Passage: 1 Corinthians 16:15-24
Discussion Audio (1h07m)
Paul continues winding down the letter. In these last few paragraphs Paul brings up Stephanas and his example. He sends greetings from the Christians in Asia Minor, and then from himself.
Paul exhorts the Corinthians to recognize and follow Stephanas as a Christian leader among them. Not because Stephanas exhibits traditional leadership characteristics such as vision, ambition, or gregariousness, but because he has, over time, demonstrated his willingness to love and serve his fellow brothers and sisters. The rallying cry for Christians is not “follow the one who leads” but rather, “follow the one who serves.” Not only Stephanas, but his entire household is commended as those whom the Corinthian Christians ought to follow and support. This would include Stephanas, his wife, and household servants, slaves, and freedmen. Christian leadership is not limited to those whom society, culture, or tradition regards as “leadership worthy,” or to those that a formal hierarchy or organization appoints, but to anyone who demonstrates self-giving service. Neither is this service is not limited to social assistance type work, but to any service gifted by the Spirit (including teaching and preaching).
The last few sentences are greetings to the Corinthians. In spite of all the problems found in the Corinthian church, Paul loves them. He desires that genuine reconciliation come about amongst the feuding parties. The Christian community is one, in spite of all the problems and differences.