1 Corinthians 16:12
As touching our brother Apollos, I greatly desired him to come unto you with the brethren: but his will was not at all to come at this time; but he will come when he shall have convenient time.
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(12) As touching our brother Apollos.—St. Paul, free from the smallest spark of personal jealousy, had wished that Apollos, whose name had been used as the designation of a faction in opposition to the Apostle himself, should go with this letter to Corinth. St. Paul had planted, Apollos had watered that Church, and in the absence of the planter, Apollos would have been the most likely and proper person to exercise authority there. The unselfish consideration of St. Paul is equalled by the thoughtful reluctance of Apollos, who fears that his presence might encourage the one faction, and perhaps embitter the other, and he declines, not considering it a “convenient” time to do so. In the thought of these teachers “convenient” meant the good of Christ’s Church, and not the ease or comfort of any individual man.

16:10-12 Timothy came to do the work of the Lord. Therefore to vex his spirit, would be to grieve the Holy Spirit; to despise him, would be to despise Him that sent him. Those who work the work of the Lord, should be treated with tenderness and respect. Faithful ministers will not be jealous of each other. It becomes the ministers of the gospel to show concern for each other's reputation and usefulness.As touching our brother Apollos - Tyndale renders this, "To speak of brother Apollo." In regard to Apollos, see the note at 1 Corinthians 1:12.

His will was not at all to come at this time - It is probable that there were matters which detained him, or which required his presence in Ephesus. It is not known why Apollos had left Corinth, but it has been supposed that it was on account of the dissensions which existed there. For the same reason he might not be induced to return there while those dissensions lasted and there might be employment which he had where he then was which rendered his presence there important. The Latin fathers say that Apollos did after this return to Corinth, when the religious differences had been settled - Bloomfield. It is probable that the Corinthians had requested, by the messengers who carried their letter to Paul, that either he or Apollos would come and visit them. Paul states, in reply, that he had endeavored to prevail on Apollos to go, but had not succeeded.

He will come when he shall have convenient thee - The Greek word means, when he should have leisure, or a good opportunity. He might then be engaged; or he might be unwilling to go while their contentions lasted. They had probably 1 Corinthians 1:12 endeavored to make him the head of a party, and on that account he might have been unwilling to return at present among them. But Paul assures them that he designed to come among them at some future time. This was said probably to show them that he still retained his affection for them, and had a tender solicitude for their peace and prosperity. Had this not been said, they might, perhaps, have inferred that he was offended, and had no desire to come among them.

12. Apollos, I greatly desired … to come unto you—He says this lest they should suspect that he from jealousy prevented Apollos' coming to them; perhaps they had expressly requested Apollos to be sent to them. Apollos was not at Ephesus when Paul wrote (compare 1Co 16:19, and 1Co 1:1). Probably Apollos' unwillingness to go to Corinth at this time was because, being aware of the undue admiration of his rhetorical style which led astray many at Corinth, he did not wish to sanction it (1Co 1:12; 3:4). Paul's noble freedom from all selfish jealousy led him to urge Apollos to go; and, on the other hand, Apollos, having heard of the abuse of his name at Corinth to party purposes, perseveringly refused to go. Paul, of course, could not state in his letter particularly these reasons in the existing state of division prevalent there. He calls Apollos "brother" to mark the unity that was between the two.

with the brethren—who bear this letter (1Co 16:17). (See 1Co 16:24, subscription added to the Epistle). Conybeare thinks Titus was one of the bearers of this first letter (2Co 8:6, 16-24; 12:18). Alford thinks "the brethren" here may be the same as in 1Co 16:11.

convenient time—Apollos did return to Corinth when their divisions were moderated [Jerome], and so it was a more seasonable time.

