Well, I must admit - I'm having a hard time writing about this passage. You see, I am not a Bible scholar. That is why I love going to Bible studies and I love learning about the Bible. I don't get to go as often as I like, but reading the Bible on my own is sometimes not enough. This is where I am with this passage. This is the last passage of the Book of 1st Corinthians. It is typical in the Epistles for the last passage to contain specific instructions and requests of the writer and these are usually about specific people or things that are germane to that time and place. But, you have to be "in the know" of the time to understand it. And I am certainly not that.
It does remind me, though, of what incredibly hard work it must have been for the apostles to go out in the world and build the church. They could not merely walk about and speak the word of the Lord. They had to also worry about the details. Paul, here, is concerned about the type of welcome Timothy will be given and about Apollos' travel schedule. Then Paul seems to "dis" the Corinthians with this sentence: I was glad when Stephanas, Fortunatus and Achaicus arrived, because they have supplied what was lacking from you. Ouch!
But that, of course, is why the Lord chose those whom he did. Paul was not a God and did not want to be treated as anything special. He made his own travel arrangements and wrote his own letters without a secretary! In fact, earlier in this chapter (15:9), Paul says that he is the least of the apostles and not even deserving of being called an apostle because he doubted the church of God. So, the little details are not beneath him. In fact, I would venture to guess that, based upon his letters, he depended on many of those details to get his lofty work done.
He also wanted the people to know that following Jesus meant living in love in the most fundamental of ways - nothing fancy just honest and pure. Throughout this passage, Paul reminds the Corinthians of the love requirement. Indeed, the 13th chapter of Corinthians is known as the love chapter and is often used during wedding services. Here he gives specific instructions for how to treat certain individuals with love, and he states, simply, "Do everything in love."
Can you imagine what the world would be like if everyone did just that? Well, since I can't control anyone but myself, I will vow to follow that to my best ability and then some. (But, I think I need to go to a few more Bible studies to find out who all these people are!)