God’s Wondrous Work

in His Beloved Elect

By Pastor George D. Cutler


Grace Gospel Ministry


It is by God’s design that His elect has been extracted from the depths of debauchery in order for such ones to magnify the manifestations of His eternal accomplishments concerning those whom He has previously sanctified and purified in eternity. This is continuously depicted in the formulation of God’s eternal and immutable decrees as they are virtually manifested in the sphere of time. When properly viewed from the eternal vantage-point, those things which seem to be tentatively and contingently enacted in regards to the discretion of men; are in fact illustrations of God’s orchestration of events interspersed within the characterizations of depraved creatures. As the activities of God’s elect are viewed and analyzed, these manifestations engender continuous depictions of doubt, fear, suspicion, selfishness, greed and indecision, as well as many other illustrations of the likes of human imperfections. Here some may wonder why God, who possesses the power to do so, didn’t in His design of those whom He chose and glorified in eternity; determine to exempt such in the sphere of time from the manifestation of the traits of depraved creation.  

The most sufficient answer is “God is sovereign.” This fact overshadows the actions of mankind, in that He has effectuated all His eternal and immutable decrees, as they are virtually deployed exactly as they were actualized through His determinant will. There are some who view the omnipotence of God strictly in a regulation mode, i.e., in the limitation of perceived adjustments and manipulations of diverse independent actions of the various components of imperfect nature. While this is certainty true of Satan and the principalities and powers of his regime, it is a serious distortion of the efficacy of the creator, initiator, sustainer and controller of all that exists. Many erroneously depict God in the role of a participator but not as the cause and dominator of events as they transpire. In this sense, they do not recognize that He ultimately is the enablement of every action or motion that is energized. This is true even from the extent of the greatest and most profound to the least and most inconsequential; from the greatest exhibition of that which seems good to the most aversive and least desirable trait that can be manifested in a depraved environment. 

The basic ingredient that thoroughly explicates this phenomenon is “the Sovereignty of God.” Those who are perplexed by the seemingly unexplainable circumstances and situations of this life, often attribute them to some independent provenience of energy outside of the innate provenance of God. To their credit, they rightfully do not charge or attempt to indict God as one who is accountable, for He in His sovereignty is not obligated in anything other than what He has determined according to the pleasure of His good will (Ephesians 1:5,9; Philippians 2:13). God cannot in any way be “held responsible” but neither should He be construed as a spectator or passive participator of the transmogrification of actions, as though they are untraceable to His decrees. All that He does ultimately culminates in that which is consistent with His nature, which is righteous, wholesome and good. In this regard, His determination of those things that are in stark contrast and opposition to His nature, i.e., depravity, evil, etc., are designs that have been ordained for the expressed purpose of magnifying His goodness and graciousness, which will culminate in His supreme glory (II Corinthians 3:9; 4:6,15,17). This goal is rightfully God’s to pursue, as He is absolutely justified in all His arrangements in every way and by whatever means it pleases Him to effectuate His will. Here it must be fully understood that the actions and operations of creation that occur in the sphere of time, are not designed to accomplish the end of things or to be the end within themselves, but they merely function as events progressing to the end or culmination of what has been determined and are only accomplishable in eternity.  

A vivid demonstration of this is illustrated in the transcript of the proceedings of the Corinthians Church in general. The documentation in Acts chapter eighteen depicts the struggles of the Apostle Paul, as he surveyed the opposition of the Jews and even the general wickedness of Corinth itself. Yet there were positive occurrences transpiring, i.e., “Crispus, the chief ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his house; and many of the Corinthians hearing believed, and were baptized” (verse 8). These paradoxical events were very enigmatic, even to the point that Paul had apparently become perplexed and very despondent, yet according to the text, “Then spoke the Lord to Paul in the night by a vision, be not afraid, but speak, and hold not your peace: for I am with you and no man shall set on you to harm you: for I have many people in this city” (Acts 18: 9-10). From the intermingling of these contrasting events, one is given a view into the will of God working and overpowering the opposing forces of depraved creation. 

The exegesis of I Corinthians 16:1-12 explicates the certainty of God’s decrees as the contents serve as an enlightened exercise of the workings of His power in the formulation of all, which he has determined to bring to pass; even to the point of working every force, whether it is positive or negative, good or evil, to His desired end. Anyone who has studied the character of the Corinthian Church is familiar with the prevalent egocentric and pandemic mindset of its members. Its display of carnality encompassed diversities of indulgencies including every imaginable trait of human depravity, despite the fact that they indeed were God’s elect; chosen in Him before the creation of the world. Ranking at the top of their carnalities, they were stingy and it worked a hardship on the Apostle’s efforts in his ministry to the poor saints in Jeruselum. 

Here we view I Corinthians 16:1 from the King James Version, “Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye.” And from the Greek Text, “And concerning the collection for the saints, as I arranged for the churches of Galatia, so also you do.” In this context, the Apostle Paul is giving instructions concerning the logei,aj (loy•ee•ahs) rendered “collection”, “offering” or “contribution”, that was the results of their gatherings th/j eivj tou.j a`gi,ouj (tees ees toos ahy•ee•oos) rendered “for the saints” in Jerusalem. The historical background behind this is that a famine existed during the latter reign of the Roman Emperor, Klaudias, who reigned from 41-54 A.D. It was during this time that the saints in Jerusalem and Judea needed help (Acts 11:27-30; 18:2). Here we observe that this was a general effort (Acts 11:30), as the Apostle Paul aggressively endeavored to get contributions from all the churches in regards to this exigency (Galatians 2:10; Romans 15:25-27).  

