1 Corinthians 16:9
For a great door and effectual is opened unto me, and there are many adversaries.
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16:1-9 The good examples of other Christians and churches should rouse us. It is good to lay up in store for good uses. Those who are rich in this world, should be rich in good works, 1Ti 6:17,18. The diligent hand will not make rich, without the Divine blessing, Pr 10:4,22. And what more proper to stir us up to charity to the people and children of God, than to look at all we have as his gift? Works of mercy are real fruits of true love to God, and are therefore proper services on his own day. Ministers are doing their proper business, when putting forward, or helping works of charity. The heart of a Christian minister must be towards the people among whom he has laboured long, and with success. All our purposes must be made with submission to the Divine providence, Jas 4:15. Adversaries and opposition do not break the spirits of faithful and successful ministers, but warm their zeal, and inspire them with fresh courage. A faithful minister is more discouraged by the hardness of his hearers' hearts, and the backslidings of professors, than by the enemies' attempts.For a great door - There is abundant opportunity for usefulness. The word "door" is used evidently to denote an occasion or an opportunity for doing anything. It is the means by which we have entrance or access; and hence denotes facility in doing anything when there is no obstruction; see Acts 14:27; 2 Corinthians 2:12; Colossians 4:3.

And effectual - That is, effective, or adapted to success; presenting opportunity for great effects. There is abundant opportunity to preach the gospel; there is attention to what is spoken, and great interest in it; there is great encouragement to labor. It is possible that this was one of the reasons why Paul had changed his mind about Macedonia. It would require time to visit Corinth, as he would wish to remain there; and an unexpected opportunity having arisen for doing good, he judged it best to remain at Ephesus as long as practicable, and then to go at once to Macedonia.

And there are many adversaries - Many opposers; many who resist the gospel. These were doubtless in part Jews who excited opposition to him, and in part the friends of Demetrius; see Acts 19. That Paul had great success in Ephesus, and that his labors were attended with a great revival of religion there, is manifest from that chapter. We may remark here:

(1) That such a work of grace, such a setting open a great and effectual door, is often the occasion of increased opposition to the gospel. It is no uncommon thing that the adversaries of Christ should be excited at such times; and we are not to be surprised if the same thing should occur now which occurred in the time of Paul.

(2) this was regarded by Paul as no reason why he should leave Ephesus, but rather as a reason why he should remain there. It was regarded by him as an evidence that the Holy Spirit was there. It was proof that the enemies of God were alarmed, and that the kingdom of Christ was advancing. His presence, also, would be needed there, to encourage and strengthen the young converts who would be attacked and opposed; and he deemed it his duty to remain. A minister should never wish to make enemies to the gospel, nor seek to excite them to make opposition; but such opposition is often evidence that the Spirit of God is among a people; that the consciences of sinners are aroused and alarmed; and that the great enemy of God and man is making, as he was at Ephesus, a desperate effort to preserve his kingdom from being destroyed.

(3) a minister should regard it as his duty in a special manner to be among his people when there is such opposition excited. His presence is needed to comfort and encourage the church; and when the minds of people are excited, it is often the best time to present truth, and to defend successfully the great doctrines of the Bible.

(4) ministers should not be discouraged because there is opposition to the gospel. It is one ground of encouragement. It is an indication of the presence of God in awakening the conscience. And it is far more favorable as a season to do good than a dead calm, and when there is universal stagnation and unconcern.

9. door—(2Co 2:12). An opening for the extension of the Gospel. Wise men are on the watch for, and avail themselves of, opportunities. So "door of hope," Ho 2:15. "Door of faith," Ac 14:27. "An open door," Re 3:8. "A door of utterance," Col 4:3. "Great," that is, extensive. "Effectual," that is, requiring great labors [Estius]; or opportune for effecting great results [Beza].

many adversaries—who would block up the way and prevent us from entering the open door. Not here false teachers, but open adversaries: both Jews and heathen. After Paul, by his now long-continued labors at Ephesus, had produced effects which threatened the interests of those whose gains were derived from idolatry, "many adversaries" arose (Ac 19:9-23). Where great good is, there evil is sure to start up as its antagonist.

