1 Corinthians 16:19-24
The churches of Asia salute you. Aquila and Priscilla salute you much in the Lord, with the church that is in their house.…
The salutations follow: first, from the Churches of Asia; then from Aquila and Priscilla, honoured names in the Churches; again front the Ephesian brethren. Let them renew their fellowship and pledge their love again "with a holy kiss." The work of the amanuensis over, St. Paul adds the salutation from himself with his own hand, "The salutation of me Paul." And the words follow, "If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema," let him become accursed; "Maran-atha,' the Lord comes. Between the greeting "of me Paul" and "the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you," followed immediately with "my love be with you all in Christ Jesus. Amen," this utterance of intense feeling occurs. What his tone of mind was, we understand fully from the chapter, which expresses confidence, hope, and brotherly affection. What his emotions were at the instant, we know from the salutation which precedes and the benediction which succeeds the Anathema Maran-atha. The warning is terrible, but it is one of love and tenderness. Had he been less conscious of the obligation to love the Lord Jesus Christ, less sensible of its immeasurable worth to the soul, less aware of the stupendous folly and guilt of rejecting it; or if the profound sense of that love had not been present in the full blaze of his own consciousness; - then, peradventure, words less stern and denunciatory might have been used. As it is, he speaks from the same high level of love to God and man, and the sentence of condemnation has its preface in a greeting and its sequel in a benediction. So closes this wonderful Epistle. Writing under the zenith of his years, if we rate those years by the chronology of his preaching and pen, St. Paul comes before us in its successive pages as one whose temperament, nervous vigour, observation, culture, experience, had been so far coordinated and interblended as to fit him, in an eminent degree, to give birth to this production. Never did a human soul exhibit its individuality more perfectly through all its organs of expression. Those organs are varied in every man. They were singularly diversified in the apostle. He cannot reason long without waking other forces of utterance. Imagination, in its form of relativity rather than its creative quality, is stirred into activity. Most of all, impassioned emotion is quickly evoked. And, in this Epistle, the transitions from one topic to another, and from one aspect of a topic to its contrast, are vivid tokens of his superabundant energy. Much is left without minute elaboration. Hints are given that might be expanded into essays and disquisitions. But he was not writing these; he was writing apostolic letters, and "first and last and midst" he adhered to his plan and method. Judging from his recorded speeches, he is quite as much or more of a speaker when writing than when addressing a multitude. The spirit in him is often impetuous and finds it easy work to loose itself from restraints. Keenly conscious of himself, still more keenly conscious of Divine truth in himself, his personality is as nearly merged in his apostleship as we can conceive possible, and hence it is Paul, the servant of the Lord Jesus Christ, who has the pre-eminence in all the manifestations of his genius and character. This Epistle, a manual of Church order, an epitome of cardinal principles adapted to the ever changing externality of Church life, presents many a germ-idea for future development. Not one of his Epistles bears so directly on certain questions of the day. If we study the human body from the Pauline point of view, we shall be rid very soon of those dangerous teachings which some of our physiologists are pressing on popular acceptance. If we follow St. Paul, we shall know more of the human soul than most of our philosophical systems teach us. There are no "wandering mazes" here in which men are "lost," but over every realm he traverses, light gathers as he advances, and the splendour always hangs its noon where the radiance is most wanted. Christ is the Power of God and the Wisdom of God. Christ is therefore his Power and Wisdom, wherever the duties of the apostleship have to be discharged and its sorrows have to be endured. The day has not come for this Epistle to be fully understood and appreciated. Science has many years of apprenticeship to serve before it can reach the plane of thought on which St. Paul stood. And our Christian thinkers have much to learn before culture and piety can open to them the hidden treasures of this Epistle. As true Biblical criticism advances, the profundity of this letter to the Corinthians grows more apparent, and we feel in our day, as was never felt, before the amazing compass of its power. Here are ideas which wait on time and have given as yet scarcely more than a fragment of themselves to our foremost scholars. Here are latent inspirations that will one day astound the world. Nothing that he wrote has a better-grounded assurance of a great future, and when that future shall come, the world will have a far juster sense of its indebtedness to St. Paul as a grand teacher. - L.
Parallel VersesKJV: The churches of Asia salute you. Aquila and Priscilla salute you much in the Lord, with the church that is in their house.