At the very end of 1 Corinthians Paul talks about a number of individuals. He generally does that in his letters. Paul, for all of his ability and all of his missionary strategies, nevertheless was always thinking about people. And he thought about them in a very warm way.

In verse 13, Paul gives a series of statements meant to encourage the Christians at Corinth. There are five statements there. First, he tells them to be on guard. Second, he encourages them to stand firm in the faith. Third, he exhorts them to be men of courage. The fourth statement is simply, "be strong"; and finally, he tells them to do everything in love. That is a good challenge for any group of Christians at any time because it speaks of our work in Christianity as warfare, and reminds us that there are enemies. Paul speaks of the enemies that he was facing earlier in this chapter, his enemies at Ephesus, in the context of the Christian’s need to stand firm against them in the power of Christ.

In the next portion of this sixteenth chapter, beginning with verse 5, Paul speaks of himself and his fellow workers. Paul is an apostle, so he speaks with a special divine authority not given to many others. Since his writing was divinely inspired, he actually wrote with the authority of the Holy Spirit. He mentions Timothy, whom he was training to carry on a lot of the leadership of the church after he was gone. Timothy was a younger man, a godly man, and one about whom Paul speaks very favorably. He does so extensively in the letter to the Philippians and in his letters to Timothy himself, and yet a man who, as we read those various references to him, was probably somewhat insecure in his position of leadership.

The second principle Paul presents concerning Christian giving is regular giving on the first day of every week. I do not think that means that in every single instance for every single person, giving has to be once a week. But it is saying that giving should be regular because it is built into the fabric of the Christian life. As a matter of fact, if someone in need comes along, regardless of when that is, the Christian has an obligation to help out. It is not simply to be a thing that is done at whim as if it does not enter our thinking most of the time. It is not only when somebody is pressing a certain deplorable situation in the church, that we should say, "Well, maybe I ought to respond to that."

We have been studying Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians and we come here in our final lesson to chapter 16, which is a very practical chapter. It almost seems anti-climactic after his focus on matters such as the Resurrection, spiritual gifts, and Christian love. Here he begins to talk about Christian giving, as well as some personal matters concerning his relationship to Timothy, and Apollos, and some of the people from Corinth. Finally, there are some greetings and some encouraging statements at the end. I do not think of the chapter as an anti-climax, however. If we do that, we are really betraying an imbalance in the Christian life, because we are saying that all that really matters in Christianity is theology or doctrine.