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A. (:1) Consistent Directions for Support Spread Across All Churches – One Pattern

“Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I directed the churches of Galatia, so do you also.”

Barnes: The use of the article here shows that he had mentioned it to them before, and that it was a subject which they would readily understand. It was not new to them, but it was needful only to give some instructions in regard to the manner in which it should be done, and not in regard to the occasion for the collection, or the duty of making it, Accordingly, all his instructions relate simply to the manner in which the collection should be made.

B. (:2) Consistent Discipline of Orderly Collection – One Practice

1. Priority of Giving – Repeated Each Week

“On the first day of every week”

Christians by this time had begun to meet on Sunday every week

2. Participation by Everyone – No Exceptions

“each one of you”

3. Purposeful Savings – Protected Gift

“is to put aside and save”

Stedman: He is referring to the fact that, in that culture, people got paid every day. They were to go home and put aside, in the sugar bowl, each day a certain amount of money so that on Sunday they would have a larger amount to bring to the services, and contribute to the needs of others. Now the principle, of course, is that they had an objective they had determined upon. They were not merely giving to nothing or everything, but they had determined that they would have a part in a specific need and they were giving regularly to meet that need.

4. Proportional Giving – Expectation of God’s Favor

“as he may prosper”

Stedman: Nowhere in the New Testament do you find tithing taught or laid upon Christians. But proportionate giving is, for God does not give us wealth in order to lavish it in abundant measure upon ourselves but that we might share it more abundantly with those who have pressing needs. If this simple principle were thoroughly grasped, all the needs of Christendom would be abundantly met by those who give as God has prospered them.

Zeisler: If we recognize that it is God who has been responsible for the degree of prosperity which we have, and if we are grateful for that, then our response ought to be proportional to what he has bestowed upon us. Jesus declared that the widow who gave two copper coins had contributed much more in proportion to the rich and prosperous who stood about congratulating themselves for their generosity. This passage does not give any absolute percentages or amounts here. Christians should give, says the apostle, as God has prospered them. My recommendation is that not only should the absolute amount of giving go up as we grow more prosperous over the years but the percentage ought to go up, too. The government operates that way. The more you make, the higher tax bracket you find yourself in. But the apostle’s directions are simple: every week, having thoughtfully determined the amount, each one should give, as he may prosper.

5. Unpressured Giving – not based on trying to impress the Apostle Paul

“so that no collections be made when I come”

Zeisler: There should be no tear-jerking appeals, no threats, power plays or stern lecturing or thundering from the pulpit.

Deffinbaugh: Think about it for a moment. What is the most difficult sales pitch to reject? It is the face-to-face presentation of someone we know and love. We find it a little easier to say no on the phone, and it is quite easy to throw a sales-oriented letter into the trash. Paul wrote a letter so they would not have to give when he arrived and saw them face-to-face. Paul really wanted their decision to give to be divinely prompted, rather than prompted by human persuasion. Paul set aside the means and methods which the world knows to work well in fund-raising.

C. (:3-4) Careful Delivery of the Funds to Jerusalem – One Presentation – Responsible Stewardship and Fiscal Accountability

1. (:3) Approved Delegates Dispatched with the Relief Funds

“When I arrive, whomever you may approve, I will send them with letters to carry your gift to Jerusalem”

No administrative fees subtracted from these gifts; 100% given to the need

2. (:4) Accompanying Paul if Appropriate

“and if it is fitting for me to go also, they will go with me.”



A. (:5-9) Paul’s Personal Intentions – Wants to Spend Time with Them

1. (:5) Plans to Visit Believers at Corinth after going through Macedonia

“But I will come to you after I go through Macedonia, for I am going through Macedonia.”

Paul made very definite plans; purposeful, strategic

2. (:6-7) Wants to Stay for Extended Time

“and perhaps I will stay with you, or even spend the winter, so that you may send me on my way wherever I may go. For I do not wish to see you now just in passing; for I hope to remain with you for some time, if the Lord permits.”

