The Meaning of 1 Corinthians 16:22 Explained

1 Corinthians 16:22

KJV: If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maranatha.

YLT: if any one doth not love the Lord Jesus Christ -- let him be anathema! The Lord hath come!

Darby: If any one love not the Lord Jesus Christ let him be Anathema Maranatha.

ASV: If any man loveth not the Lord, let him be anathema. Maranatha.

What does 1 Corinthians 16:22 Mean?

Study Notes

Anathema Maranatha
Accursed; our Lord cometh. Christ is God's final test.

Verse Meaning

Normally Paul used the Greek word agape for love (except in Titus 3:15). Here he used phileo. Consequently this may have been a saying believers used in the congregational worship of the churches. "Maranatha" (NASB) is an Aramaic expression meaning "Our Lord, come." Probably Paul did not translate it into Greek because believers commonly spoke it in Aramaic in the services of the early church (cf. Revelation 22:20). Since it was Aramaic it probably originated in Palestine where people spoke that language. They exported it to the Greek-speaking congregations that retained its form.
"It is strange to meet with an Aramaic phrase in a Greek letter to a Greek Church. The explanation is that that phrase had become a watchword and a password. It summed up the vital hope of the early Church, and Christians whispered it to each other, identified each other by it, in a language which the heathen could not understand." [1]
"It would appear, then, that the fixed usage of the term "Maranatha" by the early Christians was a witness to their strong belief in the imminent return of Christ. If they knew that Christ could not return at any moment because of other events or a time period that had to transpire first [2], why did they petition Him in a way that implied that He could come at any moment?" [3]

Context Summary

1 Corinthians 16:13-24 - Exhortations And Salutations
The Apostle was careful to cultivate friendship, one of the priceless gifts of God; and he was very generous not only in his references to his friends, but also in his dealings with them. Because Timothy was deficient in virile strength, Paul was always contriving to make his way easier; and though Apollos had drawn away some of his converts, the Apostle was desirous for him to visit Corinth again. Nor could he forget the household which had yielded him the first fruits. His solitude had been greatly cheered by the advent of the Corinthian deputation. Human love is a revelation of the divine; an earthen pitcher which God fills with heavenly treasure; a chalice holding the wine of life.
Notice the flaming forth of Paul's passionate love for Christ. He felt that any who failed to love Him must be accursed in disposition and soul; and would be accursed at his coming, like the barren tree standing in the midst of an orchard of fruit trees, crowned with blossom or heavy with fruit. Maran atha!-our Lord cometh. He will put right the wrongs of time, and crown His faithful servants with honor and glory. Hallelujah [source]

Chapter Summary: 1 Corinthians 16

1  He exhorts them to a collection for the brothers at Jerusalem
10  Commends Timothy;
13  and after friendly admonitions,
16  concludes his epistle with various salutations

Greek Commentary for 1 Corinthians 16:22

[]
Ανατεμα — AnathemaThe word seems a bit harsh to us, but the refusal to love Christ (ου πιλει — ou philei) on the part of a nominal Christian deservesανατεμα — anathema(see note on1 Corinthians 12:3for this word).Μαραν ατα — Maran athaThis Aramaic phrase means “Our Lord (μαραν — maran) cometh (ατα — atha)” or, used as a proleptic perfect, “has come.” It seems to be a sort of watchword (cf.1 Thessalonians 4:14.;James 5:7.;Philemon 4:5;Revelation 1:7;Revelation 3:11;Revelation 22:20), expressing the lively hope that the Lord will come. It was a curious blunder in the King James Version that connectedΜαραν ατα — Maran athawithΑνατεμα — Anathemasa120 [source]
Maran-atha []
Not to be joined with anathema as one phrase. Rev., properly, a period after anathema. Maranatha means the Lord cometh. It was a reminder of the second coming. The reason for the use of the Aramaic phrase is unknown. It is found in “The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles,” ch. x., at the conclusion of the post-communion prayer. Compare Revelation 22:20.sa40 [source]

