16:19-24 Christianity by no means destroys civility. Religion should promote a courteous and obliging temper towards all. Those give a false idea of religion, and reproach it, who would take encouragement from it to be sour and morose. And Christian salutations are not mere empty compliments; but are real expressions of good-will to others, and commend them to the Divine grace and blessing. Every Christian family should be as a Christian church. Wherever two or three are gathered together in the name of Christ, and he is among them, there is a church. Here is a solemn warning. Many who have Christ's name much in their mouths, have no true love to him in their hearts. None love him in truth, who do not love his laws, and keep his commandments. Many are Christians in name, who do not love Christ Jesus the Lord in sincerity. Such are separated from the people of God, and the favour of God. Those who love not the Lord Jesus Christ, must perish without remedy. Let us not rest in any religious profession where there is not the love of Christ, earnest desires for his salvation, gratitude for his mercies, and obedience to his commandments. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ has in it all that is good, for time and for eternity. To wish that our friends may have this grace with them, is wishing them the utmost good. And this we should wish all our friends and brethren in Christ. We can wish them nothing greater, and we should wish them nothing less. True Christianity makes us wish those whom we love, the blessings of both worlds; this is meant in wishing the grace of Christ to be with them. The apostle had dealt plainly with the Corinthians, and told them of their faults with just severity; but he parts in love, and with a solemn profession of his love to them for Christ's sake. May our love be with all who are in Christ Jesus. Let us try whether all things appear worthless to us, when compared with Christ and his righteousness. Do we allow ourselves in any known sin, or in the neglect of any known duty? By such inquiries, faithfully made, we may judge of the state of our souls.
19. Asia—not all Asia Minor, but Lydian Asia only, of which Ephesus was the capital.
much—with especial affection.
Aquila … Priscilla—(Compare Ac 18:2; Ro 16:3, 4). Originally driven out of Italy by Claudius, they had come to Corinth (whence their salutation of the Corinthians is appropriate here), and then had removed with Paul from Corinth to Ephesus (Ac 18:2, 18, 19, 26); here, as at Rome subsequently, they set up a Church (or assembly of believers) at their house (Ro 16:3, 5). A pattern to Christian husbands and wives. Their Christian self-devoting love appears wherever they were (Ro 16:3, 4). Even the gifted Apollos, so highly admired at Corinth, owed much of his knowledge to them (Ac 18:24-26). In 1Co 16:20, "All the brethren" (that is, the whole Church) seem to be distinguished from "the church that is in their house," which was but a partial and private assembly out of the general Church at Corinth. Neander thinks Ro 16:23 refers to "the whole Church" meeting at the house of Gaius (compare Col 4:15). "Synagogue" implies an assembly in general, without reference to the character or motives of its members. "Church," like the Hebrew Kahal, implies an assembly legally convened; as, for instance, the Jews met as a body politic to receive the law (hence Stephen calls it "the Church in the wilderness," Ac 7:38), and having a legal bond of union. Christ's followers when dispersed from one another cease to be a congregation (synagogue), but still are a Church, having the common bond of union to the same Head by the same faith and hope [Vitringa, Synagogue and Temple]. From this we may explain Paul's entering "into every house and haling men and women": he would in searching for Christians go to their several "houses"' of prayer.
in the Lord—They pray for all blessings on you from the Lord, the source of every good [Grotius]. Alford explains, "in a Christian manner," as mindful of your common Lord. "In the Lord" seems to me to refer to their union together in Christ, their prayers for one another's good being in virtue of that union.