Note the Greek verb die,taxa (thee•eht•ahx•ah) rendered “arranged”, is in the indicative mood, aorist tense and active voice, as it conveys the fact that Paul had previously arranged, prescribed and given directive to the Galatian churches, the manner in which they were to assemble the collection. Note that this verb die,taxa (thee•eht•ahx•ah) is not in the imperative mood, in that a command in this regard would be inconsistent with the Grace Gospel’s policy of no demands or no conditions in giving matters. Thus contrary to some translations, the thought conveyance is not that Paul “ordered and commanded” the gathering of offerings, as this would violate the intent of volitional giving that constitutes the Grace Contract (II Corinthians 8:1-11). The Galatians had been directed and submitted (by the Holy Spirit) to the arrangement, which they had apparently fulfilled, Paul by the same indicia makes the appeal, ou[twj kai. u`mei/j poih,sate (oo•tos keh ee•mees pee•ee•sah•teh) rendered “so also you do.”  

Here poih,sate (pee•ee•sah•teh) rendered “you do”, is in the imperative mood, but note the aorist tense and active voice connotations, which convey the thought, “you do what has already been done.” In this sense, the command is not concomitant with an imposition but rather encouragement and provocation to do likewise as other churches had done (Colossians 1:10; Hebrews 10:24). First, Paul uses the paradigm of the Galatians as an example of what they should do. Second, he references the Galatians to show that he is placing this financial burden among all the churches, as it was right that all should share in the opportunity to participate in this exercise in grace. Note that in the introduction of his directive, it was not a peculiar service which he required of the Corinthians; as he only desired of them to conform to the same arrangements which other churches had already similarly responded to. Thus his aim was to excite emulation and stir them up to be liberal in their giving according to their circumstances and the occasion, as they exceeded most churches in spiritual gifts and probably in worldly wealth. The reasoning was that they surely shouldn’t desire to be neglectful in any of their bounty to their afflicted brethren. These are illustrations of the means and methodologies of God’s design that are employed within His workings of the demoralized nature of humanity, as this manifestation of grace defied all the characteristics of the environment of depraved creation, all to the glory of His grace (Ephesians 1:6).

 Now we move to I Corinthians 16:2 from the King James Version, “Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.” Now from the Greek Text, “On the [first day of every week] let each one of you put aside, saving as he may proper, that there may not be collections when I come.” As we exegete this verse, we observe the grammatical phase kata. mi,an sabba,tou (kaht•ah mee•ahn sahv•vah•too) rendered “according to one (day) of (after each) seventh (week).” Note the thought conveyance seems to express “on every first day after the Sabbath.” Since the Sabbath is the seventh day, comparable to Saturday, it logically is referencing the day following it, i.e., Sunday. This is in accordance with the Grace and Kingdom economies practice of the believers assembling and worshiping on the first day of the week. Here we focus on the seceding phrase e[kastoj u`mw/n parV e`autw/| tiqe,tw qhsauri,zwn o[ ti eva.n euvodw/tai (ehk•ahs•tos ee•mon gahr eh•ahf•to teeth•eh•to thee•sahv•ree•zon o tee eh•ahn ehv•oth•o•teh) rendered “let each one of you put aside (store up), saving (gaining) as he may proper.”  

Thus the directives and instructions were that each individual was to parV e`autw/| tiqe,tw (gahr eh•ahf•to teeth•eh•to) rendered “put aside”, “lay aside” or place aside every first day of the week, which they would reserved in storage qhsauri,zwn (thee•sahv•ree•zon), what was needed for the poor saints in Jerusalem and Judea. Note the methodology of how this was to be done, o[ ti eva.n euvodw/tai (o tee eh•ahn ehv•oth•o•teh) rendered “saving (gaining) as he may proper.” The amount that each was to contribute was to be determined by how such one may have prospered euvodw/tai (ehv•oth•o•teh). Here we note that this Greek verb is in the subjunctive mood and the present tense, thus the format was according to how successful one may have been or the amount of gain such one would be blessed to acquire. Accordingly, the principle gauge for giving was basically that those who have much more than their basic need, should give much, and those who have a little more than their basic need, should give a little. Observe that the Greek verb tiqe,tw (teeth•eh•to) rendered “lay aside” or “store” that which was to be apportioned for distribution, is in the imperative mood and present tense, denoting the command of grace rather than the Law of taxation. 

Now we consider the last phrase of I Corinthians 16:2, i[na mh. o[tan e;lqw to,te logei/ai gi,nwntai (een•ah mee ot•ahn ehl•tho to•teh loy•ee•eh yeen•on•deh) literally translated “that not when I may come then collections may be (taking place).” The more fluid English flow would be, “that there may not be collections when I may come.” Here the focus is on the phrase o[tan e;lqw (ot•ahn ehl•tho) rendered “when I may come”, as we note that the co-joined subordinating conjunction-verbal construction that in effect denotes the subjunctive mood, as it structures the notion of Paul coming to them in the form of a dependant probability, except the aorist tense conveys the persuasion of his coming as a completed action. The reconciliation of this statement rests in the conviction that the expressed action is certified by eternal divine decree, which in effect solidifies its actuation and corresponding manifestation thus rendering its certainty. This strengthens the action to the inference of a future indicative or future fact, as it could be viewed to express, “when I come.” 