Paul submitted to the Lord’s providential will; was not presumptuous;

Grateful for the support and encouragement of the brethren

Deffinbaugh: Paul did not claim to have received any direct divine guidance which communicated God’s travel plans for his next visit to Corinth. The supernatural guidance Paul occasionally received was not normative. Paul’s words here do not indicate any sense of need for such guidance on his part or any distress that such guidance was not given. Paul speaks as though he is confident that he will know when and how to reach Corinth when it is necessary.

3. (:8-9) Ministering Effectively in Ephesus until Pentecost

“But I will remain in Ephesus until Pentecost; for a wide door for effective service has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.”

Open doors for ministry do not mean easy sailing

We need to be opportunistic to take advantage of potential for effective service

Stedman: [Acts 19:9-10] — Paul himself was teaching in a rented hall, the hall of Tyrannus, where he taught, some manuscripts say, five hours a day, six days a week. Can you imagine the church that must have crowded and jammed into that hall to hear this mighty apostle? It was an urban church in the heart of Ephesus, and it sent greetings together with all the spin-off churches that had come out of that remarkable ministry throughout the province.

Stedman: We do not know how far in advance that would be, but there is a reason why he chose Pentecost. As you read some of the literature of that day, you discover that Pentecost, which comes 50 days after the Passover time, is the time when shipping resumed in the Aegean Sea. During the winter months it was impossible for these frail little boats to survive in the great storms that would sweep through the Mediterranean, but by Pentecost the weather had calmed and shipping would resume. Paul is simply taking that into account, and he is basing his plans on that fact. This in line with the normal circumstances of life.

Stedman: Principles about Ministry Planning

– (:5) Make immediate short range goals

– (:6) Make flexible commitments

– (:6) Trust God to provide the necessary funds as you pursue the ministry; not all up front —

If we are really convinced that there is a need for something, God has promised to supply our needs, therefore we do not have to have everything in hand before we start. We venture on the power and the provision of God.

– (:8) Take into account the normal circumstances of life

– (:9) Look for a combination of a wide door and many adversaries = effective ministry

B. (:10-11) Timothy’s Travels – Needs Encouragement in the Ministry

1. (:10) Timothy Deserves Good Treatment at Corinth

a. Expectation of Visiting Corinth

“Now if Timothy comes”

b. Tendency to be Fearful

“see that he is with you without cause to be afraid”

Stedman: But I do not think it was timidity so much as it was really a temperament that was quiet and unassuming and did not force its way to the front.

c. Fully Engaged in Christian Ministry

“for he is doing the Lord’s work, as I also am”

2. (:11) Paul Wants Timothy Returned to Him

a. Respect and Support Him in His Ministry

1) Negatively

“So let no one despise him”

2) Positively

“but send him on his way in peace”

b. Return Him to Paul in a Timely Fashion

“so that he may come to me; for I expect him with the brethren.”

C. (:12) Encouragement to Apollos to Visit

“But concerning Apollos our brother, I encouraged him greatly to come to you with the brethren; and it was not at all his desire to come now, but he will come when he has opportunity.”

Stedman: That is a most remarkable verse, especially in view of the attitude many today have that the apostles were, in a sense, “generals” in the army of the Lord, sending out people, ordering them here or there, and commanding these younger Christians to go at their beck and call, and so forth. But you do not find that here. This verse indicates that Paul does not command Apollos at all; he has no authority over him. He urges him, rather. In several places in the New Testament we are reminded by the apostle that he was not “lord” over anybody else.

Lording it over the brethren is, in my judgment, one of the great curses of the church today. Some men assume, for instance, that the office of pastor gives them an authority over other people. I believe that a redefining from the Bible of the issue of authority is going to be one of the hottest issues the church will face in the next decade. Having just come from Southern Baptist country, I was very much confronted with this last week, and was challenged on it. Yet it was interesting to see how the word of the Scripture, in turn, shook men who had long assumed that they had an authority that the Word really did not give them. This is a good verse in support of that. . .