Apollos (as may be seen, Acts 18:27) was known to them, and had been a preacher amongst them, and was grateful to many of them; he was an eloquent man, mighty in the Scriptures, instructed in the way of the Lord, and fervent in the spirit, Acts 18:24-28; he was one of those from whom some of this church denominated themselves, 1 Corinthians 3:4. For these reasons Paul would have persuaded him to go and visit this church, (which some think that he had left, because of those contentions and divisions which were amongst them), but he had no mind to go at that time; though it is said, that he afterwards did return again to them, when Paul, by his Epistle, had quieted those divisions, and allayed their heats.

As touching our brother Apollos,.... Who was a senior man to Timothy, an eloquent preacher, one who had been at Corinth, and was well known to the saints there, and greatly approved by many of them; wherefore the apostle excuses it, that he should send the one, and not the other, and shows that it was no fault of his: for, says he,

I greatly desired him to come unto you with the brethren; who seem to be Timotheus and Erastus, see Acts 19:22. He greatly importuned him to go along with them, knowing how acceptable he would be among them, and hoping he might be of great use to them in composing their differences, and rectifying their disorders.

But his will was not at all to come at this time; or "it was not the will"; that is, of God, as some supply it, for him to come now; or he had no mind himself, nor could he be persuaded; he had reasons to himself why he judged it not proper to come at present: however, for their encouragement it is added,

but he will come when he shall have convenient time; he is not averse to coming, but some things at present hinder him; when he has a suitable opportunity he will make use of it.

As touching our brother Apollos, I greatly desired him to come unto you with the brethren: but his will was not at all to come at this time; but he will come when he shall have convenient time.
1 Corinthians 16:12. Δέ] marks the transition from Timothy to Apollo.

περὶ δὲ Ἀπ. τοῦ ἀδ.] stands independently: quod attinet ad Apoll., as 1 Corinthians 16:1; 1 Corinthians 7:1.

ἵνα ἔλθῃ κ.τ.λ.] design of the πολλὰ παρεκάλεσα αὐτόν: I have advised him much, in order that he should come, etc. Paul makes this remark: “ne Corinthii suspicentur, ab eo fuisse impeditum,” Calvin. Perhaps they had expressly besought that Apollos might be sent to the.

πολλά is intensive, as in 1 Corinthians 16:19, and often in Greek writer.

μετὰ τῶν ἀδελφῶν] These are the Corinthian Christians, who journeyed back from Ephesus to Corinth with this Epistle. See 1 Corinthians 16:17. Here also the words are not to be joined with παρεκάλεσα (Hofmann), but with ἵνα ἔλθῃ κ.τ.λ., beside which they stan.

καὶ πάντως κ.τ.λ.] And the will was wholly (out and out) lacking (“sermo quasi impersonalis,” Bengel) in order to come now, comp. Matthew 18:14. The context compels us to understand θέλημα of the will of Apollos, not of God’s will (Theodoret, Oecumenius, Theophylact, Bengel, Rückert). καί does not stand for ἀλλά (Beza and others), comp. Romans 1:13.

ὅταν εὐκαιρ.] So soon as he shall have found a convenient time for it. Regarding the lateness of the word in Greek, see Lobeck, ad Phryn. p. 125.


It follows from this passage that Apollos, who by this time must have been again (Acts 18:24 ff.) in Ephesus,[108] was neither a faction-maker nor at variance with Paul, for Paul himself plainly regarded his going to Corinth as a thing advantageous and to be desired. Hence, too, the refusal of Apollos is not to be explained from fear of adding new fuel to the party heats, but simply from the contents of the ὍΤΑΝ ΕὐΚΑΙΡΉΣῌ. He must have found hindrances for the present in the relations of his work, by which he saw himself detained from the desired journey until a more convenient time, so that he did not yield even to the advice of the apostle. The text tells us nothing further; but the Corinthians themselves might learn more details from the bearers of the Epistle. Van Hengel (Gave d. talen. p. 111 f.) brings the refusal into a too arbitrarily assumed connection with the Corinthian misuse of the glossolalia.

