1 Corinthians 16:9-16

1 Cor 16:9 (KJV)
For a great door and effectual is opened unto me, and there are many adversaries.

Paul now gives the reason why he wants to stay at Ephesus. A tremendous witnessing opportunity had opened up for him in the city of the great temple of Diana. The word “effectual” carries with it the meaning of “effective.” When we look at the great tumult that the true Gospel caused at Ephesus, we see why Paul called it a “great” (megas) door for evangelism. We read in Acts 19 that Paul’s ministry was being very effective and that resulted in the creation of many adversaries. The word “adversaries” carries with it the meaning of ”those who oppose.” Since Ephesus was a great center of the pagan cult of Diana, there were many who made their living by selling the pagan statues and other religious artifacts. When people started being converted to Christianity, this began to cut into the profits of the businessmen and whenever money is at stake, trouble will arise. Paul called these unbelievers beasts in 1 Corinthians 15:32. The main one to oppose Paul was probably Demetrius the Silversmith. Instead of them taking Paul to task through the proper legal channels, they instead enflamed the whole town and caused much confusion, much like a wild animal would when being attacked. This verse is also a warning to us, that wherever we bring the true Gospel, we can expect to face major opposition.

1 Cor 16:10 (KJV)
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.

In case Paul did not arrive in a timely manner at Corinth, he stated that maybe others might come to them, including Timothy. He was asking this church to allow Timothy to work among them without any opposition from the church. They might have thought that because Timothy was young, he would be of no value in aiding the church during rough times. Paul also gave Timothy a good recommendation that he too, was a true fellow worker with Paul in his missionary endeavors. Sometimes a substitute may be regarded as inferior. Remember when we were in school and received a substitute teacher? How did we view them?

1 Cor 16:11 (KJV)
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.

The word “despise” carries with it the meaning of “belittle or to make of no account.”
(1 Tim 4:12 KJV) Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. Even though Timothy was younger, he was still to be treated as a brother and a guest of that church. He represents the Apostle Paul to this church plus he is a colleague of Paul’s, which means he was chosen by the Lord for this task to aid in the helping of the churches that he visited. Paul wanted him to be treated in peace, so whatever work Timothy would do there, would not be hindered by any problems. He was also to be helped on his way in peace so he could rejoin the Apostle Paul who looked for him to be among the brethren who was helping him in his missionary task. Paul was probably waiting to hear a first hand account of the situation of the church at Corinth and to see if his letter was being regarded or discarded. I am sure Paul awaited anxiously for Timothy’s arrival.

1 Cor 16:12 (KJV)
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.

Here Paul was desiring that Apollos would be able to make a visit to Corinth in the Lord‘s timing. It seemed that Apollos may have been considered one of the teachers whose teachings may have been the seed of a faction.
(1 Cor 1:12 KJV) Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. In the first chapter, Paul was mentioning the fact that the Corinthian church was divided into factions and Apollos was named as one of those who the Corinthians were following. This shows a great character in the Apostle Paul and much wisdom. If Apollos was able to go to Corinth, he would then be able to bring together the factions which seemed to be dividing the church. Paul was not fearful if Apollos went there because he obviously knew that Apollos was a mature Christian and would have ability to close the breaches among the “preacher followers” and unite the church under the leadership of the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul was always concerned for the churches and wanted to help them in every way that he could and that is why he delegated work to capable people. (2 Tim 2:2 KJV) And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also. This should always be the norm in today’s churches, instead of people being promoted or chosen for office by favoritism, they should be chosen because of quality of Christian walk and leadership ability.

1 Cor 16:13 (KJV)
Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.

Paul gives four exhortations in this verse which applies to all Christians:

1) Watch Ye - This is to say, that we as Christians, are to consistently keep a vigil over our actions, habits, and basically our entire Christian walk. We are to make sure that we keep our lives in concert with the life of a true believer. Especially, we need to ask ourselves to see if we are giving any appearance of evil. An appearance of evil, is evil, in the eye of the beholder and we are constantly being watched by the unbelieving world.

2) Stand Fast in the faith - We are to stay firm on the Christian Faith. We must never allow false teachings or anything which impairs the true Gospel to even be considered. Too many Christians today think they are very strong in the Gospel and instead of running from false gospels, they tend to want to give them a listen, and eventually they wind up snared. We are also to stand firm in the face of persecution. When tough times come, that is when we are to cling to the true Gospel and not to abandon it for temporary reprieve.

3) Quit you like men - The word “quit” carries with it the meaning of “act like a man or bravery.” We are to be as mature Christians in contrast to baby Christians. Paul had this problem at Corinth in that they were so carnal, they were unable to digest the true meat of the Gospel. Paul is admonishing these Christians to grow in the faith and live as mature Christians. Children play with toys and normally accept what they are told but a man will check things out in the Scriptures and will investigate teachings before they are accepted.

4) Be Strong - They are to increase in spiritual strength by growing in the word and they are to remain strong. A strong Christian does not kowtow to false teachings and teachers, they will rebuke them and the false teachings. When Christians back down to the false teachers, they weaken themselves and their testimony, and this will cause a stunt in spiritual growth plus it gives the false teacher the upper hand, and will aid them in proving that their teachings cannot be logically refuted. This is why it is imperative for Christians to grow in the faith by studying the Word.

1 Cor 16:14 (KJV)
Let all your things be done with charity.

In reference to the four exhortations that Paul just gave them, they must all be done under the umbrella of true Christian love. There can be no selfishness in the life of a Christian because we are all servants of the Lord Jesus Christ.
(Luke 17:10 KJV) So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do. We are to be strong children of God with the mindset of the servant.

1 Cor 16:15 (KJV)
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,)

Paul begins a reflection here but completes it in the next verse. In this verse he points out the house of Stephanas which were the first ones to become saved in the region of Achaia. They did not sit around and take to bickering, instead they began a ministry to the brethren. Notice the word “addicted” in this verse. It carries with it the meaning of “devoted or committed.” When someone is addicted to alcohol or drugs, they are committed to those things always desiring more. When a true Christian is addicted to the ministry, they are always striving to minister, in fact, they look for opportunities to minister. Paul was naming them as a sort of a pattern ministry and that these of this Church should begin to desire and do ministry as this house does.

1 Cor 16:16 (KJV)
That ye submit yourselves unto such, and to every one that helpeth with us, and laboureth.

Paul wanted the Corinthians to humble themselves under people who have ministries such as the house of Stephanas. This way, those who are young in the faith will be able to learn that the Christian life is service and not just coming to church every week. The work that many Christians do really deserve the notice of the local church so they can be set as a model of doing ministry, especially for those who desire to get into a ministry. Unfortunately, it seems in the modern church that no good deed goes unpunished and the lazy are the glorified. Those who do nothing to further the Kingdom of God should be considered the least in every congregation. Those who further the Kingdom of God should be set as models for the other Christians, maybe it will provoke others unto good works.