The First to the Corinthians 16:1-24

16  Now concerning the collection for the holy ones,+ you may follow the directions I gave to the congregations of Ga·laʹti·a.+  On the first day of every week, each of you should set something aside according to his own means, so that collections will not take place when I arrive.+  But when I get there, I will send the men you approve of in your letters+ to take your kind gift to Jerusalem.  However, if it seems advisable for me to go there also, they will go there with me.  But I will come to you when I have gone through Mac·e·doʹni·a, for I will be going through Mac·e·doʹni·a;+  and perhaps I will stay or even spend the winter with you, so that you may accompany me partway to where I may be going.  For I do not want to see you now just in passing, since I hope to spend some time with you,+ if Jehovah permits.  But I am remaining in Ephʹe·sus+ until the Festival of Pentecost,  because a large door that leads to activity has been opened to me,+ but there are many opposers. 10  Now if Timothy+ arrives, make sure that he has nothing to fear while among you, for he is performing the work of Jehovah,+ just as I am. 11  Therefore, let no one look down on him. Send him on his way in peace, so that he may come to me, for I am waiting for him together with the brothers. 12  Now concerning A·polʹlos+ our brother, I strongly urged him to come to you with the brothers. It was not his intention to come now, but he will come when he has the opportunity. 13  Stay awake,+ stand firm in the faith,+ carry on in a manly way,+ grow mighty.*+ 14  Let everything you do be done with love.+ 15  Now I urge you, brothers: You know that the household of Stephʹa·nas is the firstfruits of A·chaʹia and that they devoted themselves to ministering to the holy ones. 16  May you also keep submitting yourselves to people like that and to all those cooperating and working hard.+ 17  But I rejoice over the presence of Stephʹa·nas+ and For·tu·naʹtus and A·chaʹi·cus, because they have made up for your not being here. 18  For they have refreshed my spirit and yours. Therefore, give recognition to men of that sort. 19  The congregations of Asia send you their greetings. Aqʹui·la and Prisʹca+ together with the congregation that is in their house+ greet you heartily in the Lord. 20  All the brothers greet you. Greet one another with a holy kiss. 21  Here is my greeting, Paul’s, in my own hand. 22  If anyone has no affection for the Lord, let him be accursed. O our Lord, come! 23  May the undeserved kindness of the Lord Jesus be with you. 24  May my love be with all of you in union with Christ Jesus.


Or “be (grow) strong.”

Study Notes

the collection: The Greek word lo·giʹa, rendered “collection,” occurs only twice in the Bible, at 1Co 16:1, 2. The context and Paul’s choice of words indicate that the collection likely involved money, not food or clothing. In saying “the collection,” he suggests that this was a special collection, one already known to the Corinthians. It appears that this collection was taken especially in behalf of the Judean Christians, who were hard-pressed at the time.​—1Co 16:3; Ga 2:10.

the first day of every week: Paul here probably refers to the day following the Jewish Sabbath. He thus recommended that each Christian in Corinth make it a priority, starting early in the week, to set something aside to donate to those in need. Each Christian would offer his donation privately and according to his own means. (1Co 16:1) Paul was not, as some have suggested, setting up Sunday as the new Sabbath day for Christians.​—Col 2:16, 17.

I will send the men . . . to take your kind gift to Jerusalem: About 55 C.E., the Christians in Judea had fallen into poverty, so Paul supervised the collection of relief funds from the congregations in Galatia, Macedonia, and Achaia. (1Co 16:1, 2; 2Co 8:1, 4; 9:1, 2) When he set out on the long journey to Jerusalem in 56 C.E. to deliver the contribution, Paul was accompanied by a number of men. The group were carrying money entrusted to them by several congregations, each of which may have supplied men to accompany Paul. (Ac 20:3, 4; Ro 15:25, 26) Such a large company may have been needed for security because robbers posed a threat to safe passage. (2Co 11:26) Since only approved men would be delivering the collected funds along with Paul, there would not be any reason to suspect these men of misusing the funds. Those giving the contributions could be confident that the money would be used properly.​—2Co 8:20.

