1 Corinthians 16:13
Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(13, 14) Watch ye, stand fast.—These words of stirring exhortation come in here somewhat abruptly. It is possible that they conclude the epistle so far—the Apostle intending to add immediately before sending it, the verses which follow, and which contain messages from, or commendations of their friends who were with him. Living in a profound consciousness of the uncertainty of life, St. Paul might wish not to have such references to friends with him added until the last moment along with his own autograph (see 1Corinthians 16:21). The Apostle’s mind is full of the hope of beneficial results following from this letter and from the exertions of Titus; yet, after all, everything depends upon the Corinthians themselves. Chrysostom’s Note on these words brings out their meaning well. “Now in saying these things, he seems indeed to advise; but he is reprimanding them as indolent. Wherefore he saith, Watch, as though they slept; stand, as though they were rocking to and fro; quit you like men, as though they were playing the coward; let all your things be done with charity, as though they were in dissensions. And the first caution refers to the deceivers, viz., Watch, stand; the next to those who plot against us, quit you like men; the third to those who make parties and endeavour to distract, let all your things be done with charity, which thing is the bond of perfection, and the root and the fountain of all blessings.”

1 Corinthians

STRONG AND LOVING

1 Corinthians 16:13 - 1 Corinthians 16:14
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There is a singular contrast between the first four of these exhortations and the last. The former ring sharp and short like pistol-shots; the last is of gentler mould. The former sound like the word of command shouted from an officer along the ranks; and there is a military metaphor running all through them. The foe threatens to advance; let the guards keep their eyes open. He comes nearer; prepare for the charge, stand firm in your ranks. The battle is joined; ‘quit you like men’-strike a man’s stroke-’be strong.’

And then all the apparatus of warfare is put away out of sight, and the captain’s word of command is softened into the Christian teacher’s exhortation: ‘Let all your deeds be done in charity.’ For love is better than fighting, and is stronger than swords. And yet, although there is a contrast here, there is also a sequence and connection. No doubt these exhortations, which are Paul’s last word to that Corinthian Church on whom he had lavished in turn the treasures of his manifold eloquence, indignation, argumentation, and tenderness, reflected the deficiencies of the people to whom he was speaking. They were schismatic and factious to the very core, and so they needed the exhortation to be left last in their ears, as it were, that everything should be done in love. They were ill-grounded in regard to the very fundamental doctrines of the faith, as all Paul’s argumentation about the resurrection proves, and so they needed to be bidden to ‘stand fast in the faith.’ Their slothful carelessness as to the discipline of the Christian life, and their consequent feebleness of grasp of the Christian verities, made them loose-braced and weak in all respects, and incapacitated them for vigorous warfare. Thus, we see a picture in these injunctions of the sort of community that Paul had to deal with in Corinth, which yet he called a Church of saints, and for which he loved and laboured. Let me then run over and try to bring out the importance and mutual connection of what I may call this drill-book for the Christian warfare, which is the Christian life.

‘Watch ye.’ That means one of two things certainly, probably both-Keep awake, and keep your eyes open. Our Lord used the same metaphor, you remember, very frequently, but with a special significance. On His lips it generally referred to the attitude of expectation of His coming in judgment. Paul uses sometimes the figure with the same application, but here, distinctly, it has another. As I said, there is the military idea underlying it. What will become of an army if the sentries go to sleep? And what chance will a Christian man have of doing his devoir against his enemy, unless he keeps himself awake, and keeps himself alert? Watchfulness, in the sense of always having eyes open for the possible rush down upon us of temptation and evil, is no small part of the discipline and the duty of the Christian life. One part of that watchfulness consists in exercising a very rigid and a very constant and comprehensive scrutiny of our motives. For there is no way by which evil creeps upon us so unobserved, as when it slips in at the back door of a specious motive. Many a man contents himself with the avoidance of actual evil actions, and lets any kind of motives come in and out of his mind unexamined. It is all right to look after our doings, but ‘as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.’ The good or the evil of anything that I do is determined wholly by the motive with which I do it. And we are a great deal too apt to palm off deceptions on ourselves to make sure that our motives are right, unless we give them a very careful and minute scrutiny. One side of this watchfulness, then, is a habitual inspection of our motives and reasons for action. ‘What am I doing this for?’ is a question that would stop dead an enormous proportion of our activity, as if you had turned the steam off from an engine. If you will use a very fine sieve through which to strain your motives, you will go a long way to keeping your actions right. We should establish a rigid examination for applicants for entrance, and make quite sure that each that presents itself is not a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Make them all bring out their passports. Let every vessel that comes into your harbour remain isolated from all communication with the shore, until the health officer has been on board and given a clean bill. ‘Watch ye,’ for yonder, away in the dark, in the shadow of the trees, the black masses of the enemy are gathered, and a midnight attack is but too likely to bring a bloody awakening to a camp full of sleepers.