I find Christians everywhere under the authority of men who seem to be dictators — much like Diotrephes, whom John mentions in one of his letters, who loved to have the pre-eminence among them {cf, 3 Jn 1:9}. I am becoming much more bold in my speaking along this line, because of the widespread nature of this problem. I have to tell congregations at times that:

– No pastor has the right to tell them what they can do with their spiritual gifts.

– No pastor has the right to tell you that you cannot have a meeting in your home and teach the Word of God to whoever will come and listen.

Now you should listen to him as a wise brother who understands the nature of truth, perhaps, and can give you great suggestions. But no pastor ever, anywhere, has the right to tell you that you yourself cannot follow the leading of the Lord as to the ministry that you have. Paul makes that clear in this passage.



A. (:13-14) 5 Closing Commands:

1. Be Vigilant — “Be on the alert” 1 Pt. 5:8

Barnes: The term is frequently used in the New Testament, and the duty frequently enjoined, Matthew 24:41,42; 25:13; Mark 13:35; Luke 21:36; Acts 20:31; 1 Thessalonians 5:6; 2 Timothy 4:5. The sense here is, that they were to watch, or be vigilant, against all the evils of which he had admonished them–the evils of dissension, of erroneous doctrines, of disorder, of false teachers, etc. They were to watch lest their souls should be ruined, and their salvation endangered; lest the enemies of the truth and of holiness should steal silently upon them, and surprise them. They were to watch with the same vigilance that is required of a sentinel who guards a camp, lest an enemy should come suddenly upon them, and surprise the camp when the army was locked in sleep.

2. Be Steadfast — “stand firm in the faith” 2 Thess. 2:15

Barnes: Be firm in maintaining what you believe to be true, and in holding on to your personal confidence in God, notwithstanding all the arts, insinuations, and teachings of seducers and the friends of false doctrine.

3. Be Manly — “act like men” 1 Cor. 14:20

Barnes: It means, to render one manly or brave; to show one’s self a man; that is, not to be a coward, or timid, or alarmed at enemies, but to be bold and brave. We have a similar phrase in common use: “Be a man,” or “Show yourself a man;” that is, be not mean, or be not cowardly.

4. Be Strong — “be strong” Eph. 6:10

Adam Clarke: Put forth all the vigour and energy which God has given you in maintaining and propagating the truth, and your spiritual strength will increase by usage. The terms in this verse are all military: Watch ye, γρηγορειτε, watch, and be continually on your guard, lest you be surprised by your enemies; keep your scouts out, and all your sentinels at their posts, lest your enemies steal a march upon you. See that the place you are in be properly defended; and that each be alert to perform his duty.

Stand fast in the faith-στηκετεεντηπιστει. Keep in your ranks; do not be disorderly; be determined to keep your ranks unbroken; keep close together. On your unity your preservation depends; if the enemy succeed in breaking your ranks, and dividing one part of this sacred army from another, your rout will be inevitable.

Quit yourselves like men-ανδριζεσθε. When you are attacked, do not flinch; maintain your ground; resist; press forward; strike home; keep compact; conquer.

Be strong-κραταιουαθε. If one company or division be opposed by too great a force of the enemy, strengthen that division, and maintain your position; if an attack is to be made on any part or intrenchment of the foe, summon up all your courage, sustain each other; fear not, for fear will enervate you. Your cause is good; it is the faith, the religion of Jesus; he is your Captain in the field; and, should you even die in the contest, the victory is yours.

5. Capstone: Be Loving — “Let all that you do be done in love” 1 Pet. 4:8

B. (:15-16) Respect and Submission Due to Ministry Care Providers

“Now I urge you, brethren (you know the household of Stephanas, that they were the first fruits of Achaia, and that they have devoted themselves for ministry to the saints), that you also be in subjection to such men and to everyone who helps in the work and labors.”