Macedonia: See Glossary, “Macedonia”; App. B13.

if Jehovah wills: An expression that emphasizes the need to take God’s will into account when doing or planning to do anything. The apostle Paul kept this principle in mind. (Ac 18:21; 1Co 16:7; Heb 6:3) In addition, the disciple James encouraged his readers to say: “If Jehovah wills, we will live and do this or that.” (Jas 4:15) James did not mean that Christians must always say it audibly; nor should they use the expression superstitiously or as an empty phrase. Instead, they would try to learn God’s will and to act in harmony with it.

if Jehovah permits: This expression and similar ones used in the Christian Greek Scriptures emphasize the need to take God’s will into account when doing or planning to do something.​—Heb 6:3; Jas 4:15; see study note on 1Co 4:19; for the use of the divine name in this phrase, see App. C3 introduction; 1Co 16:7.

I am remaining in Ephesus: These words of Paul offer strong proof that he wrote this letter while in Ephesus. Indirect evidence supporting the same conclusion is found at 1Co 16:19, where Paul adds to his own greetings those of Aquila and Prisca (Priscilla). According to Ac 18:18, 19, that couple had moved from Corinth to Ephesus.

the Festival of Pentecost: See Glossary, “Pentecost,” and App. B15.

the door to faith: Or “the door of faith.” Jehovah opened this figurative door by giving people of the nations, or non-Jews, the opportunity to acquire faith. In the Scriptural sense, gaining faith includes the idea of cultivating trust that leads to obedient action. (Jas 2:17; see study note on Joh 3:16.) Paul used the term “door” in a figurative sense three times in his letters.​—1Co 16:9; 2Co 2:12; Col 4:3.

a large door that leads to activity: This is one of three instances in which Paul uses the term “door” in a figurative sense. (2Co 2:12; Col 4:3; see study note on Ac 14:27.) Paul’s activity in Ephesus had an impact on the preaching efforts in the whole region. He spent some three years in Ephesus (c. 52-55 C.E.), and one result was that the good news of the Kingdom spread throughout the Roman province of Asia. (Ac 19:10, 26; see Glossary, “Asia.”) The cities of Colossae, Laodicea, and Hierapolis, which lay inland from Ephesus, heard the good news, though Paul evidently did not visit them in person. He may have sent Epaphras to open up the preaching work there. (Col 4:12, 13) It seems possible that the good news likewise reached the cities of Philadelphia, Thyatira, and Sardis during this time of great activity.

the work of Jehovah: Paul is here referring to the work, or ministry, that God had given him and Timothy. As Paul mentions at 1Co 3:9, Christians have the privilege of being “God’s fellow workers.”​—For the use of the divine name in this expression, see App. C3 introduction; 1Co 16:10.

Now concerning Apollos our brother: It appears that Apollos must have been in or near Ephesus, where Paul wrote 1 Corinthians. Apollos had been preaching in Corinth earlier (Ac 18:24–19:1a), and the Corinthians held Apollos in great esteem. Though Paul urged him to visit the Corinthian congregation, Apollos did not intend to go to Corinth at that time. He may have feared stirring up further division in the congregation (1Co 1:10-12), or he may still have had work to do where he was. At any rate, Paul’s brief statement about “Apollos our brother” shows that these two active missionaries had not allowed the factions in the congregation in Corinth to cause a breach in their own unity, as some Bible commentators have suggested.​—1Co 3:4-9, 21-23; 4:6, 7.

with the brothers: Some have suggested that “brothers” may refer to Stephanas, Fortunatus, and Achaicus, who visited Paul in Ephesus (1Co 16:17, 18) and who possibly then delivered this letter to Corinth.