My text goes on to bring the enemy nearer and nearer and nearer. ‘Watch ye’-and if, not unnoticed, they come down on you, ‘stand fast in the faith.’ There will be no keeping our ranks, or keeping our feet-or at least, it is not nearly so likely that there will be-unless there has been the preceding watchfulness. If the first command has not been obeyed, there is small chance of the second’s being so. If there has not been any watchfulness, it is not at all likely that there will be much steadfastness. Just as with a man going along a crowded pavement, a little touch from a passer-by will throw him off his balance, whereas if he had known it was coming, and had adjusted his poise rightly, he would have stood against thrice as violent a shock, so, in order that we may stand fast, we must watch. A sudden assault will be a great deal less formidable when it is a foreseen assault.

‘Stand fast in the faith.’ I take it that this does not mean ‘the thing that we believe,’ which use of the word ‘faith’ is the ecclesiastical, but not the New Testament meaning. In Scripture, faith means not the body of truths that we believe, but the act of believing them. This further command tells us that, in addition to our watchfulness, and as the basis of our steadfastness, confidence in the revelation of God in Jesus Christ will enable us to keep our feet whatever comes against us, and to hold our ground, whoever may assault us.

But remember that it is not because I have faith that I stand fast, but because of that in which I have faith. My feet may be well shod-and it used to be said that a soldier’s shoes were of as much importance in the battle as his musket-my feet may be well shod, but if they are not well planted upon firm ground I never shall be able to stand the collision of the foe. So then, it is not my grasp of the blessed truth, God in Christ my Friend and Helper, but it is that truth which I grasp at, that makes me strong. Or, to put it into other words, it is the foothold, and not the foot that holds it, that ensures our standing firm. Only there is no steadfastness communicated to us from the source of all stability, except by way of our faith, which brings Christ into us. ‘Watch ye; stand fast in the faith.’

The next two words of command are very closely connected, though not quite identical. ‘Quit you like men.’ Play a man’s part in the battle; strike with all the force of your muscles. But the Apostle adds, ‘be strong.’ You cannot play a man’s part unless you are. ‘Be strong’-the original would rather bear ‘become strong.’ What is the use of telling men to ‘be strong’ ? It is a waste of words, in nine cases out of ten, to say to a weak man, ‘Pluck up your courage, and show strength.’ But the Apostle uses a very uncommon word here, at least uncommon in the New Testament, and another place where he uses it will throw light upon what he means: ‘Strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man.’ Then is it so vain a mockery to tell a poor, weak creature like me to become strong, when you can point me to the source of all strength, in that ‘Spirit of power and of love and of a sound mind’ ? We have only to take our weakness there to have it stiffened into strength; as people put bits of wood into what are called ‘petrifying wells’ which infiltrate into them mineral particles, that do not turn the wood into stone, but make the wood as strong as stone. So my manhood, with all its weakness, may have filtered into it divine strength, which will brace me for all needful duty, and make me ‘more than conqueror through Him that loved us.’ Then, it is not mockery and cruelty, vanity and surplusage to preach ‘Quit you like men; be strong, and be a man’; because if we will observe the plain and not hard conditions, strength will come to us according to our day, in fulfilment of the great promises: ‘My grace is sufficient for thee; and My strength is made perfect in weakness.’

And now we have done with the fighting words of command, and come to the gentler exhortation: ‘Let all your things be done in charity.’

That was a hard lesson for these Corinthians who were splitting themselves into factions and sects, and tearing each other’s eyes out in their partisanship for various Christian teachers. But the advice has a much wider application than to the suppression of squabbles in Christian communities. It is the sum of all commandments of the Christian life, if you will take love in its widest sense, in the sense, that is, in which it is always used in Paul’s writings. We cut it into two halves, and think of it as sometimes meaning love to God, and sometimes love to man. The two are inseparably inter-penetrated in the New Testament writings; and so we have to interpret this supreme commandment in the whole breadth and meaning of that great word Love. And then it just comes to this, that love is the victor in all the Christian warfare. If we love God, at any given moment, consciously having our affection engaged with Him, and our heart going out to Him, do you think that any evil or temptation would have power over us? Should we not see them as they are, to be devils in disguise? In the proportion in which I love God I conquer all sin. And at the moment in which that great, sweet, all-satisfying light floods into my soul, I see through the hollowness and the shams, and detect the ugliness and the filth of the things that otherwise would be temptations. If you desire to be conquerors in the Christian fight, remember that the true way of conquest is, as another Apostle says, ‘Keep yourselves in the love of God.’ ‘Let all your things be done in charity.’

