In this passage, Paul concludes the letter of 1 Corinthians by giving some final, brief, instructions to the Corinthians. He begins by addressing the matter of the collection of money for the saints in Jerusalem; he commands the church to do what he directed the Galatian churches to do. This included setting aside some money for the collection on the first day of every week. Paul tells them that he plans to send someone to them to receive the collection with letters that verify that he is sent by Paul. As for Paul himself, he says that he first wants to go through Macedonia, north of Corinth. Then, he muses, he may stay with them, so that they may send him somewhere else. The reason for these plans is that he does not want to visit them for a short time, but to visit them for an extensive period of time. Nevertheless, he plans to remain at Ephesus, far away from Corinth, until the day of Pentecost because he notices a good opportunity for service, and there are many who oppose him.
In verse 10, Paul commands the church to avoid giving Timothy a reason to be afraid, if he comes to them, because he is doing the Lord’s work, which is what Paul is doing. Therefore, Paul says, no one is to despise him. Furthermore, the Corinthians are to send him away in peace, so that he may go to Paul, as Paul expects him.
Concerning Apollos, a well-known leader of the early church, Paul encouraged him to go to the church, but he did not want to at the time. Paul implies that he did not want to because he lacked the opportunity to do so.
In verse 13, Paul commands the Corinthians to be on the alert, to stand firm in the faith, or in the apostolic teaching, and in practice, to act like mature people, and to be strong in the faith. Furthermore, he commands them to do everything out of love.
In verse 15, Paul reminds the church that the household of Stephanas was the first household to be saved in Asia, and that they devoted themselves to serve saints. Then, he commands the Corinthians to subject themselves to men like Stephanas, and to those who help the work of ministry, and those who labor in ministry. Then, Paul expresses his joy at the coming of Stephanas, Fortunatus, and Achaicus, who were Corinthians, because they supplied Paul with what he should have received from the Corinthian church. This supply consisted of the refreshing of Paul’s spirit, and the Corinthians’ spirit. Therefore, Paul concludes, the Corinthians are to acknowledge such men as these three.
In verse 19, Paul allows the churches in Asia Minor to greet the Corinthians, as well as Aquila and Prisca, who were well-known leaders in the early church, and the church that met in their home. Furthermore, every Christian with Paul greet the Corinthians. Then, Paul commands the Corinthians to greet one another with a kiss.
In verse 21, Paul says that the greeting that he has just written was written with his own hand, implying that the rest was not. Then, he says that anyone who does not love the Lord will be accursed. After this, he uses the word, “maranatha,” which literally means, “O Lord, come!” Finally, Paul wishes the Lord’s grace upon them, and lets them know that he loves them in Christ.
This passage is primarily intended to be read by believers in the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Do you understand the gospel? The Apostle Paul explained it this way:
“. . . I make known unto you brethren, the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye received, wherein also ye stand, by which also ye are saved, if ye hold fast the word which I preached unto you, except ye believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which also I received: that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried; and that he hath been raised on the third day according to the scriptures; and that he appeared to Cephas; then to the twelve; then he appeared to above five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain until now, but some are fallen asleep; then he appeared to James; then to all the apostles; and last of all, as to the child untimely born, he appeared to me also. For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.” 1 Corinthians 15:1-9
This is what Christ Himself said about the gospel:
“. . . God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.” John 3:16-20
John the Baptist said this: “. . . he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on [stays directed toward] him.” – John 3:36
The Apostle Paul said this in Romans 2:4-16:
“. . . despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance? but after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up for thyself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; who will render to every man according to his works: to them that by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and incorruption, eternal life: but unto them that are factious, and obey not the truth, but obey unrighteousness, shall be wrath and indignation, tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that worketh evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Greek; but glory and honor and peace to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Greek: for there is no respect of persons with God. For as many as have sinned without the law shall also perish without the law: and as many as have sinned under the law shall be judged by the law; for not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified; (for when Gentiles that have not the law do by nature the things of the law, these, not having the law, are the law unto themselves; in that they show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness therewith, and their thoughts one with another accusing or else excusing them); in the day when God shall judge the secrets of men, according to my gospel, by Jesus Christ.”
This is what you must do to be forgiven by God: repent of the way you think about Christ and your sins, and depend only on Him, the God-man, His death to pay for your sins, and His bodily resurrection from the dead as the only reason for God’s acceptance and forgiveness. As some of Paul’s audience did, if you receive, take your stand in, and entrust your eternity with the Lord Jesus Christ, His death for your sins, and bodily resurrection from the dead, you will be saved.
“. . . if thou shalt confess with thy mouth Jesus as Lord, and shalt believe in thy heart that God raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved: for with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be put to shame. For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek: for the same Lord is Lord of all, and is rich unto all that call upon him: for, Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Romans 10:9-13