1 Corinthians 16:13–24 (NKJV)
13 Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong. 14 Let all that you do be done with love.
15 I urge you, brethren—you know the household of Stephanas, that it is the firstfruits of Achaia, and that they have devoted themselves to the ministry of the saints—16 that you also submit to such, and to everyone who works and labors with us.
17 I am glad about the coming of Stephanas, Fortunatus, and Achaicus, for what was lacking on your part they supplied. 18 For they refreshed my spirit and yours. Therefore acknowledge such men.
Two items begin this final greeting of the letter: Be strong and careful, and be loving. This two-pronged approach to the Christian life and ministry are so very important. The first sentence is multi-faceted (Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong), but clearly single in the thought of being strong and watchful; strong in faith, strong emotionally, just strong, and then watchful or careful in all things. This is a robust, warrior mentality that is calling the men and women of Corinth to stand strong in the face of all opposition. When enemies arise, watch and stand strong. When trials come, watch and stand strong. In times of success and triumph, watch and stand strong. When false doctrine arises, watch and stand strong. This is a call to arms, an order from a superior officer, a pep talk, and it to be heeded. However, the call to love in all that you do is equally important. Paul has observed selfish, arrogant behavior in the Christian church at Corinth, and he has addressed it and corrected it. Now, the church must work in love to combat future examples of this behavior. Paul then sums up this section by commended leaders in the church and thanking the church for the assistance offered to Paul by a group of Christians who would be visiting Corinth as well.
19 The churches of Asia greet you. Aquila and Priscilla greet you heartily in the Lord, with the church that is in their house. 20 All the brethren greet you. Greet one another with a holy kiss.
21 The salutation with my own hand—Paul’s.
22 If anyone does not love the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be accursed. O Lord, come!
23 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. 24 My love be with you all in Christ Jesus. Amen.
Paul sends greetings from the other churches in Asia, especially mentioning Aquila and Priscilla, his companions on part of his journeys. He then additionally mentions greetings from the generic “all the brethren,” and then repeats the instruction already mentioned in Romans to “greet one another with a holy kiss.” As mentioned before, this was a common custom, to kiss someone on the cheek when greeting them. The significance of the holy kiss was that it had special meaning in the body of Christ. Holy meant that it was to be given to others who were spiritual brothers and sisters, family, in the church. Paul then pronounces a curse on those who will not love the Lord, and grace on the followers of Christ in the church. Paul operated as a pastor/overseer with all the churches in Asia Minor and toward Europe. He was a great leader and a compassionate leader. He did not shy away from correcting the sins and mistakes of his flocks, and–in so doing–established strong, orthodox congregations around the know world of his day. This leadership is a great example for pastors and leaders today to follow.
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