And, further, how beautifully the Apostle here puts the great truth that we are all apt to forget, that the strongest type of human character is the gentlest and most loving, and that the mighty man is not the man of intellectual or material force, such as the world idolises, but the man who is much because he loves much. If we would come to supreme beauty of Christian character, there must be inseparably manifested in our lives, and lived in our hearts, strength and love, might and gentleness. That is the perfect man, and that was the union which was set before us, in the highest form, in the ‘Strong Son of God, Immortal Love,’ whom we call our Saviour, and whom we are bound to follow. His soldiers conquer as the Captain of their salvation has conquered, when watchfulness and steadfastness and courage and strength are all baptized in love and perfected thereby.

1 Corinthians 16:13-14. To conclude. Watch ye — Against all your seen and unseen enemies; stand fast in the faith — Seeing and trusting in Him that is invisible: quit you like men — With courage and patience; be strong — To do and suffer his will. Let all your things be done with charity — Namely, your differences about worldly affairs, mentioned chap. 6., your disputes concerning marriage and a single state; (chap. 8.;) your eating things sacrificed to idols; (chapters 8., 10;) your eating the Lord’s supper; (chap. 11.;) and your method of exercising your gifts, chapters 12., 14. In all these ye ought to have a regard to the good of your neighbours, that ye may not occasion each other to sin.

16:13-18 A Christian is always in danger, therefore should ever be on the watch. He should be fixed in the faith of the gospel, and never desert or give it up. By this faith alone he will be able to keep his ground in an hour of temptation. Christians should be careful that charity not only reigns in their hearts, but shines in their lives. There is a great difference between Christian firmness and feverish warmth and transport. The apostle gave particular directions as to some who served the cause of Christ among them. Those who serve the saints, those who desire the honour of the churches, and to remove reproaches from them, are to be thought much of, and loved. They should willingly acknowledge the worth of such, and all who laboured with or helped the apostle.Watch ye - The exhortation in this and the following verse is given evidently in view of the special dangers and temptations which surrounded them. The word used here (Γρηγορεῖτε Grēgoreite) means, to keep awake, to be vigilant, etc.; and this may, perhaps, be a military metaphor derived from the duty of those who are stationed as sentinels to guard a camp, or to observe the motions of an enemy. The term is frequently used in the New Testament, and the duty frequently enjoined; Matthew 24:41-42; Matthew 25:13; Mark 13:35; Luke 21:36; Acts 20:31; 1 Thessalonians 5:6; 2 Timothy 4:5. The sense here is, that they were to watch, or be vigilant, against all the evils of which he had admonished them, the evils of dissension, or erroneous doctrines, of disorder, of false teachers, etc. They were to watch lest their souls should be ruined, and their salvation endangered; lest the enemies of the truth and of holiness should steal silently upon them, and surprise them. They were to watch with the same vigilance that is required of a sentinel who guards a camp, lest an enemy should come suddenly upon them, and surprise the camp when the army was locked in sleep.

Stand fast in the faith - Be firm in holding and defending the truths of the gospel. Do not yield to any foe, but maintain the truth, and adhere to your confidence in God and to the doctrines of the gospel with unwavering constancy; see the note at 1 Corinthians 15:1. Be firm in maintaining what you believe to be true, and in holding on to your personal confidence in God, notwithstanding all the arts, insinuations, and teachings of seducers and the friends of false doctrine.

Quit you like men - (ἀνδρίζεσθε andrizesthe, from ἀνήρ anēr, a man). The word occurs no where else in the New Testament. In the Septuagint it occurs in Joshua 1:6-7, Joshua 1:9,Joshua 1:18; 1 Chronicles 28:20; 2 Chronicles 32:7; Nehemiah 2:1; and in 18 other places. See Trommius' Concordance. It occurs also in the classic authors; see Xenophon, Oec. Nehemiah 5:4. It means, to render one manly or brave; to show oneself a man; that is, not to be a coward, or timid, or alarmed at enemies, but to be bold and brave. We have a similar phrase in common use: "Be a man," or "Show yourself a man;" that is, be not mean, or be not cowardly.

Be strong - Be firm, fixed, steadfast; compare Ephesians 6:10, "Be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might."

13. He shows that they ought to make their hopes of salvation to depend not on Apollos or any other teacher; that it rests with themselves. "Watch ye": for ye are slumbering. "Stand": for ye are like men tottering. "Quit you like men; be strong": for ye are effeminate (1Co 16:14). "Let all your things be done with charity" (1Co 8:1; 13:1): not with strifes as at present [Chrysostom]. "In the faith" which was assailed by some (1Co 15:1, 2, 12-17). Watch ye: watching, in its usual acceptation, signifieth a forbearing of sleep; and that in order to some end. Sin is set out under the notion of sleep, Ephesians 5:14; so that spiritual watching signifies a diligent abstaining from sin, and from whatsoever may be to us a temptation to sin against God, in order to the perfecting of holiness, and the obtaining life and immortality.

