15 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— 16 that you also submit to such, and to everyone who works and labors with us.
I urge you, brethren—
First Corinthians is the sharpest epistle that Paul wrote except for Galatians. After saying some harsh things, Paul always appeals to the Corinthians as “brethren.” This is an appeal to their members of the family of God. Paul appeals using the term “brethren” 28 times in this book. Appeal to identity is important for all Christian living. In this case, Paul urges them to submit to authority.
you know the household of Stephanas, that it is the firstfruits of Achaia,
Stephanas’ family was the first full family of converts in the southern province of Achaia (1:16), where Corinth was located. This family helped lead the church at Corinth. “Firstfruits” indicates first converts. This term referred to the first part of the harvest.
and that they have devoted themselves to the ministry of the saints—
“Devoted” carries the ideas of to assign, appoint, set in order. This intense Greek word indicated that the household of Stephanas seriously assigned themselves to the service of the saints. The word “ministry” means service. The ministry of the household of Stephanas was to the saints.
Ro 15:25, But now I am going to Jerusalem to minister to the saints.
2 Co 8:4, imploring us with much urgency that we would receive the gift and the fellowship of the ministering to the saints.
He 6:10, For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister.
that you also submit to such,
Submission to authority is at the core of Christianity. Without authority, there is no leadership and no accomplishment.
1 Th 5:12, And we urge you, brethren, to recognize those who labor among you, and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, 13 and to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. Be at peace among yourselves.
and to everyone who works and labors with us.
The Corinthian church had problems with submission to authority, so they needed to recognize the authority of the household of Stephanas. “Labors” is work to the point of exhaustion. There is no place for shirkers, observers, or spectators.
Submission to authority is essential for a healthy church.
Service also requires submission to authority. If there is no authority, there is bedlam in the church and no effective ministry.
He 13:7, 17, Remember those who rule over you, who have spoken the word of God to you, whose faith follow, considering the outcome of their conduct. 17 Obey those who rule over you and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.