STEPHANAS (stĕf'a-năs, Gr. Stephanas, crown). A Christian at Corinth, whose household were Paul’s first converts in Achaia (1Cor.16.15). Paul had not only won them to Christ, but they also were among the few at Corinth whom he had personally baptized (1Cor.1.16). Subsequently, they had rendered invaluable service to the church (1Cor.16.15). Stephanas himself had come to Paul at Ephesus along with Fortunatus and Achaicus (1Cor.16.17). It is thought that they may have delivered the letter that was sent by the Corinthian church to Paul.
STEPHANAS stĕf’ ə nəs (Στεφανα̂ς, G5107, crown). A Corinthian Christian who, with his household, was one of the few persons baptized personally by the Apostle Paul in Corinth (1 Cor 1:16). While he heartily endorsed baptism, Paul is thankful that he did not baptize more than these lest a decisive and “superior” Pauline party develop in the church (1 Cor 1:10-15).
The household of Stephanas were the first converts to Christianity in Achaia (1 Cor 16:15). Paul commends them for devoted service to the Christians in and near Corinth and urges the Corinthian Christians to be subject to such men for in promoting the well-being of the churches they were co-laborers with Paul. To have “addicted” themselves “to the ministry of the saints” may have included the opening of their home for hospitality and Christian worship. Paul rejoiced and his spirit was lifted by the visit of Stephanas, Fortunatus, and Achaicus while he was in Ephesus and asked that recognition be given them (16:17, 18).
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)
The name occurs only in 1Co 1:16; 16:15-18. Stephanas was a Christian of Corinth; his household is mentioned in 1Co 16:15 as the first family won to Christ in Achaia, and in 1Co 1:16 as among the few personally baptized by Paul at Corinth. The "house of Stephanas," apparently of independent means, had "set themselves to minister unto the saints" (1Co 16:15), i.e. to do Christian service. Possibly this service consisted in putting their house at the disposal of the Christians at Corinth for worshipping, or in rendering special assistance in establishing intercommunication between the Corinthian church and the apostle, or the other churches. An instance of such service was the commission of Stephanas at Ephesus referred to in 1Co 16:17,18. At the occasion of some disorders in the Corinthian church Stephanas, with Fortunatus and Achaicus in the deputation, brought a letter of the Corinthians to Paul. Our present 1 Corinthians is the reply to this letter, and thus, in all probability, the three men mentioned above were the bearers of this epistle. With fine courtesy Paul expresses his appreciation for this service in 1Co 16:18, referring to it as a cherished opportunity of fellowship with his beloved Corinthians through these representatives. It is in consideration of such Christian service that Paul enjoins upon the Corinthians to show the house of Stephanas that respect and deference due to Christian leaders by willingly submitting to their direction.