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1 Corinthians 16

 

17 In place of the words not to marry, some versions of the Bible say, “not to touch a woman,” which is the literal translation of the Greek text. The meaning is the same.

18 Many people believe that they should abstain from sexual intercourse during the wife’s menstrual period (Leviticus 15:19,24; 18:19). However, this doesn’t mean that a husband and wife must remain separated during this time. Furthermore, the Old Testament laws regarding intercourse during a wife’s period are not binding on Christians. Those laws are among the Jewish purification laws, which Christ has canceled.

19 In the case of compulsory military service, of course, the husband must serve his required time. However, in many cases young men enlist voluntarily for financial reasons. In this case, a young Christian husband must have very clear direction from God before making such a decision. It would never be God’s will for a man to jeopardize his marriage for financial gain. This would also be true for a husband who leaves his wife to work at some high paying job; only if absolutely necessary should a Christian husband ever consider doing this.

20 Because the word unmarried can also mean those who are divorced, some Christian scholars believe that Paul teaches in verse 9 that it is all right under certain circumstances for divorced people to remarry. However, in verse 11, Paul says that a divorced woman should remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband (see Matthew 5:32; Mark 10:6-12 and comments).

21 Some Christians say that there are still other conditions which permit a divorced person to remarry. One possible condition is mentioned in verse 15. However, these other conditions are not clearly stated in the Bible. We must not bend the verses of Scripture to make them say what we wish they would say. The subject, however, is complicated, and sincere Christian scholars have different opinions on the matter. For further discussion, see General Article: Christian Marriage.

22 Our social and economic situation will often improve after we have become Christians, but not always. God sometimes will withhold material blessings from us in order to give us greater spiritual blessings.

23 Paul wrote all of his letters in the Greek language.

24 The alternate translation of verses 36-38 is as follows: “36 If anyone thinks he is not treating his daughter properly, and if she is getting along in years, and he feels she ought to marry, he should do as he wants. He is not sinning. They should get married. 37 But the man who has settled the matter in his own mind, who is under no compulsion but has control over his own will, and who has made up his mind to keep the virgin unmarried—this man also does the right thing. 38 So then, he who gives his virgin in marriage does right, but he who does not give her in marriage does even better.”
    In most of the countries of Paul’s day, as in many countries today, it was a father’s duty to give his daughter in marriage. If the father did not arrange his daughter’s marriage properly, she was put to shame. Thus, a father was “not treating his daughter properly” if he neglected to arrange her marriage. In such a circumstance, says Paul, the father should arrange for his daughter to marry. To do so would not be a sin (verse 36).
    But if a father is convinced that his daughter should remained unmarried so that she might better serve the Lord, then he should not arrange her marriage (verse 37). Either way, the father “does right,” whether he gives his daughter in marriage or not. However, Paul thinks it better if he does not give her in marriage (verse 38).

25 However, we must not eat or drink anything that is harmful to our bodies. We must not become drunk with alcohol (Ephesians 5:18). We must not smoke tobacco, which has been shown to harm our bodies. Our bodies are God’s temple, and we must do nothing that will destroy God’s temple (1 Corinthians 3:16-17).

26 Of course, Paul did not follow any customs or traditions that would bring dishonor to Christ.

27 Even though Christians are free from bondage to the Jewish ceremonial law, they are not free from the moral law of the Old Testament, which consists primarily of the two great commandments and the ten commandments (Exodus 20:3-17). The ten commandments are, in a sense, a detailed version of the two great commandments to love God and to love one’s neighbor. If one breaks any of the ten commandments, he is also breaking the two great commandments. Because if one disobeys any of the ten commandments, he is not showing love for God and for his neighbor (see Matthew 5:17-19; Romans 13:9; Galatians 5:14 and comments).

28 The manna was not only “spiritual food”; it was also actual food that the Jews could eat.

29 This kind of temptation is often called “testing.” However, outward testing (or trial) always leads to the inward temptation to give up, to lose faith, to deny Christ. This is why outward testing can be called a kind of temptation.

30 Sometimes to resist temptation means we must flee from it (see 1 Corinthians 10:14; 1 Timothy 6:11). In other words, we must actively take ourselves out of the way of temptation.

31 This does not include things that are harmful to our bodies or which lead us into temptation. Indulging in such things is not approved by God.

32 Eating, resting, enjoying fellowship, and engaging in other such legitimate activities all ultimately bring glory to God, because these activities are necessary for our physical and emotional health. We can glorify God more when we are physically and emotionally healthy.

33 These twelve men were Christ’s original twelve disciples (minus Judas Iscariot), who become known as “apostles” after the Holy Spirit had come upon them.

