About Jesus Steve Sweetman
We have now come to the final chapter of this letter to the Corinthian church. In this chapter Paul deals with a practical matter of giving, a couple of requests, and a final greeting.
Because of great persecution the
Paul does not use the word tithe in these verses. This is not a tithe. It is my personal opinion that Paul does not believe in tithing as seen in the Old Testament. This collection that Paul will receive is not for himself. It is for the poor Christians in Jerusalem. He suggests collecting it on the first day of the week for convenience sake.
Some use this verse to prove tithing as a New Testament principle, but as I have said, there is no hint of tithing in this verse. This is a special collection of money for a specific purpose.
Once the money was collected, then
Paul would write a special “letter of introduction” and give it to the
men that they approved to take this money to
Notice that Paul left the choice of
men to deliver this money up to the church.
He did not choose the men. . He also says, “if it seems advisable
to me, I will go also…” (ch.
16:4) Paul was not quite
sure that he would be able to go to
One thing to note about the giving of money in the early church, and that is, most of the money went to people, that is the poor, as in this case, and to people like Peter and Paul and preached the gospel. This isn't the case in our day. Most of the money Christians give to churches go to the building and the organizational structure, and I think that is not right, especially when the poor in these churches go without.
Paul tells his readers that after
he goes through
In verse 7 Paul says that he just didn’t want to make a passing visit. He wanted to spend quality time with them, most likely to work through all of the issues that he has talked about in his letter.
It appears that he was writing this
In verse 10 Paul mentions Timothy to his readers, who he considered a son in the Lord. Paul had a special place in his heart for Timothy. He tells the Corinthians to make sure that Timothy has nothing to fear, and to make things easy for him, since he is doing the work of the Lord.
Paul is sending Timothy to Corinth for some reason. After Timothy fulfilled his mission, he would return to Paul at Ephesus with some other brothers.
Even though there were divisions in
the church over the leadership of Peter, Apollos and Paul, you can see in
verse 12 that this did not effect Paul’s relationship with Apollos.
Paul urged Apollos quite strongly to go to
Another thing you see is that both Timothy and Apollos, as well as Paul traveled “with the brothers”. It was a team of men working in the service of the Lord.
Verse 13 is an encouragement to Paul’s readers to be strong, firm in faith and of courage. Paul has said a lot to these people that was hard for them to take. Even though his letter was full of corrections, he did not want to beat them down. If you read 2 Corinthians you will see that this letter did have a major effect on many of its intended readers. It caused many to be full of sorrow and to change their ways.
Paul mentions the household of Stephanas in verse 15. They were the first converts in Achaia. Paul tells the Corinthians to “submit” to them and to others who work hard like them. I don’t believe when Paul uses the word “submit” that he is telling his readers to simply fall at these men’s feet and do as they want. Apollos did not do that with Paul as we just saw. So we should be careful how we interpret the word submit. It has been misused from time to time.
I believe Paul is telling the church to work with these men of God the best they can. Support them and help them out. Make their job easy.
Stephanas, along with others were a
great help to Paul. He appreciated all the things they did for him. They
“refreshed” Paul’s spirit. They
filled that which was lacking from the Corinthians.
I am not sure that you can interpret this as being a material or
monetary lacking. I think that
it could have been more of a lacking in spiritual terms, maybe in the area
of fellowship and moral support. Because
of all the problems in
Paul closes with some general
greetings by saying, “all of the churches in
Paul most likely dictated this letter to someone else who actually wrote it by hand, except for this greeting that Paul says he wrote himself. This was often the case with Paul’s letters.
Paul uses some strong language in verse 22. He says “a curse be on those who do not love the Lord”. Obviously those who do not believed are in one sense cursed. Paul may be speaking to those in the church, like the man who was sleeping with his father’s wife. Those who claimed faith yet did not demonstrate it.
Paul closes this letter with these words, words that are similar to every other letter that he closes with. “The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you. My love to all of you in Christ Jesus. Amen.” Paul's life was based on the grace of our Lord Jesus. From the day he met Jesus in Acts 9 to the day he died, and then beyond, it was all about grace for Paul. The same should be for us as well.