1 Corinthians 16:19-24

Paul ends this first letter to the Corinthian church with more greetings and some closing words. Paul had just mentioned the household Stephanas as the converts of Achaia because they were among the first people saved in that region, and were baptized by Paul himself. He was highly encouraged by that. But he came with greetings from other churches in the area, as well as Aquilla and Priscilla who were a married couple who ministered with Paul at Corinth and now they were in Ephesus with Paul and sent their greetings to the Corinthian Christians. “The churches of Asia send you greetings. Aquila and Priscilla, together with the church in their house, send you hearty greetings in the Lord.”

The early church met in houses, because they had few meeting places of their own until the third century. Most of there early house churches were very small with usually under 30 people maximum in any given church. So the people knew each other well, and there was no hiding – it was very personal. “All the brothers send you greetings. Greet one another with a holy kiss.” So Paul’s greeting of the encouragement of the holy kiss reinforced the Jewish custom and early church tradition which was a common greeting in that culture. It’s not so much part of our society today, but a friendly and warm greeting still carries a huge impact for those who come together as the church.

Paul had a secretary write the letters as he dictated them. Often he added a personal note at the end in his own handwriting to validate it as coming from him. Speculation is that Paul’s personal handwriting had become poor, which is why he dictated most of the letters. “I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand.” Paul again stresses the importance of love, pronouncing a heavy curse on those who talk of commitment to Jesus, but have no genuine love for Him. “If anyone has no love for the Lord, let him be accursed. Our Lord, come!” Being a Christ Follower is not a game, or something to take lightly. It is all in for anyone who claims to be His.

Paul drives home the seriousness of his charge by the word he uses. Guzik tells us that “Accursed translates from the ancient Greek word anathema. Paul said in Romans 9:3 that he was willing himself to be anathema (cursed) from Jesus if it could accomplish the salvation of the Jewish people. Anathema was the third of three levels of discipline among the ancient Jews.

  1. The first level was a simple separation of a man from the synagogue for 30 days.
  2. If one did not repent in the 30 days, he was under the second degree of discipline, giving him still an undefined time to repent, but warning him of the dire consequences to come.
  3. The third level was the anathema, and with that all hope of reconciliation and repentance was cut off. The man could never be reconciled to the synagogue, and was no longer accounted as a Jew at all.”

After that serious reminder, Paul gives his blessing on the church. “The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you. My love be with you all in Christ Jesus. Amen.”

One response to this post.

  1. Reblogged this on The Searchlight.

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