1 Corinthians 16:13

13 1Be watchful, 2stand firm in the faith, 3act like men, 4be strong.

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1 Corinthians 16:13 Meaning and Commentary

1 Corinthians 16:13

Watch ye
The apostle in the mean while, before he closes his epistle, thinks fit to give some proper and pertinent exhortations, which might be of general use to this church; and first exhorts them to watchfulness, not for the coming of Apollos, and a convenient season for that; but over themselves, over their hearts, thoughts, affections, words, actions, and their whole conversations; and over one another, that they go not into bad principles, and evil practices; and also against sin in general, every appearance, and the first motions of it, and particularly unbelief; and against Satan, and his temptations, who is an indefatigable enemy, and whose wiles, devices, and stratagems are many and cunning; and against the world, its charms and snares; and likewise against false teachers, who lie in wait to deceive, and therefore to be guarded against; many of which were among these Corinthians, and made this exhortation very necessary. It became them likewise to watch daily at wisdom's gates, to wait constantly upon God in the word and ordinances, and especially to watch unto prayer, and in it, and after it; to all which it is necessary that they should be awake, and not asleep, to which the wise as well as foolish virgins are subject; that they should be sober, and not be overcharged with surfeiting and drunkenness, and the cares of this life; and that they be in their proper station, on their watchtower, keeping a good lookout, and being ready armed, to attack an enemy when descried. Many are the reasons why the saints should be upon their watch and guard; as because they have many eyes upon them; the eyes of the omniscient God are upon them, who sees and takes notice of all their actions; the eyes of angels are upon them, and even in their solemn assemblies; the eyes of saints are upon them, though watching for their good; and the eyes of evil men for their halting; and the eyes of devils are upon them, waiting an opportunity to do them hurt and mischief, if possible. Moreover, unwatchfulness exposes to many evils, temptations, and snares; to which may be added, as an inducement to watchfulness, the uncertainty of Christ's coming either at death, or to judgment.

Stand fast in the faith:
which is proper to those that are watchful; for men asleep cannot well stand. This exhortation may respect either standing in the grace of faith, in opposition to doubting and unbelief, and design a continuance in the exercise of it, notwithstanding all the corruptions of nature, and the various sins and infirmities of life, the frequent temptations of Satan, and the many afflictions and trials in the world, which may occasion diffidence and distrust; for standing in this grace, and in such a constant exercise of it, greatly glorifies God, is what is wellpleasing in his sight; and in this way saints have communion with God, peace and comfort in their souls, and much spiritual joy and pleasure: it is the grace by which they stand, and therefore should stand in it, and by which they overcome the world. Or else it may intend standing in the doctrine of faith, in opposition to a departure from it, or a giving up any part of it, or wavering about it; it becomes saints to be steadfast in it, and abide by it, whoever is against it; let them be ever so many, or ever so wise and learned, and whatever may be said against it, as that it is a novel one, a licentious one, and a set of irrational principles, and whatever is the opposition that is made against it, though bonds and afflictions, reproach and persecution in every shape attend it, yet none of these things should move them from it. Perhaps that particular doctrine of faith, the resurrection of the dead, may be greatly regarded. Moreover, standing in the profession of faith, both of the grace and doctrine of faith, may be intended; for as this is to be made, it is to be held fast, and stood fast in, without wavering, by all true believers, who have great encouragement so to do from the person and grace of Christ, and from the love and faithfulness of God, and the many gracious promises he has made. Wherefore,

quit yourselves like men, be strong;
a like phrase is often used by the Septuagint interpreters, as in ( Deuteronomy 31:6 Deuteronomy 31:23 ) ( Joshua 1:6 Joshua 1:7 Joshua 1:9 Joshua 1:18 ) ( 10:25 ) ( 2 Samuel 10:12 ) ( 1 Chronicles 22:13 ) ( 28:20 ) ( 2 Chronicles 32:7 ) ( Daniel 10:19 ) , from whence the apostle seems to have taken it. It answers to the Hebrew word (wvvath) , in ( Isaiah 46:8 ) .

Quit you like men;
like men of wisdom and understanding; be not like children for non-proficiency, instability, and weakness; see ( 1 Corinthians 14:20 ) ; act the part of men; believe not every spirit; be not carried and tossed about with every wind of doctrine; search the Scriptures, and try every doctrine by them; and having found what is truth abide by it, and be proficients in it, instructing and establishing yourselves and others. In which sense the Jews use this phrase, saying F2,

``in a place where there are no men, (vya twyhl ldtvh) , "study to be a man", or to show thyself a man;''

which one of their commentators F3 explains thus;

``use and accustom thyself to obtain excellent things, and afterwards when there are no wise men to teach, then do thou teach thyself.''

And another F4 after this manner;

``"in the place where there is no man" to sit at the head and teach doctrines,''

do thou. Or play the man, as in ( 2 Samuel 10:12 ) ; act like men of valour and courage, stand fast, keep your ground, and contend earnestly for the faith; be valiant for the truth on earth; fight the good fight of faith: it is a good cause believers are engaged in; they have a good Captain and Commander at the head of them; they are provided with good weapons, may be sure of victory, and of having the crown of righteousness, life, and glory: wherefore

be strong;
that is, for the faith: so the Targumist on ( Jeremiah 9:3 ) renders the phrase, "they are not valiant for the truth, (wpyqt) (atwnmyhl al) , they are not strong for the faith: be strong"; not in themselves, but in the Lord, and in the power of his might; in the grace that is in Christ Jesus; believe in him, look to him for strength as well as righteousness; trust in his power, whose arm is not shortened; depend on his grace, which is always sufficient; take heart, be of good courage, and fear no enemy; see ( Joshua 1:6 ) , which seems to be particularly referred to here.


F2 Misn. Pirke Abot, c. sect. 5. Vid. T. Bab Beracot, fol. 63. 1.
F3 Maimon. in Misn. ib.
F4 Bartenora in Misn. Beracot, fol. 63. 1.

1 Corinthians 16:13 In-Context

11 So let no one despise him. Help him on his way in peace, that he may return to me, for I am expecting him with the brothers.
12 Now concerning our brother Apollos, I strongly urged him to visit you with the other brothers, but it was not at all his will to come now. He will come when he has opportunity.
13 Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.
14 Let all that you do be done in love.
15 Now I urge you, brothers--you know that the household of Stephanas were the first converts in Achaia, and that they have devoted themselves to the service of the saints--

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Cross References 4

  • 1. See Matthew 24:42
  • 2. Galatians 5:1; Philippians 1:27; Philippians 4:1; 1 Thessalonians 3:8; 2 Thessalonians 2:15; See 1 Corinthians 15:1
  • 3. 1 Samuel 4:9; 2 Samuel 10:12; Isaiah 46:8
  • 4. Ephesians 3:16; [Ephesians 6:10; Colossians 1:11]
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