You are on page 1of 2

Ciampa, Roy and Brian Rosner, The First Letter to the Corinthians. Eerdmans, 2010.

VI. Letter Closing 16:1-24

And so we arrive at the conclusion of the matter. Whereas R. and C. view this chapter as a simple closing I think it the aim, goal, and thrust of the entire epistle. For its here that Paul asks for support for his further missionary efforts. In other words, here, in this chapter, the letter finds its real goal. Everything in the letter leads up to this point. Pauls insistence on the unity of the Church, his stress on community and love, and his complete hope that the Corinthians be supportive of his work all lay the foundation for the request for aid he presently makes. Indeed, this certainly was how the Corinthians themselves understood the letter as many of them went on to suggest that Paul was just out for money (see 2 Corinthians). They werent right- but they certainly had reason to hold such a view based on Pauls crescendo in 1 Cor 16. Consider this: In 16:1-4 Paul discusses the collection for the saints in Jerusalem. In vv. 5-9 he describes his own travel plans and asks them, point blank, for help. In vv. 10-11 he requests Timothy be aided and well received. In v. 12, Apollos is going and going costs money. And then in vv. 13-14 he exhorts them to be watchful, stand firm, be courageous, be strong, and do everything in love. And naturally one of the things that falls under the category of everything is financially supporting Paul and the other Gospel-Goers. But of course none of that has anything to do with C. and R.s view of the chapter so to their perspective we will turn. 16:22 has served as a point of interest to many and here as previously Ciampa and Rosner prove themselves well informed and insightful. Of v. 22 they opine In the Old Testament such a curse formula was used when the intention was to discourage someone from transgressing a far reaching legal or ethical demand. In this case the curse formula is the most severe means of separating the community from the evildoer (p. 865). Thats as clear an explanation of as Ive seen. And of 16:24 they suggest His inclusion of all the Corinthian believers in this expression of his love reflects Pauls own emphasis on the need for love to be

expressed to and among all the members of the body and not just between factions or cliques within it (p. 867). But of course that means that the excommunicated chap who is handed over to Satan for the destruction of his body is only handed over because Paul loves him and wants his redemption. Love, it seems, for Paul is always tough love. Final Observations This is a very fine commentary on that there can be no disagreement. Disagreement may well arise concerning minor points here and there, but overall there hasnt appeared a more thorough and more useful commentary on Pauls First Letter to the Corinthians in a very long time. But it isnt a commentary aimed at the general populace; it is intended for well informed Pastors, professors, exegetes, and theologians. Such persons will learn a great deal if they take the time and make the effort to work through the volume. And doing so would be time very well invested.

Jim West Quartz Hill School of Theology