1 Corinthians Chapter 16 in toto

At last, the final chapter of this letter. Since there is a certain amount of greetings and pleasantry, this may not take so long as it would otherwise.

Περὶ δὲ τῆς λογείας τῆς εἰς τοὺς ἁγίους, ὥσπερ διέταξα ταῖς ἐκκλησίαις τῆς Γαλατίας, οὕτως καὶ ὑμεῖς ποιήσατε.

Regarding the collection for the holy ones, in this way I have arranged the communities of Galatia, so that also I will do for you (= I will do the same for/with you).

Purely an administrative matter. I suspect, but do not know, that this was an extension of the temple tax paid by Jews. I suspect, but do not know, that it no longer went to the temple. I suspect that this has something to do with James request in Gal 2:10 that Paul remember the poor.  It appears that Paul believed in redistribution of income.

1 De collectis autem, quae fiunt in sanctos, sicut ordina vi ecclesiis Galatiae, ita et vos facite.

κατὰ μίαν σαββάτου ἕκαστος ὑμῶν παρ’ἑαυτῷ τιθέτω θησαυρίζων τι ἐὰν εὐοδῶται, ἵνα μὴ ὅταν ἔλθω τότε λογεῖαι γίνωνται.

On the first day of the week, let each of you give beside himself (= each of you put a little aside), laying up that which will he has been granted to him (according to his means), so that there will be no collection when I come then.

The opening prepositional phrase, << κατὰ μίαν σαββάτου >> gave me some problems. Having looked into this, it appears that “sabbath” came to be a synonym for “week”. At least, that’s what everyone agrees it means. I suppose it makes sense, so I’ll let it go at that. There is quite a bit of slippage between Classical Greek and NT Greek.

Since you probably can’t tell from the clumsy translation, he is instructing them to put aside an amount commensurate with his income. The idea is to have the donation already collected so that there would be a collection upon Paul’s return, IOW, he’s putting them on an installment plan. This is a good administrative practice, assuming, of course, that it was followed. Otherwise, you would end up in a situation in which Paul would return and there would be no collection. Of course, that is probably what happened anyway.

2 Per primam sabbati unusquisque vestrum apud se ponat recondens, quod ei beneplacuerit, ut non, cum venero, tunc collectae fiant.

ὅταν δὲ παραγένωμαι, οὓς ἐὰν δοκιμάσητε, δι’ ἐπιστολῶν τούτους πέμψω ἀπενεγκεῖν τὴν χάριν ὑμῶν εἰς Ἰερουσαλήμ:

When I come, if you may be allow,  through letters I will send them to carry the gift of you to Jerusalem.

If it be allowed that he come, as in, God willing that I come…The money is to go to Jerusalem,  it appears, since he will send the Jerusalem Community the money and note that the money came from the Corinthians. Since the money is going to Jerusalem, is it going to the temple? Or to the community there? I’m guessing the latter, since this is the promise James extracted from Paul.

3 Cum autem praesens fuero, quos probaveritis, per epistulas hos mittam perferre gratiam vestram in Ierusalem;

ἐὰν δὲ ἄξιον τοῦ κἀμὲ πορεύεσθαι, σὺν ἐμοὶ πορεύσονται.

Because if it be proper and I go, with me they will go. 

This is about Paul accompanying those taking the money to Jerusalem. Assuming, of course, that they trust him to do so. This seems to be a bit of micromanaging on his part; does he accompany the gifts from all the Communities? No, he can’t possibly. So why with this group? Does he not trust them? Is the “if I am worthy” sort of a sly innuendo that perhaps the Corinthians may not be trustworthy? Or that they cannot be counted on to collect the money in the first place?

These are the reasons why Paul is not a systematic thinker. This is a very practical, very down-to-earth bit of administrative effort. He has to expend time and energy on this sort of thing, which can be a huge distraction from considering religious doctrine.

4 quod si dignum fuerit, ut et ego eam, mecum ibunt.

