INTERNET BIBLE STUDIES I Corinthians Lesson 16

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I Cor. Chapter 16

Memory verses for this week:   1 Pet 5:6  Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:

Introduction:     Last week in Chapter 15, Paul not only explained what the resurrection meant, but went on to explain how he had not declined to preach the Gospel and tell of the resurrection at every opportunity.   We go into the last chapter of I Corinthians today as we begin with the topic of finances in the church. 

I.                    Church Finance

1 Cor 16:1  Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye.

1 Cor 16:2  Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.

The people of the church in Jerusalem were really struggling at this time.  Many had lost their jobs as persecution had come upon the church, but they did not give up but held strong to their convictions.   Paul tells these here in Corinth that they, too, need to give to the saints there in Jerusalem.  When you and I here of someone in need, we can either respond and receive a blessing from the Lord, or we can turn a deaf ear and miss out on a golden opportunity.   The bible commands that we do good to all men, especially our fellow Christian brothers and sisters.

Gal 6:10  As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.

Verse 2 teaches us that on each Sunday, we are to bring our tithes and offerings into the church as God has blessed us during the past week.  Some people like to store up their gifts and give to special situations.  This might be commendable in certain ways, but when it comes to our tithes, I’m confident God is pleased when we bring these offerings to our local church.  If you support other works besides your local church, you certainly should never use your tithes for this purpose.   A tithe was at least 10 percent of what you receive.   When we give through our church, the church gets the honor and glory.   God has promised that Christ would receive honor and glory through the church age without end.

Eph 3:21  Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.

They were commanded to bring forth as they had been prospered.  We are promised that God has enough to prosper every man in this world.

Psa 24:1  A Psalm of David. The earth is the LORD'S, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.

Much is said in the bible concerning the first day of the week.  It was on the first day after the Sabbath that the priest offered the first fruits of the land.

Lev 23:11  And he shall wave the sheaf before the LORD, to be accepted for you: on the morrow after the sabbath the priest shall wave it.

Lev 23:12  And ye shall offer that day when ye wave the sheaf an he lamb without blemish of the first year for a burnt offering unto the LORD. 

A first fruit was a type of the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ.  

In John Chapter 12, A seed had been planted and came forth producing much fruit.  Jesus refers to His own death and resurrection as a corn of wheat falling into the ground and dieing.

John 12:23  And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified.

John 12:24  Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. 

J. Vernon McGee in his commentary on I Corinthians had this to say about the first two verses: 

Paul begins this chapter by talking about taking up an offering! You would think that after Paul had discussed the Resurrection, that most glorious doctrine of the Christian faith, he would say, “Brethren, we are up in the heavenlies, so let’s just stay up in the clouds.” Instead, all of a sudden it seems like he has pulled out the plug. We find that we have just gone down to the very bottom. He is talking about a collection of money for the poor saints in Jerusalem.

Some pious folk say, “You shouldn’t talk about a collection—that is a material matter. You should talk only of spiritual things.” Generally those people don’t want it talked about because the subject is a little bit embarrassing for them. Paul is going to lay out a method for Christian giving.

Now I hope you have your Bible open and that you will watch very carefully because I am not going to read it correctly. “On the Sabbath day let every one of you give tithes and offerings so that there will not be an offering when I come. It may be that when I get there we will have a special offering or probably a retiring offering.” Somebody will say, “You surely didn’t read it like it is.” No, I didn’t. But I read it the way it is often practiced today.

Now let us read it the way Paul wrote it. 

Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come [1 Cor. 16:2].

“Upon the first day of the week.” If you don’t meet on the first day of the week to worship God, then you will want to meet on that day to make your offering, which is a part of worship. That is ridiculous, of course. When he says to bring your offering on the first day of the week, this was the day on which the church came together to remember the Lord Jesus in His death and His resurrection. He rose on the first day of the week, which is Sunday, not the Sabbath day.

“Let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him.” He says nothing about tithes and offerings. They were to put aside their offerings as God had prospered them.  [1] 

II.                  Paul’s Plans Prior to coming to Corinth

1 Cor 16:3  And when I come, whomsoever ye shall approve by your letters, them will I send to bring your liberality unto Jerusalem.

1 Cor 16:4  And if it be meet that I go also, they shall go with me.

It says that the church was to choose who was to take this offering to the church there in Jerusalem.  Every local church should be autonomous and take care of their own business.   The only head of the church should be Jesus Christ.