[108] He seems, however, just when this letter was written to have been absent for a time, since no special greeting is sent from him.

1 Corinthians 16:12. The manner in which the clause Περὶ δὲ Ἀπολλὼ τοῦ ἀδελφοῦ is loosely prefixed to the statement of this ver. (“Now about Apollos the brother”—) suggests that Apollos’ coming had been mentioned in the Church Letter: cf. 1 Corinthians 16:1, 1 Corinthians 7:1, etc. Respecting Apollos, see notes to 1 Corinthians 1:12, and Acts 18:24 ff.—Considering the way in which Ap. had been made a rival to P. in Cor[2668], it shows magnanimity on Paul’s side to desire his return, and a modest delicacy on the side of Apollos to decline the request: καὶ πάντως οὐκ ἦν θέλημα ἵνα κ.τ.λ., “And there was no will at all (it was altogether contrary to his will) that he should come now”.—εὐκαιρέω (see parls.) denotes “to have good opportunity”. The present ferment at Cor[2669] affords no καιρὸς for Apollos’ coming. For πάντως, and θέλημα ἵνα, see parls.

[2668] Corinth, Corinthian or Corinthians.

[2669] Corinth, Corinthian or Corinthians.

12. touching our brother Apollos] See note on ch. 1 Corinthians 1:12. St Paul was anxious to have put Apollos, as a man of weight in the Corinthian Church, in charge of his letter. But Apollos steadfastly declined to go, fearing that his presence might foment, instead of allaying, the disorders. Titus and Apollos are found in close intercourse with each other and with St Paul many years later in Titus 3:13.

but his will was not at all to come at this time] The original is even stronger, but it was not at all his will to come now.

when he shall have convenient time] i.e. when he shall consider it a suitable time.

1 Corinthians 16:12. Πολλὰ παρεκάλεσα, I strongly urged [greatly desired]) Paul was not afraid of the Corinthians preferring Apollos, who was present with them, to himself. Apollos, when Paul sent this epistle, was not present, for he is not mentioned either at 1 Corinthians 16:19 or at ch. 1 Corinthians 1:1.—μετἀ τῶν ἀδελφῶν, with the brethren) 1 Corinthians 16:17. These are different from those at 1 Corinthians 16:11.—οὐκ ἦν θέλημα, the will was not) An expression as it were impersonal; where the matter is considered, as to be or not to be the object of the wish [will], without expressing, whose will it is; wherein however the standard is the will of God; comp. Matthew 18:14. So also the Greeks use the verb θέλω, Acts 2:12.—ὅταν εὐκαιρήσῃ, when he shall have convenient time) The convenience indicated is not carnal convenience, but that which follows the will of God.

Verse 12. - As touching our brother Apollos; rather, but as touching Apollos, the brother. It seems clear from this that the Corinthians, in their letter, had requested that this eloquent and favourite teacher might be sent to them. I greatly desired him to come unto you; rather, I besought him much. There were at Corinth persons malignant enough to have suggested that Paul had refused their request; that he would not send Apollos to them out of jealousy of Apollos's superior oratory, and of the party which assumed his name. St. Paul anticipated this sneer. His nature was much too noble to feel the least jealousy. Both he and Apollos here show themselves in the purest light. His will; literally, there was not will. The word "will" most frequently means "the will of God," but if that had been the meaning here, the word would have had the article. It is used of human will in 1 Corinthians 7:37; Ephesians 2:3; 2 Peter 1:21. Here it means that Apollos had decided not to come at present, obviously because his name had been abused for purposes of party faction (1 Corinthians 3:5). This was all the more noble on his part because he seems to have been a special friend of Titus (Titus 3:13). St. Paul would gladly have sent his two ablest and most energetic disciples to this distracted Church. When he shall have convenient time; rather, when a good opportunity offers itself to him. Whether Apollos ever revisited Corinth or not we do not know. 1 Corinthians 16:12
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