Ἐλεύσομαι δὲ πρὸς ὑμᾶς ὅταν Μακεδονίαν διέλθω, Μακεδονίαν γὰρ διέρχομαι:

I will come to you when I pass through Macedonia, for I pass though Macedonia.

Future plans.

There have been numerous attempts to come up with an itinerary for Paul by correlating these sorts of things with the journeys in Acts. However, since I don’t particularly believe that Acts is historically reliable, I’m not really sure how much faith I would put in these attempts at reconstruction.

5 Veniam autem ad vos, cum Macedoniam pertransiero, nam Macedoniam pertransibo;

πρὸς ὑμᾶς δὲ τυχὸν παραμενῶ καὶ παραχειμάσω, ἵνα ὑμεῖς με προπέμψητε οὗ ἐὰν πορεύωμαι.

Towards you with luck I will remain and I will winter, so that you send me where I may go.

More plans.

6 apud vos autem forsitan manebo vel etiam hiemabo, ut vos me deducatis, quocumque iero.

οὐ θέλω γὰρ ὑμᾶς ἄρτι ἐν παρόδῳ ἰδεῖν, ἐλπίζω γὰρ χρόνον τινὰ ἐπιμεῖναι πρὸς ὑμᾶς, ἐὰν κύριος ἐπιτρέψῃ.

For I do not wish now to see you en route; for I hope to remain with you some, if the lord allows. 

7 Nolo enim vos modo in transitu videre; spero enim me aliquantum temporis manere apud vos, si Dominus permiserit.

ἐπιμενῶ δὲ ἐν Ἐφέσῳ ἕως τῆς πεντηκοστῆς:

I will remain in Ephesus until Pentecost.

I believe I mentioned previously that I only just became aware that Pentecost was actually a Jewish holiday before it entered the Christian calendar. In the OT it meant the fiftieth day after Passover. Here, I think, is a clear case of being able to take the Argument from Silence as meaningful. The Christianization of Pentecost did not start before the writing of Acts, which was a full generation after this letter. The word Pentecost itself occurs only three times in the NT; once here, and twice in Acts. As such, Paul’s casual use of the date is pretty clear proof that the story of Pentecost–as Christians understand the term–was a later development, not one dating back to the original group of Jesus’ followers.

8 Permanebo autem Ephesi usque ad Pentecosten;

θύρα γάρ μοι ἀνέῳγεν μεγάλη καὶ ἐνεργής, καὶ ἀντικείμενοι πολλοί.

For the great and strong gate opens to me, and those lying against me are many.

On the one hand, I chose to be more poetic, rendering <<ἐνεργής>> as “powerful”, rather than “effective”. OTOH, “those lying against me” should really be rendered as “adversaries”.

As for this, it seems a bit of a contradiction. The gate is open, yet enemies are many. Wouldn’t the enemies close the gate? I’m apparently missing the metaphor.

9 ostium enim mihi apertum est magnum et efficax, et adversarii multi.

10  Ἐὰν δὲ ἔλθῃ Τιμόθεος, βλέπετε ἵνα ἀφόβως γένηται πρὸς ὑμᾶς, τὸ γὰρ ἔργον κυρίου ἐργάζεται ὡς κἀγώ:

If Timothy should come, look about so that he be unafraid towards you, for he works the work of the lord also as I.

Not sure why Timothy would be afraid. I suppose, going into a new situation can be difficult even now. But think about back then, when Timothy would probably have to travel for a month to get there, and then walk into what may be a tricky situation, given the divisions within the community.

10 Si autem venerit Timotheus, videte, ut sine timore sit apud vos, opus enim Domini operatur, sicut et ego;

11 μή τις οὖν αὐτὸν ἐξουθενήσῃ. προπέμψατε δὲ αὐτὸν ἐν εἰρήνῃ, ἵνα ἔλθῃ πρός με, ἐκδέχομαι γὰρ αὐτὸν μετὰ τῶν ἀδελφῶν.

So let no one despise him. Send him in peace, so that he may come to me, for I expect him with the brothers.