carry on in a manly way: Or “be courageous.” The Greek word used here (an·driʹzo·mai) is a verb drawn from the noun a·nerʹ, meaning “a man; a male.” While it literally means “to act like a man,” the primary idea is that of being courageous or brave, which is how it is rendered in many translations. Paul wrote these words to all in the congregation, so women too were to show such courage. Although Paul here encourages Christians to show manly courage, he also describes himself and his companions as being “gentle” and acting like “a nursing mother.” (1Th 2:7) The Greek verb an·driʹzo·mai occurs only here in the Christian Greek Scriptures, but it is used more than 20 times in the Septuagint to render synonymous Hebrew expressions that mean “be courageous; be strong.” For example, it is used three times at De 31:6, 7, 23, where Moses commanded the people and Joshua to “be courageous.” It is also used three times at Jos 1:6, 7, 9, where Jehovah told Joshua to “be . . . strong.”

urge: Or “entreat.”​—For a discussion of the Greek word pa·ra·ka·leʹo used here, see study note on Ro 12:8.

Achaia: See study note on Ac 18:12.

Achaia: In the Christian Greek Scriptures, Achaia refers to the Roman province of southern Greece with its capital at Corinth. In 27 B.C.E., when Caesar Augustus reorganized the two provinces of Greece, Macedonia and Achaia, the name Achaia applied to all of Peloponnese and to part of continental Greece. The province of Achaia was under the administration of the Roman Senate and was ruled through a proconsul from its capital, Corinth. (2Co 1:1) Other cities of the province of Achaia mentioned in the Christian Greek Scriptures were Athens and Cenchreae. (Ac 18:1, 18; Ro 16:1) Achaia and Macedonia, its neighboring province to the N, were often mentioned together.​—Ac 19:21; Ro 15:26; 1Th 1:7, 8; see App. B13.

encourages: Or “exhorts.” The Greek word pa·ra·ka·leʹo literally means “to call to one’s side.” It is broad in meaning and may convey the idea “to encourage” (Ac 11:23; 14:22; 15:32; 1Th 5:11; Heb 10:25); “to comfort” (2Co 1:4; 2:7; 7:6; 2Th 2:17); and in some contexts “to urge strongly; to exhort” (Ac 2:40; Ro 15:30; 1Co 1:10; Php 4:2; 1Th 5:14; 2Ti 4:2; Tit 1:9, ftn.). The close relationship between exhortation, comfort, and encouragement would indicate that a Christian should never exhort someone in a harsh or unkind way.

the presence of: Here Paul uses the Greek word pa·rou·siʹa regarding three of his fellow workers who were with him. It is used in a similar sense five times elsewhere in the Christian Greek Scriptures. (2Co 7:6, 7; 10:10; Php 1:26; 2:12) This term is also used in connection with the invisible presence of Jesus Christ. (Mt 24:3; 1Co 15:23) The term pa·rou·siʹa, or “presence,” can refer to an invisible presence, as indicated by Jewish historian Josephus, writing in Greek, when he refers to God’s pa·rou·siʹa at Mount Sinai. God’s invisible presence was made evident by thunder and lightning. (Jewish Antiquities, III, 80 [v, 2]) Paul uses the related verb paʹrei·mi (“to be present”) when he speaks about being “present in spirit” but “absent in body.” (1Co 5:3) Although many translations render this term “arrival” or “coming,” the rendering “presence” is supported by the way Paul uses it at Php 2:12 to describe his “presence” in contrast with his “absence.”​—See study note on 1Co 15:23.

during his presence: This term is first used at Mt 24:3, where some of Jesus’ disciples ask him about “the sign of [his] presence.” It refers to the royal presence of Jesus Christ from the time of his invisible enthronement as Messianic King at the beginning of the last days of this system of things. The Greek word rendered “presence” is pa·rou·siʹa, and while many translations render it “coming,” it literally means “being alongside.” His presence would span a period of time rather than simply involve a momentary coming or arrival. This meaning of pa·rou·siʹa is indicated at Mt 24:37-39, where “the days of Noah . . . before the Flood” are compared to “the presence of the Son of man.” Also, at Php 2:12, Paul used pa·rou·siʹa to describe his “presence” in contrast with his “absence.” (See study note on 1Co 16:17.) Thus, Paul explains that the resurrection to life in heaven for those who belong to the Christ, that is, Christ’s spirit-anointed brothers and joint heirs, would occur some time after Jesus was installed as heavenly King in God’s Kingdom.