Every member of the church was to take part in this giving to the saints there in Jerusalem.  Just think of what could be accomplished in the work of the Lord if every Christian took an active part in giving.   How we spend the money in our pocket speaks a lot about the true feelings we have in our heart.   If we are greedy and tight with our money, we probably are not walking in the Spirit the way God would have us to walk.  Don’t misunderstand, God wants you first and foremost, even if you can not for some reason give to the church.  But a liberal heart in giving is an honor and helps the work of the Lord to go forth. 

2 Cor 9:7  Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.

2 Cor 9:8  And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:

1 Cor 16:5  Now I will come unto you, when I shall pass through Macedonia: for I do pass through Macedonia.

1 Cor 16:6  And it may be that I will abide, yea, and winter with you, that ye may bring me on my journey whithersoever I go.

1 Cor 16:7  For I will not see you now by the way; but I trust to tarry a while with you, if the Lord permit. 

If you remember our earlier studies, Paul had intended to go through Macedonia before coming to Corinth.  Paul now planned to spend the winter with them if the Lord allowed it.    It is important that we always acknowledge that what we do is truly in God’s hands.  If HE wills, we will do this or that. 

James 4:13  Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain:

James 4:14  Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.

James 4:15  For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that. 

1 Cor 16:8  But I will tarry at Ephesus until Pentecost.

1 Cor 16:9  For a great door and effectual is opened unto me, and there are many adversaries. 

Paul, in the Lord’s Will, planned if possible to stay in Ephesus until Pentecost.  Pentecost of course was the feast of the Jews.  It was 50 days after the passover feast. 

Lev 23:15  And ye shall count unto you from the morrow after the sabbath, from the day that ye brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven sabbaths shall be complete:

Lev 23:16  Even unto the morrow after the seventh sabbath shall ye number fifty days; and ye shall offer a new meat offering unto the LORD. 

Paul said in verse 9 that a great door of opportunity had been opened unto him.  

Jesus is the one who is able to open us doors and he is the one who can shut the door. 

Rev 3:8  I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name.

Paul had his adversaries on every hand.  We too, when we try to accomplish a work for the Lord, will find those against us.  But in that day, we need to look to God for our strength.   When we are being led in the Spirit and are truly in God’s Will, we are in the majority even if it us just ourselves and God. 

III.                Instructions Concerning Timothy and Apollos 

1 Cor 16:10  Now if Timotheus come, see that he may be with you without fear: for he worketh the work of the Lord, as I also do.

1 Cor 16:11  Let no man therefore despise him: but conduct him forth in peace, that he may come unto me: for I look for him with the brethren. 

We find that Timothy was doing the same work as Paul.  Timothy was a young pastor at this time, and Paul wanted the people to treat him in such a way that he could preach without the fear of man.  No pastor can be totally effective in preaching God’s word when he has people against him in the church.   God wants all of us to be on the same page and doing the same thing, which is uplifting Jesus Christ and preaching the Gospel.  When our minds are all the minds of Christ, there will be tranquility and peace.  Paul warns them that no one should despise Timothy.   Sometimes, seasoned Christians do not want to listen to the preaching and teachings of a younger man.  If God has placed this man in the ministry, we need to listen and learn from what he is saying.   I believe that God will bless us when we get behind young men and support them with our encouragement and prayers.  This is also true of our young people in the church.  They, also, need our support and affirmation. 

1 Tim 4:12  Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.

1 Tim 4:13  Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.

1 Tim 4:14  Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.

1 Tim 4:15  Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all.

1 Tim 4:16  Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee. 

1 Cor 16:12  As touching our brother Apollos, I greatly desired him to come unto you with the brethren: but his will was not at all to come at this time; but he will come when he shall have convenient time. 

Paul had wanted Apollos to come to Corinth, but he had not been able to come at the present time.  Paul wanted the church to know his desire and that when a more convenient season came, Apollos would come to visit them.   Our fellow Christian brothers and sisters can be such a blessing to us. 

Prov 27:17  Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend. 

Prov 15:23  A man hath joy by the answer of his mouth: and a word spoken in due season, how good is it! 

IV.               Fruits of Being a Christian 

1 Cor 16:13  Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.

1 Cor 16:14  Let all your things be done with charity. 

We are to be people who are alert and watching.   When God cut down the numbers that Gideon was to take to battle, only those men who lapped out of their hand were chosen.  I think that points out how they were being alert and looking out for the enemy.  We are in a battle today  with Satan, and God needs men and women who will watch, and stand fast in the faith.  Not many care enough for the things of God to make up the hedge, but God still needs Christians who will make up the hedge and be on the winning side. 

Ezek 22:30  And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none. 

Isa 6:8  Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me. 

And whatever things we do, we are to do these things in love. 

