Timothy was the messenger to whom Paul gave the responsibility of delivering this letter safely to the church at Corinth. It is probable that part of his role would have been to read the full letter to the gathered fellowship there. With this passage Paul brings to an end the section of the letter which deals directly with the dissensions and divisions at Corinth. However, there are more sharp words to follow! Paul saw himself as the father of this church and so his words are full of parental encouragement and admonition. His desire is to bring an errant son back into fellowship and to restore his own headship. Many children from wealthy families in Corinth would have had a series of tutors come to their home to instruct them during their childhood, but Paul sees himself as uniquely their father. He urges the believers to imitate him! How many of us would confidently advocate that? As a loving father, he sees the shortcomings of the Christians at Corinth as stemming from forgetfulness rather than rebellion. He seeks to remind them of things they are missing. Paul is sending Timothy, his son in Christ, to speak to them, but promises (or threatens) to visit them himself when the opportunity arises. It will be dependent on their response to this letter as to what kind of spirit he visits them in! Paul has now dealt with the divisions within the church. In the next chapters he will go on to write about some very practical issues which seemingly threaten the fellowship to an even greater extent. The church at Corinth did everything to extremes it seems, Paul will later encourage them in their joyful celebration of God, but first he will deal with the negative extremes which some there were embracing happily.
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