This last chapter once again reminds us that this 'book' we've been reading is a letter, as it's filled with particular instructions that appear irrelevant to anyone not living in Corinth two millennia ago. Yet we can see God's guiding principles behind these time-bound requests and make application of them to our own particular situations.
v1-4 - The Corinthian congregation was not an individual church, disconnected from the Ephesian, Galatian or Jerusalem churches. Jerusalem was in the midst of a terrible famine, and the other churches were collecting money to send to the church there. This passage reminds us that we are one church, which is found in many locations around the world.
On the first day of the week - People in Roman culture knew nothing of a 'weekend;' all days of the week were the same. Yet, we see that it was the early church's custom to meet together on the first day, in contrast to their society and also in contrast to the Jewish practice of meeting on the seventh day. We still follow this habit of meeting on the Lord's Day.
People must give to the needy according to their income.
v5-9 - Paul gives his planned itinerary. It's good to make plans, but be sure to hold on to your plans lightly, as Paul does, so you can make adjustments to keep yourself aligned with God's will.
v10-12 - Paul refers to his ministry colleagues, Timothy and Apollos.
They were doing the Lord's work as well, and therefore must be respected.
Once again, it seems like there's a bit of simmering tension between Paul and Apollos. Don't expect that doing the Lord's work will erase all of your problems.
v13-14 - As a Christian, know and be prepared to be attacked at all times. Here's how to do that:
Stand firm in the faith. There are two ways you stand firm:
FIRST: be courageous. The NIV uses those words to translate the literal words 'act like men.'
Our culture has no idea what the phrase 'act like men' means. Some will understand it as acting in a immature, juvenile way. In contrast to that, society is trying to soften men to the extent that they're no different than women. Neither of these extremes are what Paul means.
The Godly man that Paul wants you to emulate has at least three attributes. He:
PROTECTS: Keeps himself, and those entrusted to him, from being corrupted by the sinful world;
PROSPERS: makes sure that he and his family are fed well from God's Word
PROMOTES: Encourages all those around him to live according to Godly principles as well.
SECOND: Be strong. Know what you believe, and why you believe it and don't let this world push you around.
As you stand firm in the faith, do so in love. If you're wondering what that means, go back and review chapter 13.
v15-20 - Personal greetings from Christians around the world.
v21-23 - A warm closing benediction (words of blessing).
OLD TESTAMENT REFERENCE:
David is probably the greatest example of what it means to be a Godly man. In his poetry (I dare someone to tell a man like David that poetry and music are not manly) David expresses his strength comes from the Lord. Read Psalm 31, concentrating on verses 23-24. BONUS: See how many times the phrase "be strong and courageous" is in the Bible.
Use the comment box below to discuss one or more of these questions:
EYE FOR DETAIL—From what you recall seeing in this chapter, try answering the following question without looking at your Bible: Bible: Paul said in this chapter that before visiting the Corinthians again, he was first traveling somewhere else. What was this place? (See verse 5.)
What's your gut reaction to the phrase "act like men?"
Question 1 taken from The Complete Bible Discussion Guide: New Testament
Follow the AAA Prayer Pattern:
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: The One who has assembled people from every tongue, tribe, nation and even time into His people, the Church
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray Marana Tha, a greek phrase meaning "Come, Lord (v22)"
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED: