Paulís first letter to the church in Corinth is almost complete. He has declared all that God has guided him to say to them. He has given his advice and he has answered their questions. Someone (probably Sosthenes Ė 1 Corinthians 1:1) has carefully written down all of Paulís words. Someone else (probably Stephanas Ė 1 Corinthians 16:17-18) is ready to begin a 300 mile journey by boat, to take the letter to Corinth.
But Paul cannot allow the letter to go yet. There are two more sentences that he must add personally, in his own handwriting.
First, as a Christian leader, Paul must bless the people who will read his letter. He did this at the end of each of his letters; he considered it important. So, 1 Corinthians 16:23 is a prayer. Paul prays that God will show grace (kindness) to all the readers of this book. The verse is also a declaration. Paul declares, on Godís behalf, that God will show his kindness to those people.
Then, in 1 Corinthians 16:24, Paul adds something that does not normally appear at the end of his letters. He expresses his personal love for the Christians in Corinth.
We cannot be sure why he adds this last sentence. Perhaps it is because the Book of 1 Corinthians says so much about love (see 1 Corinthians chapter 13). Paul wanted the Christians in Corinth to remember that he himself always tried to act in love. Perhaps it is because the problems in the church at Corinth were so serious. Sometimes in his letter Paul had to warn them firmly about their behaviour. Paul wanted them to understand that he still loved them. He warned them as their friend.
Or perhaps Paul just wanted to express his love. Elsewhere, he explains that he considers them as his own children in their relationship with God (4:14-15). His love for them was real.
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© 2014, Keith Simons.