 Accordingly, Paul’s instructions are specific, i[na (een•ah),that” there may not be any collection’s gathering when he arrives. Observe the Greek verb gi,nwntai (yeen•on•deh) properly linked with the negative particle mh. (mee) conveys the rendering “may not be” or “may not be made.” Here the structure mh. gi,nwntai (me yeen•on•deh) “may not be,” is in the subjunctive mood and present tense, thus stating the probability that an action does not occur. Observe that the negative particle mh. (mee) “not,” is generally used with non-indicative (non-factual) verbs and in questionable situations where negative circumstances could be expected.  Hence the thrust of the directive is that their anticipated negative action or non-action will be channeled in the alignment of Paul’s desire and possibly God’s design that the task will be accomplished at the appointed time. These described communications and actions depict the proceedings of God’s workings of His decrees in transactions that are guided through the terrain of the depraved nature of humankind and even imperfect creation itself. This portrays the power of God in effectuating his eternal purpose through absolute oppositional forces, which magnifies the fact that He alone is the cause of every motion. 

Now we move to I Corinthians 16:3 from the King James Version, “And when I come, whomsoever ye shall approve by your letters, them will I send to bring your liberality unto Jerusalem.” And from the Greek Text, “And when I arrive, whomever you may approve, through letter, I will send these to carry your gift unto Jerusalem;” Note the progression of the Greek phrase  o[tan de. parage,nwmai (ot•ahn theh pahr•ahy•ehn•om•eh) rendered “and when I arrive,” as it is draws upon the foundation of that which has been conveyed in the antecedent verse (2), i.e., the certainty of Paul’s arrival. Here he is addressing the time when he will be present with them, which infers a future fact. Thus, he is addressing the arrangements of the provision to send their collections to the poor saints, as we note the Greek phrase ou]j eva.n dokima,shte (oos eh•ahn thok•eem•ah•see•teh) rendered “whomever you may approve.”  Hence the first thing they are to do is dokima,shte (thok•eem•ah•see•teh) “approve” those who will be the trusted emissaries of their gift. Note that the subjunctive mood basically expresses the probability of their act of approval including who the individuals might be, while the aorist tense conveys the prior determination of this being carried out; thus testifying God’s ultimate workings in the matter. 

It is at this point that we observe the derivations of translations and corresponding contrasting exegeses of the phrase diV evpistolw/n (thee ehp•ees•tol•on) rendered “through letter”, as to where its context is conjoined. Notice the importance of the placement of the punctuation (comma), as it enjoins the cognition of whether the expression ( through letters) is suffixed to the previous phrase stating,  “whomever you may approve through letters;” or is it properly prefixed to the succeeding phrase stating, “through letters, I will send these.” In an attempt to ascertain the intended thought conveyance, it is important to note the grammatical constructions surrounding this phrase. Here we note two pronouns namely, ou]j (oos) “whomever”, which is in the prior phrase and tou,touj (too•toos) rendered “these”, in the succeeding phrase. The former, ou]j (oos) is a relative pronoun and the latter, tou,touj (too•toos) is a demonstrative pronoun, which are both in the accusative case denoting such as direct objects or objects of a proposition. The noun evpistolw/n (ehp•ees•tol•on) is in the genitive case denoting possession or ownership, thus the “letter” could either originate from the Corinthians as validation of those whom they chose to serve as their representative or it could originate from Paul as commendations to be taken with said representatives for the like same purpose.

 The key to unraveling this enigma abides in defining the functions of the respective pronouns in the thought conveyance. Definition-wise, the relative pronoun ou]j (oos) introduces the clause (you may approve) that modifies an implied noun, depicting those who will represent the Corinthians and the demonstrative pronoun tou,touj (too•toos), points to this same implied noun (the ones approved) in functioning as its replacement, in depicting these same representatives. This is borne out by their pronoun antecedent agreement as both pronouns have concomitant case, gender and number assignments (accusative, masculine and plural). These pronouns are structured as congruent entities and are thus both objects of the propositional phrase diV evpistolw/n (thee ehp•ees•tol•on) rendered “through letter.” Accordingly, it is conceivable that the phrase should be, “whomever you may approve through letters, ---------- through letters, I will send these.” In effect Paul’s statement is, those whom they approve through letters, through (with) these same letters, “I will send these (the approved ones) to carry, bear and conduct your gifts from Corinth to Jerusalem.” Here this Greek infinitive avpenegkei/n (ahp•ehn•ehg•keen) rendered “to carry”, is in the aorist tense, denoting the foregone conclusion that the Corinthians had the responsibility of selecting faithful ones and verifying them through letters; as Paul had the responsibility (as had been determined) of sending these carriers through (with) these same letters to deliver the goods. 

Now we move to I Corinthians 16:4 from the King James Version, “And if it be meet that I go also, they shall go with me.” And from the Greek Text, “and if it be fitting for me to also go, they shall go with me.” This verse begins with the coordinating/subordinating conjunction construction eva.n de. (eh•ahn theh) rendered “and if”, as it is linked with the adjectival/verbal phrase a;xion h=| (ahx•ee•on ee) rendered “is fitting” or “is proper”, i.e., “If it be judged desirable and best. In other words Paul’s expression is, “if my presence can further the objective; will satisfy you better or will be deemed necessary to guide and aid those who may be sent, I will be willing to go also.” This remark seemed appropriate and valuable for testimony in regard to the Apostle Paul's management of pecuniary matters, so as not to excite suspicion and to preserve his blameless reputation. Thus his conveyance is, if this required his attendance and it was judged proper for him to go to Jerusalem, he would accomply those persons as his companions. On the delicacy with which Paul managed the business of the collection for the poor, this arrangement also served to satisfy the appearance of the purity of the apostle's conduct in the suspicious business of pecuniary contributions. It is in this sense that Paul solicits suggestions as to the most propriety-minded methodology for accomplishing the task. 