Reverse Greek Commentary Search for 1 Corinthians 16:22

Acts 23:12 Bound themselves under a curse [ανετεματισαν εαυτους]
First aorist active indicative of ανατεματιζω — anathematizō a late word, said by Cremer and Thayer to be wholly Biblical or ecclesiastical. But Deissmann (Light from the Ancient East, p. 95) quotes several examples of the verb in an Attic cursing tablet from Megara of the first or second century a.d. This proof shows that the word, as well as ανατεμα — anathema (substantive) from which the verb is derived, was employed by pagans as well as by Jews. Deissmann suggests that Greek Jews like the seven sons of Sceva may have been the first to coin it. It occurs in the lxx as well as Mark 14:71 (which see and Luke 21:5); Acts 23:12, Acts 23:14, Acts 23:21. They placed themselves under an anathema or curse, devoted themselves to God (cf. Leviticus 27:28.; 1 Corinthians 16:22). Drink (πεινπιειν — pein̂piein). Second aorist active infinitive of πινω — pinō For this shortened form see Robertson, Grammar, p. 343. Till they had killed First aorist active subjunctive of αποκτεινω — apokteinō common verb. No reason to translate “had killed,” simply “till they should kill,” the aorist merely punctiliar action, the subjunctive retained instead of the optative for vividness as usual in the Koiné{[28928]}š (Robertson, Grammar, pp. 974-6). Same construction in Acts 23:14. King Saul took an “anathema” that imperilled Jonathan (1 Samuel 14:24). Perhaps the forty felt that the rabbis could find some way to absolve the curse if they failed. See this verse repeated in Acts 23:21. [source]
Romans 9:3 Accursed from Christ [ἀνάθεμα ἀπὸ τοῦ χριστοῦ]
Compare Galatians 1:8, Galatians 1:9; 1 Corinthians 12:3; 1 Corinthians 16:22. See on offerings, Luke 21:5. Set apart to destruction and so separated from Christ (Philemon 1:21; Philemon 3:8, Philemon 3:20). An expression of deep devotion. “It is not easy to estimate the measure of love in a Moses and a Paul. For our limited reason does not grasp it, as the child cannot comprehend the courage of warriors” (Bengel). Compare Moses, Exodus 32:32. [source]
1 Corinthians 12:3 Speaking in the Spirit of God [εν πνευματι τεου λαλων]
Either sphere or instrumentality. No great distinction here between λαλεω — laleō (utter sounds) and λεγω — legō (to say). Jesus is anathema (ανατεμα Ιησους — anathema Iēsous). On distinction between ανατεμα — anathema (curse) and ανατημα — anathēma (offering, Luke 21:5) see discussion. In lxx ανατημα — anathēma means a thing devoted to God without being redeemed, doomed to destruction (Leviticus 27:28f.; Joshua 6:17; 7:12). See note on 1 Corinthians 16:22; note. on Galatians 1:8; note on Romans 9:3. This blasphemous language against Jesus was mainly by the Jews (Acts 13:45; Acts 18:6). It is even possible that Paul had once tried to make Christians say Ανατεμα Ιησους — Anathema Iēsous (Acts 26:11). Jesus is Lord The term Κυριος — Kurios as we have seen, is common in the lxx for God. The Romans used it freely for the emperor in the emperor worship. “Most important of all is the early establishment of a polemical parallelism between the cult of Christ and the cult of Caesar in the application of the term Κυριος — Kurios ‹lord.‘The new texts have here furnished quite astonishing revelations” (Deissmann, Light from the Ancient East, p. 349). Inscriptions, ostraca, papyri apply the term to Roman emperors, particularly to Nero when Paul wrote this very letter (ib., p. 353f.): “One with ‹Nero Kurios‘ quite in the manner of a formula (without article, like the ‹Kurios Jesus‘ in 1 Corinthians 12:3.” “The battle-cries of the spirits of error and of truth contending at Corinth” (Findlay). One is reminded of the demand made by Polycarp that he say Κυριος Χαεσαρ — Kurios Caesar and how each time he replied Κυριος Ιησους — Kurios Iēsous He paid the penalty for his loyalty with his life. Lighthearted men today can say “Lord Jesus” in a flippant or even in an irreverent way, but no Jew or Gentile then said it who did not mean it. [source]
1 Corinthians 12:3 Jesus is anathema [ανατεμα Ιησους]
On distinction between ανατεμα — anathema (curse) and ανατημα — anathēma (offering, Luke 21:5) see discussion. In lxx ανατημα — anathēma means a thing devoted to God without being redeemed, doomed to destruction (Leviticus 27:28f.; Joshua 6:17; 7:12). See note on 1 Corinthians 16:22; note. on Galatians 1:8; note on Romans 9:3. This blasphemous language against Jesus was mainly by the Jews (Acts 13:45; Acts 18:6). It is even possible that Paul had once tried to make Christians say Ανατεμα Ιησους — Anathema Iēsous (Acts 26:11). [source]
Galatians 1:8 Accursed [ἀνάθεμα]
See on Romans 9:3, and see on offerings, Luke 21:5. Comp. κατάρα , curse and see on ἐπικατάρατος cursed Galatians 3:13. In lxx. always curse, except Leviticus 27:28, and the apocryphal books, where it is always gift or offering. By Paul always curse: see Romans 9:3; 1 Corinthians 12:3; 1 Corinthians 16:22. The sense of excommunication, introduced by patristic writers, does not appear in New Testament. [source]
Philippians 4:5 The Lord is at hand []
See on 1 Corinthians 16:22. [source]
Philippians 4:5 The Lord is at hand [Μαραν ατα]
“The Apostle‘s watchword” (Lightfoot), as in 1 Corinthians 16:22 Unless, indeed, eggus here means near in space instead of nigh in time. [source]
Titus 3:15 Them that love us in the faith [τοὺς φιλοῦντας ἡμᾶς ἐν πίστει]
Better, in faith. The phrase N.T.o Φιλεῖν tolove, only here in Pastorals, and in Paul, only 1 Corinthians 16:22. See on ἀγάπη love Galatians 5:22. Const. in faith with that love us. [source]
James 5:12 Let be [εστω]
Imperative active third singular of ινα μη υπο κρισιν πεσητε — eimi late form (1 Corinthians 16:22) for ινα μη — estō “Your yea be yea” (and no more). A different form from that in Matthew 5:37. [source]
James 5:12 Swear not [μη ομνυετε]
Prohibition of the habit (or to quit doing it if guilty) with μη — mē and the present active imperative of ομνυω — omnuō The various oaths (profanity) forbidden The Jews were wont to split hairs in their use of profanity, and by avoiding God‘s name imagine that they were not really guilty of this sin, just as professing Christians today use “pious oaths” which violate the prohibition of Jesus.Let be (εστω — ētō). Imperative active third singular of ινα μη υπο κρισιν πεσητε — eimi late form (1 Corinthians 16:22) for ινα μη — estō “Your yea be yea” (and no more). A different form from that in Matthew 5:37.That ye fall not under judgment Negative purpose with ινα μη κριτητε — hina mē and the second aorist active subjunctive of Κρισις — piptō to fall. See κρινω — hina mē krithēte in James 5:9. κριμα — Krisis (from krinō) is the act of judging rather than the judgment rendered (krima James 3:1). [source]
Revelation 22:3 There shall be no curse any more [παν κατατεμα ουκ εσται ετι]
No other example of κατατεμα — katathema has been found outside of the Didache XVI. 5, though the verb κατατεματιζω — katathematizō occurs in Matthew 26:74, meaning to curse, while we have ανατεματιζω — anathematizō in Mark 14:71 in the same sense. It may be a syncopated form of κατανατεμα — katanathema The usual ανατεμα — anathema (curse) occurs in 1 Corinthians 16:22; Galatians 1:8; Romans 9:3. For παν — pan with ουκουδεν — ouk =λατρευσουσιν αυτωι — ouden see Revelation 21:27. [source]
Revelation 22:20 Yea: I come quickly [Ναι ερχομαι ταχυ]
Affirmation again of the promise in Revelation 22:7, Revelation 22:12. On Αμην ερχου Κυριε Ιησου — Nai (Yes) see Revelation 1:7 for the Lord‘s assent to the call. Then John expresses his absolute belief in the Lord‘s promise: “Amen: come, Lord Jesus” On Ιησου — Amēn see Revelation 1:7. On Μαρανα τα — erchou see Revelation 22:17. Note Kurie with Iēsou As in 1 Corinthians 12:3; Philemon 2:11. For Paul‘s confidence in the deity of Christ and the certainty of his second coming see Titus 2:13; 2 Timothy 4:8. Marana tha (1 Corinthians 16:22). [source]

