I am coming to visit you after I have been to Macedonia, for I am planning to travel through Macedonia. Perhaps I will stay awhile with you, possibly all winter, and then you can send me on my way to my next destination. This time I don’t want to make just a short visit and then go right on. I want to come and stay awhile, if the Lord will let me. In the meantime, I will be staying here at Ephesus until the Festival of Pentecost. There is a wide-open door for a great work here, although many oppose me.1 Corinthians 16:5-9
“I will come to you Corinthians after I have been to Macedonia. Get the bed ready, I will possibly stay all winter.” It is most likely that Paul planned to stay a long while for two reasons. The first is that he knew he had a lot to deal with there in Corinth and so planned to make sure he spend a long enough time there to sort it out. Do you remember this from Bible Gem 307?
Paul’s contact history with the Corinthian church can be reconstructed as follows:
Paul visits Corinth for the first time, spending about 18 months there (Acts 18:11). He then leaves Corinth and spends about 3 years in Ephesus (AD 53 to 57). There is regular contact between Paul and the people from Corinth: Chloe’s homegroup, Timothy and Apollos visited the Corinthians. Stephanas, Fortunatus, and Achaicus came to Paul among others. Paul writes the “warning letter”, probably from Ephesus. The Corinthians send a letter to Paul. (1Co 7:1 Now regarding the questions you asked in your letter.)Paul writes 1 Corinthians from Ephesus.Paul makes a “painful visit” to the Corinthian church as he indicated he would in 1 Corinthians 16:6. This is probably still during his 3 years based in Ephesus. Paul writes the “letter of tears”.Paul writes 2 Corinthians, indicating his desire to visit the Corinthian church a third time (2 Cor 12:14, 2 Cor 13:1). The letter doesn’t indicate where he is writing from, but it is usually dated by the scholars after Paul left Ephesus for Macedonia (Acts 20), from either Philippi or Thessalonica in Macedonia.Paul presumably made the third visit after writing 2 Corinthians, because Acts 20:2-3 indicates he spent 3 months in Greece. In his letter to Rome, written at this time, he sent salutations from some of the key members of the church to the Romans.
This is likely Paul’s painful visit. So he plans to stay there all winter because he needs the time to work through the issues with the Corinthian church. He indicates to them “This time I don’t want to make just a short visit and then go right on. I want to come and stay awhile, if the Lord will let me.” I am sure Paul was a little apprehensive about this visit, how it would work out, whether they would receive what he had to say, whether this matter could be resolved. But how much more were the Corinthians apprehensive about it? I wonder if he stayed with Gaius again (see Bible Gems 303). Or was Paul a bit of a “hot potato” and with the news of his coming maybe they were passing him around “from pillar to post”. Was it that no one really wanted him because they knew why he was coming? I imagine there were a number of people who welcomed his coming in order to resolve the issues among them. Perhaps Gaius was one of those Pauls supporters, quite likely. There are many unanswered questions on this matter.
The other reason that Paul planned to stay a long while was due to the dangers of sea voyages in winter. (See Acts 27:9). It was not safe to travel during the winter months as storms blew up on the Mediterranean too easily. Hence the need to stay put in place over winter.
Get ready Corinthians for a long painful visit.
Whatever You Refuse To Confront Today Will Be Impossible To Change Tomorrow.Robb Thompson
A friend walks in when everyone else walks out.Ian Vail
A friend is someone who reaches for your hand, but touches your heart.Ian Vail
Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat them.Ian Vail