I Corinthians 16:10-24

Sunday, September 15th, 2013

Text: I Corinthians 16:10-24

Aim: To teach the concluding exhortations Paul left with the Corinthians



As we close out I Corinthians in this message, we remind ourselves of what this epistle is all about. Paul spent about eighteen months in Corinth on his second missionary journey. There he met Priscilla and Aquila who were Jews in the tentmaking business.

At the end of his ministry in Corinth, Paul headed for Jerusalem but made a stop in Ephesus on his way. Priscilla and Aquila accompanied him. Priscilla and Aquila relocated in Ephesus but Paul stayed only a few days. Paul then left and went to Jerusalem.

On Paul's third missionary journey he spent three years in Ephesus. While in Ephesus, Paul received a report of a four-way split in the congregation of the church in Corinth. He received this report from some from the household of Chloe. Three men from the church at Corinth named Stephanas, Fortunatus, and Achaicus also visited Paul in Ephesus. Paul was made aware of problems in the church which he addresses in I Corinthians 1-6 . A letter from the church at Corinth was also delivered to Paul, presumably by Stephanas, Fortunatus, and Achaicus, in which Paul was asked a number of questions. Paul answers these questions in I Corinthians 7-16 .

So, I Corinthians breaks down into two major divisions: 1) Paul's reply to reports of disorder in the church at Corinth (1:10 - 6:20); and 2) Paul's reply to the letter from Corinth (7:1 - 16:4).

We have seen Paul's reply to reports of disorder in the church of Corinth:

A. The divisions in the church - 1:10 - 4:21

B. The absence of discipline - 5:1-13

C. The lawsuits before the heathen - 6:1-11

D. The moral laxity in the church - 6:12-20

We have also seen Paul's reply to the letter from Corinth

A. His counsel concerning marriage - 7:1 - 40

B. His counsel concerning things sacrificed to idols - 8:1 - 11:1

C. His counsel concerning the appearance of women in public worship - 11:2-16

D. His counsel concerning the Lords Supper - 11:17-34

E. His counsel concerning spiritual gifts - 12:1 - 14:40

F. His counsel concerning the doctrine of the resurrection - 15:1-58

G. His counsel concerning the collection for the poor - 16:1-4

In I Corinthians 16:5-9 we have seen Paul's immediate plans: to pass through Macedonia and visit the Corinthians after he does so (16:5). It could be that Paul will spend some time in Corinth and even spend the winter there. Perhaps they will be able to assist him in his travels wherever he goes (16:6). In the immediate future, however, he is not planning to visit Corinth; but, the Lord willing, he does intend to spend time with them in the future (16:7). He will instead continue serving the Lord in Ephesus until Pentecost, where a great, effectual door has been opened to him, even though there are many adversaries (16:8-9).

I Corinthians 16:5-9 - (5) Now I will come unto you, when I shall pass through Macedonia: for I do pass through Macedonia.

(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.

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

(8) But I will tarry at Ephesus until Pentecost.

(9) For a great door and effectual is opened unto me, and there are many adversaries.

We learn in II Corinthians that these plans did not work out exactly as Paul intended, but this needs to be left for a study in II Corinthians.

In I Corinthians 16:10-24 we see Paul's concluding exhortations to the Corinthians.

We see that -


I Corinthians 16:10-12 - 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.

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.

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.

I Corinthians 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.

The structure of verse 10 is that of a conditional statement. The condition is if Timothy come, and its conclusion is see that he may be with you without fear. The structure of the condition indicates that no assumption can be made regarding its truth. It may turn out to be true, or it may turn out to be false. If it is true, the conclusion will follow.

Timotheus (or Timothy) has been a traveling companion and helper of Paul. He, Silas, and Paul had first proclaimed the gospel in Corinth; so, the people would be well acquainted with him. Come suggests should come because it was not clear whether he would actually be coming.

See is watch out or beware.