In the vein of this communiqué, Paul expresses the following issues:

 1). He disclaims having received any inspired authority for the directions he gives in his statement that he is not speaking by commandment but by occasion of the forwardness of others and to prove the sincerity of their love (II Corinthians 8:8).

 2). He asserts the general right of the ministry to a maintenance from their ministry yet he protests against making use of this right in his own person (I Corinthians 9:14-15). 

3). He repeatedly proposes that those associated in the management of the communal bounty; should not be colleagues of his own appointment but persons elected for that purpose by the contributors themselves (I Corinthians 16:3-4). 

These conveyances are testimonies to the acknowledgement that the eternal decrees of God are manifested through the actions of all of His elect. It is in this vein that Paul transmits the eventuality of the occurrence with the gesture, su.n evmoi. poreu,sontai (seen eh•mee por•ehv•son•deh) rendered “they will go with me.”    

Now we move to I Corinthians 16:5 from the King James Version, “Now I will come unto you, when I shall pass through Macedonia: for I do pass through Macedonia.” And from the Greek Text, “And I will come to you when I have passed through Macedonia, for I am going through Macedonia.” This verse begins with the coordinating conjunction de. (theh) rendered “and”, thus linking the statement eleu,somai pro.j u`ma/j (ehl•ehv•so•meh pros ee•mahs) rendered “I will come unto you”, to the gleanings of the antecedent context of verses. Here the Greek verb eleu,somai (ehl•ehv•so•meh) rendered “will come”, is in the indicative mood and future tense, taking its inference (a future fact) from the certainty of the previous expressions. Hence his conveyance is, “I purpose to come unto you.” He had apparently expected on a previous occasion, to see them on his way to Macedonia but on some account, had been induced to abandon that design (II Corinthians 1:15-17). In this conveyance, Paul is convinced that the planning in this instance fully aligns with the decree of God, as he conveys the indicative/ present, with the expression Makedoni,an ga.r die,rcoma (Mahk•ehth•on•ee•ahn gahr thee•ehr•khom•ah) rendered “for I am going through Macedonia.” Thus this design was his present intention. Though due to some cause, he had abandoned his original plan of passing through Corinth on his way to Macedonia, yet he had confidence in the design itself, as it was still his intention to go there. 

Now we move to I Corinthians 16:6 from the King James Version, “And it may be that I will abide, yea, and winter with you, that ye may bring me on my journey whithersoever I go. And from the Greek Text, “and perhaps I may stay with you, or even spend the winter, that you may send me forth wherever I may go.” Here the coordinating conjunction “de. (theh) rendered “and”, conveys the continuity of this verse in the context, as it is linked with the Greek participle tuco.n (tee•khon) rendered “perhaps, perchance or it may be”. Note that this participle is in the aorist tense and active voice as he gives inference of his pending status of abiding with them as a foregone conclusion, based upon the certainty of the transpierces (penetrating activities) of the proceeding context, thus Paul’s abode with them exudes a stronger connotation than a fortuitous occurrence. This is supported by the inclusive structuring of the indicative future verb paramenw (pahr•ahm•ehn•o) rendered “I will abide”; hence establishing the factuality of this ensuing action. In fact, he further states that he would even be with them in the winter, as the Greek verb paraceima,sw (pahr•ahkh•ee•mah•so) rendered “winter” or “spend the winter”, is also an indicative future construction.   

As we observe the final phrase on I Corinthians 16:6, namely, i[na u`mei/j me prope,myhte ou- eva.n poreu,wmai (een•ah ee•mees meh prop•ehm•psee•teh oo eh•ahn por•ehv•om•eh) rendered “that you may send me forth wherever I may go”, note its conveyance is linked to the antecedent phrase via the word i[na (that), which is a subordinating conjunction. Hence all that follows the conjunction is categorized in the sphere of probability but its aorist (past completed) and present actions are dependant upon the factuality of what precedes it. Accordingly, the sentence structure exemplifies that Paul is obviously following the leading of the Lord or those things that have already been established to transpire. Here the Greek verb prope,myhte (prop•ehm•psee•teh) “may send forth”, as used in this context, apparently expresses Paul’s purpose in remaining with them for this time, i.e., in order that they might furnish and equip him with what would be needed for his ministry ou- eva.n poreu,wmai (oo eh•ahn por•ehv•om•eh) rendered “wherever I may go” (Titus 3:13). 

