Here, we learn much more about Stephanas, whom Paul briefly mentioned in 1 Corinthians 1:16. He had come from Corinth with two other men, Fortunatus and Achaicus, to visit Paul in Ephesus. They had to travel about 300 miles by sea to get there, so it was not an easy journey.
Paul told the Christians in Corinth to respect these men and to accept their authority. From those instructions, we can see that these men were among the local leaders of the church there. Previously, the Christians in Corinth had not respected their local leaders. That was probably because they did not want any person to have authority over them. They only wanted to do what the Holy Spirit guided them to do.
That idea had not been successful. Some Christians were behaving in a foolish and wild manner, even at church meetings. The Christians were often following their own feelings, instead of the Holy Spirit. Some people had taken advantage of the situation to set up opposing groups in the church. It had become very clear that the church in Corinth needed to have its own, local leaders.
Paul told them that Stephanas would be a very good choice to be a leader in their church. Stephanas and his family had constantly chosen to serve other Christians. He worked hard to help other people. He had gone to Ephesus to encourage Paul, and so he would encourage the Christians in Corinth too.
Stephanas and his family were the first people in Achaia to become Christians. (Corinth was an important city in the region called Achaia.) So Stephanas had more experience of the Christian life than anyone else at Corinth. That was another good reason why the Christians there should respect him.
Next part: Aquila and Prisca (1 Corinthians 16:19)
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© 2014, Keith Simons.