In today,’s YouVersion verse, Paul sounds like he’s giving marching orders of readiness to be on guard, stand firm, anticipating that many things will want to throw us off guard, cause us to fear or reconsider giving up our faith/ walk with the Lord.
1 Corinthians 16:13-14 (NIV) 13
Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.
14 Do everything in love.
In one of the verses where he gave the “Stand Firm” exhortation, he prefaces it with “Whatever happens” (Phil 1:27). It is a call for us to decide ahead of time to be steadfast in faith even when perhaps attacked, persecuted, maligned, humiliated, or otherwise discouraged from keeping on. Continue to press forward “toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”
The theme of unity with other believers is also strong here. With spiritual warfare in mind, Satan will be out to “divide and conquer” even believers who have the same goal in mind— pleasing Christ.
Matt 12:25 “Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand.”
He gives this flourish: “Do everything in love.”
*Here are other occasions when Paul exhorts believers to “Stand Firm.”
*A. In consideration of the spiritual warfare, that people are not our enemies but only rulers/ authorities/ powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms;
Eph 6:14 14 STAND FIRM then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place
*B. On the teachings of the Word in writing or by mouth during fellowship—- the “sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth” (2 Thess 2:13,15);
“But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters loved by the Lord, because God chose you as firstfruits to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth. So then, brothers and sisters, STAND FIRM and hold fast to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter.” 2 Thess 2:13, 15 NIV
*C. In the Holy Spirit in unity with other believers walking in a manner worthy of Jesus Christ (Phil 1:27);
“Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you STAND FIRM in the one Spirit, striving together as one for the faith of the gospel” Phil 1:27 NIV
*D. In the Lord, in putting away personal differences but instead be united with the mind of Christ (Phil 4:1-2);
“Therefore, my brothers and sisters, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, STAND FIRM in the Lord in this way, dear friends! I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord.”Phil 4:1-2 NIV
*E. in the freedom we have in Jesus (living by faith/ by the Holy Spirit— God’s provision of righteousness) and not be enslaved by a yoke of slavery (to sin or through the legalism of the works of the Law) (Gal 5:1).
“STAND FIRM then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place,” Ephesians 6:14 NIV
Dear Lord, by Your Holy Spirit, help us to stand firm on your truth, stand firm on Your teachings, stand firm to walk in a manner worthy of You, stand firm in unity with other believers fixing our eyes on You alone, and stand firm in the freedom You have set us free for in Jesus’s name Amen.
When you are attacked, do not flinch; maintain your ground; resist; press forward; strike home; keep compact; conquer … Be strong – If one company or division be opposed by too great a force of the enemy, strengthen that division, and maintain your position … summon up all your courage, sustain each other; fear not, for fear will enervate you.” (Clarke)
iii. This is the only place in the New Testament where the word translated be brave is used (andrizomai). Literally, it means “to act like a man.” Be brave in the King James Version is quit you like men. That is a good, accurate translation of the idea behind the Greek word.
v. “The terms in this verse are all military: Watch ye, watch, and be continually on your guard, lest you be surprised by your enemies … Stand fast in the faith – Keep in your ranks; do not be disorderly; be determined to keep your ranks unbroken; keep close together … Quit yourselves like men – When you are attacked, do not flinch; maintain your ground; resist; press forward; strike home; keep compact; conquer … Be strong – If one company or division be opposed by too great a force of the enemy, strengthen that division, and maintain your position … summon up all your courage, sustain each other; fear not, for fear will enervate you.” (Clarke)
b. Let all that you do be done with love: All the watching, all the standing fast, all the bravery, and all the strength the Corinthian Christians might show meant nothing without love. They were called to do all those things in a meek, humble spirit of love.
5. (1Co 16:15-18) Concerning Stephanas, Fortunatus and Achaicus.
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; that you also submit to such, and to everyone who works and labors with us. I am glad about the coming of Stephanas, Fortunatus, and Achaicus, for what was lacking on your part they supplied. For they refreshed my spirit and yours. Therefore acknowledge such men.
a. These were the three men who brought the questions of the Corinthian Christians to Paul. Paul asks that as they are sent back by him with his letter, they be received as devoted servants of the Lord.
i. Apparently, Stephanas was the head of the household, and Fortunatus and Achaicus were two household slaves of his, who accompanied him on his journey to see Paul. Fortunatus and Achaicus were common names for slaves or freedmen (former slaves).
ii. Fortunatus: “This man is supposed to have survived St. Paul; and to be the same mentioned by Clement in his epistle to the Corinthians, sec. 59, as the bearer of that epistle from Clement at Rome to the Christians at Corinth.” (Clarke)
b. Paul was especially grateful for their coming, because they ministered to Paul’s needs when they visited (they refreshed my spirit), doing what the Corinthian church should have, but did not (what was lacking on your part they supplied).
c. Paul could call the Stephanas the firstfruits of Achaia because they were among the first saved in that region, and were baptized by Paul himself (1 Corinthians 1:16).