The Berean Expositor
Volume 47 - Page 37 of 185
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subjection unto such, and to every one that helpeth in the work and laboureth" (16: 15,
16 R.V.).
The household of Stephanas (1: 16) were the first converts in Achaia, and now they
had "set themselves" or "appointed themselves" for service to the saints.  This was a
self-imposed duty, which they evidently gladly assumed for other believers in the church.
It is important to note that they had not been ordained or appointed by Paul or the
assembly.  Nor does Paul reprimand them for not getting such ordination.  This
opportunity for a practical expression of their beliefs had occurred and they took it
gladly.  We are not told of what this service consisted.  Doubtless it included the
proclamation of the Word as well as other practical matters and in this willingness to
serve we have the beginnings of Christian ministry quite apart from any man-made
The believers at Corinth are exhorted to recognize the leadership of Stephanas. It
would seem that this was not easy for some who had the tendency to push themselves
forward. Stephanas, together with Fortunatus and Achaicus were probably the bearers of
the Corinthian letter to Paul (7: 1). They had refreshed Paul's spirit and supplied his
need (18). Final greetings now come from the churches of Asia and Aquila and Priscilla,
those outstanding believers who had risked their lives for the Apostle (Rom. 16: 3).
They had a `church in their house'. This is where the church began, not in special
buildings which did not exist at this time. The believers' home was the meeting place for
the church, and we believe that this is how it will be at the end of the age when apostasy
is rampant. Let no one therefore despise `house churches'. They are Scriptural and have
the full blessing of the Lord. To what higher purpose could a home be dedicated?
Paul now takes the pen from his amanuensis and writes:
"The salutation of me Paul with mine own hand. If any man loveth not the Lord, let
him be anathema Maranatha. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you. My love
be with you all in Christ Jesus. Amen" (16: 21-24 R.V.).
"Anathema" means `under a curse' which separates a person from God. This is strong
language, but it is evident that there were those at Corinth who needed this warning.
Practical love for the Lord Jesus Christ is the very centre of Christian response.
"Maranatha" is the Greek transliteration of an Aramaic word and means: "Our Lord is
come" or "Our Lord cometh" and in view of the context of the whole epistle with its
expectation of the Second Advent the latter is evidently meant, being very much like
Rev. 22: 20 "Come, Lord Jesus". The epistle ends with Paul's characteristic reference
to grace (peculiar to him and his epistles) and last of all he sends his love, reminding
them, as it were, that his rebukes sprang from love and extended to all, for he always had
at heart their spiritual well-being, progress in the Truth and the practical response in their