Now we move to I Corinthians 16:7 from the King James Version, “For I will not see you now by the way; but I trust to tarry a while with you, if the Lord permit.” And from the Greek Text, “For I do not wish to see you now while passing by, for I hope to spend some time with you, if the Lord permits.” This verse opens with the enigmatic phrase ouv qe,lw ga.r u`ma/j a;rti evn paro,dw| ivdei/n (oo Thehl•o gahr ee•mahs ahr•tee ehn pahr•oth•o eeth•een) rendered “for I do not wish to see you now while passing by.” Note the Greek expression evn paro,dw| (ehn pahr•oth•o) rendered “while passing by” may also be rendered “in passing or going by.” Here we observe that this word function is a noun as this represents a puzzling inference that is injected in the context; as the question is, what does Paul have reference to in stating, “while (in) passing by?” Here we focus on the two verbs in the phrase, namely, qe,lw (Thehl•o) rendered “will, wish or desire,” which is in the indicative mood and present tense, connoting Paul’s factual determination that he would be passing by or near Corinth in his immediate traveling plan, as well as the aorist infinitive ivdei/n (ee•theen) rendered “to see” or “on seeing” as it may express the foregone conclusion that his immediate visit is ou (oo), “not” going to occur. In this sense, the statement may be “I will not see you now by the way” or literally "I do not wish to see you this time in passing"; i.e., to not currently render what would merely be a passing visit as he did in his second journey (II Corinthians 12:14).                    


         Area Map of Region

As we focus on the next phrase, evlpi,zw ga.r cro,non tina. evpimei/nai pro.j u`ma/j (ehl•pee•zo gahr khron•on teen•ah ehp•ee•meen•eh pros ee•mahs) rendered “for I hope to spend (remain or stay) some time with you,” it is of note that the older Greek Manuscripts (Critical Text) read ga.r (gahr), rendered “for” as differentiated from de (theh), rendered ”but,” as it is in the Textus Receptus and Majority Text groupings. The variation in cogitation of the phrase’s conveyance is dictated by the inference of which conjunction {“for” (coordinating) or “but” (adversative)} structures it. Contextually speaking, the coordinating conjunction continues the flow of the aforementioned statement “For I will not now see you by the way,” i.e., he will not sail direct across the Ægean Sea (see region map) to Corinth, and go from there to Macedonia. In other words, a premature entrance into Corinth would necessitate his hasty departure unless he went to Macedonia first. Thus, a systematic analysis exudes the reason Paul did not wish to see them on this proposed trip, as it would not afford the length of time that he desired to abide in Corinth. Note that the Greek noun cro,non (khron•on) rendered “time,” as used in the context, references a specific duration or interval of space. Historically speaking, according to Acts 20:2-3), Paul eventually abode in Corinth three months, hence corroborating the phrase cro,non tina. (khron•on teen•ah) rendered “some time” or an extended length of time (a while).  

Finally, we focus on the two verbs in this phrase, namely evlpi,zw (ehl•pee•zo) rendered “hope,” which is in the indicative mood and future tense and the aorist infinitive evpimei/nai (ehp•ee•meen•eh) rendered to “remain or stay,” as they are correlated by the latter Greek phrase of the verse (7), eva.n o` ku,rioj evpitre,yh (eh•ahn o kee•ree•os ehp•ee•trehp•see) rendered “if the Lord permits, allows or gives His consent.” Note that the infinitive evpimei/nai (ehp•ee•meen•eh) “stay or spend” and verb evpitre,yh (ehp•ee•trehp•see) “permits or allows,” are in the aorist tense but the controlling variant is the subordinating conjunction eva.n (eh•ahn) “if.” Thus, as the preceding verse (6) revealed, Paul's plans were tentative to some extent in that he wanted the Corinthians to know that he anticipated a return to Corinth and hopefully a stay of several months. At the time he wrote (I Corinthians 16:5), Paul planned to head north from Ephesus and then remain for a period in Macedonia.  

Macedonia at that period was the Roman province north of Corinth where Philippi, Thessalonica, and Berea stood (see area region map). As it was relayed herein, he then planned to travel south to Corinth. Historically it is revealed that his plans were later changed in that he traveled directly from Ephesus to Corinth (II Corinthians 2:1; 12:14; 13:1-2) and returned to Ephesus (II Corinthians 2:5-8; 7:12). Later he visited Macedonia and then Corinth (II Corinthians 2:12-13; 7:6-16; 16:6-7). Paul did spend the winter in Corinth, but it was the winter after the one when he expected to be there, the winter of 57-58 rather than 56-57 (cf. Acts 20:2-3; Romans 16:1, 23). The multiplicity of problems in that church presented the need for Paul' extended visit in Corinth. The inference of the subjunctive mood and aorist tense of the verb evpitre,yh (ehp•ee•trehp•see) “permits or allows,” in the statement, “if the Lord allows,” is applicable in the depiction of how the sequences of Paul’s activities transpired. In this sense, he moved according to the prearranged decrees of God (manifested past completed actions) with the probabilities of such dictated by the foreordination of God’s will, as all his operations ultimately moved according to Divine purposes.   

Now we move to the conveyance of I Corinthians 16:8 from the King James Version, “But I will tarry at Ephesus until Pentecost.” And from the Greek Text, “But I will remain in Ephesus until Pentecost.” This verse verifies that the apostle Paul wrote this epistle while he was yet in Ephesus. Here the Greek phrase evpimenw/ de. evn VEfe,sw| e[wj th/j penthkosth/j (ehp•ee•mehn•o theh ehn Eph•ehs•o eh•os tees pehn•tee•kos•tees), which is literally translated, “and I will remain in  Ephesus till the Pentecost,” as it references the fact that the Jewish celebrated holiday, “Pentecost” was in late May or early June according to Hebrew Scriptures. Hence, Paul’s writing was probably in the spring of the year (cf. I Corinthians 5:7; 15:20). Thus his reference to Pentecost was only for the purpose of indicating that he would stay there until that period, i.e., he was merely referencing this particular day in the context of identifying the point of his departure from Ephesus. Note that the Greek verb evpimenw/ (ehp•ee•mehn•o) rendered “and I will remain,” is in the indicative mood and future tense, in effect certifying the factuality of the concentration of Paul’s ministry in that location, as he abode approximately two year totally in Ephesus publicly and privately teaching and admonishing in the Word of God. It was during that time that he received communications of the problems in Corinth as this epistle was written in response to the situations that were in existence (I Corinthians 7:1,25; 8:1).  