Addicted to ministry of the saints; showing hospitality; supporting itinerant missionaries

Zeisler: It is an unvarying principle in the Christian life that service to others is what gives a man or woman the right to speak and to be an example to others. Paul makes no mention of wealth, social standing, personality, degrees, or to any natural ability or attribute. The only qualification is servant-heartedness; a heart given over to God in service to others. Those who have had a lifestyle of such service, who year in and year out seek ways to build up others and meet their needs, should be respected and followed.

Adam Clarke: That ye have due regard to them, and consider them as especial instruments in the hand of God for countenancing and carrying on his great work. The submission here recommended does not imply obedience, but kind and courteous demeanour. Kypke vindicates this sense of the word from Ephesians 5:21; 1 Peter 5:5.

C. (:17-18) Appreciation and Recognition Due to Sacrificial Encouragers

“I rejoice over the coming of Stephanas and Fortunatus and Achaicus, because they have supplied what was lacking on your part. For they have refreshed my spirit and yours. Therefore acknowledge such men.”

Deffinbaugh: Appreciation and respect are certainly due such men, but Paul seems to have more in mind. I believe that he is indicating to the church that these men should be formally recognized as leaders. It is the Holy Spirit who makes men elders (Acts 20:28), but it is the church which formally recognizes this divine appointment (compare Acts 13:1-3). Here is the kind of leadership the Corinthian church needs. Here is the kind of leadership every church needs, and it is our task to identify and recognize such men.


A. (:19-21) Final Greetings

1. From Churches of Asia

“The churches of Asia greet you.”

2. From Aquila and Prisca and their House Church

“Aquila and Prisca greet you heartily in the Lord, with the church that is in their house”

Zeisler: But the point I want to focus on is the fact that their home was always open. Paul lived and worked with them in Corinth. In Ephesus, they had a house church in their home. In Rome, they had another home church. They consistently invited others to come among them and see them interact in their own home. God works in unique ways in godly homes, among godly families. This is how change is wrought in society. It is not accomplished by massive, staged meetings addressed by captivating and eloquent speakers, but is brought about as mature Christian men and women invite non-Christians into their homes and give them opportunity to see a believing home go about the business of Christianity.

3. All the Brethren

“All the brethren greet you”

4. Mutual Greeting

“Greet one another with a holy kiss.”

5. Personal Greeting from Paul

“The greeting is in my own hand – Paul”

Stedman: This greeting is Paul’s way of authenticating his letters. From the letter to the Galatians, we know that he had the habit of taking the pen from the secretary and adding in his own handwriting a greeting to the people to whom he wrote. And since, as many feel, Paul was almost blind, he wrote with large letters, scrawled across the bottom of the manuscript, words like this: “I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand.”

B. (:22-24) Farewell and Benediction

1. Directed to False Professors of Faith or Apostates – A Curse – Gal. 1:9; Rom. 9:3

“If anyone does not love the Lord, he is to be accursed.”

[Adam Clarke applies this to the Jews based on 1 Cor. 12:3]

Guzik: In fact, anathema was the third of three levels of discipline among the ancient Jews. The first level was a simple separation or a man from the synagogue for thirty days. If one did not repent in the thirty days, he was under the second degree of discipline, giving him still an undefined time to repent, but warning him of the dire consequences to come. The third level was the anathema, and with that all hope of reconciliation and repentance was cut off. The man could never be reconciled to the synagogue, and was no longer accounted as a Jew at all.

2. Directed to the Lord

“Maranatha” – Our Lord is coming; Our Lord is at hand; Come, Lord Jesus

Word play here – similarity between accursed and Maranatha

We serve in light of our expectation and longing for the imminent return of Christ

Maclaren: his first clause is not an imprecation, nor any wish on the part of the Apostle, but is a solemn prophetic warning (acquiesced in by every righteous heart) of that which will certainly come. The significance of the whole may be gathered into one simple sentence—The coming of the Lord of Love is the destruction of the unloving.

3. Directed to Genuine Believers – Final Benediction

a. Divine Grace

“The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you.”

b. Brotherly Love

“My love be with you all in Christ Jesus.”