1 Cor 16:15  I beseech you, brethren, (ye know the house of Stephanas, that it is the firstfruits of Achaia, and that they have addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints,)

1 Cor 16:16  That ye submit yourselves unto such, and to every one that helpeth with us, and laboureth.

1 Cor 16:17  I am glad of the coming of Stephanas and Fortunatus and Achaicus: for that which was lacking on your part they have supplied.

1 Cor 16:18  For they have refreshed my spirit and yours: therefore acknowledge ye them that are such. 

The Corinthians were called upon to submit themselves unto these that were labouring with Paul in the work of the Lord.  There is no greater calling than to be in God’s work.   Paul spoke of the house of Stephanas as being addicted to helping and ministering to the saints.   When we think of addiction, negative things come to mind.  People get addicted to drugs or alcohol, and this is bad.  But to be addicted to doing good, this is a high and wonderful thing.   As Christians, we prove ourselves by what we do.  It says by their fruits ye shall know them.   How are our fruits today?  I know I sure need to be more involved I in reaching the lost.   The fields are already white unto harvest, and our time is drawing to a close.  We may only have one more week before Christ returns.  And we may not have that long.  But if it be a week, two years, or 20 years, time is marching on and many will die today without the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.   Our focus should be to tell others about what Jesus has done for us, so that they might come to know the only begotten Son of God. 

Paul mentions several people who had been instrumental in helping him and supplying his needs.  Among them were Stephanas, Fortunatus, and Achaicus.  These men may not have thought their efforts were all that important, but God has penned their names in the bible which will last forever.   What we do for the Lord has significance far beyond what we may ever suspect.  

V.                 Closing Salutations 

1 Cor 16:19  The churches of Asia salute you. Aquila and Priscilla salute you much in the Lord, with the church that is in their house. 

We know that Aquila and Priscilla had helped Paul in the work of the Lord.  Paul knew the trade of tent making, and worked with them in Athens. 

Acts 18:1  After these things Paul departed from Athens, and came to Corinth;

Acts 18:2  And found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, lately come from Italy, with his wife Priscilla; (because that Claudius had commanded all Jews to depart from Rome:) and came unto them.

Acts 18:3  And because he was of the same craft, he abode with them, and wrought: for by their occupation they were tentmakers.

Acts 18:4  And he reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks.

1 Cor 16:20  All the brethren greet you. Greet ye one another with an holy kiss.

1 Cor 16:21  The salutation of me Paul with mine own hand.

1 Cor 16:22  If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maranatha.

1 Cor 16:23  The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

1 Cor 16:24  My love be with you all in Christ Jesus. Amen. 

How many of you greeted your brother or sister with a holy kiss this morning?  Today, in our society, the handshake is the common custom of proper greetings.  In Paul’s day, they did greet one another with a kiss.  We see the words Anathema and Maranatha in verse 22.  Anathema had to do with being accursed.   The word Maranatha means “our Lord cometh.”   Paul closes the letter asking the grace of the Lord Jesus be with them.   We all surely need God’s grace every hour, and the love that only the Father of Lights can give.

In my King James Version Study Bible, it had these comments. 

16:20–24. Greet ye one another with a holy kiss (cf. Rom. 16:16; 2 Cor. 13:12; 1 Thess. 5:26; 1 Pet. 5:14): In the custom of the day, this was an expression of mutual affection and friendship. Anathema means “devoted to destruction” (cf. 12:3; Rom. 9:3; Gal. 1:8, 9). Maranatha: Properly, two words in the Aramaic. It expresses one of two possible ideas. It may be taken in the sense of “our Lord is come,” signifying the Incarnation. Or it may mean “our Lord cometh,” signifying the Second Coming. The latter seems to be in view here. It is much like John’s concluding remarks in Revelation: “Even so, come, Lord Jesus” (Rev. 22:20)      [2] 

In the Believer’s Study Bible, they noted that the word Anathema certainly has to do with the coming judgment. 

16:22 “Accursed” or anathema (Gk.) means “set aside for judgment.” “O Lord, come!” is a translation of the single word maranatha, which is Aramaic and which was probably commonly used in prayer, expressing a desire for the Lord’s return. The term may be translated either “until He comes” or, simply, “com     [3]


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Prov 4:18  But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.  


Practice Random Acts of Kindness.  Each act spreads, and many will be blessed.  

[2]Thomas Nelson, Inc., King James Version Study Bible [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1988  by Liberty University.

[3]W.A. Criswell, Believer’s study Bible [computer file], electronic ed. , Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1991 by the Criswell Center for Biblical Studies.