For God hath opened to me at Ephesus a great opportunity to preach the gospel, which I have reason to hope will also be effectual for the conversion of many souls. What this door of hope was, whether God had let him know there were many souls in that place prepared for receiving the gospel; or that some eminent persons for authority or learning, whom many were like to follow, were there already converted; or that he looked upon that famous city as like to be a place where many might be converted; is not told us.

And (saith the apostle)

there are many adversaries, ( as it will appear to those that read Acts 19:1-41 and Acts 20:1-38), therefore there was need of the presence of the apostle himself, whose authority might better stop their months, than the more inferior pastors could. What would have aftrighted others from going or staying there, this great apostle mentions as an argument to cause him to make haste to go thither, and to tarry there for some time.

For a great door,.... Meaning an opportunity of ministering the word at Ephesus, a very populous city, and where he might have hope great good would be done. Some think that by this fair opportunity, or hopeful prospect, he means the populousness of the city; others, the conversion of some great men in it, which had made way for the introduction of Gospel there: but it seems rather to intend the desire that there appeared in many persons here to have the Gospel preached unto them; they flocked unto it; their hearts were opened to attend to it, and great numbers believed; and the apostle found a door of utterance in himself, and a door of entrance in them, which were reasons with him to tarry here.

And effectual is opened to me; not by him, but to him: this door was opened by him who has the key of David, that opens, and no man shuts; and the door of faith being opened by him, it was effectual to the quickening of sinners dead in trespasses and sins, to the enlightening of blind eyes, unstopping of deaf ears, and softening hard hearts; to the turning of souls from the power of Satan to God, to the quickening, comforting, and establishing of saints, and indeed to salvation to all that believe; which is the case when the word comes, not in word only, but in power; then it works effectually in them that believe; and since there was an opportunity of preaching the Gospel with such good effect, the apostle was desirous of making use of it:

and there are many adversaries; as there always are where the Gospel is preached, and especially with success, when sinners are converted, and saints are edified and comforted. The adversary Satan roars, and the posse of devils under him are employed one way or another to obstruct the Gospel if possible; false teachers are raised up to oppose it, and profane men are instigated by him to persecute the preachers and professors of it: so it was at Ephesus, the Jews disputed against it, and spoke evil of it; Demetrius the silversmith, and those of his craft, rose up in a tumultuous manner, crying, great is Diana of the Ephesians, stirring up the people against the apostle, and his companions; all which he had some foreviews of, and found to be true by experience, as may be seen in Acts 19:21 and which, though to another man would have been a reason to have departed, was a reason with him to stay; to bear his testimony to the Gospel, to appear in the defence of it, against the disputers of this world, and to strengthen and establish the minds of weak believers in it, who might have been in some danger through so many adversaries; wherefore he saw and judged that his presence was necessary, and that it was proper for him to stay the time he mentions.

For a great door and {d} effectual is opened unto me, and there are many adversaries.

(d) Very fit and convenient to do great things by.

9. For a great door] The use of door in the sense of opportunity in the N. T. is remarkable. It is a favourite word with St Paul. See 2 Corinthians 2:12; Colossians 4:3. St Luke has adopted it from him, Acts 14:27. And it is also to be found in the same sense in Revelation 3:8. This verse also strikingly corroborates the narrative in the Acts. Cf. Acts 19:19-20.

and effectual] i.e. calculated to produce results.

1 Corinthians 16:9. Θύρα, a door) It is the part of a wise man to watch opportunities.—ἀνέῳγε, has been opened) at Ephesus.—μεγάλη καὶ ἐνεργὴς, great and effectual) He was about to take advantage of so great an opportunity for some weeks; comp. ch. 1 Corinthians 5:7, note.—ἀντικείμενοι, adversaries) whom I must resist. Often good, and, its contrary, evil, flourish vigorously at one and the same time.

Verse 9. - A great door and effectual. A wide and promising opportunity for winning souls to God. The metaphor of "a door," perhaps suggested by our Lord himself, was common among Christians (2 Corinthians 2:12; Colossians 4:3; Acts 14:27; Revelation 3:8). Many adversaries (Acts 19:1, 8, 9, 19, 20). 1 Corinthians 16:9Great and effectual door

Door metaphorically for opportunity: great as to its extent; effectual as to the result. The figure of an effectual door, as it stands, is of course clumsy, but the idea as a whole is clear: a great opportunity for effective work.

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