That introduces a purpose clause and is understood in the sense of in order that or for the purpose that.

He may be with you without fear he may be with you fearlessly. Timothy was quite young and had been through some difficult circumstances. He was also timid, and the people needed to look after him and provide protection for him.

For introduces the reason the Corinthian believers need to watch out for Timothy: he (i.e. Timothy) worketh the work of the Lord.

Worketh is works, does, accomplishes, or carries out; and what he works is the work of the Lord, the Lord's work, i.e. the work (or task) assigned by the Lord.

As I also do compares what Timothy does with what Paul does. In addition to what Paul does, Timothy likewise does the work of the Lord.

I Corinthians 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.

Let no man therefore despise him means that the Corinthian believers are not to look down on Timothy but to help him so that he might eventually come to Paul. He was not the Apostle Paul, but they should not treat him with less respect than they would have treated Paul.

Despise = Treat with contempt, reject with contempt

Why might someone despise Timothy (i.e. treat him with contempt or reject him with contempt)? Had he not been with Paul when the church at Corinth was established?

He was relatively young, he was timid, and he was not Paul. You might think of some additional reasons.

Regardless of why some might despise Timothy, it should never be done. Regardless of their abilities or inabilities, we should always treat God's servants well because they are God's servants.

But introduces a statement in mild contrast to let no man . . . despise him.

Conduct him forth means, Send him on his way (or, Help him on his journey) with food, money, by arranging for traveling companions, means of travel, etc

In peace is with peace or peacefully.

That he may come unto me is in order that he may come unto me or for the purpose that he may come unto me. Inasmuch as Paul is currently in Ephesus, he is asking the Corinthian believers to assist Timothy in returning to him in Ephesus.

For introduces Paul's explanation of why he has requested help for Timothy if he gets to Corinth.

I look for him is, I am waiting for him or, I am expecting him.

With the brethren suggests that Timothy is in the company of some fellow believers for whom Paul is also waiting, but there is no specific information available indicating who these brethren (or brothers) were or how many of them there were.

I Corinthians 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.

According to verse 12 Paul desired Apollos to come to Corinth. Although he will not be coming at this time, he will come at a later time when things work out for him.

As touching our brother Apollos is concerning Apollos the brother.

By brother Paul means that Apollos is a fellow believer and fellow member of the family of God.

Apollos first appears in the Scripture in Acts 18:24 in Ephesus where he is described as an Alexandrian Jew who was eloquent and mighty in the Scriptures. God used Aquila and Priscilla to explain unto him the way of God more perfectly. He mightily convinced the Jews and shewed them publicly from the Scriptures that Jesus was the Messiah. He spent some time in Corinth working with the Corinthian believers, and some of the Corinthian believers claimed loyalty to him.

I greatly desired him to come unto you with the brethren is I exhorted (i.e. requested, implored, appealed to, or entreated) him much in order that he might come to you with the brothers. It is not clear today who these brethren were, how many there were, where they were coming from, or whether they are the same brethren mentioned in the previous verse, which they may have been.

But introduces a contrast with what Paul urged Apollos to do and what Apollos chose to do.

His will refers to Apollos.

Was not at all is was by no means.

To come at this time is in order that he might come now.

But introduces a statement in mild contrast to his will was not at all to come at this time.

He will come is predictive of something which will definitely happen in the future.

When he shall have convenient time is whenever he may have time (i.e. a favorable time, leisure, or opportunity).

Not only do we see that believers must not despise God's man, but we also see that -


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

To watch means to be alert spiritually, to keep your spiritual eyes open.

This is something stated frequently by Paul

Paul warned the Ephesian elders in Acts 20:31 - Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.

Paul warned the Colossian believers in Colossians 4:2 - Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving.

Paul warned the Thessalonian believers in I Thessalonians 5:6 - Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.

Paul warned Timothy in II Timothy 4:5 - But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.

Why is it necessary to watch?

