Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men [andrizesthe], be strong. 1 Cor. 16:13
I gathered all the etymology and commentaries that I could find on the word behind “act like men” in Paul’s letter, andrizesthe. The Greek word andrizesthe is a verb and only one word. This is the only place it is found in the NT. Barnes’ Notes provides one of the best commentaries on this verse. In all the commentaries the key words that come up the most frequently are:
- Weak willed/childish
Our closest representation of this word in English would simply be, “MAN UP”. All the most relevant aspects of this real biblical word I’ve highlighted in red.
(13, 14) Watch ye, stand fast.—These words of stirring exhortation come in here somewhat abruptly. It is possible that they conclude the epistle so far—the Apostle intending to add immediately before sending it, the verses which follow, and which contain messages from, or commendations of their friends who were with him. Living in a profound consciousness of the uncertainty of life, St. Paul might wish not to have such references to friends with him added until the last moment along with his own autograph (see 1 Corinthians 16:21). The Apostle’s mind is full of the hope of beneficial results following from this letter and from the exertions of Titus; yet, after all, everything depends upon the Corinthians themselves. Chrysostom’s Note on these words brings out their meaning well. “Now in saying these things, he seems indeed to advise; but he is reprimanding them as indolent. Wherefore he saith, Watch, as though they slept; stand, as though they were rocking to and fro; quit you like men, as though they were playing the coward; let all your things be done with charity, as though they were in dissensions. And the first caution refers to the deceivers, viz., Watch, stand; the next to those who plot against us, quit you like men; the third to those who make parties and endeavour to distract, let all your things be done with charity, which thing is the bond of perfection, and the root and the fountain of all blessings.”
STRONG AND LOVING
There is a singular contrast between the first four of these exhortations and the last. The former ring sharp and short like pistol-shots; the last is of gentler mould. The former sound like the word of command shouted from an officer along the ranks; and there is a military metaphor running all through them. The foe threatens to advance; let the guards keep their eyes open. He comes nearer; prepare for the charge, stand firm in your ranks. The battle is joined; ‘quit you like men’-strike a man’s stroke-’be strong.’
And then all the apparatus of warfare is put away out of sight, and the captain’s word of command is softened into the Christian teacher’s exhortation: ‘Let all your deeds be done in charity.’ For love is better than fighting, and is stronger than swords. And yet, although there is a contrast here, there is also a sequence and connection. No doubt these exhortations, which are Paul’s last word to that Corinthian Church on whom he had lavished in turn the treasures of his manifold eloquence, indignation, argumentation, and tenderness, reflected the deficiencies of the people to whom he was speaking. They were schismatic and factious to the very core, and so they needed the exhortation to be left last in their ears, as it were, that everything should be done in love. They were ill-grounded in regard to the very fundamental doctrines of the faith, as all Paul’s argumentation about the resurrection proves, and so they needed to be bidden to ‘stand fast in the faith.’ Their slothful carelessness as to the discipline of the Christian life, and their consequent feebleness of grasp of the Christian verities, made them loose-braced and weak in all respects, and incapacitated them for vigorous warfare. Thus, we see a picture in these injunctions of the sort of community that Paul had to deal with in Corinth, which yet he called a Church of saints, and for which he loved and laboured. Let me then run over and try to bring out the importance and mutual connection of what I may call this drill-book for the Christian warfare, which is the Christian life.
…..The next two words of command are very closely connected, though not quite identical. ‘Quit you like men.’ Play a man’s part in the battle; strike with all the force of your muscles. But the Apostle adds, ‘be strong.’ You cannot play a man’s part unless you are. ‘Be strong’-the original would rather bear ‘become strong.’ What is the use of telling men to ‘be strong’ ? It is a waste of words, in nine cases out of ten, to say to a weak man, ‘Pluck up your courage, and show strength.’ But the Apostle uses a very uncommon word here, at least uncommon in the New Testament, and another place where he uses it will throw light upon what he means: ‘Strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man.’ Then is it so vain a mockery to tell a poor, weak creature like me to become strong, when you can point me to the source of all strength, in that ‘Spirit of power and of love and of a sound mind’ ? We have only to take our weakness there to have it stiffened into strength; as people put bits of wood into what are called ‘petrifying wells’ which infiltrate into them mineral particles, that do not turn the wood into stone, but make the wood as strong as stone. So my manhood, with all its weakness, may have filtered into it divine strength, which will brace me for all needful duty, and make me ‘more than conqueror through Him that loved us.’ Then, it is not mockery and cruelty, vanity and surplusage to preach ‘Quit you like men; be strong, and be a man’; because if we will observe the plain and not hard conditions, strength will come to us according to our day, in fulfilment of the great promises: ‘My grace is sufficient for thee; and My strength is made perfect in weakness.’