34 For further discussion, see General Article: Christian Marriage.

35 For further discussion of the subject of the Lord’s Supper, see General Article: Lord’s Supper.

36 For further discussion of the work of the Holy Spirit, see General Article: Holy Spirit.

37 The expression Jesus is Lord means: “Jesus is the one and only Lord.” Just as there is only one God, so there is only one Lord—namely, Jesus, the Son of God.

38 In verses 8-10, the gifts themselves are mentioned. But in 1 Corinthians 12:28 and Ephesians 4:11, it is not the gifts themselves that are mentioned, but rather special categories of workers with the corresponding gifts.

39 This gift is also used in distinguishing between true prophets and false prophets; however, in most cases, this can be done without the help of a special supernatural gift (see 1 John 4:1-3).

40 The Greek word for by in this verse can also mean “with” or “in.” Depending on which of the three meanings is chosen—”by,” “with,” or “in”—the meaning of the verse will be somewhat different. For further discussion, see General Article: Holy Spirit Baptism.

41 It is not so important what we call the coming of the Spirit into our lives as long as He comes! The Holy Spirit manifests Himself in many ways in the lives of different believers. This is why there are so many terms given in the New Testament for the various ways in which the Holy Spirit manifests His presence in the lives of Christians.

42 Some people think that these “unpresentable” parts also include our internal organs, such as our liver, lungs, intestines, etc.

43 Love is different from the other “gifts” that have been described in this chapter. Love is a fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22). Indeed, it is the most important fruit. Whatever gifts we have received, we must use them in love. Without love, the Holy Spirit’s other gifts are worthless, and can even lead to harm. In our Christian lives, the most essential thing of all is love.

44 According to some translations of the New Testament, humility (or gentleness) is another fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:23).

45 In place of the words always protects, some translations of the Bible say, “bears all things.” The meaning is similar.

46 A Christian filled with love like this is called naive by worldly men—and even by some Christians. But we must understand that what the world calls “naivete” is often, in fact, a manifestation of Christ’s love. Yes, it is good for Christians to be wise and discerning, but at the same time they must be filled with love.

47 The same can also be said for a humanitarian concern for the poor and downtrodden. Such concern is always mixed with the selfish desire for merit or recognition—or, at least, self-approval.

48 In place of the words with his spirit, some translations of the Bible say, “by the Spirit.” Both meanings are possible, and both are true.

49 However, the private gift of praying in tongues isn’t meant to benefit only the one praying. The gift should make the person’s prayers for others more effective. And as a person’s own spiritual life is blessed through praying in tongues, that person should be better able to serve and bless others.

50 In place of the words those who do not understand, some translations of the Bible say “outsider,” or “inquirer.” The Greek text of this verse is difficult to translate.

51 The word Amen means, “May it be so!”

52 Sometimes there is no clear line between what is a natural gift and what is a supernatural one. Often the Holy Spirit will add a supernatural element to a natural gift that someone already has. In a sense, this happens to all of us when we become Christians; the Holy Spirit takes our natural gifts and sanctifies them and begins to use them. The most important thing to remember is that all gifts—both natural and supernatural—come ultimately from God and are to be used for the strengthening of the church (verse 26).

53 False prophets are under the control of evil spirits.

54 In some churches a time of prayer is set aside during the service when everyone prays out loud at the same time. Since such prayers are addressed to God and not to the congregation, Paul’s prohibition about more than one person speaking at a time would not apply to such prayer times.

55 In place of the words he himself will be ignored, some translations of the Bible say, “let him ignore this,” or, “let him remain ignorant.” The exact meaning of the Greek text is uncertain. Any one of the three meanings is possible.

56 In Paul’s time, the only Scriptures were the Old Testament Scriptures.

57 Death is the punishment for sin (Romans 6:23).

58 Later on, a few apostles rose up who had not seen the risen Christ (see 1 Thessalonians 2:7).

59 Paul doesn’t say whether this custom of taking baptism for dead people is good or not. As far as is known, no other group of Christians has ever practiced this custom.

60 Ephesus was an important city in the western part of present-day Turkey. Some of Paul’s experiences in Ephesus are described in Acts Chapter 19.

61 In place of the words in keeping with his income, some translations of the Bible say, “as he may prosper.” The meaning is the same. Christians should give according to their income, not their fixed possessions. Christians are not expected to sell a percentage of their land or houses each year. However, in special circumstances, a Christian may be called by God to sell a piece of property or some other possession to further the Lord’s work. And, of course, a Christian should sell any possession that he has begun to love more than God (see Mark 10:21).

Christians—even poor Christians—do well to give at least a tenth of their income for the work of the Lord. (Income can be either money or produce.) But Christians will receive greater blessing if they give more than a tenth. As one’s income increases, that doesn’t mean he’ll have more to spend on himself; it means he’ll have more to give to the Lord!

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