Peter answers this question in I Peter 5:8 - Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:

Furthermore, we are advised in Proverbs 4:23 - Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.

How will I keep my heart with all diligence? Bible study, submission of my mind and heart to the Scriptures obeying them as a result, prayer, confession of sin, witnessing, faithfulness in God's house. By not making provision for the flesh to fulfill its lusts.

Romans 13:14 - But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.

We also see that -


I Corinthians 16:13 - Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.

It means stand firm or be steadfast and implies continue (or keep on) standing firm (or being steadfast).

In the faith indicates where the Corinthian believers are to continue standing firm and suggests in their Christian faith or in Christianity.

Again, this is not unique to I Corinthians. Paul wrote in II Thessalonians 2:15 - Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.

In addition, we see that -


I Corinthians 16:13 - Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.

Quit you like men = conduct (or acquit) yourselves in a manly or courageous way

Next, we see that -


I Corinthians 16:13 - Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.

How can I be strong? It won't come by being strong physically. I have to be strong spiritually.

Ephesians 6:10-18 - 10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.

11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;

15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;

16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.

17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:

18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.

We also see that -


I Corinthians 16:14 Let all your things be done with charity.

This will solve nearly all of our interpersonal problems

Matthew wrote in Matthew 22:37-39 - 37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

38 This is the first and great commandment.

39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

Furthermore, we see that -


I Corinthians 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,)

In verse 15 Paul urges the Corinthian believers to be supportive of the house of Stephanas who are serving the saints.

I beseech you is I am beseeching, I am urging, I am encouraging, or I am exhorting) you, and its tense indicates that Paul is doing this by writing this epistle.

Paul addresses the Corinthian believers as brethren, i.e. as brothers, as saved people and members of the family of God.

The content of what Paul is beseeching them is found in verse 16.

The rest of verse 15 is a parenthetical statement intended to prepare the reader for the content of what Paul is urging them to do in verse 16.

Ye know the house of Stephanas is, You know the household (or family) of Stephanas. The house of Stephanas is also used in I Corinthians 1:16 , which says, And I baptized also the household of Stephanas: besides, I know not whether I baptized any other.

That it is the firstfruits of Achaia indicates that the members of the family of Stephanas were the first people saved in Achaia, which is southern Greece, where Corinth was located.

And that they have addicted themselves to is they have put themselves over (i.e. have put themselves in charge of, have devoted themselves to, or have appointed themselves to)

The ministry of the saints is ministry (or service) for the saints (or to the saints). They have given their lives to serving their fellow believers.

The saints are the sanctified ones, those who have been set apart for the Lord's use. All saved persons are saints, although all saved people are not always as saintly as they should be.

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

In verse 16 Paul urges the believers in Corinth to submit themselves to God's workers. This verse is the content of what Paul is beseeching or urging the Corinthian believers to do.

That ye submit yourselves is that you subject yourselves, subordinate yourselves, or obey.

Unto such is to ones such as these, which means to people like the ones from the household of Stephanas.

And to every one that helpeth with us, is to each one who works (together) with (i.e. cooperates (with) or helps).

Us refers to Paul and his traveling companions.

And laboureth is and labors, and works hard, and toils, or and strives. The Corinthian believers are to submit themselves to each person in these three groups.

Submission to God's leaders is also taught elsewhere in the New Testament.

I Thessalonians 5:12-13 - 12 And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you;

13 And to esteem them very highly in love for their work's sake. And be at peace among yourselves.

I Timothy 5:17 - Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.

Hebrews 13:7 - Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.

Hebrews 13:17 - Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.

Finally, we see that -


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

This wasn't a sensuous kiss. It was men greeting men and women greeting women. It was cultural. In our culture, we greet one another with a hearty handshake.


In short we need to be living for the Lord Jesus Christ, and growing daily in Him.

We need to be submissive to those whom the Lord has placed over us, and we need to have a good relation with all other believers.