1 Corinthians 16:13-14. To conclude. Watch ye — Against all your seen and unseen enemies; stand fast in the faith — Seeing and trusting in Him that is invisible: quit you like men — With courage and patience; be strong — To do and suffer his will. Let all your things be done with charity — Namely, your differences about worldly affairs, mentioned chap. 6., your disputes concerning marriage and a single state; (chap. 8.;) your eating things sacrificed to idols; (chapters 8., 10;) your eating the Lord’s supper; (chap. 11.;) and your method of exercising your gifts, chapters 12., 14. In all these ye ought to have a regard to the good of your neighbours, that ye may not occasion each other to sin.
16:13-18 A Christian is always in danger, therefore should ever be on the watch…
Watch ye – The exhortation in this and the following verse is given evidently in view of the special dangers and temptations which surrounded them. The word used here (Γρηγορεῖτε Grēgoreite) means, to keep awake, to be vigilant, etc.; and this may, perhaps, be a military metaphor derived from the duty of those who are stationed as sentinels to guard a camp, or to observe the motions of an enemy. The term is frequently used in the New Testament, and the duty frequently enjoined; Matthew 24:41-42; Matthew 25:13; Mark 13:35; Luke 21:36; Acts 20:31; 1 Thessalonians 5:6; 2 Timothy 4:5. The sense here is, that they were to watch, or be vigilant, against all the evils of which he had admonished them, the evils of dissension, or erroneous doctrines, of disorder, of false teachers, etc. They were to watch lest their souls should be ruined, and their salvation endangered; lest the enemies of the truth and of holiness should steal silently upon them, and surprise them. They were to watch with the same vigilance that is required of a sentinel who guards a camp, lest an enemy should come suddenly upon them, and surprise the camp when the army was locked in sleep.Stand fast in the faith – Be firm in holding and defending the truths of the gospel. Do not yield to any foe, but maintain the truth, and adhere to your confidence in God and to the doctrines of the gospel with unwavering constancy; see the note at 1 Corinthians 15:1. Be firm in maintaining what you believe to be true, and in holding on to your personal confidence in God, notwithstanding all the arts, insinuations, and teachings of seducers and the friends of false doctrine.
Quit you like men – (ἀνδρίζεσθε andrizesthe, from ἀνήρ anēr, a man). The word occurs no where else in the New Testament. In the Septuagint it occurs in Joshua 1:6-7, Joshua 1:9,Joshua 1:18; 1 Chronicles 28:20; 2 Chronicles 32:7; Nehemiah 2:1; and in 18 other places. See Trommius’ Concordance. It occurs also in the classic authors; see Xenophon, Oec. Nehemiah 5:4. It means, to render one manly or brave; to show oneself a man; that is, not to be a coward, or timid, or alarmed at enemies, but to be bold and brave. We have a similar phrase in common use: “Be a man,” or “Show yourself a man;” that is, be not mean, or be not cowardly.
Be strong – Be firm, fixed, steadfast; compare Ephesians 6:10, “Be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.”
13. He shows that they ought to make their hopes of salvation to depend not on Apollos or any other teacher; that it rests with themselves. “Watch ye”: for ye are slumbering. “Stand”: for ye are like men tottering. “Quit you like men; be strong”: for ye are effeminate (1Co 16:14). “Let all your things be done with charity” (1Co 8:1; 13:1): not with strifes as at present [Chrysostom]. “In the faith” which was assailed by some (1Co 15:1, 2, 12-17).
Watch ye: watching, in its usual acceptation, signifieth a forbearing of sleep; and that in order to some end. Sin is set out under the notion of sleep, Ephesians 5:14; so that spiritual watching signifies a diligent abstaining from sin, and from whatsoever may be to us a temptation to sin against God, in order to the perfecting of holiness, and the obtaining life and immortality.
Stand fast in the faith; be steady in the profession of the truth, and holding close to the doctrine of faith.
Quit you like men, be strong; you are as soldiers fighting against the world, the flesh, and the devil; do not behave yourselves like children, whom the least opposition will terrify and throw down; but like men, with a spiritual courage and fortitude, becoming such who have so good a Captain, and so good a cause.
quit yourselves like men, be strong; a like phrase is often used by the Septuagint interpreters, as in Deuteronomy 31:6, from whence the apostle seems to have taken it. It answers to the Hebrew word in Isaiah 46:8.
