when you give. This is like Simon trying to buy the Holy Spirit. These churches say that if you give them your “seed” money. God will make it grow and you will have a big blessing.
If God blesses you with something extra and He shows you a need, then He may be leading you to pass it on to someone else. If He does not bless you with something extra and you have nothing to give then do not worry about it.
Many times God shows the direction He wants to go by giving or holding back money. If God gives you something extra, then maybe it is not yours to keep, but He is trusting you to pass it on.
Do not say to your neighbor, “Go, and come back, and tomorrow I will give it,” When you have it with you. Proverbs 3:28
It is accepted according to what a person has, not according to what he does not have. 2 Corinthians 8:12
3. When I arrive, I will send some men to take your gift to Jerusalem. These will be men who you all agree should go. I will send them with letters of introduction.
It is a good idea to have more than one person handling money in the ministry. This shows that we are surrendered to each other and it protects us from people accusing us of doing something wrong with God’s money.
4. If it seems good for me to go also, these men will go along with me.
When you have God’s peace you do not worry when God changes your schedule because He needs you to do something for Him.
You ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.” James 4:15
5 – 7
I plan to go through Macedonia. So I will come to you after I go through there. Maybe I will stay with you for a time. I might even stay all winter. Then you can help me on my trip, wherever I go. I do not want to come to see you now, because I would have to leave to go other places. I hope to stay a longer time with you if the Lord allows it.
Paul also talked about this plan in 2 Corinthians 1:16. He stayed in Corinth three months (Acts 20:2).
8. But I will stay at Ephesus until Pentecost [in June].
This is how we know that Paul wrote this letter from Ephesus.
9. I will stay, because an open door for a great and growing work has been given to me now. And there are many people working against me.
Paul shows us that when God opens a door for ministry there is no reason for us to run away from our enemies. You can expect the devil to try to pay you back when you take away something that used to belong to him.
10 – 11
Timothy might come to you. Try to make him feel comfortable with you. He is working for the Lord just as I am. So none of you should refuse to accept Timothy. Help him on his trip in peace, so that he can come back to me. I am expecting him to come back with the brothers.
This letter got there before Timothy. Timothy had a soft personality and the Corinthians did not listen to him. We see later that Paul had to send Titus.
1 Timothy 4:12, 2 Corinthians 8:16 – 17
12. Now about our brother Apollos: I strongly encouraged him to visit you with the other brothers. But he was sure that he did not want to go now. But when he has the opportunity, he will go to you.
Apollos was tired of the fighting in this church. He went to Ephesus to be with Paul which shows they were not enemies even though the devil tried to make trouble between them. 1 Corinthians 1:12
13 – 14
Be careful. Continue strong in the faith. Have courage, and be strong. Do everything in love.
Paul is saying, “With all the arguments going on in the church right now, act like adults and do not join those who are acting like babies.”
15 – 16
You know that the family of Stephanas were the first believers in southern Greece. They are addicted to the service of God’s people. I ask you, brothers,
to follow the leading of people like these and anyone else who works and serves with them.
Paul wants them to follow good Christian leaders and not listen to men who were trying to divide the church. Being addicted means that this family just felt like they had to keep serving others. They loved helping others so much that they could not stop themselves. God wants us to be like this.
17 – 18
I am happy that Stephanas, Fortunatus, and Achaicus have come. You are not here, but they have filled your place. They have given rest to my spirit and to yours. You should recognize the value of men like these.
These men brought a letter from Corinth to Paul. It is a good idea to keep the door open when you disagree with someone. Their letter shows that they were not completely turned against Paul.
He who refreshes will be refreshed himself. Proverbs 11:25
19. The churches in the country of Asia send greetings to you. Aquila and Priscilla greet you in the Lord. Also the church that meets in their house greets you.
Aquila and Priscilla worked with Paul for many years. He probably stayed at their house in Ephesus. They may have saved Paul’s life turning during the riot in Ephesus (Romans 16:4).
20. All the brothers here send greetings. Give each other a holy kiss when you meet.
American English would say, “Kiss and make up and stop arguing.”
21. I am Paul, and I am writing this greeting with my own hand.
Here is my greeting in my own handwriting—Paul. I do this in all my letters to prove they are from me. 2 Thessalonians 3:17
22 – 24
If anyone does not [respect] the Lord, then let him be separated from God.
Come, O Lord! The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you. My love be with all of you in Christ Jesus.
Paul is saying, I love all of you, even the ones who are against me!“