Stand fast in the faith; be steady in the profession of the truth, and holding close to the doctrine of faith.

Quit you like men, be strong; you are as soldiers fighting against the world, the flesh, and the devil; do not behave yourselves like children, whom the least opposition will terrify and throw down; but like men, with a spiritual courage and fortitude, becoming such who have so good a Captain, and so good a cause.

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, from whence the apostle seems to have taken it. It answers to the Hebrew word 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 (b),

"in a place where there are no men, , "study to be a man", or to show thyself a man;''

which one of their commentators (c) 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 (d) 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, , 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.

(b) Misn. Pirke Abot, c. sect. 5. Vid. T. Bab Beracot, fol. 63. 1.((c) Maimon. in Misn. ib. (d) Bartenora in Misn. Beracot, fol. 63. 1.

Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
1 Corinthians 16:13 f. In conclusion of the whole Epistle, and without connection or reference to what has immediately preceded, there is now added a concise exhortation which compresses closely together, in five imperatives following each other asyndetically, the whole sum of the Christian calling, upon which are then to follow some personal commendations and greetings, as well as, lastly, the proper closing greeting and the benediction.

The γρηγορεῖτε summons to Christian foresight and soberness, without which stedfastness in the faith (στήκ. ἐν τ. πίστ.) is not possible; ἀνδρίζεσθε and κραταιοῦσθε, again, to the manly (“muliebris enim omnis inconstantia,” Pelagius) and vigorous resistance against all dangers, without which that stedfastness cannot continu.

ἀνδρίζεσθαι] to bear oneself manfully, to be manly in bearing and action; only here in the New Testament, but often in classic writers, see Wetstein, and in the LXX. Comp. the Homeric ἀνέρες ἐστε, Il. v. 529; and see, also, Valckenaer, ad Herod. vii. 210; Heind. ad Plat. Phaedr. p. 239 B. Comp. ἀνδρικῶς ὑπομεῖναι μάχεσθαι κ.τ.λ., Ast, Lex. Plat. I. p. 165.

κραταιοῦσθε] be strong. Comp. Ephesians 3:16 : δυνάμει κραταιωθῆναι διὰ τοῦ πνεύματος αὐτοῦ εἰς τὸν ἔσω ἄνθρωπον. The verbal form occurs in the LXX. and Apocrypha; not in Greek writers, who say κρατύνεσθαι.

ἐν ἀγάπῃ] as in the life-sphere of the whole Christian dispositions and action, chap. 13, and, in particular, of mutual edification, 1 Corinthians 8:1.

1 Corinthians 16:13-18. § 59. CONCLUDING HOMILY. According to the Apostle’s wont, at the end of his letter he gathers up the burden of his message into a single concise and stirring exhortation (1 Corinthians 16:13 f.). Watchfulness, steadfastness, manly vigour, above all Christian love, were the qualities in which this Church was lacking. Their “love” they would have a particular opportunity of showing to the family of Stephanas, who had been foremost in works of benevolence (1 Corinthians 16:15 f.); for St. is now returning home in charge of this Ep. with his two companions, after they had brought the letter of the Church to P. and cheered him by their society. The deputation has done a timely public service in the best spirit; their kindly offices must be duly acknowledged (1 Corinthians 16:17 f.).

13. quit you like men, be strong] Rather, be strengthened, implying that the source of strength was not in themselves. “If you think Christianity a feeble, soft thing, ill adapted to call out the manlier features of character, read here.”—Robertson.

1 Corinthians 16:13. Γρηγορεῖτε, watch) The conclusion exhorting chiefly to faith and love [This is the sum of all those things, which either Timothy or Apollos thought should be inculcated on the Corinthians.—V. g.]—ἐν τῇ πίστει, in the faith, ch. 1 Corinthians 15:2; 1 Corinthians 15:11; 1 Corinthians 15:14; 1 Corinthians 15:17.

Verse 13. - Watch, etc. The brief impetuous imperatives show a sudden burst of emotion as he draws to a close. The next clause seems like an after-thought. Watchfulness (1 Thessalonians 5:6; 1 Peter 5:8; Revelation 3:2; Revelation 16:15), steadfastness (Philippians 1:27), and strength (Ephesians 6:10; Colossians 1:11; 2 Timothy 2:1), and love (1 Corinthians 13; 1 Peter 4:8, etc.) were frequent subjects of Christian exhortation. The verb which expresses Christian manliness ("Play the men!") occurs here only. It is found in the LXX. of Joshua 1:6. They needed, as Chrysostom says, all these exhortations, for they were, in Christian matters, drowsy, unstable, effeminate, and factions. 1 Corinthians 16:13
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