Quit you like men; like men of wisdom and understanding; be not like children for non-proficiency, instability, and weakness; see 1 Corinthians 14:20; act the part of men; believe not every spirit; be not carried and tossed about with every wind of doctrine; search the Scriptures, and try every doctrine by them; and having found what is truth abide by it, and be proficients in it, instructing and establishing yourselves and others. In which sense the Jews use this phrase, saying (b),
“in a place where there are no men, , “study to be a man”, or to show thyself a man;”
which one of their commentators (c) explains thus;
“use and accustom thyself to obtain excellent things, and afterwards when there are no wise men to teach, then do thou teach thyself.”
And another (d) after this manner;
“”in the place where there is no man” to sit at the head and teach doctrines,”
do thou. Or play the man, as in 2 Samuel 10:12; act like men of valour and courage, stand fast, keep your ground, and contend earnestly for the faith; be valiant for the truth on earth; fight the good fight of faith: it is a good cause believers are engaged in; they have a good Captain and Commander at the head of them; they are provided with good weapons, may be sure of victory, and of having the crown of righteousness, life, and glory: wherefore
be strong; that is, for the faith: so the Targumist on Jeremiah 9:3 renders the phrase, “they are not valiant for the truth, , they are not strong for the faith: be strong”; not in themselves, but in the Lord, and in the power of his might; in the grace that is in Christ Jesus; believe in him, look to him for strength as well as righteousness; trust in his power, whose arm is not shortened; depend on his grace, which is always sufficient; take heart, be of good courage, and fear no enemy; see Joshua 1:6, which seems to be particularly referred to here.
(b) Misn. Pirke Abot, c. sect. 5. Vid. T. Bab Beracot, fol. 63. 1.((c) Maimon. in Misn. ib. (d) Bartenora in Misn. Beracot, fol. 63. 1.
1 Corinthians 16:13 f. In conclusion of the whole Epistle, and without connection or reference to what has immediately preceded, there is now added a concise exhortation which compresses closely together, in five imperatives following each other asyndetically, the whole sum of the Christian calling, upon which are then to follow some personal commendations and greetings, as well as, lastly, the proper closing greeting and the benediction.
[ἀνδρίζεσθαι] to bear oneself manfully, to be manly in bearing and action; only here in the New Testament, but often in classic writers, see Wetstein, and in the LXX. Comp. the Homeric ἀνέρες ἐστε, Il. v. 529; and see, also, Valckenaer, ad Herod. vii. 210; Heind. ad Plat. Phaedr. p. 239 B. Comp. ἀνδρικῶς ὑπομεῖναι μάχεσθαι κ.τ.λ., Ast, Lex. Plat. I. p. 165.
κραταιοῦσθε] be strong. Comp. Ephesians 3:16 : δυνάμει κραταιωθῆναι διὰ τοῦ πνεύματος αὐτοῦ εἰς τὸν ἔσω ἄνθρωπον. The verbal form occurs in the LXX. and Apocrypha; not in Greek writers, who say κρατύνεσθαι.
ἐν ἀγάπῃ] as in the life-sphere of the whole Christian dispositions and action, chap. 13, and, in particular, of mutual edification, 1 Corinthians 8:1.
1 Corinthians 16:13-18. § 59. CONCLUDING HOMILY. According to the Apostle’s wont, at the end of his letter he gathers up the burden of his message into a single concise and stirring exhortation (1 Corinthians 16:13 f.). Watchfulness, steadfastness, manly vigour, above all Christian love, were the qualities in which this Church was lacking. Their “love” they would have a particular opportunity of showing to the family of Stephanas, who had been foremost in works of benevolence (1 Corinthians 16:15 f.); for St. is now returning home in charge of this Ep. with his two companions, after they had brought the letter of the Church to P. and cheered him by their society. The deputation has done a timely public service in the best spirit; their kindly offices must be duly acknowledged (1 Corinthians 16:17 f.).
13. quit you like men, be strong] Rather, be strengthened, implying that the source of strength was not in themselves. “If you think Christianity a feeble, soft thing, ill adapted to call out the manlier features of character, read here.”—Robertson.
Verse 13. – Watch, etc. The brief impetuous imperatives show a sudden burst of emotion as he draws to a close. The next clause seems like an after-thought. Watchfulness (1 Thessalonians 5:6; 1 Peter 5:8; Revelation 3:2; Revelation 16:15), steadfastness (Philippians 1:27), and strength (Ephesians 6:10; Colossians 1:11; 2 Timothy 2:1), and love (1 Corinthians 13; 1 Peter 4:8, etc.) were frequent subjects of Christian exhortation. The verb which expresses Christian manliness (“Play the men!”) occurs here only. It is found in the LXX. of Joshua 1:6. They needed, as Chrysostom says, all these exhortations, for they were, in Christian matters, drowsy, unstable, effeminate, and factions.