What do the individual words in 1 Corinthians 16:22 mean?

If anyone not loves the Lord let him be accursed Marana tha
Εἴ τις οὐ φιλεῖ τὸν Κύριον ἤτω ἀνάθεμα Μαράνα θά

τις  anyone 
Parse: Interrogative / Indefinite Pronoun, Nominative Masculine Singular
Root: τὶς  
Sense: a certain, a certain one.
φιλεῖ  loves 
Parse: Verb, Present Indicative Active, 3rd Person Singular
Root: φιλέω  
Sense: to love.
Κύριον  Lord 
Parse: Noun, Accusative Masculine Singular
Root: κύριος  
Sense: he to whom a person or thing belongs, about which he has power of deciding; master, lord.
ἤτω  let  him  be 
Parse: Verb, Present Imperative Active, 3rd Person Singular
Root: εἰμί  
Sense: to be, to exist, to happen, to be present.
ἀνάθεμα  accursed 
Parse: Noun, Nominative Neuter Singular
Root: ἀνάθεμα  
Sense: a thing set up or laid by in order to be kept.
Μαράνα  Marana 
Parse: Noun, Vocative Masculine Singular
Root: θά 
Sense: our Lord cometh or will come.
θά  tha 
Parse: Verb, Aorist Imperative Active, 2nd Person Singular
Root: θά 
Sense: our Lord cometh or will come.