Now we move to I Corinthians 16:9 from the King James Version, “For a great door and effectual is opened unto me, and there are many adversaries.” And from the Greek Text, “For a great and effectual door has been opened to me and (there are) adversaries, many.” This verse begins with the Greek phrase qu,ra ga,r moi avne,w|gen mega,lh kai. evnergh,j (thee•rah gahr mee ahn•eho•yehn mehg•ah•lee keh ehn•ehr•yees) rendered “For a great and effectual door has been opened to me.” Here we observe the descriptive expression mega,lh kai. evnergh,j (mehg•ah•lee keh ehn•ehr•yees) rendered “great and effectual,” as a modification of the noun qu,ra (thee•rah) rendered “door.” This phrase is basically conveying information that there was an expansive opportunity (great) for the ministerial work (effectual or energizing) of the Gospel of the Grace of God. Paul occasionally used the word qu,ra (thee•rah), “door” as a metaphor for opportunity (cf. II Corinthians 2:12; Col. 4:3). Note that the Greek verbal phrase moi avne,w|gen (mee ahn•eho•yehn) literally rendered “has been (and is) opened to me,” is structured in the indicative mood, active voice and perfect tense, as the dative case of the pronoun moi (mee) “me” employs the fact of God’s provision for Paul’s ministry.  

Hence the apostle abided in Ephesus for the space of three years to take advantage of the opportunities there. Finally, the inclusion of the latter phrase of verse (9) kai. avntikei,menoi polloi, (keh ahn•deek•ee•mehnee mol•lee), is rendered “and (there are) adversaries, many.” Thus the general conveyance of the verse is that: on the one hand, a great opportunity is available but on the other hand, there are many hostilities in the form of much opposition from those who would attempt to hinder the progress of the ministry. Indeed such were the constant challenges of Paul’s commission for the Dispensation of Grace in every manner (II Corinthians 4:3-4; II Timothy 3:11) but in spite of the adversaries, he always remained immovable, even abounding in the work of the Lord in Ephesus (I Corinthians 15:58).  

Now we move to I Corinthians 16:10 from the King James Version, “Now if Timotheus come, see that he may be with you without fear: for he worketh the work of the Lord, as I also do.” And from the Greek Text, “And if Timothy may come, see that he is with you without fear; for he works the work of the Lord as I do.” The opening phrase of this verse, Ea.n de. e;lqh| Timo,qeoj (eh•ahn theh ehl•thee Tee•moth•eh•os) rendered “and if Timothy comes,” is a subjunctive aorist, thus confirming that he must therefore have been sent by Paul from Ephesus before this Epistle was written (I Corinthians 4:17-19). Yet the content of this phrase implies that Paul did not expect him to arrive at Corinth until after this communication was received. Here the conjoined subordinating-coordinating conjunctions Ea.n de. (eh•ahn theh) rendered “and if”, should not be construed as a condition as to whether Timothy was coming (aorist tense), but the probability aspect (subjunctive mood) is confined to how he was to be received, thus a more purposeful rendering would be “whenever he comes.” Hence he directs them how Timothy is to be received "if" or “when” he should arrive (Acts 19:21, 22). 

Historically, the 19th chapter of acts clears up the difficulty of any questions concerning the conveyance of sequences in that Timothy, when sent from Ephesus, did not proceed directly to Corinth, but went to Macedonia first. Hence it was anticipated that he might not reach Corinth till after the epistle was received in that city. In the fourth chapter of this epistle, Paul states, “I sent to you Timothy--- “(I Corinthians 4:17), which is seemingly corroborated by Acts 19:22, even though only Macedonia is mentioned. Thus Paul was apparently apprehensive about how the Corinthians would engage Timothy, as we observe the expression of the next phrase of verse (10) ble,pete( i[na avfo,bwj ge,nhtai pro.j u`ma/j\ (vlehp•eh•teh een•ah ahph•ov•os yehn•ee•teh pros ee•mahs) rendered “see that he is with you without avfo,bwj (ahph•ov•os), rendered “fear,” i.e., that he may be received “respectfully” and “peacefully,” that he may be treated well and not perplexed and imposed by their apparent divisions and jealousies; as Paul would personally address those issues during his anticipated extended stay with them. Note that the Greek verb ble,pete (vlehp•eh•teh) rendered “see,” is in the imperative mood (a directive) and present tense as he instructs them concerning their conduct towards Timothy when he arrived. 