It appears Timothy would be sent if Paul can’t make it. Again, the hand of the administrator, and it’s a deft one. He’s making contingency plans. Working in a corporation as I do, I understand the need for and benefit of such plans.

11 ne quis ergo illum spernat. Deducite autem illum in pace, ut veniat ad me; exspecto enim illum cum fratribus.

12 Περὶ δὲ Ἀπολλῶ τοῦ ἀδελφοῦ, πολλὰ παρεκάλεσα αὐτὸν ἵνα ἔλθῃ πρὸς ὑμᾶς μετὰ τῶν ἀδελφῶν: καὶ πάντως οὐκ ἦνθέλημα ἵνα νῦν ἔλθῃ, ἐλεύσεται δὲ ὅταν εὐκαιρήσῃ.

But regarding the brother Apollos, I have asked him many times that he may come to you with brothers; and every time it was not his wish that he come, he will be free when the time is convenient.

Bit of a dig at Apollos. He’s been asked to come many times, but has not. But he will come when it’s convenient.

12 De Apollo autem fratre, multum rogavi eum, ut veniret ad vos cum fratribus, et utique non fuit voluntas, ut nunc veniret; veniet autem, cum ei opportunum fuerit.

13 Γρηγορεῖτε, στήκετε ἐν τῇ πίστει, ἀνδρίζεσθε, κραταιοῦσθε:

Be watchful, stand in the faith, be manly, be strong.

Man up!

13 Vigilate, state in fide, viriliter agite, confortamini;

14 πάντα ὑμῶν ἐν ἀγάπῃ γινέσθω.

Let all of you be in love.


14 omnia vestra in caritate fiant.

15 Παρακαλῶ δὲ ὑμᾶς, ἀδελφοί: οἴδατε τὴν οἰκίαν Στεφανᾶ, ὅτι ἐστὶν ἀπαρχὴ τῆς Ἀχαΐας καὶ εἰς διακονίαν τοῖς ἁγίοις ἔταξαν ἑαυτούς:

I also beseech you, brothers: you know that the house of Stephen, that is the leader of Achaia, and to the deacons of the holy ones he has arranged.

The bit about the house of Stephen is rather a parenthetical insertion. Achaia was a region in Greece, west and south of Corinth.

15 Obsecro autem vos, fratres: nostis domum Stephanae, quoniam sunt primitiae Achaiae et in ministerium sanctorum ordinaverunt seipsos;

16 ἵνα καὶ ὑμεῖς ὑποτάσσησθε τοῖς τοιούτοις καὶ παντὶ τῷ συνεργοῦντι καὶ κοπιῶντι.

So that also you subject yourselves to them and with all in cooperating and laboring.

Instructions. Again, more administration.

16 ut et vos subditi sitis eiusmodi et omni cooperanti et laboranti.

17 χαίρω δὲ ἐπὶ τῇ παρουσίᾳ Στεφανᾶ καὶ Φορτουνάτου καὶ Ἀχαϊκοῦ, ὅτι τὸ ὑμέτερον ὑστέρημα οὗτοι ἀνεπλήρωσαν,

I am glad that upon the return of Stephen and Fortunatus and Achaikos, that your wants they will fulfill.

Not much to say.

17 Gaudeo autem in praesentia Stephanae et Fortunati et Achaici, quoniam id quod vobis deerat, ipsi suppleverunt;

18 ἀνέπαυσαν γὰρ τὸ ἐμὸν πνεῦμα καὶ τὸ ὑμῶν. ἐπιγινώσκετε οὖν τοὺς τοιούτους.

For they refreshed my spirit and that of you. So be aware who they are.

Again, not much needs to be said.

18 refecerunt enim et meum spiritum et vestrum. Cognoscite ergo, qui eiusmodi sunt.

19 Ἀσπάζονται ὑμᾶς αἱ ἐκκλησίαι τῆς Ἀσίας. ἀσπάζεται ὑμᾶς ἐν κυρίῳ πολλὰ Ἀκύλας καὶ Πρίσκα σὺν τῇ κατ’ οἶκον αὐτῶν ἐκκλησίᾳ.

