Sunday, 3 May 2015
Now concerning our brother Apollos, I strongly urged him to come to you with the brethren, but he was quite unwilling to come at this time; however, he will come when he has a convenient time. 1 Corinthians 16:12
In 1 Corinthians 1:12, Apollos was noted as one of those who the factions within Corinth identified with. Paul is including this verse particularly to show that he had in no way hindered Apollos in coming to Corinth, and that he had in fact “strongly urged” him to come. It is probable that his presence was requested in the letter that precipitated Paul’s letter to them (see 1 Corinthians 7:1). If he didn’t come, some may blame Paul for hindering him. But this verse shows this wasn’t the case.
Despite the possible request by the Corinthians for Apollos to visit, and Paul’s urging him to go, “he was quite unwilling to come at this time.” The reason for this seems to be that he didn’t want to cause further dissensions at Corinth. He and Paul probably read their letter together and said, “What a hornet’s nest!” From that, Paul wrote this letter of response in order to answer their many questions. By not coming with the letter, it would give the Corinthians time to consider its words and to work towards harmony rather than increased divisions.
In this, it is notable of Apollos that he restrained himself from going. Further, he promised them that, “He will come when he has a convenient time.” At some point, probably when news that the church was working together harmoniously, he would join them and minister to them.
In all, Paul’s words concerning Apollos show that there was friendship between them and that they both had the best intent in mind for the church at Corinth.
Life application: Reading how Paul and Apollos have handled the divisions at Corinth can give us insights into how to handle these same types of things in our own churches. Unfortunately, if pastors, elders, or others in authority promote such divisions they can truly get out of hand. It is important to try to not participate in these factions and to be aware of how detrimental than can be.
Lord Jesus, I am a member of Your church and it is my desire to honor You with my conduct in it. At times, factions and egos step in and attempt to divide the congregation. Whenever they do, it always leads to hard feelings and unhappy times of worship. Instead of rejoicing in You, we stew over the disharmony of the church. Lord, help me to be one who works for harmony and fellowship. Help me to keep the eyes of the people on You at all times. Amen.