SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
- Paul begins the chapter by urging the Corinthians to set aside money every week to send back to the poor in Jerusalem. Caring for the poor has always been important to Paul. He mentions taking collections in Romans as well as II Corinthians. He encourages them to pick a few men who can take the journey to Jerusalem to deliver the funds. The letter of introduction mentioned was simply a way to show accountability for the money raised.
- Apollos was considered an apostle, but verse 12 shows that there wasn’t a hierarchy or command system among them. They functioned more like family and less like an organization.
- Paul tells the Corinthians to submit to people like those in the household of Stephanas. Notice he doesn’t have a title or office. But that doesn't matter. Paul says to simply follow the leadership of people who join in the work for God's kingdom.
- Paul then sums up the book of I Corinthians by encouraging them to stand strong in their faith, be of good courage, and most importantly, to love each other.
SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
- Paul teaches us the importance of giving consistently. The Corinthians were giving their offerings once a week at church meetings. He also explains that we are to give in proportion to our income.
- Paul was vitally important to the churches he started. However, the church was booming and he obviously could not be two places at once. This is why believers like Timothy, Apollos, and Priscilla and Aquila were so critical to the growth of the Christian community. While he had a great impact on the church, nothing could be accomplished if others were not willing to work with him. This holds true for the church today. We should strive to work alongside our pastors and leaders of our church community.
NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
- Do you give of your finances consistently, or whenever the mood strikes you? Do you give a set percentage of your income? How does your giving need to change to better honor God?
- Why do you attend church? Do you find yourself seeking for yourself, but not giving to others through serving them? The household of Stephanas were made up of people who led by example. Where is God telling you to get involved?
- It's powerful to have Bible verses memorized that we can tell ourselves when we need them. Verses 13-14 might provide a great passage to memorize from this book: "Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. Do everything in love."