It is of interest to observe that Paul is stating in 16:2 that “each one” of the Corinthian congregation is to save up some money for the church in Jerusalem. Paul does not want the well-to-do of the Corinthians to be “patrons of this project” (Ben Witherington, Conflict And Community In Corinth: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary On 1 And 2 Corinthians [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1995], 315) but his wish is that everyone in the church participates in the collection for Jerusalem. This might indicate that he “does not allow a few patrons to give large sums, gain all the honor, and so further divide the haves and have-nots in Corinth” (idem.). That some of the prestigious members (i.e., prestigious in the Corinthian society at large) had been the source of some (if not most) of the issues in the Corinthian church has been seen throughout the letter (e.g. litigation against other believers in ch. 6; see also chs. 8-11 for food sacrificed to idols as well as the issue at the Lord’s Supper among some of the problems).
The apostle does not accept any support while preaching there, but v. 6 suggests that he is fine in accepting financial support for his missionary work elsewhere. The reason for not accepting money while being present and teaching in Corinth is that he does not want to be the “in-house teacher or rhetor” (Witherington, 316) of the patron which was common practice in Roman society. He wants to preach the Gospel freely and not be obligated to any human patron – though he is obligated as the apostle commissioned by the risen Christ!
The last point in regards to historic-social aspects is the “holy kiss.” Here we need to see that Christians met in homes like a family. The kiss at the door was a greeting sign to another family member. Paul then implies that they are not only to appear to be family but to love each other as true members of God’s family and treat each other accordingly.
Having stated some of the historical material we will now look into the last chapter of 1 Corinthians which will also be the last post of the survey of this letter from Paul.
In 1 Cor 16:1-4 Paul addresses the collection for the church in Jerusalem which will be further addressed in 2 Cor 8-9 (see also Philemon 18-19; Phil 4:10-18; Rom 15:25-29; 1 Cor 9). Why is this collection important? There are many reasons for such a collection: (1) it helps Christians in need; (2) it demonstrates the fellowship between Paul and Jerusalem (unity of the church); (3) it illustrates the central significance of Jerusalem for the missionary work of Paul; and (4) it confirms the equality of Jewish and Gentile Christians. Further, the pilgrimage to Zion of the nations might be a metaphor behind the collection. In verse 2 Paul then explains how a believer should give: (1) regularly on the first day of the week; (2) everyone (all believers!); (3) systematically; (4) proportionally; and (5) voluntarily.
These five principles Paul is laying out in 16:2 need to be followed and talked about in the congregational setting: everyone should give regularly (though not necessarily on the first day of the week; but when money is still readily available in the account), systematically, in proportion with one’s income and voluntarily. It is an essential part that Christians share and support one another and especially those who minister the Word of God to His people.
In 16:5-15 the travel plans of Paul are explained (as well of those of Timothy and Apollos). Paul’s travel to Corinth has been delayed (which is explained in 2 Corinthians). He is in Ephesus at the moment where there are open doors for ministry and also many adversaries. Though not universally true, adversary circumstances should be expected in ministry (cf. v. 9).
First Corinthians 16:13-18 gives final exhortations. The Corinthian believers are to stand firm, do everything out of love, and submit to the leadership within the church. The leadership should be acknowledge and honored in the church; yet the leadership also needs to live a godly life and lead the congregation in a humble way. This is then followed with greetings in 16:19-21 and a final warning and greeting are written in vv. 22-24. Love and restoration should be ultimate aspects in Christian fellowship.