The last phrase of this verse, to. ga.r e;rgon kuri,ou evrga,zetai w`j kavgw,\ (to gahr ehr•gon kee•ree•oo ehr•gah•zeh•teh os kah•go) is rendered “for he works the work of the Lord as I also do.” Here the coordinating conjunction ga.r (gahr) rendered “for,” states the reason why the directive was given, i.e., “since or “indeed, certainly” because e;rgon kuri,ou evrga,zetai w`j kavgw, (ehr•gon kee•ree•oo ehr•gah•zeh•teh os kah•go) rendered “he works the work of the Lord as I also do,” i.e., he is Divinely appointed, as I also am. In retrospect it may have been Timothy's subsequent report of conditions in Corinth when he returned to Ephesus that moved Paul to go directly to Corinth himself rather than waiting until he had visited Macedonia. Paul later referred to this visit as painful because while in Corinth he encountered strong opposition (cf. II Corinthians 2:1-8; 7:12; 12:14; 13:1-2). 

Now we move to I Corinthians 16:11 from the King James Version, “Let no man therefore despise him: but conduct him forth in peace, that he may come unto me: for I look for him with the brethren.” And from the Greek Text, “Therefore, may no one despise him. But send him forth in peace, that he may come to me, for I expect him with the brethren.” This verse begins with the conjunction ou=n (oon) rendered “therefore” or “then,” expressing the premise upon which Paul’s directive was based. Here observe that the Greek verb evxouqenh,sh (ehx•oo•thehn•ees•ee) rendered “despise, treat with contempt or lightly esteem,” is in the subjunctive mood and aorist tense, as Paul’s appeal is for “no one” (mh, tij) to treat Timothy contemptuously; in that his instructions were given for the purpose of preemptively arresting that probability. Note, Paul’s intentions were that Timothy would not be  laden with the very serious problems in Corinth but that they would equip and provide him with what he required in order to return to them. Thus the last phrase of verse (11), is i[na e;lqh| pro,j me\ evkde,comai ga.r auvto.n meta. tw/n avdelfw/n (een•ah ehl•thee pros meh ehk•thehkh•om•eh gahr ahf•ton meht•ah ton ahth•ehl•phon) rendered “that he may come to me, for I expect him with the brethren,” which basically defines Timothy’s mission, i.e., that he would be furnished with what he needed in order to return to him. From the statement, it can be gleaned that Paul either expected certain unnamed brethren to return with Timothy or it was Paul and the brethren with him that were anticipating Timothy’s return. It is of note that Timothy had returned to Paul at the time he wrote his second epistle to Corinth (II Corinthians 1:1). 

Now we move to the concluding verse of the context, I Corinthians 16:12 from the King James Version, “As touching our brother Apollos, I greatly desired him to come unto you with the brethren: but his will was not at all to come at this time; but he will come when he shall have convenient time.” And from the Greek Text, “And concerning Apollos the brother, I greatly encourage him that he might come to you with the brethren; and it was not at all {his} will that he may come now, but he will come when he may have opportunity.” Here the phrase Peri. de. VApollw/ tou/ avdelfou (Pehr•ee theh Ap•ol•lo too ahth•ehl•phoo) rendered “and concerning Apollos the brother,” has reference to the fact that Paul's relations with this precious brother were perfectly in the bonds of love. Apollos, according to the contents of Acts chapter 18, was first instructed in the Gospel of Grace by Paul’s companions in the gospel, Priscilla and Aquila in Ephesus (Acts 18:24-27). He developed into a very able minister and was subsequently commended to the church at Corinth (Acts 16:27). Eventually the carnality of the Corinthians resulted in them being divided into camps according to the identification of personalities (Paul, Apollos, etc.)  instead of being united in Christ (I Corinthians 1:12). All documentation suggests that none of the ministers endorsed any of these practices and in fact gave solid support to Paul in his stinging rebuke of such divisive actions (I Corinthians 3:3-9). 

In spite of the problems in this matter, note the seceding phrase polla. pareka,lesa auvto.n( i[na e;lqh| pro.j u`ma/j meta. tw/n avdelfw/n (pol•lah pahr•ehk•ahl•eh•sah ahf•ton, een•ah ehl•thee pros ee•mahs meht•ah ton ahth•ehl•phon) rendered “I greatly encouraged him that he might come to you with the brethren,” expresses the fact that Paul greatly importuned Apollos to go to Corinth knowing how acceptable he would be among at least some of them and hoping he might be of great use to them in composing their differences and rectifying their disorders. Here the verbal phrase, polla. pareka,lesa auvto.n( (pol•lah pahr•ehk•ahl•eh•sah ahf•ton) rendered “I greatly encouraged him,” is in the indicative mood and aorist tense; expressing the factuality and sincerity of Paul's graciousness to Apollos and noble freedom from any misconceived impressions of selfishness or  jealousy as he polla. (pol•lah), “greatly” or “strongly” urged him to go to Corinth with the brethren.


The following phrase, kai. pa,ntwj ouvk h=n qe,lhma i[na nu/n e;lqh| (keh pahn•dos ook een thehl•ee•mah een•ah neen ehl•thee) rendered “and it was not at all {his} will that he may come now,” possibly expresses Paul’s conviction that Apollos maybe thought it not prudent for him to go there at this time (“now”); thinking lest his presence might be perceived as giving the controversy either strength or countenance. Here note the expression pa,ntwj ouvk h=n (pahn•dos ook een) rendered “was not at all” confirms the decision that it was strictly Apollos’ adamant conviction (and probably the decree of God) for him not to come at that time. Note that the verbs h=n (een) rendered “was,” is in the indicative mood (factual) and imperfect tense (continuous action in the past) and e;lqh| (ehl•thee) rendered “he may come,” is in the subjunctive mood (probability), aorist tense (past completed action) and middle voice, certifying that the action was not entirely Apollos’. 