They salute you the communities of Asia. They salute you in the lord Aquila and Prisca with the assembly in their house.

Now here is a point. So far, I’ve been translating ‘ekklesia‘ as ‘community’; here, I rendered it as ‘assembly’. Having a community in their house doesn’t quite make sense. Having an assembly, or perhaps better, a gathering in their house makes a lot of sense. Having a church in their house is possible, but completely anachronistic. This is why rendering ‘ekklesia‘ as ‘church’ doesn’t work at this juncture.

One minor point. By “Asia”, Paul is referring more or less to modern Turkey.

19 Salutant vos ecclesiae Asiae. Salutant vos in Domino multum Aquila et Prisca cum domestica sua ecclesia.

20 ἀσπάζονται ὑμᾶς οἱ ἀδελφοὶ πάντες. Ἀσπάσασθε ἀλλήλους ἐν φιλήματι ἁγίῳ.

They salute you all the brothers. Salute each other (or probably ‘yourselves’) with the holy kiss.

“Salute each other” is an example of the middle voice. “Salute yourselves” would actually be the more accurate, but in English that comes across as too reflexive. You plural, salute yourselves plural; or, ‘each other’.

20 Salutant vos fratres omnes. Salutate invicem in osculo sancto.

21  ἀσπασμὸς τῇ ἐμῇ χειρὶ Παύλου.

My salutation by the hand of Paul.

Here he literally means his signature. Now: the question is, did he write the whole thing? Did he dictate it and have someone else make the revisions? Interesting question, for which there is no answer. However, here he is telling us that he signed it personally.

21 Salutatio mea manu Pauli.

22 εἴ τις οὐ φιλεῖ τὸν κύριον, ἤτω ἀνάθεμα. Μαρανα θα.

If someone does not love the lord, let him be damned. Marana tha.

I have no idea what the Marana tha means; apparently, neither does anyone else. The, Vulgate, the KJV, & the NASB do basically what I did and transliterate it. The ESV and NIV change this to “Come Lord”.

22 Si quis non amat Dominum, sit anathema. Marana tha!

23 χάρις τοῦ κυρίου Ἰησοῦ μεθ’ ὑμῶν.

The gift of the lord Jesus (be) with you.

Here is where “the grace of the lord” sounds ever so natural. The problem is, it would be really loading the word with modern connotations. “Grace” would best mean something like the “grace” in “grace period”, a period in which past transgressions are forgiven. Granted, that is sort of what the Christian idea of grace is, but the latter has too much additional baggage. It tips the scale too far.

And this is one of the rare occasions when Paul uses the name of Jesus, rather than the Christ. And, he uses only the name Jesus. There can’t be too many instances of this in Paul.

23 Gratia Domini Iesu vobiscum.

24  ἀγάπη μου μετὰ πάντων ὑμῶν ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ.

24 Caritas mea cum omnibus vobis in Christo Iesu.

My love (be) with all of you in the anointed Jesus.

So, there we have it. Given the length of the last summaries, and the paucity of anything truly remarkable in this chapter, I am going to dispense with a summary for Chapter 16.  The remarkable points involve the use of Pentecost in an non-Christian sense, the collection, and, possibly, the discussion of the ‘ekklesia‘ in the home of Aquila and Prisca. 


About James, brother of Jesus

I have a BA from the University of Toronto in Greek and Roman History. For this, I had to learn classical Greek and Latin. In seminar-style classes, we discussed both the meaning of the text and the language. U of T has a great Classics Dept. One of the professors I took a Senior Seminar with is now at Harvard. I started reading the New Testament as a way to brush up on my Greek, and the process grew into this. I plan to comment on as much of the NT as possible, starting with some of Paul's letters. After that, I'll start in on the Gospels, starting with Mark.

Posted on August 28, 2014, in 1 Corinthians, epistles, Paul's Letters and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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