The name occurs only in 1 Corinthians 1:16; 16:15-18. Stephanas was a Christian of Corinth; his household is mentioned in 1 Corinthians 16:15 as the first family won to Christ in Achaia, and in 1 Corinthians 1:16 as among the few personally baptized by Paul at Corinth. The "house of Stephanas," apparently of independent means, had "set themselves to minister unto the saints" (1 Corinthians 16:15), i.e. to do Christian service. Possibly this service consisted in putting their house at the disposal of the Christians at Corinth for worshipping, or in rendering special assistance in establishing intercommunication between the Corinthian church and the apostle, or the other churches. An instance of such service was the commission of Stephanas at Ephesus referred to in 1 Corinthians 16:17,18. At the occasion of some disorders in the Corinthian church Stephanas, with Fortunatus and Achaicus in the deputation, brought a letter of the Corinthians to Paul. Our present 1 Corinthians is the reply to this letter, and thus, in all probability, the three men mentioned above were the bearers of this epistle. With fine courtesy Paul expresses his appreciation for this service in 1 Corinthians 16:18, referring to it as a cherished opportunity of fellowship with his beloved Corinthians through these representatives. It is in consideration of such Christian service that Paul enjoins upon the Corinthians to show the house of Stephanas that respect and deference due to Christian leaders by willingly submitting to their direction.
S. D. Press
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