The Divine Lamp

The unfolding of thy words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple…Make thy face shine upon thy servant, and teach me thy statutes

Father Callan’s Commentary on 1 Corinthians 16:10-18

Posted by Dim Bulb on May 31, 2011


A Summary of 1 Corinthians 16:10-18~As soon as St. Paul had received news of the troubles at Corinth he sent Erastus and Timothy to Macedonia (Acts 19:22), giving the latter instructions to go thence to Corinth for the purpose of putting in order the disturbances there (1 Cor 4:17). Meanwhile, having been more correctly informed of the gravity of the situation by special legates who had come to him from Corinth, the Apostle immediately wrote the present letter, in which, as we see here, he recommended to the faithful the young disciple who would soon be among them.

10. Now if Timothy come, see that he be with you without fear, for he worketh the work of the Lord, as I also do.

If Timothy come. This seems to indicate that St. Paul had some doubt about Timothy’s going to Corinth. The Apostle had sent him to Macedonia first, and perhaps the situation there demanded more of his time and attention than had been anticipated. At any rate, this letter was written after Timothy had departed for Macedonia, probably because there was reason to fear that he might not reach Corinth at all, or that he might arrive there too late.

Without fear, i.e., that you respect him and make his stay among you as easy as possible. Timothy was young (1 Tim 4:12), and perhaps somewhat lacking in courage (1 Tim 5:21-23; 2 Tim 1:6-8; 2:1, 3, 15; 4:1, 2) ; and yet he was by no means to be despised, for he was doing the work of the Lord, i.e., preaching the Gospel, like St. Paul himself.

11. Let no man therefore despise him, but conduct ye him on his way in peace: that he may come to me. For I look for him with the brethren.

I look for him, etc., i.e., St. Paul was awaiting at Ephesus the return of Timothy with Erastus, and probably some others who had gone with them to Macedonia (Acts 19:22). The meaning is not that Paul and the brethren at Ephesus were expecting Timothy alone.

12. And touching our brother Apollo, I give you to understand, that I much entreated him to come unto you with the brethren: and indeed it was not his will at all to come at this time. But he will come when he shall have leisure.

To show that he was in no wise envious of Apollo or opposed to the great Alexandrian’s again visiting the Corinthians, St. Paul now makes it plain that he had endeavored to get him to pay them another visit. Apollo declined for the time being, probably not wishing to visit the Corinthians while there existed any special faction devoted to him to the detriment of the Church as a whole (1 Cor 3:4-6).

I give you to understand (Vulg., vobis notum facio) should be omitted, to agree with the Greek.

The brethren, who were very likely the bearers of this letter.

13. Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, do manfully, and be strengthened.

The mention of Apollo brought back to the Apostle’s mind the factions at Corinth, so bitterly condemned in the first part of this letter. He, therefore, exhorts the faithful to be on their guard against the evils which imperil the unity and peace of their Church. Let them stand fast in the faith which has been preached to them, by which alone they shall be strengthened so as successfully to resist and overcome their adversaries.

14. Let all your things be done in charity.

Let all your things, etc., i.e., let all you do be done in charity. This virtue of charity is at all times necessary, but the Corinthians had special need of it, as was evident from the abuses and disorders that had grown up among them. The Apostle is giving a counsel here, not a precept (St. Chrys. and others, against Estius and many more).

15. And I beseech you, brethren, you know the house of Stephanas, and of Fortunatus, and of Achaicus, that they are the first-fruits of Achaia, and have dedicated themselves to the ministry of the saints:

The Apostle now speaks of the delegates who had brought to him the Corinthians’ letter and were probably to be the bearers of his reply. The best MSS. omit all mention in this verse of Fortunatus and Achaicus. Hence the household of Stephanas are the first-fruits of Achaia, i.e., the first of that province to embrace the faith (1 Cor 1:16). Stephanas and his family had dedicated themselves to works of charity among the faithful. Some think Stephanas was a leader of the Corinthian Church.

The first phrase here, And I beseech you, brethren, is doubtless to be joined to verse 16, making the remainder of the present verse a parenthesis.

In the Vulgate et Fortunati, et Achaici should be omitted.

16. That you also be subject to such, and to every one that worketh with us, and laboureth.

That you also be subject, etc. This is the thing to which the Apostle started in the beginning of the preceding verse to exhort the Corinthians. His counsel is that they should show great respect and gratitude to such generous and holy benefactors as Stephanas and his family. There is most probably no question here of the submission and obedience which subjects are bound to show to superiors.

To every one that, etc. Better, “to every one that helps and cooperates.”

17. And I rejoice in the presence of Stephanas, and Fortunatus, and Achaicus, because that which was wanting on your part, they have supplied.

Fortunatus and Achaicus are not mentioned elsewhere in the New Testament. It is the common opinion that they, with Stephanas, brought to St. Paul the letter of the Corinthians and also carried back the reply to it, this present letter.

That which was wanting, etc., i.e., the lack of you, the void occasioned by your absence. The Apostle is rejoiced by the presence of these Corinthian legates who, in a way, make up for the absence of all the other faithful whom he would love to see; he wishes he could see all, but in these three he is reminded of all.

18. For they have refreshed both my spirit and yours. Know them, therefore, that are such.

They have refreshed, etc. These legates, by carrying the Corinthians’ letter to St. Paul, had done a welcome service both to them and to him.

Know them, therefore, etc., i.e., to such as render such valuable
services as these legates have done special respect and recognition are due.

One Response to “Father Callan’s Commentary on 1 Corinthians 16:10-18”

  1. […] UPDATE: Father Callan’s Commentary on 1 Corinthians 16:10-18. […]

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