The congregations of Asia: That is, in the Roman province of Asia. (See Glossary, “Asia.”) Ac 19:10 says that during Paul’s stay in Ephesus, “all those living in the province of Asia heard the word of the Lord.” At the time of writing 1 Corinthians (c. 55 C.E.), while staying in Ephesus, Paul likely had in mind congregations in Colossae, Laodicea, and Hierapolis. (Col 4:12-16) Additionally, other congregations mentioned in the book of Revelation, including those in Smyrna, Pergamum, Sardis, Thyatira, and Philadelphia, may have been established by then and may have been included in these greetings.​—Re 1:4, 11.

Aquila and Prisca: See study note on Ac 18:2.

the congregation that is in their house: The first-century believers often met together in private homes. (Ro 16:3, 5; Col 4:15; Phm 2) The Greek word for “congregation” (ek·kle·siʹa) refers to a group of people gathered together for a common purpose. (1Co 12:28; 2Co 1:1) Some Bibles use “church” to render the Greek word ek·kle·siʹa in this and other verses. However, since many think of a church as a building used for religious services rather than as a group of people engaging in worship, the rendering “congregation” is more accurate.

Aquila: This faithful Christian husband and his loyal wife, Priscilla (also called Prisca), are described as being “fellow workers” with Paul. (Ro 16:3) They are referred to a total of six times in the Christian Greek Scriptures (Ac 18:18, 26; 1Co 16:19; 2Ti 4:19), and on each occasion they are mentioned together. The name Priscilla is the diminutive form of the name Prisca. The shorter form of the name is found in Paul’s writings, the longer form in Luke’s. Such a variation was common in Roman names. Banished from Rome by Emperor Claudius’ decree against the Jews sometime in the year 49 or early 50 C.E., Aquila and Priscilla took up residence in Corinth. When Paul arrived there in the autumn of 50 C.E., he worked with this couple at their common trade of tentmaking. Aquila and Priscilla doubtless aided Paul in building up the new congregation there. Aquila was a native of Pontus, a region of northern Asia Minor along the Black Sea.​—See App. B13.

a holy kiss: See study note on Ro 16:16.

with a holy kiss: In four of his letters (here and at 1Co 16:20; 2Co 13:12; 1Th 5:26), Paul encourages his fellow Christians to greet one another “with a holy kiss.” The apostle Peter used a similar expression: “Greet one another with a kiss of love.” (1Pe 5:14) In Bible times, people would give a kiss as a token of affection, respect, or peace. It was also common to kiss when greeting someone or saying goodbye. (Ru 1:14; Lu 7:45) This practice was customary between male and female relatives (Ge 29:11; 31:28), between male relatives, and between close friends (Ge 27:26, 27; 45:15; Ex 18:7; 1Sa 20:41, 42; 2Sa 14:33; 19:39; see study note on Ac 20:37). Among Christians, such expressions of affection reflected the brotherhood and spiritual oneness of those united by true worship. They were not given as a mere formalism or ritual nor with any romantic or erotic overtones.​—Joh 13:34, 35.

in my own hand: See study note on 1Co 1:1.

Sosthenes our brother: The name Sosthenes was not particularly common. The only other occurrence in the Bible is found at Ac 18:17. Therefore, it is possible that the presiding officer of the synagogue who was beaten by the crowd in Corinth later became the Christian brother mentioned here and associated with Paul in Ephesus. At 1Co 16:21, Paul implies that the bulk of the letter was not written in his own hand, perhaps indicating that Sosthenes was his secretary for this letter.

O our Lord, come!: Paul here uses an Aramaic expression transliterated into Greek as Ma·raʹna tha. Similar to other Semitic expressions, such as “Amen” and “Hallelujah,” it was apparently a term known by the Christian congregation, so Paul could use it without further explanation. It expresses a wish similar to the concluding words of Re 22:20, where the apostle John exclaimed: “Amen! Come, Lord Jesus.” According to some scholars, the Aramaic expression is to be transliterated Ma·ranʹ a·thaʹ, which would mean “Our Lord is coming” or “Our Lord has come.”