Thursday, 7 May 2015
…that you also submit to such, and to everyone who works and labors with us. 1 Corinthians 16:16
Taken together along with the previous verse, we will get a better sense of Paul’s intent –
“I urge you, brethren—you know the household of Stephanas, that it is the firstfruits of Achaia, and that they have devoted themselves to the ministry of the saints— 16 that you also submit to such, and to everyone who works and labors with us.”
He wants those in Corinth to see their necessary duty because of the voluntary duty of another. Just as the household of Stephanas has “devoted themselves to the ministry of the saints” they should likewise “submit to such.” Even though Stephanas was probably a slave belonging to Chloe’s household, he was a free man in Christ. In this status, Paul is asking those free Corinthians to submit themselves to him. In Christ, there are truly no distinctions which the world notices. Hence we get a better sense of Paul’s words in Galatians 3 –
“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:28
This is the reality which is found in this new life in which we live. Those who minister in the Lord are to be given the honor of that ministry, regardless of their worldly position. This includes slaves such as Stephanas “and to everyone who works and labors” in the service of Christ.
Life application: There are some very fine Bible teachers who have day jobs that might seem lowly – janitors, electricians, farmers, or grocery baggers may be great theologians willing to share their knowledge with others. If so, they should be given both respect and gratitude for their efforts.
Heavenly Father, thank you for those regular folks who have day jobs and busy schedules and yet who are willing to take on the additional work of Bible teaching. I would pray that those who learn under them would give them an additional touch of respect and a sharing of their own blessings in acknowledgement of their faithful service. It is good and proper that they are recognized for their service to You and their careful attention to Your word. Thank You for blessing them. Amen.