The final phrase of the verse (12) is evleu,setai de. o[tan euvkairh,sh| (eh•lehv•seh•teh theh ot•ahn ehf•keh•ree•see) rendered “and he will come when he may have opportunity,” as it conveys the thought that Apollos was not averse to coming, but not at the present, as he would at a suitable opportunity return to Corinth when their divisions were moderated. Here the Greek verb evleu,setai (eh•lehv•seh•teh) rendered “and he will come,” is in the indicative mood (factual) future tense and middle voice, denoting the dependent cause of the impending action. Note that the verb euvkairh,sh| (ehf•keh•ree•see) rendered “he may have opportunity,” is in the subjunctive mood (probability), aorist tense (past completed action) and active voice. As the structure of the clause is defined, the coordination of Apollos’ imminent visit is a foregone conclusion as its only probability inference is influenced by the subordinating conjunction o[tan (ot•ahn) rendered “when.” 

In examining some aspects of the Doctrine of Peripateology (the elect’s walk in ones earthly journey), the knowledge of God’s people, as well as all men, are in many things limited to the progressive flow of daily occurrences in the sphere of time. In this sense, even God’s elect are mostly in the dark about the particulars of the seen and unseen conflicts that rage around them. There is much that is unknown about what God’s workings are in the Heavenlies and in the invisible spiritual realm even here in the earthly sphere. Thus, it is incredibly foolish (and also wrong) for His children to ascribe their problems and difficulties to ineptness or indifference on His part, as He is the very God whose sacrifices are the exclusive basis for the son positioned relationship that are resident in Christ Jesus. In this view, He accomplished all things in His beloved’s behalf in the eternal heavenly realm, which establishes the basis that He has also reconciled all problems as well (cf. Romans 5:8; 8:32; I Timothy 4:8).  

It is the possession of this knowledge, which engenders the spiritual intelligence to comprehend God’s eternal provisions and inherent protection for His own. All those who have believed these essential principles should practically internalize them to the end that it is certainly not a different matter to apply this truth when one falls under the intensive challenges of life. In the abode of the flesh, it is all too easy sometimes for God’s people to become focused on earthly problems (massive and seemingly insoluble) and in the process of their daily walk, forget what God’s ultimate purpose is for His chosen ones. In essence, why have His elect been placed on earth and for whose sake? When the child of God abides in ones own agendas, there is the tendency to view the vicissitudes of this life personally. In this sense, if one is not constantly ministered to by the Holy Spirit, such can head down the slippery slope of the declined plane of attributing ones perceived misfortunes to apathy on God’s part. 

Those who are perplexed and frustrated in their daily lives must realize that all that are called by Him are in Him and of Him. Thus, His elect are here on Earth for Him, for the Lord Jesus Christ, exclusively for God’s purposes. In this sense God’s people are so-journers, whose lives are pledged to serve Him. Indeed, whatever ones life entails, it is according to God’s eternal decrees. In this view, every occurrence in the life of the elect is simply a component of the package that is divinely decreed in which there is a claim as one waits in eager anticipation of its magnification. The hope of eternal life is secured in the fact that it has been established by Divine Decree and sealed by the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13-14), thus the ultimate motivation rests in the assurance that God’s plans are perfect, as are His provisions. These are relevant facts to all those believing.  

In the design and workings of earthly materializations, God could remove His elect from the terrain of depraved creation to Himself immediately at the point of their manifested conversion into His family through the faithfulness of Jesus Christ. But according to His purpose, He has placed His beloved in the domain of the prince and power of the air (Satan) for determined periods as testimonies to the powerful display of His doings (Ephesians 2:10).  Thus, God’s people are commissioned to function on the battlefield of earth according to the His Word with which they have been endowed. Depraved creation, being what it is (and as it is perceived), exudes the implacable (non-peaceful) nature of its chief protagonist, the devil. In this sense, opposition, resistance and suffering are not the exception for the child of God but the norm. The greatest errors of all that one can make in the proceedings of ones course in life, is to forget where one is presently abiding (the world), as it is correlated to what ones prioritized purpose is on earth (to serve God) and what manifested growth and development entails (intensified opposition from the adversary). From the light of knowledge of the Doctrine of Theodicy (the omnipotence and love of God compared the reality of evil without contradiction); one should not construe the constraints of the adversarial perpetrated perils and aversive circumstances in this dangerous and hostile environment as personal affronts, as they are only the phenomena of depraved nature that are designed to ultimately culminate in God’s praise and glory (I Corinthians 15:24-28). 

The bottom line is that all this requires faith, which is conveyed to the hearts and minds of God’s people through continuous intake of His Word, as it is consistently applied to the present life experiences. Only through the continuation of this irreplaceable process do the realities of the eternal Heavenlies begin to become more real than the ephemeral “realities” that natural eyes behold. When members of the Body of Christ of which the head is Jesus, journeys have run their courses, such will be able to look back on the short duration of life and mirror the statement of the Apostle Paul, i.e., “Being afflicted in every way, but not being distressed, being perplexed, but not being in despair, being persecuted, but not being forsaken, being cast down, but not being destroyed, always carrying about in the Body of the dying of Jesus, that also the life of Jesus might be manifested in our body” (II Corinthians 4:8-9). Ultimately, the focus of believers’ should be centered primarily on God’s Wondrous Work in His Beloved Elect.