In his final instructions to the church at Corinth, Paul inserts a sentence that does not appear to fit with what follows. But from the higher perspective of putting perfect unity into practice, it adds a great deal:
“Now concerning our brother Apollos, I strongly urged him to visit you with the other brothers, but it was not at all his will to come now. He will come when he has opportunity” (1 Cor 16:12).
Is the rivalry between Paul and Apollos still raging? Thanks to the Commentary Critical, this is actually a picture perfect case of reconciliation pursued over a period of time in faithfulness to the higher principles of God:
“He (Paul) says this lest they (the Corinthians) should suspect that he from jealousy prevented Apollos’ coming to them; perhaps they had expressly requested Apollos to be sent to them. Apollos was not at Ephesus when Paul wrote (compare 1 Co 16:19, and 1 Co 1:1). Probably Apollos’ unwillingness to go to Corinth at this time was because, being aware of the undue admiration of his rhetorical style which led astray many at Corinth, he did not wish to sanction it (1 Co 1:12, 3:4). Paul’s noble freedom from all selfish jealousy led him to urge Apollos to go; and, on the other hand, Apollos, having heard of the abuse of his name at Corinth, perseveringly refused to go. Paul, of course, could not state in his letter particularly these reasons in the existing state of division prevalent there. He calls Apollos “brother” to mark the unity that was between the two.”
Faithful reconciliation is a powerful behavior of perfect unity!
Paul now addresses faithfulness in the context of the Corinthians themselves:
“Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love. Now I urge you, brothers – you know that the household of Stephanus were the first converts in Achaia, and that they have devoted themselves to the service of the saints – be subject to such as these, and to every fellow worker and laborer. I rejoice at the coming of Stephanus and Fortunatus and Achaicus, because they have made up for your absence, for they refreshed my spirit as well as yours. Give recognition to such people” (1 Cor 16:13-18).
- Be watchful
- Stand firm in the faith
- Act like adults (not children)
- Be strong
- Yet be subject to every fellow worker and laborer for the Lord.
“The churches of Asia send you greetings. Aquila and Prisca, together with the church in their house, send you hearty greetings in the Lord. All the brothers send you greetings. Greet one another with a holy kiss. I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand. If anyone has no love for the Lord, let him be accursed. Our Lord come! The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you. My love be with you all in Christ Jesus. Amen” (1 Cor 16:19-24).
I put the warning in bold so that you could find it easily. But bold font also serves as a contrast, in this case contrasting perfect unity with disunity. Are there factions in your church? Consider that Jesus may view both sides as cursed to the extent that a disagreement is not reconciled completely and quickly.
On to 2 Corinthians!
 Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Vol. 2, p. 297). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.